10 Things to Do In Bar Harbor Maine

One of my all time favorite vacations with my family took place in Bar Harbor Maine. Thanks to my friend Jennie Baird, I was armed and ready with her family’s favorite things to do in Bar Harbor and I have to say, Jennie was right on the money. So this list includes a few of Jennie’s picks sprinkled in with our fave finds. Take a look…
IMG_0554.jpg1. Watching the sunset on Cadillac Mountain. One of the most amazing places I have ever seen is Cadillac Mountain, located high atop a summit in Acadia National Park. The views are incredible and the kids had fun climbing the rocks as we looked out over the water and watched the sun go down over the mountains. One suggestion – dress warm! Once the sun disappears, the temperature drops at least 15 degrees.
2. Diver Ed’s Dive in Theater – This made Jennie’s kids’ must see list and it tops ours too. If your family is in the mood for entertainment, then get ready for Ed – a diver/commercial scallop fisherman who appears to be a cross between Jim Belushi and Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”). Diver Ed, his incredibly knowledgeable and witty wife, mini Ed (a tiny action figure who takes a beating from sea creatures), Evil Ed (I believe a guy with a beard who was perched at the back of the boat), his nephew and two New Foundland dogs who demonstrate how to properly wear a life vest, offer an action packed underwater tour for passengers. No worries – you and your kids don’t participate in the dive (the water is way too cold), but Diver Ed jumps in three times a day along with a hi-tech video camera that he uses to captures the activity 25 feet below the sea and a bag that he uses to catch a few creatures that he brings back on board so that the kids can touch, carry and play. The only request – don’t squeeze the animals! The tour lasts two hours and it’s well worth the trip – even in the rain!
IMG_0621.jpg3. Jordan Pond Nature Trails & the Jordan Pond House – If you’re up for a hike that’s not too strenuous and ends in tea with popovers overlooking Jordan Pond, then this is the excursion for you. Jordan Pond Restaurant can get pretty busy so be prepared to wait or if you’re impatient like us, buy a Popover mix (or chilled whoopie pies) in the gift shop and make them when you get home. The trail we took led us along the pond – giving us ample time to take frequent breaks where the kids sat on the rocks and my daughter accidentally stepped in the water with one of her converse sneakers – not a particularly fun moment for her but she survived. The views from the base of the pond were gorgeous – we captured several shots of Bubble Mountain. We called it something else though – take a guess…
IMG_0571.jpg4. Listen to the Waves at Thunder Hole – Another must see in Acadia National Park – where the water crashes into rocks made of granite and the sound that erupts bears a striking resemblance to thunder – hence the name. There are also places to climb although if you have a fear of heights, I’d say opt for the Jordan Pond excursion and hold onto the railing at Thunder Hole while you watch the waves.
IMG_0591.JPG5. Take a Walk to Bar Island During Low Tide – This was totally cool – in the morning, the entire area is covered in water and by late afternoon, the sand bar is exposed so that cars can drive and pedestrians and dogs can walk across to Bar Island. The kids can cruise for shells and crabs while you take a lazy walk along the beach. But make sure you head back before the tide rolls back in or else you’ll be swimming back to your hotel!
IMG_0570.jpg6. Whale & Puffin Watch, Nature Cruise or Lobster and Seal Watch – The Whale Watch takes the longest and fills up first and can also be tough for people with weak stomachs so I suggest the Lobster fishing and Seal Watching excursion that only lasts 90 minutes. Your kids will get the chance to touch sea creatures (like Diver Ed’s adventure but not as funny) and you can get some great photos of seals. And they don’t go too far out to sea, so the ride is pretty smooth.
7. Best Breakfast – Michelle’s Bistro – There are a few breakfast joints in Bar Har including Jeannie’s (there’s always a wait) and Testa’s, but don’t believe the hype or long lines. Our favorite by far was Michelle’s Bistro – located in an Inn near some cute shops (my fave was the store that was full of Suncatchers). We sat out back on a deck, enjoyed blueberry pancakes, omelets, french toast and more and the service was fabulous. And the kids loved Rosie – the proprietor’s friendly and fluffy dog.
IMG_0564.JPG8. Best food and fun for Adults & Kids – Geddy’s – It took a few tries to get into Geddy’s but once we did, we understood why there’s always a wait. They have tons of lobsters, towers of nachos, fried seafood galore and friendly waiters who take your picture and put it on their website. Plus, the kids placemats rock. Trust me when I tell you they’ll be coloring throughout dinner and once they’re done, they can present their finished product to the gift shop and win a prize (some beads and tchotchkes from a treasure chest). We also loved Geddy’s Down Under – the gift shop where the kids picked up cool sweat shirts and my husband bought a rain coat for a steal (less than $30).
IMG_0633.JPG9. Blueberry Mojitos at the Harborside – This summer, it’s been all about blueberries and since Maine is known for them, I decided to try out all the alcoholic beverages featuring this incredibly healthy fruit – hello acai berries! While Stewman’s Lobster Pound offers a blueberry martini (which I tried), the best blueberry beverage on the island goes to the Harborside which offers blueberry mojitos by the pool – in two words: muy delicioso!
IMG_0601.jpg10. Best Ice Cream – Ben & Bills – Within 24 hours of arriving in Bar Harbor, we discovered Ben & Bills – where they make their own ice cream and fudge and the line loops out the door every single night. In fact, they even sell lobster ice cream – which we tried – the kids didn’t care for it much but instead, opted for the chocolate tsunami (chocolate, marshmallow, oreos and more) and I went for the sugar free blueberry ice cream. Just be prepared – while you’re deciding what to order, the scoopers are constantly shuffling you down the line – it can get a bit off-putting when you’re trying to make a decision but I guess that’s how they keep the patrons coming in fast and furious. I discovered while we were there that USA Today just selected Ben & Bill’s as the best ice cream parlor in Maine and as a dessert afficionado, I knew my senses were right on target!
A few more picks include Stewman’s Lobster Pound which was visited by the Obama’s this summer (they’ve got a sign to prove it), the amazing Italian restaurant at the Harborside where you get to create your own pasta dish and the Bar Harbor Club where we received a host of spa treatments – from a facial, to massage, a dip in the jacuzzi and a manicure.
Have you been to Maine? If so, share your top picks and stories!

