Last week Riese and Wes had off from school for spring break, and we had ALL the adventures! Rather than attempting to work most or part of the week this year we decided to just take off work completely and have some fun.
Today I’m sharing parts 1 and 2 of our adventures – part 3 will be recapped in Friday’s blog post!
Part 1 of our adventures started on Saturday, with a stop in Philadelphia en route to a hotel in the Poconos where we would meet up with some friends from the kid’s school on Sunday evening.
When I saw that Philadelphia was equidistance between home and the hotel, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to Turner (nickname – real name is Laura), one of my best friends from college who lives in the Philly area!
Turner, her husband Will, and their two kids (an almost 8 year old girl and 5 year old boy) live in an area a bit north of the city called Jenkintown.
They bought a house there early in the pandemic so this was the first time we got to see it. (Last time we visited back in spring 2019 they were still living in the city.)
I saw Turner last September for our Cape May girl’s weekend, but we had not gotten the whole families together since that 2019 trip!
Riese had a blast with their kids – she was especially excited to get to have a “big girl” sleepover in their 8 year old daughter’s room. And Wes enjoyed playing with their toys and trying (and succeeding) to escape their backyard. 😉
We got a later start out of DC than planned on Saturday and didn’t arrive until mid afternoon (also, epic car fail – Wes fell asleep for his nap and 10 minutes later Riese had to stop for the bathroom… and that was it for his nap that day), so we hung out at their house for a bit and then walked over to a brewery called Human Robot for an early dinner.
I tried one of their lagers which was good, and got the burger and fries (also good)!
Wes was a handful and a half at dinner – Matt and I had to take turns chasing him all over the brewery so it was not exactly a relaxing meal, but it was fun to get out and about and see a little more of their town.
As we were just finishing up we looked outside and saw a huge storm brewing – we raced out of there to walk back to their house and made it back JUST in time before the skies opened – whew!
On Sunday morning, Turner and I made it out for a short run:
And then came back to enjoy some bagel egg sandwiches picked up from a spot in town called Fill a Bagel. Yum, yum!
We followed that up with some playground time – it was gorgeous out!
For lunch, Turner defrosted some soup for us and threw together a quick salad.
The soup was sooo good and super savory – it reminded me of my Vegetarian Tortellini Soup except with sausage added, which is a great addition!
Given the Wes car nap fail the day before, we decided to stick around and have him do his nap at their house and then leave for the hotel after. A good call, I think!
(Thanks again for having us, Turner and Will – great to see you all!)
It was about a 2 hour drive farther north to Kalahari, the hotel we were going to in the Poconos, and we arrived in time to check in and meet a bunch of our group for dinner.
This hotel was nuts – it was like Vegas for kids basically. They have a MASSIVE indoor water park, an indoor arcade (essentially a kid’s casino), and more. It was a lot/very overstimulating but the kids absolutely loved it, of course!
Our first group dinner on Sunday night was at the Mexican restaurant on site – it was yummy but I was basically shoveling the food into my mouth and barely tasting it because we were chasing Wes all over the place again as soon as he was done eating. Oof! Restaurant meals with an almost 2 year old are not my favorite.
We spent two full days at Kalahari – Monday and Tuesday. The water park didn’t open until 10am which was a bummer – that feels late given kids are the main audience – so in the mornings we went to the buffet breakfast with the rest of the gang and then killed time before heading to the water fun.
I got a veggie and cheese-packed omelette each of the days plus had an English muffin with some peanut butter and berries. Hit the spot!
Wes is in a phase where he mostly wants to only eat fruit, so he basically had 23904823094832092834 berries for breakfast each day. At least it kept him busy while we ate, ha!
We did breakfasts and dinners with the rest of our group (there were 4 families, with 9 kids between us – it was complete chaos) but during the day everyone mostly did their own thing in the water park.
The water park was CRAZY – it was huge and very loud and crowded, but the kids had the BEST time and it was fun to see them enjoying themselves so much.
They both loved the slides – Riese was pretty cautious and took awhile to warm up to the slides, but Wes was a complete daredevil and would run up the steps and come barreling down without even looking to make sure we were at the bottom!
It was quite the workout chasing the kids all over the water park. We stayed in the little kid area the whole time (Riese and I made it over to the wave pool at one point but she was terrified, so we did not stay).
Matt and I really wanted to try one of the big intense slides ourselves, but unfortunately the lines were super long (30-45 minutes) and we needed all hands on deck to manage both kids so couldn’t get away for that long. Bummer. I did go down a bunch of the smaller ones a million times with the kids, though, so that was fun!
We had lunch in the water park both days (nothing to write home about – overpriced hot dogs, fries, pizza, etc.) and then Matt took Wes back to the room around 1 for his nap and Riese I stayed and kept going hard until about 3 both days. We were so exhausted by the time we came back to the room!
Dinner on our second night was at the burger place on site. I had their mushroom swiss burger and it was super good.
On Tuesday afternoon (our second/last afternoon there) before dinner, I was craving some fresh air and it was gorgeous outside so we decided to explore a bit.
We saw on the map that there was something labeled the “Kalahari waterfall” hike right nearby – sounded worth checking out!
There was not a marked route from our hotel because I guess the trails are owned by another nearby hotel, but we were able to find it using a combination of Google maps and AllTrails.
We went back behind the convention center into the loading dock area and then down a random hill that linked up with the trail.
What a great find! It was so nice to get some fresh air after being indoors for 2 full days.
Found the waterfall!
It honestly exceeded our expectations – so worth finding! And my nervous system was really happy to have some calm and quiet after the loud and crazy hotel.
We did the hike with our friend Katie and her daughter Perry (who was briefly in Wes’s class at school before moving up to the bigger kid class – her older brother is in Riese’s class), and the kids had a blast throwing rocks into the water.
Our very last dinner at the hotel was at the on site Italian place (it was nice having so many restaurants on site so we didn’t have to go anywhere!), and it was legit COMPLETE chaos because all the kids were tired and wild so I did not manage to get a photo, but I had a salad and a pasta and chicken dish.
We all ended up leaving after dinner on Tuesday to do night drives (we paid for Tuesday night hotel, so a sunk cost there, but worth it to have a place to shower and keep our stuff until we left the hotel around 7:30pm) – it’s just SO much easier with kids involved to drive when they are asleep.
The rest of our friends headed back to DC, and we headed to Pittsburgh to spend the rest of the week with Matt’s parents, and his younger brother Drew and wife Morgana who also came to visit.
We originally thought “oh great, we’ll already be in Pennsylvania, I bet it’s closer to get to Pittsburgh from the hotel than it would be from DC!” – yeah, nope. I forgot how wide Pennsylvania is!
We were on one side of the state and Pittsburgh was on the other. It was about a 5 hour drive and we didn’t arrive until 1am, but it was soooo worth doing a night drive and getting to relax and chill in the car and not have to stop anywhere. Doing that during the day with traffic and stops would easily have taken 8 hours.
Stay tuned – I’ll be back on Friday with a recap from the second part of our spring break adventures in Pittsburgh!