Your cheat sheet for a weekend away
Cartoon Family Fun
Pack your pajamas for a cartoon-themed sleepover at the new Cartoon Network Hotel in East Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Opened earlier this year, the colorful-as-a-box-of-crayons hotel is next door to Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park geared toward young children.
Each of the hotel’s 159 guest rooms and suites incorporates Cartoon Network characters in the pillows, wallpaper, art and more. Four spacious “dream suites”—themed after cartoons Adventure Time, Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls and Steven Universe—fit families of six to eight, complete with kitchenettes and colorful living areas (picture pink carpet dotted with yellow stars).
On-site entertainment includes an outdoor Land of P’Oool zero-entry pool (inspired by Adventure Time), a waterslide and a splash play area; an outdoor movie screen shaped like Adventure Time’s Finn; an indoor pool and hot tub; an arcade; and an opportunity to draw your own cartoon and see it come alive on-screen. The Cartoon Kitchen restaurant serves dishes inspired by shows, including Adventure Time bacon pancakes. The Bearista Cafe is the place for coffee, snacks and adult beverages.
Rates begin at $189; $289 after Memorial Day. Guests can buy discounted tickets to Dutch Wonderland.
Cartoon Network Hotel, 2285 Lincoln Highway East, East Lancaster, Pennsylvania; 833-866-6485; cartoonnetworkhotel.com
Your mountain den for overnight stays at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia just got cozier. The park’s Big Meadows and Skyland lodges were spruced up over the past two years with new mattresses and bedding for all rooms.
Skyland, which can be accessed from mile 41.7 and mile 42.5 at Skyline Drive’s highest elevation, offers small cabins and a wide array of guest rooms and suites in 28 buildings nestled along a ridge. The 94 renovated premium category rooms have new wood plank vinyl flooring and 46-inch flat-screen TVs, plus great views. After hiking, grab a coffee or a bowl of chili at Addie’s Corner, a grab-and-go cafe across from Skyland’s gift shop, and head for the adjacent registration building. Here you can rest in a rocking chair by the stone fireplace and gaze out at birds, trees, huge rocks and the valley below.
Located near a large meadow at mile 51 on Skyline Drive, Big Meadows has renovated shower and laundry facilities at its 224-site campground, and restored 1939 oak flooring in 23 of its 29 historic lodge accommodations.
At both lodges, some of the accommodations include an in-room fireplace.
Park activities include astronomy events, twilight hikes, lessons in basic outdoor survival skills, rock climbing and rappelling. Rates begin at $112.50 per night for rooms at Big Meadows Lodge; Skyland rooms begin at $135. Pets are welcome ($25 per dog or cat, per night). While you can likely find availability two to three weeks out in early summer months, plan 10 to 12 months in advance for October weekends.
Shenandoah National Park Lodging, along Skyline Drive outside of the town of Luray, Virginia; 888-767-1379; goshenandoah.com/lodging