Excellent Experiences Philadelphia Has to Offer This Summer

The history, spirit and diversity of Philadelphia is undeniable. The friendly faces that pass you on the street and the exciting activities that surround you are enticing to say the least. Whether you love theme parks or nature, there will always be something wonderful for you to experience in the heart of Philly.

Photo via BigBusTours.com

Planning a trip during the summer should definitely be at the top of your to do list, especially as the warmer temperatures are appealing at this time of year. You have the chance to enjoy the open parks, popular beer gardens and soak in the sunshine wherever you may be. If you are looking for some exciting experiences in Philadelphia, some of these might just entice you!

Be a Daredevil 

Everybody has a small daredevil inside them that is just bursting to come out. What better way to see and experience this stunning city than a zip line Philadelphia? Experience the thrill of a canopy ziplining tour at Refreshing Mountain; it is one of the top attractions in Lancaster County, so you won’t want to miss out.

Philadelphia experiences
Photo by Mam NC from Pexels

Whether you’re visiting with family or a group of friends, you are bound to make memories from this thrill seeking experience. Make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment and enjoy every moment of this exhilarating activity.

Recreate a Famous Movie Moment

You can’t visit Philadelphia without running up the rocky steps and recreating that famous moment. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, there is bound to be somebody in your travel party who is familiar with the memorable scene. Rocky is definitely a notable piece of history in the world of cinema, so you definitely want to grab a picture of this moment. You could even download the famous theme tune to make your experience even more special. 

Philadelphia experiences
Photo via VisitPhilly.com

Creepy Culture

The Mutter Museum in Philly is a freaky, but fantastic place to visit during your stay. If Halloween is your favourite holiday then you are in for a treat! Inspect the largest colon in the world or discover real pieces of Einstein’s brain.

Philadelphia experiences
Photo via Mutter Museum

It might not be the ideal place for squeamish people, but it is definitely a unique and memorable experience.

Glorious Gardens

If you’re looking for the perfect place to snap a picture for social media, then Magic Gardens is the ideal place for you. The stunning, well kept area is the ideal backdrop for your new profile picture, so make sure you put this on your list of places to visit.

Shop ‘Till You Drop

If shopping is your thing, then you need to visit South Street for a touristy, yet charming experience. Grab some lunch in a popular restaurant or bar and invest in some souvenirs to take home from your trip.

So enjoy all of these perfect experiences in Philly this summer, whether you’re a daredevil on a zipline or a shopaholic on South Street. There are so many memories to be made in this fabulous area, so pack your bags and enjoy a trip that is bursting with vibrancy and variety.

Philadelphia experiences




Make the Most of Your Vacation: 6 Tips for an Unforgettable Summer

Vacation season has finally arrived, and most of us are now planning on how we can make the most of our summer. Whether you plan to have some time away or want to enjoy a well-earned rest from the comfort of your own home, it is important that you enjoy your summer and make sure that you make the most of your vacations.

Summer Vacation Tips
Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

When summer begins, and we start to feel the increase in temperature, we can feel the need to plan for the weeks ahead. 

With the sun in the sky, we can often feel empowered to do something different with our summer months and broaden our experiences. However, trying to make the most out of our vacations can sometimes be a challenge, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Therefore, we have put together six top tips to help you make this summer the most unforgettable summer yet. 

Go Somewhere New 

One of the best ways to make the most of your vacation is to get away to somewhere new where you can relax and enjoy the hot weather. Many people plan some time away abroad for their summer break so that they can get a well-earned vacation away from home. But don’t worry if your budget doesn’t stretch to an exotic vacation destination this year, as there is still plenty of fun to be had in the country you live in.

Summer Vacation Tips
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Do some research and find out some of the local hotspots that are popular with tourists in your area. Make a list of all the places near you that you haven’t visited before and try somewhere new. By varying your experiences, you will be sure to have a rememberable summer, without breaking the bank. 

Try Incredible Experiences 

The best way to have an unforgettable summer is by having some unforgettable experiences. If you don’t already have one, then create a bucket list that features all of the things you want to experience in your life. Think about ticking off some of the activities that are featured on your bucket list, such as skydiving or swimming with dolphins and make sure they happen. It doesn’t matter how big or small these activities are; the main thing is that you do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing. Accomplishing the things that you’ve always wanted to is a guaranteed path to an unforgettable summer. 

