Family Ski at The Blue Mountain Ski Area in Pennyslvania

Blue Mountain Ski Area is one of the most searched for ski areas on the Internet.

It’s a favorite for Pennsylvania and New York families who love to ski and snowboard. Skiing is a great way to spend time as a family and this mountain is a good size for families. Blue Mountain Ski Area

Blue Mountain boasts the highest vertical in PA at almost 1100 feet. There’s plenty for everyone to do there.

Located in Little Gap Valley alongside the Pocono Mountains, Blue Mountain has 39 trails, and 164 ski-able acres.  It’s definitely family friendly for parents. It has a flexible 6 hour ski ticket (so you get there when you get there) and has one of the largest beginner terrain areas in the tri-state area.Blue Mountain Ski Resort in PA The learning center offers private and group lessons, but also strangely, promote the idea of you teaching your own kids if you are comfortable (I always did this because I was a ski instructor) but I don’t know if I’d recommend that for anyone that wasn’t trained in teaching skiing.

Blue Mountain is not only for beginners, it’s also got 3,000 foot long Double Black Diamond Trails, where skiers earn a breathtaking view of Pennsylvania’s beautiful Pocono Mountains.

Blue Mountain Resort  also has some cool features where they includehands-off lift ticket scanners, RFID, that will fast track you through lift lines. The Summit can be reached by the High-Speed Detachable Quad and the 6-Person Chair Lift. In addition, three double chair lifts give access to the western mountain side where skiers and boarders will find novice, intermediate and expert terrain. Numerous mogul fields and glades accompany Blue Mountain’s varied terrain for all skill levels.

As for lodging and food. No one’s going to go hungry while skiing or boarding at Blue Mountain resort. BlueMountain_thumbThey have over twelve places to eat slopeside and even more around town. There’s no on site lodging but plenty of local ski and stay parters in the immediate area for you to choose from.

For more information, click Blue Mountain Ski Resort. 

Family Ski Vacation: Mammoth Resort

Mammoth Mountain

Located in the southwest corner of the volcanic Long Valley Caldera on the eastern edge of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range; Mammoth Mountain reaches over 3,500 skiable acres and a 3,100ft vertical drop.

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The mountain is blessed with over 400 inches of snowfall a year and it’s the highest elevation in California at a neck-bending height of 11,053ft.

The modern resort has world class terrain options, and an ski season that can sometimes last into July.


Travel Destination: Go on a Historical Adventure With Your Children to Colonial Williamsburg

Family Adventure and Travel Destination: Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is like no other when yTravel Destination: take the kids to spooky Halloween at Colonial Williamsburgou want to take the kids on an educational travel destination adventure that focuses on our nation’s history. It’s even better when you take the kids during the holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Independence Day.

I remember going there as a kid and now it’s even bigger with more attractions.

Visit a real colonial village, learn about what day to day life was like, watch and participate in costume’d Fife and Drum Corps, be a spy, make bricks, go Travel Destination: Take the Kids to Colonial Williamsburg for a spooky colonial Halloweenon archeological digs, and experience what it was like in 1775 at the very beginning of the American revolution.

Colonial Halloweens are always a fun way to spend time with kids on one of Halloween Travel Destination: Take the Kids on a spooky Halloween adventure in colonial Williamsburgtheir favorite holidays. Apple cider, pumpkins, ghost tours, home-made doughnuts. They can range from cute and sweet to all out spooky and there’s something for every kid at every age. And since there’s probably no more place more Colonial America than Williamburg, this is the place to be on Halloween. For spooky fun check out these ghost tours:Travel Destination: Take the kids on a travel adventure to colonial williamsburg

Halloween Fun for Kids

Colonial Ghosts

Your journey will include Indian burial grounds, witches, stories of murder, tragedies of war, and bitter betrayal across hundreds of years. Click here for Colonialghosts

Have older kids who are looking for a little more of an adrenaline rush on your adventure? How about a real ghost hunting tour.  For an extreme version of a take the kids on a travel adventure to colonial williamsburgghost tour of colonial Williamburg, where you are provided with real ghost hunting equipment, check them out here at the Ghost Tour

And just for fun, check out these videos posted by colonial ghost tours depicting some recent ghost sightings.

