Over the past 20 years I have taken many great American road trips, crossing over 27 states in total. But the last one was the most special. A father-son road trip with my 12 year old son in October 2014. We started our US tour in Washington DC, which I wrote about earlier here. Being a true American road trip and the first visit to the US for my son we rented a cool all-America classic car, a Ford Mustang, to take us from Washington DC to New York City and back, taking in some of the great sights in between.
Six days is not a lot of time for a road trip in the United States, especially when it is the first visit to this massive country (as it was for my son). But if you carefully select the sights you want to see, you can do a lot! We drove from Washington DC via Pennsylvania to New York and back. (Click to enlarge)
Road tripping with an all American Muscle Car!
Pennsylvania Welcomes You!
Gettysburg is a typical small Pennsylvania town, that was devastated during the Civil War and remained a living museum town ever since. See here the blog post that describes Gettysburg as a top-5 sight in the Washington DC area.
In Hanover PA we find a perfect US steak!
Hershey’s Chocolate Trap?
The next morning we drive to Hershey PA. Chocolate Town USA! Unfortunately we cannot visit the famous factory itself and have to do with the Chocolate World visitor center.
Slightly disappointed about this tourist trap (it is basically a big store) we quickly continue…
Road tripping Amish style!
Lancaster county is best known for the Pennsylvania Dutch. Of course they are not Dutch at all, and are better known as the Amish. We visit the very nice Amish Farm and House, where you learn all about the Amish life.
Which is more traditional American, our 2013 Ford Mustang or this 1920’s Amish buggy? At the Amish Farm and House you can try out for yourself.
Everywhere in Lancaster County you see Amish using different vehicles. The more traditional people use horse drawn buggy’s and side steps, while the less orthodox Amish drive their SUV’s to Walmart.
Crossing wonderful Lancaster County you encounter unusual traffic situations!
A rainy fall in New York
It is a grey day when we cross the New Jersey state line towards New York City.
And once we get to New York it is raining heavily. US East Coast in October!
In the evening we drop our stuff at our hotel in Secausus and drive straight to the restaurant with the best view of the New York skyline: The Weehawken Chart House, which is not on, but in the Hudson River, right opposite Midtown Manhattan. Definitely my favorite New York seafood place! And convenient valet parking for only $10!
We spend two days exploring New York City. I will write about the best NYC sights for kids in a separate blog post.
New York City is a must-visit for kids on an East Coast road trip! Two days is a great intro to several of the highlights.
A quick return
After two days in New York the weather has improved significantly, but it is time to go. We drive back to Washington in one day, catching a flight home in the evening.
Our drive back takes us right through the heart of via Philadelphia, where we make a quick stop to see Liberty Bell and Independance Hall.
DC-NYC-DC is a great itinerary for a first impression of the East Coast cities. Of course each of these places deserves a much longer visit all by itself, but by making it an all-American road trip you combine many elements into a short 6 days. Even after such a short trip it is hard to say goodbye to our loyal 8-cilinder gas guzzling travel companion!