Spend Every Day Differently 

Before we know it, summer has come and gone in a blink of an eye and we are wondering what we did with the long summer nights and warm days. However, to avoid letting the summer months pass you by, you should aim to spend every day differently and focus on varying your experiences. Spend as much time as you can in the outdoors as this is something you are less likely going to be able to enjoy during the winter months. 

Challenge Yourself 

In order to make your summer truly unforgettable, it is important that you do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. If you are a creature of habit and find yourself doing the same activities and going on the same vacations every summer, then you should aim to challenge yourself this summer.

For example, if you are used to a 5-star luxury hotel for your summer getaway, then you may decide to go for an alternative approach. Many people go traveling in order to broaden their experiences and learn about different cultures. Going backpacking is a great way to challenge yourself and take yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

While this may sound daunting, it could be the perfect way for you to make the most of your vacation. However, you should be sure that you have everything you need for your trip away, like a really good backpacking sleeping bag, so that you can experience some comfort while broadening your mind and embracing new cultures. 

Meet New People 

If you have lived in the same area for a while, or maybe even for your whole life, then you may not have had the chance to meet different people from different backgrounds and cultures. While there is nothing wrong with the friendships you have built, meeting new friends can be a great way to experience and make unforgettable memories. 

Learn New Skills 

Even if you don’t plan to go anywhere different this summer, then you can still make the most of your holidays by developing and learning new skills. This may include starting a new hobby such as rock climbing or learning a new language. Make this summer about broadening your experiences and making memories that will last a lifetime. 

This summer is a great opportunity to spend your time experiencing new things and learning new skills while having the most unforgettable time! 

Summer Vacation Tips




America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks: No. 9 Dollywood

Dollywood is a theme park jointly owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment. It is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Hosting over 3 million guests in a typical season – mid-March to the Christmas holidays – Dollywood is the biggest tourist attraction in Tennessee.

Amazing Theme Parks Dollywood
Photo via Pigeon Forge

In addition to standard amusement park rides, Dollywood features traditional crafts and music of the Smoky Mountain area (similar to Silver Dollar City owned by Herschend Family Entertainment).

The park hosts a number of concerts and musical events each year, including appearances by Dolly Parton as well as other national and local musical acts. It is also the site of the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.

Amazing Theme Parks Dollywood
Parade of Many Colors – Photo via Dollywood

Dollywood is the largest employer in the area with over 3,000 employees.

The History of Dollywood

The original park opened in early 1961 as a small tourist attraction owned by the Robbins brothers and named  “Rebel Railroad.” It included a steam train, general store, blacksmith shop, and saloon. The train ride let visitors experience “attacks” by Union soldiers, train robbers, and Indians. 

Amazing Theme Parks Dollywood
Photo via CardCow.com

In 1970, Art Modell, who owned the Cleveland Browns football team, bought Rebel Railroad and renamed it “Goldrush Junction.” The park retained the railroad, added an outdoor theater, a log flume ride, and a church. 

Amazing Theme Parks Dollywood
Goldrush Junction Pigeon Forge, TN – Photo via CardCow.com

In 1976, the Herschend family bought Goldrush Junction and renamed it “Goldrush” for the 1976 season. In 1977, they renamed it “Silver Dollar City Tennessee,” making it a sister park to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. The Herschends spent about $1 million upgrading the park  and added other improvements over the years.

Amazing Theme Parks Dollywood
Photo via Theme Park Review

In 1986, Dolly Parton, who grew up in the area, bought an interest in Silver Dollar City Tennessee and as part of that purchase, the park reopened for the 1986 season as “Dollywood.”

Amazing Theme Parks Dollywood
Photo via Dollywood Insiders

With the reopening of the park as Dollywood in 1986 came the new Rivertown Junction area which included Smoky Mountain River Rampage, a whitewater rafting ride; Back Porch Theater; Aunt Granny’s Dixie Fixins’ Restaurant; and Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home, a replica of the cabin that was Parton’s childhood home.

Amazing Theme Parks Dollywood
Photo via Dollywood

Also new was “Rags to Riches: The Dolly Parton Story,” a museum displaying articles and mementos from Dolly’s life and career. Park attendance doubled to more than a million guests during the first season as Dollywood.

Expansions through the Years

Expansions, additions and refurbishments started in 1987. Those expansions and additions continue with something new and exciting opening almost every year since the renaming of the park to Dollywood.

The park is now more than double the size it was in 1986. Dollywood has definitely become known as a “family” park and Dollywood dedicated 2013 to encouraging families to spend time together.

