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.

MurderMystery sign

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 192015
 

“Cocktails, brews, wine and appetizers with a view”

For great food and atmosphere, the Skiff Bar in Newport, RI is the place to be.  Located inside the Newport Marriott, the Skiff Bar is quickly becoming one of Newport’s most popular hangouts.

Skiff Bar Bar

Many of you know that my husband and I are frequent visitors to Newport.  We’re there several times a month (or more) and really enjoy spending time in the seaside community. We love everything about Newport. The beaches, the history, the shopping, and especially the food.

From what I gather (and I am only speaking from my own personal experience here), Newport seems to have a reputation as a pricey and sometimes even an exclusive place to eat out.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of casual restaurants throughout the city, but they seem to be a little harder to come by.

Enter the Skiff Bar.

**Disclosure: My husband and I were invited to a complimentary evening of food & drinks at the Skiff Bar.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Continue reading »

Jul 162015
 

The Killington Grand Resort Hotel

When a lot of people think about the state of Vermont, they think of winter and probably more specifically – winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. But did you know that the Green Mountain State has a ton to offer in the summer as well?  Not only are the mountains breath-taking to look at, there are so many family friendly attractions and activities in this charming state.  My family had a chance to experience one of those family-friendly attractions last week.  The brand spankin’ new Adventure Center up at Killington Mountain that I told you about yesterday was a huge hit with my kids, but today I wanted to tell you about where we stayed while we were there: The Killington Grand Resort Hotel.

At the Killington Grand Resort Hotel you will find that they offer a 75-foot outdoor heated pool with two hot tubs (open year-round), a state of the art health club that includes a sauna & steam room, the Killington Grand Spa – a full service spa, a game room, coin operated laundry services, multiple conference rooms, complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel, complimentary DVD library plus XBOX games and components, the Grand Essentials Coffee and Sundry Shop (open daily) and Ovations Restaurant & Rendezvous Lounge, which is their onsite restaurant. 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 312015
 

Hotel Viking Newport RI

With summer in full swing here in New England, families may want to consider a trip to Newport, RI.  Amongst fabulous Gilded Age mansions, you will find that Newport is filled with many family-friendly attractions.  My husband and I are not strangers to Newport, but we had never brought the kids along with us – until recently.  Over Memorial Day weekend, the four of us had a lovely weekend in Newport and loved our stay at the Hotel Viking, which is located at One Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island.

At Hotel Viking you’ll find that they offer valet parking (for a small fee), a delightful on-site restaurant, a full-service spa, a fitness center, two ballrooms, boardrooms, private meeting spaces, an indoor pool, the historic Newport Kay Chapel and 209 guest rooms. The room we stayed in room had two queen beds and the four of us were comfortable there for our two night stay. The room includes a gourmet honor basket filled with a variety of snacks , a mini fridge (stocked with an honor bar and also including items such as water and soda), a Flat screen LCD TV, Keurig coffee maker with a variety of coffees, an iron & ironing board, an in-room safe, hairdryer, and desk.  There is free wi-fi available at Hotel Viking and you can get the password from the folks at the front desk.

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Our weekend getaway was part of the “We are Family” package.  The “We are Family” package was designed to encourage families to put the mobile devices down and turn up the fun – and that is exactly what we did while we were in Newport. The package, which starts at $189 per night ($409 in the summer), includes the following: 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 »

May 082015
 

**This post is sponsored by Breathe NH, but as always, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

If you know anything about me, you know that my family is always on the go.  I love taking them new places and exposing my boys to as many new experiences as possible.  I love spending time with them learning new things and creating memories that will last them a lifetime.

NH Fun Pass 2015

Since we are out and about so much, I am excited to tell you about The 2015 Fun Pass discount coupon book.  Every year this book is sold by Breathe New Hampshire as a fundraiser and it includes exclusive discount coupons to over 100 New England attractions (many of the discounts are buy one-get one admissions). Here are a few of the attractions that are included in the 2015 book: Continue reading »

Apr 112015
 

North End Wine Tour

**Disclosure: My husband and I were recently invited by City Wine Tours to join them on a complimentary North End Wine Tour.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way*

One of my favorite places in the world to be is the North End of Boston.  Coming from a large Italian family myself, I have so many fond memories of taking the train into the city with my Grandparents to get fresh ingredients to cook with.  As I got older, I truly enjoy the amazing tastes that I find in the North End.  Aside from my mother’s cooking, the North End has the best Italian food around. And seriously, what is a great meal without a nice glass of wine (or three) to accompany it?

Other than knowing I like it, admittedly, I am not much of a wine connoisseur.  That’s why I was really excited when I recently had a chance to go on a North End Wine Tour through City Wine Tours.

Wine tour you ask?  Now that I have piqued your curiosity, let me tell you more.

During each wine tour, you will be met by an extremely knowledgeable wine ambassador, who will take you around to three hot spots (in my case it was the North End).  At each stop, you will get a chance to sample two wines (six in total) and try several food pairings at a reserved table – with wait staff standing by, ready to serve!  What’s even better is that each tour is limited to 12 guests, so it’s like your own private wine tasting!

Each North End Wine Tour begins at Aragosta at the Fairmont Battery Wharf, which is right along the waterfront.  The views there were absolutely gorgeous. 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 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.

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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.

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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 »

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.

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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 »