10 Ways to Explore Coastal Connecticut during the Summer

Coastal Connecticut is the title often given to the area spanning from Branford to Old Lyme, which includes the towns of Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Killingsworth, Essex, Deep River, Old Saybrook, Lyme, and Old Lyme. The area is beautiful all times of year, but especially comes to life during warmer summer months. Conveniently located along Interstate 95 (which runs from the New York to Rhode Island state lines), many of the towns border the Connecticut River or Long Island Sound and offer plenty of riverfront and beachfront activities and open spaces. The area is also known for its numerous contributions to the arts and many museums and educational institutions honor the legacy of famous residents.

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Our Summer 2020 Recap

Summer 2020 wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, and it definitely wasn’t what we had been planning for a LONG time. June marked a milestone birthday for me and we had planned on celebrating with a big trip to places that have been on our bucket list for many year. Luckily, we rescheduled this trip for next summer- so cross your fingers and stay tuned!

Each summer, we make individual “Bucket Lists” of things we want to do. Some common goals that the four of us shared are part of the highlights below. We’re grateful we were able to accomplish so much and fully recognize how fortunate we are. Here are the highlights:

Once the pandemic hit, we knew we’d have to shift our perspective and our travel plans. Our major goals for any trip include: staying safe and healthy; doing our best to keep others safe and healthy; respecting local and state guidelines and regulations; learning new things; having fun.

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10 Places We Love in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a big state- over 46,000 square miles, over 12 million people, and several popular cities. I remember the first time my husband and I, pre-children, drove a lengthy part of Interstate 76 to get to Pittsburgh (one of the first baseball parks we visited); it felt like the road went on forever. Many years later, we have travelled through most of Pennsylvania (and traveling 330 miles in one day is now a breeze- our record is 710 miles in one day!) and found a lot of spots we love! Although there are many more places we have yet to visit, here are our top 10 family friendly spots in Pennsylvania:

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Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster PA

Who loves ice cream? Who loves Turkey Hill ice cream? If you now have your favorite flavor in mind and you’re about to check the freezer for a cartoon, then put a visit to Turkey Hill Experience on your next road trip itinerary! While it’s not the production site of the company, there is still plenty of ice cream and sweet teas available for tasting and plenty see and do.

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Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts

I’ve been obsessed with Yankee Candles for a long time. Anyone who knows me would probably say I have the most sensitive nose they have seen. It’s true: I need my environment to smell good. So whether it’s fall (Macintosh or Spiced Pumpkin), the holiday season (Christmas Cookies or Homes for the Holidays), or summer (Blueberry or Lush Berries), I always have a Yankee Candle burning in my home (and yes, I have the car jar fresheners for my car- French Vanilla is my favorite).

I made a brief stop at the Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts years ago (I had a shortage of Macintosh and fall was approaching, if I remember correctly) but could not stay to explore the village. So, it went on my travel list, and this past week my family had the opportunity to visit.

The Massachusetts Yankee Candle Village (there is also a location in Williamsburg, Virginia) is located thirty minutes north of Springfield.  The campus opened in 1982 with a 5,000 square foot building; now there’s over 90,000 square feet of fun to explore. The village welcomed over 500,000 visitors from over 50 countries in 2017, and many of them made a visit during the popular fall foliage and holiday season time.

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We All Scream for Ice Cream!

While I know some of you might agree with me that ice cream is always in season, for many people a sign of summer is the opening of seasonal ice cream parlors. Someday, I hope to have a state by state directory of top ice cream spots (of course, personally vetted), but until I have the time, I thought a list of some places where you can tour ice cream being made would suffice:

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