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East Coast Road Trip: Our Last Day!

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, Day 2 hereDay 3 hereDay 4 hereDay 5 here, Day 6 hereDay 7 hereDay 8 hereDay 9 hereDay 10 hereDay 11 here, Day 12 here, and Day 13 here.

Our 14-day East Coast Road Trip came to an end on this day, but we went out with a bang for our last day in Cincinnati!

We started the day with Tom + Chee (our first time ever to go to this restaurant — we loved it and we’re SO excited to discover they have one in Nashville!! Apparently we’ve been living under a rock!).

I got a salad (sorry! I know!), but it was a Grilled Cheese Salad and had squares of grilled cheese on it (like croutons) and was amazing!

And then we headed to Smale Park to eat our lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings (thank you to everyone who recommended this park to us!)

You all will be very happy to know that we did indeed stop at Graeter’s for ice cream. That was the one place everyone said we HAD to go to in Cincy and it didn’t disappoint.

I was going to split a cone with Jesse and was hoping he might go for the Raspberry that you all recommended, but we compromised with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Yum!

We spent the afternoon and early evening at the Ark Encounter. We really enjoyed our time there! It was our big splurge of the trip and one of the things we had planned our trip around. I will say that it was pricey (and we even got half-price tickets from a friend of a friend who works for the company!), but we would highly recommend it if you get a chance to go!

And then we hopped in the car and drove the 4ish-hour trip home! It was good to be back in our beds!

It was such a good trip for so many reasons and I feel like we all have been stretched in really valuable ways as a result of it. We will carry so many memories and lessons with us in the months and years to come.

I came home feeling closer to Jesse and the kids because of the conversations and experiences we had, grateful for the simple rhythms and routines of our life that I sometimes take for granted, and inspired to be more adventuresome in my every day life right in TN.

(Thank you so much for letting me share our trip with you all here and for being so helpful and encouraging as we traveled. Our trip was so much better and richer because of you all!)

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  • Marianne says:

    Oh, man, there is a Tom+Chee near my work, and I got so addicted over the winter. (Funny, once warm weather hit my craving went away, but I suspect it will be back.) It’s the perfect comfort food. Did you guys try any soups?

  • Mary says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip! It brought back many memories of road trips with my parents and four siblings. We took trips from PA to Alabama many times and from PA to Colorado. Many fun times.

  • Haley says:

    Hi Crystal! I wanted to tell you I heard you on Meg Meeker today and so enjoyed your interview. Thank you for taking the time to share such wonderful wisdom!

  • Isn’t it refreshing to be home after a long trip?

    I was wondering if you would visit the Ark Encounter when you mentioned the Creation Museum! Our pastor recommended it to us, and we are looking forward to going sometime.

  • Cheryl A. Lewis-McCarren says:

    Awwww….Crystal…..I wish I would have known you were in town. 🙁 I keep on seeing you pass through Cincinnati and I never get to catch up with you!!! Come back soon?? 🙂 Looks like you all had a wonderful and exciting time! The kids!!!!!! HUGE!!!! Look at them!!! LOL!!!! Samuel will be 14 next month and Isaac is 11…..I still have the pictures of when you came out to Perry and they were all so little!

    Hoping we can catch up sometime….I’ll leave my email below and hopefully we can! <3 Cheryl 🙂

  • Lynette says:

    When you visit KC there is a Tom&Chee in Olathe!

  • Kellie Estep says:

    What? No Skyline? haha j/k. Tom+Chee is pretty good, love their tomato soup! I’m in Cincinnati, so glad to see this post and see that you had a good time! Hope you visit again soon!

  • Patti says:

    Glad you are home safe and sound. Thanks for sharing all your adventures. What happy memories you created!

  • Andrea says:

    Love Tom + Chee! We don’t have them where I live but I have some family in Kentucky and I always go when we visit. The grilled cheese donut is surprisingly delicious!

  • Sarah Schreffler says:

    You only spent part of a day at the Ark? How did you manage that! We got there when it opened and spent ALL day — walked 5 miles. And ended up wishing we had the feet power to stay the last couple of hours in the day. There was so much to see and we missed a bit on the top floor.

    • Because we got there later in the day, there weren’t many people there so we were able to go through it pretty quickly. We were told (by the staff there) that earlier in the day it would take a lot longer to go through since there would be so many people there. So they suggested we not get there until after lunch so that there would be a lot less people there… that was definitely the case! There was only one section we didn’t go through thoroughly because Silas was tired at that point!

      • Sarah Schreffler says:

        We were there from when they opened to after dinner hour. I didn’t see a large decrease in crowds later in the day! If anything, it got more crowded with more people there as the day progressed. We did wish we’d gone down to the petting zoo first thing in the morning due to the heat later. Did you stop to read the signs? We didn’t get to see the exhibit where Noah answered questions as much as we’d like and we missed entirely the one about missionaries 🙁

        • So interesting! They told us that it’s usually really crowded in the morning and it’s hard to read the signs, but by mid afternoon, it’s usually mostly cleared out — which was definitely the case for us. They said that they have a lot of tour buses come through in the mornings and that’s why. That might just have been the timeframe that we visited in that it’s like that, though.

          We went through it all thoroughly except for the very last section (because Silas was getting tired so I took him down to the gift shop). We have spent a LOT of time reading and watching Answers in Genesis material for most of our lives, though, so a lot of it wasn’t new material for us, which is likely why we were able to go through it more quickly than maybe someone who hasn’t watched and re-watched (and been able to quote!) much of their material! 😉

          Our kids especially LOVED the sections where they talked in detail about how the ark could have logistically functioned and we spent a lot of time there and in the section on Noah’s family/the living quarters.

  • Sharon B Marable says:

    I have to say that I’ve been living vicariously through you and your family. I’ve done this trip with my Mother. You made it live again. The 5 bag idea is genius.
    Thank you for taking the time to share.

  • Sharon B Marable says:

    I have to say that I’ve been living vicariously through you and your family. I’ve done this trip with my Mother. You made it live again. The 5 bag idea is genius.
    Thank you for taking the time to share.

  • Becky says:

    My daughter and I went to the Ark Encounter last fall and although it was interesting to get a feel for just how big the ark was, I felt it was WAY overpriced for what it is and how quickly you go through it. It cost $90 for tickets plus parking for the two of us!! It was deserted on the day we went, a rainy weekday in November. It only took us a few hours to walk through the entire ark, looking at everything and watching the videos. There’s just not a lot to see. If you have discount tickets then maybe it’s worth a stop but I would not recommend going if you have to pay full price.

  • Thanks for sharing your trip – I’ve enjoyed hearing all about it! What treasured memories with your family!

  • Bekki says:

    We went to Boston for the first time in July. It was the weekend after the fourth. I felt the same way as you about Boston…… I love living in NC but Boston felt comfortable especially for a big city. We felt very safe and the people in Plymouth were so friendly! We are definitely planning another trip!

  • Maurika says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip. I really looked forward to receiving them in my inbox and enjoyed reading them. You have given me ideas of a few places that I would like to check out with my family.

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