Since purchasing it in May of 2015, I have taken my 2012 Honda Accord coupe on countless adventures. It has been to fifteen states, driven up a mountain, sailed across a bay, plowed through blizzards, waded through deluges, visited numerous museums, parked beside a battleship, returned the place where it was manufactured, and made countless trips to the New Jersey shore and the Adirondacks of upstate New York. For all I have enjoyed the drives, though, it is the people I have met along my journeys who have made this car ownership experience so special.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet up with three friends who I first met based on our mutual appreciation and enjoyment of Hondas. We all connected several years ago on a Honda owners forum, and our friendships quickly developed. Over Labor Day weekend, we finally met up in-person, traveling from near and far to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We had a weekend of adventure and fun, visiting cool museums, eating great food, and sharing our love of cars and all things Honda.
So come along, then, on our Honda Accord adventure weekend!
The Honda Accord Meetup 2022
On a holiday weekend, we descended on the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The members of our group traveled from near Baltimore, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Corpus Christi, Texas. As I had the shortest drive and knew Philadelphia the best, I offered to sketch out our itinerary for the weekend. Over two days, we would visit a classic car museum and a museum of medical history, dine on a Philadelphia treat, take a scenic drive, and walk through 8 miles of model railroads.
The first person to arrive at the hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was my friend Justin, whose 2003 Honda Accord EX V6 coupe crossed the 939,000 mile mark on his way to the East Coast. I’ll have more to share about this car later in the post! Saturday
Saturday morning we met up at the hotel where my friends were staying. Our day started at 9:00 am, a bit of a later start time to give everyone a chance to catch some rest after a long day (or days) of driving.
Our first stop was to Ponzio’s Dinerin Cherry Hill for breakfast. Nothing like a good Jersey diner to start the day off right!
After breakfast, we headed across the Delaware River into Philadelphia to visit to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. Readers might remember my previous visit to this museum in April. When you’re hanging out with a bunch of fellow automotive enthusiasts, what better place to visit than one of the best car museums on the East Coast!
Dr. Fred Simeone, the neurosurgeon whose car collection is housed in the museum, recently passed away in June, but as I shared with my friends, his unique collection of racing cars will live on through the museum and the foundation that bears his name.
One thing I missed during my first visit to the museum – this map where visitors can insert a push pin to indicate their home. As you can see, there wasn’t much need for me to mark that I was from NJ… my fellow Jersey-ites had it covered (literally).
My friends agreed that the museum choosing to theme its exhibits based on famous racetracks was very cool. One of my favorites is this display of the Watkins Glen racetrack in upstate New York, featuring this 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport.
We all stared appreciatively at the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gull Wing, the centerpiece of the exhibit on the Nurburgring track in Germany. Anyone have a spare $2,000,000 they could loan me?
My favorite exhibit, though, is for the Mille Miglia, the thousand mile race through Italy that ran from 1927 until 1957. The fact that the museum painted a backdrop and built an actual facade of an Italian city is deeply impressive.
For a kid growing up in the 1980s, one of the iconic supercars of the time was the Ferrari Testarossa, best remembered as the ride of choice of Detectives Crockett and Tubbs in the TV drama Miami Vice. Testarossa literally translates as “red head,” a reference to the red valve covers on the cylinder heads of the car’s engine. Who knew? (Lots of people, apparently. Just not me.)
My friends were quite taken with some of the bold styles of cars from the 1930s – 1950s on display, including this 1935 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster.
No other car museum I have visited has built a replica of the Le Mans pit lane to showcase cars that ran in that race. The level of detail at Simeone is jaw-droppingly impressive.
“I feel the need, the need for speed!” I love how the painted mural of the Le Mans circuit makes you feel like this 1929 Stutz Supercharged is racing toward you.
Much like these cars on display that were winners of major races, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum takes first place on the podium for producing an excellent, affordable, and accessible showcase of famous racing cars. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday), and admission is $12 per adult, with discounts available for veterans and senior citizens. Children under 18 years of age and active duty military personnel can enter for free. After taking in our fill of vehicles, we were off to our next destination.
