Trains

Family fun in New York City: Part 2

As you probably read in our previous blog post, we recently made a quick weekend trip to New York City to visit Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory (Noah’s cousins) while they were there on vacation. If you missed our post about going to the top of the Empire State Building, you can read it here. We saw some amazing views!

After we finished at the Empire State Building, we hopped on the subway with Cory, Abby, and Aunt Jenny and headed to Coney Island in Brooklyn. The ride took about an hour.

Once we got there, we headed straight to the amusement park for rides, rides, rides. Our first ride was the giant Ferris wheel. Going on this ride first was a good way to scope out the amusement park, boardwalk, and beach. Yeah, we had some great views from the top!

Noah and Cory went on a few other rides together too. Noah especially enjoyed the Wild River log ride since it was hot, hot, hot that day!

Noah also went on the Trapeze swings with Abby.

Ryan got in on the fun too. He went on the Cyclone roller coaster and Air Race with Cory.

Noah had fun watching Cory on the Electro Spin too.

Here’s a fun video of our crew on the rides. As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

After we were finished with the rides, we headed to the boardwalk and beach. Noah loved wading in the water and playing in the sand.

Yeah, we had a great time at Coney Island!

When we got back to Manhattan later that evening, Noah and Ryan went straight to the hotel to play buses for a while, and then Noah zonked out early – he had a busy day! The rest of us went back to the Empire State Building, since it was just a short walk from our hotel. Here’s a photo from the street…

And here are a few photos of the nighttime views from the top – very cool!

The next morning, we visited One World Trade Center.

We got a special tour from one of Ryan’s colleagues that works there. While we didn’t go all the way to the top (there are 104 floors), we did visit the staff lounge and coffee shop on the 60th floor. We saw some amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lots and lots of skyscrapers.

We also visited the FEMA offices and saw some of Ryan’s New York City colleagues.

We briefly visited the 9/11 Memorial as well.

Then we headed to Penn Station to catch our train back home. We rode the train all the way to Alexandria (its final destination was Richmond). We of course still stopped at Union Station in Washington, DC on the way through. The coolest thing about our stop at Union Station was watching our train switch from an electric locomotive to a diesel locomotive, since electric locomotives can’t run on the tracks south of DC. It was fun to watch!

And here is photo of Noah and Ryan at our Amtrak station in Alexandria.

This was Noah’s second trip to New York City. He’s already excited to go back again. Yep, we had an AWESOME weekend with Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory. We’ll see you all again soon!

Categories: Cousins, New York, Summer, Trains, Vacations | 1 Comment

Family fun in New York City: Part 1

Two weeks ago, Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory (Noah’s cousins) were vacationing in New York City. Since they were so close, we made a quick weekend trip to NYC to visit and see the sights with them.

That Saturday afternoon, we boarded the Amtrak train at Union Station in Washington, DC. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves trains – he was so excited!

It took about 3 ½ hours to get to Penn Station in Manhattan. Noah enjoyed watching the speedometer on Ryan’s phone along the way. The train was going 65 miles per hour when I snapped the photo below, but we got up to 125 miles per hour at one point – yeah, really fast!

We didn’t get to New York City until suppertime, so we headed straight to the hotel to relax and hang out for the night.

Noah really wanted to ride the subway (who wouldn’t at age six?), so that was the first thing we did the next morning.

After our subway ride, we hopped in a taxi to meet the rest of our group. Taxicab selfie!

We met up at the Empire State Building. Here is the view from the street.

And here is a pic of Noah and his cousins in the lobby.

We rode the high-speed elevator to the 80th floor and got a sneak peek of the great views…

And then we took a short elevator ride to the 86th floor Observatory, which is the highest open-air observation deck in New York City. We saw some incredible panoramic views of Manhattan, the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge, and beyond. Check it out!

This was Noah’s second time going to the top of the Empire State Building. His first visit was last year with Cory, Aunt Jenny, Grandma Debbie, and Grandpa Rod. Pretty cool!

Stay tuned to read more about our weekend trip to New York City. We have a lot more to share!

 

Categories: Cousins, New York, Summer, Trains, Vacations | Leave a comment

Celebrating Noah’s 6th birthday!

