PACIFIC NORTH WEST - CA, OR, WA and CANADA

My family decided to take a summer vacay on the road since our kids summer break is only 6 weeks long. We wanted to make a memorable and fun one where we can just have a fun, intimate, relaxing trip. We chose to drive along the Pacific West Coast up California, Oregon, Washington, and Canada.  

We had an amazing time the whole time. We even brought our dog Jada who was more than perfect on the trip. The weather was perfect and traffic was not on our list of issues. The only thing that could have went wrong was that we ate such delicious cuisine that it definitely packed on the pounds.

I have posted the links below of our travel vlogs. This is the start and beginning of our vlogging life so it can be a whole lot of "CHEESY", but it is what it is. We enjoyed our trip and I hope you enjoy coming along with us through our videos! We did!


Road Trip: California
https://youtu.be/PgAPfIkl4hM 

Road Trip: Oregon
https://youtu.be/SKWi082GbBM

Road Trip: Seattle, Washington
https://youtu.be/98UzIEZ1epE

Road Trip: Vancouver, CANADA
https://youtu.be/w348HibHTgM

PENNSYLVANIA

Oh the wonderful world of Pennsylvania! We had an amazing time in PA. We got the chance to see my in-laws memory lane when they were stationed in Pittsburg for 3 or 4 years. We went to their old home, their old elementary school, to visit a few friends and some of their favorite eateries that you don't find here in the west. Some of the roads are still layered in brick and rocks. How amazing is that? The historical look and the homes gave it a real home feel surrounded by greenery. Quiet and peaceful. We went to eat at Quaker Steak and Lube. They have a huge assortment of chicken wings and also serve peirogies. Delish! Sorry, the west has no competition. Our next mouthful of goodness was at Rita's which sells frozen custard and italian ice. Oh my goodness, if they had one in the here...that's where you can find me all the time. 

We passed a few historical landmarks, went to the science center, and stopped in Hershey. Yes, we went to the Chocolate Factory and had a blast! Loved it! My daughter was in heaven. We took a tour that showed us how they make chocolate and their candy. They also had ice cream,. candy, chocolate milk and all the other goodness. We loved our tour of Pennsylvania.

NIAGARA FALLS, NY

Niagara Falls is by far one of the funnest, most beautiful places I visited in the East Coast. We went in August of 2011 where the weather was nothing but perfect. Full of greenery, water, fresh air, and right smack on the border between US and Canada. We went on the boat ride Maid of the Mist which circles down the waterline connecting US and Canada. The sound of the crashing waterfalls, the mist of fresh water, the scenic view of the banks that enclose you just bring you to another level of ahhhhh. 

We later went to Cave of the Winds which takes you down the stairway to the waterfall. This was the most amazing experience that leaves you shaking with excitement. You will, without a doubt get soaked. This is not like a Six Flags or Disneyland type of hype. It was better! Walking that stairway and touching the bottom of the falls with your fingertips was powerful. The closer you get to the top, you encounter the 'Hurricane Deck' which showers you in all this excitement. I was like a child screaming on the top of my lungs,holding my kids hands as we were all jumping up and down so worry free and careless. The best part is that we didn't have care in the world! When we were done, our voices were coarse and our hearts were still pumping full of joy. Good thing we took a big family picture before getting soaked. 

We also took the little trolley tour that drives you around Niagara which passes Rainbow Bridge. The bridge that you simply walk across and end up in Canada. How awesome is that? We grabbed lunch and then headed out to tour the rest of East Coast.  

NEW YORK CITY

New York. We love New York. It was a different atmosphere. A different feel when you are actually in the city versus watching it on television. It looks gigantic on TV, but when you are there, it feels like a well fit shoe or a snug jacket. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I guess it's because it's so fast paced, shoulder to shoulder room, and people are too much into their own business they need to take care of. 

