Once a year, around the second week of June, my younger daughter revels in being an only child.

Her older sister, an astronaut wannabe, heads to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, where thousands of her peers engage in simulated missions and try out what it feels like to bounce around in zero gravity. She's sure she's the luckiest kid on earth.

But my 13-year-old? She knows she's got it made.

Published in Family Travel Blog

Sometimes fresh air and open spaces are just what the family needs.

Spend the night in the country and collect new skills.

Here are five places your family will remember till the cows come home:   

Leaping Lamb Farm. Alsea, OR.

Stow your gadgets and get back to nature on this charming 64-acre farm, in Oregon’s Coast Range. Craft a leisurely family breakfast in your cozy cabin including eggs your crew has collected. Find your way to the orchard to pick apples, pears or plums or wander off to forage for mushrooms. Lend a hand in the greenhouse and garden or learn about raising lamb and Heritage turkeys.  Brush the horses, admire the peacock and make time for a hike or bike outing on neighboring trails.

Contact: 877-820-6132; www.leapinglambfarm.com 

 

Madava Farms. Dover ,NY.

Visit the lush Hudson River Valley to learn how pure, certified organic Crown Maple syrup is produced on this 800-acre farm.  After a 45-minute bark –to- barrel tour, you’ll have the opportunity to sample four varieties (from light to dark) as well as maple sugar.  Visit the on-site café for other local taste treats.  The local tourism website offers additional suggestions for farm fresh experiences, self drive itineraries and charming regional inns.

Contact: www.crownmaple.com; http://dutchesstourism.com   

Icicle Inn Resort. Leavenworth, WA.

Sign up for artisan cheese making classes offered by Alpine Lakes Cheeses during which you’ll learn how this ancient food is crafted from the rich milk provided by the nearby farm’s small flock of 60 grass-fed sheep.  The hands on classes are offered for beginners as well as more experienced cheese makers. The kids will also enjoy a year-round indoor/outdoor pool, miniature golf plus hiking and biking. 

Contact: 800-961-0162;   www.iciclevillage.com 

Olde Fogie Farm B & B Marietta, PA.

  When the bell rings, signaling the onset of morning chores, kids can help collect eggs, pet the pig and feed the rest of the critters. Hosts Tom and Biz Fogie get rave reviews for friendly hospitality and a fresh approach to sharing their farm life with families. For an experience beyond the fence, the Fogie’s will arrange for your clan to dine with a local Amish family. You can also visit the nearby toy train and clock and watch museums. Contact: (717) 426-3992; OldFogiesFarm.com.

Philo Apple Farm. Philo, CA.

Leave the electronics and expectations for room service behind when you check into a charming cottage tucked within this small, family-owned working apple orchard. The proprietors have honed their cooking, growing and hospitality skills during the last 20 years and delight in sharing their knowledge with guests.  Stay and participate in meal preparation or just hang out amidst the fruit trees. Either way, you’ll learn about the making of fresh juice and jam and savor the sweetness of their well-preserved family recipes.

Contact: www.philoapplefarm.com.

 

Published in Sleep

Small towns to visit FamilyTravel.com

Small towns offer charm, history and an opportunity for adventure.

Here are five communities east of the Mississippi with special experiences of interest to families on vacation.

 

Princeton, NJ.

This college town is home to more prizewinners than any other community – as in Pulitzers, Nobels and Medals of Honor.  The leafy enclave offers miles of bike paths, canals for paddling and festivals for every season.  The university’s extraordinary cultural offerings include an art museum best known for their Chinese collection and impressive theatre known to showcase pre-Broadway productions.  Take a walking tour, shop in Palmer Square and visit the free Einstein Museum to learn more about another of the town’s bright lights.

Contact: www.VisitPrinceton.com;  www.PrincetonTourCompany.com.

Annapolis, MD.

  Work up an appetite kayaking, windsurfing or sailing on the Chesapeake Bay before an evening feast of the region’s famous crabs. Home to the U.S. Naval Academy, this history-rich state capital offers charming restaurants, shops, museums, lighthouses and the opportunity to enjoy watching water-worthy vessels, large and small, slip out to sea. Contact: 888.302.2852; VisitAnnapolis.org.

Ocracoke, NC.

  Revel in the old world charm of this small coastal village, where you’ll walk in the footsteps of Blackbeard the pirate, an early resident of the area. Amble along cobblestone streets, past clapboard houses, art galleries and colorful eateries before heading out for a kayak tour on the waters where the buccaneers once battled.  Feed the local herd of ponies, likely descendants of Spanish mustangs, before spending the day on a pristine 16-mile stretch of protected beach.

Contact: 252-928-6711; ocracokevillage.com

Stowe, VT.

 Do you favor Phish Food or Chunky Monkey? Schedule a family taste test when you tour the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in this scenic New England town. Take a sled dog tour, find out how apple cider is made or consider a stroll on the five-mile long Stowe Recreation path.

Check into the Trapp Family Lodge and Resort to enjoy their 2,400 acre natural wonderland, where hiking, rock climbing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing are tailored to family travelers.

Contact: GoStowe.com; TrappFamily.com.

Brunswick, ME Visit this small fishing village where artists and writers have found inspiration for decades. Winslow Homer painted his famous seascapes nearby and Harriet Beecher Stowe crafted Uncle Tom’s Cabin in town. Each year, the Brunswick Outdoor Arts Festival keeps the creative vibe alive offering theatre, music and crafts. Enjoy riverside views from the paved Androscoggin Bicycle and Pedestrian Path enroute to the 150-year old Topsham Fair where family fun includes animal pull events, crafts and harness racing. Contact: 888-624-6345; VisitMaine.com; topshamfair.net

 

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Published in My Travel Style