Ghostly organ playing in empty church on the ghost tour.

 

Watch the Macy’s Day Parade Live on Periscope!

Happy Thanksgiving! Watch the Macy’s Day Parade Live on Periscope!

Just click the button below!

@CNTraveler

Family Vacation Destination: Waterville Valley Resort

Waterville Valley is a nice, quiet, uber-family friendly resort nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The best part of the resort is that everything is right there where you need it, no need for driving around. In the winter there’s skiing on four differenwaterville valley resort in new hampshire, family friendly vacationt peaks, and in the summer there’s plenty to do as well.

It has a town square, places to dine, pool, fitness centers, shopping and has that special, New England country resort feel. It’s a little bit dirty dancing, a little bit Tremblant, but on a smaller scale. Trailmap for waterville valley resort in new hampshire

There are 50 trails, 4000 foot elevation and plenty of terrain parks. There’s also the option of going Nordic to break up the week. You can also take the kids tubing and even dog sledding.

It’s a great place to reconnect with family and the outdoors.

Check out their site for more information on Waterville Valley Resort. waterville valley resort, a great family destination in winter or summer

 

Family Ski Destination: Gore Mountain, New York

Gore Mountain Ski Resort, North Creek, New York

Gore Mountain Ski Resort is a well known family friendly ski destination to upstate New Yorkers. Not too far from Albany, this is a serious size mountain with a little bit of everything for any type of skier.Family Vacation Spot, Ski at Gore Mountain Resort, NY

Take the family to Gore Mountain to Ski and Snowboard This isn’t the mountain where you spend most of your time waiting in line to get on the lift; this is the mountain where you re-discover your love of the slopes. A mid-peak stop at the rustic mid base lodge for some après ski/coffee gives you an unparalleled view of the Adirondacks and Vermont and makes you fall in love even more.

Serious East Coast Ski Spot

Gore has 109 trails, boasts 2,537 vertical feet, and is known for helping beginners and experts continue to grow with the sport. The 15 lifts including the eight-passenger Northwoods Gondola and two luxurious high-speed quads keep you out of lines, with more time on their four peaks. There are also six dining options scattered across the mountain, you can refuel and keep skiing or riding without missing a beat.

Bring your child to the Mountain Adventure Center for lessons and coaching, open to all levels of skiers and riders, from beginner to advanced black diamond. Children are grouped by similar age and ability. Take the family on vacation to Gore Mountain Ski ResortAll-day adventures and two-hour sessions are available daily. Your younger kids will love their Mini Learning Park, just for 4-6 year old beginner skiers.  Choices include daily group and private lessons, holiday camps and season long programs. There’s also a Bear Cub day care area where they will keep your little ones entertained while you tear it up on the slopes.

 

Here’s a good video that really gives an overall view of the kind of terrain you can expect at Gore Mountain. I told you it was a serious East Coast Mountain.

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Winter Camping: How to Make a Camp Fire in the Snow

Afraid to Winter Camp Because You Don’t Have a Clue How to Get a Fire Going in Snow? Fear Not.

Ever wondered how to make a camp fire in the snow? And then how to cook on that said camp fire, in the woods, in the dead of winter?  Have you been putting off winter camping until you got around to figuring it out? Here’s one delightful couple that shows us how to get the fire going and then cook on it. I imagine their kids are going to have some fun trips.

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When Building a Fire in the Snow with Kids

If you are doing this with kids, I’d recommend bringing a shovel for them to help you dig a bit as well as set them up for playing in the snow while you’re doing the leg work. Keep an eye on them as you don’t want them wandering off while you are immersed in fire pit shoveling mode.

Be aware of any rivers or streams in the area (like the one in the video). If you don’t have another adult to watch them, make sure they stay in your line of vision while you are working on your fire. Also make sure they have some snacks and are dressed appropriately. You’ll likely be working up a sweat but if they are not moving around too much it won’t be too long before they get cold. Have them help you gather wood.

