Dominion Riverrock Festival Returns in May

April 12th, 2014 by Lissa No comments »

For fun-loving, adventure-seeking teens, Richmond, Va.’s Dominion Riverrock outdoor sports and music festival may be an ideal weekend getaway. The festival, which takes place May 16 to 18, will be held on Brown’s Island.

Sporting events include an Adventure Race, mountain and freestylee biking, bouldering, kayaking, stand up paddling, a mud run and a river trail run. Free concerts take place Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, with local and international acts performing.

On Thursday, May 15, the free 5Point Film Festival presents “Walkabout Outfitter” at the Byrd Theater, which takes a look at adventurous sports.

While in Richmond, families can also enjoy the Richmond Zoo, the Science Museum of Virginia or Kings Dominion amusement park.

–Lissa Poirot

Charleston, S.C., Opening Adventure Ropes Course

April 11th, 2014 by Lissa No comments »

This May, Charleston, S.C., welcomes a new family attraction, the open-air adventure ropes course, Wild Blue. The new park will be located on James Island’s Folly Road.

Rising to 35 feet, the attraction provides two different ropes courses and appeals to beginners to expert levels. Explorer’s Gateway, Big Sky Challenge, Holy City Heights and Wild Blue Yonder courses are a combination of 22 tower poles and nearly 70 course elements that create a maze of suspended steps, ladders, bridges and more. Courses spa the length of 25 feet and participants will be safely harnessed during the adventure.

The attraction opens May 1.

–Lissa Poirot

Was Family Rescued at Sea Irresponsible?

April 10th, 2014 by Lissa No comments »

Like many who watched the recent story of the Kaufman family who was rescued at sea after a failed attempt to circumnavigate the globe with their two daughters, ages 3 and 1, I was intrigued. I worried for the family and the infant, and was happy to hear they were rescued and that the little girl will be okay.

What has now followed is a storm of parents crying out that the family was foolish and irresponsible, and how could they possibly think to travel the world aboard a sailboat with their children. And I find it disheartening. Would I sail around the world with my two children? No. I would never want to be in the middle of the ocean so far from land and help if I needed it, and actually said so to my partner when the news of the rescue broke. But I followed that with, I’d just sail not too far off of coastlines.

I’ve known people who have taken a year off, having scrimped and saved to do so, and taken their children on world trips, including those who have done it on sailboats. And I’m envious of them for having the chance to do so. Some say it’s easiest when the kids are as young the Kaufman’s because they are not yet in school. Others say taking the kids when they are older means they are easier to travel with and benefit even more from the trip because they are able to learn and retain much about the different cultures and sites they have visited. It is uncommon for families to travel like this, but it is not irresponsible or “crazy.”

Traveling with our children is one of the best gifts we can give to them. Recent studies have shown that traveling with our children strengthens family bonds and actually leads to higher education and better-paying careers for the children. Seeing new places and learning about the world around us ignites a passion to learn more and seek out more knowledge. I know, personally, that once I started to travel, I became more aware of how small the world can be, discovering that people everywhere are similar in that they love their families and work hard to provide the best for their children. I became eager to see more because with every new place I visited, I learned so much.

Do I think the Kaufman family was irresponsible? No, I don’t. They were very experienced sailors and planned their trip in great detail. Like any parent knows, the best laid plans can mean nothing when traveling with our kids. The Kaufman’s infant was sick from salmonella. I’m sure the family was prepared for their children to get a cold or cough, or cuts and bruises. But she wasn’t recovering, and the family called for help, just as any family would do. Granted they were out at sea, but luckily, they were able to get the help they needed. Those who rescued them are not charging them for the rescue, because they also believe the parents were experienced and prepared.

I hope their bad luck does not deter families from traveling with their kids. I’ve been saddened to read comments by parents saying they would never travel abroad with their children because they do not see the value in it. There is value, as the studies show. And after I show my kids America, I look forward to showing them more of the world and traveling with them as much as I can before they grow up and settle down and become restricted to their own family schedules.

What do you think? Was the Kaufman family wrong to take their young children on such a large sailing adventure? Do you feel infants and young toddlers should travel abroad? I’d love to hear from you!

–Lissa Poirot

All-Inclusive Family “Glamping” in Montana

April 9th, 2014 by Lissa No comments »

For the first time, The Resort at Paws Up has developed an all-inclusive package for families visiting the Montana “glamping” resort.

