When you live in New England you need a winter or early spring vacation, am I right? Something to look forward to after the dark days. . . someplace warm. . . some good old vitamin D. New Englanders in general are known to be hard workers but everyone needs a vacation to recharge and be more productive. They say it’s good for your health, that it reduces stress levels, strengthens relationships, and can give you new perspective, among countless other benefits. I don’t know about you, but having something to look forward to makes me happy. The other main reason is that one of my parenting goals is: less stuff, more experiences. Spend time with the people you love in really cool places. Make memories.
Because I work and so does my husband we need to plan days off well in advance but that doesn’t necessarily mean we plan out our vacations right away. I usually plan out one major family vacation every year, sometimes up to a year in advance, but I tend to be more of the spontaneous, last-minute, kind-of figure it out as you go type of vacation planner. Sometimes it works out well sometimes not so much. Sometimes I don’t plan where we are going until the day before. I think that freaks a lot of people out but I think it’s fun to be spontaneous and go with the flow.
Last week the kids and I were both off for April vacation. I was thinking originally that I would take vacation time to do some day trips and stay home with the kids since traveling can get pretty pricey during school vacations. Then we were were offered some stand-by tickets from a relative a few weeks before vacation, meaning we weren’t guaranteed seats on a plane but they would be a deep discount from regular tickets. We decided we would try to go to Florida to visit my inlaws and my parents. We are fortunate to have relatives that have condos in warm places. It would be my first trip with the kids without Jon but the kids are at ages that I felt I could handle it. Having stand-by tickets was a good lesson in- hope for the best, expect the worst. Lucky for us we got on our plane without any trouble. Before we left, I didn’t google any restaurants or things to do, we each packed a single carry on bag, and I just figured we would wing it and I can honestly say it was a great vacation.
So what I’m saying is that if you have a friend or relative that offers you a place to stay go for it. Spend time with your friends and family who live in another state or country. When someone asks you to go on a vacation with them, go. What I’ve found is that people love to share their homes and are usually generally excited to show you around their cities and towns. Take the vacation of your dreams, or trip to the next town, it doesn’t matter as long as you have something to look forward to it’s worth it.
What type of traveler are you? Are you a pre-planner or spontaneous vacation goer? Do you like traveling in groups or just your immediate family? Where are you taking your next vacation? Most importantly though, never regret taking a vacation.
if you grew up on the South Shore you went to Edaville Railroad as a kid and maybe your parents even went as kids. When you think if Edaville you probably get a little nostalgic remembering riding the train during the Christmas season, looking at the lights they had strung up along the 250 acre property. Today, Edaville has a lot more going on. Not only do they continue to have the Christmas Festival of Lights but they now have many new attractions. There is Thomas Land, for your little train lover, Dino Land for those that love dinosaurs, and there are different themes almost every weekend. With over 90 rides and attractions its a great place to spend the day.
Located in Carver, MA it is a small, locally owned, family theme park that is perfect for younger kids and the young at heart. I thought maybe my kids were outgrowing Edaville but when I asked them the other day if they would want to go back there wasn’t a second of hesitation when they both said yes. I got an email the other day saying that there was a BOGO promotion going on where you can buy one anyday ticket and get one free so I went ahead and bought them. As you can tell from my previous posts, I’m not a big fan of paying full price! The park will be open from April-January and I’m sure we will find a day that we can go. The theme park has a great website www.edaville.com where you can get all the information you need, but the BOGO deal is only running until 3/31 so if you are thinking of gong this year buy tickets now!
Maybe we’ll try something new and go for the “Pumpkins Aglow” event in October, or maybe we’ll stick with our tradition of going for the Christmas lights. Comment below if you have been to any of the the other Edaville events or plan on going. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Is there a song that pops into your head that reminds you of your kids? Is there a song that comes on the radio when you’re in the car driving that leaves you with tears streaming down your face; One where you have to catch your breath because you’re afraid your kids are growing up so fast that your going to miss something, because I do.
I’ve never never been much of a country music fan, but I am now. It’s all I listen to, the words mean something, I don’t need to change the station because the lyrics aren’t appropriate for my kids. I challenge you to listen to this song and not feel something. If I can teach my kids something it will be this. . . Be Humble & Kind.
Wachusett, Wachusett Mountain, mountain skiing minutes away. I know you’re singing that song in your head right now thinking about that one last ski trip of the season. I’m going to tell you to just do it, pack up for a last-minute day or night trip and enjoy. Why not?
