Oct 192015
 

Haunted Happenings in Salem

The Salem witch hunt was indeed a real-life horror story.  In case you need a refresher, twenty innocent people were put to death during the Witch Hysteria of 1692, leaving Salem forever branded.  Actually, these days many people refer to Salem as “The Witch City.”

The people of Salem totally play up their spooky reputation to tourists, too.   In addition to the town’s normal bewitching attractions, Haunted Happenings run for the entire month of October and draws nearly a quarter of a million people to the city.  This year, my family was among Salem’s visitors and today I want to tell you about all the fun we had there.

**Disclosure:  I received a complimentary media pass to all of the locations mentioned in this post in order to tell you about our experience in Salem.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Since we had the kiddos with us, we kept our visit to Salem family friendly (well, as family friendly as the murders of 20 innocent people can be I suppose).  Here are all the things we did while we were there:

The Salem Witch Museum
The main presentation is based on actual trial documents. Visitors experience the drama of that dark time though thirteen life-size stage sets, figures, lighting and a stirring narration as they are witness to the web of lies and intrigue of the Salem Witch Hunt.
In our second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, live guides take you through changing interpretations of witches, the truth behind the stereotypes, witchcraft practice today and the frightening phenomenon of witch hunting.

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The Salem Witch Museum is located at 19 1/2 Washington Square and is open daily, year round: 10:00am-5:00pm, but they do have extended hours on select dates in October, so be sure to check their website before you go. Continue reading »

Oct 152015
 

Fright Fest 2015 at Six Flags New England is in full swing. Like in the past, this year they have some seriously awesome haunts that are guaranteed to make everyone’s hair stand on end.  This year there are over 20 chilling attractions and over 200 petrifying characters. When you’re there, be sure to enter the Big Top and experience the all-new Slasher Circus 3D. If you love getting scared by sinister clowns, this is the attraction for you.  The clowns make it their mission to terrify people as they roam through this 3D attraction.

**Disclosure:  My family and I were invited to experience media day at Six Flags New England and received complimentary admission.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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If you have little ones, don’t worry – there is something for everyone at Six Flags New England this Halloween season. Here’s the full Fright Fest breakdown. Continue reading »

Oct 062015
 

5 Reasons Why You Need To Go To King Richard's Faire

Hear ye, hear ye!  It’s that time of year again.  For two months every fall, you can travel back in time at King Richard’s Faire in Carver, MA.  Spread out over 80 acres of woods, King Richard’s Fairs is the place to be if you want to fully immerse yourself into a day in the life of someone back in the 1500’s.

**Disclosure:  My family and I received complimentary admission to King Richard’s Faire in order to tell you about our experience there.  All opinions are strictly my own and we not influenced in any way.

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If you’ve never been to a renaissance festival, you’re missing out on a chance to travel back in time to the 16th century.  I could probably list out a million reasons why you should check it out, but today I am going to tell you my top five! Continue reading »

Sep 032015
 

NEW KidsFest logo

Doesn’t two days of music, food and fun for the entire family sound like fun? If you answered yes then the 25th annual KidsFest at Wachusett Mountain is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s being held September 19th & 20th from 10-5 and it’s going to be an entire day of FUN for everyone.

Let’s talk about my favorite part first shall we?  Food!  At KidsFest there is going to be sampling by more than 50 Market Basket Vendors! You will be able to enjoy sample foods on the spot, like burgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, snacks and more… or take pre-packaged foods home with you.

Kidsfest juggler

While you snack, you can watch some of these amazing shows: Continue reading »

Aug 302015
 

Tips For Visiting Hersheypark

Many years ago, I took a road trip with three friends.  We made several stops along the way and Hersheypark was one of them. That road trip was long before I had kids or was even married for that matter, so when the kids saw a commercial for Hersheypark recently and asked to go, I couldn’t say no.  I remember loving it when I went all those years ago, so I knew they’d have a great time there.

So, a few weeks ago, we took a road trip to Pennsylvania and Hersheypark was one of our first stops once we got there.

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With that being said, we are a Disney family.  We go every year and we are very familiar and comfortable in big amusement parks.  Hersheypark is smaller and quite a bit different from Disney, so navigating it was a bit different than bigger amusement parks. We spent two days at Hersheypark and we wanted to share our best tips for getting the most out of your day at the park.

Disclaimer: My family received complimentary passes to Hersheypark, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »

Aug 232015
 

8 Things You Must do When You're in Philadelphia

I have wanted to visit Boston’s sister city, Philadelphia, for years and a few weeks ago I finally got a chance to spend two amazing days in the city of brotherly love.  Philly is only a little over 5 hours from my house, so now I am scratching my head about why I had never gone there before.

