Monthly Archives: September 2013

Exploring Massachusetts beyond Boston

This summer, we spent a nine days in Massachusetts – and drove through Boston once without stopping. We were all around the attraction that most travelers come to see, instead making stops in Salem, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Plymouth.

As a history buff, I wanted to see the places that I’ve read about since I was a child. Salem turned out to be much more than a historical town, and we loved the downtown area and the waterfront.

Arts Dune Tours Cape Cod

Arts Dune Tours Cape Cod

We stayed at a couple of spots on Cape Cod and were able to see several areas. A trip to Provincetown was well worth it to experience the colorful downtown and have some adventures. First, we went on a whale-watching tour and say a couple of different types of whales. Then, we went on Art’s Dune Tour. Sure, we have dunes in Michigan, and the famous Sleeping Bear, but Provincetown has some historical dune shacks that are now artistic retreats. The dunes are full of rose hip, that we tried for the first time. Somewhat bitter, you peel the skin with your teeth and eat only that, leaving the insides behind.

Nantucket has been on my list for a long time, and it wasn’t nearly enough time to explore the island.

Rounding out our vacation, we toured Plimouth Plantation to learn about the pilgrims and the Wampanoag and how they lived. (As a grammar nerd, the explanation for the plantation spelling is that many variations were used in writings that have been found, and Plimouth was the most common spelling).

Plimouth Plantation

Plimouth Plantation

A few miles away, we drove to downtown Plymouth to see the Mayflower II, which was recently refurbished and back on display, and Plymouth Rock, which is a rock on the beach. The pilgrims actually landed at Provincetown first, but then ventured to Plymouth for access to more land and resources.

There are a ton of things to do in Massachusetts, both leisurely and historically. Our trip was a nice blend of the two and I’m glad that I was able to show my kids some things that they’ve been reading about, too.

Disclosure: A portion of this trip was due to my husband’s work travel but this post was not requested or required, and opinions are my own.

Advertisements
Categories: Family Friendly Resorts, Travel with kids | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Nantucket, the island of stories

I’ve read so many books that have been centered on or featured the island of Nantucket that I almost feel like I know what it’s like to live there. Well, not really but with a book and my imagination, I’ve come to love a place I’ve never traveled to – until now.

Nantucket

Nantucket

Taking the high speed ferry from Hyannis, we were transported to the island in about an hour. Parking was not too difficult to find, although it came with a cost and a short shuttle ride to the dock. The boat was fast, so stepping outside for a view can make your hair look like the bride of Frankenstein.

Once off the boat, you’re in the “downtown” area that’s filled with tourists, shops and wonderful smells of food. Our first stop was the whaling museum, where we were able to touch a whale’s tooth (huge!), touch the baleen from a whale and learn about items made with whale parts. The museum also has a rooftop deck to give you and overview of the harbor – a perfect photo opportunity.

We stopped briefly at Children’s Beach, very close to the ferry dock but on the small side for a beach. We decided to rent bikes and headed out with our map to Dionis Beach. A good 3 ½ miles later, we arrived hot, sweaty and ready to jump in the water. A short path through the dunes and we entered the beach, which was not crowded but had a good amount of sunbathers.

Nantucket Dionis Beach

Nantucket Dionis Beach

Bikes are somewhat expensive to rent so get them early and get good use out of them. If we had more time or stayed the night, we would’ve headed to Sconset, but instead took a shorter route to a closer beach.

After cooling off and playing for a while, we biked back, returned our bikes and went in search of food. After fueling up, it was time to get in line for the ferry back to Hyannis.

It was a quick trip. If you’re up for a day on the island, take the early morning ferry and the late evening ferry to get the most out of your day. If we had more time, the island aquarium was on our list to check out (and is working on an expansion). The views and storied beaches did not disappoint, and now when I read a book about Nantucket, I’ll be transported back to my island getaway.

Disclosure: Family trip, no compensation received. These opinions are my own.

Categories: Travel with kids | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement

When my son was a toddler, he would tear up every time we went out in the bright son. He eventually grew out of it but he’s always been very light sensitive. So when The Vision Council invited me to a webinar, I was intrigued.

According to a recent report (PDF) by The Vision Council, 40 percent of U.S. adults do not wear sunglasses while outdoors and more than half of parents do not protect their children’s eyes with sunglasses. When you combine that with the fact that children will accumulate 80 percent of sun exposure by the time they are 18, you can see that there’s a real need, beyond fashion, to have sunglasses for your children.

Sunglasses on vacation

Shades – especially in the ocean.

We’re a sunglasses family. My daughter wears glasses, so each pair of glasses she has owned has been transition lenses (and parents, please, get the anti-glare, too – your photographs will thank you!)

We even kept her last pair of glasses when she got new ones, and she uses those while swimming. She wants to be able to see and have her eyes shaded, and you just don’t get that in a pair of swim goggles.

When we travel, sunglasses are a must for the whole family. And I’ve now learned that it’s more than just shading your eyes from the sun, it’s protecting them from the sun’s rays, too. Sunburn of the eye is real, in the form of photokeratitis. When you’re out and about on the beach, on a boat or anywhere for that matter, sunglasses protect you from the sun, which is strongest between noon and 4 p.m.

The Vision Council has a handy tool to check where in the world the UV rays are the strongest. Just go to http://www.missingsunglasses.com/, type in your ZIP code for the UV index in any city. Puerto Rico, because of its location near the equator, has the strongest UV rays in the U.S. Internationally, Australia has the highest.

I saw a report on the news at some point that said most cheap sunglasses have as good or better UV protection than more expensive lenses. If you’re unsure of what kind, if any, your sunglasses have, most eye doctors have a UV meter and will test lenses for you. Scratches on lenses will diminish the protection, so it’s better to spend a few dollars for a new pair than pay for eye damage later.

Transition lenses

What happens when transition lenses are in a netted pouch.

We always travel with sunglasses for the whole family. But now, I’m going to make sure we each have a good case for our sunglasses to minimize the risk of breaking them in our travel bags and to protect them from scratches. So the next time you’re worried about sunscreen and skin cancer, take a moment to grab those sunglasses. Your eyes will thank you.

Disclosure: I was compensated for attending the webinar and writing this post, although the opinions are my own.

Categories: Me and my family, Travel with kids | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.