Getaway to Portland, Maine

New England has so much to offer, especially in the summer.  We love to hop in our car and take day trips as much as our schedule allows.  We've been to Portland a few times and still haven't done everything on our list.  It's a friendly city with great food and lots to do.


Portland has a minor league baseball team, the Sea Dogs, and the games are so low-key and family friendly.  The Sea Dogs schedule is out for the summer of 2018.  Tickets to a game might make a great Father's Day gift or birthday present for someone who likes baseball.  The gift of an experience together is fun and easy and takes the guesswork out of trying to find a material gift.


After the game, why not head into downtown Portland?  There are so many cute shops and little streets to promote wandering.  We love to eat outside at the Flatbread on the water.  Watching the boats come in while you wait for a table is so relaxing.


Across the street from Flatbread is The Standard Baking Co.  We always pick a up a loaf or two of bread to bring home as a souvenir from our getaway.  If you happen to be in Portland in the morning, they have amazing pastries and homemade granola bars.


Pick a summer weekend, buy some baseball tickets and enjoy some family time in Portland.

Getaway to Kennebunkport, Maine

Welcome to our series on getting ready for summer!  March can be a long, chilly, rainy and/or snowy month.  We love to spend this time is planning and looking forward to summer.  Our next four posts are on things to do and places to go in the warmer months and when we finish with this series it will be April and, fingers crossed, Spring!  We start off with a fantastic campground that we tried and adored last summer...

Camping is right of passage for kids.  Parents these days are lucky in that we have so many choices.  If you feel like roughing it in a tent, you can now rent "glamping" tents in many different campgrounds around the country.  One that is close to Boston is Sandy Pines in Kennebunkport, Maine. 

 This cute little set up greets you as you drive into the campground.

This cute little set up greets you as you drive into the campground.

Sandy Pines has it all.  Seasonal modern RV rentals, beautifully decorated tents to rent as well as lots of sites for you to bring your own or rented RV.  They have a playground, a pool, kayaks, bikes and a sweet little general store that is very well stocked.  We bought their delicious coffee every morning followed by their tasty breakfast sandwiches.  They have towels, groceries items, cute gifts and just about anything you might need to have a great camping experience.


We chose to rent an RV and reserved a few spots with friends that were all together in the campground.  We used the picnic tables for breakfast and each site has a fire pit that we used at night.  We happened to be close to a large green space with grills and more picnic tables which was handy because there were so many of us.  


We took a little tour of the tents when they weren't occupied and were so impressed.  They are all really well decorated and cozy.   These are all available to rent right thought the campsite. 

 This is one of the teepees that you can rent along with a tent.  Each tent has one large bed so these twin beds are great for older kids.

This is one of the teepees that you can rent along with a tent.  Each tent has one large bed so these twin beds are great for older kids.

The pool was huge and we spent a lot of time in it.  Every day at lunch the campground has a cookout with burgers and hot dogs.  It was so easy to stay in our suits and each lunch by the pool.  The playground is also right next to the pool making it easy to go back and forth.


One afternoon we all kayaked from the campground to Goose Rocks Beach during high tide.  The kids were able to swim in the ocean for a bit and play at the beach.  We thought it would fun to see the beach at low tide so we piled in cars and drove over to beach where we walked way out searching for and finding lots of shells, sea life and some very cool rock formations and towers.


Did we mention that the campground is across the street from Goose Rocks Diary, which is an adorable little outdoor ice cream shop?  We walked over to get cones one hot afternoon and the ice cream was delicious.  Just a warning, their portions are enormous!

More Marble Runs!

We love the science and engineering opportunities that come from playing with marble runs. We explored a few versions in local museums and how we created our own at home in our last post on marble runs, and our kids keep looking for ways to do more with marbles! This remains one of our favorite indoor activities:


Recently, we bought a new kit from a company called Tinkineer - a Mini Marble Coaster you build yourself. My son had so much fun putting this together, and it has provided hours of play sense then.

Ready for Takeoff!

After a vacation one summer, my son and daughter were eager to learn more about airplanes. We found a removable sticker set for my son to keep busy on the plane as he explored what he was seeing outside. For my daughter, I introduced Amelia Earhart and she loved reading the biographies. We are looking for a museum or exhibit on the history of aviation and we will keep you posted on what we find!

Back home, we went to the Boston Children's Museum, where you can pretend to a pilot: 

The (Very) Old State House

In Boston, we are surrounded by history.  Every once in awhile we take advantage of this and visit a landmark or historical site.  My daughter is in fourth grade this year which seems to be the year in New England when you study the Revolutionary War.  Her class went to the Tea Party Museum so we decided to visit the State House on our own.


The State House is so easy to get to because it has it's own Orange Line T stop and is directly above the station.


It's a beautiful building with a lovely little entrance that feels like you are stepping back in time out of the hustle and bustle of Downtown Crossing.


Your ticket includes a lanyard that describes a historical person.  We went with five other people so were able to learn about a few different people.  They make great bookmarks after you leave the museum. 


There were so many hands-on exhibits for the kids to learn about important locations, the type of clothing they used to wear, what they may have eaten for dinner on a typical night and so many more things to give us an idea of what life was like around the time of the revolution.


Upstairs were multiple rooms just for kids that invoked the five senses.  There were places to build, have a show, check out a menu and make your own and even smell some of the items and places back then.


My daughter loved this menu board.  We decided to take home a copy of Jane's menu and make it at home.  It wasn't all that different from what we make today.  Wheat bread, rice pudding, roast beef with gravy, roasted veggies, pound cake and apple cider.  Yum!


There were tour groups wandering around that were easy to join.  We listened to one that had a lot of other children in the group.  Our kids got really into it paying close attention and were answering questions.


The State House was a great take and we all learned a lot and had fun at the same time.  Go ahead and be a tourist in your own town!