Category Archives: Local Fun

Return to the Finger Lakes Wine Country, NY

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One of the places that I have continuously returned to over the years and still manage to find something new is at the Finger Lakes, NY.

It’s about a 5-hour drive from my New Jersey home, but a wonderful escape that feels a world away from my everyday life. My family has gone with me over the years, but I think on this last trip the area really managed to carve a special place in my kids’ heart, so much so that they didn’t want to leave.

What I have come to love about the destination is not just the beautiful outdoor experiences one can have there, but also the community. Whether I am spending time with a farmer working at a local orchard or winery, or with an artist in residence at the Corning Museum of Glass, that sense of pride and community that I feel every time I am there is the thing that makes us feel so welcomed, so at home, and so in love with this place.

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Fun-filled summer vacation at Massey’s Landing in Delaware

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There is no denying that I am a huge fan of road trips. I wasn’t always and it took our wanting to travel on a limited budget and 3 kids in tow to really get us to consider it as a preferred method of travel for our family. Since our first major trip in 2009 from NYC to Montana, we have been going on road trips every chance we get, whether here in the states or overseas. (Our next big road trip adventure will be through Ireland this fall).

As our family gets older, we have also been seriously considering more road trips in RVs. Now, I’ve RV’d a few times and it takes some getting used to, but I’m learning that if you have the two most important factors in place, which is an RV that works best for your family and travel style, as well as good company (because, let’s face it, sharing small enclosed quarters with anyone other than those whom you truly enjoy spending time with can be torture), it can be an absolutely wonderful experience.

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Family vacation, unplugged in Woodstock, VT

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My friends, it’s time to unplug and go on a vacation.

These feel like insane times. Turn on the news, read the paper, go online, and it feels like you just can’t escape it. At home, kids seem addicted to video games, YouTube videos, and if they are on social media, even worse (I have managed to keep my younger ones off it so far – though YouTube is a problem). Information overload, or Cognitive Overload as referred to by health experts, can lead to depression, indecisiveness, and stress, and Smartphone addiction is a real thing which can lead to sleep deprivation, mood swings, and even a lack of focus.

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Romantic weekend getaway to the Hamptons, off-season

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While sitting here planning and booking our summer escapes, the kids summer camps and activities, and seeking out all the potential available during the summer months, it’s easy to ignore that 1) I am in desperate need of a vacation and 2) there are some really great options now.

For example, the Hamptons is a fabulous escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The warm beaches, the bars and eateries, the activities hosted all throughout this seaside community and its neighboring towns. Things tend to pick up mid-June and continue on well into September.

However, if what you are needing is something more of a quieter escape without the traffic or the crowds, the area delivers that and more during the off-season as well. It’s true that most businesses are seasonal and not open during these months, but that isn’t to say you will have nothing to do.

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Road Tripping in Los Angeles

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Driving through Los Angeles means getting stuck in traffic. Unless you plan on staying put in one neighborhood (and why would you?) you might as well prepare yourself for the inevitable.

With every trip I have gotten better at being more patient with what is a true LA experience and reaching out to locals who are great at letting me know about travel times to avoid and expressway to skip all together. But if you do get stuck in traffic, the best thing to do is take a deep breath, find a fun tune, and enjoy the ride.

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Coastal Maine escape without the crowds

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One of my favorite times to travel anywhere has been during those seasons when, depending on the destination, there isn’t too much going on, the weather might not be exactly what most people want, and not too many families are traveling because of school schedules. 

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The year of road tripping

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When I started blogging in 2008, I really couldn’t afford to fly anywhere…well, that, and I didn’t really want to. My kids were little and people can be real jerks to families with little kids on planes. I just never felt like it was worth it. Plus, after our cross country road trip in 2009, I realized how much easier it was to just pack up a car and go, and how much more of the in-betweens we got to enjoy.

This year I am aiming to making road tripping a bigger part of my travel. Though we have a few trips in mind that will require flying, I am most excited for our time on the road – even once we are overseas.

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Winter travel inspiration

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Right now I am home preparing for the holidays with my family. We like to spend them here. With New York City as our playground, we enjoy all the lights and scenes.

However, once all the festivities are over, we start feeling the urge to get out there for some winter fun, and boy have we had some over the years.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite winter escapes to help inspire your next trip:

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Traditions and things

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As the winter months start to settle in, my family and I start planning at least one big trip for the incoming year. I think the reason we initially started taking our annual excursions was because after our very first cross-country 2009 road trip with little ones, we returned feeling like there was nothing we couldn’t do. We still don’t know where we will be venturing to in 2017. The list is long, we’re still figuring out the budget, and with the boys getting older, their input on how and where we travel has become more valuable.

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Last minute NYC weekend on a budget

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This post is sponsored by OneMain Financial.

As a native New Yorker one of the things I pride myself on the most is in being able to bypass all the expensive, shining things that draw visitors to the city, but also put a burden on their budget.

So when OneMain Financial, as part of their Customer Appreciation Days, challenged me to take on two days and one night in New York City with only $200 in my pocket – including a hotel stay – I jumped at the opportunity, and ended with $20 still in my pocket, smack in the middle of holiday season too!

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