July 9, 2017

Summer Vacation, Visiting My Family & Yes, I Missed Boston



I am back from Summer Vacation! We returned Sunday afternoon totally exhausted. If you were not aware, we drove from Boston, Mass on Saturday, June 24 to visit my family in Louisiana. Unfortunately, flying really is not an option with three pugs, so we did a road trip instead. It was actually a lot of fun and I like to think I keep Military Husband entertained.

Our first stop, Saturday evening, was Winchester, Virginia to spend the night in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. 

The majestic and beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

We stayed at the Aloft Winchester. The Aloft is a Starwood property (my favorite hotel chain) and I could not say better things about this hotel. It was 100% puppy friendly, we saw many cute dogs at the hotel and the staff was incredibly sweet, especially the front desk employee, Jess. You should totally stay there if you are ever visiting the Shenandoah Valley! 

Prior to leaving, I researched places to eat near the restaurant and found great reviews for an Italian restaurant called Umberto's. Umberto's was literally across the street from the hotel within walking distance so we decided to check it out for ourselves. You enter the restaurant through a small strip mall to find an adorable little patio dining area. The smells were heavenly!

The dining area is so charming.

Military Husband ordered Chicken Francese and a small pizza and I had a salad and linguine with oil and garlic (with wine on the side, of course). It was INCREDIBLE! It was also extremely affordable. We plan to travel through Winchester again when seeing my family and of course, eating more Umberto's.

On Sunday, we began our drive to Bossier City, Louisiana and arrived around 2:40 a.m. I had not seen my mom and dad in almost 7 months, which is the longest I have ever been away from them. My mom, of course, waited up to greet us.

#MaddiethePug and BabyBelle Pug were so happy to see their MeeMaw and PeePaw. And Castiel Pug totally fell in love with them and they fell right back in love with him.

Enjoying the patio with MeeMaw.

Castiel Pug meeting his PeePaw.

#MaddiethePug enjoying time at her grandparents.

July 4th is my mother's birthday and we were so happy to be able to celebrate with her. We purchased a cake from the Barksdale AFB commissary and it was delicious! Quite possibly one of the best birthday cakes I have eaten in a long time. Definitely check out the commissary for birthday cakes, military girls!

The icing was everything.

I took my mom to eat sushi for her birthday at a new restaurant in Bossier City, Louisiana called Sushi Gen. It was really good and we had a great time laughing and catching up. I miss her so much and wish she lived closer to us!

My delicious sushi.

The only downside of visiting my family in the summer is Louisiana is SO hot. Legit, some of you think I exaggerate, but with the heat index, it felt like 116 when we were there! The heat was brutal and made us all tired. 

Military Husband caught this candid pic of #MaddiethePug resting on a heat exhausted me.


Around 4 a.m. July 5th, we left Louisiana to head back home. I will miss my mom and dad immensely! They are the best parents a girl could ever have and I love them like crazy.

Our first stop on the evening of July 5th was Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

The pugs are not happy.

I had planned to write a post about our experience in a hotel there (yes, we went cheap because we just needed to rest, but friends, it was ratchet fuckery), but the manager refunded our entire stay after I complained. With that being said, I appreciate anyone who can acknowledge our dissatisfaction and make it right. (As a side note, if you ever have an unpleasant experience while staying at a hotel, do not be afraid to voice your concerns respectfully to the property management.)

Upon leaving Chattanooga, Military Husband and I headed to Harrisburg, PA where we stayed at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey from July 6 - July 9. We ate at the hotel restaurant, Dog and Pony, on two separate occasions and it was delicious.

I am a terrible blogger and forgot to take good pictures. Sometimes you get caught up in life's moments and forget that we are supposed to document everything these days! #picsoritdidnothappen

Inside of dining room.

My Cesar Salad.
#yesImbasic #dontjudge

On Friday, July 7, we decided to venture out into Harrisburg to visit the National Civil War Museum. I have a MA in History and one of my specialty areas was military history so this was fascinating. Military Husband and I loved the museum and I highly recommend it to any of you in the area. Tickets are $10 for active duty military and it is worth every penny! The displays are incredible and there is so much to see. I would love to return to this museum one day in the future. For those of you who have been to the DDay Museum in New Orleans, this museum blows it out of the water. It is spectacular.

The tour is self guided, but the woman who works in the gift shop (where you purchase tickets) is extremely knowledgable and helpful. Also, the gift shop is super affordable and has some great souvenirs. We picked up several before we left. All of the money goes directly to preserve and grow the museum.

