28 August 2010

Another reason to have kids travel(ing) happy!

Have you seen the latest controversy? Kid-Free flights? Family Sections? What do you think? I personally, having kids myself, have mixed feelings about it. In my mind is bordering on 'discriminating' due to age/size.

I agree, no one likes the obnoxious kid (and/or the obnoxious parent who has made it clear they have not mastered control of their child), but I also know, my normally well-behaved boys can get tired, hungry, bored, cranky, or just plain wake up on the wrong side of the bed....

However, here is some interesting recently from the press recently, and in years past.
My 2 cents (did anyone ask?)... I feel a full-on kids-only zone in an aircrat would cause increased chaos, as I believe parents would tend to be (and feel they could be) more lax about controlling their kids' behavior and 'volume'.

OK, and lastly, my point? It comes back to the statement above if you can keep your child from being hungry, tired, and/or BORED (that's where "KidsTravelHappy" comes in handy!), then you have improved your chances of being talked about by those less tolerant kid-free travelers. I surely have more understanding now that I'm a parent!

Before you head on your next flight (with kids, although we have fun stuff for adults too!), give us a try!

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19 August 2010

RVing with a Shuttle Service

Acadia National Park in Maine is in the top 10 most visited National Parks, but despite this fact, we ventured there nonetheless! It was our 'last hurrah' before prepping for back to school, and it'd been SO long since I'd been there (and never with my husband or with my kids), that we looked forward to discovering it together.

We have a 1990 21' Class C (which just means there is a bed above the front cab of the vehicle, and it's built on a van body of some sort) RV, and thus researched campgrounds in and near the park itself. Settling on a place just outside of the park, Hadley's Point Campground, we drove the 4+ hours there from our home in Bethel. We chose the campground as it seemed a good price, and just as importantly, it was a stop along the island's shuttle bus network. This is especially great as it reduces the amount of cars driving around (imagine all the vehicles needed to get the 2+ million people around there annually!), and it allow
s us to park our RV and leave it.

The Shuttle Bus Network (the ISLAND EXPLORER) was convenient and easy to use. One could even bring a bike and put it in one of the 6 bike carriers on each of the buses. "Well-behaved" dogs were allowed, and we took
advantage of taking our pup along to go to the park's many miles of hiking trails and carless carriage roads (GREAT fun to mountain bike!).

Some of the other highlights of our 3-n
ight visit to Acadia, which is a VERY family friendly place
fishing (catch and release at a small pond along one of the carriage roads)
- exploring Bar Harbor
- mountain biking
- hiking
- Thunder Hole
- Sand Beach
- taking the kids rock climbing
(phew, and that was only 3 nights at the Park!)

We were able to take our pup to "Steve" the dog sitter one day, which gave us a bit of freedom, and supported a local business. He was great with "Moxy" and we'd totally recommend him!

Lastly, my mom came along, which was great fun and allowed my husband and I to get a few bike rides in without the kids. She also got each of my boys started in knitting. The photo here shows Dylan knitting my mom's project while we were on the Shuttle Bus!

Where will we go next??

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08 August 2010

Saddleback Mtn Bluegrass Festival a Family Event

Yes, last weekend allowed us another opportunity to explore a nearby area, feel like we'd "gotten away" and do something fun for the entire family.We attended the 1st Annual Saddleback Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, August 7th, a family oriented event, with 7 bands (and one for FREE the night before), for $35 per adult and kids 12 and under FREE. Such a great deal with head-lining bands such as David Grisman, and Del McCoury Band worth that much on their own.
We took advantage of the primitive camping in our RV (yes, sort of an oxymoron, the point being however, there were no hookups or electricity), which was free for anyone with a ticket to the show. Festival-goers could also walk their camping equipment mountain-side and take advantage of the beautiful views, and grassy slopes. (we may go that route next year, for something different).

The festival started at 11am, making it a good ti
me for those choosing to come for the day. We took advantage of being there the night before and hiked Saturday morning before meeting friends for the show. We also wanted to scope out the Trail Run course, which I competed in on Sunday Morning.

We feel this is another perfect way to get away without having to spend much on gas, or lodging. We ate all of our meals out of our RV, and as long as we didn't bring alcohol or glass items, we could pack food so the kids stayed fed and happy.

The other great thing about this festival (and my general feel for Saddleback Mountain) is that it is really accommodating, and wants to make families come there together. We chose to put our 'stuff' toward the back of the crowd which allowed the kids to play with frisbees, balls and other toys without disturbing those really concentrating on the performers.

We find that when we participate in activities that have something for everyone, we are all 'traveling happy'. Just google "festivals" in your area (or maybe a little outside of your 'normal' area), and make a trip out of one of them. You are sure to have fun as a family!

Oh, only downside of the festival (although we totally understand why) was that there were no dogs allowed, which, if you own one is a good thing to clarify before you pack up the pooch to come along!

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