After being cooped up in our 1 bedroom apartment for a little over two months due to Covid-19 we decided to book a getaway. We wanted a place we can drive to that isn't too far away but far enough where it feels like a vacation. I started searching for unique stays on Airbnb and came across Sunny Ridge Farms in Marietta, PA.
We booked our stay for 4 days and 3 nights. Most attractions in the area were still closed due to Covid-19 but we had a wonderful time and still had our days packed with fun things to do.
This Airbnb was the most quaint, charming and peaceful place we've come across. We stayed in their guest suite which comfortably sleeps two adults in a queen sized bed. You have free parking on their property, a private entry way, kitchenette, private bathroom with a shower and a bathroom in a common area that has a bathtub that you have access to.
There is a coffee station, mugs, dishes, silverware, and cookware. You can purchase a dozen eggs from them for $5.00 from their own free range chickens - they were delicious. The space was clean, a good size for the two of us, and decorated really well. You are provided with sheets, towels for both showering and the pool, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, conditioner, soap, dish soap, sponges to wash dishes with and garbage bags. Pretty much anything you think you'd need, you have.
You have access to their in ground pool (not heated), a fire pit and wood, Grill, TV in your room, washer/dryer, and bikes. You have the option to help feed their calf, collect eggs from the chickens, and feed the goats and sheep. You are able to walk around their entire property on your own as if its your own.
Emily and Craig make such a sweet, charming and down to earth couple. They are very friendly and available to help with anything you need to make your stay more enjoyable. Out of all the Airbnb's we've stayed at they are our favorite hosts. If you want to interact with them or you're the type who likes to have their own space they're respectful of both needs. They're helpful in finding things to do in the area and showing you around their property and how they upkeep things if you're interested in learning how farming works. They're new farmers, about 2-3 years in the game and are looking to slowly expand and add more to make their Airbnb even more appealing. They were so sweet and welcoming which really made a lasting impression on us. Sunny Ridge Farm's is definitely a place we will be vacationing at again in the near future! Either before or after our baby arrives - this place is very kid friendly.
Things We did:
Mo and I love to go to antique shops. Mo collects model cars and I'm fascinated by 'vintage' anything and learning about how people used to live. That being said, we went around to a few antique shops which kept us busy for a couple of hours.
Abe's Buggy Rides: 2596 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird in Hand, PA 17505 (717) 392-1794
Abe's Buggy Rides was a really fun experience for us. They have a few choices for how long of a ride you want to take ranging from 2 to 6.5 miles long. Mo and I chose one that was 4.5 mile ride which was about 45 minutes. We passed by Amish farms, stopped at an Amish owned and run Bakery (Disclaimer: we didn't get anything b/c we keep kosher), passed by buildings and structures that were 100 years old. Our tour guide was so down to earth and sweet, he explained the Amish lifestyle and history really well and patiently answered any and all questions we had to help us better understand their way of life. The ride was really peaceful and enjoyable. On their property they have a few chickens, doves, quail, Horses, a Pony, and a Goat. They have a playground where kids can release some energy and a shaded area where you can sit and each some lunch before or after your ride. If you're looking for a fun experience for the whole family that includes learning about the Amish this should go on your list.
Roots Country Market & Auction: 705 Graystone Rd, Manheim, PA 17545
This place is a Farmers market & Auction that is open every Tuesday. You have Amish, Mennonite, and your average Joe selling fresh produce, handmade furniture, soaps, and homemade food. You can find some touristy items, clothing and toys for kids too. They also have an auction for different types of produce, packaged food and small animals. You can leave the small auction with a bunny, goat, goose, peacock, chicken, hens, ducks, and baby chicks. It was an interesting experience. We spent about an hour there because it was really hot but I think this is a cool place to do some produce shopping. I also think if you were thinking about getting some chickens or a pet bunny for your kids its a fun way to acquire those animals.
Michael's Motor Cars: 922 North Queen St Lancaster, PA 17603 717.392.2888
If you're looking to see and/or rent gorgeous classic cars while you're in Lancaster, PA this is the place you should go. Mo searched this place up on google and we stopped off there on our way home. We spoke with Michael, the owner, and two members of his team there and were able to see about 7-10 really stunning classic cars. This place is also a dealership so some of these beauties are for sale! The one thing we wish we knew before our trip was that we could have rented a classic car to use for our trip there. We're both huge fans of classic cars, if you are too or someone in the family you're travelling with is, this is a place to stop by!
Other Attractions In The Area:
Many attractions in the area were still closed due to Covid-19 when we went. However, when the area opens back up more there is a lot to do!