The museum sits high up on a hill. The views are breathtaking.


You can see the Harrisburg capital building in the distance.


The museum sits where Camp Curtin once did during the Civil War. Camp Curtin was the largest Federal camp during the Civil War.


There are bricks around the building where you can purchase your own brick to honor a fallen soldier in your family.




The life-size 360 dioramas were so realistic and gave you the feels of what it must have been like during the war.




There is a section called "Women In War" and it really serves as a reminder of what it was like for military wives back then to wait at the homefront. I cannot imagine not having contact with Military Husband for seven years not knowing if he were alive or dead. These ladies were the brave and selfless.

I LOVED this quote.

The last part of the exhibit is an Abraham Lincoln display and it is really fascinating. It brings forth lots of emotion because you feel how much the war they fought mattered. Legit, it is like feeling the legacy of so many young men who died serving a cause and I felt proud to be an American.


We ended our trip with a round of pizza from our favorite pizza place in PA Two Brother's Pizza. Now, it is time for more of the world's worst blogger pictures.



What can I say? I was too hungry to stop and take pics. #lovetoeat

Also, I fell in love with Sheetz in PA and I am desperately jealous of all of you who live near a Sheetz and get MTO sandwiches. That place is THE BEST.

In conclusion, we had a great vacation. But, BUT, I missed Boston. I realize how little is available down in the Deep South and how much I have access to here in the Northeast. Plus, I like living here. I honestly believe the trip home made me appreciate Mass a little bit more. Moving to Mass from a small town in Louisiana was an experience. I have always treated it with positivity and am beyond thrilled I have this incredible opportunity to live in a big city. There have been low points (this is NORMAL), but for the most part, I am enjoying it and it has forced me to grow up in more ways than I can explain in this post. I have thought about doing a little post on PCS'ing extremely far away from home (or to a completely "foreign" area of the country to you) and FAQs for those of you who have not experienced this yet, may be experiencing it in the near future or for those of you just curious.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or if you would like to read a post about my experience, let me know!

I will return with more fun trip pictures because we have a trip planned to NYC in August. I cannot wait to give New York a big Southern hug.

Have you taken any fun vacations this summer? Where did you go? Have you been to any cool museums I should check out in the Northeast? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy to be home with all my favorite Massholes, I am,


54 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you were able to visit and spend time with family! It's nice to be on vacation but it's always nice to get home back to your things.

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    1. It really is!! And Boston is really becoming my home.

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  2. Bad hotels happen from time to time. I remember once going somewhere. My brother share a room with my mom and I had one with my grandma. My brother and mother hated their room while our room was fine.

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  3. There are soooo many wonderful places to visit in the USA I have no idea how my peeps will every manage to fit it in on one trip.....of course I do hope they remember to bring me back a doggie bag of all the yummy foodables they try!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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  4. It sounds like y'all really did have a great time on your vacation visiting not only your parents, but getting to visit some new places as well! Our friends were actually stationed at Barksdale right out of college so we visited them there once, and I remember going on base there! Too funny! And I know what you mean about sometimes just living too much to take pictures. It just happens sometimes!

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    1. That's so funny!! I grew up in that city all my life. It's too hot there tho. Like the damn Amazon! Haha

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  5. I went through Hershey just a few days before you were there! Glad you had a good trip home!

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    1. Wish it had been at the same time!!

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  6. I can't imagine road tripping with my 3 pugs!! When we had just one, we'd take her with us up to North Carolina, and that was a pain in the butt. She couldn't settle down in the car. Finally I learned to put a dog bed in my lap and let her lay there. I've always wondered about staying in a hotel with pets too. It's so nice though, to be able to take them with you and not worry about finding a good pet sitter. Looks like you guys had a great time! I love museums.

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    1. It's not bad!! I put a huge comforter and a dog bed in the back seats. They have a practical bed in the back that's comfy. I bought a little water bottle that puts water in a cup for travel (like a human gym bottle for dogs). Having the Tahoe makes it easier because there's so much room. They love the car!! All 3 do and they love hotels. If you get them used to it, you'll find yours do too. They just have to know they are going to a fun place!!

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  7. I loved following your trip on IG. I've only ever been to New Orleans for like 48 hours so I want to go to Louisiana for a real vacation one day. You should look at the Blue Star website and see what free museums are in your area!

