Archive for the ‘U.S. Travel’ category

6 Fall Escapes at the Kingsmill Resort & Spa

September 23rd, 2014

Exterior view of the Kingsmill Resort & Spa near Busch Gardens WilliamsburgIt may be close to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, but the Kingsmill Resort & Spa offers multigenerational families a spacious, luxurious retreat from the crowds. This fall, enjoy one of the six escape packages they offer for a weekend of relaxation, historical fun and even scary events in honor of Halloween.

Stay and Play Package
Enjoy lodging for two nights in a spacious guestroom, with breakfast for each guest, each morning. After fueling up, enjoy a discounted round of golf at the Plantation Course, complimentary court time at the Tennis Club, access to the indoor and outdoor pools, complimentary use of the non-motorized water sports and fishing poles, or hop on the shuttle to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg for free. Rates start from $70 per person, per night, based on a family of four. Offer valid now through Oct. 14, 2014.

Howl-O-Scream Package
If you dare, book the Howl-O-Scream package and enjoy accommodations for two nights, access to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and breakfast daily in the Elements 1010 restaurant. You’ll receive complimentary shuttle access to Busch Gardens, too. Rates start from $130 per person, per night. Offer valid now through Oct. 27, 2014. Note: Busch Gardens Halloween events may not be suitable for children under 12.

Bed & Breakfast Package
Enjoy a peaceful weekend away with the kids while enjoying deluxe overnight accommodations and a complimentary breakfast each morning. You’ll have unlimited access to the sports club, pools and the shuttle service to and from Colonial Williamsburg. Rates start from $90 per person, per night. Offer valid now through Dec. 31, 2014.

The Williamsburg Package
Spread out with a two-night stay in a one-, two- or three-bedroom suite this fall and receive single-day passes to Colonial Williamsburg for each guest. Fuel up with a complimentary breakfast before you go and take the free shuttle service to and from the attractions. Guests will also receive access to the Fitness Center and one hour of biking and court time at the Tennis Club. Rates start from $149 per person, per night. Offer valid now through Dec. 31, 2014.

Suite Escape Package
Parents will really be able to relax with the Suite Escape package, which includes overnight accommodations in a one-bedroom suite, breakfast daily, a late check-out time of 1 p.m., and two 50 minute massages. Kids can play in the pool area while parents relax in the serene spa area. Rates start from $215 per adult, per night. Offer valid now through Dec. 31, 2014.

Stay More & Save
Bring Grandma and Grandpa along on your next vacation and have them book the Stay More & Save package. Guests 60 years and older can save up 10, 20 or 30 percent off a one-, two- or three-night stay, with golf, hiking, biking and breakfast included in their rate. Complimentary shuttle service is also available for the entire family to and from Colonial Williamsburg. Rates start from $63 per person, per night. Offer valid now through Mar. 14, 2015.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

6 Fall Festivities for Families in Pennsylvania

September 22nd, 2014

Parents and kids ride in a horse-drawn wagon at the Apple Butter Frolic event in Harleysville, PennsylvaniaMontgomery County, Pennsylvania, located just 18 miles west of Philadelphia, offers beautiful fall foliage during the autumn season. Families won’t want to miss the breathtaking scenery and can enjoy fall activities along the way. Here are seven fun festivities for families to enjoy in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, this fall.

National Public Lands Day
Get the kids outside while the weather is still fair for National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 27, at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Families can help clean up the park and can take part in projects to help maintain the popular area. When the work is done, enjoy a guided nature hike before the barbecue starts. Events run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Families should sign up in advance if looking to volunteer.

Upper Perkiomen Bird & Wildlife Festival
Educate the kids on birds and wildlife at this annual outdoor event on Saturday, September 27, at Green Lane Park. Live demonstrations will take place and hands-on activities and games for kids, like nature crafts and hayrides, will be offered. Food and drinks will be for sale, as well. Admission is free, and the event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Asher’s Chocolates 17th Annual Fall Fest
Enjoy live music, moon bounce houses, games, face painting and more at the 17th Annual Fall Fest, hosted by Asher’s Chocolates of Souderton, Pennsylvania. Hot dogs and drinks will be free, too! The fun starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 27, at the retail store on Wambold Road. Admission is free.

Annual Apple Butter Frolic
Enjoy all things apple at the 41st Annual Apple Butter Frolic hosted by the Mennonite Heritage Center in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, October 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids activities, an apple baking contest, horse and wagon rides and more will take place and excite guests of all ages. Admission is $8 for teens and adults 13 and older, $2 for kids between 6 and 12, and free for kids 5 and under.

Scarecrow Making
Do you want to make a scarecrow? Learn how at Norristown Farm Park in East Norriton, on Sunday, October 5, at 1 p.m. Families and kids can have fun making and dressing their very own scarecrow (be sure to bring clothes from home!), which may even be featured in the Park in the Dark night hike event on October 17. Admission is free, but costs $5 per scarecrow. Pre-registration is required.