The first thing I want to mention about my time in Philly is that the streets of Philadelphia are much easier to navigate than the streets of Boston are.  The next thing I want to say is that as much as I love Boston, and I really do, I think I loved Philadelphia almost as much.  It’s a city rich in culture and history – not to mention cheesesteaks.  We had so much fun exploring Philly and if you are planning on going anytime soon, I have narrowed down a few things you just have to do while you’re there.

1.  Climb the Rocky steps!

Running up the Rocky steps (AKA East Entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art) is a must-do on your visit to Philadelphia.  While we were there, we saw a bunch of people recreate the scene from the movie & since I was in flip-flops that day, I sent my boys to do it, too.

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At the bottom of the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you will find the bronze statue of Rocky Balboa.  The statue was made for Rocky III and after filming for the movie completed, Sly Stallone donated the statue to the City of Philadelphia. Continue reading »

Aug 162015
 

Touring The Eastern State Penitentiary

The first time I had ever heard of the Eastern State Penitentiary was on an episode of Ghost Adventures a few years ago.  I’m a life-long Boston girl who had never been to Philadelphia before, so I really didn’t know anything about Philly other than the fact that Rocky ran up some stairs there.  But over the past few years I have seen a few other ghost hunting type shows that were filmed there, so when I knew that I was going to be spending a few days in Philly last month, the ESP was on my short list of places to go see.

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Each year approximately 60 paranormal investigation teams explore the site, capturing extensive evidence of ghosts within the penitentiary walls.  There were never any executions carried out at Eastern State, but over the years, the prison was home to its fair share of murders. In addition to many inmates that were killed there, at least two guards were murdered as well. Hundreds of others prisoners died from disease and/or old age. Admittedly, I really, really wanted to have a paranormal experience there the day I visited. Sadly, I didn’t, but touring the grounds was by far the highlight of my two days in Philadelphia. Continue reading »

Aug 112015
 

A Visit to America's First Zoo  The philadelphia zoo

In 1859, Philadelphia became home to America’s first zoo.

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The Philadelphia Zoo sits on 42-acres of land and is home to more than 1,300 animals, many of them rare and/or endangered. With animals such as Cheetahs, hippos, giraffes and so many more, the Philadelphia Zoo is one of the leading family attractions in the city and it brought in over 1.35 million visitors last year alone.

One of the things I love the most about the Philadelphia Zoo is that has focused on educating the public about exotic animals and that it actively promotes and participates in worldwide conservation efforts for endangered wildlife. The zoo features many state-of-the-art animal exhibits and that is one of the reasons they truly stand out. Continue reading »

Jul 272015
 

If there is one thing that can be said about my boys, it’s that they love to be in the water.  Last year, our family went to Water Country in Portsmouth, NH for the very first time and we all loved it so much that we couldn’t wait to get back again this year.

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**Disclosure:  My family received complimentary admission to Water Country in exchange for this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Last week we packed up and headed up to Water Country, which is New England’s largest waterpark, for the day.  I am a huge list maker, so I sat down the night before to make a list of everything we needed in order to spend an entire day at a waterpark.  I would seriously hate to forget something, so making lists helps me make sure I have everything I need.  I always say that I would rather bring too much than need something and not have it.

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Here is my list of items to bring with you to the waterpark in order to have a great time with the family: Continue reading »

Jul 202015
 

My boys are only three years apart in age, but at the particular ages they’re at right now, they seem to have a lot of trouble agreeing on things they like to do. My oldest is a few weeks shy of his 11th birthday and he’s got a major case of the tweens going on.  No matter what I suggest, it’s not cool.  Even things that are very cool, he always finds something to complain about.  My little guy on the other hand, who is just shy of his 8th birthday, is still a little kid and much more agreeable to pretty much anything I suggest doing. Thankfully there is one thing that they both still agree on – the zoo.

Stone Zoo

**Disclosure: My family and I received complimentary admission to the zoo in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

My family and I recently had a chance to visit the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA for the very first time recently and I have to say that I was really impressed.  I’ve been to my share of zoos over the years and unlike its larger sister zoo, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Stone Zoo is much more low-key and smaller in size, making it a great place to visit with little ones. The day we were there it was not very crowded and it’s not too far from where we live, so I’m over here scratching my head about why we’ve never gone there before. Continue reading »

Jul 152015
 

The Adventure Center at Killington Mountain

Bored.

It’s been the word of the summer around here.  My oldest, who is a few weeks away from his 11th birthday has come down with a severe case of the tweens and my little man, who is a few weeks away from his 8th birthday, goes along with everything (and I do mean everything) his big brother says.

