Just Get in the Car https://justgetinthecar.com Local finds and family adventures Sun, 13 Sep 2020 21:10:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.4.3 https://justgetinthecar.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Untitled-design-4-75x75.png Just Get in the Car https://justgetinthecar.com 32 32 Visiting Lady Liberty with Statue Cruises https://justgetinthecar.com/visiting-lady-liberty-with-statue-cruises/ https://justgetinthecar.com/visiting-lady-liberty-with-statue-cruises/#respond Fri, 11 Sep 2020 17:58:43 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1192

I am a firm believer that getting out into the world provides ample opportunities for learning and personal growth. It is also so rejuvenating to get a change of scenery once in a while. Might be why we’ve started this travel blog thing.

In our case, here are some things we’ve learned from our adventures:

  1. Despite any good intentions to change, we are not, and may never be, part of the ‘early crowd’- this has consequences, but some things are just facts.
  2. We are not city people. At least, not with our children, and not when having to get from point A to point B. Again, the children compound this.
  3. Food is life, and any good day out involves a plan to eat often. Packing food would be smart, convenient, and cost-effective – but, again, this is not our strong suit and there are no signs of improvement in this area.

This Labor Day weekend, Just Get in the Car decided to take a ride to one of our nation’s famous historical landmarks – The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We were generously hosted by Statue Cruises, who run ferries to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island from Liberty State Park in New Jersey, and Battery Park in New York.

Since we were driving up from Philadelphia, and since we do not find navigating big cities enjoyable, we chose to take the ferry from Liberty State Park. Our first mistake of the day was not looking at the map and figuring out where to park. We pulled into the first parking lot that we came across, which was about a two mile walk to the ferry. Don’t do that. There is ample parking near the ferry terminal, and you should park there. We started out being early, and ended up being right on time – which translated to being late, given the airport grade security process.

If you do park in the lot near the ferry terminal, it is currently $7. However, it seems that the kiosk to prepay to exit is unnecessary. You do not get a receipt, or proof of payment, and will have to pay a second time upon trying to exit the lot. Although we watched several people seeming to have difficulty exiting, it wasn’t until it was our turn that we realized what was happening. Consider yourself in the know!

We had been told to arrive about 30 minutes early, but if you are on a strict time schedule and need to get on the ferry at your scheduled ticket time, you should leave at least an hour for the security line. And if you have fragile children (or adults) with you, it would be helpful to have plenty of drinks and snacks on hand. You may be waiting in a long, hot (or cold) line.

When we got through security, which was quite painless, and onto the ferry, we were anticipating the ability to buy drinks and snacks – because we were not prepared, as you should be. We had seen on the website that there was a concession stand on the ferry. There was, and we were extremely excited to see our chance for refreshments. Sadly though, it was just a tease for us. I am not clear if it was COVID related, but the concession stand on the ferry was not open for business.

MIss New Jersey

Cue the hangry children meltdowns.  (Side note – hangry children do not appreciate the use of that word to describe their demeanor).

After our two hour drive, parking mishap, and hour wait in the security line, all of our limits were being tested and we quickly realized that we would not have time to visit both islands. The ferry stopped first at Ellis Island, which I had been very interested in checking out since my grandparents came through from Italy there as children. Since we had touted this as a visit to the Statue of Liberty to the children though, we decided to skip Ellis Island and head straight to Liberty Island for some time with Lady Liberty. We will have to make a return trip to get the full experience of both islands.

Of course, per lessons we’ve learned about ourselves, food was our top priority upon disembarking the ferry. Luckily, the cafeteria was right there when we got onto the island. We were able to grab some food (typical museum quality food and prices), and have lunch looking at the backside of Lady Liberty and the beautiful water views. We saw many sailboats out enjoying the sunny day.

Ellis Island
Liberty Island

After we got everyone fed, we were all in a more pleasant mood and ready to do some exploring. Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty National Monument stands, is a beautiful island in the Upper New York Bay. With plenty of green space, benches, and views, you could easily spend a few hours here. Aside from the indoor café, there are several outdoor concession stands for things like lemonade and ice cream. Of course, given our time constraints, we didn’t get any treats on the island, but you should!

Shawn was disappointed that just as was the case during his first visit to the Statue of Liberty, he would not be able to go inside and climb to the top. The monument is currently closed due to COVID. However, you can still take plenty of pictures, and also stroll around in the museum which highlights the history of the creation of the statue and how it ended up as a universal symbol of liberty.  In the museum, you can see the original crown and torch.

Monument Closed
Sad Shawn

Depending on which island you are on, the last ferry back to where you started is between 5-5:15p. They must have a lot of people get on the wrong ferry (one heads to New Jersey and one to NYC). They made several announcements that I was sure no one could possibly miss. However, as we were getting on the ferry to New Jersey, after about ten very loud announcements about getting on the right ferry, there was a couple that had to get off ours and onto the New York one. Moral of the story: get on the right ferry. Listen to people who are yelling announcements on repeat.

Once we were off the ferry, we headed toward the parking lot – where we saw a beacon of light. That’s right folks; our day was completed with a stop for ice cream at a strategically parked ice cream truck. Everyone enjoyed this yummy treat before heading into the car for our ride home.

All in all we had a lovely day visiting one of the most famous historical landmarks in the United States, perhaps the world. It is humbling to think of what it must have meant to see the statue in view after a long and arduous journey across the sea in hopes of a better life.

COVID notes: prior to accepting the offer from Statue Cruises to visit, we were assured of significant COVID procedures – masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer stations. It was evident that the National Park Service and Statue Cruises had put several measures in place to keep everyone healthy. There were space markers on the ground in all areas where queues formed, hand sanitizer was available in many areas, staff regulated spacing in many areas, and most everyone wore masks – they were required in several indoor spaces. I should note though, that at the end of the day on the return trip on the ferry, the crowd was triple what it had been on our way to the islands. Also the gift shop was quite crowded. If this is a concern for you, you may want to wait until COVID has passed to visit. There is plenty of outdoor space to enjoy the island safely, however.


