Feb 242015
 

5 Things to do in Mystic CT During the Winter

When you think of Mystic, CT, what comes to mind?  Boating?  Fishing?  Summer?

Sure, Mystic is a fantastic place for your summer vacation, but did you know that a visit to Mystic during the winter can be just as much fun? I know, you’re probably thinking – “Don’t a lot of things shut down for the winter?”  Well, the answer is yes and no.  There are a few shops and restaurants that only open for the summer in Mystic, but for the most part, everything stays open year round. Not only is it a great place for a romantic getaway, Mystic has some really fun, family friendly attractions as well.  My husband, Chris, and I spent this past weekend in Mystic and today I am going to share five things that you can do in Mystic during the winter.

1.  The Mystic Seaport

The Mystic Seaport is known as the Museum of America and the Sea. It includes three major components for people who visit: a re-created 19th -century coastal village with historic ships, a working preservation shipyard, and formal exhibit galleries.  The Mystic Seaport is located across 19 acres of land along Connecticut’s Mystic River.  There is definitely something for everyone at the Mystic Seaport.

IMG_7116

The preservation shipyard is something to see.  My husband and I got to spend a few minutes watching a really skilled craftsman use 19th century tools and techniques to preserve this historic wooden ship.  It was fascinating to watch. 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.

IMG_7083

IMG_7081

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 »

Jan 282015
 

**My family was invited to experience the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

If there is one thing that my boys can agree on, it’s their love of LEGOS®.  We have thousands of Legos in our house and LEGOs® are pretty much their go-to toy.  They both knew that the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston opened last year and when I told them that we were finally going to go check it out, they were beyond excited.

But what exactly is the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston?

It is a 44,000 square-foot indoor attraction that features more than 3 million LEGO® bricks and is geared toward children aged 3 to 10 (and their families).  Sounds pretty awesome, right?

We arrived shortly after the place opened for the day because we were excited to check it out. Because the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston only sells a certain number of tickets per hour (because they want to make sure everyone enjoys their experience), it’s recommended that if you go, you buy your tickets online to make sure you don’t have to wait when you get there.  Plus, the tickets are cheaper if you purchase them online versus at the door.

Once we were inside, we took an elevator up to the second floor, which is where all the action is.

IMG_6940

Once you get upstairs, the first couple of parts of your LEGOLAND® Discovery Center experience are organized for you.  First up was the LEGO® Factory Tour: Continue reading »

Jan 262015
 

**Disclosure: My husband and I were invited to eat at Olecito and received our meals at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

This past weekend, my husband Chris and I had the chance to check out a new “Fast Food” Mexican restaurant in New Bedford.  We are big fans of Mexican food, but frankly good Mexican has always been pretty hard to come by in my neck of the woods.  Until now.

Erwin Ramos, owner of Ole, which is a fine dining Mexican restaurant in Cambridge, opened his first Mexican “fast food” restaurant, Olecito in Brookline and because it was such a hit, he opened a second one down on the South Coast in New Bedford this past December.  Living on the south shore, I was excited to hear about a location that was close by to where I live. Not that I won’t drive for great food, because I totally will, but it’s always nicer when you don’t have to drive so far.

When we pulled up to Olecito, we were a bit surprised to find that the restaurant was located inside a former gas station.  Yes, you read that right.

Olecito-New-Bedford-Mexican-Restaurant

But the second you step inside, you see what a great job they did renovating the place. Continue reading »

Dec 292014
 

**Disclosure:  I received a weekend press pass at no charge in order to attend the event.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

A couple of weekends ago, Chris and I took a ride up to the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, MA to check out the Northeast Comic Con.  You see, we are both nerds at heart and big fans of pop culture events like this.

The NECC featured fun things like cosplay, costume contests, video game competitions, celebrity guests/autographs, panels, and over 100 vendors of vintage and modern toys, comic books and other pop culture must-haves, along with over 50 Artists and Authors.  I got quite a bit of my Christmas shopping done while I was there because there were so many unique products for sale there.