Our next stop wasn’t automotive, but it was certainly memorable!
We had come to the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Established in 1863, the museum preserves and displays the history of medicine, including the tools used by physicians and specimens of the human body and the diseases and medical conditions that affect those bodies. A word of warning – I have included a few photos below that involve human specimens. If you would like to skip that, simply scroll down until you see a picture of a marble staircase.
Owing to the sensitive nature of the collection, the museum asks that visitors refrain from taking photographs. A few items are on display for photographic purposes, however, such as this physician’s notebook from the late 19th century. The two photos below were also in an area were photography was permitted.
Rather than saying, “Ew, gross,” I was fascinated by seeing our bodies as they truly are beneath the skin. While I’ve seen similar frontal cuts of the human head in anatomy textbooks in school, it was far more memorable to see this specimen in person.
Okay, maybe a little “ew yuck” is in order for this jar of kidney stones…
The Mutter Museum is filled with fascinating items on display, presenting a memorable way to learn about the human body. If you are in Philadelphia (and, admittedly, have a strong stomach), I’d highly recommend a visit. The Mutter Museum is open every day except Tuesday. Admission costs $20 for an adult, $18 for seniors and military personnel, students and youth ages 6-17 can enter for $15, and children five and younger can enter for free. It’s well worth the trip!
Our final stop in Philadelphia was to the Reading Terminal Market for dinner. Established in 1893, the building is a public market that sells groceries, liquor, cheese, ice cream, flowers, books, and clothes. Numerous vendors sell ready-to-eat foods, including Cajun, Caribbean, Chinese, Thai, and Greek food.
We were in search of a specific Philadelphia cuisine, and we found it at the Down Home Diner, a diner established in 1987 that uses ingredients sourced from the Philadelphia area, including from other vendors in the market.
That will be cheesesteaks all around, please! As the story goes, in 1930, Pat and Harry Olivieri, local hot dog vendors, decided to cook sliced beef and onions on their grill. A passing cab driver smelled the sandwich and asked to purchase one for himself. Another fun fact – these sandwiches are often served with Cheese Whiz, owing to a practical reason. Pat Olivieri found that he could heat up the canned cheese product on the grill in its can, keeping it separate from the meat for his kosher customers (via The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia). Fun facts aside, the sandwiches were a delicious ending to our time in Philly!
We headed back over to New Jersey and parked our cars at Cooper River Park for our next event – an automotive photo session!
Of course, this certain 2012 Honda Accord coupe needs no introduction!
In preparation of our meetup, I did what I know best – I gave my Accord a thorough cleaning, inside and out. Not too shabby for 10 years and 204,000 miles of honest use.
Next up, my friend Josh’s 2014 Honda Accord LX sedan. Longtime readers may remember Josh – his 2015 Accord LX sedan ran to over 600,000 miles before a stray deer decided to put Josh back into the car buying market (fortunately, Josh was ok). Since retiring from service in the US Navy, Josh now works as a medical courier, delivering needed supplies across most of the eastern United States.
As a courier, Josh puts some serious miles on his vehicle – about 3,000 miles per week, by his estimate. Check the center console – his car is a six speed manual. That’s quite a bit of gear shifting! His current Accord has over 177,000 miles on the odometer.
Next up: my friend Ashley (Ash) and her 2010 Honda Accord LX sedan. As it is her first car, it’s her baby, and she takes great care of it, keeping it clean and well-maintained.
The Open Road Ahead heartily approves of how clean Ash keeps the interior as well! With around 78,000 miles on the odometer, Cinnamon (the name she gave her car) has lots of years left ahead of it.
Finally, we get to the King of High Miles… my friend Justin and his 2003 Honda Accord EXL V6 coupe. I’ve been chronicling Justin’s high mileage escapades since we first met online several years ago.