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Both Feet on the Ground https://justgetinthecar.com/both-feet-on-the-ground/ https://justgetinthecar.com/both-feet-on-the-ground/#respond Tue, 21 Jul 2020 13:53:03 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1182

We’ve been in quarantine, or have been trying to stay socially distant for quite some time now thanks to Covid 19. I have to admit that as kind of a homebody, I haven’t been that upset about it. Yes – it’s been a challenge – especially with the three kids and during those cooler months in the beginning.

It’s been hard to navigate the different phases of 2020, and explain all of the grey areas to the kids. But mostly, I’m ok with being at home. And, if I’m being totally honest, I LOVE not shuffling kids all over the place every day. I’m a little disappointed that that part will eventually go back to normal. In fact, I’m hoping that by some miracle we will all collectively agree to stop the madness, but I’m not holding out hope. [Since my first draft of this, we’ve already started easing back into some activities, and I’m not loving it].

In ‘normal’ time, I often lament the fast paced, always engaged nature of modern existence. I resisted setting our kids up with the various ways to connect online. They are still pretty young, and had COVID not dropped a massive crap bomb on us, they would still be blissfully unaware of [or at least, not a part of] the nonsense that is ‘social’ anything that is not actual real life experience.

During this crazy time, I’ve had to establish some routines for self-preservation. Just because I enjoy being at home doesn’t mean that a. I want to be at home 24/7 or b. want to be at home 24/7 with the whole family and all.the.needs.

One thing that I have always enjoyed is a quiet cup of coffee in the morning. Pre Covid, this would require setting an ungodly alarm to allow for ten minutes of peace before the morning routine and barrage of needs would ensue. However, during this odd stay at home time, I still have to set an alarm, but not at an ungodly hour. And I almost always take that coffee outside.

Some people exercise, some people clean, or journal, or do whatever they do. I like to just have a few minutes of peace, and a warm cup of coffee.

A few weeks ago, Shawn pulled me out into our screened in porch to point out something unusual. On top of his hiking boots, on a shelf, was a nest. A bird’s nest, thank goodness [not some other furry animal who build nests]. We weren’t sure if there were eggs in there, because it was very deep in the shelf, and mostly covered.

Turns out, there were in fact eggs in there.

So, I started having my coffee AND taking in a little of the wonder of the natural world.

birds nest

It’s quite amazing what goes on around us humans every day, yet we so rarely take notice. These birds found a very secure location for their nest, built it twig by twig, incubated the eggs, and now both the mom and dad, and others too, come in to feed the new hatchlings. When the mom or dad comes to the edge of the porch, it calls to the babies. The babies begin chirping in anticipation of their meal. Then, the mom or dad bird hops up to the nest, drops one tiny morsel in, and is off to find more for the others. It’s quite a process indeed.

One morning, I wondered out loud why they were leaving the food at the edge of the nest – and Shawn pointed out that it is probably part of the preparation to teach the babies to leave the nest. Something I never gave thought to, but can now file under things that I know [this did in fact seem to be what was happening].

Before I knew it, the babies flew the coop, and I got to witness them testing out their wings. One even stopped right on my knee to say hello. 

bird landing

If things were ‘normal’ I probably wouldn’t have noticed all of that going on with the nest. I appreciated the time to take it in, and connect with something a little outside of the noise of human life.

The one year anniversary of my dad passing is just behind us. I think about him every morning while I am having my coffee, and watching the birds. He loved anything and everything to do with the wonders of the natural world – especially watching the birds.

He was my number one guy – aside from Shawn that is. It’s a weird thing to think about. How could it be that a whole year of my life has passed without my dad in it? The last two weeks of his life were so surreal and fraught with sadness. It was hard to process, and even harder to imagine that what was happening was real. Yet here we are, a year later. Life has continued, but for me it will forever be different.

He is not gone though. He is with me every, single day. Sometimes in a passing thought, or when I’m having coffee in his Mickey Mouse coffee mug. Sometimes when I hear something he would have said, or laughed at. Sometimes when I’ve done something dumb and I think about how he would be shaking his head and laughing at me. Or when I have a ‘WWDD’ moment. What would dad do. It’s easier to face a question when I wonder how my dad would approach it. We were very similar in our outlook on life.

So even though I knew that the book Both Feet on the Ground was headed my way, when it came and I read the first page, I knew that my dad sent it to me. Aside from maybe giving me a nudge toward challenging myself in some new way, learning something new, appreciating nature … I knew that this book landed in my lap from my dad because the first page or two were all about Jack London’s Call of the Wild. My dad’s favorite. Our first dog was named Buck – you know, like Buck from Call of the Wild. My dad always fancied himself a mountain man who just happened to live in suburbia.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure that the book would be something that I could get into. Written by Marshall Ulrich, it focuses on his trials, tribulations, and triumphs as an endurance athlete.

I know my dad would have said something smart ass like, “yea, oookkk. That sounds like a book right up your alley,” with his sarcasm that I understood so well. We would have had a good laugh about it. Still, I believe that he had a hand in connecting me with the messages in this book.

This book is more than a recounting of several unbelievable physical pursuits. Though those are quite astonishing and impressive. Marshall Ulrich is an engaging writer who inspires readers to look not only within themselves, but around – in nature, to garner life’s important lessons. He encourages you to do the thing you think you cannot do. To get out of the man made world and into the real world, and to encourage your loved ones to do the same. He talks about Nature Deficit Disorder – a term coined by Richard Louv, an author and journalist, to describe the costs of being separated from nature through modern conveniences and ways of living. It spoke to me, coming off of three months of pure electronic dependence. I cringe at the way our children cannot seem to separate from their devices, and it’s our fault as parents, and a society.

