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Travel

Travel

February school vacation is over but ah the memories #Skiing #Beach #IceCastlesNH #Hosted

This February school vacation week was unlike any other. The temperatures hit 70 degrees in Massachusetts!  We went skiing one day and the beach the next. It was crazy! We were lucky to be able to stay with friends at Loon Mountain and skied a couple days. Then we headed to Ice Castles! This has been on my list of must sees this winter. Luckily Ice Castles sent us tickets and we went earlier in the week as with the crazy New England weather they cannot guarantee  it will be open, because, well due to melting!  While they are closed for the season now, this is something you need to put on your list of things to do with the kids during the winter vacation next year! I thought it looked beautiful and if you have kids that love the movie frozen it makes it even more magical. The Ice Castles are built by hand using only water and icicles. We did go during the day but I hear they light up at night so will have to check it out at night next year! Here are some FAQ’s from the Ice Castles website so plan a bit before you go and wear your snow pants as they have a fun slide!

Disclosure: Ice Castles sent me tickets to check out the venue. All opinions in this blog post are my own.

Heading into a cave at Ice Castles NH

Heading into a cave at Ice Castles NH

Seats, slides and more fun for families photos at Ice Castles

Seats, slides and more fun for families photos at Ice Castles

Towers of Ice!

Towers of Ice!

Such cool scenery!

Such cool scenery!

The crowd was not too bad at Ice Castles NH

The crowd was not too bad at Ice Castles NH

 

Travel

Travel goals #travelgoals

It’s September and that means back to school, routine and chaos! I am sure many of you are not even thinking about a vacation or traveling! However as parents we run around a lot with our kids and sometimes taking time off and planning a vacation is not always easy. BUT even if it’s a day trip, a quick visit to another city or a full blown trip around the world, getting away can be fun! We do love our weekend day trips to Boston and each year I map out where I would like to go on vacation. This year the kids want to go back to Florida (it is nice when you have friends you can stay with) as well as take a trip to San Francisco. Of course on my list is to take a trip to Italy and France! What are your travel goals this year?

Enjoying the sites in Boston from the car! #travel #travelblogger

Enjoying the sites in Boston from the car! #travel #travelblogger

Events, Travel

Celebrate the season with a stay @GreatWolfLodge #gwlhowlidays #snowland #GWLNE #travel #hosted

The holiday season is a great time to visit Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg as snowland is the theme of this massive indoor waterpark destination! From November 28 through January 3, Great Wolf Lodge transforms into a magical winter wonderland. My family and I spent an overnight at the lodge and was welcomed with wonderful holiday décor and fun activities. Santa was on hand to hear all the kids wishes and we even got to stay in the Snowland Suites. Our room had a Christmas tree and lights were everywhere. There were decorations of snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and I loved the extra touch of how they wrapped all the pictures in the room. It really was a nice way to get into the holiday spirit. We also got to take home with us a commemorative Snowland throw and a copy of the winter story book, Unique as a Snowflake – add to that a delivery of milk and cookies at the end of the night by a special Great Wolf Kids™ character and the extras really make this a unique get-a-way unlike any other. It really is more than an indoor water park. For the younger kids there is story time, forest friends show and more. The Howlin timbers play park which offers Howl at the Moon Mini Golf, Ten Paw Alley, the Frog Hopper amusement ride and the Howlers Peak Ropes Course. So mom if you are weary of the twisty water rides take a visit with your kids to the ropes coursein the play park or have the kids visit the scooops spa! Click here for a list of all the attractions.

The Great Wolf Lodge is a fun, close get-a-way this holiday season with lots to do for kids of all ages. We stayed onsite to enjoy a dinner at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill and it was great. I got the buffet which was mostly a Mexican theme and it was really good. Kids loved their meals as well, but there are so many food options to choose from. There is also a Dunkin Donuts onsite. As my kids are on the older side the two best slides, according to both of them, are the wolf’s tale and howlin tornado. The wolf tale is super fast and daring! You step into this launch pod – according to the description on the web site – and the floor drops out from under you, and you’re hurled into a nearly vertical, 20-foot free fall, followed immediately by a 360-degree, high-speed loop! Everyone in my family did it. I did not this visit but have in the past and I cannot believe I did it! It is unlike any water ride I have been on. And the howlin tornado, well  this ride is built for four and has lots of tilting twists and turns! We went on this together several times and the drop was unbelievable.

