Destination Wednesday: Top 3 Favorite Travel Souvenirs

destination wednesday by fallenpeach

squished pennies photo by fallenpeach

a small selection of my squished pennies

When I travel, there are certain things I look for to “collect” as a souvenir. Usually these things are small and cheap since we don’t have much space and are on a tight budget. Here are my top 5 favorite travel souvenirs.

1. The first thing is usually the hardest to find – penny squishing machines. I love collecting squashed pennies from all the places we travel. I’ve been picking them up ever since I was a little kid and am actually thinking about buying a special jar to put them all in. Right now most of them are in the books you can buy, but I would love a more general way to display them since I don’t go through the books very often. The new tokens that are turning up in National Parks are becoming a part of this collection as well.

2. Postcards. Traditional, easy to find and usually sold 5 for a dollar, Postcards are a great way to remember your trip. They are great for scrapbooking, making a collage or even tucking into photo albums.

3. Christmas Ornaments. On our very first road trip, when we got all the way to California, we celebrated by buying our first Christmas ornament. We didn’t have an apartment, or a tree, but we knew that someday we would have both and would want to remember our first time to the West Coast. Ever since then we’ve been collecting ornaments everywhere we go. We try to find unique ornaments that really represent the  destination and every Christmas we decorate our tree and remember our adventures.

What do you collect when you travel?

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Destination Wednesday: Vermont and New Hampshire

Visiting Vermont / New Hampshire with no intention of skiing or spending much money means … random driving and mini adventures. A couple weeks back we went to visit family in southern Vermont and ended up on a day trip to Keene, New Hampshire and random driving across Vermont in search of antiques shops (which we never really found).

Vermont Window in Window photograph by fallenpeach

Life is Sweet Keene New Hampshire Photograph by fallenpeach

Kiplings Restaurant Vermont photograph by fallenpeach

Lines in Keene New Hampshire photograph by fallenpeach

Hogback Mountain in Vermont photograph by fallenpeach

It was nice to stop at Hogback Mountain for a minute and I was incredibly excited to find a Penny squashing machine inside the gift shop! Mostly, though, we drove both East and West and stopped in a few small towns to browse. Next visit I think we’ll go North in search of adventure.

Any recommendations for places to visit in southern Vermont?

Unexpected Treasures from Our Latest Roadtrip

Flattened Pennies Roadtrip Fallenpeach

A couple weeks ago, I posted about our favorite Tools for planning an American roadtrip , and now that the trip is over I’d like to go back over a few of those and add a few unexpected treasures.

Last time I mentioned TripAdvisor. I love the website, so I downloaded the app for this trip hoping it would make things easier. In many ways, it was a great app. And quick. However, one major problem was that there were no phone numbers listed in the app for the hotels. It was also near impossible to search for just campgrounds without googling them with the term tripadvisor. I would love for this app to be a little more “all in one” so that I didn’t have to go elsewhere for additional information that I needed.

Now let’s talk about one of my addictions. I love squished pennies. Or flattened pennies. Whatever you want to call them. I love them. I get them whenever I can find them and plan on buying a special jar or bowl to put them in. I have a couple of the books, but getting them in and out of it is difficult and annoying. Anyway, my point being that Penny Collector has an app! It’s not perfect, but it allowed us to search the area we were in and find penny squishers we might not have found otherwise, which made me happy.

keen hiking shoes fallenpeach photo

Another Unexpected Treasure that isn’t an app was my Keene hiking shoes. I initially bought these for our honeymoon last year and wore them all around Disney World. It was like having sandals on without having to worry about them falling off/being open toe, but I did get a couple blisters on my heel. This time around they were much better, maybe I’ve broken them in. I threw them on one day because I didn’t want to lace my other shoes and ended up wearing them for the rest of the trip. Super comfortable for long distance driving, but also wonderful for climbing stairs and walking around Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower and other stops we made. We didn’t really go hiking, but there was a lot of climbing and walking a few of the days. Now I’m obsessed with them and want to wear them every day.