But there is hope – reading Both Feet on the Ground, aside from making you feel slightly physically inept, at the same turn inspires you to do something a little different, a little challenging, a little less reliant on the world inside man made boxes, and a little more comfortable in the outside world.

You could start by observing the birds in a nest right outside your door.


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Medieval Times https://justgetinthecar.com/medieval-times/ https://justgetinthecar.com/medieval-times/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 14:39:46 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1170

We love to hear from our readers and friends about their fun family excursions. Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, our friends Paul and Gerrie were telling us about their experiences at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ. They agreed to do a quick write up for us to inspire all of you to try something a little different with your family. And hey, the plague is already upon us, so it’s fitting.

Here is what they had to say about their adventure.  

Let’s admit it, with the level of chaos in the world today we all could use a knight in shining armor.  And that’s just part of the fun that awaits you at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ. Knights, kings, queens, horses, falcons, cheering, jeering, magnificent costumes, and intense competition set the stage while you are served dinner that you eat with your hands! When you first check into the castle you receive a crown that corresponds to the knight that you will be cheering for in the dual. It’s fun to walk around the castle and nod to your “people” while carrying your stein of beer or chalice of cocktail. To pass the time you can check out the gift shop, have a professional photo taken, or snap some selfies-  but we recommend adding on the Museum of Torture. Here you will learn about medieval torture devices and the (in some cases slight) crimes that resulted in severe punishments. This is not suitable for young and/or sensitive audiences. 

When show time nears, you are summoned to enter the stadium and immediately notice the competition arena – and the smiles and awe on your children’s faces.  The setting really does a great job to get you in the spirit of the times and excited for the show.  While the costumed wait staff bring your meal (and more libations if you so chose) the show begins in spectacular grandeur. We all agreed that the jousting events were our favorite.



The knights high on horseback charge one another carrying huge jousts trying to knock one another off of their steeds. Crowds cheer! Our knight was not the victor, but it didn’t matter. The show was magnificent, and the meal was far better than we had imagined.

Fallen Knight

The menu is set, and everyone receives the same thing: tomato soup, roasted half chicken, corn on the cob, potatoes, and bread. Not having choices really simplified the process for us.  They do have a vegetarian option if desired, but even our pickiest eater loved the novelty of eating chicken with his hands and dug right in.

Enjoying the feast

While Medieval Times is a bit of a drive [from the Philadelphia/South Jersey area], there are many other things to do outside of the ‘castle’. The facility is located just minutes from the Meadowlands Sports Complex and the new American Dream complex, so it’s easy to make a day or weekend trip out of it.


Epic Battles of Steel and Steed” –www.medievaltimes.com/

-Our guest writers, Gerrie and Paul

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Trivia Turkey with Tim https://justgetinthecar.com/trivia-turkey-with-tim/ Tue, 09 Jun 2020 14:10:33 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1155

Hey Turkeys!  If you are like us, you probably miss going places.  Even though a house full of kids and a head full of grey hairs (mine, not Kristin’s) has ended our weekday bar nights, we still enjoyed getting out every now and again for a few midweek drinks.  One thing I always enjoyed was a game of Quizzo. 

Not familiar with Quizzo?  It’s a trivia game hosted by your local bar, made up of several rounds of questions to see who the smartest person there is (or more likely, who knows the most about the Kardashians).  With almost three months of COVID quarantine, our opportunities for this type of fun were over.  Or so we thought.  Luckily, my friend Tim hosts online quizzo with Trivia Turkey.

Tim was hosting regular Quizzo games at local bars in the good ol’ days, before COVID.  Since the bars are closed, and everyone is quarantined alone, he decided to turn his talents to the internet.  With a Zoom connection and an app called Kahoot!, you can challenge all of your friends and family to an online trivia game.  Tim will read out the questions, and all you need to do is choose the right answer on the Kahoot app and see who gets the most questions right. 

We tested this out the other night to see how it went, and we all had a lot of fun.  We ended up getting second place, because someone cheated.  Not because we are sore losers or anything.

Turkey Trivia Score

The prices are reasonable as well.  Its $10 per team, with a $100 max for a group party.  Are you trying to set up a happy hour or team building exercise for your business?  For $200, Tim will make it happen!

Besides helping to make life more interesting during COVID with a fun Trivia game, he also wants to make sure your life of adulting has as few issues as possible with multiple insurance options through Liberty Mutual.  Want a new quote on home, auto or life insurance?  He will help you out.  And if you sign up with him, he will make a $40 donation to HelpHopeLive, a charitable organization helping people out with medical expenses after suffering severe injuries or organ transplants.  What a guy!

So, what are you waiting for?  Stop drinking by yourself at home wishing you could go out.  Get a few friends, set up things with Tim, and have a fun night of quizzo.  Still unsure?  Why not join us for the 1st Annual Just Get in the Car Quizzo Invitational on June 18th and see for yourself how much fun it is!  Check our Facebook page for the details!

In the meantime, Tim’s contact information is below.  Check him out for all your quizzo or insurance needs.  You won’t regret it!

For TriviaTurkey:

 [email protected]


$10 a player.  $100 max for a group party.

$200 for a company happy hour or team building

*For charities: Tim will donate $40 to HelpHopeLive.org for every player that he quotes and makes a client.

Tim Sweeney


Show Your Spirit for Local Distilleries this Memorial Day https://justgetinthecar.com/show-your-spirit-for-local-distilleries-this-memorial-day/ https://justgetinthecar.com/show-your-spirit-for-local-distilleries-this-memorial-day/#respond Fri, 22 May 2020 14:20:52 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1142

So what are your Memorial Day plans like this year?  No need to answer, I already know: sitting in the back yard with your immediate family, grilling some burgers, having a few drinks, and complaining about the goddamned coronavirus.  Just like us.