Since the boys got out of school, I have spent so much time planning activities to keep them busy, but apparently my idea of fun is not the same as my kids.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I took them to places like the beach, the town pool and the local splash pad.  All of those places are “boring” according to my children and believe me when I tell you how frustrating it is to hear that word come out of their mouths repeatedly for days on end.

Just imagine my delight when I found something that not only both of my boys loved, but they were actually really sad when we had to leave.

Mom for the win!

**Disclosure: My family received two complimentary day passes to the Adventure Center at Killington in order to experience it four ourselves and to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »

Jul 082015
 

Summer is finally upon us here and when the weather is nice & sunny, the possibilities are endless.  Most of us spend time at the pool, beach, hiking, at the playground – see there are tons of fun things to do outside.  But then the unthinkable happens – it rains.  How dare Mother Nature ruin our already way too short summer by raining on us.  It’s days like that when you scramble to find fun indoor places to take your kids.

Here’s your solution to that problem.

launch trampoline park

Launch Trampoline Park!  It is an indoor sports and family entertainment facility in Norwood, MA.  They have over 15,000 sq. feet of connected trampolines forming one GIANT jumping surface and angled trampoline walls to bounce off of.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

**Disclosure:  My family was invited to a complimentary blogger event at Launch Norwood.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

At Launch, there are five courts for your family to jump on. There is the main court, a basketball court, a fun foam pit for the kids to jump in, a dodge ball and kids court (for kids ages 5 and under).  The best part about this indoor park, it’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Continue reading »

Jun 142015
 

10 More Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer

There are so many things that you can do for free in Boston this summer!  Last week I told you about 10 Things you can do for free in Boston, but today I wanted to tell you about ten more.

1.  Go Star Gazing

The Coit Observatory at Boston University has Public Open Night at their Observatory most Wednesday evenings throughout the year, weather permitting. Public Open Nights are a chance for people to come observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars and see things they otherwise might not get to see, and learn some astronomy as well.

Starting times are 7:30pm during the fall and winter, and 8:30pm during the spring and summer. The program lasts about an hour. If the weather looks sketchy and you’re wondering whether the Open Night will be held, call their information number at 617-353-2630, no earlier than two hours before the scheduled starting time to find out.

The observatory is located at 725 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, MA, above the Astronomy Department. The stairwell up to the Observatory is on the fifth floor just to the left of room 520.

2.  Hike up the Blue Hills

Blue Hills Hiking

Ok, so technically this is not in the city, but it’s located only minutes from downtown Boston. The DCR Blue Hills Reservation stretches over 7,000 acres from Quincy to Dedham, Milton to Randolph and it provides a green oasis in an urban environment. The highest of the 22 hills at Blue Hills is the Great Blue Hill, which reaches a height of 635 feet.  You will have an awesome view of the city from the top. At Blue Hills, there are 125 miles of trails and terrain. Continue reading »

Jun 102015
 

The EcoTarium Worcester MA

My family recently visited the EcoTarium in Worcester, MA.  We’ve been wanting to visit for quite some time, so the boys were really excited when I told them that we were going. The EcoTarium, New England’s leading science and nature center, is a unique indoor-outdoor museum that offers visitors a chance to walk through the treetops, take a thrilling multimedia journey through the galaxy at a digital planetarium, meet wildlife, stroll nature trails, and get hands-on with tons of family-friendly exhibits.

**Disclosure:  My family received complimentary admission to the EcoTarium in exchange for our honest review. As always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Inside, the EcoTarium has three floors of interactive exhibits.

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In addition to seasonal exhibits, the EcoTarium has many permanent exhibits including: Continue reading »

Jun 072015
 

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer #Travel

If you’re heading to Boston this summer, here is a list of 10 things you can do in the city for free.  Yes, I said free.

1.  Cool off at Frog Pond

Spend the day letting the kids splash around in the giant wading pool and cool off under the 30-foot spray flume at Frog Pond.  It’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 1st through Labor Day. Lockers are available for $1.

The Frog Pond is located on the Boston Common, off the Park Street stop on the Red or Green line.

2.   Walk the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile, red-lined (brick or painted red line) urban walking trail that leads you to 16 historically significant sites that bring the history of the American Revolution, as it began in Boston, to life.  Along the route you will see such places as the site of Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s house, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House and the Bunker Hill Monument.

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer Freedom Trail

You can start your Freedom Trail tour at the beginning, middle, or end and here’s a map of the route in case you want to walk the walk. Continue reading »

Jun 032015
 

10 Things To Do With Kids In Newport

When it comes to visiting Newport, there is something for everyone.  Known as ‘The City by the Sea,’ whether you are visiting Newport for business, a romantic couples getaway or a family vacation, this seaside community will not let you down. From shopping, to sightseeing, to visiting museums to great restaurants – Newport has it all.  I have visited Newport many times with my husband alone (we’re regulars at the Firehouse Theater for the Friday night Bits Players show), but we recently took the kids with us for a weekend in this lovely beach resort town.