Northeast Comic Con Sign

When Chris and I first arrived, we scoped out the celebrity guests, which included:

  • Marky Ramone (The Ramones, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee)
  • Billy West (Futurama, Ren & Stimpy)
  • Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Criminal Minds)
  • Butch Patrick (The Munsters)
  • Leah Cevoli (Robot Chicken, Deadwood)
  • Gary K. Wolf and Charles Fleischer (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Rango, Back to the Future)
  • Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story)
  • MacKenzie Lintz (Hunger Games, Under the Dome)
  • Mike Pollock (Sonic the Hedgehog)
  • Tom Wayland (Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh)
  • Christopher Judge (Stargate SG-1, X-Men: Evolution)
  • Paris Themmen (Mike TV from Willie Wonka)
  • Mike Zohn, Evan Michelson and Ryan Matthew (from the cast of Oddities, Obscura)
  • Kayli Mills and Peter Bernard (from Those American Girls).

Continue reading »

Dec 232014
 

disney on ice

**Disclosure:  My family received a 4 pack of tickets at no charge in order to write about our experience at the show.  All opinions are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Experience a magical Disney fantasy live on ice! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy Presented by YoKids Organic Yogurt. Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen and Mater race across the ice like you’ve never seen before! Dive into The Little Mermaid’s enchanting undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies! Join the Toy Story gang who are back in town to take on their most daring adventure ever! From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust, your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice!

Last Friday night, my family and I headed into Boston to see Disney On Ice Presents Worlds of Fantasy at The Agganis Arena at Boston University.  It’s been a few years since we had been to a Disney on Ice production, so we were excited to see the show.

Disney On Ice Worlds of Fantasy Boys

During the show, we had a chance to go through four “worlds” and we got to see the high speed version of four classic Disney stories.

I have to apologize for the photo quality in advance.  The arena wasn’t well lit because of the show. Continue reading »

Dec 222014
 

**Disclosure:  My family and I received a complimentary stay at The Cape Codder Resort & Spa in exchange for our honest opinions about our experiences.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

If you’re looking for a getaway on Cape Cod, Hyannis is the place to go.  Located mid-cape, Hyannis is one of the seven villages that make up the town of Barnstable.  I have been vacationing on Cape Cod all my life, and to me, Hyannis is the hub of the cape.  There are so many shops, restaurants and tourist attractions – all located relatively close together, which is why it’s the perfect destination for your Cape Cod vacation.

It sounds great, right?

So now that you’ve decided on Hyannis for your next trip, where do you stay?  That’s easy. The Cape Codder Resort & Spa!

IMG_6803

The Cape Codder is conveniently located right in the heart of all the action, so you’ll be able to get to everything in the area quickly and easily.

My family stayed at the The Cape Codder Resort & Spa this past weekend and I am going to tell you all about it so that you will know why it’s the place to stay when you plan your next Cape Cod get away!

Check-in at the The Cape Codder Resort & Spa is 3 pm and we were there promptly at 3!  We looked online and knew there were so many things to do at the resort and we couldn’t wait to get going. The room that my family stayed in had two queen sized beds (which were very comfortable) many other conveniences such as wireless internet access and dataport for my  laptop, an in-room coffee maker, an iron & ironing board, and an interactive television system that provides access to digitally formatted movies, on-demand movies, an on-screen channel line-up and in-room check-out service! Continue reading »

Dec 172014
 

**Disclosure: I received a pair of tickets to see The Nutcracker at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

When I was in the 4th grade, my class took a field trip into Boston to see a matinee performance of Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker.  Being nine years old at the time, I basically had no appreciation for what I was watching.  Fast forward to the present when I had a chance to go see this years production of The Nutcracker at The Boston Opera House and got a second chance to take in the show – as a “grown up” with a whole different outlook on the show.  My husband, Chris, had never even seen The Nutcracker before, so I knew he was going to be in for a real treat.

Boston Ballet The Nutcracker

“Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker is based on the libretto by Alexandre Dumas père titled The Tale of the Nutcracker, which is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”  

The show itself was absolutely breath taking.  All of the dancers were so graceful and they all did such a great job of telling the story through dance.  Chris and I sat there in awe throughout the entire show.

More than 300 dancers will perform in the new production and each performance has approximately 150 dancers involved. There are 250 children in the performance, making up three or four casts (classical ballet students from the Boston, Newton and North Shore studios). Continue reading »

Dec 152014
 

**I was invited on a sponsored press trip to the John Carver Inn’s Beach Plum Spa and WaterFire Tavern, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Recently I was invited to join three other area bloggers at the John Carver Inn in Plymouth, MA for a day of pampering at the Beach Plum Spa and some great food at the WaterFire Tavern.  I live in the area, so I have actually stayed at John Carver Inn before, but I had never had the chance to try out the spa or eat at the WaterFire Tavern, so I was excited to get the chance to experience both of those things for the first time.

