Aug 072016
 

Fun For the Whole Family at the Brand New Water Park at the Cape Codder in Hyannis

Last week my oldest son turned 12. TWELVE!  I’m honestly not sure when that happened, but in any case I can personally attest to the fact that the “tween” thing is real.  He’s not quite a teen yet, but definitely he has all the attitude & sassiness of one.  He’s also apparently too cool to do “kid” stuff anymore, which has created a bit of a challenge for me to keep him entertained (and off those pesky electronics) this summer. Both of my boys have August birthdays and I always plan a day of fun for them on their special days and this year I was really scrambling to come up with something that my oldest would like.

Then it came to me – I would take them to the brand new water park at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis.  If you’ve been around here for a while, you may remember that my family stayed there about 18 months ago and the boys really enjoyed the indoor wave pool (if you need a refresher, here is the post).  I had heard that the Cape Codder was expanding and creating an amazing water park and when I found out that they had just opened on Friday July 30th, I knew that it was where I was going to take my kids for my oldest’s birthday. My oldest loves to swim and I knew a day at the water park would be right up his alley.

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The Wave Pool, which was already there, is approximately 10,000 square feet and the expansion is an additional 20,000 square feet – you  you can only imagine how excited both my boys were when I told them that’s where we were going! It’s the only one of its kind on Cape Cod and has so much fun to offer! Continue reading »

Jul 192016
 

Tips for Traveling to Washington DC with Kids

Like any trip, traveling with children can be difficult if you are not prepared. Washington DC is a busy metropolitan area that has lots of tourist attractions but is also a busy city with hazards and pitfalls galore. Check out these tips for traveling to Washington DC with kids to make your next trip a smooth success!

Be Prepared…No, Be OVERLY Prepared
Nothing is worse than getting to your hotel room and realizing that you don’t have Mr. I Can’t Sleep Without Him Bear or Ms. Holy Cow I’m Going to Throw a Total Fit Blanket. Your child will be a nightmare without the things that they are attached to. Instead of fighting them when packing, make as many concessions as you can feasibly fit into the suitcase. Let them bring their favorite toys or blankets or games. If it will make them happy during their small amounts of down time, it’s a must, make room in that suitcase. Also, make sure you bring along extras of things that typically get dirty really quickly. If you have a messy eater, pack some extra shirts and that type of thing. They will be less stressed and so will you if you can just throw on another shirt and deal with the ketchup stain later!

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Jul 112016
 

ahoy logo

If you follow along with any of my social media channels, you already know that my husband, Christian, and I just got back from a trip to New York City. He originally booked the trip back in April and he had been planning on surprising me with it for my birthday (which fell during the trip), but I cracked him and ended up finding out about the trip shortly after he booked it, I think he was relieved, though, because out of the two of us I am the planner and he just comes along for the ride – so it works out well.

The two of us are not strangers to Manhattan by any means.  We go down several times a year, so we already got the big touristy things out of the way years ago. When we head down for a weekend now a days, I tend to look for more off the beaten path things for us to do. This time around, in addition to a couple of Broadway and Off Broadway shows, we ended up going on the Chinatown and Little Italy Food Tour from Ahoy New York Tours & Tasting.

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If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I have a love affair with food.  I seriously love to eat and love expanding my palate whenever possible which is why I was so excited to take this particular food tour.  I’ve been on food tours in my home city of Boston and really enjoyed them, but the Chinatown and Little Italy Food Tour from Ahoy was different from any of the other food tours I have ever been on. Their tour visits six different tasting locations in two unique ethnic NY neighborhoods and fuses the elements of history, culture, and food all in one. Continue reading »

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 »

Jun 202016
 

How to Save Money on Theme Park Souvenirs

If you have ever been to a theme park, you know that there are very few ways to do it super frugally. The food can cost a lot, getting in the gate can be ridiculous and then, of course, there are all the things kids (and adults) will want from all the gift shops. If you don’t want to spend far out of your budget on these items, here are some tips on how to save money on souvenirs at theme parks.

How to Save Money on Souvenirs at Theme Parks

Look for discounts at area grocery stores. Many times, you will find discount tickets for getting in the gate, but you can also find park “bucks” (some parks offer them) to use in the park with tickets as a package that you can use to buy your souvenirs.

