Epic Family Road Trip Preview: #Hot Mama Does America

Wow! Summer of 2017 is going to rock, because we have partnered with Best Western Plus to bring you #HotMamaDoesAmerica, an epic cross-country family road trip. We are packing up the whole multi-generational crew into the minivan and hitting the road for a nomadic 60 days! Yes, while the FireCracker wraps up the school year, we are in the midst of a major spring purge. We are packing, storing and moving things out of our place to make room for adventure.  We will be west coast representing as we take our escapade east, visiting close to 20 states and countless landmark cities.  Want to know the best part? I’m inviting you guys to virtually come along with us every step of the way. Just follow the hashtag #HotMamaDoesAmerica for up-to-date postings so you never have to miss a minute of the fun. We invite you to play a part in our first nomadic trip by commenting and conversing and sharing with adventurous friends and family, to help make our trip more memorable 🙂

Hitting the Road!

Anaheim, CA  –  Deming, NM

Yikes! I know, it sounds like a long day, but we wanted to cover as much ground as possible the first day. Although I have done some research and it looks like a pretty cute town with some interesting things to see, I’m not sure how much time we will actually have to sight see. Deming is really just a pit stop and sleep for us, staying at the Days Inn in Deming. Check prices.

Deming, NM  –  San Antonio, TX

Yes, another long day on the road, but I am really excited about visiting San Antonio. Staying at the Best Western Plus Sunset Suites, we will be spending some time here to explore. After two long days of driving, it will nice to take a break and enjoy the city. What I am most excited about is having a margarita on the river walk and visiting the Alamo. Check prices.

San Antonio, TX  –  New Orleans, LA

After some well needed rest, we are off to New Orleans baby! A city that has been on my bucket list my entire life and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to finally get there. After checking into the Pelham Hotel, I will be taking my time in the big easy and that means taking some time off the road to explore this historical and fascinating town. I reckon I’ll be spending most of my time strolling the French Quarter as well as visiting Lafayette Cemetery, checking out the Voodoo scene and tasting a beignet at Café Du Monde. Check prices.

New Orleans, LA  –  Andersonville, GA

In Andersonville we are switching gears a bit, going from a party scene to a heavier site that is a former Civil War prison. Why are we going here, you ask? Well, we recently discovered the grave of my Great Great Great Grandfather, who is buried as a POW at Andersonville. You can read more about the discovery and how it inspired this trip, HERE. I am also a history buff and any opportunity to experience a historic location and to have my kids learn something I will take it in a heartbeat, even if it is dark. However, I am super excited about our stay at The Windsor Hotel in Americus and that will surely brighten the mood. I can’t wait to share awesome pictures and our experience at this historic hotel! Check prices.

Andersonville, GA  –  Savannah, GA

This drive is going to feel like a breeze after the long days we will be accustomed to driving thus far. This destination Grams has wanted to visit ever since I was a child, so I am very glad that I am able to finally take her to Savannah. The Spanish moss that drips from the trees is calling to me and I can’t wait to just wander around (with my roadie in hand of course). We also hope to have enough time to pop on over to Tybee Island as it has been the setting of some of my favorite Mary Kay Andrews novels. We will be staying at the Best Western Savannah Historic District in order to stay close to all the action while still be budget-friendly. Check prices.

Savannah, GA  –  Charleston, SC

Two days and a short drive later, we will be arriving in Charleston. Although Grams has always dreamed of Savannah, I have a feeling that Charleston is just as important. Yes, we are fans of the show Southern Charm and I am sure we will be having a drink at Shep’s Palace Hotel. Would it be fun to run into a cast member or two? I wouldn’t mind getting invited to one of Patricia’s infamous cocktail parties. Anyway, Charleston looks beautiful and I can’t wait to stroll around the historic streets. I wanted to stay in the historic district, but it was a little pricey for us this time around. However, we are staying just outside in the neighborhood of West Ashley at the Holiday Inn Riverview and it has a lovely view of the…well…river. Ha. Check prices.

Charleston, SC  –  Baltimore, MD

This is the last leg of the road trip as Baltimore is the location in which we will be basing ourselves throughout the week. HotDaddy and I will be using this time to catch up on work, meet up with friends, and explore Maryland. It will also be our starting point for our weekend adventures.