The great thing about the John Carver Inn is that it’s a quaint, charming hotel that’s within walking distance of the Plymouth waterfront, shopping and attractions of historic Plymouth like the Plymouth Rock and Mayflower.

john carver inn

When we arrived at the John Carver, we got a tour of some of the rooms as well as the opportunity to go check out the Pilgrim Cove Indoor Theme Pool.  I have actually been to the pool with my kids before and it was a big hit with them. They ask to go back all the time.

After our tour, it was time to head to the Beach Plum Spa, located on the second floor of the hotel.

john carver inn beach plum spa

The Beach Plum Spa at John Carver is a full service spa and they offer a complete array of spa treatments for men, women and children. Yes, children.  In addition to traditional spa services such as massages and facials, the Beach Plum Spa offers a full range of cosmetic medical services including skin rejuvenation, body sculpting & contouring, and pain-free hair removal. Continue reading »

Dec 092014
 

Linden Square

**Disclosure:  I attended a sponsored media event, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

Last week I had the chance to meet up with a few fellow area bloggers and take a little stroll around some of the shops and boutiques at Linden Square in Wellesley. You’ve never heard of Linden Square?  Let me tell you a little bit about it!  Linden Square is a 250,000-square-foot shopping, dining and lifestyle destination located in the heart of Wellesley, MA and it’s only ten miles outside of Boston.  There are all sorts of fun shops, restaurants and services to choose from there.

Our first stop of the day was Roosters Men’s Grooming Center. At Roosters, you’re going to get charm and comfort of a classic barbershop, but it’s combined with barbers who are skilled in modern men’s haircuts and grooming techniques.  In order to demonstrate a little bit of what they do there at Roosters, we all had the opportunity to shave a balloon with a straight edge razor. Trust me, it wasn’t as easy as it looks. Continue reading »

Nov 202014
 

**Disclosure: My family was invited to Bonefish Grill to experience their Sunday Brunch at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

There is something special about going to brunch on a Sunday, isn’t there?  Growing up, my parents took my sister, brother and myself out to breakfast or brunch every single Sunday and it was always something that the whole family looked forward to. To be honest, I have totally slacked on keeping that tradition alive with my own children, so when I get the chance to indulge in breakfast foods, I take full advantage.  So when the opportunity to go to Sunday brunch at Bonefish Grill came up recently, I was excited to try it out.  I had never been there and was excited to see what they had to offer.

Sunday Brunch at Bonefish Grill #BonefishBrunch Cranston

Brunch at Bonefish is only available on Sundays, but believe me when I say that it will probably be the highlight of your week.  Bonefish Grill serves brunch from 10 am until 2 pm every Sunday!

Sunday Brunch at Bonefish Grill #BonefishBrunch menu

There were so many delicious choices, that I had a really hard time narrowing down what I wanted to order.  At first, I was seriously considering ordering the Endless Bubbles Brunch. For just $19.90,  you have your choice of an Omelet, a Brunch Favorite, or Eggs Benedict along with an endless supply of Endless Bellinis, Mimosas or Blackberry Sangria.  For under $20, that seems like a great deal, right? Continue reading »

Oct 292014
 

**Disclosure: My family was invited to the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston and received our meals at no charge in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

My kids went to their first Hard Rock Cafe earlier this year when we were in Hollywood and have talked about how much fun they had there off & on since we were there this past April.  When I told them that we were going to the one in Boston for lunch recently, they both just about burst with excitement.

The reason for our visit was because on Saturday, October 25th, The Hard Rock Cafe in Boston rolled out their new kids menu featuring the the Hard Rock Roxtars® and we wanted to check it out.

Hard-Rock-Cafe-Boston

Here’s a little bit of information about the Hard Rock Roxtars program:

The Hard Rock Roxtars are a band of characters serving as brand ambassadors for Hard Rock’s multifaceted brand-wide programs catering to children of all ages, presented at Hard Rock Cafes®, Hard Rock Hotels and Rock Shops® worldwide.  Kids who dine at the Cafe will receive their own activity book, Hard Rock Roxtars themed menus and they get to eat off of cool guitar-shaped plates!

As part of The National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program in collaboration with Healthy Dining, a mission and online resource that helps parents and children alike select healthy menu options when dining out, Hard Rock Cafes worldwide will offer healthier food options, ranging from Skiddley’s “Not-so-diddley” chicken breast to the “twisted ‘n tasty” cavatappi pasta. Continue reading »

Oct 202014
 

I love  living in New England.  We have so many fun fall traditions that make living here so special. Aside from the obvious (the gorgeous colors of changing leaves), a few of the thing that make living here so amazing are the corn mazes, pumpkin picking, apple picking and last but certainly not least, Spooky World.