We stayed in the center of Times Square at the Marriott. Right across the gigantic Forever XXI. Our view was beautiful. The lights, the city, the people, and the rain. It was warm, so the rain wasn't a bother at all. We walked Times Square, roamed Rockafeller Center, passed the NBC building, Radio City and took the subway to the rebuild of the Twin Towers. The subway....I have always wanted to go on one. To see what it felt like. I can say when we went, it was hot as an oven down in the tunnels. Hot. Musty. Humid. 

We finally got to Manhattan and walked to the Twin Towers which was no longer standing. Oh, the saddness our hearts felt! I will say this and will never in my life forget the feeling my husband and I felt the closer we got to it. My husbands family was stationed in Pennsylvania when the 9-11 happened and near the hit when it hit Pennsylvania. My mother-in-law told me the smell was unforgettable when they drove around certain perimeters because the aftermath was so much. There is a church and a cemetary a few feet away. For some reason, a light brisk walk became so dense and heavy. It was unexplainable. It felt like my insides were being smashed or so very heavy that I was having a hard time breathing or moving. There was a saddness that was being pulled like as if it was trying to scream but no one can hear. It's not the heavy you feel carrying a heavy bag or as if you walked 10 miles. This was an odd, weird, scary feeling. Even 10 years later after the 9-11. I didn't say anything until my husband mentioned he had a dense feeling on him there. The weird thing was when we walked further away it started to weigh off. I know those grounds will always be covered in memory of one of the most traumatic experiences ever. 

We did quite a lot in New York. We also went to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown, etc. It was fantabulous. The chinese restaurant we went to was a quick eatery with a whole row of food. You pick your 3 entree combination and get a soda for a little over $3. Crazy. The Statue of Liberty was awesome. Lots of tourists of course. You take the ferry to both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We also had to try Juniors. You can't go to NY if you don't plan to have NY cheesecake and NY pizza. The NY cheesecake was really dense and not as sweet as the ones you will find her in the west. You can really taste the creamed cheese instead of it being overpowered by sugar. The pizza was delish. It was thin crust and light sauce and yummy ingredients. It's equal to Landini's in Little Italy of San Diego. I guess that's why I absolutely love their pizza!! We also went to the Toy's R Us in Times Square. Huge! There is a ferris wheel right in the center, an ice cream parlor downstairs, and Barbies house upstairs. Amazing. We also did some fun shopping. My son bought some Nike's at the huge Footlocker there and I wanted to buy a....that's right...a Gucci! Hahahaha, but I think not. We went to eat some filet mignon, ribeye, ribs, and NY steak to give ourselves a good treat! Heck yeah! I can go on and on with our trip. I'll just post some pics below. Hope you enjoy.

WASHINGTON, DC

Washington D.C. was one of the stops we hit when cruising on our road trip along the east coast. We wanted to go to one of the popular food stops called Chesapeake Bay's Finest. They had a bunch of different vendors there selling fresh seafood. They will cook it there for you so you can eat it right when you order it. The day we went was just horrendously hot...and humid. Standing in long lines and then waiting for your number to be called was a bit uncomfortable. I do gotta say, well worth the wait. We ordered up crab, shrimp, chowder, calamari, wedges, fresh lemonade for some good grubbin'. 

We then drove to the White House and the Monument. It was traffic so we got dropped off and my mother-in-law was going to pick us up in a few to allow us to take pictures and get a good glimpse of these historical landmarks. We were able to snatch a few pics of the monument but then we felt a few rain drops fall on us. No wonder it was humid. It seemed to have stopped for awhile. We then went across the street to see the White House and walked the huge grassland. We can see snipers walking the top of the White House. We then started to feel rain drops again and rushed to sneak in some pictures. It was hard to smile when your face is getting hit with rain. We hurried up and packed up the camera and thought...'oh no, we're stuck out here until my mother-in-law drives back around to swipe us back up. Hopefully soon!'. The rain fell so fast on us as we dashed thru the grass field to hide under a tree. We were having a blast just laughing the whole way through and getting soaked. We were lucky to find a big enough tree and spot our ride. We made a dash for it and we all giggled along the way to our next destination.

