Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! This year has not been without it’s challenges and tragedies but it’s been better than the last one. Astute readers might notice that there wasn’t a video compiled for 2020 because all our plans were cancelled due to travel restrictions. We only made it to Delaware which in fact went under travel ban while we were there in in August. If you’re looking for a 2020 Wrap-Up just watch The Rehoboth Beach Episode, lol!
2021 was much better. The weather was our biggest opponent though. I’m pretty sure rain can be seen in each and everyone of or posts and videos. We added five states to our “camped in” map. We camped at Fishermans Island State Park during Spring Break. Narragansett was rainy and windy but I could see how it could be beautiful. We spent Memorial Day Weekend in New Jersey which was soggy as well. Fun was to be had anyway with lots of crafts and a live band.
Our summer camping trip brought us on a circumnavigation of four states, adding three to our map. We began at Niagara Falls, staying at The Branches of Niagara Camping Resort. Next we went on to The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore staying at Leelanau Pines Campground. From there we crossed The Mackinac Bridge and traversed Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on our way to Wisconsin, land of cheese. Smokey Hollow Campground and it’s enormous on water obstacle course had to be the main attraction for us in The Badger State. Rain dotted Michigan and Wisconsin but there was plenty of beauty in between. On our return home we stayed at The Cleveland/Streetsboro KOA for the Fourth of July and visited The Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Our last trip of this year was to Hershey Park which was final proof that my kids are a bunch of adrenaline junkies! A lot of rain this trip but it worked out greatly (see the previous post).
That makes five National Parks and seventeen states in total for The Traveling Terrells. I think 2022 will be even better despite The Covid Omicron Variant. Our governments are dealing with things a bit smarter and the public wants to move on. If I had one wish it’d be for a cure and I’m sure many would spend their wish on that as well.
Check out our “Highlight Reel” below for all these adventures. If you’d like more information feel free to scroll back through the year on this blog as all of these places and campgrounds have their own videos compiled. Thanks for stopping by and here’s to 2022!
A couple of years ago we went to Dutch Wonderland and had a ball. We’ve always heard the Dutch Wonderland is like pre-k for Hershey so I kept a close eye on my last born’s height markings on our dining room door frame. This past Spring Ryan finally surpassed the 48″ mark qualifying him for riding on nearly every attraction. In August he was in fact 48 1/2 inches tall giving him the slightest amount of wiggle room.
The only ride Ryan could not ride that made a difference to him is pictured above. The other coaster requiring a 52″ height was under renovation. When we make height we’ll be back!
My kids really surprised me. They are all fearless. We went on every coaster, some twice! They were ravenous for more. I love the coasters too and rode them when I was their age(s) but that was a long time ago and I found I needed some time afterwards each one to curb the vertigo but they were constant daredevils tugging at my coattails. The lines were short as the weather was not ideal during our visit. Great for them, not so good for myself – attempting to regain my balance between rides. I’m partly joking about this as I was a good sport but I’ll never be an astronaut!
We stayed at Hershey’s Campground while we visited the park. They have a convenient tram that takes you the approximate mile to the park eliminating the need to tow along our Jeep. We stayed three nights as we intended preview the park the first afternoon (going even an hour earlier than regular preview being we were staying at a Hershey resort) and visit the park the entire following day. We were able to probably ride half the park during that first afternoon. The following day we were off to an aggressive start until the rain poured down. The major attractions closed for over an hour due to the deluge so we were able to get complementary tickets for the following day due to the weather. We didn’t leave the park though, instead went to the gift shop and ate at The Chocolatier while the weather cleared. Afterwards we rode a few more rides once they were dry and went back the following day again for some our favorite attractions. Sometimes things only appear grim and many times you can make lemonade out of lemons. The weather kept the crowds away that week (we in fact thought about postponing) and we visited three days while only paying for one and nobody got too badly drenched.
The campground scored an average rating for me. They had a nice gift shop (things Hershey) and a large pool. It’s really just a place to hang when you’re not at the park. We enjoyed the pool the last morning before leaving and the kids experimented with the new action camera I purchased. The waterproof case held for the first hour or so until it breached. I’m happy to say a cup of rice and 24 hours were the fix for the soggy camera
As I mentioned above, we will be back. Everybody’s already asking when we might be able to make that happen. I’m trying to tell them that there are other places to go as well (Six Flags, Busch Gardens) but I think we’ll go back when Ryan is a Twizzler. That’s a fair amount of broccoli for the little guy.
Check out our video below and stay tuned for our 2021 Wrap up in a few days. It only took me four months to post this vacation but New Year’s Eve is fast approaching and our “2021- Year in Review” is nearly ready for final editing. Thanks for stopping by.
On our return trip back home we made Cuyahoga Valley National Park our fifth national park visited. Cuyahoga National Park is located in Ohio about 45 minutes South of Cleveland. It runs lengthwise from North to South along the Cuyahoga River which is part of the Ohio and Erie Canalway.