Spooky World features five haunted attractions as well as food vendors, a paintball game where you get to shoot zombies, a small bar, a bonfire, dance floor, and much more. Spooky World is located at Mel’s Funway Park in Litchfield, NH, which is about an hour north of Boston.

Chris & I went to Spooky World last Friday night and had a blast going through all of the haunted houses.  Because it is the first one you come to when you walk into the park, we started with the Freak Show in 3D.

Spookyworld-3d-freakshow

We were handed 3D glasses before we entered and once we set out through the house, we were scared out of out wits several times. Complete with neon paint, strobe lights and monsters jumping out at us, this house was by far our favorite of the night.  And as an added bonus, it had one of  those spinning tunnels at the end that makes you feel like you’re walking on the ceiling.  It was awesome. Continue reading »

Oct 162014
 

**Disclosure – I received a pair of New Balance sneakers for each of my boys and a family four pack of tickets to the Franklin Park Zoo at no charge to help facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

As the mom of two very active little boys, having comfortable sneakers for their little feet has always been a high priority for me.  While comfort is the number one thing I look for when it comes to my boys footwear, style is a very close second.  I want their feet to feel good and I want them to look good at the same time.  And that’s why I love New Balance.  Not only are they a Boston based company (yay Boston!), but they make really, really awesome sneakers, too.  I have been wearing NB kicks myself for years and the gruesome twosome have each had numerous pairs of New Balance sneakers over the years.

Just in time for back to school this year, my boys were each sent a new pair of New Balance sneakers.  For my little guy, I chose the Hook and Loop 574 sneakers.  He can tie, but is still a newbie & it’s a little slow going, so I thought the velcro closure might be a little better for him while he’s away all day at school.  My oldest picked out his own sneakers and chose the Varsity 574.  I’d say both pairs are pretty sharp looking, wouldn’t you?

IMG_6247

I am excited to tell you about New Balance’s newest line – the Trip to the Zoo collection! This colorful collection of kicks is perfect for kids planning to hit the playground, explore the zoo, or impress at school! Featuring a lightweight EVA midsole, synthetic/mesh upper, and hook & loop closure for easy on/off, the new collection has been available since October 1st in infant and preschool sizes at www.newbalance.com & in New Balance stores for $47.95-$54.95. Continue reading »

Oct 062014
 

Last weekend, my family and I were invited to check out Fright Fest at Six Flags New England. Not only do we love all things Halloween, but we love Six Flags, so to say that we were all excited about spending the day there is a complete understatement!

Six Flags New England offers family-friendly Halloween thrills during the day, but after 4 p.m., the ghouls come out to play. The park transforms into a fright-filled environment with walk-through attractions, scary shows and thrill rides that make the most of the season. Fright Fest is the largest Halloween event in New England with over 20 different attractions!

When the sun goes down, the ghouls come out. Watch as the park transforms from “Thrills by Day” to “Fright by Night.”

As you can see, the park was all decked out for Halloween:

decos

The detail of the decorations was absolutely incredible and the folks at Six Flags New England clearly went all out! Continue reading »

Oct 012014
 

I admit it, I have a slight zombie obsession, so naturally when I heard there was an an interactive tactical live-action zombie experience right in Abington, MA, I was all over it. Interactive you say? Yes, interactive!  During the interactive experience you get to travel through a small city infested with zombies.  Don’t worry, you will have the help of a guide and you’ll get a shotgun to shoot with to ensure you survive.

There are two areas of the city to be cleared at Boston Zombie Apocalypse. Chem Zone 44 contains slower Zombies and is a shorter experience. If you are nervous at all or are accompanying young people (no one under 8 allowed), then Chem Zone 44 is for you.  Z-Swarm 617 is a longer battle through a larger more intense part of the city.  You can do one or both.

Here’s the thing.  I went last year and had a pretty bad experience.  It was very poorly organized and I ended up waiting outside for over two hours in the cold.  Once I was inside the building, it literally took less than five minutes to run through the experience and boom, we were done.  I left there last year feeling very disappointed that I waited for that long to get in and it was over in just a few minutes.

