10 Family Friendly Activities in Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria was established as a town along the northernmost part of the Potomac River in 1749, named after the Alexander family whose land formed the majority of the area. It was considered the first major seaport of British America. Known for its 18th and 19th century architecture (we could have spent days just walking the neighborhoods and checking out window boxes and front doors), it is a nationally designated historic district.

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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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Naumkeag in the Berkshires

The summer home of attorney Joseph Choate, his wife Caroline, and their five children in the late 1800s, Naumkeag is the perfect representation of a country estate of the Gilded Age. The estate is named after the Algonquin word (meaning “good fishing spot”) used for Salem, Massachusetts where the Choat family originally lived.

The original gardens included two terraces, a topiary garden, and an arborvitae alley. A farm, greenhouse, orchards, and vegetable gardens provided much of the food for the family. The family also enjoyed hiking, swimming, and horseback riding on many of the 48 acres of the estate, which is located in Stockbridge in western Massachusetts. The Choate’s daughter, Mabel, inherited the property and spent significant time creating many additional gardens. She deeded it to the Trustees of the Conservation upon her death in 1958 and the 44 room estate was turned into a museum opened to the public in 1960.

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10 Family Friendly Things to Do in Fredericksburg, VA

Located an hour south of Washington DC and an hour north of the state capitol Richmond, Fredericksburg began as a tobacco seaport until the Civil War, when, in December of 1862, the area became synonymous with a battle that took the lives of 12, 000 thousands soldiers. Today, visitors come for an education in Revolutionary War and Civil War history and a chance to explore the numerous museums and historical sites. 

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Newport, Rhode Island

Growing up on the South Shore of Massachusetts, and having an avid sailor for a father, my family took many a day trip to visit Newport, Rhode Island. I can remember touring the mansions as a child, admiring the boats at the Newport Boat Show with my dad, and enjoying the beaches, restaurants, and various outdoor recreational activities during the summer. As an adult, I have returned to Newport many time, with my husband for a weekend getaway and with girlfriends as an escape from the duties of motherhood. Recently,  my family spent Thanksgiving weekend celebrating the start to the holiday season in the “City By the Sea.” You can read all about our holiday celebrations here.

However, you would need months (possibly years)  to explore every place in the city, so I think Newport should be on everyone’s list; better yet, if you live within a few hours, it’s worth making visits each season. The city is filled with visitors during the summer months and you absolutely should visit during the summer. However, there is also plenty to do during the winter.

If you need help planning a visit to Newport, DiscoverNewport.org is the perfect planning tool. It’s extremely easy to navigate and full of ideas based on your preferences for activities, food, accommodations, and budget. There is also a massive directory for weddings planning. The online calendar was up to date and quickly linked me to websites and phone numbers. It also covers more than “just” the city of Newport, by including both Newport and Bristol Counties. I’ve organized suggestion based on two popular areas of town:

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Celebrating the Holiday Season in Newport, RI

Founded in 1639 and known as the “City by the Sea”, Newport, Rhode Island has been welcoming beach lovers to its sandy shores every since that time. During the famous “Gilded Age” in America, business tycoons built summer “cottages” to retreat to during the summer months. Today, the mansions of Newport are still the most visited spots in the city; however, there is so much to do in Newport after touring the mansions and surfing in the ocean waters.

Growing up on the South Shore of Massachusetts, and having an avid sailor for a father, my family took many day trips to visit Newport. As an adult, I have returned to Newport many times: with my husband for a weekend getaway and with girlfriends as an escape from the duties of motherhood. This past weekend, I took my husband and children to explore Newport in the “shoulder season” and usher in the holiday season. Today’s post begins a series of all Newport has to offer:

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