Archive for the ‘U.S. Travel’ category

Family Fun at Fleet Week New York 2015

May 18th, 2015

Families can honor and celebrate our nation’s military in New York City this May when Fleet Week 2015 comes to the city on Wednesday. Running May 20 to 26, 2015, Fleet Week will be filled with family-friendly events every day, from military band concerts to Navy dive demos to parades and more. And for families who are coming from further away, hotels are celebrating the event, as well, with special rates.

Ships in the New York Harbor during Fleet Week

Must-See Events
Kick off Fleet Week today and tomorrow with military band concerts at 9 a.m. today at Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York; 4 p.m. today at the Brooklyn Central Library; and at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow in Bryant Park.

On Wednesday, watch nine ships sail the Hudson River in the Parade of Ships at 10 a.m. and gear up for Thursday, when the daylong events begin. Thursday is Marine Day at Bryant Park with demonstrations and performances from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Families are also invited Pier 82 in Manhattan for a free tours of U.S. Naval Academy Yard Patrol boats. Visit Pier 95 after the ship tours for the “Walk of Heroes” reenactment, which tells the story of 37 major league baseball players who served in WWII.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday enjoy all the same ship tours, plus military band concerts in Times Square with performances by U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine and U.S. Coast Guard bands.

On Monday – Memorial Day – head to Brooklyn for the 147th Kings County Memorial Day Parade. The Parade runs from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and begins at 101 Street and 4th Avenue.

Fleet Week ends on Tuesday, May 26, and families are invited to send off the ships and our military members as they depart from the New York Harbor and USS The Sullivans Pier in Staten Island.

Where to Stay
Veterans, military families and guests visiting Fleet Week can look to historic properties throughout New York City for comfortable accommodations and discounted rates this year.

The Maritime Hotel opened in 1968 and has a nautical theme in honor of the National Maritime Union, which it houses onsite. This year, veterans and active duty military personnel receive discounted nightly rates from $195 when they stay between May 22 and May 25, 2015. Use code SEAVET when booking.

The Jane is even older – built in 1908 – and the hotel has had historic figures stay in its rooms over the years; the survivors from the Titanic stayed at the Jane in 1912. This year, families can enjoy rates from just $115 per night during Fleet Week.

For more information and a full schedule of events and locations, visit the Fleet Week New York website.

— Hilarey Wojtowicz

Old-Fashioned Americana in Cooperstown, New York

May 17th, 2015

Known to many as the birthplace of our national pastime, the village of Cooperstown, New York, makes for a fun-filled family getaway. And with baseball season in full swing, and summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to visit. Beyond the old ballgame, families will find plenty to fill their days, as Cooperstown’s natural beauty and fascinating history create numerous options for unique diversions and outdoor adventures. Here’s a roundup of Cooperstown highlights.

Cooperstown, New York, welcome sign
Main Street
Just a few blocks long with one traffic light, Cooperstown’s business district has a quaint, old-timey feel, so much so that you might expect to see Andy Griffith come whistling out of one of the storefronts. Souvenir shops with names like Mickey’s Place and Safe at Home cater to baseball fans while the Cooperstown General Store is a vintage-style five-and-dime kids will love. The Cooperstown Diner, so tiny it has a half-address, is a great place to grab lunch and for dessert, Schneider’s Bakery offers freshly baked sweet-treats from its corner location on Main and Chestnut.

Doubleday Field
Looking to relive your days playing ball on the sandlot? Then catch a few innings at Cooperstown’s small stadium. Just around the corner from the Hall of Fame, Doubleday Field hosts three youth ballgames each day from late spring through early fall and admission is free. Snack carts are often set up outside selling baseball favorites like hotdogs and lemonade, while hits, runs and errors are tallied on an old-fashioned scoreboard. The annual Hall of Fame game is played at Doubleday every year on the Saturday before Memorial Day, with Hall of Famers and recently retired players representing all 30 major league ball teams playing in a seven-inning legends game.

Entrance to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Although historians have long debunked the tale that Abner Doubleday initiated the first game in Cooperstown in 1839, thousands of visitors flock to this temple of baseball history every year, and understandably so. Housing 38,000 artifacts, the Baseball Hall of Fame is a remarkable tribute to the sport and its most legendary players. Plan to spend about four hours touring three floors packed with memorabilia — everything from the famed “Doubleday Ball” to Babe Ruth’s retired No. 3 Yankee jersey to the ball from Cy Young’s 500th career win are on display here. For younger visitors, an engaging scavenger hunt provides a list of clues to guide them through the displays. On the first floor, kids will love the Sandlot Clubhouse and art aficionados will revel in the Andy Warhol portrait of Tom Seaver.

The Farmers’ Museum
History is brought to life through costumed interpreters at this recreated 19th century farming village. Authentic, local structures from around Otsego County have found a home at the Farmers’ Museum and now house a blacksmith, printer’s and apothecary shop to name a few. Stop into the village store to pick up a quill and a bottle of ink or a reproduced copy of the 1829 book “The Frugal Housewife.” In the schoolhouse, kids can practice reciting lines or forming letters on small slate boards while the teacher tells them what it was like to be a student in the late 1800’s. A ride on the museum’s Empire State Carousel is fun for everyone. Pick from 25 hand-carved animals, like Shirley Squirrel and Freddie Frog, representing the many critters found around New York State.

Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
Since 1962, the Michaels family has been making cider the old-fashioned way, using the mill’s water powered equipment to press New York State apples into the sweet beverage. Located just a few miles from Cooperstown’s Main Street in the small hamlet of Fly Creek, this authentic cider mill is a member of the New York Agritourism Program. Spend an hour or so touring the mill — the current owner Bill Michaels is a fountain of knowledge and if you spot him, feel free to ask questions. The mill yard is home to ducks, geese and chickens and a quarter gets you a handful of corn for feeding them. A bag of cider donuts, some homemade fudge and a gallon of apple cider will round out your visit.

View from the porch of the Otesaga Resort Hotel
Otsego Lake
Nicknamed Glimmerglass by James Fenimore Cooper for its calm, mirror-like surface, Otsego Lake is a Cooperstown jewel. Spend an afternoon kayaking, canoeing or swimming in the lake’s crystal clear waters. There are public beaches at both Three Mile Point and Glimmerglass State Park, while Sam Smith’s Boatyard offers watercraft rentals by the hour, half or full day. And for a delightful end to the day, make your way to the back porch of the grand, lakeside Otesaga Resort Hotel. Grab a rocking chair and partake in a cold, locally brewed Ommegang Ale or Seneca Lake Riesling and watch the sun set over the lake while the kids play on the lawn below.

— Gina Vercesi

Gina Vercesi is a freelance writer with a passion for exploring nature and the outdoors. Gina features off-the-grid family travel adventures on her blog, Kids Unplugged, and writes as the “Unplugged” Traveling Mom for the Traveling Mom Writer’s Network.

Family Competition on Amelia Island

May 16th, 2015

Get ready for a little friendly competition on your next family vacation to Amelia Island. The popular Florida destination is home to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort and this summer guests are invited to participate in its Great Family #OmniAmeliaChallenge. Do you think your family has what it takes?

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort pool area

The Great Family #OmniAmeliaChallenge requires families to complete the following activities:

  • Segway, stand up paddleboard or kayak tour
  • Round of mini-golf at Heron’s Cove
  • Tennis lesson at the resort’s Racquet Park
  • Spa service or treatment at the resort
  • 18 holes of golf at one of the resort’s two championship courses

One or two family members are required to complete each challenge, though the more the merrier. So while mom is at the spa, dad can hit the golf course for the afternoon, and the kids can take a tennis lesson, and all will be helping the family complete the list of activities.

But just accomplishing these tasks is not enough. Families are also required to share their experiences on social media. All experiences must be shared on social media with #OmniAmeliaChallenge. Once all five tasks are completed and shared on social media, families will automatically win a two-night stay at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

The Great Family #OmniAmeliaChallenge is open for families now through August 31, 2015. The two-night prize voucher can be used for stays September 2015 through January 2016. Check room rates and start planning your stay at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation now!

— Hilarey Wojtowicz

Biking Through New England With Kids

May 14th, 2015

May is National Bike Month and families should get active with their kids by riding two-wheels wherever they can. For a fun adventure, visit New England this May – or any month this summer really – and explore the many trails that wind though the coastal towns. Here are a few resorts that will help your family get moving this year.

Family biking along a trail

Chatham Bars Inn
Visit Cape Cod and enjoy a stay at the historic Chatham Bars Inn, named for the coastal town in which it lies. The Inn offers all guests complimentary bicycles to use during their stay. Grab a helmet and hit the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which extends 35 miles through five countryside towns in Massachusetts.

Bar Harbor Inn
Discover Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park and Eagle Lake in Maine this summer with kids by staying at the Bar Harbor Inn. Just rent bicycles through Bar Harbor’s Acadia Bike and enjoy the scenic trails. Half-day bike rentals start from $16 for children and $18 for adult.

Winnetu Oceanside Resort
Rent bicycles via R.W. Cutler Bike Rentals during your stay at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Martha’s Vineyard, and your wheels will be delivered to you at the resort, free of charge. The resort is conveniently located near the Edgartown bike path, which takes families to the beach or other countryside towns. Rentals start from $20 per day for children and $40 per day for adults.

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa
Head up to New Hampshire and take a mountain bike tour with kids while staying at the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa. Choose from two- or four-hour tours, or even a full-day excursion, and explore the Mountain View Trails. Tours start from $10 for children ages 5 and under, $15 for kids ages 6 to 12 and $20 for teens and adults ages 13 and older. Note: Children ages 5 and under are only allowed on the two-hour tour.

For biking adventures closer to home, check out our list of the 10 Best Biking Vacations for Families. Additionally, stay at a hotel with complimentary bike rentals, such as a Kimpton Hotel, which has locations around the U.S.

— Hilarey Wojtowicz