Norwich Spa at Foxwoods


Sometimes it’s nice to do a little something special for yourself. A little spa time, for example. Now, I have gotten pedicures every now and then for several years.  My friend Lisa and I were invited to the Norwich Spa at Foxwoods to enjoy their Pedi-Colada experience.  I think we’re both absolutely ruined for other pedicures now. Ruined.

foxwoods spa

The Norwich Spa is settled into the Grand Pequot Tower. I’m not big into gambling so I think if you hear I’m going to Foxwoods, you’ll likely just look for me at the spa.  It’s beautiful, it’s peaceful, serene, and there are a wealth of options for you to pamper yourself with. Manis, pedis, hair color, massage… it’s all there, in all price ranges and service levels.  You can go for a whole day and indulge in all of the services or just pop in for one. The Pedi-Colada is an 50 minute pedicure experience. I don’t know how else to describe it. Sure, it’s a pedicure, but you’re in a luxurious pedicure seat, handed a delightful Malibu Cocktail that’s made with Pineapple Juice and Coconut rum (for those of us over 21, of course!) Pedi Colada!  Offered Sunday through Wednesday (September 7th-10th); subject to availability. Includes Pineapple Soak, Almond Scrub, Mango Coconut Lotion and Paraffin.

The Pedi-Colada isn’t available all the time at the Spa.  There are other similar options to immerse yourself in a themed pedicure- I have my heart set on the Chocolate Overload pedicure for my next trip (and there WILL be another trip, that’s what’s high on my Christmas wish list!) There are other seasonal and limited time pedi experiences available and I think you’ll be delighted with any option you choose.

To start your pedicure, you’re invited to sit and soak your feet for a while.  This is when the staff head over to grab your cocktail for you, should you be so inclined (and of age).

pedi colada

After your soak, your feet will become smooth as butter.  I can’t even believe I forgot a photo but I was so distracted by the Malibu Cocktail, I forgot.  I have awful feet.  Dry, cracked spots all over the place.  I hate my feet!! The Norwich Spa has these things that look like hair dryers and they have almost like a skin-safe sandpaper type of thing on them- which gets all of that dry skin OFF.  Like off, off.  So your feet feel smooth. And fresh. Like a baby’s feet. I touched my feet all day long after the pedi!

pedi colada malibu cocktail

So instead of seeing the awesome dry skin remover, you can look at my Malibu Cocktail. Which is what I did anyway.

Once your feet are soaked, lotioned and polished, you’ll have your cuticules and nails shaped, trimmed, etc. and polish applied (if desired).

pedi colada 3

Once you’ve had your feet prettified, you get my favorite part of the pedicure.  A paraffin soak.  This is unlike the other paraffin experiences I have had.  Norwich Spa takes the paraffin to you and pours some of it into a baggie, which then goes all around your foot much like a boot would… and that entire bag is then covered by a terrycloth towel bootie.  It’s quite warm but not HOT, but the effect on your feet? Ohmygosh it’s just amazing. I could have sat with my feet in those booties all day long.

pedi colada paraffin

 

I can’t wait to go back to the Norwich Spa. Lisa and I have already discussed this and we’ve both decided we’re going first thing in the morning and getting a package with multiple services.  Worth every penny! We headed down to the David Burke Prime restaurant after our pedis.

Here’s a REALLY fun part of my day. One of my readers will WIN an  overnight stay at Foxwoods, $100 Food & Beverage credit and a spa service to one lucky winner! For the spa service, the winner would have the choice of the PediColada service from Norwich Spa at Foxwoods OR a spa service from the G Spa service menu!

Thanks to Norwich Spa and Foxwoods for inviting us for the Pedi-Colada. We can’t wait to go back! 