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Noah’s 6th birthday. Yeah, he’s growing up fast!

As part of the birthday fun, the weekend before the big day, we took Noah and his friend to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. If you missed our previous post about our trip to the aquarium, you can read it here. We all had a great time!

On his birthday, Noah got to wear this fun hat at school, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to him during lunch – pretty cool!

The kindergarten classes were supposed to visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo that day. Unfortunately, the field trip had to be postponed because of the rain. Noah was really bummed (he was looking forward to seeing the pandas on his birthday), so we snuck in some indoor fun after school instead. We rode the metro to the Lego Store!

When we got home, our good friend Barbara came over to help us celebrate. We had Papa John’s pizza (Noah’s favorite!) and chocolate cake. The cake had a cars theme – perfect!

Noah opened some of his presents that night too. He got lots of cool stuff for his birthday: Legos, books, a fire truck, a New York City bus, pullback cars, and a Spiderman toy – all the necessities for a six-year-old!

Noah also got a model train set – that was his big birthday wish. Ryan found this cool 1976 Lionel train set online – a lucky find on eBay! Ryan had a lot of fun setting it up in the basement beforehand. He even made a “grassy” tabletop for the track. Noah loved it!

If you’re curious about the hearing protection…yeah, the train is a little loud…

Noah’s birthday was low key this year, but he definitely had a great time!

Stay tuned to read about the field trip to the National Zoo. Noah still got to see the pandas, just a few days later than originally planned.

Categories: Birthdays, Kindergarten, Legos, Trains | 1 Comment

More winter break fun with Grandma and Grandpa

As you probably read in our previous blog post, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don flew to DC from Ohio to celebrate Christmas with us. If you missed our post about our Christmas festivities, you can read it here.

We had lots of other fun during their visit too. The day after Christmas, Noah went on a short Amtrak ride with Grandma and Grandpa. They boarded the train at Alexandria’s Union Station. The best part about Alexandria’s small station (compared to DC’s Union Station) is that you can stand railside and watch the other trains go by while you’re waiting.

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(Random fun fact from Ryan: There are many Union Stations in the United States. Union Stations have multiple railroad companies sharing the same building.)

They rode the train 45 miles south to Fredericksburg, VA. Their trip took about an hour.

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Ryan and I drove down to meet them, and they beat us – by about 90 minutes! Yes, it took us 2 ½ hours to drive those 45 miles. Pesky DC traffic! When we finally met up in Fredericksburg, we had supper at the Capital Ale House restaurant in the downtown area. Noah and Grandma played tic-tac-toe while we waited for our food.

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Going to Fredericksburg was a fun outing – but yes, all of us will be riding the train next time! Ha.

We spent a lot of time just hanging out at the house that week too. Noah, Grandma and Grandpa read books, did some arts and crafts (they painted a wooden boat), and played Legos – lots and lots of Legos!

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We also went to the park at Noah’s school when the weather was nice. Here are some photos that Grandma Cindy snapped…

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And here are a few pictures of Noah with Grandma and Grandpa at the airport before they flew home. We’ll see you again soon, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don! We had a great time!

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Categories: Fun outings, Grandparents, Our neighborhood, Trains | Leave a comment

A very merry Christmas with Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don

Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don flew to DC from Ohio to celebrate Christmas with us. We like to travel, but it’s always fun to have family here for the holidays too.

The first few days of their visit were busy with holiday preparations. Noah helped Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don make nut rolls. Mmmm! He loved rolling the dough.

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Noah also got in the Christmas spirit by building a gingerbread train with Grandma Cindy. And yes, some parts of the train were edible!

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On Christmas Eve we went to Old Town Alexandria. We stopped by the big Christmas tree in front of City Hall. Smile!

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Then we went to the Christmas Eve service at our church.

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When we got home, we took a few photos in front of our Christmas tree before we got in our pajamas. We clean up well, right? Ha.

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On Christmas morning we opened our stockings from Santa and presents from our families. This was definitely the Christmas for Legos – so many Legos! Noah also got books, magnetic blocks, trains, a trolley, a truck and board games. Lucky kid!

