Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

Vacation Highlights You May Enjoy

We are back from our vacation from Washington, DC. After leaving Washington, we spent our final day in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We had a great time and there are some highlights I'd like to share with you today.

On our way to Washigton, we stopped in Gettysburg. We planned a stop there anyway, but along the highway we saw a billboard for Boyds Bear country and decided to stop (after some convincing on my part). This really was impressive. I used to collect Boyds Bears. I have so many plush and resin pieces, throw blankets, candleholders, etc. from collecting them since the 1990s. I don't collect them anymore simply because most are in boxes awaiting their new home on the yet to be redecorated primitive-themed 3 season porch.

If you collect Boyds, they have the bears that have been retired, a museum (being renovated), a huge outdoor clearance area, and great gifts.

In addition, there's a Thomas Kinkade gallery, gift shop featuring Lonaberger Baskets, Yankee candles, and much more.

We ate in one of the downstairs eateries. It's very affordable and Ben's chocolate milk was only 50 cents per container. You cannot beat that!

Lancaster County Coffee, a great find at Plain & Fancy Farm in Lancaster!

We went about 2 to 2.5 hours from Washington to Lancaster on the way home. If you've never been to the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, you really must. I hadn't been there since the early 1990s, but we used to visit there on vacation when I was a child.

As a child, we used to dine at Miller's Smorgasboard, which has been open now for 80 years. It's like the ultimate holiday feast--the types of food you would only want to eat on rare occasions. We decided to take the boys there and had a lengthy lunch. I enjoyed every last bite of their Chocolate Pecan Pie as well!

I thought the coffee was delicious, too, and learned that it came from Lancaster County Coffee Roasters.

While doing some shopping at the gift shop over at Plain & Fancy Farm, I bought some coffee to bring home.

I also found a delightful shop called the Bird in Hand Junction Made in America Shop. Inside this small shop, I spooted lots of handmade candles, primitive decor, and other handmade crafts.

On Sunday, we went to the National Mall and spent the morning and early afternoon at The Museum of Natural History and late afternoon and early evening at the Air & Space Museum.

I took a break while at the Museum of Natural History to meet a friend for the first time ever in person. The wonderful City Girl of City Girl Lifestyle and I have known each other online for about 3 years or so. She is a gem to speak with and meeting her in person was really a great experience. Three hours of chatting flew right by as I sipped my Pomegranate and White Tea iced tea from Honest Tea in the museum eatery.

She knows we enjoy jam in this house and presented me with a recyclable tote with srtwork on it by Sheryl Crow from Whole Foods (which we do not have here, but I visited while in DC) filled with homemade jams from her local farmer's market.

The jam is great! It comes from Quaker Valley Orchards in Biglerville, PA.

We had a lovely visit!

Ben and Nick in Lancaster

Three of the newest members of the Amish community :)

Friday night we walked from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument. Shown is the World War II Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.

Photo courtesy of Vaccaro's

After a lengthy visit at the Museum of American History, we went to Union Station. No one could agree what to have for lunch, so we each chose something in the food court and I finished our visit there at Vaccaro's.

What great Italian cookies they have! I enjoyed the Amaretti, lemon, and chocolate granola cookies. Those three were my favorites. Nicholas said the cream puff was the best part of that dessert.

Photo courtesy of Teaism

Another new favorite place to stop in Washington was recommended by my friend. Teaism really is a fabulous place!

We went for a light dinner at the Penn Quarter Teaism at the corner of 8th and D. Tom enjoyed a tuna bento box. I had a buffalo burger, and the boys shared a bento box with chicken.

The bento boxes are really fabulous. The presentation is great and the boys thought they were fun. I thought the sweet potato salad inside the box was delicious!

Nick enjoyed his freshly squeezed ginger limeade and I was refreshed after having the Iced Moroccan Mint Tea. It had a mint leaf right in the glass and was the perfect drink for a humid, sweltering day! The Mango Lassi is also delicious there.

The visit wasn't complete, however, until I ordered some Salty Oat and Chocolate Salty Oat Cookies to take back to the hotel. Teaism is known for these cookies, and I now understand why. Both were fabulous, but I think I preferred the chocolate one.

I was actually thinking about those cookies this morning and I found a recipe on the Pink Heels blog for them that I know I'll be making very soon!