- Hershey Park
- Dutch Wonderland
- Turkey Hill Experience
- Rock Ford Plantation
- National Watch & Clock Museum
- Locals farms for produce picking or to see animals
- Horse back riding
- Biking trails
- Hiking trails
- Many different Amish tours
Kosher Food: If you keep kosher you know that travelling and finding food can be hard. Knowing that, and restaurants being closed due to the pandemic We decided to come very prepared. We knew that we can eggs from our Airbnb and had a kitchen we can cook in. I made a very basic menu for the two of us and packed up all the kitchen items, ingredients, and cookware from home we'd need. We brought fruits & veggies, milk, rolls & cheese for eggs sandwiches, packed frozen chicken nuggets & pizza bagels, Tuna
Tips on Chiang Mai:
1. Rent a scooter here! Its super affordable, we paid $26 for all 5 days we spent in Chiang Mai. Remember to get helmets with a shield for your face or at least your eyes. Driving at night on the highway can cause many bugs to hit you in the face or fly into your mouth.
2. Visit the Night Bizarre Market to purchase your souvenirs.
3. DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER. Not even to brush your teeth. Bottled water is seriously the only way to go. If you have the fear that you will end up on a trip with no bottled more water, I highly recommend purchasing a "life straw" by the red cross on Amazon.
4. Always bargain with people on their prices for anything.
Taxi From Airport to Banthai Village Hotel: We used the Taxi service right outside the Airport. They charged us 150 Bhat which is more or less $5
Our Hotel: The Banthai Village Hotel; 19 Thapae Rd Soi 3, Tambon Chang Moi, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand. This hotel is about a 10-15 minute walk from the Chabad House, a 10 minute walk from the night life, 1 minute walk from laundry and 30 min drive from the airport. The room we got cost $50 a night and it was really nice for two people.
Chabad House: 189/15 Chang-Clan Road (Near Night Bazaar, Between Shangri-la to the Empress Hotel) | Chiang Mai, Thailand. This Chabad has a wonderful meat restaurant. In their location they have a modest selection of groceries you can buy. Mo and I bought Pita, Tuna cans, Mayo and Bissli for our day trips and always came to the restaurant for dinner.
Shabbat meals here are technically free of charge but it is nice to give a donation if you are able to.
Travel Agency/Tour Booking:
We used a Travel Agency that is right next door to the Chabad House, to the left. I don't remember the name but an Israeli man helped us book all of our tours for a pretty affordable price.
Taxi from Hotel to Airport: We pulled a Tuk Tuk (taxi) off the street that morning and paid him 150 baht to drive us to the airport.
Today we flew Air Asia to Chiang Mai, Thailand. The flight was about 2.5 hours and a very pleasant ride. When we landed we took a Taxi from outside the airport that cost us 150 Bhat which is just under $5.00 usd. We stayed at the Banthai Village Hotel which cost us about $50 dollars a night. The room of this hotel had such nice vibes to it. The whole hotel felt like its own oasis and was so relaxing to be around. After settling into our room we walked about 10-15 minutes to the Chabad of Chiang Mai. We ordered lunch – Schnitzel with Israeli Salad – which was really delicious. Two store fronts to the left of the Chabad house is an Israeli Tour company and with them we booked our tours for the time we’d be spending in Chiang Mai. After booking our tours we walked down the block – toward the right of the Chabad House – to a scooter rental place with a Yellow awning. We rented a scooter for 5 days and paid $26.00 for the entire time!! We decided to chill in the afternoon the first day we got to Chiang Mai and went to check out the Night Bizarre Markets for a little and went to bed. The Night Bizarre Market is a lot of fun if you like to barter with local Thai people for the goods they’re selling. You have anything from knock off designer items to clothing to paper crafts to soap.
Day 6: Flying Squirrel Zip Lining & Spa
Today we went zip lining to Flying Squirrel Zip Lining. This tour is not for the faint of heart or anyone slightly scared of heights unless they want to face their fears. My Husband was fearless the entire tour as we did 30 different lines which consisted of 3-4 rope style bridges. I on the other hand was shaking in my pants the entire time. The tour guides were very patient, helpful, and encouraging even with the little amount of English they spoke. Looking back on the experience I can admit it was pretty epic and nothing we have every seen before. For anyone adventurous or looking for a thrill this tour is for sure up your alley and I highly recommend it. Our tour included lunch but since we keep kosher we packed our own sandwiches and had some fresh fruit there. We booked a 3 hour honeymoon spa experience through our hotel. It cost us $600 baht. The spa picked us up in an air conditioned car and drove us to their facilities. We had a body scrub, facial and massage. I loved every second of it and felt so relaxed afterwards. My Husband said it was way too long for him. If you and your spouse enjoy the spa experience and fully relaxing, I recommend doing something like this. We went to a custom suit shop where we ordered a custom tuxedo blazer, two suits with matching bow ties & pocket squares, and a shirt for $500.00. Then we went back to walk through the Night Bizarre Market to see the other half that we missed the night before.