Weekend Getaways

Baltimore, MD  –  Washington D.C

So far, the first weekend trip will be Washington D.C. Now, this is the weekend before Independence Day, so it might be a little crazy. I definitely want to see more than a weekend will allow, but I will try my best. We will be taking a two-day hop-on hop-off bus tour. I am traveling with a multi-generational group that ranges from 83 to 5 and it is easier to have someone else navigate our motley crew around a new city. We took a hop-on hop-off bus in Glasgow, which you can read more about HERE, and now I am a big fan!

Baltimore, MD  –  Philadelphia, PA

Although Papa grew up in New Jersey, we traced the family back to Philadelphia. So, we are really excited to do some genealogy travel as well as take in all of our nation’s history. In addition to my family, HotDaddy reportedly has family ties to Betsey Ross, so we are excited to visit her historic home. We also will be seeing the Independence Hall and Liberty Bell as well as eating an authentic Philly Cheese Steak! We will be staying at the Best Western Plus Philadelphia Convention Center Hotel, which has lovely views of the city. Check prices.

Philadelphia, PA  –  Hershey, PA

Ever since I was a kid I have wanted to visit Hershey. I mean a whole town about chocolate, who wouldn’t love that? I am hoping to see some of Amish country on our journey from Philly to Hershey. When arrive in Hershey we will be visiting Hershey Park and Hotel Hershey. I hope to see Hershey Lodge too, but I just don’t know if there will be enough time. Ah.

Baltimore, MD  –  New York, NY

This will be our first time in the Big Apple, so naturally we will be doing a lot of tourist stuff. I want to see the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Times Square and Central park, just to name a few. I would love to squeeze in a Broadway show too, but we shall see – if it were just me and HotDaddy we most certainly would! It is a big city and I know we will only be able to scratch the surface. To help us get around efficiently, I plan on taking a hop-on hop-off bus again.

Baltimore, MD  –  Atlantic City, NJ

This trip to New Jersey is going to be a trip down memory lane for Papa, since this is where he grew up. He has never been back to visit with us, so this is going to be a very special moment for all of us. We are going to visit Papa’s hometown of Gloucester to see his childhood home and high school. It is a small town, so we will probably see most it by lunch and continue on from there. From Gloucester we will head to the shore and visit Papa’s family vacation spot in Wildwood before spending the night in Atlantic City. I am from California and we don’t really have boardwalks quite like Jersey (I guess Balboa Fun Zone is the closest we have to Anaheim, which you can read about HERE), so I am really looking for to finally seeing those.

Baltimore, MD  –  Salem, MA

Another big journey, but I can’t be all the way on the east coast and not see Salem. The history of the witch hunts is so distributing, yet fascinating. I have always been interested in the Salem witch trials and played a darn good afflicted girl in middle school. Besides visiting all the actual historical sites, we will also be taking the Hocus Pocus tour. We all love that film and seeing the filming locations should be really exciting.

Salem, MA  –  Boston, MA

On the way back we will be staying in Boston. I can’t to see Boston. There is so much history here too and I want to take it all in. I will definitely be taking The Freedom Trail as well as visiting all the historical sites like Paul Revere’s House and Church, Acorn Street, Tea Party Ships and Faneuil Hall. You can bet I will be sipping some cold Boston Lagers too!

Heading Home

Baltimore, MD  –  Asheville, NC

Although our time on east coast will be coming to an end, we still have a whole road trip back west to look forward to. Our first stop will be Asheville! I am looking forward to spending time in their vibrant downtown, enjoying their infamous food and craft beer scene. We plan on hopping on a trolley to explore the more historical areas. I also really want to see Biltmore, George W. Vanderbilt’s winter chateaux.  I know that Asheville is known for their outdoor adventures, but since we are only there a couple days we are probably going to focus on the city fun.

Asheville, NC  –  Nashville, TN

We are very excited about Nashville, the music city! We definitely want to check out the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Johnny Cash Museum. Not sure if we can with the kids, but I would sure like to pop into a honky tonk or two on Lower Broadway. Hopefully we can squeeze in a meal and a show at the Bluebird Café too. I should be able to accomplish quite a bit as we will be here a couple days, staying at the Best Western Plus Belle Meade Inn & Suites. Check prices.

Nashville, TN  –  Memphis, TN

I can’t visit Memphis without visiting Graceland. My Grandma was a huge Elvis fan and my sister said that after she visited Graceland a couple years ago, she became one too. I think it will be a unique experience for the whole family. We also plan on completing the experience with a visit to Sun Studio and Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Since live music is everywhere, I plan on listening to a lot while in town.