NEW JERSEY FERRY

Up and early to take the ferry from New Jersey to New York. Great to see the history of the train tracks of the old train station which we now take to the ferry. It's pretty cool to be able to take a quick ferry across the waterfront to another 'state'. The 'Big Apple' that is. It was a bit warm but oh so perfect out. The picture above is us in New Jersey with New York distanced in the background. What a captured moment. My in-laws have the exact same background before 9-11 which has the Twin Towers.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ

Our first day in the East Coast, we went to Atlantic City. It was different. We went at night and right by the beach. We seen the different hotels, but more so, spent time on the pier walking. We went to a few arcades where kids can actually play the slot machines? Say what? They also had stands with a whole selection of hot, roasted nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, etc. They also had extreme funnel cakes and deep fried everything. 

We got to walk to the beach shore at night and was really nice! Just chillaxed and looked at the lights. It was a different feel from Las Vegas, although they both are a strip of casinos. AC wasn't as hyped up as Las Vegas, but definitely a calm, relaxed, and fun time!

PRINCETON, NJ - PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

Our visit to the East Coast was in purpose to visit my brother-in-law who made it to Princeton University. How awesome is that? It felt like Harry Potter enrolled at this college, haha. I must admit, it was beautiful. We were surrounded by lots of trees and greenery, castle like buildings, quietness, friendly people and lots of space. The campus was so big, they even had a church built on site. The town was of its own and peaceful. We ate at PJ's Pancake House across the street which had delicious grub. After, we did some 'Princeton' shopping.

Our kids are absolutely wonderful in school, but it's amazing to be able to bring our kids to different college universities such as Princeton. To be able to have our kids surrounded by a positive environment with such a loving, supportive, great family is priceless. My kids were able to see the reality that if you can dream it, you can live it. It IS possible.

LAS VEGAS, NV - ARIA SKY SUITES

This would be our fourth stay at Aria.  Three  of those were in the Sky Suites. The first stay was just in a regular room which was really nice. The second stay was a family vacation in the two-bedroom penthouse suite. We flew in and then accomodated by a limo. The kids absolutely had a blast. They had their own room to share, huge bathroom with a jet tub. We had a dining room, bar, guest bathroom, full livingroom and then the master bedroom and bath. Ahhh, the gigantic part! I didn’t want to do anything but stay in the suite. Marbled floors, vanity, tv’s in the bathrooms and huge walk in closets. Did I mention the toliets are heated and have bidets? We really enjoyed the VIP lounge. The goods from danishes, wine, coffee, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries…divine! 

Our third stay was just my husband and I. We stayed in the one-bedroom Sky Suite. Same amenities and accomodations, just a one bedroom. The VIP lounge was still our place to relax. This time we had the opportunity to visit the spa. We didn’t get our massages at the Aria hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get a massage in one of the hotels in Vegas, but the prices are tripled. I can drive not far to the outskirts of the strip to a really nice and clean spa facility for a fraction of the price with all the extra pampering. Getting back to our visit at the Aria Spa, we paid the $30 facility fee and this gives you access to the fitness facility. There’s also fireplace lounge with refreshments after a great workout. It also gives you access to the spa facility with separate men and women areas for lockers, showers, saunas, hot tubs, spa services (extra cost), and refreshments. Access to the coed balcony pool, Ganbanyoku stone beds, and the salt room are all shared by both men and women. We enjoyed these all. We relaxed in the beautifully lit balcony pool that overlooks the other pools and the city of Vegas at night together. It was really nice because we had the balcony to ourselves! Then we took a quick visit to the salt room followed by a nice nap on the hot stone Ganbanyoku beds. It was refreshing. Our fourth stay was the same, just brought our 2 kiddies with us this time around. 

 I get happy everytime I think of Las Vegas, but I get butterflies of joy when I think of Aria! I can’t wait to go back!! 

Aria Resort and Casino
3730 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89158

Aria Las Vegas Resort and Casino