We also received paw passes which allowed us to receive free games, tattoos, create your own stuffed animal and more. There is also lots of gift shops too! Check out the web site for their latest deals and fun!

Disclosure: I was able to stay overnight at a discounted media rate and received complementary paw passes. All opinions are my own in this post.

 

Fun and adventure @GreatWolfLodge #GWLNE

Fun and adventure @GreatWolfLodge #GWLNE

 

Travel

@rjresorts miss you! #travel #travelblogger #hosted

Well it has been a few weeks since we visited the Red Jacket in South Yarmouth and I miss it!  Summer has been so busy but I will never forget our quick adventure to this must see beach resort! As part of the Red Sox Moms the kids and I were invited to stay at this lovely beach resort and we loved it! It is not too late to enjoy a night or more at this fun beach resort so check out the specials they are offering here.

The Red Jacket Beach Resort is on a beautiful beach on Nantucket sound. If you have been to Cape Cod you know there can be a lot of running around and many things to see. What I like about the resort is how quiet it is yet there are so many things to do right on the property.  They have an indoor pool and an outdoor pool that is very close to the beach. Some of the adventures of staying here include yoga on the beach, a great restaurant right on the property, a complete spa and children’s activities each day!  Here are some of our photos from the trip. If you want to explore some more around the cape and for more information go to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce web site. Click here for the site.

Disclosure: I was treated to a two night stay to the property as part of the Red Sox Moms initiative. All opinions in this blog post are my own.

Lots to do @rjresorts

Lots to do @rjresorts

Indoor pool at night #RedJacketResorts #CapeCod

Indoor pool at night #RedJacketResorts #CapeCod

 

The Red Jacket beach resort in South Yarmouth has the best sunsets I have ever seen!

The Red Jacket beach resort in South Yarmouth has the best sunsets I have ever seen!

 

 

The outdoor pool @rjresorts

The outdoor pool @rjresorts

Travel

Disney Vacation! Top 5 Tips #DisneySide @WaltDisneyWorld @TheDisneySide

Well, we are back from our Disney vacation and we miss it already. So much has changed since the last time we were there 5 years ago. I will NOT wait that long to visit again. Everyone has their tips and strategies for navigating through the parks so here are my top 5 tips/favs from The Walt Disney World Parks.

1.  It makes sense for us to stay at a Disney resort as you can take advantage of the magic hours and those magic bands are great as that is really all you need to carry with you. Who wants to lug around a bag with stuff all day especially if you have older kids.

2.  Early in, rest afternoon, late night,  back at it – Here is our strategy as our kids are a bit older (10 and 13) – Get to the park early, get your favorite rides in first thing and schedule fast passes for either late morning or later in the evening. My kids like to go on multiple times but with long lines that is not possible. We took a break each day at around 2 and we enjoyed the rides early in the morning with no lines, some days had the fast pass mid-morning and when we got back in the evening we enjoyed the sites and did not stress about the long lines. (at Magic Kingdom there were no lines at 11:00 pm lol)

3. Eat where you like and it doesn’t have to be a big sit down meal each day – we did not do the meal plan. We had one lunch reservation (so we could have a Fantasmic show pass) and of course the most coveted meal -a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest). The other meals we just went with what we liked – dinner at Epcot in Italy and Germany. We also like Downtown Disney as our favorite restaurant is Wolfgang Puck Express. It’s casual, the food is great and you do not need a reservation.

4. Treats! Get the Dole Whip treat at Aloha Isle in  Adventureland which is the popular frozen treat blended in pineapple, orange, vanilla or swirled flavors. I kept seeing that frozen banana on a stick everywhere! It was so good!  The  kids loved the Coke slushie in Animal Kingdom as they never drink it so that was a special treat.   Another favorite in Downtown Disney is Ghiradelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop. LOVE the one scoop sundaes.

5. Disney is not a relaxing vacation  -it is very fun but it’s non-stop and tiring. We were lucky as it was 85 and sunny each day so relaxing by the pool each afternoon was a real treat. That is one recommendation – to take a break and relax each day. There can be so much shuttling back and forth on those buses and waiting in line and running to the ride you want. TRY to relax each day if you can. We also spent our last day by the pool and got a ride to the airport at 3:30 (yes my kids were in the pool at 3:05….didn’t want to leave the 85 temps for 25 degrees back home!) so at least we got to have a bit of a wind down period.  As I kept saying to my family, “you can rest when we get home!”

