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When I realized our summer road trip in 2022 would take us right by the Winchester Mystery House, I knew what we had to do. That’s right. We had to stop. The History of the Winchester Mystery House The Winchester Mystery House is a historic mansion located in San Jose, California. Its construction began in 1884 and continued for almost 38 years until Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm magnate William Wirt Winchester, passed away in 1922. The house is renowned for its unique architectural features and its intriguing history. Legend has it that after the death of her husband and infant daughter, Sarah Winchester sought solace in the belief that she was haunted by the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. To escape their vengeful spirits, she began an extensive and continuous construction project on her family’s unfinished farmhouse. Over the years, the mansion underwent constant renovations, resulting…

The Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia, Missouri, is a treasure! This Civil War-era home is a great artifact in the area. And its paranormal happenings make it all the better. One of our favorite things to do when traveling is to take a ghost tour. You’ll get a dose of history with some spooky on the side. It’s also a great thing to do in the evenings when most historic sites have long been closed for the day. We’ve also discovered the joy of seeking out ghost tours in our area.  We’ve been following Paranormal Science Lab and Dark Ozarks, and they coordinate tours and paranormal investigations of local (to us) historic sites. The proceeds of these tours go to the maintenance and restoration of these sites, so it’s a no-brainer for us. We get to contribute to preserving history while visiting a cool site, known for paranormal activity, as an…

Staying at Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph RV Resort is one of our favorite Halloween season experiences. We’d wanted to visit Holiday World for some time, and when a long weekend popped up on my teaching schedule, we set our plan into motion. Where to stay in Santa Claus, Indiana, the town that’s home to Holiday World? Why, the adjoining campground, of course! No RV? No problem! Lake Rudolph has several cabin options. I’ll offer a piece of advice here. Book your cabin as far in advance as possible. We booked our cabin in August, and there weren’t many left. During Happy Halloween Weekends, Holiday World is only open for the weekends. The small town of Santa Claus has limited lodging options. Plus, Lake Rudolph offers lots of Halloween fun during the weekends in October. Throw all of these factors together, and you have the perfect storm of selling out the…

We’d like to thank Historic Tours of Boston for sponsoring our visit to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. As always, all opinions are honest and our own. If you’ve followed our blog for any time at all, you’d know that we love learning more about history as we travel the United States. Our trip to Boston was no different. Every corner of the city seems to be a location of historic significance. When we discovered there was an interactive museum that focused on the Boston Tea Party, we couldn’t wait to go! We didn’t know what to expect, but it turns out, the whole experience was a lot of fun. Everyone who visits the museum becomes part of the story, and the museum turned out to be a highlight of our family’s visit to Boston. Arriving at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum Our stop in Boston…

If you’re in the Nashville area, be sure to make a stop at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. This home of the seventh president of the United States is a great way to get a glimpse of life in the early 1800s. While Andrew Jackson’s legacy is complicated, I always want to learn more and teach my kids about American history. Make no mistake, Jackson’s views on Black people and American Indians are absolutely abhorrent. My heart breaks when we visit plantations where enslaved people worked and lived. I’m sick to my stomach when learning more about the atrocities committed against American Indians, including Jackson’s removal policies and the Trail of Tears.  But somehow, avoiding the history of what happened doesn’t seem right. We have to learn from the past to move forward. Pretending it didn’t happen or “wasn’t that bad” is not an option. So, we visit historical sites and learn…

This may seem crazy, but on one of our longer road trips, we decided to drive the entire Oregon coast, all in one day. On this road trip, we arrived at the northern tip of the Oregon coast in Astoria the previous afternoon. We had a great time exploring The Goonies sites from the film that afternoon before calling it a night at a Hampton Inn on the water. To read about that adventure, click here. The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and hit the road. Our goal was to drive the coastline of Oregon and spend the night in a camping cabin at a KOA in Crescent City, California. By that evening, we were able to say, “Mission accomplished.” The Adventure Begins… After we checked out of our Hampton Inn in Astoria, we hit the road. We had one more Goonies destination to see to round…

When we plan our long road trips, Kristin is always hoping for a chance to see some animals. She was super excited to learn that we’d be visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, during one of our road trips out west. We love a good aquarium, and Monterey Bay is one of the best in the country. This aquarium is right on the water, which makes a visit there all the better. It’s also on a road in town known as Cannery Row, an old sardine packing district. These details make Monterey Bay Aquarium a unique place to visit. Arriving at Monterey Bay Aquarium At the time of our visit, the aquarium was still operating on a reservation system due to reopening restrictions after Covid-19. We scheduled ahead of time to be sure to get an opening reservation so that we could explore some other attractions later in…

Yosemite Valley Lodge turned out to be the perfect place to relax on our trip. When planning our trip to Yosemite National Park, one of the first things we narrowed down was lodging. Since national park lodging can fill up early, it’s best to plan your trip a year out or more. And though I would’ve loved to stay at the flagship lodge, The Awahnee, it’s a little pricy. Since we were on a three-week road trip, we chose a more economical choice this time–Yosemite Valley Lodge. On this road trip, we’d already had several adventures that included four national parks–Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Death Valley. We’d also been to some great cities (and towns) in California–Lone Pine, Monterey, and San Francisco. Even after all those experiences, we still were awed by the sheer beauty of Yosemite. It’s like no other place we’ve seen. Arriving at Yosemite Valley…

Before we began planning a road trip that included a few days in Seattle, I’d never heard of San Juan Island. When I discussed our travel plans at work, a coworker suggested we add San Juan Island to our trip because her sister loved it so much. Well, my coworker’s sister was right! San Juan Island is an adorable place to visit with historic sites, whale-watching opportunities, and beautiful overlooks of the sea. Getting to San Juan Island From Seattle Since we didn’t initially plan to visit San Juan Island, we could only set aside one day for the side trip. To get to the island, you have to take a ferry or a plane.  We opted to go with the more popular and cost-effective option–taking the ferry from Anacortes. Since we’d never driven our car onto a ferry, this turned out to be an adventure unto itself. Anacortes, Washington,…

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