Affordable Retail Therapy in the Hamptons

Feeling much better after a little retail therapy!

The summer is almost here and for me, that can only mean one thing – it’s time to hit the Hamptons! Now truth be told, I do not have millions of dollars.  Luckily, my amazing parents, who were super smart back in the day, purchased a home in Southampton a few years before I got married and never left. That means that my husband and I have had a summer home away from home where we were able to bring our kids and our dog practically every weekend.  I’ve loved getting the chance to visit my parents and one of my favorite things to do is to shop!

Now for those of you who have never been to the Hamptons, the sticker shock at some of those boutiques can be daunting, but if you are a savvy shopper like me, you can track down some amazing finds in between all those ridiculous prices and come back with clothes and accessories that will have your friends constantly asking you, “Where did you get that?” So today, when one of my favorite stores was closed (I’m crossing my fingers she’s not out of business), I found another great store that just moved from Jobs Lane to Main Street that is definitely going to be my new personal fave…Therapy Life & Style.

Day 1 – Therapy Life & Style

This boutique moved to a new location in Southampton. They are now at 38 Main Street and they have the trendiest tops, dresses, coverups, jeans and more and the prices are fantastic!!!!!

 

The minute I walked into this boutique, I fell in love with all their cute tops, dresses, jeans, sweaters, beach cover ups, pretty much everything.  But the best part about the store are the prices!!!!  I was totally expecting to see price tags that were out of my range and thankfully, everything in the store is affordable!  Take a look at my fabulous finds..

Love these two tops from Therapy Life & Style in Southampton – totally could have bought out the entire store!

 

Day 2 – Piccolo Bella, 49 Main Street, Southampton

The secret is out – every summer, without fail, I find the cutest tops, skirts, dresses and summer sweaters at Piccolo Bella, a fabulous boutique located right next to my favorite furniture store, Hildreth’s. This year, we stopped by the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend and the store was closed and I was afraid they may have gone out business, but luckily, they were just getting ready for summer season and when they removed the paper in front of the windows, the results were amazing. I picked up a beautiful white silk top that will be perfect for our upcoming trip to Paris to celebrate my daughter’s graduation.

