Playing “I Spy” at Victoria Mansion in Portland, Maine

Ruggles Sylvester Morse and his wife Olive Ring Merrill Morse were prominent New Orleans hotel proprietors in the 1850s when they decided to leave the summer heat of the South and build a house in Portland, Maine. The house, built in the Italian Villa style, was finished in 1860 and the couple lived there until Morse passed away in 1893. Olive sold the mansion, and all its contents, to J.R. Libby, who lived there with his wife and five children until the parents died in the early 1920s. After the Great Depression of the 1930s, the children could not afford the upkeep and taxes on the mansion and abandoned it. William Holme, a local teacher and historian who loved the Queen Victorian era, bought it to be preserved as a museum, named after Queen Victoria.  The Victoria Mansion Museum opened in 1941 to the public, who are welcome to tour two of the four floors of the mansion. Each room has been restored to its original, mid 1860s glory, with authentic furnishings purchased by the Morse family. 

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13 Living History Museums on the East Coast Kids Will Love

While traditional museums have priceless artifacts and works of art that are important to see (read why here), kids tend to be more engaged when they can get up close to history. One of the best opportunities for kids to engage with live interpreters and engage with tangible artifacts is a living history museum. Living history museums have indoor and outdoor exhibits, interactive displays, and daily programs and informative demonstrations. Many museums even offer summer camps for children. Most museums do close during winter hours (some spots keep indoor exhibits open), so we’re sharing this list now, as everything prepares to open for the 2021 season. Here are 13 of our favorite spots on the East Coast and two more that are on our 2021 list:

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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 Ways to Explore the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

The state of Maine holds the record for building the most ships in the country and Bath, located a half hour north of Portland and just over a half hour south of Augusta, has built more ships than any other area in Maine since the 1740s. It is fitting, then, that Bath is home to the Maine Maritime Museum, which showcases the history of the ship building, boating, fishing, and lobstering industries. The complex is spread over 20 acres on the banks of the Kennebec River, one mile away from Bath Iron Works.

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Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine

Rockport, Maine’s Samoset Resort, known for its stunning views of Penobscot Bay and Camden Hills, award winning 18 hole golf course, and first class service, has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1889. Over the past 130 years, the resort has expanded and renovated many times to include additional hotel suites, meeting and convention spaces, timeshare condominiums, and amenities such as recreational sports, a spa, and several dining options.

While the resort is most popular in the warmer months, there is still plenty to do during the winter. Check here for information about the popular Glacier Ice Bar Lounge that is created each winter and other popular winter activities. We chose to visit Samoset recently because we knew the resort would have plenty of outdoor activities and plenty of family fun. Samoset more than delivered and we highly recommend a visit.

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20 Indoor Places to Explore in New England in the Winter

New England is my home. I love it. Every trip I take outside New England is wonderful- and a wonderful reminder of how much I love where I grew up and where I now live with my family. New England is known for its beautiful beaches and ocean water in the summer, stunning foliage in the fall, countless places to ski and skate in the winter, and open spaces to enjoy the outdoors in the spring. However, if you’re prone to sunburns, frostbite, and allergies, consider these places to visit for plenty of indoor fun (and yes, they’re just as great in the summer too!)

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