Five U.S. Travel Books Kids Will Love
Our children have always enjoyed reading and will spend hours a day reading, no matter where we are. Fortunately, they can read in the car and we often make a big Barnes and Noble order before a road trip. And while they mainly stick to fictional series, they do like to take a break for a puzzle or a game, or ask us trivia. This week, we’re sharing some of our favorite travel books. You’ll notice a common theme of the National Park system, one of our favorite destinations on any road trip. (You can read about some of the dozens of posts featuring National Parks and National Park service sites here). And be sure to check out the special giveaway at the bottom of the post.
10 Ways to Explore the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum on Cape Cod
Built from 1907-1910 to commemorate the first landing of the pilgrims on board the Mayflower on November 21, 1620, the 252 foot Pilgrim Monument is the tallest all granite structure in the United States. Visitors can climb all 170 steps and 60 ramps to the top and be rewarded with views as far away as Boston (42 miles north). Today, the monument and adjacent museum are open to the public from early April through early November.
10 Money Saving Travel Tips
We have always prioritized spending time with our children and gifting them experiences over material possessions (see this post and this post). Traveling with children can be expensive, but we’ve learned a few tricks over the past decade for saving money while road tripping.
10 Ways to Explore the Kartrite Resort in the Catskills
Opened in the spring of 2019, the Kartrite Resort and Indoor Waterpark, spread across 1,600 acres in Monticello, New York in the Catskills, is a great spot for kids of ALL ages. The resort includes a two acre, 80,000 square foot indoor waterpark- the largest in all of New York- plus an indoor entertainment center, numerous restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness room, and a huge conference center. Attached to the waterpark and entertainment center is a 324 all suite hotel offering one, two, and three bedroom options. Each suite includes amenities such as a microwave, mini refrigerator, pull out sofa; larger suites have a sitting area and dining table. All resort guests receive wristbands for access to the indoor waterpark during their stay including check in and check out days. Get the lay of the land with this resort map.
Playing “I Spy” at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford, Connecticut
Named after local civic visionary Horace Bushnell, The Bushnell Performing Arts Center opened as Bushnell Memorial Hall in 1930, less than two years after the groundbreaking ceremony, and was fully restored in 2005 for its 75th anniversary. Known as a presenting center (because all sets and costumes are brought in for each show), The Bushnell is home to the 2,799 seat Mortensen Hall, the 907 seat Belding Hall, which opened in 2001, and several small halls and suites for concerts, lectures, weddings, corporate events, and performances.
Fun in Waterbury, Connecticut: Mattatuck Museum and Fascia’s Chocolates
Waterbury, Connecticut is Connecticut’s 5th largest city, located in the western part of the state on the Naugatuck River. The “Brass City” is known for its waterways and was once the heart of the American brass industry, employing over 50,000 brass workers in the early 1900s. Waterbury was once part of the Mattatuck Plantation, so it is fitting that the museum, situated directly across from the Waterbury Green, that celebrates the history of the area is called the Mattatuck Museum. The museum showcases the industries, culture, arts, and history of Waterbury and the surrounding Naugatuck Valley area with three floors of exhibits and rotating displays.
City Guide: 25 Places in Manhattan Kids Will Love
We are fortunate to live an hour outside of New York City and we take advantage of our close proximity as much as possible. There are so many family friendly places in the 22 square miles of New York City that our list could potentially go into the hundreds! For this week, however, we’ll stick with 25 places we have explored over the past decade, including a few spots that spill over into the Bronx. We’ll acknowledge some gaps in this list- the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History are missing from this list- but we have not been to some very popular spots in over a decade (all the more reason to rerun ASAP!) For organizational purposes, we’ve listed sites by location, starting with the Financial District and working on our way up island through the Upper East and West Sides all the way to the Bronx (we had to include a couple of our favorite spots, which happen to in the Bronx- see #23-25)
10 Reasons to Love Smugglers’ Notch Resort in the Winter (even if you don’t ski!)
Smugglers’ Notch resort in Jeffersonville, Vermont is well known for being one of the top ski resorts in America and routinely received accolades for being a top ski resort for families, a top New England fall destination, and one of the best adventure and vacation spots for kids. Known as “America’s Family Resort”, Smuggs is located less than an hour from both Montpelier and Burlington Vermont, and less than four hours from Hartford, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts.