Day 3 – Southampton Farmer’s Market

One of my favorite things I love to do in the summer is visit the Southampton Farmer’s Market which takes place every Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Farmer’s market is a foodie lover’s heaven featuring local cheeses, wines, baked goods, honey, gluten free items, flowers, pickles, chicken burgers and more.  But there’s more than just food – there’s also jewelry and today, I even found an awesome hat vendor. Take a look…

Check out this amazing new hat – super stylish in time for Paris trip!

Day 3 – Westhampton, Chic Boutique

While it’s easy to spend the entire weekend strolling the streets of Southampton, there are a ton of towns to explore and one of my personal faves is Westhampton. There are even more amazing boutiques to visit and today, I discovered Chic Boutique and it was love at first sight.  I picked up three gorgeous tops that are perfect for work, vacation and weekends too.  And best of all, the prices are totally affordable.

My new favorite shopping addiction in Westhampton…Chic Boutique

While my shopping adventure might be complete this weekend, there’s much more to come when it comes to the Hamptons.  Next up…my favorite restaurants. For now, I’m going to try on my latest fashion finds!

A Letter to Chelsea Clinton from One Daughter of an Amazing Working Mom to Another…

 

November 10, 2016

Dear Chelsea,

I want to start out by telling you how sorry I am that your mom was unable to realize her ultimate dream of becoming the first woman president of the United States. Frankly, I am shocked, saddened and dismayed by the outcome of the election and wanted to take the time to share that as her daughter, I’m sure you are well aware the journey doesn’t end here. In fact, for you and for your children, it has only just begun.
While on a very much smaller scale, I was once in your shoes. My mom, who had spent more than 30 years as an educator in the Board of Education was up for the biggest job of her career — District Superintendent. She was immensely qualified for the job – she got along with parents, staff, people in the community and she was well liked. My mom was the ultimate worker bee who got stuff done and was a leader and team player in every sense of the word. She was also valedictorian of her high school and while she didn’t pursue a career in the law (that was her first aspiration) she dedicated her life to the field of education and made a lasting impact wherever she went. She was a true role model to others and she’s the primary reason why I started Role Mommy because I wanted to encourage other women to be just like my mom – to pursue their dreams while raising a family.

Celebrating my high school graduation with my grandmother, brother and mom. Working women who were always my Role Mommies.

So back to the Superintendent job. The only thing that stood between my mom and that coveted position were the votes of the school board members. Unfortunately, as I came to discover during the public interview process, the school board was more interested in making a change then sticking with someone who had been part of that district for years and was an exemplary candidate for the job. Instead, they selected a man who they believed would adhere to their agenda instead of what was best for students, teachers, parents and administrators. Sadly, my mom did not get the job that would have led to the pinnacle of her career. I still remember being at that meeting with tears streaming down my face as they announced the winner and the hopes of my mom landing the job faded away in front of our eyes.
While the blow was painful for her at the time, my mom persevered. She continued in her role as Deputy Superintendent and a few years later retired from the New York City Board of Education. She continued to work in the private sector overseeing programs for adults with special needs and also became an adjunct professor near her home in Southampton. She volunteered at the library. She took tap dance lessons. She reconnected with old friends, and she became one of the best grandmas on the planet.
My mom is now approaching her 75th birthday – just a few years older than your mom and I have to say it makes me so proud to know that she’s accomplished so much in her career and will always be a role model to me and my family.
As you spend the week picking up the pieces from a hard fought campaign, I just want you to know that your mother has left us with a legacy of hope, passion and commitment to public service that we will never ever forget. She has fired up a generation of young women who are poised and ready to continue on and fight for what is right and just in our world. My own daughter will turn 18 in less than five months and she cannot wait to make her voice heard. She is the co-President of her school’s local Habitat for Humanity chapter, is a talented artist who incorporates powerful messages of feminism into her artwork and she’s a gifted speaker who is quite vocal on her views about everything from gun violence, to women and LGBTQ rights, drug abuse, and much much more.
Though your mom didn’t win the election, she has won over the hearts and fighting spirits of my daughter and her friends. She will forever be a “Role Mommy” to me and a beacon for young women just starting their professional journey or those of us who are climbing that ladder while attempting to balance motherhood with our careers.
I know your family will continue making our world a better place. Please know that just as we pledged to be “With Her,” we’re with you too if you ever decide to run for public office. Just so you know, we’ve got your back big time.
Best wishes to you and your family and I hope the holiday season is relaxing and enjoyable for all of you. I just want you to know that we are so very grateful to your mother for her tireless efforts, her dedication and her commitment to supporting families throughout her entire career.
Sincerely,
Beth Feldman

How Will You Be Remembered?