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One of Noah’s favorite presents was the Lego Amtrak train that Ryan constructed ahead of time. Ryan didn’t have instructions to follow, just his imagination and a lot of help from random Lego sellers on the internet. Ha. It’s pretty awesome – check it out!

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Here’s a short video of Noah’s new Lego Amtrak train in motion.

As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

Oh, and don’t worry, the big kids got some cool stuff too! Ha.

After we opened all of our presents, we enjoyed a huge Christmas dinner – and we were stuffed!

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We had a wonderful Christmas, and we hope you did too! Stay tuned to read more about Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don’s visit – there’s much more to share! And since we still have our Christmas tree up, we’re not really that behind with holiday posts, right? Ha.

Categories: Grandparents, Holidays, Trains | 2 Comments

A great day trip to Philadelphia

Last Saturday we rode the Amtrak to Philadelphia for the day. Noah wanted to go on another train ride, and Philly is a fun nearby destination. We boarded the train at Union Station in DC.

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The trip took about two hours – can’t beat that! Noah enjoyed watching the speedometer on Ryan’s phone along the way. Our train got up to 123 miles per hour at one point – super fast!

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After we arrived, we hopped in a cab and headed to the Please Touch Museum to explore all the hands-on exhibits.

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Noah’s favorite part of the museum was driving the SEPTA bus – shocker!

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Noah also got to drive a flatbed truck, trolley, car and dump truck.

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While in the construction area, Noah used a wheelbarrow to move blocks from the back of the dump truck to the conveyer belt.

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In the Please Touch Garage, Noah got to work on a car engine, fill up a gas tank and rotate racecar tires.

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Noah also got to shop at the grocery store, visit a hospital emergency room and play trains too – so much to do!

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In the Water Works area, there was a small-scale canal lock that simulated large locks like those used on the Panama Canal, Suez Canal and Saint Lawrence Seaway. Noah enjoyed watching the lock fill up with water and then opening the downstream lock gates to allow the boats to flow out. Pretty cool!

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He also learned about currents and the effects of gravity and air streams on water flow.

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Yep, we had a great time at the children’s museum!

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Next we rode the PHLASH bus to downtown Philly. We had a quick lunch and then went to Reading Terminal Market, which was one of our favorite finds from our last trip to Philly. Reading Terminal Market is a massive indoor farmer’s market. The market has a HUGE selection of produce, meat, cheese, baked goods, etc. from local farmers and producers. Many of the vendors cook, grill and bake right there too, so the place always smells amazing! We just stuck to desserts this trip. Noah picked out chocolate-covered pretzels, and Ryan chose truffles – yummy!

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The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, so we spent a lot of time just walking around the downtown area too. First we came across City Hall.

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Then we goofed around at the Board Game Art Park. As you can tell from the photos, Noah had fun playing on the huge Monopoly, Parcheesi and chess game pieces.

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And of course, Noah wanted to ride the Philadelphia subway too. So we rode the subway here and there just for kicks, and then we rode it back to the Amtrak station.

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So if you’re keeping track, we covered quite a few modes of transportation on our trip to Philly: car, train, taxi, bus and subway – whew! Ha.

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We had a blast in Philadelphia. It was a quick trip but definitely a lot of fun. Noah fell asleep shortly after we left the Philly Amtrak station. Yep, he had a busy day. According to Ryan’s phone, we walked over 14,000 steps!

Categories: Fun outings, Pennsylvania, Trains, Trucks | Leave a comment

Noah’s first trip to New York City!

The last week of May, Grandma Debbie, Grandpa Rod, Aunt Jenny and Cory (Noah’s cousin) flew out from South Dakota to visit us and see the sights. (Yeah, we’re slowly catching up on blog posts!) While they were here, we made a short overnight trip to New York City. This was Noah’s first trip to NYC – he was so excited to see the tall buildings!

We woke up early (really early!) to catch our 5:00 a.m. Amtrak train from Union Station in Washington, DC.

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If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves trains, and he was especially excited to ride the Amtrak with Cory and Grandpa Rod!

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It took about 3 ½ hours to get to Penn Station in NYC. After we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, we grabbed a quick snack. Yeah, the best donuts in Manhattan are from the street vendor on the corner of 33rd St. and 8th Ave. Make note! Ha.