Visiting Mount Vernon- Changes and Chocolate

So here’s a fun fact you didn’t know about me- George Washington is my favorite President.  Always has been.  When I was younger, my family took a trip to Washington DC for a vacation.  My souvenir of choice was a framed George Washington print. It hung on my wall through high school.  (Sadly, I’m not sure what happened to it, my parents moved when I was away at college and I haven’t seen it since). GW is awesome.  Well, I suppose he was awesome.  He was a pretty amazing man, with a very strong character and actions to stand behind that character. I’m not saying he was perfect, but in comparison to anyone that’s remotely in the world of politics today, he sticks out like a bright shining star. Plus, he really liked chocolate.  So there’s that.  It’s like GW and I were destined to be besties.  Or something.

So, naturally, when American Heritage Chocolate invited me to be part of their #ChocolateHistory tour this fall, to visit 3 historical sites steeped in American History- including chocolate, I had no choice but to say yes.  The first stop on the tour was Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home.  Racquel headed down for that trip, as I was previously engaged, and you can read about her weekend (and yummy chocolate).  Stop two? Visiting Mount Vernon.  George Washington’s home. Next up is Old Salem Museums and Gardens.

And you guys, I went.

To George Washington’s very own Mount Vernon.

I know. I KNOW! I kept it together (or tried to, but it was really really hard to contain my excitement) until we turned the corner of the path and found ourselves facing Mount Vernon. I was all “OMG!” and stuff, but then it was like wait, WHAT?

mount-vernon-not-white

Mount Vernon isn’t white anymore. Nope.

Turns out, while history doesn’t change, things we find today can change what we know about history. And Mount Vernon wasn’t white in GW’s day, you guys.  It was not at all.

There’s a lot that’s changed around Mount Vernon.  I bet that’s a little surprising to some of you. It was to me.

This room has been thought of as a dining room for, well, a really long time.  Turns out, it was a parlor, where guests would gather and conversate.

110 West 80 St-4R, NY, NY 10024 212 874 3879

 

I just have to point out here that the house I grew up in was the same color as the walls of this room.  Coincidence? I think not. (Also photos from inside the mansion are shared with me by Mt. Vernon, as cameras are NOT allowed inside).

Fun fact: Look at the floors, how “plain” they are.  Even with the grandeur of the rooms in Mount Vernon, and the linens, decor, etc., the floors were plain and simple.  It’s an interesting contrast.

So once you leave the Front Room, out you go onto the veranda and find yourself looking at this beautiful view of the Potomac River.

mount-vernon-potomac-view

 

The truly amazing thing about this view is that it’s quite the same as it was when the Washingtons lived at Mount Vernon. Thousands of acres on the opposite shore of the river were purchased and preserved- eventually turned into a state park, to preserve this view. It’s truly an experience to stand where one of our Founding Fathers stood, to see what he would have seen in the same spot.  There aren’t many places in the world that can be said of.

Another change that you may or may not notice- on the veranda, there are 24 wooden chairs for visitors to enjoy this view.  For many, many years, those chairs have been painted green.  Recent discoveries (again, history hasn’t changed, but what we know of history has!) have proved that Mrs. Washington ordered 24 brown chairs, not green, and the folks at Mount Vernon painted them brown because of this. (You can see them in the photo below- and do you see the cupola? I climbed up TO that. The view is purported to be amazing. I saw a half second of the view and got quite anxious, so down I went).

front-view-mount-vernon-brown-chairs

The changes might be surprising to you- they honestly were to me. I was surprised- and intrigued-when I saw this archaeological site behind the kitchen

It’s surprising, but also really cool that no matter how long we’ve known about things, we’re still looking, discovering and learning more about our past. It never really occurred to me before last weekend that there would be changes at these historical properties, but starting with my first view of the very-much-not-white-Mount-Vernon, my eyes are wide open now. It’s actually renewed and refreshed my interest in our American History, and quite frankly, I think more of us SHOULD be visiting these places, and immersing ourselves in re-enactments.  it helps to make the words from the pages of our history books come alive, and really connect us with those who came before us.  Especially with our American History- we NEED to keep telling the stories, and re-watching them, because we need to keep them alive, and relevant, so that our generation, and the ones to follow, so that THEY will continue to be excited about it and remember all that many gave up so that we can live as we do today.