You are probably trying to figure out how to make it a little better.  Maybe you have stopped by the local beer distributor or supermarket and gotten a case of your favorite beer.  But you may be tired of beer and looking to make something a little more adventurous.  So why not try something with a bit of the hard stuff in it? 

Believe it or not, there are a bunch of distilleries in the Philadelphia area.  Like other local businesses, they can use your help right now.  Have you tried looking on the PLCB website for anything?  You will probably just find their top sellers, which won’t include any PA distilleries.  Well, good news.  We have put together a list of some local distilleries that make some awesome stuff.  Curbside pickup is available from the PLCB – why not give your local store a call and plan a Memorial Day with some delicious mixed drinks made from local distilleries?  Or better yet, stop by or order direct from the distillery. Help them out, try something new, and make everyone’s Memorial Day weekend better!  

Pop's McCann


Pop’s McCann is one of my new favorite whiskeys.  It’s a triple distilled Irish whiskey, finished in American oak barrels, before it is bottled in Michigan.  It’s got a smooth taste, and goes great in lemon flavored drinks.  But I prefer it straight, over some cold whiskey stones.  It may not be made in the Philly area, but it is created, owned and promoted by a Philly guy. 

Pop’s can be found at most liquor stores in the Philadelphia area.  If your local store doesn’t carry it, reach out to them on Facebook, and they will make sure you get directed to one that does.  You can also find a bunch of cocktail recipes there. 

For Memorial Day, there may not be a better whiskey to drink.  Pop’s McCann is built on a love of heritage and family history, making it the perfect drink to raise up a toast to honor your ancestors, forefathers, and all those veterans who gave us the ultimate sacrifice.  If you want to raise a toast in a more formal way, check them out on Facebook: the owner will stop by your place and raise a toast to you and whoever you want to remember. 


Over the past few years, I have been getting more and more into whiskey.  Most people fluctuate between bourbon, Irish whiskey, and scotch.  But have you tried rye whiskey?  Its spicier than bourbon, and was the go-to whiskey for Pennsylvania, before Prohibition virtually destroyed it.  In 2011, Dad’s Hat emerged out of Bristol as the first PA distiller of rye whiskey in over 30 years. 

Today, they make five delicious variations of rye whiskey.  My favorite is the Straight Rye, which has been aged for four years and made from Pennsylvania grain.  Check it out – or choose one you will enjoy!  You can probably find some of their stuff at your local store – or order direct from the Dad’s Hat website.

Five Saints White Whiskey


Five Saints can be found in the historic Humane Fire House in Norristown.  We had plans to visit the distillery for a tour right when COVID hit.  We have been delayed, but we still have plans to get there once this is over.  In the meantime, you can stop by their bottle shop or your local liquor store to try some of their stuff.

They have award winning small batch vodka that I have not tried, and a white whiskey that I am sipping while I write this.  But my favorite thing from them is the Tuscan Style Gin.  I am normally not a gin fan, but the herbal flavoring of this is fantastic.  Facebook and their site offers a few cocktail recipes that I need to try.  I also think it would be fantastic with some Bloody Mary mix or V-8 juice.  Their website will direct you to liquor stores that carry their product, or you can try calling up for some curbside pickup. 

Kiki Vodka


Kristin is sipping a lemon drop cocktail made with Kiki Vodka right now.  The corn is distilled six times to make it one of the smoothest vodkas you can try.  If you are looking to get some right now – good luck.  They have been struggling to keep up with demand for their vodka, especially while they focus on making hand sanitizer.  But you can try getting what you can from their distillery in Hatfield, or their vodka bar in Pottstown.


Just before COVID shut the world down, I made an emergency stop to one of our local liquor stores and bought a bottle of their Resurgent Young American bourbon.  It is distilled in Kentucky, but gets bottled in Elverson, which is just outside Morgantown.  It has a nice peppery / vanilla flavor and is worth getting a bottle or two.  But if you are like me, you probably want to try one of their other whiskeys or gins, too.  When COVID is over, take a visit to their distillery, and check out some food from their bistro as well!  In the meantime, visit their website and order a few bottles – free delivery for Philly area residents!

New Liberty PA Dutch Malt Whiskey


A few years ago, I took a tour of New Liberty with some friends of mine.  The distillery is in a pretty cool building – an old stable in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia.  Within their walls, they are distilling some great whiskey.  Besides bringing back the Kinsey and Maryland Club brands, they also have some of their own whiskey brands – Pennsylvania Dutch Malt, Bloody Butcher Bourbon, and Millstone Rye.  I have enjoyed a few of the Kinsey, Maryland Club and Pennsylvania Dutch Malt whiskeys – and can’t wait to try the Bloody Butcher.



Philadelphia Distilling was the first distillery to open in the state since the end of Prohibition.  They opened in an old factory in Northern Liberties in 2005 and have a pretty nice tasting room and gift shop (I may have stopped in after my tour at New Liberty, which is nearby).  Blue Coat gin is their signature spirit.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.  You can order online, or get it delivered through their website.


Despite our love for whiskey and other spirits, there are far too many distilleries in the area for us to have tried everything.  Here are some other local distilleries to order from and try out.  Let us know what you think…we are going to try and check all of these guys out, too!

Stateside Vodka: https://statesidevodka.com/

  • Despite the name, they also just released a black label bourbon. You can find them in PA liquor stores, but the distillery also for Delivery & Pick-up at their Philadelphia distillery.

Pollyodd Liquors: https://www.pollyodd.com/?page_id=28

  • Pollyodd is a South Philly distiller of Italian style lemoncellos. They currently offer 10 different flavors to choose from.  Their website includes a list of PA state stores that sell their product, but not all their flavors can be found in the stores.  You can call the shop in South Philly directly for an appointment: 215-271-1161 and try something you want.

