Jun 302016
 

3 Free Ways to Make the Most of Boston This Summer

I love living in the Boston area, but especially in the summer time. With its rich history, bustling neighborhoods, and beautiful coastal landscapes, it’s a perfect place for the whole family.

I recently discovered a website called, MapAround, which is a search engine for finding local events in the Boston area. This was perfect for us, as it even has a “Kids & Family” category. Once we started searching, we had no idea how many events were happening around us every single night. From concerts to comedy shows, movie nights to boat cruises, farmers’ markets and festivals, I couldn’t believe how many awesome things are happening in Boston every single day.

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Here’s a few events that I liked best:

Free Friday Flicks

Free Friday Flicks is one of Boston’s favorite summertime traditions! Every Friday night around sundown, families and friends gather at DCR’s Hatch Shell along the Charles River to watch a movie. All you need are your own chairs, a cozy blanket and of course, some snacks. There are even fun games and prizes for the kids. This was a perfect way to end a long week. Continue reading »

May 302016
 

The Great Escape Room Providence

If you are a regular around here, you already know that I am always on the go & I am always on the hunt for new ways to keep my family – especially the boys, entertained.  Recently the four of us had a chance to check out The Great Escape Room in Providence, RI and not to give too much away right off the bat, we LOVED it.

You’ve probably noticed that escape rooms seem to be popping up more and more & I have been curious for a while now to check one out to see what all the buzz is about. I have never done anything like this before, so I honestly had no idea what to expect. Let me just say that our experience at the Great Escape Room far exceeded my expectations.

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Here’s a little background: “The Great Escape Room is a real-life room escape game based on the popular computer and mobile phone escape games. Escape games are the newest craze sweeping the nation – a fun, team-building, brain-busting experience! After entering a room with your team, the door is locked behind you. 60 minutes are on the clock! You must work together in order to find clues and solve puzzles that will lead you to your escape. It is part scavenger hunt and part puzzle game. Only about 20% of groups are able to meet the challenge and escape in time!” Continue reading »

May 222016
 

6 Reasons to Visit Massachusetts Pioneer Valley

When someone mentions Massachusetts to you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Boston?  Cape Cod? Those places are both great, but there is a lot of fun located in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, too. There are so many fun-filled attractions in the western part of the state and they are definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for some family fun this summer.

1. Six Flags New England

Did you know that Six Flags New England is the Coaster Capital of New England?  Six Flags New England is home to the New England SkyScreamer, Flashback, Pandemonium, Mind Eraser, Batman the Dark Knight, Goliath, Wicked Cyclone and the brand new Fireball, which just opened this year. Six Flag New England also relaunched the BIZARRO coaster this season.  It’s now SUPERMAN™ the Ride.

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If coasters aren’t your thing, you are not alone.  I don’t like them either, but fear not – there is a ton of other stuff to do at the park. For the little ones, there are four areas specifically dedicated to kids including Looney Tunes Movie Town, Kidzopolis, Whistlestop Park and Splash Island (in the water park).  There are tons of rides in those areas including bumper cars, a carousel, the scrambler and many more classics. Continue reading »

May 092016
 

As a former Jordan’s Furniture employee, I can personally attest to the fact that they truly enjoy keeping their customers happy.  The owners, Barry & Eliot had a vision of making visiting the stores more than just furniture shopping – they wanted to make it an experience for the whole family. Now that Barry has retired from the family business, Eliot has kept the family fun aspect of the stores going strong.  I worked at the Avon, MA store, which is the home of MOM (the Motion Odyssey Movie Ride), Enchanted Ice (an indoor skating rink) and the Boston classic, The Enchanted Village.  Families come out in droves for those attractions, but if you are a local you know that each store boasts at least one fun family attraction. In the Reading store, they have the BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course and I was able to head there to check it out with my family last weekend.

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Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets for the course in order to provide an honest review of our experience.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

The BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course is a 32-foot tall, 2 level ropes course (12 feet or 24 feet up) complete with 30 exciting activities including zig-zag beams, cargo nets, angled rope ladders, crisscross walks and more. Participants choose their own path through the elements and go at their own pace. No two obstacles are the same! The ropes course is also equipped with a Sky Rail zip line connection measuring 69′ long. which costs $2 more to ride.

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My boys have done rope courses before, so they already knew to empty their pockets before the employees helped them put their safety harnesses on, but for those of you who have never done a course like this – you do need to empty your pockets so nothing falls out on the people on levels below you.  And no, cameras are not allowed on the course, either. Continue reading »

Apr 112016
 

Taking the Hahvahd Tour

I’m a Boston girl.  Always have been and always will be. It’s no secret that I love living here and whenever I meet someone who is not from around here, as soon as they find out where I’m from I inevitably get asked the same question: “Can you say park the car in the Harvard yard”?  Seriously – it happens every single time.  It fun to play along, though, because we know how cool our accent is around here and we love to bust out the Boston whenever we can!

For the record, there are no “R’s in that statement whatsoever.  It’s paaaahk thuh caaaaaah in the Haaaahvid yaaaaad.

Even though there are no R’s to be found, there is tons of IQ at Harvard and my husband Chris and I learned all about it when we took the Hahvahd Tour last weekend.

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The award-winning tours of America’s most prestigious University are led by current Harvard students. Harvard student guides greet you right in Harvard Square. which is where the tour leaves from. The tour is scripted to be an entertaining, theatrical experience – you’ll have fun learning about Harvard! Continue reading »

Dec 132015
 

Ride the Polar Express at Edaville

Inspired by the hit movie, this holiday favorite comes to life as you and your family take a ride on The Polar Express. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train.

My family had a chance to ride the polar Express at Edaville last week and I want to tell you all about it.