Skippack Days
Head to Skippack Village on Saturday, October 4, and Sunday, October 5, for the 41st annual Skippack Days event. Enjoy food and craft vendors, as well as kids’ activities and live music during this annual town wide celebration. Activities start at 10 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. on both days.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

7 Banned Books Week Events for Families

September 21st, 2014

Three young boys read books outside in the grassToday kicks off the 32nd Annual Banned Books Week and events for the young and old will be held throughout the country, with readings and storytime for babies to celebrations in honor of Lord of the Rings with costumed characters for teens. Here’s a list of family-friendly events taking place in large cities around the U.S. this week in honor of all those banned books!

Chicago
Banned Books Week

Sept. 21-27, 2014
Glen Ellyn Public Library

All week long kids in grades four through eight can stop by the Glen Ellyn Public Library in Chicago and have their picture taken with their favorite banned book, which will also be featured in the library’s special Facebook album. Readings will also take place daily.

Providence, R.I.
Free Tattoo with Checkout of Banned Book

Sept. 21-27, 2014
Providence Community Library

Families who check out a banned book this week in Providence will get a free temporary tattoo!

Nashville
Hobbit Day Celebration

Sept. 22, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Coffee County Lannom Library

Located about an hour from Nashville, the Coffee County Lannom Library in Tullahoma, Tennessee, is hosting a celebration in honor of Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth’s very own Bilbo and Frodo! Families can enjoy costume contests, scavenger hunts, riddles, trivia and hobbit snacks.

Portland, OR
Celebrate Banned Books at Wild Lilac

Sept. 24, 2014 at 11 a.m.
Wild Lilac Child Development Community

Listen to parents and teachers as they read from their favorite banned children’s books in Portland this Wednesday.

Charleston, S.C.
Banned Books Week DIY Festival

Sept. 25, 2014
College of Charleston – Addlestone Library

Families can make their own buttons, magazines and more at this DIY Festival in Charleston this week. A photobooth will be available all week long for photos with your banned book, too.

San Francisco
Baby’s First Banned Book Club Meeting

Sept. 25, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Books Inc. in the Marina

Sing songs, clap your hands and read books that have actually been banned for the little ones in San Francisco this week! Who knew storytime for baby would or could be banned?

Book Bites Banned Books Storytime
Sept. 25, 2014 at 3:30 p.m.
Books Inc. Laurel Village

Bring kids ages 6 and up to this event, which offers little ones who are just learning to read a storytime of banned books.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

9 Pirate Ship Adventures for Kids

September 19th, 2014

Kids play limbo aboard a pirate ship cruiseAhoy, mateys! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day and mateys everywhere should don their eye patches and wooden peg legs all day long while speaking with their best swashbuckling accents. Don’t let the fun stop tomorrow, though. Board one of these nine pirate ship cruises with the family for an adventure on the high seas in search of buried treasure. Argh!

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise
Join Captain Fearless Phil and his crew onboard the Sea Dragon in Panama City Beach, Florida, this year for a voyage to remember. Sing along to pirate songs while sword fighting, swabbing the deck, hunting for buried treasure and more. Tours last about two hours. Prices start from $24 for adults ages 15 and older, $14 for kids 14 and under, and $12 for infants and babies between 1 and 2 years; infants under 1 year are free.

Pirate Ship Tour Puerto Vallarta
Set sail on an authentic Spanish galleon in Puerto Vallarta, where you’ll take part in a pirate show before reaching Majahuitas Beach, where families can try water sports, beach games and more. Food is served and parents can enjoy an open bar on the ship. Afternoon and evening tours are available. Tickets start from $42 for children 3 to 12, and from $84 for adults and teens 12 years and older.

The Pirate Ship Royal Conquest
Set sail in Tampa Bay, Florida, for a true Royal Conquest. The two-level, 56-foot pirate ship offers music, water gun battles, treasure hunts, limbo, face painting and more. The cruises last about two hours and are offered in the morning, afternoon and at night. Prices start from $35 for adults between 21 and 64, $25 for kids between 2 and 20, and $10 for toddlers and infants under 2 years.

Capt. Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures
Board the Lost Pearl in Virginia Beach and set sail on an authentic Spanish galleon ship. All hands will be on deck during this adventure. Enjoy a pirate show while snacking on seafaring food, and see who wins the sword fight. Tours run for approximately 1.5 hours and prices start from $26 for adults and $22 for children between 3 and 15; the cruise is free for kids 2 and under.

Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise
Buccaneers are invited to board Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise in Clearwater Beach, Florida, for an afternoon of food and drinks while searching for treasure. Face painting, water gun games, stories, dancing and more are offered onboard. Prices start from $36 for adults, $31 for teens 13 to 17, $26 for kids 3 to 12 and $11 for babies and infants 2 and under.

Big Bear’s Pirate Ship
The Time Bandit Pirate Ship is modeled after a Spanish galleon and brings families around Big Bear Lake, California. Tours educate families about the lake and last about 90 minutes. Morning and afternoon tours are available. Prices start from $22 for adults and $14 for kids 12 and under.