Pezone Row Home Grown Cello: https://www.pezonecello.com/

  • 11 different cello flavors, some of them seasonal. Usually available at Reading Terminal Market.  Their website has a list of state stores that carry their product.  Or call them direct at: 215-416-1432

Red Brick Craft Distillery: https://www.redbrickcraftdistillery.com/

  • Philadelphia distiller of whiskey and rum. Curbside pickup and delivery available through their website. 

Palmer Distilling: http://www.palmerdistilling.com/

  • Liberty Gin and Manayunk Moonshine. List of stores carrying their product is available on their website.

Hewn Spirits: http://hewnspirits.com/

  • Bucks County distillery for rum and whiskey. Curbside pickup and delivery available. 

Bluebird Distilling: https://bluebirddistilling.com/

  • Make rum, gin and whiskey. Distillery in Phoenixville is open for daily bottle sales, or call your local liquor store.

Pennsylvania Distilling: http://www.penndistilling.com/

  • Gin, rum, vodka, rye whiskey and bourbon made in Malvern. Online ordering is available; or stop in your tasting room to get a bottle.

Boardroom Spirits: https://www.boardroomspirits.com/

  • Free hand sanitizer (bring your own container). You can purchase online at their website for pickup from their facility in Lansdale or home delivery.  They offer ready made cocktails, as well as a variety of whiskies, rums, and other spirits.

Manatawny Still Works: https://www.manatawnystillworks.com/

  • Pottstown Distillery. All orders for gin, whiskey, rum and vodka are online only from their website, with curbside pickup at their distillery.

Faber Distilling: https://www.fabereasydrinking.com/

  • Distillery near Quakertown that makes rum, gin and white whiskey. Right now, they are focusing on hand sanitzer.  Support that, buy some liquor when this pandemic is over.

1675 Spirits: https://www.1675spirits.com/

  • Small batch distillery of vodka and whiskey in Bucks County. Order direct online, or pickup from their distillery in Bensalem.

So enjoy your Memorial Day this weekend.  Cookout with your family, enjoy the summer, and support some local businesses that have been hit hard by COVID by purchasing some locally owned and produced spirits.

Let us know what drinks and cocktails you like, and we can compare notes when we finish trying everything, too!

- Shawn

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Getting to know author and Hawaiian enthusiast, Katherine Kayne https://justgetinthecar.com/getting-to-know-author-and-hawaiian-enthusiast-katherine-kayne/ https://justgetinthecar.com/getting-to-know-author-and-hawaiian-enthusiast-katherine-kayne/#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 19:21:55 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1132

Recently, I had the opportunity to review Bound in Flame, a wonderful fiction piece written by Katherine Kayne. Read about that here! The story let me escape to Hawaii for a bit, and I thought Katherine would be a great person for our next Getting to know you post. Below, see what she has to say about the Hawaiian culture, history, and beauty she loves so much.

Bound in Flame is a Hawaiian adventure, romance, and story of a strong female character. What was your inspiration for this story? Have you ever seen a parade in Hawaii? They are the best! There is a tradition of women dressing to ride like the historic royalty. It is stunningly beautiful; the practice is called pa’u. The women use it as a way to celebrate their history. And what a history it is! The first time I saw the riders I began to research how women lived in the early 1900s. What I learned about these fierce women became the inspiration for Bound in Flame. Hawaiian ladies were expert horsewomen, businesswomen and astute politicians. Because the United States had unlawfully seized the Hawaiian Kingdom they chose to fight for what they believed in. And the right to vote too. I am writing a whole series based on these women called the Hawaiian Ladies’ Riding Society.

Riding Ladies
Riding Ladies
Riding Ladies

We visited Hawaii on our honeymoon – Maui and Kauai. We spent more time on Maui, but really loved the lushness of Kauai. Tell us about your favorite parts of Hawaii. We are in love with the Big Island. It is so big you can put Maui and Kauai and all the other islands (and then some) within its borders. Almost every climate zone in the world is represented. You want tropical rainforest? Check. High mountain desert? Check. And perhaps the most beautiful beach in all the islands? Check that box too with Hapuna Beach. We never tire of it because there is always something to do or see. One of my favorite things are the farmers’ markets. They are all over the island with three in upcountry Waimea alone. The produce is beyond amazing. Particularly the fresh papaya and the local boletus mushrooms called ali’i. You will want to cook even if you are on vacation.

I noticed on your Facebook page a post about Orchids. Are you a plant lover? What are your tips for indoor Orchid care, any secrets? I love orchids because they are so easy. Yes, there are secrets to indoor orchid care. Well actually one. Ice cubes. Orchids like cool wet toes. So every week, instead of watering, put a couple of ice cubes at the base of the plant. Easy, huh?

When you can’t get to Hawaii, what are some other places you enjoy visiting? (If you’d like to talk about your New Zealand trip, that’s great!) I just love islands of all kinds. Puget Sound – that is the body of water where Seattle’s harbor lies – is enormous. And full of islands! Since we winter on Hawaii Island we are fortunate to summer on one in Puget Sound. The farther south you go in the Sound the calmer the waters are, except when the tides are running. Wildlife is abundant. We spent last weekend watching sea lions having a herring party! Next week will finally be getting out kayaks out. I can’t wait. 