Day 7: Bird’s Smart Elephant Family Sanctuary & The Chiang Mai Night Safari
This day was THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!! I am not even exaggerating. Now keep in mind that elephants are my absolute favorite animal ever and we were able to be up close and personal with them. Bird’s Smart Elephant Sanctuary was an experience like no other and exceeded all my expectations. We were the first tour of the day and happened to have been lucky because the two of us were the only one’s scheduled at that time so we had the whole place to ourselves. We got to feed, walk next to, and bathe three elephants. A 32 year old mother and her 5 and 2 year old babies. We made their shampoo from tree bark, fed them bananas and learned a few Thai commands the elephants respond to. We handed our camera to one of the workers there and he took the greatest pictures and videos of us. If you’re looking for a positive experience with elephants that is in no way harmful or abusive to these wonderful creatures this is the only place to go! Next on our agenda we drove our scooter to the Chiang Mai Night Safari. It was about a 25-30 minute ride wouldn’t have been bad for us. The only reason we it was bad was because it was pouring rain, we were driving on the opposite side of the road than we’re used to, and we didn’t have any face shields with our helmets so bugs kept hitting our faces. Even though that experience isn’t one we’d call ideal, it was a lot of fun and one we always look back on and laugh at. The night safari was really cool. We saw a lion and tiger show at the zoo and then waited for trains that took you on open cars through their safari to learn about and see different animals. Some animals came up really close to the cars – the friendlier species – while others were further from the track and behind fencing for our protection. We got to pet some deer, zebra’s, and fed a Giraffe!! That was really exciting because we never got to do that before. We drove back to the area we were staying in and hit up the Night Bizarre again. It’s a really fun place to go to people watch and experience a fun part of Thai culture. We were so fascinated by that experience we went almost nightly to explore it more and just to walk around and chill.
Day 8: The Grand Canyon Water park
Before we headed out for some fun we dropped out laundry off at a little place right down the street from our hotel. It cost us $16.99 for 13.5 kg/ 29.76 lbs of clothing! We drove to the Grand Canyon Water park which was a nice 20-30 minute ride from our hotel. This Water park is very unique because it’s a bunch of huge blow up obstacles floating in a lake within a canyon. The obstacles happened to be very challenging because some of the handles were torn off so it really helped us work as a team and each time we fell off or failed at pulling the other back on we had a good laugh. Being that it’s a little intense we got tired after an hour and called it quits. There is also a water bike there, little water park area for kids, and a short zip lining course. We did the zip lining which was short and sweet but still enjoyable. The water biking looked like a lot of fun but required a lot of coordination that I 100% was lacking after our attempt at the obstacle courses. All in all I give this place an 8/10 because a lot of the handles were broken but we did have a really awesome experience here. It was a lot of fun. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for Shabbos/The Sabbath. We ate Friday Night dinner at the Chabad house and met some really cool people there. Then after hanging out for a bit we went back to our hotel to rest.
Day 9: Sabbath/Night Bizarre/Bar
We woke up and got ready to walk to the Chabad house for Davening/Morning services and lunch. We hung out with people we met the night before at the meal and then walked back to our hotel. We sat by the pool in our hotel and enjoyed a quiet and peaceful afternoon. We went back to the Chabad house to close out the Sabbath with Havdalah – the blessing said to bring the sabbath to a close – then went to the night market to buy all of the souvenirs we had our eyes on for ourselves, family and friends. After that we drove to a local bar 15 minutes from our hotel on a quiet road to play some pool and enjoy beers with two guys we met at the Chabad house. We went home and packed up all our belongings so we were ready to head out in the morning to catch our flights.
Day 10: Travelling back to New York
We were picked up by our Tuk Tuk (Taxi) which cost us 150 Baht and got dropped off by the airport. We flew Qatar Airways to Bangkok, Thailand for a stop-over that was about 4 hours long. Before heading to our terminal we stopped for an hour long foot and back massage before getting on two pretty long flights. Our first flight to Qatar ended up getting delayed a little bit so we tried to sleep in the airport, but it didn’t really work well. We finally got on our 8 hour flight to Qatar and caught some sleep. We landed there at 1:00am Qatar time and had a 2 hour stop-over. The security lines and bathroom breaks pretty much filled in that whole wait and we got onto our flight from Qatar back to New York. My least favorite part about vacationing far away is the traveling, especially if its broken up with a lot of waiting time spent in the airport. All in all the travel experience on our way home to New York was much more pleasant than the way to Thailand from New York.