Don’t forget to make sure to tell your children what you’re doing and why. As you’ll see in this video it’s a great learning opportunity about not just making fire but physics as well. For example, listen carefully to why you can’t just make the fire on top of snow.

 

Places to Travel for Halloween Adventure

Three Great Halloween Travel Destinations

One of the biggest holidays that you’ll always remember as a kid, imgres-2besides maybe Christmas of course, is Halloween.  Of course, there’s the usual trick or treating and fun hopping from one house to the next. But this year, why not make it a little different. Amp it up a notch. Take off on a road trip or fly for a long weekend to have the biggest adventure weekend your kids can handle. They’ll love you for it and be bragging to their friends for weeks.  Here are some great ideas to get started:

Spend Halloween in Transylvania and Dracula’s CastleDracula's Castle Bran Romania

No we’re not kidding. It’s really a place. And it happens to be in one of the most ruggedly beautiful areas of Easter Europe. Take the kids for a jaunt and experience the amazing Carpathian mountains. Take a tour of Bran Castle as well as hike along ancient paths. Besides that, the area is steeped in European history. Learn about the real Vlad the Impaler and what his significance was to the area. Go here to find out more about visiting Dracula’s Castle on Halloween.

Have a Colonial Halloween in Williamsburg, Virginia

This was one of my favorite places to go as a kid. It’s a great place to learn about US history and what it was like to live day to day in the imgrescolonial times. There’s also something very wonderful about an authentic colonial Halloween, complete with cinnamon doughnuts, apple cider and ye olde Halloween games and activities. Take the family on an adventure to Williamsburg and you won’t be disappointed. Go here to read more about spending Halloween in Colonial Williamsburg

Haunted Happenings in Salem, Massachussetts

Nothing says Halloween than Salem, long known for it’s witch trialsphillips_house_halloween in the 1600s and a haven for the occult. Bring the kids here for a bona fide Halloween experience complete with fireworks, spooky fairs, ghost tours, costume parties and more. Go here to read more about spending Halloween in Salem Massachussetts

 

 

 

 

 

How To Hike with Kids and Stay Sane

First off, get over the idea that you’re going to hike like the animal that you were before you had kids if you are bringing said kids. It’s not all about you and how far and how fast you can go. It’s about making sure the next generation is exposed to the outdoors and will remember what an awesome parent you are for taking the time to do it. Your kids are lucky they have a parent that wants to do this stuff with them and even if they whine now, they will remember it when they have their kids…and the circle of life, yadda, yadda.

hiking with kids and staying sane

But in the here and now you need to be practical.  So here are my tips for having fun hiking, staying sane and making sure everyone wants to do it again.

1) Take it easy on yourself and give yourself every advantage. Charge the phone and the juicepack. Make sure you have a map as a backup, or download them on your phone before hand. Don’t be a martyr. Download some apps that can give you details on flora and fauna as you hike in the area. Also do yourself a favor and download some pics of Poison Ivy, Sumac and Oak. You’re welcome.

2) Dress according and bring extra clothes. Weather changes on a dime and a cold or overly hot kid, is a miserable kid and a miserable hiking buddy. Bring T shirts and an extra sweater and depending how long the hike, extra socks etc. Cold weather requires multiple layers. Think Under Armor.

3) Bring food and water. Duh, you say but how many people go out without enough water. Remember you’re bringing not just for yourself but the kids too. Snacks, snacks, and snacks. And throw in a few Hershey’s kisses and get over it. A low blood sugar meltdown in the middle of the woods has it’s own special place in hell.

4) Wear the right gear. Suck it up and buy the kids the best hiking boots you can afford. You don’t have to go crazy, but get some kicks with serious all terrain treds. I moved to NYC and went on a three day trip with my daughter’s fourth grade class. I thought I’d see 40 pairs of overachieving, top-of-the-line hiking boots that could handle Everest, lined up outside the bunks. And there were some. But I was surprised at how many kids were hiking in rubber rain boots. Don’t do that. The kids managed but the steep slopes were extra treacherous. I’d rather they were in sneakers.