 If our readers are looking to plan a trip to Hawaii, what are your best pointers? What islands should they visit? Any particular places that you encourage people to seek out and explore? First of all recognize that Hawaii will be slow to re-open after the virus. The healthcare system is not designed to handle all the needs of Hawaii residents and lots of sick tourists too. The Governor has been very deliberate about his plans. Once Hawaii does re-open I suggest looking at renting a condominium. There are lots of choices and it gives you a more local experience. What to see? I have a HUGE list. It is always tempting to head to the beach and stay there. That said you will miss so much of the real Hawaii if you do. Whatever island you are on I would go see at least a couple of historic sites. Two of my favorites are Queen Emma’s Summer Palace on Oahu and Hulihe’e Place on Hawaii Island. These sites are both run by volunteers from the Daughters of Hawaii’i. They give an authentic picture of royal life.

Celebrating Bound in Flame
Hulihe'e Palace - Celebrating Bound in Flame

Thank you, Katherine! We loved learning more about your passion for Hawaiian culture, and islands in general! We will be on the lookout for the next adventure of the Hawaiian Ladies’ Riding Society! (And also, thank you for the tip on caring for Orchids!)


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Git yer Keister to Virginia City, Nevada https://justgetinthecar.com/git-yer-keister-to-virginia-city-nevada/ Mon, 20 Apr 2020 19:38:48 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1119

We miss traveling.  Its one of the things everyone in our family enjoys doing. We love visiting new places, trying new food and drinks, and learning about the people that live (or lived) in the places we are going.  So COVID-19 quarantining sucks.  Infrequent trips to the supermarket and walks around the neighborhood are not enough to satisfy our wanderlust. 

Luckily, one perk about having a travel blog is that you still get to learn about exciting places to visit.  A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to go on a virtual tour of Virginia City, Nevada.   Never heard of it?  Then you obviously didn’t pay a lot of attention in history class!  Virginia City is located just northeast of Lake Tahoe, about halfway between Reno and Carson City.  Around the time of the Civil War, Virginia City was the wealthiest city in the American West.  This was thanks to the Comstock Lode, a giant silver deposit that made the miners and people of the town richer than Mr. Monopoly.  Virginia City combines a bit of everything we love: a unique history, great looking restaurants and bars, as well as a new and cool place to visit.

During our call, some of the people from Visit Virginia City gave us a virtual walking tour of downtown – along C Street, the main drag.  Like the Old West towns in the movies, the sidewalks are all wooden planks covered by the awnings from the stores.  The streets are all paved now, but if you use your imagination, you can conjure a dusty road, filled with horses and carriages.  Looking around at the architecture, you would still think you are in the Old West – the buildings look like they are straight out of Back to the Future III.  But this isn’t a set – most of the buildings date to the mid-19th Century.

Downtown there are a bunch of cool shops to check out selling things like candy, jewelry, and, because it’s the Old West – guns.  But the real thing to check out are the saloons.  At one point, there were over 100 saloons in the city – and the population peaked at around 30,000!  There are not that many saloons there anymore, but you can still visit one or more of over a dozen saloons in town.  They all still have that Old West look, as well as the cool names:  Silver Dollar, Ponderosa, and my favorite, the Bucket of Blood.

Back in the day, you could get a stiff drink, fight, gamble, and probably meet a lady of the night.  Today, you can still get the drink, but would probably have to settle for listening to the stories, checking out the décor, and listening to some live music.  That doesn’t sound too bad to me!  I can’t wait for the chance to pull up a stool, drink a local beer or a Cemetery Gin cocktail, and listen to one of the local bands play while I check out the stuff on the walls.

Inside Bucket of Blood
Inside the Bucket of Blood Saloon

Like any good town, Virginia City also has its fair share of restaurants with some delicious looking food.  We have been checking out the websites and menus for some of them, and we don’t think a weekend in town would be enough.  We would probably start each day at the Roasting House for some coffee and breakfast. For lunch, barbecue is in order: The Virginia City Beef Jerky Company or the Firehouse Grill would be our choices.  At dinner, we would be looking for something a little fancier, like the Cider Factory, Crown Point, or the Canvas Café, where you can dine on delicious food while checking out some of the best work by local artists.

FIrehouse BBQ
Firehouse BBQ

If you decide to visit, you could probably find a nice chain hotel somewhere near the airport or Reno.  But why would you want to deprive yourself of the nightlife and a part of the historical experience?  Virginia City has some great looking and authentic hotels right there in downtown, such as the Comstock Lodge or Gold Hill Hotel.  Looking to get hitched while there?  The Silver Queen has its own wedding chapel.  These, and several of the other hotels in Virginia City, do their best to maintain the look and feel of the city’s heyday.

Hotel room in VC
Virginia City Hotel Accomodations

I know you are reading things about Bucket of Blood Saloon, drinking establishments, guns, and ladies of the night and thinking to yourself: would I really want to take my kids here?  The answer is a resounding YES!  One thing that might be of interest – mine tours! During these popular tours, kids and adults can go underground and see what it was like to mine in the olden days (but, no, you can’t leave them there).  Downtown has the Virginia City Outlaws show, which combines gun fights, comedy and stunts.  You can also take your kids for a ride on the V&T Railroad or take them downtown to sugar up at either Grandma’s Fudge Factory or Barrels O’Candy.

Are you more into the culture of the Wild West?  Check out the Fourth Ward School & Museum, The Way It Was Museum, or the Mackay Mansion to learn more about the history of the West and Virginia City.  Think the city was just full of sinners?  Check out the beautiful St. Mary in the Mountains Church and learn about some of the good people that lived in town as well.

St. Mary's
St. Mary's in the Mountains, nightview

One thing I found personally cool about Virginia City is how similar it is to my family history.  Part of my family came from the Irish mining towns of Pennsylvania.  I found it pretty cool to learn how big of a part the Irish played in building the city, and that they were among the wealthiest residents when the town was at its peak.

Was our virtual excursion enough to pique your interest in Virginia City?  If so, check out Visit Virginia City’s website and take some of their cool virtual tours to learn more about the town.  And then, once this quarantine is over and done with, git your keister to Virginia City!