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Then we walked to the Empire State Building. We rode the high-speed elevator to the 86th Floor Observatory and saw some incredible panoramic views of Manhattan and beyond. Check it out!

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After lunch we headed to South Street Seaport for a sightseeing cruise on the Hudson River. Here are a few fun photos of our crew boarding the Zephyr…

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On our 60-minute cruise, we saw the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and lots and lots of skyscrapers!

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Here are a few fun facts that we learned from our tour guide: 1) Lady Liberty is now 130 years old; 2) she was designed by the same engineer that designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and 3) she stands 111 feet tall, her nose is four and a half feet long, and her waist is 36 feet in circumference. Pretty incredible!

And here’s a photo of Cory on the Brooklyn Bridge…

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Next we visited the 9/11 Memorial.

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Here is Cory standing in front of the Survivor Tree at the memorial…

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Then we headed back to the hotel to relax. Some of us stayed in for the night (it had been a busy day already!), but Cory and Aunt Jenny were ambitious and walked to Times Square.

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The rest of us grabbed a quick bite at the restaurant on the 26th floor roof deck of our hotel. Check out this great view! Madison Square Garden (where the New York Knicks play basketball) is the circular-shaped building on the left – yep, just down the street.

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Here is a photo of the Empire State Building that Cory and Aunt Jenny snapped on their way back from Times Square – very cool!

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The next morning, Noah and Grandpa Rod went on early walk to find coffee and chocolate milk. It didn’t take long since there is a Starbucks on every corner there! Ha.

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After that we all split ways so that we could see different things. Noah really wanted to go to the new Lego store, and since it was hot, hot, hot that day, that was fine with me. Noah had a great time playing in the Lego Lounge and looking at the many awesome Lego creations, including a street scene of the Flatiron District (the neighborhood where the Lego store is located). So cool!

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While Noah and I relaxed in the air conditioning, Cory and Aunt Jenny were busy walking around and visiting Madison Square Garden, the Rockefeller Center and Central Park. Yes, they were adventurous!

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We all met back up later that afternoon and had a quick bite before heading to Penn Station to catch our train back to DC.

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Here are a few photos from our ride home. As a fun side note, my phone has an app that clocks the your speed. Our train got up to 126 miles per hour – wow!

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Stay tuned to read more about our week with Grandma Debbie, Grandpa Rod, Aunt Jenny and Cory. We have many more fun adventures to share!

Categories: Cousins, Fun outings, Grandparents, Legos, New York, Trains | Leave a comment

Another Eggcellent Easter

Noah had another fun-filled Easter this year. The Friday before Easter, Noah’s preschool had a huge Easter egg hunt in the park across the street from the school. While the Fishies and Froggies waited for their turn, they entertained the crowd by singing the alphabet. Check out this short video!

(As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.)

Now on to the most important part: the egg hunt! Ready…set…go!!!

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So many eggs!

And here are two short videos of the “Eggstravaganza” too. Yeah, these little egg hunters were fast! Go, Noah, go!

Noah’s loot included candy (of course!), miniature dinosaurs, stickers and fun-colored Band-Aids. Can’t beat that!

We spent Easter Sunday with our good friends Matt and Carolyn and their family. We had an amazing Easter feast: homemade pizza, lamb sausages, salad with roasted cauliflower, hummus, and roasted eggplant. It was so good! We were stuffed!

After lunch Noah and Jerome had an Easter egg hunt in the backyard. Jerome’s Uncle Chris did a great job hiding the eggs, but the boys found them all! Their buckets were full! The eggs had dinosaur stickers and candy – score! They also got a few “real” dinosaur eggs that hatch in watch. Stay tuned for more on that!

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Here’s a short video of Noah and Jerome posing. Yes, a video of taking photos! Ha. “Cheese!”

After the egg hunt, we headed back inside for dessert. It was Matt’s birthday, so we celebrated with chocolate cake. Here’s a short video of Noah and Jerome chanting: “We want cake! We want cake!”

And here is a photo too. Thanks for giving us a good reason to binge on yummy cake, Matt!

