After we spent the morning at Niagara Falls, we were trying to decide where to go to next. I begged and begged Chris to let us go to New York City since we were THAT close to it (which was really the other side of the state of New York, but still)!
Even though me and Emily had been there the summer before for her 13th birthday trip, I wanted Chris and Liz to see it also!
He caved and we made our way east. Yay!
Liz and Chris are big The Office fans, so we took the route that took us through Scranton, PA.
It was neat to drive by and see Penn Tower that is in the opening of The Office. You can’t drive by it and not sing the theme song!
We also saw the original Welcome to Scranton sign. It took us a while to find it since it’s in an older mall now, but we were glad to get the photo op.
After Scranton, PA it was just a long, long, long day of driving. We got stuck in traffic twice and just didn’t make good time at all.
We also had a “few” fights over directions and got lost going into New Jersey on the New Jersey Turn Pike. We were in the “hood” and a little scared a few times.
We stayed in New Jersey on that side of the Hudson River to save money and not have to drive directly into New York City. We rolled into our hotel late once again, but excited to be near NYC!
The next morning we were up bright and early again to have a full day in NYC! We took the water taxi over to NYC so we didn’t have to try to fight the traffic. Being on the New Jersey side we saw the Manhattan skyline really well. I love the view of the city!
Our first stop was visiting the Statue of Liberty. This is a very touristy thing to do, but something I think everyone should be able to see in person in their lifetime.
We LOVED riding the boat over to the Statue of Liberty. Our good planning again made us able to get on the first boat tour to the Statue. We were able to beat the crowds and had a great time walking around the Statue of Liberty and taking all the sights in.
After this, we made our way back to NYC and started walking, walking, walking. We knew this was our ONE day in the city, so we had to make the most of it. We saw the 9/11 Memorial which is always humbling, shopped a lot at Chelsea Market, saw where Hamilton is played, and then made our way up to Times Square.
Looking back, I wish we would’ve paid the extra money to do the hop on/hop off bus tour. But knowing we are healthy and active people, I knew we could walk it. But it was HOT this day and we walked over 11 miles! The girls and Chris were troopers, but because of being on a time crunch, we weren’t able to make it to Central Park or to The Empire State Building, and if we had done the bus tour we would’ve had more time for these things.
All in all it was a GREAT day though! I love being in NYC and like the hustle and bustle of it. I doubt I ever get my husband back in that setting, he is definitely a country boy. The girls were culturized and saw some great sights that we will always remember (Naked Cowboy).
We left NYC around supper time and knew we needed to head back home.
To make our day the next day easier, we decided to drive for a few hours since we still felt good.
We drove to Philadelphia, PA to sight see some more. I wanted to see the Liberty Bell!
The city of Philadelphia was so cool! We walked downtown, ate a good supper, and loved the “vibe” from the city.
The Liberty Bell was not as impressive in person as I thought, but it was still cool to see it! It wasn’t as big as I pictured in my head. But we got right through security and it didn’t take long at all to see the bell.
After this, we went into Independence Hall. It’s so cool to see where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Lastly, we wanted to stop by the “Rocky Steps”. It was so crowded at this point in the day, so we didn’t stop and get out. We just drove by and got a quick video. LOL
Lastly, we made our way that evening to Harrisburg, PA for the night. We were wiped out!
The next day it was time to head home. We were close to Hershey, PA, so we pretended the girls were still little kids and took them to Chocolate World. It was so neat to see how the chocolate is made. We all got cool souvenirs out of the deal as well- you can’t go wrong with chocolate!
We saved the best stop for last- Abby Lee Dance Company! This was in Pittsburg, PA. We saw Candy Apple’s studio, so we HAD to see Abby Lee’s!
Since Emily was little Dance Moms has been “her” show! She loves it and has watched every episode. When COVID hit, we watched it as a family. We are just huge fans of Dance Moms.
When we arrived at Abby Lee’s it was 1:45 p.m. We walked around the building and took tons of pictures (the building was a little run down since the show ended). We noticed there was this little gift shop to the side of the studio and it opened at 2:00 p.m., so Emily was persistent that we stayed until the gift shop opened.
The lady finally came to open the gift shop and we went in and looked at all the merchendise. You can tell that Abby Lee is in LA now and doesn’t pay attention to the PA location because everything seemed to be disorganized and run down.
Anyways, Emily was dying to get inside the studio! She flat out asked the lady working in the gift shop what it would take for her to get a tour of the dance studio.
That lady said a fair trade was if we bought something from the gift shop she would give us our own private tour of the studio! Emily was SOOOO excited! We bought an insanely overpriced hoodie, but seeing Emily’s face light up when we went through that tour was seriously priceless.
That lady took us everywhere in that studio. She told us all about the show “Dance Moms” and apologized for the mess because she had been cleaning because Abby Lee was making an appearance at that studio for a camp the following week!
It’s neat to think we missed seeing her possibly by a week, but we were so glad we were able to get the tour of the dance studio.
It was definitely smaller than what it looks like on TV, but it was so cool to see where all the moms watched the practices and where Abby Lee announced the pyramids, solos, etc.
Finally, it was time to head back home. It was Thursday evening and we still had an 8 hour trip home from Pittsburg.
We were so exhausted from being on the go so much for those 4 days, but our hearts were so full from this quick vacay! We made memories that I know I will cherish forever.
I hope you have a great Thursday! It’s almost Friday, hang in there!