As voted by Trekaroo families, here are the Reviews of the Day from back in the day to today.
We came to Catoctin Mountain Park to see the leaves. On October 19th we saw a beautiful display - it had to be near peak color. We visited on a clear, crisp, slightly windy day - and the leaves were some of the most amazing that I had ever seen.
I was hoping to stop by the visitor center to ask where to hike with my mom and 4 year old. But, the parking lot at the visitor center was overflowing. (I would assume that is not typical.) So, we just drove the main road until we found a good parking spot.
We were looking for a short hike and spotted the hike to the Thurmont Vista. The first third of the hike was a bit uphill and the leaves were amazing. The remainder of the half mile hike was uphill and the leaves weren't as spectacular. We all made it to the vista.
I got back home and looked at the park webpage. I think we would have been better off looking for a hike in the Hog Rock area -where the hikes to the vistas are not as long or steep. We just wanted a viewpoint where we could see the colorful trees on the side of the mountains.
The fall foliage in this area is very spectacular. It's five stars in that respect. But, aside from the fall colors - I'm not sure that the park has too much else to offer.
The Frick Art and Historical Center is located in Pittsburgh and is a fine lesson in Pittsburgh history including artifacts from one of Pittsburgh's well-known families- The Fricks. The land was purchased in 1882 and Henry Clay Frick renamed the mansion Clayton. 95 percent of the items in the historical center were personal items of The Fricks including priceless art pieces, furnishings, cars, and clothing.
The Pittsburgh home of Henry Clay Frick, Clayton was purchased in 1882 and was to be the family's home while in town. Lavishly furnished, The Frick Art and Historical Center gives docent-led tours and gears them toward the season and historical significance.
During our visit this November, Clayton was already decorated for the holidays and was filled with poinsettias, Christmas decor, and even a Christmas tree. Our docent was very adamant about leaving larger bags, purses, and cameras in the lockers provided near the admission desk, and encouraged us to hang up our coats once we arrived at the start of the tour at Clayton. We were told about daily life for The Fricks, which my 13 year-old daughter loved hearing about, and were shown several rooms that were occupied by The Frick family including family bedrooms. The mansion is absolutely beautiful and the tales of The Frick Family were interesting.
THE FRICK ART MUSEUM
The Frick Art Museum houses the personal art collection of Helen Clay Frick, daughter of Henry Clay Frick. The Art Museum is quaint and filled with mainly 18th Century paintings. During our visit, we were able to view a traveling exhibit and a docent-led tour was going on while we stopped in. My teen daughter loves art museums so it was fun strolling through it, but younger kids may not have the attention span for an art-only museum.
THE CAFE AT THE FRICK
The cafe at The Frick was a definite highlight of our visit. From soups to sandwiches, the menu is not your usual fare, but kids will still love the choices. My daughter loved the Mushroom Ravioli and devoured the entire plate, my husband's Black Eyed Pea Falafel Sandwich was so tasty ( I sneaked a bite!), and my Chicken Gumbo was perfect. We enjoyed Mocha Creme Brulee for dessert and it was large enough for two adults to share. The Cafe has its very own pastry chef and offers freshly made desserts every day.
And the Verdict is...?
A step back in time filled with Pittsburgh history! My family had a fun time visiting The Frick Art and Historical Center and I would definitely recommend a visit to families in town. FYI: Clayton may not be suitable for younger children due to the delicate museum artifacts laid out all over, but the large grounds, car museum, and Cafe make for a fun day.
Disclosure: I was hosted by Visit Pittsburgh for the purpose of this review. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and, as always, my opinions are my own!
This is a MUST for history lovers. This small, picturesque fort overlooks the Potomac River and offers a grand view of Washington and the Virginia shoreline. For decades Fort WAshingt on was the only defensive fort protecting Washington D.C.
The Fort is now part of an expansive park grounds that offers visitors extensive hiking / bicycle paths. The river view are a scenic place for picnicking, fishing, and outdoor recreation.
My kids really enjoyed spotting the bald eagles circling over head (not an uncommon site we were told) and picnicing by the shore while watching a group of fishermen try their luck on the river bank!
My five year old and I came to skate on a Saturday evening after an early dinner.
The ice felt quite slippery in comparison to other rinks that I've been to. The rental skates are quite old and beat-up, but functional. They do have double bladed skates in the smaller sizes.
I didn't notice any staff out on the ice, and there were some teenagers playing tag. But, no one bumped into my little girl who was skating slowly and carefully around the rink, and I saw few crashes between skaters - so I wouldn't say the situation was dangerous.
There are lights around, but I kind of expected more decorations for the season.
Families in the region who are looking for an exciting new holiday tradition need look no further than Christmas on the Potomac at the Gaylord National Resort.
It is an experience like none other.
We’ve attended Christmas on the Potomac three years in a row and each time our family has been left practically speechless. I’m a parent of tween/teen boys and trust me when I say that it is getting harder each year to find outings that the whole family can enjoy. That being said, I’m not exaggerating when I say that my kids never want to leave the Gaylord National. (Neither do their parents, truth be told)
I recommend you take your family there for a weekend experience. Yes, it can be pricey but it is a great way to user in the holiday. The hotel is gorgeous and offers many things for families to do together and ICE! is spectacular. (Even the grandparents enjoy it.)