It’s no secret that the Chirping Moms are in total withdrawal of spending time with one another. When I lived in New Jersey, we spent many mornings and afternoons at one another’s house…trading kids so the other mom could run errands, having big family dinners while our husbands worked late, and letting our “little chicks” play together. So when I moved away in June, we quickly planned our first “Chirping Moms” meet up in one of the greatest places to vacation with little ones: Dutch Country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania!
Some may say that we are crazy…five kids (four and under) and two moms vacationing together. But we had a BLAST in the Dutch Country area and already have some fun ideas planned for our return trip back to the area. Pennyslvania Dutch Country is a great place to take little children on a getaway vacation. For the Chirping Moms, it was a perfect halfway place to meet, approximately a three hour drive from the NYC area and a less than two hour drive from Washington, DC. Lancaster County, PA is a great place to take a little break away from the fast-paced life that happens near big cities. You are surrounded by the peacefulness of open spaces and beautiful farmland. Courtney and I had a lot of fun planning the trip as there are SO many fabulous things to do with little ones. We had a hard time picking out the activities that we would do on our two day trip, but are excited to share some of the fun things that we did with you.
Our first stop was the Strasburg Railroad. This was definitely my pick as my boys are a little “train-obsessed”.
Not only were the kids happy to see each other, but they were SO excited to take a train ride on a real official “steam train”. We have done NJ transit trains, NYC subways trains, and DC Metro trains, but nothing compares to a real old-fashioned steam engine train.
Founded in 1832, the Strasburg Railroad is America’s oldest shoreline railroad. The round-trip train ride through the PA Dutch countryside lasted about 45 minutes as the kids took in sights of farmland: cows, cornfields, and Amish barns. Passengers have several options of cars to ride, including Coach, First-Class, Open Air, or the Dining Car. There are also fun activities for little ones at the station such as the hand-powered pump cars or the hand-steering Cranky Cars. There are several fun events during the year, including the fun Day Out with Thomas that my family enjoyed last year.
When we arrived back at the station, we decided to head to a nearby lunch place, Isaac’s Deli. This kid-friendly restaurant was the perfect lunch stop for kids. Each kids’ meal comes with the main entree, side dish, drink, and dessert! The kids especially loved their create your own sandwiches on the fun “rainbow bread”. Isaac’s Deli was in the same building complex as another “train” attraction that we planned to visit: the Choo-Choo Barn.
The Choo-Choo barn features more than 150 animation and 22 operating toy trains in a 1700 square foot hand-crafted train layout. It’s really an incredible train display with amazing detail and thought put into creating this work of art. The kids grab a stool to carry around and stand on as they peer into the glass enclosed display. There are so many fun little animated scenes to see: a three ring circus, mini fire trucks putting out a house fire, an Amish barn raising, and so much more. We spent about 25 minutes taking in all the fun scenes in the Choo-Choo barn before heading to our next stop.
And where else do you go with four little kids (and baby Abby) who haven’t napped in the extreme heat of July but to get ICE CREAM! Several people recommended the Strasburg Country Store & Creamery to us and we were very excited to head on over.
This is a true old-fashioned ice cream shop that every kid should experience in their life. When you walk in and take in the sweet smell of the shop, you will immediately forget that you just had a big lunch and be drooling over all the wonderful ice cream flavors. The Strasburg Country Store & Creamery has some SERIOUSLY delicious ice cream. If you are heading to the PA Dutch Country, this is a MUST stop for children AND adults. In this cute and quaint little shop, it was hard to decide which flavor of homemade ice cream to have. I have to say that I am kind of an “ice cream” snob after working at a mom and pop ice cream shop in high school and this was DELICIOUS. I will make sure to be returning here on my next trip to PA Dutch Country. This place also carries homemade fudge, soups and sandwiches, and a little country store to shop in!
We were not compensated for this post. We received free admission to the attractions we mentioned. A As always, all opinions are our own.