All posts in Family Vacation

Visiting West Coast Art Schools

Visiting West Coast Art Schools & Foodie Stops Nearby

We are planning our family summer vacation trip around art and design school visits for my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, who is a rising senior in high school. Her wish list for this trip includes a visit to the Chihuly Gardens in Seattle so we will be driving from San Francisco to Vancouver, British Columbia, with a pit stop along the way in Seattle. For anyone planning a similar trip, note that rental car places will not let you return the car in another country, including Canada. Thus, we have to fly out of Seattle in order to drop the car off.

We are also doing a quick leg in Southern California to see a few schools, and my mother as well. At 92, she’s now in an independent living home, so we plan to see her and take her out for a meals. Foodie stops are important for all legs of the trip, and I’m including my research on those in this post below. My mother likes Asian food that is both delicious, plentiful, and inexpensive. We all joke that she must have a hollow leg because her appetite is impressive.

How about you? Any foodie stops you recommend for us to check out in Southbay California, San Francisco, Seattle and/or Vancouver, British Columbia? Thanks for sharing.

Art Schools Southern California

California Institute of the Arts: CalArts

California Institute of the Arts: CalArts

My daughter is interested in the very competitive computer animation program at CalArts. Read more…

Our NYC (Cheap) Foodie Finds

Our NYC (Cheap) Foodie Finds

We have to admit that our New York City college visit trip was a thinly disguised foodie trip, but of the cheap variety. Count us in for dives, and assembly line restaurants versus fancy food. There were some requests of things that are specific to New York City and must be sampled.

Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery NYC

The highest on that list was the Cronut, at the original bakery that invented it. Sadly, we found it overrated though there were items at the bakery — mini Madeleines fresh out of the oven — that were worth coming back for.

Cronut bakery

Bagels were also quite high on the list. The water sourced from Catskills in NYC is famous for its drinkability and is one the biggest reasons why a bagel anywhere else is never as good as a NYC one. PickyKidPix polled her NYC connected friends and came up with Absolute Bagel as the bagel to try. That definitely panned out.

best bagel in NYC Absolute Bagel in Harlem Read more…

Family Vacation in Quebec City, Canada

Family Vacation in Quebec City, Canada

Our short but sweet driving vacation to Quebec City was a lot of fun. We always have a great time in Canada so much so that our youngest wants to move there someday.

Family Vacation in Quebec City, CanadaLast summer we drove to Ottawa to catch the Women’s World Cup Soccer Quarter Finals: U.S.A. versus China. This time, the old walled city beckoned.

Family Vacation in Quebec City, Canada

I did some research to supplement my husband’s guide-book to plan our family vacation to Quebec City. I had earmarked: Aquarium du Quebec, Old City, Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec, Montmorency Falls, Samuel Champlain Walkway, and The Battlefields Park: Abraham’s Bus and the Odyssey experience at the Plains of Abraham. Read more…

Things to Do With Kids in Long Beach California

Things to Do with Kids in Long Beach California

Things to Do With Kids in Long Beach CaliforniaMy husband grew up in Monterey Bay and just from living there, knows more about marine biology than I do, and I studied Ichthyology in college! I grew up in a beach town also in Seal Beach, Southern California, but there wasn’t an aquarium nearby back then. But now there is!

The Aquarium of the Pacific is next door to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, one town over from Seal Beach. While the Aquarium of the Pacific can never match up to Monterey Bay Aquarium from location alone (it’s on the ocean’s edge where it dips into a deep cavern), it’s still a pretty nice aquarium to visit.

Things to Do With Kids in Long Beach CaliforniaRead more…

Visiting Quebec City with Kids

Planning a Visit to Quebec City with Kids

My son loves Canada. He was the first to declare that he’s moving to Canada if Trump wins, and his sisters agreed. We’ve been to Canada a few times; it’s a road trip for us and we’ve visited Montreal, Toronto, and Ontario for the Women’s World Cup.

Quebec City is considerably farther from our previous Canadian trips, but now our kids are old enough to handle the car ride. Instead of worrying about kids melting down in the car, we are a little worried by our inability to speak French. We are going to have to take a quick crash course, especially on food for reading menus.