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    1. Oh good idea!!!
      And thank you!! I hope you get there, but avoid during summer. Way too damn hot!!! Lol. Baton Rouge is a lot of fun during game season. Even the kiddos would enjoy it.

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  8. OMD!!!! I have missed you so much! I didn't even knows you were goin' on your vaca! HOW FUNS! Omd, Ma totally gets what you're sayin' abouts having everything SO CLOSE ~ just an example, we have 6 grocery stores (more if you count the small mom and pops) in a two mile radius! That goes ditto for almost everything you can think of...except for some fast food places..they are getting hard to find, butts that means Ma has to get some delish foodables from smaller to go places! Not a big loss. Anyhu, sounds like (except for the heat..OMD, I don't knows how you Southerner's survive the humidity!!!! Ma would DIE!) you had a most FABulous time with your family, and some amazin' foodables too! PIZZA! I hopes you guys got some pizza bones....
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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    1. Ahh, I know! The South is UNREAL. Super hot. I know, I KNOW. Living near a big city or in a big city is truly everything. I can't even express how much I missed Boston. We technically are right outside the city (even though those rush hour commutes are a bitch) so we have everything around us. I actually made a list of all the things I missed when I was in Louisiana (good Dunks was one lol lol). I don't know about your Ma but I barely want fast food here ever. So much other good things to choose from you know? Too bad we didn't move to Cali. I definitely think I'm a Cali girl at heart (and so is BabyBelle)...then we could have been neighbors.
      Sending you so much LOVE!!

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  9. Hurrah for being able to go home and celebrate your mom's birthday!! You guys may be far but the distance won't stop ya from being together!!! ;) Ooh, that's great that your shitty hotel stay got refunded - thank god for a good manager! I've never made it to the Civil War Museum - one day...!

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  10. So glad you enjoyed your trip back to your parents' and it's so sweet to hear that you love them so much! I'm curious if you were able to take the pugs into the Civil War Museum or if they had to stay at the hotel? I enjoyed seeing the pictures. I'm curious if anyone says you have a southern accent or not up there in Mass?

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    1. I wanted to take them!! There is a big area where you can walk around the building....they would have loved that! I'd like to take them everywhere. People should really be more accommodating to our pugs, lol lol.
      My accent isn't terrible (it's more similar to the Dallas, TX accent), but people do notice...like they will say "do I detect an accent?" It's so funny, my husband's accent was much thicker when he moved to the South (Jersey accent) and now its practically gone! The south killed his accent. I'm wondering if Mass will do that to what little I have....

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  11. The trip home always made me appreciate Hawaii more!
    And yes on the cake! Publix and the commissary have the BEST cakes! As long as you don't get that "better-cream" crap!

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    1. Oh god. Better cream! That shit is garbage. People love it up here in the "eat healthy" Northeast. Yuckkk. Give me my buttercream and fattening icing, thank you. It's my damn birthday!
      Girl, there is nothing to not appreciate about Hawaii. We literally talk about that place all the time. Why can't we all just be stationed there FOR LIFE.

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  12. Other than that crazy experience in Chattanooga, it sounds like such a great trip! And that you got to spend time with your parents! Yay!

    I SO want to do a road trip through the east and the south. Who am I kidding? I want to road trip basically everywhere!

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    1. Oh yeah. Chattanooga was something. Hahaha. We left out of there at 2am to get to PA.

      You should totally do it! Road trips are so fun. There's just so much of this country to see. Our next road trip we hope will be from here to your neck of the woods. I want to do Vegas and bring our pugs along!

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  13. What a fun adventure!!! As a revolutionary history nut, I say check out all "local" museums in your area...I assume you have checked out all things Plymouth..if not, do it in the fall after all the tourists head home!

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    1. Yes for sure! Plymouth is a good distance away from us, but I hope to get there eventually!

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  14. Stunning pictures!
    Have a nice day!
    Gil Zetbase

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  15. It looks like you had a fun vacation. Oh, and I have complained about hotel stays before. My husband is usually embarrassed, but you know if I pay a certain amount of money, I expect to have a pleasant experience.

    We're doing Civil War stuff next month! We're headed to Gettysburg :) I can't wait. I love history.

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    1. Oh yay!!!! I wanted to hit up Gettysburg. You gotta check out the National Civil War Museum....and if you are around Harrisburg, hit up Two Brothers Pizza. Best. Pizza. EVER.