An important reminder that life is fleeting so make every moment count..

While I usually write about lighthearted topics, I’ve decided to tackle something a bit heavy today. The reason is that a terrible tragedy took place on our block this week. One of the nicest neighbors we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing was killed in a car accident.
Although Murray was 83 years old, you never would have guessed it. He had the energy of someone 30 years his junior and was always so friendly, thoughtful and genuinely concerned about our well being. Yesterday, we attended his memorial service and what we discovered was that while Murray may no longer be with us, he touched countless individuals in his lifetime.
Murray was a devoted husband who lost his wife more than a decade ago. But over the last five years, his daughter in law introduced him to a lovely woman who became his constant companion. She was one of the first to speak about how lucky she was to have met Murray and thanked him for being such an important part of her life and for being by her side while she underwent chemotherapy. His daughter and two sons shared heartfelt stories about their dad who clearly was a role model to all of them. His heartbroken granddaughter told how her life will never be the same without her “Papa.”
Murray’s 22 year old grandson was incredibly eloquent when he expressed how his grandfather was one of the brightest stars in their lives and while he disappeared in a flash, his impact–much like a shooting star–will have a lasting effect on future generations. His co-workers talked about his devotion to his career and to the workers he inspired as one of the most well-respected engineers in the construction industry. A childhood friend of his sons shared how much he admired and respected “Mr. Fleisch” and reminisced about how he practically grew up at his home. But most touching of all was his friend of 71 years who, while choking back tears, told how Murray was the big brother he never had, how he sent him supportive letters while he served in the Korean War, was always there for him during some of the most difficult times in his life and how he looked forward to dining with him every Wednesday. In fact, the day he died, his friend was planning to visit Murray at his home so they could catch up on the week’s events.
As tears were streaming down my face, I reflected upon the legacy Murray has left behind. He was a loving husband, incredible father, doting grandfather, a leader in his industry, a consummate friend, devoted to his faith and a wonderful neighbor. And that’s how he will be remembered. Murray was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
So now here’s your turn. How do you think people will remember you? Are you racing through each day too busy to enjoy your family, your friends and life in general? Perhaps this Memorial Day Weekend it’s time to take stock in what’s most important. I certainly learned an incredible life lesson as a result of this tragedy and know that at the end of the day, it’s about touching lives, inspiring others and being the kindest person you can be.
Rest in peace Murray. You will be sorely missed.

Originally posted January 1, 2010

20 Things to Do with Tweens & Teens in NYC

grimaldis.jpgI have to say, now that my kids are getting older, I’ve actually been having a great time exploring every nook and cranny of New York City with them. Since we don’t have to worry about strollers, whining and potty breaks, my kids and I are foot loose, fancy free and subway bound. So what do we do when we hit the Big Apple? Simple, check out our top 20 list and give some of these attractions and activities a whirl.
1. Head to a NYC street fair and browse through all the kiosks and savor the tasty food.
2. High tail it to Times Square where you can hit M&M world, ESPN Zone, Bubba Gump Shrimp, and more.
3. Kids fixated with theme restaurants? Then visit my family faves Planet Hollywood, Mars 2112, Hard Rock Cafe or Jekyll & Hyde.
4. On October 27, head to Bryant Park for holiday shopping and ice skating
5. Rent bikes and then head to Central Park for a family ride.
6. Dessert anyone? That one’s simple – Serendipity, Dylan’s Candy Bar and Cafe Lalo are a few of my faves.
7. Hit Bowlmor Lanes or Lucky Strike for some family fun.
8. In the Halloween spirit? Then visit Ricky’s Costume Shop and then head to the Limelight Marketplace where you can dine on a delectable pie at Grimaldi’s pizza (cash only).
9. Take your kids to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and check out the incredible mummy exhibit.
10. Shop in the Flatiron district at H&M, Forever 21, the Farmers Market and more.
11. Movies anyone? Hit AMC Lincoln Square for the coolest film going experience ever.
12. Best musical hands down for Tweens (and their moms)…WICKED!!!
13. Visit Ellen’s Startdust diner for a burger, shake and singing waiters and waitresses.
13. When in doubt, visit the Nintendo world store at Rockefeller Center.
14. Try a family sport outing with golf, skating, basketball and more at Chelsea Piers.
15. Hop aboard a Spirit of New York cruise around New York.
16. Stroll down Fifth Avenue and visit Tiffany’s…window shopping is always free.
17. Enjoy tea and scones at Alice’s Tea Cup or head to the Plaza Hotel for high tea.
18. On Saturdays, visit the upper west side and shop the GreenFlea market on 77th and Columbus Avenue – then head to Isabella’s for brunch and their chocolate basket for dessert. Yummy.
19. Rent Sleepless in Seattle and watch with your tween. Then head to the top of the Empire State Building and pretend you’re Meg Ryan.
20. Go kayaking or canoeing along the east river or just bike along the trail that’ll take you all the way to Battery Park City.
More fun outings to come. We still haven’t hit Greenwich Village, Little Italy and Chinatown – guess a new top 20 list will be coming your way soon!

