Family Vacations

We love going to Penn State with the family

It can be hard to remember when we went on various trips.  Sometimes we’ll be talking about a trip and trying to remember some details and we use this log to help us remember.  To get a full picture you also need to look at our Camping page, our Beach Trip page, our Las Vegas page and our Disney page.

Year Vacation
1991 Jeanne and Mark take a get-away to Fernwood in the Poconos.  This wasn’t the original plan, but we didn’t like the first hotel so we just stopped at Fernwood to see what was available.  The only room they had was the deluxe room with the round bed, the mirrors on the ceiling and the Jacuzzi.

What did we learn:  Don’t let Jeanne pick the hotel.

1995 Jeanne and Mark take a get-away to Wildwood, NJ.  At the last minute we decided to leave for Wildwood the night before our original plan with the intention of stopping at a motel along the way.  We found a old run-down hotel that was okay in the dark, but the next morning the true sleaziness of the motel was very evident.  Yuck!

The most memorable experience was watching “Waterworld” in a crummy run down theater that didn’t have air conditioning.

What did we learn:  Don’t let Mark pick the hotel, nor the movie.

2002 Las Vegas – Jeanne and Mark at Bally’s
2003 Atlantic City –  We got a good room rate at Bally’s, though in the old section and it was quite dated.

Mark wins the Jackpot on a Nickel slot machine at $1,100, though we lose it all before the end of the weekend.  If only I had played 5 credits instead of 3 – would have won over $800,000.  Oh well.

What did we learn:  We like Vegas better.

Zia, Kelsey, Greg, Ty and Jeanne on the Maid of the Mist.

Niagra Falls – Mark, Jeanne, Kelsey, Greg, Ty and Zia.  Ty and Zia were only 1 years old at the time.

Jeanne found this awesome deal at the Embassy Suites.  It was brand new, which is why the price was so low.  The TV in our room didn’t work, and the gave us 50% off that great room rate.  We fondly remember the terrific free breakfast each morning (they are no longer doing that) and new elevators that went at warp speed.

One day we drove to Canada’s Wonderland Amusement Park in Toronto.  The highway only accepted EasyPass, which we didn’t have at the time.  We’re still waiting to get some sort traffic fine in the mail.

What did we learn:  Jeanne redeems herself at selecting hotels and has been in charge of selecting hotels ever since.

2004 Las Vegas – Jeanne and Mark at Alladin
2005 10230013St. Croix – Mark, Brian and Ryan.  Mark flew out of Scranton while Brian and Ryan drove to Philadelphia for their flight.  But, true to form, the Mark’s Scranton flight was delayed causing him to miss the flight out of Philly.  He spent several hours in town waiting for a later flight – and then got stranded over night in Puerto Rico in yet another insect-infested crappy motel.  

The flight from Puerto Rico to St. Croix was on a small nine-passenger plane, with Mark as the only passenger.  They asked me to sit in the read seat for takeoff and to sit in the front seat for landing.  Brian and Ryan landed the day before even though they left Scranton several hours after Mark.

One of the many highlights of the trip was my first scuba diving experience.  It was awesome, but would have been better if I had removed my hearing aids first.

I spent a lot of time at the beach bar, including hearing some great music and buying their CD’s.  The one artist, Stephen Katz, has become one of my favorites.

2005 Las Vegas – Mark & Jeanne at Treasure Island
2006 Las Vegas – Jeanne, Mark, Beth & Pat Troy at Treasure Island 
2007 Atlantic City – It’s not Vegas, but Jeanne and Mark have a great time in Atlantic City for a few days.  We stayed at Caesar’s Palace.  Very nice rooms.
2008 Las Vegas – Jeanne, Mark, Beth & Pat Troy.  We stay at Treasure Island.
2009 2010
Penn State Weekend with the Phillips clan.  We rent wonderful cabins at Black Moshannan State Park

In 2010 we dropped Nana Phillips in Lewisburg on our way to Penn State.  Somehow Mark forgot to pack the sleeping bags, so we stopped at a Walmart in State College and bought some blankets and they worked just fine.

In 2011 we were unable to go to Penn State. Jeanne fell earlier in the week and was not able to travel

In 2013 we went to the Comet’s football game in Williamsport, and went directly from that game to Black Moshannon State Park.

The 2015 weekend was rainy, but not bad during the game.  Afterwards the mud in the parking areas was really mucky and we decide to tailgate back at the cabins.

2011 Niagara Falls.
Davis’ – Mark, Jeanne, Kelsey, Greg, Ty
Young’s – Diane, Allison, Erika – – and Martha PhillipsWe got stopped on our way into Canada and they questioned us about Martha.  While we had a copy of her birth certificate, we didn’t have a notarized letter of permission from her parents.  They explained that many kidnapping’s are done by family members.  It was a little scary for a bit.What did we learn:  Obvious, isn’t it?
2012 Las Vegas, Mark and Jeanne at Bellagio for our 25th wedding anniversary.
2016 Universal Studios, Orlando – Nov. 2016
Mark, Jeanne and Ty; Dave, Bev, Martha, Margarette and Clara.  This was a brief four night vacation.  We spent the first night at the Marriott at the Phila. Airport since our flight was 5:40 AM.  We got to the Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Studios by 8:30 and were in the park by 9 AM.

The hotel was beautiful.  It just recently opened and was bright and clean.  The pool area was gorgeous – maybe the best we’ve ever encountered.  It had a nice sandy area surrounding a firepit, and we sat there two of the three nights and had some wonderful food.

We had a great time at the parks, but ended up spending a ton of additional money to get Express passes.  This really helped when we got to the new Kong ride since the normal wait time was over two hours.