Tag Archives: family travel

Screen-free ways to spend a family road trip

As a parent, I tend to be more on the laxer side of the screen time debate. I know letting my kids have an extra 30 minutes on their devices can be just what I need to keep my sanity in check. However, when we travel, I prefer to limit screens as much as possible.

I find that while offering screen time can keep my kids calm and make for an easier trip in the short term, often the stress over devices losing charge, not working, or even inducing nausea make them not worth bringing in the long run.

My family has taken several road trips in our Subaru, the longest being our drive from New York to Ohio when my kids were 6 and 3. While we did endure the occasional whine, my kids were able to manage without a device in their face for a few hours.

We are heading out on the road again, this time to Washington D.C., and I plan to use some of my tested strategies as well as some new ones, to help make the trip a calm and enjoyable experience.

Read on to see my plans for a screen-free road trip.

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5 Ways to enjoy fall in the Western Hudson Valley

I have called the Hudson Valley my home for several years now, and I am finally getting around to sharing some of the incredible food, places, and culture this region has to over.

The Hudson Valley is an area of New York State that stretches along the Hudson River. On the east side, you have Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess County, while on the west side of the river, you will find Orange, Rockland and Ulster County.

My family resides in Western Hudson Valley, so my focus will be on this part of the region, but you can certainly find incredible places to explore on the eastern side of the Hudson River.

While any time of year is a wonderful time to visit, the Hudson Valley is especially popular in the fall, and with good reason. The leaves turn gorgeous shades of red, orange, yellow and purple; farm stands are filled with tasty fall produce; and, apple and pumpkin picking is plentiful.



Please note fall weekends (especially Columbus Day weekend, and during Warwick’s Applefest) can be extremely crowded. If you prefer less people around during your visit, try coming in the middle of the week, or later in the season. Late November, before the Winter holiday activities start, is a good bet.

Read on to learn about some of my favorite spots to experience the best of the Hudson Valley.

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5 simple ways to enjoy a fun, safe family vacation

By Joyce Wilson

Family vacations during school breaks are always something to look forward to and can still be enjoyed even in the era of COVID-19. Thankfully, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise domestic travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals who wear a mask in public. If your children are too young for the vaccine, the CDC recommends you limit your travel to a short road trip to a location with outdoor activities that allow for social distancing.

Read on for ways to enjoy vacationing with your family in these unique times.

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LEGOLAND New York brings thrills to the Hudson Valley

My family has called the New York Hudson Valley home for nearly six years, and the longer we are here, the more we fall in love with all the wonderful treasures this area has to offer. From breathtaking views atop scenic mountain trails to delicious farm-to-table food, this region is truly a special place.

This summer, the Hudson Valley will become even more of a hot spot with the opening of LEGOLAND New York.

Conveniently located in Goshen, N.Y. — just 60 miles from NYC — LEGOLAND New York will include seven themed lands, such signature rides as “The Dragon” and “LEGO® NINJAGO® The Ride,” as well as new experiences like the global debut of LEGO® Factory Adventure ride.

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Best ways to spend a long weekend in Mystic

If you love history, quaint shops, museums or beaches, Mystic, Conn., is a great choice for families looking to spend a long weekend out of town.

Located about a two-to-three hour drive from most points originating in either the New York Metro area or the Boston Metro area, Mystic has long been a popular destination for families looking for a little bit of everything on their vacations.

Where To Stay

Because we booked our trip somewhat last minute, and it was over the July 4 holiday, our hotel choices were limited — a lesson learned for the future about how popular this town is during the summer. Also, we were looking for options best suited for families, which narrowed our options.

Fortunately, we were able to find a room for a reasonable price at Residence Inn by Marriott.

At first, I was disappointed we couldn’t find something at one of the quainter hotels in Mystic’s more historic areas, but once we checked in, I knew we made the right choice.

The Residence Inn is located right off the the I-95 exit and is just minutes from Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium, making it super easy for families to get their desired tourist attractions. Access to an indoor pool was also a huge plus for my kids, when they needed to get some energy out before bedtime.

For our family of four, the room (which included a separate living space with kitchen and pull-out couch) was sufficient for our three-night stay, but was a bit cramped. I would opt for a bigger suite if we were to return.

What To Do

Of course, we weren’t in our rooms much, with all that Mystic has to offer.

Our first stop was Mystic Seaport, a sprawling, outdoor museum dedicated to preserving and educated the public on the area’s rich maritime history.

Visitors can explore an old whaling ship, learn how people lived in the 19th century and discover the science behind sailing and other maritime activities.

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For families with younger children, there’s a wonderful children’s museum on site, in which kids can pretend to be sailors, cook in an old-fashioned kitchen and learn how to tie sailor knots. Best of all, the museum is included with your Seaport admission.

Depending on when you visit, Mystic Seaport has many special events for your enjoyment. We were able to go on July 4 and watch the parade, but the highlight for me was learning to play croquet. Our family had so much fun learning the game we decided to buy croquet set of our own!

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Top tips from our Cooperstown trip

Cooperstown, N.Y., is a dream destination for baseball fans. Because, my baseball-loving husband had never been, and I barely remember my childhood visit, we decided to take a weekend trip to the historic village.

Top Tips from our Cooperstown Trip (2)

With two small kids in tow, we were unsure how much of Cooperstown’s famous sites, we’d be able to enjoy. We were delighted to discover how engaged they were with the history and unique charm of the town. Of course, we had to deal with a few tantrums and crankiness — they are kids after all — but, I left Cooperstown, feeling confident I could recommend a visit to other families. Continue reading