Travel Thoughts By Kim

By Kim Pritt, Contributor Posted 17 December 2022 at 3:00 pm

The 1940’s USO style radio show play at The Station Dinner Theatre in Erie, PA included an “Armed Forces Salute” honoring each branch of the US Armed Forces – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Let’s go on an adventure together….to a Mystery Destination!

Have you ever seen an advertisement for a Mystery Tour and thought that it might be fun, but…..then talked yourself out of it because you wondered if you really wanted to spend the money and time on a total mystery? What if you were taken somewhere that didn’t interest you? What if you end up somewhere you’ve already been to multiple times? Well, so what if you do? Worst case, you have a little get away that you probably really need and you will surely find “something” to enjoy out of the day. I’ve wanted to do one of these Mystery Tours for a while and up until now, they have been a “gee, that sounds fun, I should do one…..someday” thing! But, now that I’ve done one, I will definitely be doing them again!

This particular one was put together by First Choice Travel in Batavia, but I see them advertised by other tour groups, as well. All they told us was the start and end time, that we wouldn’t be more than four hours away, and that lunch was included. The rest was a well-guarded secret. Part of the fun was the speculations, guesses, and theories that floated around the group and by my Facebook friends who were following me on my mystery adventure.

There were 40-some people on the bus. I made friends with my seatmate and the friends who were with her. We left about 9:00 am from Batavia and the most popular speculation was shot down as soon as we headed west on the thruway. Then, as we passed exits that would have taken us to other theories, the group started running out of guesses. It made the drive a lot more fun…..and interesting! Many kept trying to get our tour manager to give us better hints, but she was determined to keep us guessing right till the very end.

We ended up in Erie, time for lunch. Our first stop was The Station Dinner Theatre where we had a delicious lunch and saw a show called “Christmas Memories: Jimmy Lawrence USO Holiday Special” – a musical play set at a radio station for a Christmas Eve 1944 USO radio show for the troops during WWII. The cast consisted of three ladies and three gentlemen who sang and acted their way through the two act play. It was so good — heartwarming, funny, Christmas-y, and even had an emotional “Armed Forces Salute” number that had veterans in the audience standing for their branch of the service to the cheers and applause from everyone in the room. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! I admit to my own tears at several of the songs and finding myself laughing out loud to the way other songs were performed. 

When we left the dinner theater, we drove about 15 minutes to the next mystery stop – Frank’s Farm Market, also in Erie. That place really excited all the shoppers on the bus – it was jam packed with produce, baked goods, and gifts.

Frank’s Farm Market in Erie, PA was packed with wonderful produce, baked goods, crafts, and gifts to satisfy all the shoppers in our group.

Our third and final mystery stop of the day was closer to home. We drove through the Stony Brook Legendary Lights in Lancaster, NY – a residential community that totally lights up their entire neighborhood every year at Christmas for charity. If you enjoy looking at Christmas lights, you really should check out this neighborhood. Google it for more information – it’s well worth the drive to Lancaster. You can drive or walk through to enjoy the lights. Once we saw all the lights, we headed for home and got back to Batavia about 8:30pm-ish. A long, but really enjoyable day, indeed.

So… time you see a Mystery Tour advertised, consider giving it a try. Yeah, you’re taking a chance, but it just might be worth it and you just might have a really good time! I know I’m going to do it again.

Check out the blow by blow and more photos from my Mystery Adventure here on my blog:

Happy Adventuring!