Do you find unexpected treasures that help out on your roadtrips mid-trip too?

Sneak Peek at Great Wide Open Roadtrip

If you are following me on twitter or instagram, you already know that we went on a grand one week adventure very recently. I’ve decided to focus on this most recent trip next on my Destination Wednesday posts because there are far fewer photos to sort than our Away we Go trip and quiet honestly that trip still intimidates me a bit. So, starting either next week or the week after I will get into more detail about our Great Wide Open roadtrip 🙂 !

Visit my instagram page for more collages of the trip, but for now here is a taste of what we saw!

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Road Trip to Syracuse Part 2: The Great New York State Fair

destination wednesday by fallenpeach

Welcome to Part 2 of our Road Trip to Syracuse series! Last week I showed you some photos from Green Lakes and around Syracuse and Liverpool. Below you’ll find some of my favorite photographs from our time at the Great New York State Fair 🙂

New York State Fair Baked Potato and Milk Traditions photograph by fallenpeach

New York State Fair 2013 Sand Sculpture photograph by fallenpeach

Sleepy Pig at the New York State Fair 2013 photograph by fallenpeach

Midway at the New York State Fair photograph by fallenpeach

Bird of Prey photograph by fallenpeach

Cute Lil Owl at the New York State Fair photograph by fallenpeach

1950's Fun House at the New York State Fair photograph by fallenpeach on etsy

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Lindsey & Matt of fallenpeach

(1.) The Great Potato Booth (only a dollar, any toppings you want) and the Rainbow Milk Bar (25 cents a cup!) are two of my favorite traditions at the New York State Fair. Also, delicious.

(2.) I also love the sand sculpture – this year it was their logo and representations of things you’ll see at the fair. There was even a little roller coaster 🙂

(3.) this pig was super sleepy and cute

(4.) Midway madness! note the sign that says “crazy fried things”. They had deep fried bubble gum which just sounds gross. I stuck to deep fried mac and cheese, deep fried oreos and other delicious things.

(5. and 6.) I love seeing the Birds of Prey show and taking photos of the cuties like these two.

(7.) I was OBSESSED with photographing this fun house. Totally awesome and creepy. I love the 50’s theme, but the paint job is … not great, which makes it awesome.  I think this is my favorite photograph from this trip and can’t wait to make things with it.

(8.) We stayed for the Happy Together concert which featured a lot of cool bands from the ’60’s and made us happy.

(9.) Matt and I towards the end of the day. Do we look tired?

Despite the crazy thunderstorms at night, we had a really good trip to New York. It was a fun weekend and a great escape. We were able to fit in everything we wanted to do from rowing a boat on the lake to eating all the deep fried deliciousness we could. Just looking at the photos makes me happy and I can’t wait to get back to Green Lakes at some point in the next few years.

What’s your favorite thing about your local state or town agricultural fair?

Road Trip to Syracuse New York 2013, part 1

destination wednesday by fallenpeach

Every few years we join my parents on a camping trip to Green Lakes State Park near Syracuse New York and spend a day on the lake and another day at the New York State Fair. I love this trip every time. Camping at Green Lakes has been a tradition for me and my parents all of my life and I love including Matt in on our tradition. Also, this trip features several of my favorite things: driving through the mountains, camping, fried foods, and a state fair. Here are a handful of my favorite photos from part one of our trip. Next week I’ll feature the State Fair part of our trip.

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(1.) On our way up, we stopped for gas and saw a bear attacking a phone booth (2.) Our campsite, featuring our brand new wedding gift tent (3.) I love the color of the lake at Green Lakes (4.) Fairy Tale Eggplants at a Farmer’s Market (5.) Old Barber Pole next to a theater (6.) There was an unplanned stop to the Salt Museum (7.) Watching the storm roll in (there were amazing thunderstorms two of the three nights we camped) outside the Salt Museum (8.) No trip to Syracuse/Liverpool is complete without a trip to Heid’s for a hot dog (or coney) (9.) My view from the boat we took out on the lake – again with the gorgeous colors.