** I hope you enjoyed the second and final part to our Thailand Trip! Thailand is a beautiful place to vacation and we definitely are planning to go back there in the future to checkout other areas.
Before we got married Mo and I decided Thailand would always be the destination for our honeymoon. Life happened, and the question for many months was "When do we have time to go?". Truthfully, we kept on pushing it off and one Sunday afternoon we checked our schedules and booked our flights with Qatar Airlines. I spent time googling what cities we should visit, what activities we should do and obviously where we will find Kosher food. After doing all that research We decided to spend the first five nights of our trip in Phuket and the last five nights in Chiang Mai. We chose nice hotels that were walking distance from the Chabad House so accessing Kosher food, especially on the Sabbath, was easy. But if we're really being transparent I know you guys just want the details already so let’s dive right in!
Tips on Phuket:
1. Do NOT rent a scooter, or any motorized water sports equipment in this city. We were told by locals and friends who have gone that Phuket is run by the Mafia. Many times they will say you damaged the stuff you rented when you didn't which ultimately will leave you paying a lot of money to get out of the mess.
2. This city is very touristy which inevitably means the prices are jacked up for Tuk Tuk's (Taxi), daily tours, custom suits and anything else. Anything you can avoid purchasing here, avoid it. Thailand isn't that expensive but when you can pay less in other cities, pay less!
3. Roaches in this city love to join in on the nightlife. If you are like us, walking at night becomes slightly terrifying knowing they can be crawling out of the street drains. If you are able to prepare for this (mentally & emotionally) beforehand it may not be so bad. However, I couldn't see well walking down a side street and turned on my flashlight. NEVER turn on your flashlight and shine it on the ground at night. I'll leave you with that.
4. DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER. Not even to brush your teeth. Bottled water is seriously the only way to go. If you have the fear that you will end up on a trip with no bottled more water, I highly recommend purchasing a "life straw" by the red cross on Amazon.
5. Always bargain with people on their prices for anything.
Taxi From Airport to Patong, Phuket: We used the Taxi service right outside the Airport. They charged us 800 Bhat which is more or less $25
Our Hotel: The Marina Phuket Hotel; 240/9 Phangmuang Sai Kor Road, Patong, Phuket
This hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the Chabad House, a 5 minute walk from the night life, 40 min drive from the airport, 10 minute walk to Patong Beach. The room we got cost $43 a night and it was really nice for two people.
Chabad House: 9/6 Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Rd, Patong, Krathu Phuket 83150 Thailand
This Chabad has a wonderful meat restaurant as well as a Dairy restaurant/ pizza shop. In their location they have a modest selection of groceries you can buy. Mo and I bought Pita, Tuna cans, Mayo and Bissli for our day trips and always came to one of the restaurants for dinner.
Shabbat meals here are technically free of charge but it is nice to give a donation if you are able to.
Travel Agency/Tour Booking:
We used a Travel Agency that is right next door to the Chabad's Dairy Restaurant. I don't remebr the name but an Israeli man helped us book all of our tours for a pretty affordable price.
Taxi from Hotel to Airport: We pulled one off the street the night before and exchanged whatsapp numbers. We agreed to pay 800 Baht and they sent us a car from their company on time the following morning. We first tried to book it at our Hotel desk and they said they can for 900 Baht. Which again, is around $25.
What We did in Phuket:
Day 1: We landed in Phuket on a Friday morning. We hopped into the first taxi we found and made our way to the hotel. Once we got there we charged our phones for a bit, changed out of our flight clothing and started making our way to the Chabad. We arrived at the Chabad house after walking for 10-15 minutes and were very impressed with the facility. We ordered lunch for ourselves, Fresh pita and snacks just incase we got hungry later, confirmed we were eating both meals for shabbat there and then went to the tour agency to book our tours. After, we walked back to our hotel to swim until we had to get ready for Shabbos. The pool in our hotel was a rooftop infinity pool that had views of the ocean, city and mountains. It was wonderful! We took a nap and ended up being too tired so we slept almost straight through the night.
