Regular readers of THE ROCK FATHER know that I'm a big fan of The J.M Smucker Company. Smucker's is an American tradition, so when I had a chance to visit their headquarters in Orrville, Ohio last Fall for their Holiday Traditions gathering, I jumped at it. While I had a great time and learned a lot (want a killer Brussels Sprouts recipe?), I couldn't help thinking that my family would like to visit there as well, so on our first-ever Great American Road Trip series, I took my wife and daughters to The J.M. Smucker Company Store and Cafe for a late lunch and a little bit of shopping as we made our way back to Illinois last month.
I love to think that there was a time - a time not long ago, just over a century ago - when you could build something in America that was able to become such a success, that an entire town could be named in it's (and your) honor. That happened when Milton S. Hershey created a "company town" that became known as Hershey, Pennsylvania, or "The Sweetest Place on Earth" back in 1894. Now, in addition to boasting the birthplace and main manufacturing hub for the Hershey's brands of chocolate-based goodness, Hershey, PA also includes a ballpark, arena, a theme park, and the original HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE WORLD. As part of our first Great American Road Trip series, my wife and I took the girls the Chocolate World last month to experience it as a family.
As a parent, there's certain objects that become a part of your daily life - accessories that are always close at-hand to help nurture the creativity of your little ones. Things like crayons. And, when it comes to crayons, there is no brand more iconic than Crayola, who in 1903 launched what would become an Empire of fun with the release of their original box of eight wax crayons, then-sold for just 5 cents! In Easton, Pennsylvania stands the birthplace of Crayola - and in 2013 the former Crayola Factory was rebirthed as THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE - a 60,000 square-foot home of colorful adventure where kids of all ages can immerse themselves in a vibrant world of imaginative play. As part of our first Great American Road Trip series, my wife and I packed up the girls and headed for Pennsylvania, where THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE was a must-visit location...
When we kicked-off our first-ever family road trip earlier this month, my wife and I did a fantastic job of keeping our destinations largely a secret from the little ones. In fact, they only knew of one stop (Chocolate World), and that's because Addie caught me looking at it on the computer prior to our journey. The centerpiece of our trip was kept well under-wraps, and keeping it a surprise until we entered the gates was completely worth it as the reactions were priceless. After spending the night in Philadelphia, the family and I headed for Langhorne, Pennsylvania - home of SESAME PLACE - the Nation's only theme park based entirely on SESAME STREET.
When I last paused my story, we'd arrived in Philadelphia on nearly no sleep after our drive from Chicago, but with two girls that were ready to roll. We'd stopped by the DoubleTree Philadelphia, but knowing how early we were, as expected, our room was not yet ready. Fueled only by coffee, we set out for Independence Hall and The Liberty Bell to jump right into that true Philly experience. Being a Sunday, we were ahead of the crowds, and managed to stop by Carpenter's Hall and the Betsy Ross house as well...
This adventure is brought to you by Walmart. THE ROCK FATHER is a Socialstars 2014 #WalmartAuto Ambassador. The Armor All products featured in this story are all available at your local store or at Walmart.com.
Ten years ago, SCION made it's debut here in the U.S., and I - deeply embedded in the entertainment world at the time - found myself enamored by the Scion XB, aka "The Box" after seeing it on the streets of California, where it arrived early. I ordered one brand-new, completely loaded and set to be delivered in June of 2004. In fact, I'm told it was the first black version to be delivered and sold in the state of Wisconsin (and imported to Illinois), but I've never been able to confirm that. I had it decked out with red LEDs to capture that KNIGHT RIDER vibe I dig so much, along with racing pedals, additional performance features, and the top-of-the-line Pioneer sound system. Upon arrival, I bestowed upon it a red Autobot insignia, displayed proudly on it's rear window... a throwback to the TRANSFORMERS debut in 1984. The car and I were ready for adventure, and many adventures were had. Now, in 2014 - I still have the Autobot in my driveway, but things are different. The bazooka tube is out of the trunk (room for a stroller), and in the back are a pair of car seats. 160,000 miles later, my Scion is still rockin', and it's Daddy and Addie that keep it that way.