Nassau Hall on the campus of Princeton University was an integral part of the Revolutionary War Battle of Princeton. It was also the meeting place for Congress after the Revolution. Congress received word of the Treaty of Paris, marking the end of war and official start of these United States, within these walls. We will be going here.

The First Road Trip Family Vacation

This summer will mark the start of a new era in my life. The era where I take over as the ringleader of the family vacation. With three kids in tow and a Ford Flex packed to the hilt with luggage, snacks, diapers, and the other necessities of a family with three kids under 5, I will lead my clan out onto the open roads of America where we will embrace our tourist heritage. Generations in the making.

Ok...it’s late and I am rambling. But truth be told, for me, this is a big deal. Yes, we took the older two to Disney World last year. It was amazing and they still talk about it daily. But it was a fairly packaged deal. It was easy, as traveling goes. Disney’s incredible transportation system took us everywhere we needed to go. Food was always at the ready. It was predictable...and magical. The girls were smitten, and in turn, so were we.

But this year, we will take to the road. From our home outside of Detroit we will set off for a whirlwind tour of Pittsburgh, Hershey, Philadelphia, Princeton and the Jersey Shore. As a kid, and even as an adult, these are the trips I lived for. My kids will get to experience that satisfaction of stretching ones legs and eating Sbarro at an Ohio Turnpike rest stop. They will get to experience the roadside hotels that line the memories of my youth. Late night swims and jumping from bed to bed. They will get to see dino bones and the set of Mr. Rogers at museums in Pittsburgh. Smell that chocolatey aroma of Hershey. Stand in the footsteps of the founding fathers, and Rocky, and an awed-by-history younger version of myself in Philadelphia. Get their first scent of the ocean in Jersey. And no doubt they will get a good dose of history along the way. There will be gnats. There are always gnats at historic sites...and though it’s not pleasant, I know I am somewhere genuinely historic if the gnats make an appearance.

There will be food. Good food and fast food. The Bent Spoon with their bizarre ice cream flavors (Chocolate Rose anyone?) and Hoagie Haven (they have a frickin' Bacon Cheesburger Hoagie with Cheesesticks and French Fries in it), both in Princeton, are on my list.

So yea...this trip will not be Mickey Mouse and Cinderella. The hotels are of the Hampton Inn variety, not the magical "the lobby makes you cry" variety. But it will be fun. And in the words of my 3 and almost 5 year olds, places like the Princeton Battlefield are “good places to run.” 2018 is the year it all begins...it’s time for my children to become tourists.