Last week, Giant and Wes had school off for spring break and we had ALL the adventures! Rather than try to work most or part of the week this year, we’ve decided to just shut off work completely and have some fun.
Today I’m sharing part 1 and 2 of our adventures – part 3 will be summarized in Friday’s blog post!
Part 1 of our adventures began on Saturday with a stop in Philadelphia en route to a hotel in the Poconos where we would be meeting up with some friends from preschool on Sunday night.
When I saw that Philadelphia was an equal distance from home and the hotel, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to meet Turner (nickname – real name is Laura), one of my best friends from college who lives in the Philadelphia area to pay a visit!
Turner, her husband, Will, and their two children (a girl, almost 8, and a boy, 5) live in an area north of town called Jenkintown.
They bought a house there at the beginning of the pandemic, so this is our first time seeing it. (They were still living in the city when we last visited in spring 2019.)
I saw Turner for our girls weekend in Cape May last September but we hadn’t gotten the whole family together since that 2019 trip!
Giant had a blast with her kids – she was particularly looking forward to having a “big girl” stay in her 8-year-old daughter’s room. And Wes loved playing with her toys and trying (and succeeding) to escape from her backyard. 😉
We left DC later than planned on Saturday and didn’t arrive until mid-afternoon (also epic car failure – Wes fell asleep for his nap and 10 minutes later Giant had to go to the bathroom…and that was his nap for the day), so hung out we walked around their house for a bit and then headed 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 (good too)!
Wes was one and a half at dinner – Matt and I had to take turns chasing him all over the brewery, so it wasn’t exactly a relaxing meal, but it was fun to get out and see a little more of their town.
As we were about to finish we looked outside and saw a huge storm brewing – we ran outside to go back to her house and made it back just in time before the sky opened – phew!
On Sunday morning, Turner and I made it for a quick run:
And then came back to enjoy some bagel and egg sandwiches picked up from a place in town called Fill a Bagel. yum, yum!
After that we spent some time on the playground – it was beautiful outside!
For lunch, Turner defrosted some soup for us and tossed together a quick salad.
The soup was sooo good and super hearty – it reminded me of my veggie tortellini soup except sausage was added which is a great addition!
Since Wes’ car nap the day before had failed, we decided to stay and let him sleep at their house and then head to the hotel. A good call, I think!
(Thanks again for having us, Turner and Will – nice to see you all!)
It was about a 2 hour drive further north to the Kalahari, the hotel we drove to in the Poconos, and we arrived in time to check in and meet a bunch of our group for dinner.
This hotel was crazy – it was basically like Vegas for kids. They have a HUGE indoor water park, indoor arcade (essentially a kids casino), and more. It was very/very stimulating but of course the kids absolutely loved it!
Our first group dinner on Sunday night was at the on-site Mexican restaurant — it was delicious, but I basically shoveled the food into my mouth and barely tasted it because we started chasing Wes everywhere again as soon as he finished eating. Oof! Restaurant meals with a nearly 2 year old are not my favorite.
We spent two full days in the Kalahari – Monday and Tuesday. The water park didn’t open until 10am, which was a shame — that feels late considering kids are the main crowd — so we went to the breakfast buffet in the morning with the rest of the gang, then killed time before heading to the water fun went .
I got a veggie and cheese omelette every day and had an English muffin with some peanut butter and berries. Hit the point!
Wes is in a phase where he mostly just wants to eat fruit, so basically every day he had 23904823094832092834 berries for breakfast. At least it kept him busy while we ate ha!
We ate breakfast and dinner with the rest of our group (there were 4 families with 9 kids together – it was complete chaos) but during the day everyone mostly did their own thing at the water park.
The water park was CRAZY – it was huge and very noisy and crowded but the kids had the BEST time and it was fun to see them enjoying themselves so much.
Both loved the slides – Giant was quite cautious and took a while to warm up for the slides but Wes was an absolute go-getter and ran up the steps and came down without even checking to make sure we were at the bottom!
It was quite a workout chasing the kids all over the water park. We stayed in the toddler area the whole time (giant and I eventually made it to the wave pool but she was scared so we didn’t stay).
Matt and I were dying to try one of the big, intense slides ourselves, but unfortunately the lines were very long (30-45 minutes) and we needed all hands on deck to manage both kids, so we couldn’t get away that long. A pity. I did however go down with the kids a million times with the smaller ones, it was fun!
We had lunch at the water park both days (nothing special – overpriced hotdogs, fries, pizza, etc.) and then Matt brought Wes back to the room for his nap around 1 and Giant I stayed and kept going hard until about 3 both days. We were so exhausted when we got back to the room!
Dinner on our second night was at the on-site Burger Place. I had their Swiss mushroom burger and it was super good.
Tuesday afternoon (our second/last afternoon there) before dinner I was craving some fresh air and it was beautiful outside so we decided to explore a bit.
We saw on the map that there was something right nearby that said ‘Kalahari Waterfall’ – sounded worth a visit!
There was no marked route from our hotel as the trails are believed to be owned by another nearby hotel, but we were able to find them using a combination of Google Maps and AllTrails.
We went behind the convention center back into the loading dock area and then down a random hill that connected to the trail.
What a great find! It was so nice to get some fresh air after 2 full days indoors.
It honestly exceeded our expectations – so worth finding! And my nervous system was really happy to have some peace and quiet after the noisy and crazy hotel.
We did the hike with our friend Katie and her daughter Perry (who briefly went to Wes’s school before moving up to the older kids’ class – her older brother is in Riese’s class) and the kids had a blast doing it to throw stones into the water .
Our very last dinner at the hotel was at the on-site Italian restaurant (it was nice to have so many restaurants on-site that we didn’t have to go anywhere!) and it was real COMPLETE chaos because all the kids were tired and wild about it so didn’t manage to take a picture but had a salad and a pasta and chicken dish.
We all ended up leaving after dinner on Tuesday for night drives (we paid for the hotel on Tuesday night so a sunk price but worth having a place to shower and store our stuff until we do). left the hotel around 7:30 p.m.). – It’s just SO much easier to ride with kids when they’re sleeping.
The rest of our friends went back to DC and we drove to Pittsburgh to spend the rest of the week with Matt’s parents and his younger brother Drew and his wife Morgana who were also visiting.
Initially we thought, “Oh great, we’re in Pennsylvania, I bet it’s closer to Pittsburgh from the hotel than from DC!” – yes, no. I forgot how wide Pennsylvania is!
We were on one side of the state and Pittsburgh on the other. It was about a 5 hour drive and we didn’t arrive until 1am but it was soooo worth it to take a night drive and relax and chill in the car and not have to stop anywhere. During the day with traffic and stops, it would have easily taken 8 hours.
Stay tuned – I’ll be back on Friday with a recap of part two of our spring break adventures in Pittsburgh!