Only about an hour drive from Boston (1 1/2 hrs. from my house) Wachusett made for the perfect day trip for my kids and I yesterday. Just past Worcester it was an easy drive up 495. Lucky for us they had a half day at school, it was a Friday, and St. Patrick’s Day. We were on the slopes by 2pm. The night before I purchased tickets online for a 1/2 day super ticket for each of us. The super ticket meant that we could ski from the time we got there until 10pm if we wanted to (we only made it to 8pm). Buying tickets online is definitely the way to go. The total cost was $83.00 for the three of us. If you have AAA you can save a few dollars with a coupon code.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about our experience. Wachusett, although a smaller mountain in comparison to many New England ski mountains, had plenty of trails for my 8 & 10 year old, and also my 5 & 7 year old nieces that were with us. They were completely comfortable skiing every trail. The kids enjoyed a waffle from the waffle cabin shortly after we got there and they were psyched.
The conditions were great since they had over a foot of snow drop during the middle of the week. One of the great things about Wachusett that makes it stand out from other mountains is that they have great night skiing. Most mountains that offer night skiing only offer a few lighted trails after the sun goes down. Wachusett on the other hand has 18 trails open for night skiing. Also, many other mountains close down in-between their day and night ski hours but not at Wachusett. They remain open and only close the trails that they are grooming one at a time. They groomed many of the trails for the night skiing and that made for some smooth skiing after dark.
We stopped in the lodge a few times to grab food and drinks. I was very impressed with the cafe food court, it was clean and not only had the usual ski lodge fare of burgers and chili but they offered lots of healthy options too. They even that sushi that looked amazing. Although we didn’t stop in to the Coppertop Lounge, it was packed for St. Patrick’s day and looked like a blast. The fireplace was blazing all day long to warm up those cold hands and feet.
When you go, you must hit the Bullock Lodge Cider House as well. It is an adorable little stone hut that dates back to 1930. It’s run by the local Red Apple Farm. The cider donuts and warm apple cider were a perfect snack to keep the kids going.
I would have to say we will definitely go back, especially for the night skiing. I can’t wait until the kids are older and can hang a bit more at night but I’m not sure my legs would have made it past 8pm anyway. Let me know if you end up at Wachusett Mountain!
Snow Days. . . It’s one thing when there is actual snow to play in, but what about days like today? Again, two things I can’t control, New England weather and the fact that they cancelled school based on the weather predictions (I’m not even going to go there). Today we had a “rain day.” There would be no snowman making and sledding outside, just twelve hours of me and my kids hanging out blissfully inside. It’s not that I don’t love my kids and want to spend time with them, but twelve hours is a long time. I’ve said it before but when you can’t change what’s going on around you change your attitude toward it.
Something I’ve learned in my ten years as a parent is that when my kids have structure in their day things go much smoother. It seems that when I let them just try to figure it out on their own there is a lot more whining and complaining and definitely a lot more IPAD use. So we sat down in the morning to plan out the day. Homework in the morning, then a workout video to get the blood flowing, some iPad and phone time, lunch, and then we would invite the neighborhood kids over for bingo, Lego’s, minute to win it games, and to watch Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Sometimes is good to just get back to the basics.
What did you all do today? I love getting ideas.
Hope you enjoyed your day inside, and if not there’s always wine.
Where is spring? It was here two weeks ago. Oh. . . wait. . . .we live in New England where you cannot, I repeat, cannot, make any outdoor plans in advance. Not knowing what crazy weather we will have means figuring out our next adventure at the last-minute. Will we be breaking out the tee shirts and bikes or maybe squeezing in one more ski trip before the season is over?
So lets talk skiing. It’s something my family and I look forward to every year. Both of my kids started skiing at age 3. To say it was difficult to teach them is an understatement, but we got through it, and now at ages 8 & 10 they are better than I am. It certainly takes lots of patience and now that I look back on it, I’m wondering why I didn’t just put them in ski school.
I think one of the main things that keeps people from skiing with their families is the expense. It is generally a pretty pricey activity between the equipment, lift tickets, and lodging if you are skiing multiple days. I try to think of it as a learning experience and something all of us can do together, and that’s priceless. Right!?!
The majority of our ski trips have been to New Hampshire and specifically to the White Mountains area. Typically I plan ski trips to the mountains that are offering the best deals, because let’s face it SKIING IS EXPENSIVE. I thought I would share with you my Top 10 ways to save money skiing in New England.
#1 Get good, warm, ski gear. There is nothing worse than buying a lift ticket and only skiing a few runs because the kids are cold. Hand warmers and toe warmers are a must too.