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  16. What an awesome trip! The National Civil War Museum sounds so interesting!

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  17. Aww, what fun!!! My parents are moving to Florida, so I'll be packing up my dog to make that trek multiple times in the near future. She's not a fan of the car, though, but I know she'll be happy once she gets there!

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    1. She will get better with each trip!!!

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  18. I love road trips. Especially to see the parents! This looked like so much fun - I really need to get to the east coast for some exploring.

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    1. I love the East Coast!! It's so full of history.

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  19. So glad ya'll had a great time well accept for that ratchet hotel but we will pretend that did not happen. LOL That museum sounds fantastic. We are hoping to go on a museum road trip soon. I want to go to DC and NYC but I will add PA to the list.

    Oh and I am basic too ;) #caesarsalad4life

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    1. Can you add Mass to the list?? I'd like to meet you!! Boston is a great city!!

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  20. I'm interested in reserving this beautiful place. Placing a music show which does not have cultural preferences becomes difficult in a banquet hall environment. It requires planning and decorating imagination. The event venue have the right décor for any event.

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  21. Finally catching up on my blog reading and was so glad to see a new post from you!! What a fun road trip. I know your parents were SO happy to have you "home", and that's great you were able to time it around your mom's birthday (we can never seem to do that, so we ALWAYS miss birthdays). I talk ALL THE TIME on my blog how I love going away, but LOVE coming home. I'm glad you felt this was after leave Boston for a while. I do wonder what it would be like to live in a big city and what I'm missing out on, because you know I'm a southern smallish town girl too.

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    1. It's so different and eye opening. I really enjoy it, even though it can be overwhelming at times (just because of the different personalities and the accents lol). Believe it or not, my husband wants to be back in the South way more than I do. I let him meet and fall in love with Dallas...my fault! Maybe the army will send you to the Northeast one day!

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  22. So I'm super curious about how the pugs manage in hotels. Are you able to leave them to go to dinner? Do they bark and get you kicked out? I have two shih tzus and we've taken them on one vacation. We rented a house so they could have the space and isolation to be themselves (aka abnoxious) while we were doing the non-dog friendly parts of our trip.

    Pretty cool to read about you passing through PA though I would not have guessed Sheetz would be a highlight! Maybe I'll have to try the MTO someday.

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    1. Nope! They are SO good!! They have each other so it's easy. We leave them to go to dinner, work out, etc. I bring toys, blankies and their dog bed for comfort! It's a lot to tote along but it's worth it. We want them with us. They are a HUGE hit everywhere we go. People go nuts over them lol.
      Sheetz is amazing omg. I love the MTO!! That's like my fave gas station ever now lol lol. The ice cream is bomb too!

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  23. It's always good to visit home and see familiar faces. I love these photos. It looks like a fun relaxing time. Oh, those food! Makes me crave especially for pizza!

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  24. Looks like you had a great holiday. Mine are just around the corner and I can't wait.

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  25. Lol, Massholes.
    I don't think I read this correctly.... You drove from Massachusetts, to Louisiana then back to Massachusetts!?
    And I thought a drive from Michigan to Kentucky was bad.
    Your pups look so cute with Castiel! Clearly loved by them, one on each side. Hehe.
    Louisiana is a place I've always wanted to visit. Especially New Orleans.
    You're not the only one who got a shitty hotel stay this year.
    Got my money back from a Victory Inn that was pimping out hoes.
    Did not get a refund from the Belagio that I was robbed in my sleep at. I think George Clooney must have been there (bum bum, Ching).
    I'd love to check out that Museum! Is that a statue of General Lee beating up Mr.Grant? Lol

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    1. Yes we did the long drive!! It wasn't so bad but I wouldn't do it every month lol!

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  26. Hi Military Wife & Pug Life Team,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I'm Founder of Feedspot.

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    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Military Wife Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

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    Best,
    Anuj

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  27. Sounds like a fun trip! We stayed at Aloft in Cleveland when we went on our road trip to Chicago. We also stopped at a Sheetz for beverages. :) Highlight of our trip was seeing Hamilton (although my youngest saw Aladdin with my parents and sister). The bad part was my husband getting strep.

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  28. Hi Samantha, we stopped by to wish Maddie a Happy Barkday. It was interesting reading about your trip we had to BOL & MOL at your comment about how hot it was in Louisiana as we were baking in nearby Mississippi and knew just what you meant.

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