Category Archives: Local Fun

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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Photography of a Fall road trip in Montana (and lessons in homeschooling)

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As my regular readers know, I ventured into the world of homeschooling this year. I started this summer, so as of the publishing of this post it has been 5 months since we’ve been on this journey, and boy have we learned a lot already.

One of the things I wanted to do upon homeschooling my kids was travel more with them. I had struggled in the past with taking them out of school for trips and then either dealing with frustrated teachers or having my kids burdened with a backlog of work and tests (because there are always tests) that they had to catch up on. It wasn’t fair for anyone – the teacher, the boys, or me. And though I didn’t take on homeschooling for the sole purpose of traveling with my kids, I saw it as a great opportunity and a huge stress factor we didn’t have to contend with any longer. But learning is still important and figuring out ways to incorporate it into the travel experience was something I gave a lot of thought to and even planned out.

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Day trip to High Point State Park, New Jersey

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The longer I live in New Jersey, the more I fall in love with all it has to offer. That’s a big change from 6 years ago when living in New York and not thinking much of my neighboring state. It’s been s much fun venturing out in search of new hiking trails and learning more about the area and all the beauty around us.

Our latest venture took us about an hour away to the rolling hills and farmlands of Sussex County. High Point, as the name indicates, is the highest point of New Jersey with a monument standing at the 1,803 feet above sea level marker.

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Family Hike along the Delaware Water Gap

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As I take on this homeschooling journey with my kids, I am slowly starting to step away from the computer and getting to what we enjoy the most, which is learning through experiences and travel. What I am loving so far, besides my boys’ enthusiasm and ability to go with the flow our days, is that I am getting back to how I started my journey in blogging a few years ago, which is taking noting of the vast local resources available to us to enjoy.

Our latest adventure took us on an 1 1/2 hour drive to the Poconos, by the Delaware Water Gap. My initial plan was to go on a few hikes around Dingmans Falls. We parked near the visitor’s center and did the easy trail through the hemlock forest leading up to the falls. We climbed the stairs to the top and stopped for a light lunch but left feeling like we could do a lot more.

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Nature finds for weekend fun in New Jersey

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This is one of the first years we have been home all summer. We have loved it though at first it was hard.

For my kids the start was bumpy because they suddenly found themselves with not much to do (I also didn’t sign them up for all-summer camp!) and most of their friends had gone away somewhere. The start was a bit bumpy for me too, home all day with two restless boys and tons of work to do. 2 months in we are learning to balance it all and find ways to make the most of summer here in our New Jersey home, which I still feel we take for granted far too often.

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A Weekend at Camp Shock Top

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If there is any rite of passage as a kid, besides braces and the incredibly awkward preteen years, it’s sleepaway camp. Bonfires, s’mores, first crushes, cabin pranks, trumpet wake up calls. At least this is what I envisioned camp to be. As a kid I never went to camp. My dad says he and my mom loved me too much to send me away. Haha. But really my house during the summer months was a camp in itself. Always packed with friends and activities. We would take days trips to the beach and hang out in our backyard treehouse. I can’t say I really missed out on the quintessential camp experience. But when I was given the chance to go, as an adult (with unlimited booze), I just couldn’t say no.

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A Walk through Dreams: The Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour

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From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island processed about 12 million immigrants before it could be decided that they would be allowed to begin their lives in this country. The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, the United States’ first public health hospital, opened its doors in 1902. It is here where immigrants who were deemed too unhealthy to enter the country would stay. The treatment for various ailments, some far too gruesome for today’s standards, would either result in success, at which point immigrants would be released to enter the country, or failure, at which point they would be sent back.

It is difficult to imagine the fear and stress many of these newcomers experienced through the overall immigration process, especially for many who did not speak the language or had ever even seen a doctor before. Imagine the intimidation of being poked at, examined, or even questioned by men in lab coats, separated from your family, from your parents, being spoken to in ways you could not understand, all the while knowing that your dreams where just one more boat ride away.

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