On a recent trip to Québec, Canada, we made sure one of our first stops was a visit to the Parliament Building, home of the National Assembly, to learn all about French Canadian government.
A National Historic Site, the National Assembly Parliament Building was built between 1877 and 1886 on Parliament Hill, inspired by the architecture of the Louvre in Paris. Old Quebec housed the first three parliament buildings but all three burnt down before the current building was built from 1877-1886 and designed by Eugéne-Étienne Taché. In the early 1900s, the government added several buildings for additional office space.
The biggest military base in North America, La Citadelle was built by the British from 1820-1831 on Cape Diamond, the city’s highest point. La Citadelle was built to control who had access to the northern parts of Canada and to protect Quebec from future American invasions, after the invasion during the War of 1812. La Citadelle, which is the Italian word for “city”, is star-shaped, with “bashtons” (pointy tips of the star) and Curtain walls. Citadelle has been inhabited by the military since 1693 and has been the home of the Royal 22e Régiment since 1920.
We place great emphasis on gifting our children experiences and believe birthdays are the perfect time to celebrate the gift of friendship with a special trip. For a recent celebration, our daughter wanted to go away for the night with some of her closest friends. We immediately thought of one of our favorite resorts, Crystals Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey, and knew it would be the perfect place to celebrate.
On our recent visit to Québec, we had the opportunity to explore several historical attractions and learn about many parts of Québec’s history. One of the most unique spots in the city (and actually, that we have ever toured) is the Morrin Centre, one time jail, one time university, and now part museum and part library.
The original building opened as a jail in 1812, the first common jail of Québec and the site of 16 public hangings. However, the jail was not considered a successful one as, over 60+ years, over 100 inmates escaped, and less than half were recaptured.
On a recent trip to Québec, we had the wonderful opportunity to stay at the Auberge Saint-Antoine, a Relais and Château property (one of only 450 hotels in the world with the distinct honor). Located in the heart of Old Port of Québec, the Saint Antoine is steeped in history and offers many wonderful amenities. The site was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and first opened in 1992 in a 1822 stone warehouse (which is now Chez Muffy’s restaurant). The hotel quickly expanded and moved into the adjacent Hunt House, and then expanded again in 2003 to include 95 uniquely designed rooms and suites, a business center, a fitness center, receptions rooms, an auditorium, and two restaurants. The Saint Antoine is one of the best hotel we have ever had the privilege of visiting and we highly recommend staying here when exploring Old Québec (and yes, the hotel is SUPER kid friendly!)
In 1639, three young Augustinian Sisters traveled from France to found the first hospital in North America north of Mexico and to evangelize the locals. They spent a few years traveling around North America before returning to Quebéc in 1644 to build the original Hôtel-Dieu de Québec monastery hospital in 1691, which also included a residence for the nuns and a church. In 1755 a fire destroyed their home and the Garden Wing, but the entire complex was rebuilt in 1757. The Augustinian order of the Sisters grew and opened over a dozen monastery hospitals throughout the greater Quebéc province over the next two hundred years.
We recently returned from a wonderful visit to Mont Tremblant for Christmas. The resort of Tremblant is well known for their world class skiing and snowboarding, as well as year round outdoor activities. While there was not much snow when we visited, there were plenty of wonderful restaurants- see the full list of Village restaurants here. We did not have enough time to try them all, but here are 9 spots we did LOVE.
The Musée de Civilisation, located in the heart of Old Québec near the harbor, celebrates the rich history of the diverse population of Québec, including the many Indigenous people, Inuit, artists, scientists, inventors, and explorers.
One of my favorite year end activities is posting our Year in Review. We love looking back on all of our adventures from the previous year and giving thanks for the blessing of travel. We also like looking at some of our “trends”; this year was filled with many cool spots throughout New England (heavy emphasis on Vermont and New Hampshire) and the greater Northeast (Maryland and Virginia, and our favorite: New York) and lots of cool resorts.
This time of year, many families are thinking ahead to school breaks and summer as perfect opportunities for a family reunion. I’ve helped organize several family reunions in Maine, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, and also planned multigenerational trips to special places like StoryLand in New Hampshire, Woodloch in Pennsylvania, Martha’s Vineyard, and New York City. One special highlight is our 2016 trip to Disney World that included BOTH sets of grandparents.
The “World’s Most Famous Arena”, Madison Square Garden is home to NBA and NHL franchises New York Knicks and New York Rangers, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show, dozens of concerts, and 365 days of entertainment.
What was once the private library of American financier Pierpont Morgan, The Morgan Library and Museum opened to the public in 1924, three years after his death. JP Morgan created one of the largest personal libraries in history, with over 350,000 volumes. Morgan collected first editions of dozens of authors from Byron, Dickens, and Poe to Twain, Melville, and Morris to Plath, Stein, and Williams. Included in the collection are three copies of the famous Gutenberg Bible. Morgan also collected over one thousand volumes that document the development of bookbinding, one of the largest collections in the Western Hemisphere. Morgan’s collection also includes paintings, drawings, prints, and manuscripts.