Buy souvenirs before you go to the park. If you are heading to a place like Disney World, you can buy all kinds of merchandise that could be souvenirs if you buy them right before you go to the park. Buy fun T­-shirts to wear to the park to help stave off the ‘I wants’ when you come across them in stores and gift shops. Continue reading »

Jun 122016
 

NYC Subway Yay or Nay

There are pros and cons to every form of transportation in a busy city. This is especially amplified in a huge and bustling city like New York City. In New York City the most popular choice is often the NYC Subway system. It is an interesting facet of the way the city functions and above all else it is part of what keeps the city running! As a tourist attraction it can be a complex subject. Use this guide to the NYC Subway to decide for yourself if it is a Yay or a Nay.

I think it’s always best to end on a high note so let’s cover the downsides first…

  • Remember you are in a city…a hugely populated city that never seems to stop moving. The subway is always busy and from a tourist standpoint this can be extremely overwhelming especially with kids.
  • Again, hugely busy and full of all kinds of travelers…the subway is going to be dirty and often it is clouded by the elements. Because it is underground it is semi protected but it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
  • The underground location and the natural (and unnatural) dirt attract a variety of furry critters. Don’t be surprised if you see mice, rats, and other rodents.
  • Because the NYC Subway system is such a large part of how people who live in the city get around you should expect it to be busy and crowded. That being said, not everyone shares you sense of hygiene or manners. Touch things and then sanitize or keep your hands to yourself!
  • The trains run underground for the most part so you shouldn’t plan to be able to work on emails, text messages, etc. Cell service can be intermittent at best.
  • Like all forms of transportation that run on a schedule you can miss trains, or be late because the train is running behind…plan ahead.

Don’t let that list overwhelm you! There are some really cool points about the NYC Subway system and some great pros to taking a ride! 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 232016
 

Now that summer is in full swing here in New England, it’s a great time to head out and explore all that western Massachusetts has to offer.  Boasting a wide variety of attractions for every member of the family, western Massachusetts is the place to be. Although we’re been to the western part of our state many times over the years, my family recently spent a fantastic weekend in western Mass.  While we were there, we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Enfield, CT.

When you book a stay at The Holiday Inn Springfield/Enfield, you will get a chance to experience the comfort and charm of all that New England has to offer.  The hotel is only a short drive from Bradley International Airport and Enfield is centrally located between Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT, (right off I-91) which makes this hotel a great choice for travelers.  There’s plenty of free parking, too!

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In addition to a fitness center, indoor/outdoor pools, and on-site recreational activities that include tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, The Holiday Inn Springfield/Enfield offers an airport shuttle to nearby Bradley International for their guests. 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 102016
 

5 Ways to Beat Disney World Exhaustion

Making it through a day at Disney World is almost a feat of human strength, but yet, people manage to do it every day and some folks do it several days in a row. Disney World exhaustion is a real thing, and it plagues so many guests that push their limits and try to get as much in at the parks as possible without giving themselves a break. Knowing how to avoid becoming exhausted while at the parks can mean the difference between really enjoying yourself and not ever wanting to return to Walt Disney World.

Use these 5 tips to beat Disney World exhaustion and really tackle all that the parks have to offer without falling over each night.

Start Taking Naps

We love it when the kids willingly nap, and believe me when I tell you that everyone in the family will learn to love naps at Walt Disney World. No matter how many or little days you have at the parks, you should leave a couple hours midday for relaxing, going back to your hotel room or rental and just relax, nap, snack and recharge. Doing this gives you the energy to get through the rest of the day, and really, midday is the worst time to be in the parks, with crowds thinning out later in the afternoon when you are ready to come back for more fun.

Ride Everything

Besides amusement rides, there are a lot of ride options around the Disney World parks, and you should take advantage of all of them in order to minimize the amount of time that you are on your feet and running around. No matter how well you plan it out, nor the shape you are in, the average guest can walk anywhere from four to eight miles worth of park a day. Even at a slow pace this is a lot when you are doing as much as you are for several days in a row. Take advantage of in park transportation, park to park transportation and even go out of your way to add a slow paced ride option to your itinerary that will give you a new view of the parks. Continue reading »

May 022016
 

A Visit to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in DC

Many of you know that my family recently visited Washington DC for the second year in a row.  Last year we found that a week in DC just wasn’t enough time to be able to see and do everything that we wanted to, so we took the kids back again this year over their April school vacation to we could see the stuff we missed last year. Madame Tussauds Washington, DC was high up on our list and I am so excited that we were able to squeeze in a visit this year.