The Block Island Fave Five

images.jpegIt’s the summer and that can only mean one thing…time for a few Role Mommy Road Trips! First stop…Block Island. If you live on the east coast and have never ventured out to this tiny island with your family, then you don’t know what you’re missing! Dozens of great restaurants, beaches galore, charming bed and breakfasts, boutique shops with tons of Vera Bradley bags :), haunted houses (gotta love that) and picturesque bike trails.

In case you’re planning a trip to Block Island, here are five of my favorite things…
IMG00210.jpg1. It’s Easy to Get There – If you live on the east coast, there are ferries from Montauk, New London, and our personal fave, Point Judith. While it takes about three hours to drive to Pt. Judith from our house, once you purchase your tickets to the high speed ferry, it only takes 30 minutes to get to the island. Just make sure you don’t eat your lunch because these days, the seas are seriously rough. One of the staffers was even circling the seating area with barf bags. Luckily we didn’t use them – but I did take one just in case!
IMG00230.jpg2. Bed & Breakfasts, Haunted Hotels and Hospitality Galore – Have to say, I love where we’re staying this year. It’s called The Island Home and the innkeeper, Dina, is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. We’ve also stayed at the Narragansett Inn (pictured above) and Kathy, who has run the hotel for nearly two decades, is also so sweet, remembers our kids and is a great conversationalist too! Wonder why we’re not staying there this year? Just buy “The Ghosts Of Block Island” and you’ll find out why! I’m a little skittish on the ghost front and supposedly, most of the B&B’s and hotels are haunted. No sign of apparitions where we are, but we still have a few days (and nights) left!
IMG00242.jpg3. Mansion Beach – Thanks to our great friends, we’ve discovered the best beach on the island. It’s called Mansion Beach and you’ve got to get their early or else you’ll never find a parking spot for your car. But once you’re there, the waves are high, the sights are gorgeous and I get to dive into my beach read! Oh – and did I mention that every year, our good friends have an annual reunion with their high school and college buddies, and invited us a few years back to join the caravan. The highlight of our beach experience is topped off by one of their actor friends, who goes by the name of “Pirate Tom” and hosts a massive treasure hunt for kids of all ages. While the expedition initially started out about a decade ago with two kids, there were about 50 children racing for pirate booty during Pirate Tom’s latest adventure! Don’t believe me, check out this vintage clip of Pirate Tom from 2007!

IMG00261.jpg4. Shopping Anyone? Ever wonder where all those kitschy items that are reviewed by some of my favorite mom blogs (Cool Mom Picks) can be found? Simple, the boutique shops of Block Island. From onesies that say “Chicks Dig Me” to changing pads called Cushy Tushies, plus great Vera Bradley bags and craft fairs galore (where I picked up a gorgeous picture frame and mail box with hydrangeas on it from a local artist who summers in Block Island and lives full-time in Houston), shopping in Block Island is one of my favorite pastimes!
IMG00227.jpg5. The Summer of Lobster Continues…Did I mention the amazing restaurants on the island like the Spring House and the Atlantic Inn? There is nothing quite like seafood in the summer time and lucky for us, the Spring House, which is set atop a picturesque hill overlooking the bay, has steamed and stuffed lobster on the menu – along with mouth watering appetizers and desserts (they had me at key lime creme brulee). And the wine list is killer too. Oh, and about that view…
tradition_header.jpgFor more information, visit Block Island tourism.