The absolute worst part about our vacation was the LONG drive home. During our initial 27 hour drive, with stops peppered along the way, we were all in adventure-mode! For the return 27 hour drive, we all looked and felt like this:
Along the drive home, we had one last stop planned before my “clipboard/folder of fun” was retired for the summer. We were on our way to the Harry Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA. Some of you may be asking why? or wondering how did we happen upon this museum?
Very simply, google maps had routed us through Scranton, PA, which happens to be the fictional hometown for the fictional characters in the TV show, The Office! Gregg and I are huge fans of The Office, so we were excited to drive through and possibly find a “Welcome to Scranton” sign that we could pose by, just like Michael Scott likes to do when he travels. While planning the vacation, since I already knew we’d be stopping in Scranton, I used good, old google yet again to look for nearby attractions. The Houdini Museum and Coal Mining tours both popped up. The coal mining tours weren’t given at a guaranteed time, so yahtzee, the Houdini Museum it would be!
This was the sign we saw from the highway…. then, once we exited the highway, all of our excitement was sucked out of the window….. Not really sure how to express the aura surrounding this city. So, just hopping, skipping, and jumping ahead instead,
We gave up all hopes of finding a “Welcome” sign and started looking for Scranton’s hidden gem, albeit, Scranton’s only gem. Once we maneuvered through the crazy little alley ways and found the crazy little parking lot, we were completely shocked by the appearance of the building and the neighborhood. I was thinking, What have you gotten us into, clipboard/folder of fun?” Ahem! Never judge a book by it’s cover though, isn’t that right?!?
And so, we entered the “house turned museum” and watched an educational video about Houdini, the museum, and the museum’s founder/owner, Dorothy Dietrich. We took the tour through the over-crowded rooms and heard about the future plans of expansion for the museum so that they’d have enough space to properly display ALL of the Houdini memorabilia that they own. And, we finally got down to the main attraction: the magic shows!
Then, Dorothy dazzled the kids with levitation, hat tricks, animal tricks, and more. Dorothy is considered the “female Houdini” – she was the first woman to ever catch a bullet in her mouth (even after 12 men had died attempting this feat, and even knowing that Houdini himself would not and had not ever attempted it)! She has paved the way for female magicians all over the world!
After the show, everyone was browsing through the gift shop and picking out souvenirs. My indecisive children were taking their ever-lovin’ time choosing their magical mementos, so we ended up at the end of the line, and were the last ones out of the shop. It was at that time that Dorothy took the kids aside to teach them how to use the magic wands that they had just purchased!
She was trying to teach them about “sleight of hand” and “sloppy magic.” The kids had no idea what a special moment this was, but years from now, I’ll be able to tell them that the “First Lady of Magic,” the “Female Houdini” herself gave them a lesson in magic!
And, so we drove like mad to get outta Scranton. And we drove, and we drove, and we drove… It was cloudy/misty, and then rainy, all the way through Pennsylvania. It was strange being at cloud-level through the Poconos Mountains.
After hotel issues, customer service issues, weather issues, and yet more driving: Get me the Hades OUT of Pennsylvania this very instant!!!!!