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**My family and I were provided complimentary admission to Madame Tussauds in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

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Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Washington DC is definitely not your typical museum.  I had been to the Madame Tussauds wax museums in Vegas and NYC sans kids, but I when I found out there was one in DC – I knew my boys would love it and I was dying to take them there. Continue reading »

Apr 252016
 

Off the Beaten Path Travel Spots in Washington DC

If you have ever been to Washington DC you know that there are TONS of historical and monumental places to visit. There are museums, statues, national treasures galore! But for all of those super popular travel destinations there are twice as many awesome off the beaten path travel spots in Washington DC. DC is full of awesome local activities and locations; you can easily pack your travel calendar full of activities that have nothing to do with the main tourist attractions! These ideas are great for any trip but are also really awesome spots to hit if you get to travel to DC more frequently than the “once in a lifetime, camera toting, typical DC tourist”. If you like to check out great local finds, quirky hidden gems, or if you just need a change of pace from the typical tourist loop then these places are definitely for you!

Arlington Farmer’s Market
You can check out the Arlington Farmer’s Market if you are ever in DC on a Saturday! They set up near the Arlington Courthouse (and equally cool place to check out) and have all kinds of local produce and treats. There are tons of samples to be had, local soaps, flowers, ice cream, cider, fruits and veggies! You can find awesome eats and help support the local agriculture at the same time. It is a great activity for a Saturday morning and would be great for anyone who considers themselves a foodie of any level!

C&O Canal
The C&O Canal is an awesome peaceful location that runs parallel with M Street in Washington DC. It’s a great location for a bike ride, walk, or jog. If you need a beautiful and non-crowded place to take a jog or just for a nice picnic and a walk you should check out the C&O Canal. This is a truly amazing location which runs for quite a long distance (184 miles between DC and Bethesda MD). The Canal does run parallel with M Street but is a much less busy alternative for walking, biking, or exploring. On one side of the trail you have the canal and the Potomac River on the other side makes a lovely backdrop. The lock houses remain even though the canal is no longer in operation. Grab some burgers and head out for a picnic and a little exploring, you won’t be disappointed. Continue reading »

Apr 192016
 

Disney's Best Hidden Bars and Restaurants

For some Disney diners, finding hidden bars and restaurants is all about finding a place to enjoy a meal that isn’t packed to the gills and for others it’s all about being in the know. If either is what you’re after, or if you just want to find another Disney World dining option that isn’t all everyone is talking about, these hidden restaurants and bars are all great options. From sit down to fast food to bars that have complete menus too, there is always something new to discover in your favorite park.

Boatwright’s, Port Orleans Riverside

Resort restaurants tend to go unnoticed if they don’t make it on any of the many top places to dine while at Disney World lists. and Boatwright’s is one of them. This restaurant dining hall can be found at the Riverside option of the resort, and is a great place for southern cooking with plenty of Cajun options that really pack in the flavor. One of the biggest complaints at Disney is that much of the food is bland in order to appeal to the masses, but you won’t find that a problem here. Decor-wise, the restaurant is unique, with a riverside, boat repair shack theme that makes it really feel like you are in the Deep South. 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 »

Apr 032016
 

Must See Tourist Spots in Washington DC

Traveling to Washington DC without a plan can be a little overwhelming. There are so many amazing things to see and experience in Washington DC that you don’t want to pass up the opportunity while visiting! Here are a list of some must see tourist spots in Washington DC to help you plan your next trip! From fun and family oriented to exciting and educational there is a little bit of something for everyone! If you plan ahead you can even get combo pricing on some of these locations as well as discounted tickets. I love taking a few minutes to plan before we go so that I will have a little bit of background and information before we arrive. This helps keep us on track and organized so we don’t waste minute of exploring time! Continue reading »

Mar 092016
 

Must See Tourist Spots in NYC

Being a tourist in NYC is not unusual or uncommon. There are hundreds of thousands of people doing the same thing each year. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States! The most daunting thing about being a tourist in NYC is knowing where to go and what to see! Like any large metropolitan area it’s a busy network that not only hosts tons of tourists on a daily basis but NYC is also home to a large, nonstop, population of locals and commuters. Check out this list of must see tourist spots in NYC to make your next trip a guaranteed success!