Memphis, TN  –  Austin, TX

I have heard so many great things about Austin’s live music and restaurant scene, that I am eager to experience it myself. However, we will be making a pit stop in Waco first to visit Chip and Joanna Gains’ Magnolia Farms. Once in Austin, we plan on spending most our time emerged in the downtown scene. Since we do love history too, we will probably take a trolley tour of some kind to show us some highlights. We are in no rush to leave Austin and will be resting our boots at Best Western Plus Austin City Hotel. Check prices.

Austin, TX  –  El Paso, TX

We won’t be spending too much time in El Paso, but do hope to see some historical sites while in town. I’d like to see the mission trail, the Concordia Cemetery, the Buffalo Soldier Memorial and the Camino Real Hotel. There is a lot of history packed in this quick stop, but hopefully I can see a good bit of it.

El Paso, TX  –  Scottsdale, AZ

This is our last stop before we are home and we just plan on relaxing. Scottsdale is a beautiful city with an exciting downtown and we plan on wining and dining during our stay. We will be enjoying our stay at the Best Western Plus Sundial as well. Check prices.

Scottsdale, AZ  –  Anaheim, CA

After a long summer on the road, it will be nice to arrive home. Luckily for us, home is a pretty exciting town too. I’m sure we will be diving back into all our go-to Anaheim hot spots in no time. Since we will have moved out of our home before the trip, we might need to stay in a hotel a couple more days until we get moved back in. The adventure continues I guess. For fun things to in Anaheim, check out my post HERE.

That's a Wrap!

So what do you think? Are we crazy or what!?

Do you have any insider tips about restaurants, bars or attractions in a city we are visiting?

Let us know in the comments to help make our road trip truly epic!

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Epic Family Road Trip

23 Comments
  1. avatar image
    Ali May at May 17, 2017 Reply

    Amazing! I can’t wIt to follow along with this adventure, Amanda! Congratulations on putting this amazing itinerary together. Bring on the ROAD TRIP!

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      Hot Mama at May 18, 2017 Reply

      Thanks! Yes, bring on the road trip is right…this is going to be a wild but exciting ride! So glad you will be following us, Ali 🙂

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    Noreen Kompanik at May 19, 2017 Reply

    What an incredible trip! Wow, and great information along the way. Well done!

    1. avatar image
      Hot Mama at May 30, 2017 Reply

      Thanks. I look forward to sharing with it you!

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    John at May 19, 2017 Reply

    This is going to be epic! You are hitting almost all of my favorite cities and a few I haven’t been to yet (Austin, Baltimore, and Savannah). Cant wait to read how it goes!

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      Hot Mama at May 30, 2017 Reply

      Thank you. I am pretty darn excited about it too.

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    Obligatory Traveler at May 19, 2017 Reply

    I’m so excited for this road trip! I live in the Philadelphia Area. If you are doing the Pat’s/Geno’s cheesesteak thing, then think about having a sweet treat at Rim Cafe that’s on the same street. It’s a really fun place. Please promise there will be a family picture or video of you guys eating Mack’s Pizza on the Wildwood boardwalk.

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      Hot Mama at May 19, 2017 Reply

      Yes! We love these great tips. When we get to Wildwood boardwalk, the first thing I’ll look for is Mack’s Pizza and be sure to snap some shots!

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      Hot Mama at May 30, 2017 Reply

      I am taking notes off all your suggestions! If we hit up any of these delicious spots I will tag you in the photo!

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    Bistra Yakimova at May 19, 2017 Reply

    Wow this is is exciting! Wish you all the best on the road!
    And congrats on your new design!

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    Michele at June 6, 2017 Reply

    What an adventure! I’m looking forward to hearing about your stay at the Best Western Plus in San Antonio. There are direct flights there now from Toronto so it sounds like a great place to stay with my own family.

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      Hot Mama at June 6, 2017 Reply

      Yeah it is going to be something. I am really looking forward to San Antonio. I will let you know how it is.

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    Agness of aTukTuk at June 8, 2017 Reply

    Wow! You must have had a spectacular time! You’ve been to so many places!

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      Hot Mama at June 9, 2017 Reply

      Well, it hasn’t started yet, but that is a preview of what’s to come. So, stay tuned for updates.

  8. […] discovery of my Great-Great-Great Grandfather’s grave at Andersonville Prison that prompted our #HotMamaDoesAmerica road trip. I learned that his name was William and fought in the Civil War for the Union with the 13th […]

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