Not photographed – we watched Wreck-it-Ralph at the campground one night, which was fun, and saw a giant toad outside afterwards. We also saw a woodchuck, deer and rabbit. And a lot of runners. The park is home to high school running teams over Labor Day weekend for some reason.

Have you taken a trip to Green Lakes? What’s your favorite thing about the park?

Planning an American Road Trip: Favorite Tools

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Last week we spent a few days planning our next road trip. How much planning we do for any given road trip often depends on a handful of factors:  time frame, budget and if we already have a set of places to go in mind.

This particular trip: we only have 7 days, a limited budget and at least three major stops already planned. We are also traveling to a part of the country that can have areas of no civilization / cell service. Because of all of these factors, we are planning a little more detailed than usual. We aren’t calling ahead for hotels or campsites, but are making lists with addresses and phone numbers for possible places to stay which means by the time we leave we should have a good idea of how far we will be driving each day and what our itinerary looks like.

The last time we went on a big road trip, I didn’t have a smart phone. We didn’t really use a lot of apps or even websites to plan, other than Google Maps. We just kind of drove and saw what we saw. Since then I’ve discovered a bunch of fun websites and apps to help us plan and so I decided to write this post letting you know about them!

Websites

Google Maps is a big one. With the website, you can put in multiple destinations and get a general idea of driving time (both total and between one location and the next), possible routes and a good far away look at what your route looks like.

Roadside America started to come into play for us after our first big trip. Once we saw how much craziness there is to be seen in America, we wanted to find more of it. This website is the ultimate list of World’s Largest and other awesome and nutty things/places you can see across this fine country. Choose a state and search by town, choose a map and trace your route, search for something specific – how you search is up to you. What’s also great about this site is that people chime in and update each listing so that others can know if an attraction has shut down or moved or expanded and enlarged.

RoadTrippers is fairly new (at least to us) and amazes me in so many ways. You can put in your route (with multiple destinations) then choose what you want to see on the map (attractions, places to stay, restaurants etc) and little dots will appear along your route telling you what of those locations is nearby. It also estimates distance and hours to be traveled as well as how much gas will cost (although our estimate for this trip seems a bit high). I love using this website in conjunction with others, but I don’t think I would use just it alone. The places to stay seem to be limited to quirky not chain and although that is nice sometimes, others you just need a Best Western. Overall, though, I found some fun unique places to see for our trip through this website!

TripAdvisor is great for hotel reviews. I always make sure to read some of the good ones and some of the bad to find the truth in reviews.

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As for phone apps, I’m limited. RoadTrippers and Roadside America both have apps but they are unfortunately only available for Apple devices. Both Matt and I have Android phones. However, I will definitely be using GasBuddy and am on the search for any other handy apps. Will update if I find anything else great!

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Books and Other Helpful Things

GPS – we will be using our Garmin GPS for most of our journey. We used it on our Honeymoon and it worked beautifully. Google Maps on our phones may also come in handy if we need to detour or something goes wrong. We will also have an actual paper road atlas in case we lose cell / GPS signal.

AAA – I always stop by AAA and pick up a couple maps and travel guides for the places we will be going. It’s free with your membership.

The Next Exit  – this book is awesome. It’s so helpful and easy to use that I recommend anyone that ever travels by car have one in their back seat. Most times I find it easier to use this book than the GPS. It has all the restaurants, gas and hotels off of EVERY EXIT off of every major highway in the United States. It even tells you if something is only on one side of the highway (and what side). We have the 2012 edition and love it. If you are on the East Coast there is another similar book just for I-95 which is equally awesome.

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What are your favorite tools for planning a road trip?