The Statue of Liberty

This is one of the MAIN tourist spots in NYC. People travel from all over the world to see the Statue of Liberty. She is not only a national treasure but also a fascinating look into our nation’s history. The island has majestic views of the city skyline as well as fantastic information and tours related to the stature herself! The great part about seeing the Statue of Liberty is that it is fun for the whole family. You can check out the gift shop for some classic NYC souvenirs and because there is so much to learn and investigate you can spend an entire day or just the afternoon depending on your schedule! Continue reading »

Feb 012016
 

Best Spots in Disney to Grab Coffee

To the joy of so many parents, the coffee situation at Walt Disney World has improved by leaps and bounds. For a place that does so many things right, it’s hard to believe that once upon a time it was hard to find a good cup of coffee, and even harder to find a calm place to sit and enjoy that coffee. Now though, you actually have a few places to grab a cup of coffee at Disney, and it is even possible to choose from among the best options.

These are among the best spots in Disney World for grabbing a coffee to help you get through a busy day.

Starbucks

There are now several Starbucks restaurants in the parks, as the chain was recently added to the lineup of recognizable brands to join Disney. The new location at Main Street Bakery is by far the most popular and most used, with lines forming at the start of the day and never really getting short until closing time. The Epcot location, right under Spaceship Earth is another fan favorite and has a futuristic feel to match the theme of the park and nearby rides. You can expect to find all of your Starbucks favorites here, from drinks to snacks to sandwiches. 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 »

Nov 292015
 

While many New Englanders refer to the entire east coast of Maine as”Down East”, it’s actually just one particular coastal region of the state (from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border) – either way, though, Maine is such a lovely state to visit.  Ever since I was a kid, I have had a love for Maine and have always said that if I didn’t love Massachusetts so much, I would be living up in Maine.

My husband Chris & I recently spent a day in Freeport, Maine and our ride up to the pine tree state was nothing short of comfortable on board the Amtrak Downeaster.

**Disclosure:  I received two complimentary round-trip tickets, in addition to a stipend for our daytrip in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way**

The Amtrak Downeaster strives to provide exceptional rail service to connect the New England communities in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. With five round-trips daily between Boston and Portland, and now two round-trips to Freeport and Brunswick, the Amtrak Downeaster is your car-free connection to exciting Maine destinations all year long.

The Amtrak Downeaster leaves from North Station in Boston (at the Garden) and can be accessed from the green & orange lines on the T, certain Commuter Rail lines or you can drive in & park at one of the many garages in that general area.  Chris & I took the T in to North Station on the day of our trip.

About 10 minutes or so before the train was set to depart, the track number was announced (on the board and it was announced over the intercom) so we knew exactly where to go to get on the correct train.

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There are two types of seats on the Downeaster: Coach and Business class. Continue reading »

Nov 042015
 

I had been wanting to visit Savannah for many, many years.  Aside from the southern charm and of course the infamous southern cooking, I knew that the paranormal activity in Savannah was high – and I love that kind of stuff.  When I found out that my stepson was going to be graduating from Army boot camp at Fort Jackson, SC, the first thing I did was google how far it was from Savannah. Imagine how excited I was when I saw that it was only about two hours!  Score.

There were so many things that I loved about Savannah. So. Many. Things!  Here is a recap of my personal favorites:

1. The ghost tours!

If you’re a regular around here, you may have already read about my experiences on a few of the ghost tours that Chris and I went on. While we were there, Chris and I went four different ghost tours.  Two of them were trolley tours and the other two were walking tours. We heard a couple of the same stories on the tours, but since Savannah is so haunted, we heard different tales on each tour.

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I love learning about the history of new places as well as searching for signs along the way that the other side actually does exist.  Chris and I spent three days in total down in Savannah and sadly, we saw no paranormal activity – although, I will swear on a stack of bibles that our room at the Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn was haunted.  There was a closet door that popped open a few times, we heard several weird thumps and my phone battery drained inexplicably more than once.  I just couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was breathing down the back of my neck whenever we were in our room. Continue reading »