The #1 attraction in America according to TripAdvisor, the Empire State Building is home to 1,000 businesses and offices (it even has its own zip code!) but also attracts over four MILLION visitors every year. Now the 6th tallest building in America and the 43rd tallest building in the world (as of 2023), the Empire State Building stands 1,250 feet tall (not counting the antenna at the top).
This coming Friday, November 17th is National Take a Hike Day and while we wouldn’t label ourselves big hikers- we use the term “hiker” loosely- we have come to love getting exercise while enjoying the beauty of nature and fresh air. During the pandemic, and since then, we have explored many of Connecticut’s state parks; you can read about the many reasons we love state parks in this post. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection oversees 142 state parks, forests, and beaches sprawled across a quarter million acres. There are SO many hiking trails and paths to explore, but over the years, we have returned to a few areas that are super kid friendly.
On a recent visit to Annapolis, Maryland, we enjoyed learning all about the history of the state, and significant American history, while touring the State House in the heart of Annapolis.
Annapolis, Maryland was the capitol of America from November of 1783 through August of 1784, the first peacetime capitol and the only state house that served as America’s capitol. It is the oldest state house still in continuous legislative use and was the site of both George Washington’s resignation as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in December of 1783 and the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War in January of 1784.
The original State House was built in 1735 and renovated in 1876-1877, with an annex built in 1905, identified by the black strip of flooring on the first floor. There were significant update in 1940 and an additional, thorough restoration project in 2014. Today, construction continues at the front entrance, in the old Treasury Building, and across the street with the Department of Legislative Services building. The first floor of the State House remains open to visitors for self guided tours, and several interactive exhibits are engaging for visitors of all ages!
You may think I am rushing fall by writing about things to do in the winter in the Northeast, but now is the time to plan! The Northeast is known for its beautiful winters and activities such as skiing (in all its forms!), snowboarding, snowtubing, ice skating, and more. But if you and your family DON’T ski or snowboard, there are still plenty of places to explore and enjoy.
Resorts are a great option for families as they offer a home base with lodging (great for naptime and avoiding schlepping everyone back and forth in the car), all-inclusive activities (and sometimes meals), and beautiful grounds to spread out and explore. Here are some of our favorite resorts in the Northeast to enjoy:
On a recent trip to New York City, we enjoyed a tour of the largest opera house in the world, the Metropolitan Opera House. Now part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Opera was founded in 1883 and the first opera house was located at Broadway and 39th Street. As the Met Opera grew in popularity, it needed more space and joined other organizations to form The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a 16.3 acre complex on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Lincoln Center first opened in 1962 with the New York Philharmonic, adding the New York City Ballet in 1964 (in the Koch Theater) and then the inauguration of the Opera House in 1966. Across the complex, Lincoln Center is home to 30 indoor and outdoor facilities, including water features and a grassy hill across from the Juilliard School.
On a recent visit to Charlottesville, Virginia (check out our posts featuring James Monroe’s Highland and one of my most favorite resorts, the Omni Homestead), we spent a wonderful afternoon at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (see ALL the ways to explore Monticello here).
On a recent trip to Boston (we’ve got dozens of posts featuring popular Boston attractions), we finally had the chance to tour of Boston’s most famous venues: The Wang Theater at the Boch Center.
The Wang Theater at the Boch Center opened in 1925 as the Metropolitan Theater in the heart of downtown Boston. Over 100 artists came from Italy to complete the painting and sculpture work throughout the theater (look for the lead artist’s, Louis Amorosi, name inscribed in the corner of the ceiling). The fourteen floor building opened as a movie theater with over five thousand seats (the theater routinely oversold tickets and if a patron got up from their seat to use the restroom or buy refreshments, someone quickly took it). The theater stayed open all day for guests to patronize the art exhibits, play games, and socialize.
On a recent visit to Annapolis (check out our post featuring one of the BEST tours we have ever taken- the historical walking tour of the US Naval Academy.) we stopped at the Annapolis Maritime Museum to learn about the nautical history of the area. (Looking for other great, seaside spots? Check out our posts featuring New Bedford, Massachusetts; Gloucester, Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island).
What was once the home of the McNasby Oyster Company throughout most of the 20th century, the property became the Eastport Historical Committee and Barge House Museum in the 1980s and then developed Annapolis Maritime Museum in 2000 with expansions less than a decade later. The museum showcases the history of the local watermen (the term for men who ) and the harvesting, and over-harvesting of oysters. By the start of the 21st century, less than one percent of oysters were left and today there is a massive restoration project to save the oysters, with the goal to reharvest 10 BILLION oysters by 2035.
Welcome to Coast2CoastwithKids! My family and I love road-tripping across America and finding new educational places to explore. Follow along on our adventures here and check our travel tips and recommendations. Click here for more information about my family.
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