A sticker on the window makes a bold claim: the “highest mileage V6 Accord in the world.” Hmm, I wonder…
Yup. I’d say that’s most likely the highest mileage V6 Honda Accord in the world. Goodness gracious, that’s a whole lotta miles! A retired US Navy pilot, Justin works part-time delivering just-in-time medical supplies to nursing homes and private houses throughout southern Texas.
Most amazingly, Justin’s car is still running on the original engine. I wonder if the technicians at the Honda factory who installed the engine on the assembly line had any idea that 19 years later, it would still be banging away at nearly a million miles?
I had the opportunity to take a ride in Justin’s car, and what struck me was just how normal it felt. It didn’t feel much different than my 2012 coupe (which has 735,000 less miles!). Fingers crossed, my friend, for a successful final push to a million miles!
I also pulled the drone out of my camera bag and had fun with some aerial photography of the cars. Honda, I think your next ad campaign is right here!
After a fun end of our day photographing our cars (receiving quite a few odd looks from passersby), we headed our separate ways to rest up and get ready for the next day.
We were treated to a gorgeous sunset – not a bad way to end our first day! Sunday
The next morning, we met up at another local diner for breakfast and a game of Honda Trivia. My friends brought their A-game, getting every question right. Prizes were given afterward, including for “best mud flap installation” and “furthest drive to the meetup.” It was a fun way to start our day (and in case you’re curious, the answer is 1995).
After breakfast, we took a scenic drive north along the Delaware River to lunch in Lambertville, NJ. Along the way, we stopped at Washington Crossing State Park, where George Washington led American forces across the Delaware on Christmas Day, 1776.
I also took a few minutes at Washington Crossing State Park to film a quick video of the four cars, and talk about our journeys to the meetup:
Our final stop was to Northlandz in Flemington, New Jersey, the world’s largest indoor model train museum. Longtime readers might remember my visit to Northlandz several years ago. The museum is open Friday through Sunday (and most holidays). Tickets are a bit on the pricier side at $27 per adult, but there are a number of available discounts on the website, and you can also find good offerings on Groupon as well.
How best to describe Northlandz? Absolutely enormous! With over 8 miles of track, all running through detailed dioramas, it’s quite easy to lose several hours walking through the entire museum.
Most of the trains are in N- and HO-gauges. The museum also has several locations where pressing a button allows you to interact with the scene. For instance, pushing a red button nearby turns the train on the roundtable in the train yard.
Northlandz is the vision of one man: Bruce William Zaccagnino, who built a model train diorama in his basement that would grow, and grow, and grow, until he bought the property for Northlandz in 1990, and opened it to the public in 1996.
In building his miniature wonderland, Mr. Zaccagnino did it with a sense of humor and play. From the numerous model homes owned by “grandma,” (whose home always features an outhouse in a precarious position), to the toothpick garden (where toothpicks are grown), to oddly placed buildings and trains, at no point does Northlandz take itself too seriously.
The Guinness Book of World Records did bestow upon Northlandz the title of World’s Largest Small-Scale Railroad Model (via Jersey’s Best). After about 90 minutes (the amount of time it takes to go through the exhibits), we walked through the lobby, prepared to head our separate ways.
As we gathered in the parking lot to say our goodbyes, a funny thing happened… we started talking about cars again. And plans for a future meetup. And our drives. And on the conversation went… it was like none of us wanted to leave! Finally wrenching ourselves away, we said our goodbyes and promised to do another Accord Meetup in the near future!
With the shortest drive (by far), I was back home in under an hour, the Accord having crossed yet another milestone during the weekend. It was a fantastic two days, and I am looking forward to the next opportunity for us to gather together!
A few days later, Justin was the last member of our group to return home as he rolled into his driveway in Texas with 941,995 on his odometer. Onward! Wrapping Up
What a fantastic weekend! We had a great time hanging out, talking cars, eating tasty food, visiting cool (and maybe a little gross) museums, taking scenic drives, and spending time with some fun friends. This meetup will not be a one-off, as we are already discussing getting together for the moment that Justin rolls over 1,000,000 miles in his 2003 Accord.
Thanks for coming along on this special Accord adventure down the open road ahead!
‘Til next time.