-Shawn and Kristin

Don’t fear,The Fleadh is here (almost) https://justgetinthecar.com/dont-fearthe-fleadh-is-here-almost/ https://justgetinthecar.com/dont-fearthe-fleadh-is-here-almost/#respond Fri, 13 Mar 2020 15:55:49 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1105

If you are like me, you are probably pissed that this coronavirus has been screwing everything up.  Kids are home from school, professional sports are being cancelled, and your 401(k) is making it look like you will have to work into your 90s.  On top of that, your St. Paddy’s Day plans are probably over.  Parades, concerts, parties and pub crawls are being cancelled everywhere.  So you will probably be drinking that Guinness by yourself at home.  This blows. 

You are probably still looking for your Irish fix.  Luckily, there is a great Irish event coming up on May 9th, where you can get all the Irish music, dancing, gifts, and craic you need: The Philadelphia Fleadh!  A few days ago, CJ Mills, the organizer of the Fleadh, was nice enough to tell us a bit about himself and the event.   But I thought I would tell you why you should join us there this year.

First of all, it is easy to get to.  If you are like me, you probably know more about China than Northeast Philly.  But for the past few years, they have been hosting the event at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory right off the PA Turnpike.  If it rains, and we have been there when it rains, they can move the entire event inside.  That will prevent the rain from watering down your Guinness!

The Fleadh is also family friendly.  If your kids aren’t into the music or vendors, they have a kids section as well, with plenty of bounce houses, face painting, and other crafty activities.  Our kids always spend most of the day there – but don’t worry, you can still hear the music from there.

While this is not the current location, you get the point. Rain doesn't stop the fun!
Kid Stuff

If you are worried about the cost – don’t be!  This is probably the most affordable all day event I have ever been to.  Parking is free, and kids 12 and under are free as well.  You will probably want to try some of the food from the food truck and vendors.  But if you are on a budget, or if your kid will only eat peanut butter sandwiches, you can bring in your own food and drinks (just not the alcohol kind). 

No Irish event would be complete without some frosty beverages.  They will sell some Guinness and other beers.  Is Irish whiskey more your thing?  Raise a glass of Pop’s McCann whiskey while you are there as well.

Pops McCann

The best part of the event is the music.  This year, they have 13 Irish bands playing on two different stages, and playing all day.  You will hear plenty of the classic Irish tunes, Pogues and Dropkick Murphys covers, and even some awesome original stuff.  CJ, the event’s founder, will be playing with Seamus & CJ.  Most of the bands are local ones, such as The John Byrnes Band, Bogside Rogues, and the Paul Moore Band.  But all of the bands are fantastic.  Check out the whole list here.     

It sucks that the coronavirus is costing us a St. Patrick’s Day this year.  But don’t let it kill your Irish spirit.  Join our family on May 9th.  By then, we should all be able to toast to good health, listen to some great music, and find some great craic.  Slainte!

Irish Family


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Getting to know the 2 Disney Chicks https://justgetinthecar.com/getting-to-know-the-2-disney-chicks/ https://justgetinthecar.com/getting-to-know-the-2-disney-chicks/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2020 16:38:22 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1096

With our first trip to Disney World, just about two years ago, and our quick escape just last week, we started a family love of the whole magical phenomenon revolving around Mickey. Ok, maybe some of us are more into it then others, but everyone is coming around to the idea that Disney is a wonderful escape from reality. We’ve worked with Lauren and Joanna, otherwise known as the 2 Disney Chicks, for both of our trips. We wanted to get to know them a bit more, so we asked them if they would indulge us by answering a few questions. Here is what they had to say!

How did you both come to be travel agents specializing in Disney?

We had both experienced several Disney destinations and thoroughly enjoyed the level of service that Disney provides their guests. We also both booked our vacations with Ears of Experience and found the process very simplified. We knew that it would be the right fit for us.

What do you love most about what you do?

We are very detail oriented and enjoy working with our clients from start to finish during the planning process.  Each family is unique and we love that we can help create special memories that they will cherish for a lifetime.

Do you still have fun planning your own families Disney vacations?

Planning for our families is always fun! We both involve our families in the planning process. And we always like to try something we have never done on a previous trip.

What are your favorite Disney destinations to visit?


The Disney Cruise Line. Aboard the ships, you receive Disney’s high level of service, but in a more relaxed atmosphere. There are things to do for the entire family, from the kids clubs to adult only restaurants. We really enjoy being able to see the world and different cultures.


Walt Disney World. Visiting from childhood with my parents, to adulthood with my own children, there are so many memories that I cherish. As the  parks are always changing there is an opportunity with each trip to make new memories.


What are your favorite experiences at Walt Disney World?


My favorite thing to do is to walk down Main Street. I love seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces.


Currently Epcot is one of my favorite parks, especially exploring the countries during the Flower and Garden Festival. Spring is always my favorite time to visit WDW.

Are there any little known facts or secrets you might share with our readers?

It isn’t a secret, but Disney is always changing, and that is part of the fun! We love searching for Hidden Mickey’s and the newest attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has the most hidden Mickey’s than any other Disney attraction or area in the world! You might be able to get a “Paw”tograph at Tony’s Town Square…ask a Cast Member at the restaurant podium. Play A Pirate’s Adventure-Treasures of the Seven Seas and complete at least 2 missions; and you may receive a free FastPass+ for Pirates of the Caribbean.

Lauren's Family

What are some places that you enjoy visiting when you aren’t doing Disney?


My family is spread out across the United States, so when we are not traveling to Disney, we enjoy visiting our loved ones who reside in Florida, Arizona and California.


My family loves to travel! We tend to lean toward active vacations. Alaska and London are top on our list where we got to experience some unforgettable experiences.

What are some of your favorite local places to visit?

