Welcome to my 14-day series on our East Coast Road Trip where I share our adventures along the way, how we’re doing this on a budget, honest reviews of attractions & restaurants we visit, and money-saving tips and ideas. If you missed it, read Day 1 here.
We started Day 2 of our East Coast Road Trip in Blacksburg, VA and ended it in Alexandria, VA. It is SO beautiful in this state! I just can’t get over it!
Using Groupon to Save On Our Vacation
A few years ago, I used to post a lot of Groupon deals here with my referral link (which meant that I would earn referral credit every time someone purchased a deal).
Back in the beginning, Groupon had some really, really fantastic deals and, as a result, we collected a lot of Groupon referral credit. We used it to buy a number of Groupons and then, all of a sudden, the credit stopped working.
In fact, we just plain couldn’t order anything from Groupon at all with our account. It would try to place the order, it would spool forever on the order page, and then it would time out.
I contacted Groupon multiple times and they couldn’t help me. I figured they had just flagged our account because I had maxed out the referral credit (sadly, this has happened multiple times in the past with other companies and I have had thousands of dollars in honestly-earned referral credit taken away just because they said that too many people redeemed a deal through my blog).
As a result, we stopped ordering from Groupon (since our account wouldn’t work) and I kind of forgot about it and about the few thousand dollars in credit I still had on Groupon. And life went on.
But recently, I was on Groupon again and decided to try using the credit again and it WORKED! This was right when we were in the middle of planing our 14-Day Road Trip and it couldn’t have been more perfect timing!
So you’ll see that we are using Groupon for most of our deals on this trip — because not only does it mean we get in at a discount, but since we are buying the Groupons with referral credit, it actually means we’re technically getting in for FREE!
Before we head to a new area, I’m searching on Groupon to see what deals they have available. You have to look closely at the fine print because many area only good for two people or are only good during certain dates.
I’m specifically looking for places that will allow us to buy five passes and that will allow us to use them in one order. This narrows down the possibilities, but so far, there are still some great options that we’re finding!
The Smithfield Plantation House
The Smithfield Plantation House was one such option we found on Groupon. It’s usually $8 per ticket, but we bought the Groupon to get admission for 6 for just $18 (they were running a special to get an additional $6 off tickets through July 6, 2017).
We loved the tour. It was just an hour long, but I couldn’t believe how up close and personal they let you get with everything in the house — including furnishings that were really old and valuable.
Our guide was really fantastic and made the tour so interesting. You could tell she absolutely loves bringing history alive to people!
The grounds were so beautiful and peaceful and it was amazing to hear how much history went down right in this house and area. Our whole family enjoyed this tour and would recommend it — especially if you love American History like we do!
Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea
We left the Plantation with our sites set on making it to Alexandria. However, we only made it as far as Salem, VA before we were all really hungry. We decided to stop in Salem, VA and look for a local coffee shop.
So I googled “coffee shops” and we found this gem: Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea. We instantly fell in love! It was adorable, the food was really good, and the service was excellent.
(One downside: the bathrooms weren’t very clean. I’m not sure if they’d just had a rush of customers that morning or if the bathrooms usually aren’t very clean.)
The Rest of the Day
We then headed to Purcellville, VA to stop by Patrick Henry College, where Jesse went for one year before he moved back home to marry me. What memories!
We didn’t get out and walk around because it was getting late, but it was fun to show our kids the area where Jesse lived for awhile and to reminisce about when I came to visit him there with my dad and brother (my first time to go to DC!)
It was such a good day and we enjoyed so much laughter together, there was very little arguing, and I’m so glad we decided to go on this Two-Week East Coast Road Trip.
To be continued…
Want to follow along with our trip in real-time? Follow my personal Instagram account here where I’ll be sharing a daily recap + videos and photos via Instagram Stories.