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Noah and Jerome snuck in some train time between all the festivities too. They were definitely busy boys that day.

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This was our second Easter with Matt, Carolyn and Jerome (and now Baby Sophie too!). We had a great time!

The Easter fun didn’t end there. Noah got lots of Easter goodies at home too. The Easter Bunny brought him a Lego police car and truck set, a few Hot Wheels cars, and some more candy – very cool! He also got candy and stickers from Grandma Cindy and Grandma Debbie. Yeah, he definitely hit the Easter jackpot! And don’t worry, we didn’t eat all the candy in one sitting. Ha.

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We had a very fun Easter season, and we hope you did too!

Categories: Fun outings, Holidays, Legos, Maryland, Our neighborhood, Preschool, Trains | Leave a comment

Weekend getaway to Philadelphia

-This past weekend we made a quick overnight trip to Philadelphia. Noah had been asking to go on an Amtrak train, and Philly is a fun nearby destination. We boarded the train at Union Station in DC.

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We stopped at stations in Baltimore and Wilmington on the way to Philly.

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Noah’s favorite part of the ride was going through the tunnels outside of Baltimore.

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The trip only took about two hours – can’t beat that! Here is a photo of Noah and Ryan at the Philadelphia Amtrak station.

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After we dropped off our bags at the hotel, we walked to nearby Reading Terminal Market for lunch. This is a massive indoor farmer’s market that’s been around since the late 1800’s. There was a HUGE selection of produce, meat, cheese, baked goods, etc. from local farmers and producers. Many of the vendors were cooking, grilling and baking right there too, so the place smelled amazing!

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Noah picked out truffles and chocolate-covered pretzels for dessert – yummy!

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We happened to be in Philadelphia during the annual Bloom Philly Festival, so we came across quite a few extra activities. As we left the Market, Noah and Ryan teamed up for a giant game of Jenga that was part of the outdoor festival. Fun! They of course had to play Jenga by Noah’s rules, which basically meant no rules. Ha.

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We had to see a few of the usual Philly sights too. We headed to the Liberty Bell first.

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Next we visited Independence Hall. As you history buffs know, Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and signed.

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After that we walked back to the hotel to relax and go swimming. In Noah’s opinion, we saved the best for last. Ha.

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Noah definitely had a busy day. He fell asleep fast!

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We headed back to the Amtrak station Sunday morning. While we were waiting for our train back to DC, Noah and Ryan read “The Polar Express” – yes, a book about a train!

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Ryan’s phone has an app that clocks the your speed. Our train got up to 123 miles per hour – wow!

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By the way, the Acela Express (Amtrak’s highest-speed rail line) goes even faster at 150 mph. Yeah, we’ll definitely have to ride the Acela to New York City or Boston someday.

It was a very quick trip to Philadelphia, but we had a great time! There’s a lot to see and do in Philly, so we plan to visit again!

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Categories: Fun outings, Pennsylvania, Trains, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Riding the rails with Grandma and Grandpa

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don drove to DC from Ohio to spend the week with us. (Yeah, we’re a little behind on blog posts!) Noah’s favorite part of their trip was taking them on the Amtrak train – very cool!

They boarded the train at the Amtrak station in Alexandria. The best part about this small Amtrak station (compared to Union Station) is that you can stand railside and watch the other trains go by while you’re waiting. Noah loved telling Grandpa all about the trains that passed by.

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By the way, the cute conductor’s hat was a gift from Grandma. Thanks Grandma Cindy!

Once their train arrived, they rode 45 miles south to Fredericksburg, VA. Their train (the “Carolinian”) was traveling from New York City to Raleigh, NC. All aboard!

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Here’s a “ train selfie” that Grandma snapped on the ride…

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Ryan and I drove down to meet them, and they beat us – by a lot. Pesky DC traffic! When we finally met up in Fredericksburg, we had lunch at the Bavarian Chef restaurant at the train station. We had some great authentic German food – yummy!

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We’ll all have to take the train next time…not only to avoid the DC traffic, but so the big kids can enjoy a good German beer too. Ha.

Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s recent adventures with Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don – there’s much more to share!

Categories: Fun outings, Grandparents, Holidays, Trains | 1 Comment

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