Kettle, White Dog Café, Argyle Boutique, Posh, Ruthie’s Eyes

While a Disney vacation isn’t something most of us can swing on a regular basis, talking about Disney sure is fun! Getting to know Lauren and Joanna has kept the magic going a bit longer for us as we come off of our most recent, very quick, Disney getaway.

Do you have Disney on your mind? Contact the 2 Dis Chicks today to start planning!

2 Dis Chicks


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Getting to know Brian Niles https://justgetinthecar.com/getting-to-know-brian-niles/ https://justgetinthecar.com/getting-to-know-brian-niles/#respond Tue, 03 Mar 2020 17:31:30 +0000 https://justgetinthecar.com/?p=1084

I love a good coffee shop. And I’ve loved them for quite some time, even before I really enjoyed good coffee. There is just something about a place in your community where you can go for a peaceful change of scenery, a quiet conversation with a friend, or a place to read a book, or work on whatever you are working on. It helps when the coffee and pastries are delicious too. We’ve posted about Brian Niles before – when we found that he had opened a coffee roasting warehouse in our own community. At that time I was excited, but also a little bummed that House Cup Coffee Roasters did not include an actual coffee shop. Well, lo and behold Brian and his partners stepped in to take over another one of our favorite places, Oakmont Roots Cafe. Now House Cup Cafe, the stage is set for a wonderful community gathering space centered around [one of] America’s treasured beverages – coffee. We thought it would be cool to learn a little bit more about Brian and this new endeavor. Read on to see what he shared with us!


Tell us about yourself. How did you become a coffee aficionado? That’s a tough question to answer – I think of myself as a husband, father, brother, friend, neighbor, colleague, geek, even a schmuck (at times). But factually, I live here in Havertown and share the world with my amazing wife Adrienne, my 20 year old daughter Sarah, our 2-½ year old son Xavier and Lord Spencer, our welsh corgi. My professional career has mostly been in the education space working in higher education but also as an entrepreneur owning another company I founded in 1998 that provided administrative technology solutions for colleges and universities. But as we exceeded 100 employees and I approached 50 I set the goal to do something very different on a daily basis, commit to spending more time in my community than on planes and enjoy what little time we have to learn from others and share what I’ve picked up along the way. So a few years ago with that goal in mind I left my full-time role at my company, travelled up to Vermont to become certified in coffee roasting and setup House Cup Coffee Roasters here in Havertown. Just as Xavier was born.  I don’t consider myself an aficionado, always learning and trying new things that have to do with coffee, but sharing my passion for coffee with others. But one thing I try to do is make it more accessible to others – avoiding fancy trends or terms that keep many of us from appreciating something as simple as a great cup of coffee.

House Cup Coffee Roasters is an excellent community builder. What are some of your favorite ways to connect with the community? We’re fortunate that our customers give us the ability to help those that need us, even in such a small way as coffee. We support the local Food Bank with coffee to give to families who need a little help – even customers can help by purchasing a “Suspended Coffee” bag at ½ price that we give to the food bank monthly. We help various fund-raising activities with coffee and baskets to raffle and raise money for good causes that help our community and those within it.  And on a daily basis, just get to know people we meet at the new cafe or in the roasthouse. We have a new statement piece in our cafe that tells it more clearly than I can:

“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.” – Jamie Tworkowski

How long have you lived/worked in Havertown, PA? What do you think is unique about our town? We moved here in 2013. After moving around a bit from Haddonfield NJ, Philadelphia and Phoenixville, the amazing neighbors on Willowbrook Road here in Havertown made it easy for us to settle into this community. I think the most amazing thing about Havertown is that everyone seems to be one degree of separation from everyone else. And there is a sense of support for each other. There are the obvious support events, programs, activities and signs (green lights just being one), but this support seems to be ingrained in the community. And that I find amazing. 

If you had a day off to spend around town, where would you go and what would you do? I would first start on our street – what struck me when I first moved here is how everyone looks after each other’s kids – especially on a nice day when they are playing in the street, making up basketball games or running from one house to the next. We’re a front porch neighborhood, and I love that aspect. Then I would probably find myself at one of our amazing restaurants sitting at the corner of the bar most likely chatting it up with the bartender or the beautiful person sitting next to me (my wife). I’ve also found a new appreciation for the trails at the CREC for some exercise and enjoyment of what many people have done to make that such a nice area.

You just made a huge announcement – tell us about the next steps for House Cup Coffee Roasters … Well, that’s probably our cafe on Darby Road. Oakmont Roots had been a wholesale customer of ours but when it was time for the previous owner to move on, he approached me to take it off his hands. It was a very successful business and we’re proud to be continuing to build on that success. Our vision is to create a place for people to come and enjoy – families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, strangers. We also want to help protect our environment as much as we can, so we have a BYO House Cup option – bring in your own cup, tumbler, etc. and fill it up at the service counter yourself for just $1. No need to order or wait in line. It’s an honor system and it seems to be working.  We also will be putting our used coffee grounds out back of the cafe each night for any of our local gardeners to come take to support excellent growing. And finally we strive to source our foods locally. Many of our pastries are made right here in Havertown by trained, incredibly talented individuals. We want to support their passions and share it with all of you. We are not at a loss for additional things we plan to do, but one at a time. We’re locally owned, locally roasted and locally sourced.

Pastry and Coffee

How do you take your coffee? Black. That’s not to say it’s bad to put cream or anything else in it, I just like it black. The best coffee is the one you like however you like it. I do encourage people to try our coffees without sugar to appreciate the variations in the origin flavors. Those flavors  come out of the ground, nothing added, which amazes me how that can happen.

What are you waiting for? Head over to chat with Brian and the other coffee connoisseurs at House Cup Cafe, today! (Don’t forget your cup if you want to grab and go, but I recommend staying to chat!)

HC Coffee Beans


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