You don’t have to be a country music fan to love Dollywood. In addition to the theme park, Dollywood also features Splash Country Water Park, DreamMore Resort and Spa, Pirates Voyage and Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner show.

Photo via Dollywood

Dollywood is known for its one of a kind rides like Dollywood Express, a five mile ride aboard a steam engine through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

This year Dollywood opened the biggest expansion ever, Wildwood Grove that features 11 new rides.

The Areas of Dollywood

Dollywood is organized into themed areas: Showstreet, Rivertown Junction, Craftsman’s Valley, The Village, Country Fair, Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass, and Jukebox Junction reflect the historical eras and culture of East Tennessee, while Owens Farm and Adventures in Imagination explore Dolly Parton’s life and imagination.

Photo via Dollywood

Many attractions focus on the history and culture of the Southern Appalachian region. Wildwood Grove is a whimsical hidden area that lies beyond an ancient hollow log and into a hidden land, Wildwood Grove beckons the explorer in everyone. You can let curiosity be your guide as you journey ever deeper, past sparkling creeks, through a charming village, and under the mighty limbs of the great Wildwood Tree.

One thing everyone that visits Dollywood agrees on – the park’s focus is family with rides, attractions and shows to fit every member of the family, no matter how young or how old.

  • Showstreet – Attractions include Showstreet Palace Theater, Celebrity Theater, and Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.
  • Rivertown Junction – Attractions include Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home, Back Porch Theater, and Smoky Mountain River Rampage whitewater rafting ride.
  • Craftsman’s Valley – Attractions include Dollywood Grist Mill, Valley Theater, Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, Wings of America Theater, Robert F. Thomas Chapel, Calico Falls Schoolhouse, Tennessee Tornado coaster, Blazing Fury coaster, Daredevil Falls flume ride, and craft exhibits.
  • The Village (formerly Village Square) – Attractions include the 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge Dollywood Expresssteam train, Heartsong Theater, Village Carousel, and Costner and Sons Magic Shop.
  • The Country Fair (formerly Fun Country) – Rides include Dizzy Disk, The Amazing Flying Elephants, Lemon Twist, Shooting Star, Sky Rider, The Waltzing Swinger, Piggy Parade, Busy Bees, Lucky Ducky, Dolly’s Demolition Derby, and The Scrambler.
  • Timber Canyon (formerly Thunderhead Gap) – Attractions include the Mystery Mine coaster, the Thunderhead coaster, Drop Line, Whistle Punk Chaser, and Lumberjack Lifts.
  • Jukebox Junction – Attractions include the Rockin’ Roadway car ride and Pines Theater. Also featured is Lightning Rod, which holds the record as the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world.
  • Owens Farm (Daydream Ridge 1987–1999, Dreamland Forest 2000–2010) – Attractions include Barnstormer (ride)|Barnstormer]], a barn and plane styled giant swing attraction. It also includes soft play areas and a splash pad.
  • Adventures in Imagination (formerly Dollywood Boulevard) – Attractions include Dolly Parton’s My People! show at Dreamsong Theater and the Chasing Rainbows Museum.
  • Wilderness Pass – Attractions include the SkyZip zip line attraction, The Plaza at Wilderness Pass, Wild Eagle – America’s first winged coaster – and FireChaser Express, a dual-launch coaster that launches forward and backward.
  • Wildwood Grove — Opened in 2019- attractions include the Dragonflier,a suspended family coaster, The Mad Mockingbird, a swing ride, The Wildwood Tree, a 50 ft tall lighted tree, qnd Till and Harvest, a Mexican inspired restaurant.

Photo via Dollywood

Annual Events

  • Festival of Nations offers cultural events by performers from around the world.
  • Barbeque & Bluegrass presented by BUSH’S is a bluegrass music and barbecue festival.
  • Summer Celebration (formerly Great American Summer) includes Night of Many Colors, a nightly fireworks display set to music; Night Experience, night performances and rides in the dark; and new shows, such as DRUMLine Live! and iLuminate.
  • Harvest Festival presented by Humana features Southern Gospel music, professional craftsmen, and Great Pumpkin LumiNights.
  • Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana is a nine-time award winner of Golden Ticket’s Best Christmas Event and features seven holiday performances, 5 million Christmas lights, Glacier Ridge (in which part of the park has froze over), and a nightly parade.

Dining at Dollywood

Dollywood has restaurants, a bakery and sandwich shop, a sweet shop, a food truck and a multitude of grab and go options all across the park. You can choose from full-service restaurants to buffets and quick service stands. 