Five Ways to Explore the Woods Hole Science Aquarium on Cape Cod
The Woods Hole Science Aquarium is part of the Woods Hole Oceanic Institute (WHOI), which is a nonprofit education facility that focuses on marine science and engineering. The WHOI has a campus spread out throughout the village of Woods Hole and it includes a Visitor Center and Discovery center, both of which are open to the public and offer a variety of programs and events. Opened in 1875 and welcoming over 80,000 visitors every year, the Woods Hole Science Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in America and home to 140 species of marine life who live in the Atlantic and Northeast waters, including harbor seals. The aquarium also has a rehabilitation program for sea turtles.
The Paley Center for Media in Manhattan
First opened in 1976 as the Museum of Broadcasting, the Museum of Television and Radio changed names and moved to the heart of Midtown Manhattan in 1991, followed by another renaming and reopening as the Paley Center for Media in 2007 to honor William S. Paley. The owner of several prominent radio stations in the 1920s, William S. Paley created a larger network that became the CBS Network in the mid 20th century.
City Guide: 11 Ways to Explore Cape Cod in the Winter
I was lucky enough to grow up less than 40 minutes from Cape Cod and spent many a summer day on the Cape’s iconic beaches. However, the Cape is a beautiful spot to visit anytime of year and the winter season offers a peaceful, calmer pace of relaxation. We recently spent part of our holiday on the Cape and we found plenty of family friendly attractions still open and offering special events and activities. Some of these attractions do close for a period in January or February, so we’ll suggest visiting for a holiday or after the February break, and always check online or call ahead of time to confirm hours.
Playing “I Spy” at Carnegie Hall
The finest acoustics concert hall in the world, Carnegie Hall is home to over 250 seasonal concerts and an additional 500+ independently produced events every year. It’s not considered an opera hall (no operas are performed) nor is it a performance center (no ballets or Broadway shows- find out by playing I Spy below), but Carnegie Hall does offer world class concerts featuring every genre of music and spoken word. During the late nineteenth century Concert Halls were quite popular, as places to listen to a concert, as opposed to theaters, which were places to watch a performance.
10 Ways to Explore the Cape Cod National Seashore
The Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the most popular spots on the Cape, attracting 4.5 million visitors each year. The 43,608 acres of the Seashore are spread out across six towns and on both the Cape Cod Bay and Atlantic Ocean sides of Cape Cod, the “flexed arm” of Massachusetts. Overseen by the National Park Service and established in 1961, the National Seashore encompasses 40 miles of beach, 12 self guided hiking trails, six public beaches (Coast Guard, Nauset Light, Marconi, Head of the Meadow, Race Point, and Herring Cove), 6 lighthouses, three biking trails, fishing and hunting, and two Visitor Centers (Province Lands and Salt Marsh). The Visitor Centers are free to visit, as are many ranger led programs and activities, and showcase the history of the Cape, beginning with the English pilgrims who arrived at Provincetown on the Mayflower in November of 1620 . Visiting National Park Service sites (there are over 400!) are one of our favorite activities in a new spot and we really enjoyed our recent to the area. Most people explore the Seashore during peak summer months, but there is still plenty to see and do during the quieter winter months.
Year in Review: 2022 Highlights
This past year, 2022, was an incredibly difficult year for our family. Our son unexpectedly passed away on January 1st, and while we don’t get too personal on this blog and choose to focus on our travel adventures, we could not reflect on the year without acknowledging our profound loss and deep sadness. We did honor our son with several adventures by exploring new cities and starting new traditions. It is always with a sense of gratitude that we look back on all the places we visited in the past year. We reflected on five years of adventures in this post celebrating the 5th birthday of the blog.
Disney World Dining Recommendations for 2023
Last week, we shared an updated (for 2022) post featuring our tips for making successful Disney World dining reservations. Over the years, we have learned many ways to make your trip to Disney World as smooth as possible (spoiler: it takes some planning, some luck, and some flexibility). This week, we’re sharing an updated list of our favorite dining spots at Disney World (our original list can be found here and we do have some repeats!). We’ve been to Disney World four times and have a few spots we visit on every trip and some spots that have become newer favorites. We hope you’ll check these restaurants out on your next visit to Disney World, and would love for you to leave us a recommendation for a spot for our next visit.
11 Tips for Making Dining Reservations at Disney World
This past summer, we visited Disney World and had the opportunity to try some new restaurants and revisit old favorites. It was our fourth trip to Disney World in the past decade (check out our adventures staying at the Polynesian Resort and the Contemporary Resort and our adventures at Disney Springs. ) We had previously written about some of our favorite dining spots in this post, but thought we’d share two important updates. This week, we’re sharing ten tips for making dining reservations and next week we’ll be sharing some of our favorite dining experiences.