6) Ticks. I can’t emphasize enough how much you don’t want your kids getting bit by a tick. As someone who suffered a long time with Lyme Disease, it’s not fun, or pretty, and can be expensive. I hate telling kids to wear long pants on a summer hike, but if you can, do. And if you don’t hike in long pants, make sure you cover everything with bug spray including the hair lines and socks, then hose off or shower and do a good tick check under the arm pits, behind the ears and knees, ankles afterward. And be diligent even for a good twenty four hours afterward.  If you do see an embedded tick, save it and take pics of it if you can. Oh and a word on DEET. If you have a homeopathic bug spray that works, go for it. Me personally, I go for the strongest thing I can get my hands on. Yes, it was so powerful it peeled the ink off the marshmallows package and transferred it to my legs where it touched (my legs were covered in Deep Woods OFF), but I’m willing to take that. And the freaky thing was, the only way to get the imprint of the marshmallow label off my legs was more bug spray. I know, I know. I don’t like all the chemicals either but I like Lyme disease even less.

6) And bring these other things accordingly:

Hats, sunscreen, diapers, bottles, backpack, baby carrier, baby food, towels, swim clothes, swimmies, band aids, neosporin, and don’t forget the aspirin, you’re probably going to need it.

How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike

How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike

Seems simple right? We all went through it. But it’s been a long time since you sat on that seat feeling awkward and being afraid you’re just going to topple over. It really is a weird thing when you think about it. Sitting there suspended on two wheels, the only thing keeping you balanced is the fact that you are moving. Besides having to worry about your balance now you have to worry about where you are going and if you can stop in time. So it’s good to put yourself in their shoes for a bit. It will help you have patience. And bbiking with kidselieve me it’s worth it. There’s nothing I enjoy better than looking back at my daughter’s beaming face as we ride through the streets of NYC, central park or out in the country together. She’s so darn proud of herself.teaching your kids to bike

So what do you need to do to get your child on the bike and eventually out on a biking adventure with you? If you live in a major city there are programs galore geared toward helping kids bike. Check out your local town’s website for information. But to do it yourself, here’s how to get started.

1) The Bike

Go to a bike shop and have her fitted for the bike. She should be able to stand comfortably over the seat. Hold onto the handle bars and let her sit on the bike. Her legs should be able to extend but not stretch. Make sure the seat is not just too low or high. If it’s not the seat, then the bike is either too big or too small. Don’t get a bigger bike hoping she’ll grow into it. You’ll just have a miserable kid who tosses it down in frustration. Better to pay a little less or get a used bike to start with then try to get one with room to grow.

2) The Bike Gear

Helmets, get one that fits her head. Many helmets have adjusters in the back. That will give you a little room to grow. Get one that is sturdy, is from a reliable manufacturer and be ready to replace it every few years. Once it’s taken a few hard hits, it’s time to get it replaced. Keep it from sitting out in the sunlight as well as it can damage the material. Never put it in the back window of your car

3) Forget the Training Wheels

They just teach kids bad behavior and they use them like a crutch. Better to take the pedals off and lower the seat. Let them scoot around on it in an open area. It will be much easier to get the hang of it. Let them focus on balancing and turning. No need to pedal just yet.

4) Scoot Around

When they’ve gotten used to the feeling of scooting around on the bike and can balance, put the pedals back on and adjust the seat to accommodate for the pedals.  Let them try it in a flat, wide area. No hills please.

5) Practice Turning

Make nice wide loops (that’s why I said to find a big wide area). Let them go in and out of circles. Keep them big and then go smaller and smaller, then change to turn the other way.

6) Learn to Stop

Once they are comfortable with the pedals they need to learn to stop. Teach them to step on the petal to break or use whatever breaking system the bike has. Most importantly remind them to be ready to put their feet down as the bike comes to a stop.

7) Take it Slow

Keep going around in your wide flat area until they feel super comfortable. Next it will be good to branch out to a quiet road. A rails to trail type bike path makes the perfect place for kids to practice.

8) Don’t Push Them

Remember, it’s about getting them out there and experiencing it for the firs time. If they hate it or feel pressured, you’ll be hard pressed to get them back out there. So be realistic about what they can do the first few times out. Don’t worry, I promise they’ll be ready for those longer jaunts in no time.

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