I booked reservations early on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and we rode from Peninsula, Ohio down to Akron and back in a vintage coach car that was built in the 1940’s. The views along the Cuyahoga River are amazing and the towpaths along the canal can still be seen and now function as bike paths. The park is very bicycle friendly and bike rentals are available in Peninsula. If we had more time we would have rented Linda a Pedego bike for a little exploring but the rental shop was oddly not open the weekend of The Fourth of July.
After our train ride we explored the riverfront right next to the Peninsula Station and found Lock 29. What’s there today are remnants of an old aqueduct and locks system in which barges can be floated up and actually pass over the Cuyahoga River and Canal. It’s quite a feat of engineering for that time.
On Independence Day we went for a hike on The Ledges Trail. We were greeted by singing park rangers at the trailhead and explored gorges and caves.
I had heard if you go for one hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park you should make it The Ledges Trail and it didn’t disappoint. The kids had a load of fun rock scrambling along the many detours and it’s 2.3 miles of moderate terrain were perfect for a holiday hike.
You can see more of The Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad, Lock 29 and The Ledges Trail in the video below. This was our last stop on our 16 night 2021 Summer Trip. Stay tuned as we take on a change of pace for our next mini trip in a few weeks. Thanks for stopping by.
I chose Streetsboro/Cleveland KOA for it’s close proximity to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It was only about 20 minutes to the park near the historic town of Hudson.
We really enjoyed being back in a campground with a conventional pool once again. The kids also enjoyed the ice cream parlor, game room and gem mining.
On Saturday, KOA had crafts available to break up the day. They enjoyed crafting tye-dye shirts and making patriotic luminaries. Later on that night they had a band called American Pie and we danced until late.
The following day was The Fourth of July and we went hiking in the national park, came back and swam for a bit then lit sparklers and watched the bigger stuff explode over the fishing lake.
Streetsboro/Cleveland KOA is a clean campground and seems to be run by a family that cares about providing you with a fun experience. You can see a lot more in the video link below. We’ll let you know more about Cuyahoga Valley National park in our next post which will be the final one for this trip. Thanks for stopping by.
We left Leelanau Pines Campground and traveled over the Mackinac Bridge to Wisconsin via Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I chose Smokey Hollow Campground basically for what you see above. My kids have played on a “ninja course” at Massey’s Landing Campground in Delaware but it was much smaller and only for a specific time over the weekend. This course is absolutely huge and is open all the time. We did, however, have to keep a keen eye on our kids as there are no lifeguards and parts of the course are very high.
Smokey Hollow also had a bunch of other things to do such as two playgrounds, a bounce pillow and specialty bikes that you can ride around for free. The bikes similar to city bikes. You just get on one and drive it to somewhere in the campground and once you park it the bike is free for someone else to use. They also had a snack bar and we enjoyed the smoothies.
We did have some rain while in Wisconsin but that ended up in our favor one morning as we had the whole swimming pond to ourselves in the light drizzle. I tried to get the crew to hike at a nearby state park but I think they were hiked ou from our previous stay in Michigan. We did go to Madison one evening for dinner and discovered Wisconsin Cheese Curds.
Upon leaving Madison, Linda asked we stop by the firehouse to get a t-shirt. She came back out to the Jeep as they had asked if we wanted to come in for a tour. We toured the the kitchen, lounge and bunk rooms as well as the apparatus floor where we saw the ice boat, scuba boat, engine and ladder as well as a couple other specialty vehicles. Fire Station 1 is the main station in Madison and is located just down the street from the capitol building. Thanks to FF. Dhamen for taking time out of his day to give us the tour.
Click the link above to see more of Smokey Hollow Campground, particularly the ninja course. There’s also a bit of footage at the end of Station 1 in Madison. We’re off to Ohio making our way back home next where we’ll spend the Fourth of July. Thanks for stopping by.
I learned about Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore a few years back on an RV podcast and filed it away on a must do list for national parks to visit. This visit marked our fourth national park that we’ve hiked in. We began our visit at The Philip A. Hart Visitor Center then drove Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and stopped at Dune Overlook where the next four pictures were taken. This was our first day in the park and the day with the best weather. Dune Overlook has dunes that are roughly 200 feet high and you’re encouraged not to run down them as getting back up can be very arduous and you may need to be rescued.
Our next stop was The Dune Climb which is much safer as you start out at the bottom (parking lot) and climb to the top. If it gets too tough at any point you can simply just walk back down. After getting a bit sweaty at The Dune Climb we drove a short distance to Glen Haven Beach and swam in the crystal clear, albeit cold, waters of Lake Michigan.
We also swam at Platte River Point Beach while at Sleeping Bear Dunes. The kids had a great time here on their boogie boards letting the current sweep them gently downstream and then walking back up the beach to repeat the process again. The water in Platte River was much warmer than Lake Michigan and we were able to stay in for hours.
During our visit we hiked three times. The first being The Empire Bluff Trail in which you hike 1.5 miles through a forest out onto a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and the second being The Alligator Hill Trail. The Alligator Hill Trail is also an easy trail that provides a view of The Manitou Islands although the day we went was rainy and we actually hiked into the cloud base. Cool yeah, but not the best for views and vistas. We also hiked The Pyramid Point Trail which provided great views of Lake Michigan and Glen Lake.