Allergy dining is also taken care of at Dollywood. Just inform the host/hostess when you arrive at any of the restaurants of your dietary needs and they will do their very best to accommodate you.

Gluten Friendly Offerings:

  • Front Porch Café – any of the sandwiches on the menu, all salads, select side items, Grilled Chicken Entrée can all be prepared gluten friendly. Just ask to speak to one of the chefs and they will gladly prepare a customized meal to fit your dietary needs.
  • Victoria’s Pizza – Cheese Pizza, Fruit Cup
  • Bakery – Udis Blueberry Muffins and Brownies
  • Grandstand – Southern Salad can be prepared to be gluten friendly
  • Miss Lillian’s BBQ Corner – Hickory Smoked Turkey Leg, Ear of Roasted Corn

Vegetarian Options:

  • Front Porch Café – Entrée Salads. Veggie Burger, Veggie Melt Sandwich, select side items
  • Lumber Jack’s Pizza – Cheese or Roasted Vegetable Pizza, House & Caprese Salads
  • Victoria’s Pizza – Cheese Pizza, Side Salad, Fruit Cup
  • Miss Lillian’s & Aunt Granny’s – Salad Bar and select side items on the Hot Bar
  • Grandstand – Southern Salad can be prepared to be vegetarian friendly

Dairy Free Snacks:

  • Dippin’ Dots – Rainbow Ice

Splash Country Water Park

Located adjacent to Dollywood theme park, Dollywood’s Splash Country features a variety of water attractions for both the thrill-seekers and pool-loungers in the family.

Photo via Dollywood Splash Country

Dollywood’s Splash Country water park features 35 acres of water slides, attractions, pools and play areas, all set in a unique Smoky Mountains setting.

Splash Country opened in 2001. Dolly’s Splash Country was an addition to the Dollywood  theme park built into the natural terrain of a 25 acres mountainous area adjacent to the theme park. The park opened with attractions such as Mountain Waves wave pool, Raging River Rapids, the Downbound Float Trip lazy river, The Butterfly, Little Creek Falls, Wild River Falls, and Mountain Scream, and has been adding water attractions ever since.

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

Located less than 3 miles from Dollywood, DreamMore Resort attracts visitors looking for easy access to the theme park. The resort, which opened in 2015, houses more than 300 rooms and suites, many of which were designed with families in mind (some accommodations feature bunk beds).

Photo via DreamMore Resort

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is home to indoor and outdoor pools, a boutique store, a spa, a kids club and a fitness center. There are also two on-site eateries at the hotel. Song & Hearth serves up traditional Southern fare while The DM Pantry offers sandwiches, salads, snacks and drinks.

Guests appreciate how close this resort is to the theme park, the discounted theme park tickets and the complimentary shuttle available to the theme park. Guests also receive early entry to the park on some days, complimentary TimeSaver for less time waiting in line, a designated entry point for guests of the resort and in-room package delivery for purchases made throughout the resort and park.

Dollywood Smoky Mountain Cabins

Guest renting one of the Smoky Mountain Cabins are entitled to many of the same benefits as those staying at DreamMore Resort, as well as discounts to other local attractions.

Photo via Dollywood Cabins

Some of the cabins can sleep 10 or more people so are ideal accommodations for large families or multiple families sharing the cost. 

Did you have the chance to read America’s Most Amazing Theme Parks – The History of Amusement Parks where you can learn how it all started! Also, don’t miss:




Stay Connected on Your Trip Across the Country

If your family loves to RV across the country, you have an experience like no other. Enjoying the open road and seeing the sights along the way is one way to experience the beauty and culture that makes our country so unique.

If you travel with children, you probably hear the familiar “are we there yet?” question several times before reaching your destination.

Stay Connected While Traveling
Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay

Whether you choose to pull into a campground or boondock out in the expansive Midwest, your family is going to need to unwind after a long day on the road. There are many ways to keep your family occupied or entertained while you set up camp and enjoy their time outdoors.

Bring Your Electronics With You

While a few people prefer to go on a digital device diet when they are camping, so many more enjoy having all of the comforts of home while they are on the road. Strolling through a campground will show you just how comfortable people like to be.

Stay Connected While Traveling
Photo via www.escapecampervans.com

Gone are the days of tents and sleeping bags. Glamping has become the norm. Televisions, phones, tablets, and Bluetooth speakers are a part of the camping experience. However, you might not have a way to enjoy them if you are in a remote location.

