Tag Archives: #travel #family #roadtrip

Staycation Destinations – a Labor Day Weekend Special

It’s “Staycation Destinations” on Family Life!

Each Friday afternoon, our Noon Report took you to a unique location in the Family Life listening area. Our goals were to find a variety of places which connect with a variety of interests, fairly close to home, and fairly affordable — whether for a day trip or a longer journey.


Click here {https://familyliferadio.blubrry.net/?s=staycation} to hear extended versions of these conversations, take a “radio tour” of other stops along our 2023 journeys, or scroll back into previous summers as Family Life took you to many, many other unique and intriguing places in New York and Pennsylvania.

(Use the older posts and newer posts links at the bottom of the page so you can scroll through more of these Staycation Destinations features across the years. You also can enter a specific item or location in the search bar.)

Staycation – Museum of Play – Rochester – 09/01/23

“Staycation Destinations” on Family Life

The Strong Museum of Play opened a generation ago (in 1982) and unites multiple generations with the delights– and the necessity! — of play. Rochester native Margaret Woodbury Strong (starting in her childhood) became a prolific collector of dolls, toys and many other household items. Her legacy now brings hundreds of thousands of guests to the Museum of Play, where people of all ages can see and interact with games, electronics, and playthings from across the decades.

This summer marked the opening of a major expansion of The Strong, with 90 thousand new square feet, expanding exhibit space and a welcome area, plus a new outdoor interactive play area. Shane Rhinewald gives us details about what is new. He also describes the history and development of the museum, offers suggestions of what do see, and tells about diverse range of guests. He also talks about why play is so important, plus how strongly people hold memories of their games and toys.

[ Greg Gillispie closes out this feature with a preview — and your invitation — for one last half-hour journey of the summer. On Labor Day, Family Life relieves many of our radio road trips from our summer Fridays. We will give you highlights from our 2023 Staycation Destinations, plus add in one brand new stop you haven’t heard yet. Join us for our Labor Day Staycation Special, online and on the air, Monday September 4 at 12 Noon. ]

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Side Trip Suggestion: The “Smallest Church in New York” … and quite possibly the World

Each weekend, we also add a note and a picture from another unique spot in the Family Life Listening area, for you to know about — and perhaps decide to visit.

It doesn’t matter which search engine you use, it won’t take long until the Internet tells you that dozens of various U.S. states claim to host “the smallest church building in the world”. However, one in Oneida, New York, might be more diminutive that a lot of others that advertise itself as such.Plus the World Record Academy does give this one the official status as “the world’s smallest (non-denominational) church.”

In addition to its comparative size Cross Island Chapel has a lot of uniqueness going for it. It sits on a platform in the middle of the lake. Even with only two seats, the chapel is put to use as a holy space fairly frequently. With internal dimensions of 51 inches by 81 inches, there is room for a groom and a bride and a clergyperson. If this ever becomes your “destination wedding” setting, your friends can join you there. They may have to watch and listen from a collection of boats floating outside.


Staycation – Presque Isle PA – 08/25/23

 “Staycation Destinations” on Family Life

Presque Isle extends about five miles into Lake Erie, giving northwest Pennsylvanians — and visitors from a wide range of the region — a combination of lake front beaches, walking trails, natural settings and so much more. Visitors can enjoy picnicking, swimming, wildlife watching, and rentals of kayaks and paddleboards and boats.

Environmental Education Specialist Tom Laskos gives us a radio tour of Presque Isle State Park, which sees 4.2 million visitors a year.

The popular summer Pontoon Boat Tours continue until the week of Labor Day (Fridays and weekends, through September 10, 2023). Laskos also highlights upcoming autumn events, including a butterfly catch/tag/release event, and a cast-iron cooking challenge between three Pennsylvania state parks. (Cooks AND diners can sign up now.)

Presque Isle State Park is just west of Erie in Mill Creek Township, Pennsylvania. Admission for the day-use park and the pontoon tours are free. First-come, first-served sign-ups for those who are in line begin 15 minutes before each of the three rides through the lagoon.

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This weekend’s Side Trip Suggestion:

A visit to a garden representative of Bible times doesn’t necessarily take a flight to the Middle East’s Holy Lands. You can walk through one — with a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Biblical Botanical Garden displays more than 100 tropical and temperate plants from Biblical times. The garden at the Rodef Shalom Temple displays the horticulture, agriculture and archeology of the ancient Bible lands. Cedars and olive trees are there, as are barley, figs, pomegranates, and dates. You can see a waterfall, a desert, and a natural representation of the River Jordan flowing from Lake Galilee to the Dead Sea.

Staycation Destinations – Buffalo Pierce Arrow Museum – 08/11/23

Family Life’s “Staycation Destinations”

The Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum owns one million pieces of memorabilia, from small automotive mementos to classic cars, carriages, motorcycles and bicycles.

Co-founder Jim Sandoro talks not only about the current exhibits at the museum, but also how a prosperous city became home to the manufacturers of — and consumers for — the top of the line Pierce-Arrow vehicles built in Buffalo. In this Family Life news feature, you also will hear how Sandoro’s love of Pierce-Arrows took him from childhood to become an expert collector of transportation memorabilia. (There is also an overlap between Sandoro, the company that makes Jello gelatin, and Robbie and Mike Wolfe of the American Pickers TV show.)


The museum in downtown Buffalo, New York, is open Thursdays through Sundays.


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“Staycation Destinations” is our weekly summer series, broadcast each Friday at noon on the radio and online, then posted to our News Podcasts page. Each episode offers a radio tour of a unique site in New York or Pennsylvania, close to home, relatively inexpensive, and good for a potential day trip or longer visit.

Each weekend, we also give you a “Sidetrip Suggestion” another place in our two states which stands out in a unique, quirky, or enlivening way.

Just 43 miles northeast of Buffalo, it’s a transportation museum which includes exhibits on a different “scale”. The Orleans County village of Medina is where you will find the Medina Railroad Museum. It hosts one of the largest model train layouts in the nation. The expansive display features miniatures showing the many railroad companies which fostered travel and transportation for the businesses and the people of the region.

Staycation – Buhl Park – America’s Only Free Golf Course – 08/04/23

Family Life’s “Staycation Destinations”

A western Pennsylvania golf course has been open for 110 years, but in all that time, it hasn’t brought in a dime in green fees. The founder of Buhl Park in the Sharon/Hermitage area thought that the sport of golf taught so many life lessons, he wanted a place where the entire community could learn, play, and become better citizens. This is the only free nine-hole golf course in the nation.

The park’s executive director Tom Roskos gives us a tour through the genesis of Frank Buhl’s dream, how many golfers arrive to shoot a round, and the other recreational and nature opportunities at Buhl Park.


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“Staycation Destinations” is our weekly summer series, broadcast each Friday at noon on the radio and online, then posted to our News Podcasts page. Each offers a radio tour of a unique site in Pennsylvania or New York, close to home, relatively inexpensive, and good for a potential day trip or longer visit.

Each weekend, we also give you a “Sidetrip Suggestion” another place in our two states which stands out in a unique, quirky, or enlivening way.

“The largest living sign” in the world is in New York State’s Southern Tier. That is what Robert Ripley (of “Believe It or Not!” fame) called the arrangement of 260 Scotch Pine trees on a hillside behind the Canisteo-Greenwood School at Canisteo, NY. The name of the community first was spelled out in this way by students and their teachers as a school project in 1933.