Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Days!

As a mother, I admit I'm getting a little tired of 3 days of cancelled school due to the snow.  It's frigid outside - today, with the wind, it feels like the temperature is in the single digits!  So when we go to play in the snow, it doesn't last long.  So you have the piling on of layers-hats, scarves, gloves, jackets boots, then the peeling off of the layers quickly thereafter.  However, we have had a lot of fun outside and each time we go out, they seem to get more used to the cold and last a little longer.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Family Time

We try to do this often, but because the girls have been out of school and because we think it's so important to spend time together as a family and also to be outside, we've gone to the state park close to our house a lot lately.  It's amazing how the girls change when they are outside and able to run free down the paths.  We search for hidden trails, look for birds, trees with the tell-tale sign of a lightening strike.  They laugh, run, play with each other - and if we hear complaints, it's only when we say "it's time to turn around and head back to the car".


We ran the Wicked 10K as a family this year and it did not disappoint!  We dressed up as Merida and the triplet bears.  People thought we were Goldilocks, even though Kate was wearing a curly red wig! Oh well :)  It was a ton of fun - it's the best race around here because so many people dress up and run/walk, there is always so much to look at!  

We then loaded into the car and headed up to Big Meadows.  Our annual family camping trip was cancelled this year, thanks to the government shut down, and we really missed our time, not only in the cold mountain air, but at Big Meadows.  So we drove up, spent a few hours there, then headed back down the mountain and spent the night in Charlottesville.  The next morning we hiked around some and then went to Carter Mountain to pick apples!  It was a jam packed weekend, but was one of the best we had enjoyed in a while.  


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Road tripping to Maine - Bar Harbor to Portland and Kennebunkport

Thursday, August 8th, the weather was supposed to turn rainy, which was perfect because that was our last day of camping in Bar Harbor.  We decided to head back south to nicer weather.  3 1/2 hours later we were in Portland, at the Children's Museum.  This was a terrific museum that both Kate and Summer really enjoyed!  

 After the Portland Children's Museum, we headed for Flatbread, a pizza place that had been recommended to us.  It was a beautiful setting on the water, and the inside was even cooler.  A very organic and unique feel to it, with open wood burning pizza ovens and a ton of Maine beer on tap!  We (Kate, Mike and I) enjoyed lunch while Summer was so tired, she literally slept on me the entire meal!

A chalkboard outside of Flatbread with chalk for people to write on.
We thought it was a cool idea!
 After lunch, we decided to be tourists and took a trolley tour of Portland.  It went well, the girls were loving the novelty of being in a trolley, until an hour in, when we got stuck in traffic and the girls were over it!  We got to see a lot of cool sites and another lighthouse, the Portland Head Light.

Sleepy Summer

Fun on the trolley!
 After the trolley tour we loaded in the car once again for a quick 20 minute drive to Kennebunkport.  What a change!  Portland was by no means a big city but after seeing that and being in Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport was like a different planet!  Beautiful mansions and manicured lawns as far as the eye could see!  We drove around, saw the Bush compound (the Texas flag was flying, which means the Bush's were in residence!) and found a beach to blow off some steam.  The girls absolutely loved it and ended up getting soaking wet in their clothes from playing in the waves.  It was the perfect end to a great vacation.  We spent the night a few minutes outside of Kennebunkport, and the next morning did some quick touristy shopping before hitting the road for home.
Bush Compound
you can't leave Maine without a picture of a "lobsta roll" sign
Lots of traffic, including NYC on a Friday at 5, put us back home around 2am and 15 hours after we started.  This was the best trip we had been on as a family and the most fun I've had since I can remember.  Who cares about the long car trip - Mike and I decided we would go back every year.  We love Maine!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Roadtripping to Maine - Boothbay Harbor to Bar Harbor

I got a little sidetracked from the blog!  When I have a lot of pictures to edit, I tend to ignore them, then the pile up (NOTE TO SELF: don't do this.)  We've been back from Maine for almost 2 months, so some details are fuzzy, but the pictures should do this justice and help jog my memory.  We said goodbye to the Sprucewold Lodge on the morning of Monday, August 5 and headed to Bar Harbor.  On the way we stopped at the Pemaquid Lighthouse and the Rockland breakwater lighthouse.  Rockland was on our "list of things to do" but Pemaquid was a last minute addition.  The owner of the Sprucewold Lodge highly recommended it, and it was worth it.  I don't have any phone pictures of it, but it was just a beautiful setting and had lots of exposed rocks for us to climb on.  The girls had a blast!
Enjoying the porch of the Sprucewold Lodge

making friends everywhere she goes..

Good-bye Sprucewold Lodge!  We enjoyed our rustic stay :)

The final road into Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park was breathtaking.

We pulled into Bar Harbor and made quick work of finding our campground and making camp.  We had a HUGE 3-room tent, courtesy of Doug and Christina White.  This was car camping, but we still loved it.  Each night we would put the girls to bed and Mike and I would sit by the fire awhile, then we would move our chairs away from the light and just stare at the sky.  There were SO MANY stars - we saw shooting stars each night and a TON of satellites!  Seeing satellites was neat - very unexpected.  They would move across the sky much faster than airplanes, but much slower than shooting stars.  You could easily follow their track above you.   It was perfect camping weather too.  No humidity & clear skies every day with highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid 50s.  We could not have asked for better weather!

Bar Harbor!