Day 2: Jet lag woke me up just in time to watch the city wakeup from our balcony. Being that we slept and missed dinner we were starving so we sought out some vegetables and fruits from our hotel. It was still really early so we walked 15 minutes to the beach to see the views and then made our way to the Chabad house. We davened in the shul, ate lunch with a great group of guys, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the hotel. After Shabbos ended we headed out to the Chabad to grab some dinner and to discover what the nightlife was like. This is the night that left me jaw dropped. Besides for seeing that their Roaches join in on the night life and walk anywhere and everywhere, we learned a lot about the culture of this town. Lady-boys are a very well-known when you discuss Thailand. We walked down Bangla Rd. which is a street of many bars and clubs with strippers and lady-boys dancing on every bar, or standing on the street trying to pull you into them. Being that I have learned and taught Pole Fitness to women, I was unimpressed by their techniques but that’s neither here nor there. It was a very interesting place to be in the middle of. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are travelling with children, or if you simply feel uncomfortable with half-dressed individuals dancing on bars. We were very uncomfortable and over whelmed but Mo and I were entertained by the lack of technique and talent so we left unscarred and more amused. After 20 minutes of laughing and seeing that this scene isn’t for us, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for a day of adventures.
Day time: A combination tour that included white water rafting, ATV-ing, elephant trekking and Zip-lining.
Night time: Fantasea Show
The drive to this tour was pretty long with a lot of winding roads. We got to the place they immediately rushed us onto a platform so we can get onto Elephants. When we first saw the Elephants we were SO excited. It was the closest we had ever been to them in our lives. Then we sat down on them and immediately realized just how wrong and abusive elephant trekking was. But we will have a separate post to discuss the difference between Elephant Trekking and an Elephant Sanctuary. We then were told to walk a little bit down the road and we did a short Zip Line that lasted about 15 seconds. It went from a tree, over a river, and you landed. (Take off your hat if you zipline... Mo lost his in the river) After this we waited for ATVing and everyone in our tour told us they had gone and the ATV company told us we couldn't go unless we paid more money so off we went (very confused) to the rafting. We had a 1.5 hour break to eat lunch and then thought we'd immediately begin rafting but we waited for a while. Once we finally got onto our raft and into the river the fun finally began. We got stuck a few times and felt like the raft would flip other times but all in all the rapids were really great! After the rapids we drove to see a small waterfall on the way back and then stopped off at a Monkey Palace where we got to feed Monkeys Banana's.
We wouldn't recommend this specific tour just because you spent a lot of time sitting a waiting, then we the activity began it felt like it was being super rushed. It was an adventure that we won't forget but we could have done without the Elephant trekking and wish we got to do the ATVing.
The Fantasea show was something we have never seen before when it comes to a circus. This place was enormous you needed a map to get around. They had a night market that you can attend before the show. The shops and booths were designed with next level animation and detail, we were in awe walking through it. They have options to meet baby tigers and elephants which are adorable but thinking back on it, probably very abusive to the animals so I wouldn’t recommend paying for that. There are purple seats and gold, I cannot remember which is VIP but we did the VIP option in section E (very important info!) we had INCREDIBLE seats. I was exhausted so I kept falling in and out of sleep, but from what I saw and what Mo described, It was next level. The acrobatics, dancing, animal performances (which amaze me but also break my heart) music, and indoor fire-works made this show unforgettable. I don’t know how to properly describe it, but this is so fun for adults and obviously even more so for children.
Day 4: Phi Phi Island Boat Tour
Our last day in Phuket We booked a boat tour to see the Phi Phi islands. This tour took us to a few really beautiful locations to look at from the boat, two stunning locations to snorkel in, Phi Phi main island to stop on for lunch and souvenir shopping. We really loved this tour because it was very diverse in terms of the people on the tour and we made a lot of cool friends. The tour provided an unlimited amount of water and soda, life jackets and snorkeling equipment. We would suggest sitting in the front of the boat on the outdoor area but keep reapplying sunscreen every 20 minutes because we got SO burnt. The water we snorkeled in was so clear you were able to see the coral reefs from the boat. We sailed past the Monkey Bay and saw a Momma Monkey breast feeding. On this tour we didn’t stop on this island to see the monkeys up close which was a little disappointing. Maya bay is a beautiful location but is temporarily closed until the coral reefs recover. If you plan to walk to the shallow ends by the reefs, wear water shoes that won’t slip off. We recommend any tour that goes to the Phi Phi Islands because they are so gorgeous. If you have the time, stay for a night or two on the main island. Everyone we came across told us to do this but we unfortunately didn’t have the time. For food on this tour and all the others we asked to be provided with whole fruits and we bought tuna, pita and mayo from the Chabad of the main cities we were staying in. For this tour it was the Chabad of Phuket.
** This post is long so I will be posting the Chiang Mai half of our Honeymoon in a different post