But guess what, Boston Zombie Apocalypse has new owners this year.  They really listened to all the feedback about people’s experiences last year and greatly improved things this year.  Instead of having to stand in an extremely long line to wait for tickets, they are selling a limited number of tickets by the half hour to the two different zombie fields. That will ensure that you will enter your sector in a timely fashion without having to wait.

Chris and I were there this past weekend and were so happy that the whole process was streamlined.  Our tickets were for 7:45 pm and we only had to arrive about 20 minutes early.  It was so much better this year, so if you were turned off by your experience there last year, trust me – it’s not like that this year.  Oh, and did I mention that they have a food truck there this year now, too.  Last year while we waited for over two hours everyone in line kept saying that snacks would have been nice while we were waiting.  See, the new owners listened!

IMG_6120

Anyway, once it was our time to go in to the live action experience, we entered the building in a small group (about 8 people) and were met by a military guard who showed us how to use our shotguns and let us all have a practice shot at a target. Once we all got that, we met our guide who would be taking us through the city.  He led us through the field and we defended our territory by shooting the zombies that came at us alongside the rest of our team. Continue reading »

Sep 302014
 

What is a Regulah Coffee

Hi my name is Robin and I am an addict. A coffee addict that is and I am a Dunkin Donuts girl through and through.  I stop there at least once a day for a coffee, and some days I am there two or three times.

I literally have four Dunkin Donuts shops within a three mile radius of my house, so it’s not like I have to go out of my way to get my coffee fix.  I usually go to one DD’s shop in particular because they know me there (because I go there so much) and we’re at the point where I don’t even have to order anymore because when they see me, they already know what I want.

But, if I happen to be out & about and end up stopping at a different Dunkin Donuts, this is my order:

A medium caramel, coconut iced coffee regulah (or as you guys not from around here would say, regular).

But what exactly is a “regulah” coffee?   Continue reading »

Sep 282014
 

**My husband, Chris, and I received a complimentary paint lesson at The Paint Bar in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

I had been telling my husband for ages that I wanted to go to The Paint Bar and since he didn’t seem to be getting the hint, I took matters into my own hands and booked us a lesson at the Newtonville location.

IMG_6050

You see, I come from a family of artists, but somehow that artistic gene seemed to have skipped me.  Both my mother and sister graduated from the Mass College of Art and here I am barely able to draw a stick figure that even remotely resembles a human being.  That is why The Paint Bar intrigued me.  At The Paint Bar, the instructor helps everyone in the class create a masterpiece by teaching the class how to recreate one specific painting step by step – and I knew that would be perfect for a “beginner” me.

At The Paint Bar, you can call or make reservations online and because space is limited, reservations are suggested.  I made our reservations online and when you book online, you can see which paintings are going to be featured on which night, so can you choose based on that if you’re looking for something specific to paint – which is what I did.

Chris had no idea what we were going to be painting, but as soon as we walked in, they had the painting that the class was going to be working on displayed.  It is called “Moonlit Boston”. Continue reading »

Sep 182014
 

**My family received complimentary admission to Sky Zone, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

The gruesome twosome are very active little boys.  Some days they go non-stop from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they go to bed at night.  I was super excited to take them to Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park, in East Providence this past weekend so they could burn off a little extra energy.

IMG_6031

Before we ever left the house to head to Sky Zone, I filled out a liability waiver on their website. All jumpers under the age of 18 are required to have one on file. It only took a minute to fill out and it’s good for an entire year.  Don’t worry if you can’t get one filled out ahead of time, either, because you can fill one out there.  It just saves a little time to do it ahead of time.

At Sky Zone all jumpers are required to wear SkySocks, which cost $2 per pair, but they are reusable, so be sure to save them! Continue reading »

Sep 082014
 

Last weekend my family decided that we wanted to spend the day in Boston.  There is so much to do in the city, so we like to get the kiddos in there as much as we can.  Since it was a lovely day out, we decided to take the new Cultural Connector, which is a first-of-its-kind water transportation service that provides a water shuttle linking Boston’s waterfront cultural destinations.

The Cultural Connector can bring you to six different cultural destinations on Boston’s historic waterfront:

  • Institute of Contemporary Art
  •  Tea Party Ships and Museum
  • New England Aquarium
  • Boston Children’s Museum
  • Faneuil Hall
  • USS Constitution and Museum

We decided that we wanted to spend our day at New England Aquarium

aquarium

I have been to the New England Aquarium many times over the course of my life.  My very first school field trip was to the aquarium (kindergarten) and I love that the aquarium really hasn’t changed much over all these years. Continue reading »