 Bar Harbor was such a cute town.  There wasn't much to it, just touristy shops and restaurants, but it was small and quaint.  We could have spent more time wandering through and exploring, but we kept ourselves busy in Acadia during most of our time there.  Geddy's was our favorite - it had a shop downstairs and restaurant upstairs.  The girls had their meals served on frisbee's that they got to take home!  The owners were in the shop and they were really nice and share lots of good information with us.  Summer got her souvenir there - a Bat Moose t-shirt!  She still asks to wear it every day.

Most of our time, though, was spent exploring the amazing Acadia National Park.  All of Maine was so beautiful but this was the best.  We kept comparing it's beauty to Alaska - just without the icebergs!  The green trees, the red rock cliffs, the crystal clear waters and blue skies...3 days was not close to enough time to spend there.  I think this is a trip we will take again, maybe next year or maybe when the girls are older and can do more hikes.  Every turn we made, we found ourselves saying "wow, look at that!"   Our favorite was probably Cadillac Mountain.  It's the highest point on the Atlantic coast and for a lot of the year, it's the first place to be touched by the sun in the United States.  One day up there we found a patch of wild blueberries and ate them for lunch!  We visited Jordan Pond and had their famous popovers, we saw Thunder Hole and also made a stop at "Sand Beach".  That was funny because it's one of the only sand beaches around (hence the name..) but the girls weren't very impressed by it, I guess because we have sand beaches at home!  The water was FRIGID....for most of the year it doesn't get out of the 50s!  Kate and Summer couldn't understand why there were so many people in such cold water.  I tried to explain that we get to be at the beach all year round but most people don't ever see a beach so they want to go in the ocean.  My girls are spoiled by where we live and they had no idea (still don't)!

National Park road in Acadia

Mike and the girls admiring the view atop Cadillac Mountain

the drive down Cadillac Mountain

Sand Beach

trail run!

artists on the rocks
 Our last afternoon in Bar Harbor we headed to Southeast Harbor, which is home to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country.  It was another beautiful setting with more great rocks to climb on.  You would think with so many lighthouses and so much rocky shoreline that we would get tired of seeing them and climbing the rocks.  I certainly thought we would at the beginning of the trip.  But each place was so unique, and the weather was so perfect that we enjoyed each and every one as much as the one before.
 We finished up our time with pirate golf, because the girls spent most of that last afternoon in the car.  They loved it until the canons started going off and then they both got freaked out!
We woke up early the next morning and headed out - in perfect time too, it started to rain as we put our last bags in the car.  We drove about 3 1/2 hours that day down to Portland, which was the beginning of the end of our amazing trip.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Road tripping to Maine - Boothbay Harbor

We woke up this morning after having slept sooo well the night before.  Mid-50s, no humidity, windows open.  Sunday brunch didn't start until 8am and our usual 6am wake up call came as expected in the form of Kate and Summer.  So, we popped them into the stroller and set out to explore Boothbay Harbor on a run.   We discovered a beautiful resort (much, much nicer than ours, although I'm sure also MUCH more expensive..), the Spruce Point Inn Resort and Spa.  They had a beautiful setting, right on the water.  We stopped and admired the view and all the sailboats and little islands we could see out in the distance.  We didn't linger long, and headed back to the Sprucewold Lodge for breakfast because we knew we had a big day ahead of us.

Somehow, I had come across the website for the Boothbay Harbor Botanical Gardens.  This wouldn't be a normal "pick" for something we would want to do, but the words, "fairy weekend in the children's garden" caught my eye.  We headed there and ended up having the most fun.  First, the girls got their faces painted.

Next, they donned fairy wings and enjoyed some fairy story telling.

After that, they flitted about the gardens, admiring the turtles, fish, flowers, and even some fountains made to look like whales - complete with blowholes!  They also had a bronze statue of the little bear from "Blueberries for Sal", which is one of the girl's favorite books.

Next was fairy yoga, a fairy puppet show and our one and only celebrity sighting of the trip to Maine...

Mike ran out to the car to get a snack for us and on his way back in, he saw a guy paying for tickets that he thought he recognized.  He soon realized it was Wayne Jarvis from Arrested Development!  He's a character that is only in a few episodes, but Mike picked him out right away.  He's been in a ton of movies, but we also recognized him from Best in Show.  He was there with his family - a pretty cool sighting for us!

We had lunch at the botanical gardens then headed back for Summer's nap.  She was not very happy to nap in a lodge room by herself, so I loaded the girls up in the stroller and we went exploring.  You can always get summer to sleep in the stroller, she just doesn't nap very long in there!  Boothbay Harbor  was a beautiful place, although in my mind, the best part came next. 

After naps, we went looking for beaches.  My trusty dusty Fodor's book told me there were two public beaches, one on the peninsula just north of where we were and one on the peninsula south.  We headed north, because you could see a storm coming from the south.  We figured heading north would buy us some time.  We got to the beach and within 10 minutes it was booming thunder.  We left and headed into town for an early dinner.  After dinner, it was beautiful out.  We headed to the other beach this time and had the best time.  For me, it was one of my most favorite parts of our vacation.  

This beach was at the mouth of the Sheepscot river, and had a pretty view of the Hendricks Head Lighthouse.  These pictures are all from my phone, so I don't have a good shot of the lighthouse here.  This beach was so serene when we were there, with calm waters and really cool cloud cover.  The girls loved climbing on the big rocks, finding creatures in the tidal pools and searching for lobstah :)