 

Memories at Magic Kingdom #DisneySide

Memories at Magic Kingdom #DisneySide

 

Epcot!

Epcot!

 

Travel

Family Fun Travel Destination @GreatWolf Lodge #GWLNewEngland

Looking for a quick trip overnight someplace close with adventure, water and relaxation? We recommend the newest indoor waterpark resort @GreatWolfLodge. We were invited to the grand opening celebration last week in Fitchburg, Mass and what an adventure.  I surprised my kids by not telling them their secret destination for the day. When we pulled up to the parking lot they were screaming!  This really is a family fun destination  as not only does it have 68,000 square feet of waterpark but 300,000 gallons of water and it’s more than a waterpark with interactive games, activities, a kiddie spa and more.

There is a waterslide for all ages from the kiddie Whooping Hallow and Tadpole Pond to the Howling Tornado and the exclusive Wolf Tale, you will not be bored at all. The girls and I loved the Slap Tail Pond which is the gigantic wave pool.  I tested ALL the waterslides and I do mean ALL of them including the Wolf Tale, in which you step into a clear enclosed tunnel and then the clear floor drops right out from underneath you.  The younger kids would love the Fort Mackenzie which is like a treehouse in water!

We were so impressed with the waterpark that we didn’t even venture back to the Howlin Timbers Play Park (next time!) There is a 9-hole mini golf course, family bowling and a 30 feet adventure climbing attraction! There is also the Howly Wood® XD Theater which is a motion thrill ride that transports you directly into the movie action! We will have to check this out for sure next time we visit!

My girls also loved the Scooops Kids Spa which has ice cream-themed manicures, facials and more. There are three different gift shops and six restaurants/snack bars (which includes a Dunkin Donuts). Ok so where does the relaxation come in? I like how the lounge chairs are close by the pool so if mom and dad want to take a bit of a break they can. However, I was going non-stop with my kids!  There is also the arcade and a restaurant close by in the arcade so parents can relax there too. My girls are all about a good arcade experience!

Admission is exclusive to resort guests. Head over to Great Wolf Lodge online and you can save 30 percent on your stay.

Disclosure: My kids and I were invited to the grand opening celebration for the day and got to enjoy the adventure. All opinions are my own.

All smiles @GreatWolfLodge

All smiles @GreatWolfLodge

Wave Pool!

Wave Pool!

The kids and the slides...quite an adventure

The kids and the slides…quite an adventure

 

Uncategorized

Disney and the Kids!

What a winter….The holiday were so hectic.  Here is it March already! Just came back from Disney – first trip with the kids. It is an exciting vacation but you need a vacation after your Disney vacation – lots of running around. I did read the unofficial guide to Disney before I left and boy did it stress me out!  It was a bit overwhelming, so much that I was referring to my map every two seconds to make sure I did not miss a thing! (it was driving my husband crazy) Anyway… if I had time to write a book about Disney I would but here are the most important things I learned as a first time visitor.

  • I would advise to stay in the park if you have small kids. One stop on the monorail and we were at Magic Kingdom
  • Like a victorian mansion The Grand Floridian Resort was just magical. http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa We loved the evening movie, campfire and smores for the kids!
  • Everyone needs a dip in the pool in the afternoon no matter what the temperature. It was only 59 degrees during the afternoon but luckily our pool was heated. It was very refreshing and a great way to decompress.
  • Each child is different and may react differently to the various, dark rides) Both my kids are daredevils. However, my 5 year old will go on any ride (tower of terror 2X), my 8 year old daredevil needs more specifics: what type of ride, how long, etc.
  • No matter how hard you try to follow a tour plan you cannot with little kids and oh yeah:  kids and hubby despise tour plans. These tour plans that are listed out in the unofficial guide are very specific and require lots of back and forth which require a great deal of strategy – I was trying to be very strategic but my kids and hubby did not want to be! My husband did not like to run back and forth to obtain the fast pass – so we would walk through the park and go from site to site.
  • You need a recover day (or days!) The kids looked dazed going back to school and were exhausted after school the first few days back

There is so much to see at Disney and so many parks to choose from – it definitely requires a trip back for us!