Before we left, I went armed with a plan.  I wanted to make sure that I planned lots of fun activities to keep our family busy while we were there.  If you’re planning a trip to Newport with the kiddos, here are some things you may want to check out while you’re there.

1.  Tour the Newport Mansions

The Newport Mansions

As you drive down Bellevue Ave,  you will pass by some of the extravagant mansions from Newport’s gilded age. While many of these houses are still private property, nine of them are open to the public for guided tours. The stunning “summer cottages” were built by families such as the Vanderbilts and Berwinds, who spent quite a bit of their hard earned money on these fabulous homes that they used only in the summer months every year. Continue reading »

May 272015
 

**My family received tickets to see the New England Revolution at no charge in exchange for this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Recently, my family got the chance to head over to Gillette Stadium to watch the New England Revolution take on Toronto FC.  We were all really excited, especially since this was our first Revs game ever.

In case you’re unfamiliar with who the “Revs” are, the New England Revolution are our professional soccer team.  They play at Gillette Stadium, which is the same stadium that the New England Patriots play at.

My family was hosted by Santander Bank and we got to watch the game from the Santander Bank suite – along with a few other Boston area bloggers and their families.  The Revs mascot, Slyde, even stopped by to say hi to us during the first half of the game.

NE Revolution Game in Santander Bank Suite

Before the game started, we got to go down to the field and watch the players warm up before the game. Continue reading »

Mar 182015
 

Mardi Gras Universal Studios Florida

**Disclosure:  I was invited to take part in the most amazing press trip at Universal Orlando Resort, but all of the opinions you will read here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.  I swear**

Although Fat Tuesday came and went last month, the Mardi Gras festivities are still going strong down at Universal Studios in Orlando! Every spring, you can enjoy the fun & excitement of “The Big Easy” right at Universal Orlando!  On Saturdays and select nights through April 18, Universal Studio’s Mardi Gras event treats their guests to an authentic celebration that transforms the a section of the park into a family-friendly version of the famous New Orleans festivities.

The annual event features big-name concerts, traditional Cajun cuisine, street performers, live music and one heck of a parade – oh, and that’s all in addition to complete access to all of the awesome Universal Orlando theme park attractions!!

Once you’re inside the park, you can visit the French Quarter Courtyard where you can eat authentic Cajun foods and listen to live music.  Every night during the event, you can listen to some of Louisiana’s most popular bands performing authentic blues, jazz, zydeco and more. I had a chance to listen to a from songs from a band called the Mississippi Rail Company & they were absolutely phenomenal. Continue reading »

Mar 172015
 

Snowboarding Tips

**I was invited to a complimentary day of snowboarding at Wachusett Mountain as part of a media event.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

For years I’ve wanted to try my hand at snowboarding.  I can ski, although I haven’t done so in a number of years, but for whatever reason, I had never given snowboarding a try – until last week.

Wachusett-Mountain-trails

I was invited to spend the day at Wachusett Mountain Resort in Princeton, MA.  I had the option to ski or snowboard, but I knew right away that this was my chance to have a go with the snowboard, so I jumped on it. Plus, I was going solo, so my husband wasn’t going to be standing there laughing at me, which was an added bonus.

Fun fact:  “Wachusett” is the Algonquin Indian word for “The Great Hill”.

As you know, winter is not over yet, and thanks to the copious amounts of snow we got here in the Boston area this year, there is still plenty of time to spend at the slopes.  In case you want to try your hand at snowboarding, I decided I’d go over some tips for snowboarding with you today.  You can never be too “safe” when it comes to snowboarding and I definitely learned a lot while I was out there on the bunny slope last week.

Bundle Up

It’s safe to say that if you’re going to go snowboarding, you should probably bundle up! Bundling up allows you to stay warm while you adventure out into the snow. Continue reading »

Feb 072015
 

In case you live in the area and hadn’t heard, The Great Wolf Lodge opened here in New England last spring.  Ever since it opened, my kids have been asking and asking to go.  You see, they play an unusually high amount of television ads for the Great Wolf Lodge, so if you watch tv at all, like us, you’ve seen hundreds of commercials for it. I’m not exaggerating.

Anyhow, last weekend we finally got a chance to check it out.  The boys were beside themselves when they heard we were going.

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There are over 400 rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge and there are several room options, but we stayed in a family suite.  Our room had two queen beds, a a twin-size sofa-sleeper, a microwave, a coffee maker and a 32″ TV. Continue reading »