#2 If you are renting skis & boots for your kids think about leasing them for a season. Check out countryski.com, who this past year leased used kids skis starting at $140 for the season, but as an added bonus you got a seasons pass to Bretton Woods.
#3 Buying skis is a great option too if you plan on skiing a lot or have kids to hand the skis & boots down to. My advice is to get measured at a ski shop and then check out Evo.com. We bought 3 sets of skis from them in the past that we are currently using and are very happy with.
#4 Use Liftopia.com. If we know in advance where we are going to ski we usually buy tickets from this website and generally save about 30-40% off the ticket window price.
#5 In New Hampshire most mountains offer free lift tickets to kids under 5. This is one of my favorites. Who doesn’t like free.
#6 Check out Skinh.com and click on the Deals section in the Menu bar. Each mountain is listed with the deals that they run through the year. Everything is listed in one place so that saves you a lot of time too.
#7 Skiing midweek and non-holiday periods can save a bundle. Play hookie for the day, and be the cool parent that lets the kids skip school. Not only will you save money but they’ll probably remember that day forever.
#8 Pack your lunch and snacks. Overpriced burgers are not worth it. Save your money for Apres Ski (and if you don’t know what that is you’re missing out.)
#9 Check Groupon.com and Livingsocial.com for deals on lodging near the mountain that you are planning on skiing at. Just make sure to read the fine print.
#10 Lots of places have deals on Spring skiing. For example, you can buy tickets at Waterville Vally or Cranmore on St. Patricks Day for $17.00.
So whether you love the snow or hate it, we need to live with it. There’s a saying that goes something like, “When you can’t change the things around you change your attitude.” Anyone want to go skiing next weekend? We’ll meet you there.
being a kid on the South Shore was different. We used to play outside and roam around for hours, mostly in a big pack, house to house on our bikes, no helmets, no one with a walkie-talkie checking to see if we got from one place to another. We played kickball, hide-and-seek, and board games for hours. I don’t particularly remember my parents being very involved in what we were playing or doing on a day-to-day basis, and honestly we didn’t care.
Fast forward twenty-five years and here I am still living on the South Shore and raising my own kids in the town I grew up in. I came back because, quite honestly, I love it here and it just feels like home. Half way between Boston and the Cape, it still has that small town feel. What has changed so much from when I was a kid though, is how kids are raised. I try not to be a helicopter parent and my kids do get some space to travel around with the neighborhood kids (as long as they have their walkie-talkie) but lets face it, everything is so scheduled that there aren’t many kids around just to play anymore. I’m not here to say it’s right or wrong, it is what it is. My kids have way more planned sports and events than I ever had, but that’s just they way things are now. I think parents just want to be more involved and make sure their kids are involved.
I find myself constantly looking for new things to do with my kids. My goal is for my kids to really know the area they live in and experience as many things as they can. I love the South Shore and New England in general. It is full of amazing places to explore with any age group. Just when I think I have done everything there is to do with my kids, they grow up and that opens up a whole new set of activities for us to do.
One of the main reasons why I love this area are the seasons, and with the change of the weather comes the different activities and events in each one. My family and I look forward to the dog days of summer spent on Duxbury Beach, cruising around Plymouth bay in our boat, camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and adventures on Cape Cod. Fall brings back routine, and sports, sports, and more sports!! Playing sports and watching them. I mean who doesn’t love the Patriots. There’s apple picking, fall festivals, and cool nights around the fire pit. Winter is dreaded by so many people, but honestly Christmas in New England is magical. The lights, the snow, catching a show at the local theater, and most importantly, in my family, the start of ski season. Then, just when we’ve had enough of the cold, spring brings new life to our home and it’s time to plant the garden and clean out the cob webs. It’s time to dust off the bikes and sports equipment once again and get outside.
I hope with this blog I’ll be able to share with you the adventures I have with my kids, my family, and friends. This blog is about discovering all that the South Shore and New England have to offer, about where to go and what to do. I’m hoping not only to share with you some great ideas but also to get some great ideas in return. I can’t wait to go back to our favorite spots every year but I’m also looking forward to learning and experiencing something new and I hope you all can help with that. So where should our first adventure take us? Is there a place that you love to travel to every year, a restaurant that you recommend? Where do you and your family go when spring arrives around the South Shore or New England? What’s on your bucket list this year?
My family and I on one of our adventures over February vacation. The little town of Lake Fairlee, VT.