My husband has been reading a guide book on Quebec City, but this is what I came up with.

 

Quebec City Day 1

aquarium de quebec

image from Wikipedia

1. Aquarium du Quebec

We like aquariums. This one sounds great: Aquarium du Québec is a public aquarium located in the former city of Sainte-Foy in Quebec City. The 16-hectare facility is home to more than 10,000 animals representing more than 300 species. Read more…

Our Trip to the Women's World Cup and Soccer Book GIVEAWAY

Our Trip to the Women’s World Cup and Soccer Book GIVEAWAY

My husband had it all figured out. The Women’s World Cup was going to be held in Canada and if we got really lucky, we would be able to watch USA Women’s National Team if they made the quarter finals. We watched all their games with excitement! The scores were tight but we were going to see them in Ottawa!

Women's World Cup and Soccer Book GIVEAWAY

We had never been to Ottawa but had visited Montreal five times and Toronto once. Ottawa is Canada’s capital and famous for a fried dough treat called a Beavertail. It comes topped with an assortment of sweets including Nutella and candy. My kids were delighted to sample it!

driving to Burlington VT

The drive up took 10 hours due to an accident involving a semi truck transporting gas that shut down the highway such that everyone shut off their cars for nearly an hour.

Burlington Vermont

We also stopped midway in Burlington, Vermont which is a lovely stop for foodies! Farm to table was invented here I think!

Women's World Cup and Soccer Book GIVEAWAY Read more…

Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Getting out of Boston during Snowmageddon was a challenge since we were scheduled to fly out on Sunday during a snowstorm and the next flight out after that was three days later and probably full. My husband spent hours trying to book a new flight, knowing that our flight would be canceled and managed to pull off a flight that left three days earlier on Friday before school vacation. We pulled our kids out of school for the day, spent the night in Houston and then spent another night near the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, because the house we rented wasn’t available earlier.

Family vacation Costa Rica, Houston TX, Playa Flamingo, Guanacasta

I have to say that it was totally worth the mad scramble to get out before Mother Nature shut down Boston Logan airport! Houston turned out to be a food mecca for TexMex and BBQ. On the recommendation of a Dad Friend who grew up in Houston, we went to Pappacitos for TexMex and their sister restaurant, Pappas for BBQ. Both were exceptional!

Pappas, best BBQ in Houston, Family vacation Costa Rica, Houston TX, Playa Flamingo, Guanacasta

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Visiting San Marino: Oldest Sovereign State in the World!

Visiting San Marino: Oldest Sovereign State in the World!

PickyKidPix desperately wanted to join her indoor soccer team on  “trip of a lifetime” playing soccer in Italy with USA Premier Soccer so I used my hoarded stash of money from blogging to take her and Grasshopper and Sensei on a 10 day tour that covered:

  • Como (Lake Como where George Clooney has a house. We didn’t see his house)
  • Milan
  • San Marino (oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world)
  • Rimini (beach town near San Marino)
  • Florence
  • Venice
  • Pisa
  • Portovenere (Unesco Site on the Ligurian coast)
  • Montecantini (Tuscany)

Visiting San Marino Near Italy with Kids!

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Butlins, Bognor Regis seaside resort

Seaside Resorts in UK Are Very Tempting!

My husband just got back from a trip to the U.K. It was golfing trip with buddies to celebrate his friend’s 60th birthday. When he got back, I asked him if we should go as a family. I had spent time in London and Cambridge, before kids, and I wanted take the kids on more international trips. Bonus points for England, too, since we wouldn’t have the language barrier.

From Boston, where we live in a suburb, it’s the exact same flying time (actually a half hour less) and approximate flight costs to go to California where our relatives are as to go to England. That’s tempting.

My biggest concern is what will the kids do all day? They are ages 8, 11 and 13 and finding activities that they all agree upon is practically impossible. I was thrilled to learn about Butlins because here is a change to get out and about with the family this summer at English seaside resorts!

They have three locations, all beach front: Bogner Regis, Minehead and Skegness. These seaside resorts in UK (United Kingdom) all look amazing for kids and adults! Read more…