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Goodbye Drab Vacations, Hello Fun!

By D.J. Wilson -

Welcoming changes of scenery make vacations exciting.  Whether you’re planning a romantic Valentine’s Day retreat or a family trip, the elements of fun and adventure can be greatly increased by taking a one-of-a kind vacation.  Here are three amazing choices:

The Red Caboose Motel and Restaurant, Strasburg, Pennsylvania – nestled in the heart of the Amish Countryside in Lancaster County, on 9 ½ acres of land neighboring the historic Strasburg Railroad, awaits one of the most astounding vacations.  The story of the Red Caboose began in 1969, with a simple bid on 19 cabooses auctioned off by the Pennsylvania Railroad, won for one hundred dollars.  The cabooses were moved to a parcel of land amidst peaceful Amish country where they were turned into lodging.  Over time, train cars were added.  Today, the current owner is involved the historical restoration and preservation of the car’s origins. Climb on board one of the newly restored caboose sleeping cars for an overnight adventure. The Red Caboose Motel features 46 sleeping cars with dining and baggage cars.    Accommodations run the gamut from honeymoon suites featuring a queen bed, Jacuzzi tub and private deck with outdoor seating to a family caboose which sleeps a couple and up to four children.  The Broadway South Caboose is half of a baggage car and features one queen bed, one double and two bunks for a maximum of six people.  Offering rustic charm, the rooms include microwaves, refrigerators, cable TV, private bathrooms, clock radios and heating and air conditioning.  The full service restaurant is located in a refurbished 80-ton P-70 coach with railroad music playing in the background.  The Red Caboose Restaurant boasts delicious home-style family meals prepared using local farm fresh food.  There’s a great deal of fun activities to enjoy, including a petting farm and summertime movies under the stars at the outdoor movie theatre.  Take a leisure tour of Strasburg, PA on an authentic Amish buggy ride.  Explore nearby attractions such as The Choo-Choo Barn which features a delightfully detailed 1,700 foot model railroad. Complete your trip with a visit to The Railroad Museum with more than 100 locomotives and rail cars on display.  Then, ride the historic Strasburg Railroad, America’s oldest short-line railroad in fully restored passenger cars pulled by a large, coal-burning steam locomotive. The Red Caboose is a must-visit destination for train enthusiasts and for those seeking a unique lodging experience in a motel made from fully restored 25-ton cabooses.   All aboard a great nostalgic American vacation!!  Visit www.redcaboosemotel.com.

The Liberty, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts – This hotel is a stunning architectural gem.  Opened in September 2007, it is considered a must-visit destination in downtown Boston.  Rich in history, with its roots as the Charles Street Jail which once housed some of Boston’s most notorious criminals; it is now transformed into one of the most beautiful hotels in the city.  The original building is considered one of the finest examples of the “Boston Granite Style” of the mid-19th century.  In 1973, prisoners revolted due to poor living conditions and the jail was declared unfit for the inmates.  In 1991, the property was acquired by Massachusetts General Hospital.  Later, Carpenter & Company was designated developer and entered into a lease agreement for the land and the jail.  With the work of historians and conservationists, many of the prison’s features remain intact.  For example, the jail’s central atrium, soaring 90 feet, was thoughtfully preserved and has a dramatic effect serving as the hotel’s core.  Jail cells within the hotel restaurant, exposed brick walls, historic catwalks and wrought iron covering windows are features which remain largely unspoiled.  The former exercise yard for the prison was turned into a private enclosure featuring a landscaped courtyard.  Detailed tours, including history of former residents of the Charles Street Jail, are offered.  This premier destination hotel is located close to Boston’s entertainment and shopping venues.  In addition to 300 guest rooms, including some with stunning river views, you’ll find an impressive grand ballroom, meeting rooms, reception areas, choices of restaurants and bars with exquisite foods and extensive wine lists.  In room amenities include luxurious bathrobes, HD televisions, high speed WI-FI, private bars and more.  Guest Services offer luggage liaison, valet parking, evening turndown service, health and fitness center and full concierge services.  Don’t let its former history as a prison deter you from visiting this historically preserved lavish hotel.  This is one place you won’t mind being “under arrest.”  Visit www.libertyhotel.com.

Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho –   This unusual accommodation is located in the heart of the Camas Prairie, where blue grass and hay grows in abundance.  If you’re a dog lover and whimsical art is your style, you’ll enjoy sleeping inside the two-story body of a dog.  Yes, that’s right!  Dog Bark Park Inn is a bed and breakfast guesthouse inside the World’s largest Beagle.  Guests enter the body of the dog from a private second story deck.  Inside and up another level of the dog’s head is a loft room with additional sleeping space with a cozy nook inside the muzzle.  Be prepared to find the toilet disguised as a fire hydrant.  According to their policy, responsible pets may arrive with their well-behaved humans and are welcome to stay with prior approval and advanced reservations.  Dog Bark Park Inn serves a continental self-service breakfast featuring teas, coffees, fresh fruits, cereals, home-made granola, bagels, home baked pastries and more.  There is no phone or television.  Many visitors find it refreshing to escape the world of electronics and focus on family time.  With a plethora of books, games and puzzles available, there is plenty to do together.  Guests are welcome to walk the grounds and browse the gift shop and artists’ studio where folk-art style canine carvings and chainsaw art are major themes.  There is much to do in the area such as taking scenic drives, hiking, horse-back riding, berry picking, birding, jet boat touring, and visiting local historical museums such as the Monastery of St. Gertrude & Historical Museum and the Bicentennial Historical Museum.  Reservations are currently being taken for the 2013 season and lodging is available from April 1st to October 31st.  If you’re hounding for a one-of-a kind adventure, this one will make your tail wag!   Visit www.dogbarkparkinn.com.

Vacations don’t have to be hum-drum and run of the mill.  There are cool and memorable places to visit all over the map.  Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to discover unique vacation opportunities like these in your own neck of the woods.  Be sure to share your fun travel adventures with us.

About The Author

D. J. Wilson resides in Southern New Jersey with her husband and three children. After attending St. Joseph’s College on Long Island, NY, she is a 1986 graduate of Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. D.J. earned a language degree from L’Université de Nancy II in France, where she took part in an international studies abroad program. D.J.’s early career began as an administrative specialist for a prominent translation company in Manhattan, New York, and later for a prestigious CPA Firm on the Main Line in Pennsylvania. The positions were thoroughly pleasing as she enjoyed greeting and assisting important business clients on a daily basis. Leaving her position to raise a family enabled D.J. to volunteer at school when her children were younger. D.J. currently finds pleasure in hobbies such as cooking, baking, photography, and writing. She also enjoys spending quality time with her family and two Maltese. Prior to writing articles for AMAC, D.J. owned and operated a Professional Organizing Service which enabled her to gain extensive insight and understanding into the minds of hoarders. Now freelance writing from home, D.J. enjoys writing on a variety of topics such as travel, finance, politics, human interests, decorating and home organization.

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Comments (8)

  1. Susan says:

    We stayed at the “Red Caboose” motel in Pennsylvania for a long weekend and it was REALLY neat! There is also a trip you can take for a couple of hours with a “murder mystery” play on board…absolutely wonderful! There is a “haunted” (I’m not kidding) antique store in the town.

  2. Noble says:

    I would like to see AMAC be in more direct competition with AARP. A great way to do that is to connect with major brand Hotels and establish discounts like AARP has. Major Food Chains as well.. Go head to head in these type of Travel benefits. They are already running scared. I get weekly mailings from them, but I refuse to join. I don’t want them counting me as a supporter in their political agendas. Keep up the great work.

  3. Shellie says:

    Ideas for those of us in Alabama

  4. John Higgins says:

    Looks like Debbie Wilson is in demand all across the country! Keep the fun articles coming.
    Thanks for making us all aware of all the great places we can visit in the greatest country in the world.

  5. Scott says:

    We like going off the beaten path and these are fun things to explore. Keep it up.

  6. KAREN ROSE says:

    ****DEARLY LOVE YOUR INPUT ON THE MANY TRAVEL IDEAS! PLEASE KEEP THEM COMING!

    THE LORD BLESS YOU…MAKE HIS ‘LIGHT’ FLOW THROUGH YOU…BESTOWING PEACE, COMFORT, JOY, ….AS HIS SPIRIT FOLLOWS YOUR STEPS…IN ‘OBEDIENCE’ TO HIM ALONE!!!!……………………BLESSINGS!!

  7. Garland says:

    Good info, keep it coming and expand to southeast. Include activities for active seniors. Thanks.

  8. Kenneth says:

    How about some ideas for those of us in the Southwest, like Texas.

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