It’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… 1. 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! 2. 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! 3. 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!
4. 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! 5. 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… For more information, visit Block Island tourism.
Written by Role Mommy Wing Mom Danielle Feigenbaum
Last week my family and I had a taste of the fantastic Great Wolf Lodge right in New York City. Great Wolf Resorts is the world’s largest chain of indoor water parks which owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge brand. Even though we were in a hotel ballroom, we were transported to a magical land with holiday celebrations galore. There were crafts, delicious food, cookie decorating and of course the famous wolves, Wiley and Violet. My husband, kids (ages 10 and 7) and I all thought the food was really good, especially the desserts. The kids decorated howl-o-ween bags that they will use to trick or treat next week and my daughter and I were transformed into princesses and treated to some pampering at the “Scoops Spa”. Here is an idea of how much fun you can have around Halloween at any of the Great Wolf Lodge locations… Howl-O-Ween:
Great Wolf Lodge – North America’s largest family of indoor waterparks – presents Howl-O-Ween, a Halloween celebration dedicated to providing “spooktacular” fun for the whole family with rates starting at $199 per night. Available at all twelve Great Wolf Lodge locations spanning Kansas City to New England throughout October, families can participate in a bevy of seasonal thrills and chills when noting the HOWL promo code at time of booking. During Howl-O-Ween, children are free to join a trail of trick-or-treaters as they collect ghostly goodies along a spooky path, don their most frightening costumes for a parade, attend a monster-themed dance party and end the night with some boo-bit scary stories.
Most families are looking for something fun to do during the holidays when the kids are out of school. Look no further… Snowland: Snowland, Great Wolf Lodge’s month-long winter celebration (available at all Great Wolf Lodges spanning Grand Mound, Washington to Williamsburg, VA), offers up festive activities from visits with Santa Clause to indoor snow showers to a Polar Wolf Walk. For a truly delectable experience, visitors are invited to dine inside the resort’s life-size gingerbread house. Great Wolf Lodge has partnered with Just Born, makers of PEEPS, Mike and Ikes and Hot Tamales, to create the edible gingerbread house. Featuring more than 5,000 candies, 600 pounds of gingerbread dough and 1,320 pounds of sugar, the gingerbread house will be baked, iced and candied to perfection, providing the setting for a memorable holiday feast. The appetizing walls of the lodge-baked abode have as much heart as taste as the proceeds for each meal go to charity.
From our little peek at what Great Wolf Lodge has to offer, we are looking forward to visiting a location near us soon!
I am a lucky lady. Besides all of the obvious things – fantastic family, health, friends, etc. – my job takes me to amazing places and lets me have experiences that I can then share with our fabulous Role Mommy readers! Last weekend my hubby and I packed up the car and our two kids (ages 10 and 7) and headed to the gorgeous state of Vermont. I was invited by The Essex Resort & Spa to experience a special family getaway and get a taste of the dining and cooking academy. We spent a lovely day driving up North from New York to Vermont. There are many things you can do to break up the drive. The Basketball Hall of Fame is in Springfield, MA for you basketball fans. We stopped at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT (less than half an hour from The Essex Resort & Spa) which was really fun and yummy. You can also stop in Quechee, VT and watch glassblowers at work in the original Simon Pearce workshop, savor a locally sourced meal in their riverfront restaurant, and visit their retail store at the Simon Pearce Factory, it was pretty amazing. We were greeted at the Essex by a very friendly staff and checked right in to our lovely one bedroom suite. There was a kitchen, table, pull out couch and cot (so the kids wouldn’t kick each other all night) and a big bathroom with jacuzzi tub that we all enjoyed!
Besides the comfy and cozy accommodations, the food was the real star of the weekend. The Essex prides itself on farm to table dining and award winning chefs. We had dinner one night and breakfast both days at one of their two restaurants, The Tavern. Here are pics of our delicious dinner appetizers and breakfast (what’s better than fresh Vermont maple Syrup?), try not to drool… We had a chance to explore the resort a little bit, the spa looks fantastic and the kids had a blast swimming in the beautiful indoor pool! At night we joined a big campfire where they were roasting marshmallows. The main event for us for the weekend was a family cooking class. The fabulous chefs at the Essex teach a variety of different cooking classes and offer outings such as “Vermont Guided Tours: Wine & Maple Tour & Lunch”. Here are some pictures from our awesome Italian cooking class with incredible Chef Brandy! We made caesar salad, pasta and tomato sauce (from SCRATCH!) and as the grand finale, molten… chocolate… cake! The best part, besides having fun and eating the yummy food, is you get to take home the recipes and, even though I am not an executive chef, I can totally make all this food! (Once I buy a pasta maker, which my kids are begging me for!)
A picture is worth a thousand words, and as you can see by the cooking class pictures, it was a huge success! If you are looking for something to do with your family this summer, Essex Resort & Spa has a camp for kids! Camp Cook is a week long culinary journey that takes kids from a fully equipped teaching kitchen to the source of the foods, herbs and vegetables used daily. Available during nine five-day sessions this summer, beginning June 16, Camp Cook is available to children ages 10-16. From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day, kids collect eggs from the onsite chicken coop, pick local berries at nearby farms, learn knife skills and kitchen safety, prepare mouth-watering recipes, swim, and more. Parents too can have a culinary vacation by booking the 2014 Family Camp Cook Package, which includes five night’s deluxe accommodations, one week enrollment for one child in Camp Cook, 25 percent off spa services for the entire week, and buy one get one free cooking classes for adults throughout the week. What are you waiting for? Book your trip now for this summer and you could be taking a ride in a hot air balloon over Lake Champlain and looking at this breathtaking view! Their second restaurant is currently being renovated and will reopen the beginning of June with a Vermont interactive “farm to table” culinary experience. You will be able to see the chefs cooking and interact with them.
As you can tell, we had a fantastic weekend at The Essex Resort & Spa. This would make an unforgettable family getaway any time of the year… book your summer vacation now and experience Camp Cook for yourself!
Disclaimer: This was a complimentary weekend at The Essex Resort and Spa, but all opinions are completely my own.