With the help of HughesNet Internet, you never have to be without an internet connection. Delivered by a dish that receives its signal from a satellite in space, you can always access your email, stream tv, play games, listen to music, or shop from a HughesNet connection.

Delivery From a Distance

Satellite internet works through three components: a satellite in space, a receiver dish, and a modem. In its early days, satellite internet was extremely slow and spotty. It wasn’t worth the investment. With the developments in technology, many satellite connections often download speeds that are rival to a DSL connection.

The speeds you receive will be a result of the package you choose, but you will also need to have a clear view of the sky wherever you choose to set up your satellite dish.

When you are RV’ing, you have two options for satellite. You can either have the dish mounted on the roof of your rig, or you can have a portable dish mounted to a tripod. Whenever you get to camp, you will need to orient your dish to the satellite signal. With a rooftop system, you will simply turn it until you find the connection.

With a tripod, you may have to walk around to different areas of your site before you are able to pinpoint the spot that locks in. You will have a modem in your trailer or camper that then broadcasts the signal around your location. Although it’s not high speed like a fiber optic connection, satellite internet is still better than a dial-up connection and it can be accessed almost anywhere in the country.

Make and Store Memories

With the help of digital media, it is easy to quickly capture and share the memories of your trip with others. Even without the help of a professional camera, you can grab quality photos through filters, apps, and the latest smartphone.

If your phone service is spotty in the Middle of Nowhere, USA, a satellite internet connection can still allow you to preserve the memories for all time. Simply log in to the wireless connection from your phone and store your photos on a cloud-based application. This way you will never have to worry about losing proof of the memories you made.

With satellite internet, you can stay connected with the comforts of your living room no matter how far your road trip might take you. Check out what a package might do for your next camping adventure.

Stay Connected While Traveling




The Unexpected Virtues of Traveling Outside Your Comfort Zone

Why is it that you love travel? Everyone will give you a slightly different answer.

travel outside comfort zone
Photo: Ashotosh Goyal via Pixabay

For some, travel is an opportunity for adventure. A chance to leave the quotidian world of work behind and immerse ourselves in another land and its culture. For many of us, travel represents a chance to get away from it all and relax among beautiful surroundings.

Many may view it as a chance to indulge themselves and undo their belts by a couple of notches as they sample the delights of new cuisines and forget the diet they’ve stuck to rigorously all year round.

There are no right or wrong answers here. Travel is many things to many people. However, when travel becomes our means of escape and relaxation we can find ourselves falling into a comfort zone.

We may find ourselves visiting the same (or similar) destinations year after year. Before long, travel has lost all of its sense of mystery, intrigue and adventure. While it’s absolutely fine to travel for comfort every now and then, there are a number of benefits to travelling outside of our comfort zone, too.

New friendships

It’s okay to throw ourselves into situations that scare us a little. In fact, travelling to more exotic and unfamiliar locales, especially when we’re traveling alone, can actually bring out our sociable side and help us to make new friends.

In our insular world of comfort and convenience, we find ourselves increasingly retreating into our phone screens. The beauty of being outside of your comfort zone is that it encourages you to actively seek connections with others.

This can lead to fun adventures with locals and other travellers which, in the interconnected digital age, can lead to friendships that last for years. 

Romance

If you’re single, straying outside of your comfort zone can even open up opportunities for romance. The beauty of travel is that you can be whoever you want to be and project an image of yourself to others that’s outside of your job, where you live or any of the usual things that we can allow to define us.

As this website explains, there are numerous places where travellers often find romance, whether they’re looking for a brief holiday romance or to meet the potential love of their lives. 

Taste sensations

Your new favorite food could be out there, but you haven’t even met it yet. Unfamiliar locales often mean the chance to try unfamiliar foods. Never mind playing it safe or keeping your eyes peeled for a set of golden arches (they really are everywhere).

travel outside comfort zone
Image by Christophe BILLARD from Pixabay

Use your travels as an excuse to try new foods and immerse yourself in the sight, taste and texture of exotic new dishes. 

Get in touch with your inner child

The great thing about travel is that it makes us feel young again. It awakens that child-like sense of wonderment and curiosity that is sadly absent in much of our adult lives.

travel outside comfort zone
Image by Brahmsee from Pixabay

Whether you’re hostelling in Amsterdam or camping with the kids, there are virtually limitless ways in which you can rekindle that spark and get in touch with your inner child.

Whatever your reasons for loving travel, be sure to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. The opportunities that scare you very often end up becoming treasured lifelong memories.