**Disclosure:  We received complimentary tickets to ride the Polar Express in exchange for our honest review.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Our train was scheduled to leave the station at 6 pm, but we noticed that people were lining up early (like around 5:30), so we lined up, too.   There was a Thomas Christmas train running the same night, but they had the Polar Express riders on one side of the platform and the Thomas riders on the other.  It was clearly marked, so we knew exactly where to go. Plus, there were employees there to switch out our tickets from the printed ones we had to the golden tickets we needed to board the Polar Express, so they were able to direct people. Continue reading »

Dec 082015
 

Edaville USA is a modest theme park located in Carver, MA with cranberry harvesting and railroading as its two main themes. It is a really fun family attraction which features about a dozen or so amusement rides including a Ferris Wheel, carousel, bumper cars and more. Each admission includes a five mile train ride through the cranberry bogs on their property. It’s one of New England’s largest displays of Christmas lights and our family looks forward to going every year.

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**My family received complimentary admission to Edaville in order to experience the Festival of Lights for ourselves.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

In fact, I grew up going there with my parents, sister and brother and I am happy that it’s still around for my own children to enjoy. Continue reading »

Oct 272015
 

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey LEGENDS

I recently had the chance to take my family to the circus and it was the first time I had been to see it in about 30 years.  The last time I saw a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey production was with my parents, brother and sister in Boston.  My brother was really little at the time (maybe 4 or 5) and at some point during the show a clown was shot out of a cannon.  The loud noise sent my poor little brother in to hysterics so badly, that we all actually ended up having to leave the show.  He just wouldn’t calm down until we left. But such is life, right?

Anyhow, when I found out that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey LEGENDS was coming to the TD Garden in Boston, I was excited to take my kids.  I just knew that they would love the show and I was right.

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Disclosure:   My family received complimentary tickets to see LEGENDS from the folks at Feld Entertainment.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »

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 092015
 

Boston Red Sox Baseball Summer Camp

I love living in the Boston area.  I always tell people that this is the best place in the country to live and I honestly mean it. One of the things I love the most about living here is our awesome sports teams. I love them all, but when I tell you that there is nothing like spending a day at Fenway Park watching the Red Sox play is one of the best ways to spend three hours in the city, I speak the truth. Sure, the Sox have their ups and downs, but whether they are winning or losing, they always put on a great show.  I learned something new about the Red Sox this year, though.  They hold a summer camp for ballplayers ages 5-13 every summer.  How did I not know about this before?

**Disclosure:  Both of my boys attended Red Sox Camp at no charge in order to share our experiences with you.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

I am happy to say that my boys recently had the opportunity to attend Red Sox Baseball Summer Camp.

The Red Sox Camps curriculum is highly organized based on age & ability and is infused with lots positive energy to get kids excited about baseball. Along with instruction, the camps include: 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 232015
 

Recently my husband, Chris, and I had an oh-so-special night. You know what I’m talking about – the kind that doesn’t involve kids. That’s right, we got to go out on a date.  Alone. Without children.  Since he and I both love a good mystery, we decided to go to a murder mystery dinner show.   As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with a little mystery, intrigue, and murder.

**Disclosure:  I was provided complimentary tickets to the show thanks to Vimbly in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

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We ended up choosing to go see the Crime and Pun-ishment Interactive Dinner, which is put on by The Murder Mystery Company at the Sons of Italy in Quincy, MA.

Here is the description of the show:

Things take a turn for the gutter at Mafia Don Lou Zar’s juice joint when someone is put on ice! The crowd is chock full of potential suspects. Jealous, jilted lovers, a rival Mafioso, and a pair of undercover feds make an appearance at this speakeasy and not a single person is muttering a word! Help find out who’s on the level and who’s on the lam by trading clues with your guests, gathering information, and solving the crime before the murderer hotfoots it out of there! 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 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 292015
 

Small Disclosure

Trust me when I tell you that I love getting presents just as much as the next girl. Seriously. I get all giddy when someone gives me a gift and since it just so happens that my birthday is coming up next week, I am hoping to get a little giddy (wink, wink).  Especially since it’s not just any birthday – it’s one of those milestone birthdays.  That’s right, I will be 29.  Again.

Sometimes, though, you really just want to give someone a gift that will blow them away. You know, give them something that is truly memorable and that they will talk about for years to come!

Cue 

Have you heard of them?  If not, here’s the skinny. Cloud 9 Living is the US leader in experience gifts, offering over 1,900 unique experiential gifts for men, women & couples in 51 regions. They have partnered with over 600 “Best in Class” experience providers who take pride in ensuring that every gift recipient enjoys a memorable experience.  I love the idea of gifting someone with an experience, don’t you?

With experiences ranging from thrilling and adventurous to relaxing and cultural, they really do have something for every taste and every budget.  You can choose from things like hot air balloon rides, racecar driving, helicopter tours, spa packages, food tours, golfing with a pro, dinner cruises and so much more.

I had the chance to choose an experience from Cloud 9 Living recently and I am excited to tell you about it.

On their website you can narrow your search down by gifts for her, gifts for him, the experience type or the most popular.  Since I really had no idea where to start or what I was looking for, I just did a search for all experiences in my area (Boston) and the site pulled up everything that was available to me.

There were so many cool things (I mean seriously cool) offered locally to me.  A few things caught my eye right away, and I was able to narrow it down pretty quickly to 3 or 4 things that I really wanted to do.  It was between a couples massage (for me and Chris of course), a flying lesson (something I have always wanted to do), a helicopter tour of Boston and a romantic dinner for two in which a seasoned chef comes into your home for a night and cooks dinner for you in the comfort of your own home.

Can you guess which one I chose?  Stay tuned…… 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 »