10 Ways to Explore the Florence Griswold Museum in Lyme, Connecticut

We enjoy visiting art museums with our children. Some people may think art museums are not an ideal spot to bring children, but there are a whole variety of reasons why you should- read them in this post. We’ve recently been researching local museums in Connecticut and were pleased to see that the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is open and taking very good steps to honor pandemic restrictions and keep everyone safe and healthy.

Home to military sea captain Robert Griswold and his family in the middle 1800s until Florence Griswold’s death in 1937, the 12 acre estate includes art galleries, the main mansion, three additional structures with exhibits, an artist trail, gift shop, and seasonal cafe. The Griswold family harvested a large collection of gardens, producing much of the food the family ate, and later served to guests. Griswold inherited the home from her family and began welcoming boarders in 1899 as a way of making money. Up to 18 artists, who became known as the Lyme Art Colony, would stay in the home at one time,. Famous guests include President Woodrow Wilson and his first wife, an aspiring artist. Old Lyme became known as one of the biggest Impressionist art colonies in America, in large part to the Griswold campus. Today, it is open to visitors and welcomes families to explore what life was like for the artists in the early 20th century.

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6 Family Friendly Places to Hike in Western Connecticut

One of the good things to come out of the COVID 19 pandemic for our family is the desire to spend more time outdoors. While we have always enjoyed outdoor spots like the beach, the zoo, and various parks, we’ve never really been “hikers.” Until 2020, we also didn’t have many opportunities to explore many Connecticut state parks. Connecticut has 110 state parks and hundreds of hiking trails. Check out this overview on Visit Connecticut.com, with links to alphabetized lists of parks and information. We’ve been fortunate to have time this past year to “hit the trails.” We’ll be sharing many of them in the coming weeks, including tips for hiking with kids in general, but this week we’re starting with six spots in the northwestern part of Connecticut that we like:

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Holiday Gift Guide 2020: “The Gift of Time”

“The gift of time” is one of my favorite phrases; I truly believe that the one of the greatest gifts we can give someone is to spend time with them. This past year, we may have spent more time at home than on the road “adventuring”, but even at home, the gift of time was well spent reconnecting in ways that didn’t involve screens! This year, for our annual gift guide (check out our previous Holiday Gifts Guides from 2019, 2018, 2017), we are using the theme of the gift of time for the focus of our gift giving family and friends.

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10 Ways to Have Fun in the Berkshires in Massachusetts

The Berkshires, compromised of over 30 towns and villages, is located in the most western part of Massachusetts. It includes towns ranging from Sheffield and Great Barrington in the southern part of the state, bordering Connecticut, to the towns of Wiliamstown and North Adams in the northern part of the state, bordering Vermont. The region is popular year round for outdoor activities, performing arts venues, galleries, museums, and historic homes and landmarks. The Berkshires have been home well known figures such as authors Edith Wharton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and activist W.E.B. DuBois. Dubbed the “Inland Newport” during the Gilded Age of the 20th century, the area became well known for its over 75 estates, in addition to its thriving farming industry. Today, there are many spots to learn about the important history of the area and many preserved outdoor spaces to enjoy nature all year long.

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Great Falls Park in Virginia

Called the “Niagara of the South” and known as the “Waterway to the West”, Great Falls Park is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which is 32 miles long, encompassing two wildlife refuges and several historic sites and recreational areas over 800 acres. It’s located 12 miles from Washington DC but will transport visitors to a world of outdoor adventures. On the Maryland side is the C&O National Historic Park,  Each year over half a million people explore Great Falls Park.

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Five Things to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Besides Hiking

I’m saying it from the start: I am not a hiker. Or a camper. I think I like to hike and camp. I think I like being in the wilderness and communing with nature. I think I like to be without technology and modern day conveniences like running water. But when push comes to shove, I like it for about a day.

So here’s the disclaimer: I spent one day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I want to be up front: you could spend weeks- months- inside this national park that spans over 500,000 acres across two states (Tennessee and North Carolina). But I know my limitations, and I knew at the start of an almost four week road trip it was going to be a marathon and not a sprint, so I couldn’t get burnt out right away. I researched the Great Smoky Mountains and found the most manageable places to explore that would still give me the sense of accomplishment of hiking/camping/communing with nature. Here’s what I recommend if you want to get a feel for the mountains without camping for days:

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