Having a Back Up Plan

If you are one of my regular followers, you know how important I think having an alternate plan is; I hate surprises and always try to anticipate problems ahead of traveling with my family. As much as I try and plan when I pack a suitcase and pack the car for a trip, undoubtedly something unexpected will come up.

While there will always be some things out of my control, and some things I just won’t anticipate, knowing how I will deal with the unexpected when it inevitably comes up takes some of the pressure off of me. Here are my top tips:

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New York Public Library, New York City

My children are OBSESSED with reading (good problem to have, I know). They can’t get enough of books. Exactly one year ago, we were in New York City to see a Broadway play for my daughter’s birthday. We were exploring Bryant Park and saw the New York City Library. We had an hour before the show and it was too cold to “walk around the city” so we decided to check out the library. We ended up spending most of our time in the children’s room, but I made note of the tour group that passed us and vowed to return. We did, exactly one year later.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York City Library opened in 1911 and probably the most well known of the 92 properties in the library system. It’s one of four research centers, in addition to the 88 circulation branches located throughout Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Some areas of the library are open to the general public and some are reserved for credentialed people who visit to complete research. The library offers audio tour for a nominal fee at any time the library is open, but also offers free, guided tours tour twice a day. Check in at the docent desk in Astor Hall. Make sure you check times and get there early, as tour spaces are limited.

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Gulliver’s Gate in New York City

Gulliver’s Gate opened in May 2017 and is quickly becoming one of the top Trip Advisor-rated spots in New York City. It’s located on right in Times Square, but you’ll feel like you’re in another world- a world where everything and everyone is miniature! The space is clean and airy, with plenty of room to move and explore. The exhibit takes up the entire second floor, the size of a full city block. We visited in the morning (the exhibit is open from 10am-8pm) when it was quiet and we had up-close-and-personal viewing spots for each display. By 11am, a crowd had started, and the staff mentioned afternoons are always busier than mornings. Plan on spending about 90 minutes to two hours to explore the entire exhibit.

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Five Can’t Miss Exhibits at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

No trip to Toronto would be complete without paying homage to the national winter sport of Canada: hockey.  The original Hockey Hall of Fame opens it’s doors in 1961 and then expanded and moved to the current location at Brookfield Place in downtown Toronto in 1993. Throughout the early 2000s, the museum updated and expanded many of the exhibits.  There are a lot of financial offices located inside Brookfield Place, but families might enjoy lunch at one of the quick service spots or local restaurants inside the complex.  Be sure to look up and check out the architecture.

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10 Reasons Why I Love the National Parks Service System

Seven years ago I planned my first major road trip. My children were toddlers and we were planning on traveling almost cross country to visit good friends who were temporarily relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sharing my itinerary with my Uncle Bob, he asked if I planned on visiting any National Parks. I knew of the National Park Service system, but didn’t know much information about the various locations. Uncle Bob pulled out a worn, tattered, small blue spiral book and about an hour went by before I spoke again. (Full disclosure: Uncle Bob is a good storyteller and he does have a TON of travel experience.) His National Parks Passport book was filled with stamps dating back to the early 1970s. It was the perfect memento of his travels and I knew I had to start my own passport book.

Since 2012, I have collected dozens of passport stamps from various stops in the National Park Service system. There are over 400 locations in the United States and American owned islands. These locations include parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and even the White House. With every stop, I became a bigger and bigger fan of the National Parks system. Here are my top 10 reasons why:

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Highlights of 2017

My 2017 was filled with lots of fun travels. My family and I stayed mainly in New England, but we still managed to cover over 5,000 miles from northern Maine to New York City, and many places in between. For all of my new readers and followers, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite places and my most liked (and shared) posts from 2017:

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