Buccaneer Pirate Cruise
Join a voyage with other pirates through the waters of the Emerald Coast of Destin, Florida, on the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise. Enjoy singing, dancing, water gun battles, a sword fight, treasure hunts and more. Prices start from $34 for adults, $19.50 for kids 4 to 14, and children under 3 are free.

Boomerang Pirate Ship
Navigate the Potomac River on the Boomerang Pirate Ship in Washington, D.C., and help protect the Nation’s Capital while on board. Enjoy treasure hunts, face painting, pirate games, dancing, water cannons, limbo and more. Prices start from $20 per person and advance reservations are required.

Black Raven Pirate Ship
Blackbeard will visit your family while on board the Black Raven in St. Augustine, Florida. Kids must be ready for battle, with water cannons, sword fights and more. When it’s over, enjoy tasty booty with the other mateys while celebrating. Prices start from $35 for adults and $25 for kids 3 to 12; children under 3 are free.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

6 Activities for Kids in Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge

September 17th, 2014

Little boy pets a black goat at the zooIf you haven’t been to Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge yet, then fall is the perfect time to visit with your family. The mild weather, sunny skies and fall foliage make it a beautiful sight to see. Plus, there is so much to do both indoors and out. Here are just six of the fun activities that you can do with kids this fall in Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge:

Adventure Park at Five Oaks
Children of all ages can zip line at the Adventure Park at Five Oaks in Sevierville, Tennessee, just outside of Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge. Zip lines range from 450 to 2,000 feet in length and offer beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Five Oaks Riding Stables
After zip lining through the fall foliage, ride your own horse down a trail at the Stables at Five Oaks. You and the kids can walk, trot and gallop through the Smoky Mountain area. Rides last between 30 minutes and one hour and little ones can be paired with mom or dad. Packages are available, which can save the family money on zip lining, too.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Kids will get a kick out of seeing octopuses, jellyfish, crabs, sharks and other sea creatures at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. There’s a Penguin Playhouse, too, where visitors can crawl through tunnels to see the colony of penguins up close. Hands-on activities are also offered, such as a stingray touch tank and a Discovery Center where kids can hold horseshoe crabs.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum
Located just a few minutes from the aquarium, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum is another sight to see when in Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge. Check out more than 500 unique exhibits, which include a two-headed cow and a shrunken human head. Combination tickets can be purchased for other attractions, too, including the Ripley’s Aquarium.

Lazerport Fun Center
If the weather isn’t exactly fit for an outdoor adventure, head to Lazerport Fun Center for indoor fun. Play an afternoon round of black-light mini golf; get the adrenaline flowing with a game of laser tag; or show off your NASCAR skills on the go-kart track. An arcade also offers games for kids of every age.

Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo
Have you ever seen a zonky? Well you can at the Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo (it’s a mix of a donkey and a zebra, by the way). Kids will love petting the deer, goats, camels, sheep and other soft animals, as well as seeing the pot-bellied pigs and reindeer. Pony rides are offered and horseback riding is available at the Deer Farm Riding Stable across the way.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

5 Apple Orchards in the Northeast

September 16th, 2014

Mother and young son picking apples in an orchardThere is nothing more fun on the weekends than apple picking in the fall. The orchards are great places to enjoy the last of sunny days and experience the best of fall. When you’re done scouring the orchards for the best apples, you can bring the kids home to make apple cobbler, pies, cakes and cookies.

Here is a list of five orchards in the Northeast region to visit this fall with your family for fun apple picking festivities:

Silverman’s Farm
Founded in 1920, Silverman’s Farm in Easton, Connecticut, has a hayride that takes you up the hill to an orchard where you can find a wide variety of apples, a gourmet food market, pumpkin patch, cider mill and a petting zoo that kids will love. It’s a fun day out for the whole family.

Outhouse Orchards
Outhouse Orchards, located in Croton Falls, New York, is a family-operated apple farm that happens to be open year-round. But a visit to the orchard in the autumn is very special. Aside from perfect apple picking (they have a great selection), they also have an animal farm, a corn maze, a duck pond, a playground and hayrides. They also feature vendors with homemade ice cream and doughnuts, which the kids will go wild over.

Stuart’s Farm
Stuart’s Farm in Granite Springs, New York, is another good choice for family apple-picking outings. The farm has smaller trees so the kids can pick the apples themselves, and you can take a hayride around the orchard — pick a few pumpkins or have a picnic. If there’s any corn left in their store, be sure to get some and the homemade popcorn – it’s delicious.

Wightman’s Farms
If you’re not interested in long lines and crowds, Wightman’s Farms in Morristown, New Jersey, is a good choice. You and your kids can pick apples and pumpkins, ride hayrides and run around a cornfield puzzle maze. Kids will have a ball here and will want to return next year, for sure.

Masker Orchards
Masker Orchards has been around for more than 100 years and has remained a New York institution ever since. Now open for the season, experts at this Warwick orchard suggest getting there early to beat the crowds. The orchard also sells a great amount of honey, which is great for hot tea on a chilly fall evening.

– Holly Fink

Holly Rosen Fink is a mother, marketing consultant, writer and blogger for a number of sites, as well as her own, The Holly Chronicles.