We had a great time at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and ventured into the park five of the six days we were there. The weather wasn’t great but the park did not disappoint on activities and beauty. More of the park can be seen in the video below.
We’re off to Wisconsin next so please stay tuned for our adventures in The Badger State. Thanks for stopping by.
Leelanau Pines is a family run campground in Northwest Michigan situated between Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and Traverse City. It’s also situated right on Lake Leelanau. It did not have some of the amenities that some of the other campgrounds we’ve stayed at have had (pool) but was quiet and clean. We did, in fact, come here for the national park.
The campground caters to a majority of seasonal campers but is in demand. I made all of our summer camping reservations back in January and the best I could do here was to reserve the full hook-up site above for four nights and then switch to a water/electric site for the remaining two nights of our six night stay. It has a boat launch and small boats are available to rent to go out on Lake Leelanau. It has a swimming beach but we opted not to partake as Linda nearly tripped over this fella pictured below. He/she did not seem frightened of us at all and eventually took to the water and swam right underneath the steps leading to the swim basin.
We swam plenty in Lake Michigan, Glen Lake and Platte River so not swimming here didn’t keep us from the water for six days. Leelanau Pines had a great playground and we rode our bikes and explored the woods a fare share. The kids found a lean to built by kids that stay or have previously stayed here.
When we weren’t hiking or swimming in the national park we went out a few times in both Glen Arbor and Traverse City but I don’t think the kids have dined anywhere as iconic as Sleder’s yet.
Sleder’s Family Tavern has been a Traverse City landmark for 138 years and is the longest continuously operating restaurant in Michigan. In that time thousands have climbed the ladder and kissed Randolph the moose. We kissed the Michigan icon as well which can be seen on our video link at the bottom of this page.
We also had ice cream at another famous place in Traverse City. Moomers makes more than 160 flavors of ice cream and has it’s own dairy farm. We got the recommendation from a boy Sarah befriended at the campground and Moomers did not disappoint.
Click the video link below to see more of Leelanau Pines Campground, Sleder’s and Moomers as well as a great playground that kept the kids busy while Linda perused the shops in Glen Arbor.
Stay tuned as we’re off to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park next. Thanks for stopping by.
I have fond memories of visiting Niagara Falls when I was a kid. The children’s ages seemed perfect for this trip. When we stayed when I was younger, we stayed on the Canadian side which was out of the question this year due to the remaining Covid-19 restrictions crossing the international border.
Our stop in Niagara Falls was part of a much grander plan to cross the border and travel through Canada to Michigan. We’re in our first stop of a four state Northern Midwest Loop. After visiting Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park we cross over to Wisconsin via Michigan’s Upper Peninsula then down to Ohio to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park and celebrate the Fourth of July.
Our Canadian crossing never happened due the pandemic restrictions not loosening up enough (we would have all had to be tested) so we traveled to Michigan via Route 90 mostly, just South of Lake Erie.
Niagara Falls State Park is America’s oldest state park and all four of the five great lakes empty into Lake Ontario before they flow into the Niagara River and down it’s three waterfalls at a rate of 3,160 tons per SECOND! Niagara Falls is not the biggest waterfall in North America but is capable of generating over 4 million kilowatts of electricity which is shared by the USA and Canada.
We stayed three nights in the area but it only took us about three hours to get a decent feel for the falls. We parked at the edge of town and walked along the Niagara River, reveling in natures ferocity and the swift moving water and rapids. We then walked further up, leading up to “the drop.”
I had planned to visit a few attractions a’ la carte as the Discovery Pass wasn’t available for purchase this year but we only went on The Maid of the Mist. They take you literally right underneath the falls for a view you can get no other way. In retrospect I feel it was the perfect amount of exposure to this great state park. We were very happy to buy ice cream and do some quick souvenir shopping before heading back to the campground.
I only hope that Linda and the kids have the same fond memories that I had as a kid and I’m sure they will. We had a great time on The New York side. Canada will have to wait as our nations are just waking up from the Corona Virus.
Please check out our video below to see more of our experiences from Niagara Falls, particularly Maid of the Mist. We’re off to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula next so be sure to stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoqZ89DdEI0
I found Branches of Niagara Campground through an RV podcast we used to listen to. The hosts just went on and on about this campground so much that there was no other choice to stay at when visiting Niagara Falls. Jellystone, KOA…. no matter how good their ratings were we had to stay here. It’s up there on Linda’s favorite campgrounds and I’d say I have to agree.
Upon checking in the staff was so courteous and helpful and that just continued throughout our three night stay. Challenging playgrounds, a magical pool area, a swimming/fishing pond and even zip lining kept us quite busy during our visit.
The campground was pristine and full hook ups were available as well as water/electric sites and cabins. Branches of Niagara is only about 15 minutes from the falls on Grand Island.
The kids really had a ball here swimming and playing. The campground is just big enough to entertain but also feels small so they can have a little freedom and ride their bikes around.
We had decent weather and were treated to a great sunset our last night. We were moving on but wish we could have just a little more “campground time.”
These pictures really don’t tell the full story. We shot a lot of video here and that can be seen in the link below. We’ll bring you to Niagara Falls next so stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.