While families sleep in tents, this is not camping, but glamping, with one- or two-bedroom tents that are outfitted in luxurious furnishings, including beds and bathtubs. Each tent ranges from 605 to 977 square feet and feature en-suite bathrooms with heated floors, a private outdoor deck, down comforters, and a private camp butler to cater to guests’ needs. Four tents feature two bedrooms with a king bed in one, and two ten beds in the other, just perfect for families. The new tents are part of Paws Up’s Cliffside Camp, its newest of five camps, offering the Blackfoot River.

Families can now enjoy an all-inclusive rate that includes horseback riding, river floats, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking, ATV tours, rappelling and ghost town town tours. For an additional fee, other activities include a cattle drive, fly-fishing tours, whitewater rafting, hot air ballooning and spa services.

The resort also features Kids Corp of Discovery supervised kids programming for kids 5 to 12. Rates include all daily meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as airport transfers from Missoula International Airport.

–Lissa Poirot

Kinetic Sculpture Race: One Wacky Race!

April 8th, 2014 by Lissa No comments »

The 16th annual Kinetic Sculpture Race will return to Baltimore on May 3rd, for what is touted as one of the wackiest races in the nation. The 8-hour, 14-mile race features amphibious, human-powered works of art, custom built for the race.

The race is sponsored by the American Visionary Art Museum and covers pavement, mud and sand in Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay. After catching the race, visitors are welcome to visit the museum, as well as neighboring Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium and the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

–Lissa Poirot

5 Infant Travel Essentials

April 7th, 2014 by Guest Blogger No comments »

I am and have always been a light packer, but since becoming a mom, that title has morphed into something a little different. When you have a baby, there really is no such thing as packing light. You will always be loaded down with more stuff then you ever could have imagined before your little bundle of joy came along. I will say though, that after numerous road trips with my now nearly two-year-old, I have packing down to a science, and a lot of that has to do with paring down the gear that we haul along with us, because really you’ll never use half of it. Eschewing the obvious, like diapers, wipes, a car seat, food and jammies, here are my infant travel gear essentials.

Boba Air. I am so in love with my Boba Air baby carrier. It is a soft-sided buckle carrier that can be worn on the back or front, and is actually designed for travelers. It is made of ripstop nylon and has military grade buckles so it’s lightweight, but still very sturdy. The biggest perk! The whole thing rolls into itself and closes with a zipper. So when not in use, it’s only about seven inches long and can easily be thrown into your day bag. If your baby hasn’t yet reached the 15-pound minimum, consider a wrap like the Moby are a Baby Bjorn.

Graco Pack ‘n’ Play. My son has always slept in his own bed and in his own room since he was six weeks old, so one of our biggest issues when traveling is sleeping arrangements. With the exception of one camping trip, our Graco Pack ‘n’ Play has been our go-to travel bed for the baby. A basic model is affordable and small enough to fit in tiny hotel rooms. We’ve even managed to squeeze it into closets and bathrooms so we can hang out in the main room while the baby sleeps soundly through the night. I also love the look of both the Phil & Teds and Baby Bjorn travel beds, so if you have more room in your budget, you may want to check those out.

Dundee Mills Burp Cloths. These burp cloths are one of my most-loved mommy secrets. They are great for all sorts of things in addition to diapering and burping – you can use them to clean up spills and messes, as a changing pad, as a nursing cover, or even just as a super-soft lovey for a fussy baby. I never leave home without at least a couple even now that my son is in the throes of toddlerhood.

Phil & Teds Smart Stroller. I am obsessed with our Phil & Teds Smart stroller. It was the one thing I had to have without compromise before my son was born, and I have gotten endless use out of it. It is constructed from high-end materials, making it comfy and durable, is insanely lightweight for a convertible stroller with a sun shade and parcel basket and handles extremely well on all sorts of terrain and in most weather conditions. It’s a dream and accommodates newborns all the way up to older toddlers.

Sleep Sheep. I try to get my son to sleep at a decent hour even when we’re traveling, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to hit the hay early as well. White noise is perfect for muffling any noises made while the adults are still up and moving about. The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B is not only adorable, but it’s cozy to cuddle with, will be a familiar item for your baby when you’re away from home, and will by you some extra time to hang out in the evenings.

–Shayne Rodriguez Thompson

Shayne is an adventurous 20-something mom to a toddler, freelance travel writer and part-time mommy blogger at Mamas Latinas.