mount-vernon-kitchen

Kitchen at Mount Vernon

We actually came upon another archaeological site on the Mount Vernon property- my new friend Kelly and I had gone to see Washington’s Tomb, and then to see the memorial to the slaves who’d lived on Mount Vernon as well.  Past that monument, and back a bit, we could see clearly where 4 “shroud graves” lay in the soil, and one of the volunteers working on the area explained to us that the goal is to not discover who lays under the graves, but to know where they are, so careful excavation is being done. I was quite amazed at how clear the graves were- simply by the color of the soil- neat, clean lines around where the bodies lay. We did not take photographs of this- I didn’t feel right asking. I do wonder if those areas will be marked off somehow in order to preserve that area in time. The volunteer we spoke with comes down from NY state to help with the excavation-many of the volunteers drive a considerable distance in order to help preserve our history.

Stables at Mount Vernon

Stables at Mount Vernon

Changes have been made to the gardens at Mount Vernon (there’s that archaeology popping up again), and there’s an entire Education Center and Museum on the property that are worth the stop- and a few hours of your time.

gardens-mount-vernon

Gardens at Mount Vernon

The museum houses many beautiful (and not so beautiful, but historic and important) artifacts.  The Education Center offers an interactive, immersive experience for kids of all ages- even an area for littler kids to dress up and role play. Kids can take the oath of office right along with President Washington.  They can watch a 4D movie and hear the sounds George Washington would have heard. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you’ll happen to be at Mount Vernon when there are folks doing a re-enactment like this one below and you can literally feel yourself step back in time.

No changes to Washington’s bedroom- but it’s here our first President slept, in a very private part of the mansion- not many were (or are) allowed to this part of the house, but we were privileged to be able to see it in person. I was quite surprised to see two closets in a bedroom from this time. The bedding and linens are changed seasonally in this room, but it’s quite as it was when the Washingtons lived here.  Actually, once the President had passed, his wife boarded the room up and never went into it again.  Washington Bedchamber

You can see the tray next to the chair, and while you might first think that’s a setup for tea, it’s really not.  Remember, this was the time of the Revolutionary War, and tea was hard to come by. Most folks drank a chocolate drink- not chocolate as we think of it, but a hot chocolate drink that was thick, and strong, and would wake you right up. You can taste the chocolate as it was when the Washingtons enjoyed it, at Mount Vernon and other historical locations across the country, just look for American Heritage Historic Chocolate. One common food you will see across the globe and throughout history is chocolate- how cool is that? I feel like maybe we should have whole history classes on chocolate now. In all schools. That would be delicious!

American Heritage Chocolate

Frequently at Mount Vernon, at fairs, festivals and seasonally, you can enjoy some hot chocolate drink just as our ancestors did in the 1700s.  During the holiday season, the mansion is decorated with greenery and chocolate is served throughout the month. At fairs and festivals, American Heritage Chocolate often has a tent/booth set up where there are demonstrations of how the chocolate is readied for consumption and how it is prepared for drinking (or eating).  If you are lucky, you’ll be able to have a little hands-on time with the ingredients. I did, and it was really quite fun!

american-heritage-historic-chocolate-demo

Here’s me, working the mano on the metate (lava stone) to ready the chocolate for the molds. (You get mad bonus points if you know what those words mean…and I will tell you…in a yet-to-come recipe post).  See that grin on my face? That was plastered all over my face the whole entire weekend. Oh yes. I’m totally serious.

american-heritage-historic-chocolate-me

 

Once you’ve enjoyed exploring Mount Vernon, and gone to the Education Center and Museum, be sure to stop at the Mount Vernon Inn.  You can enjoy a brownie ice cream sundae made with American Heritage Historic Chocolate- and you can also enjoy some Mornay Chips. Just trust me.  Those are 2 MUST ORDER items on that menu. Plus, you’ll want to enjoy Colonial Hoecakes. (George himself liked his hoecakes with butter and honey, along with a Chocolate Cream to drink, but I’m quite sure you’ll love the modern take on these hoecakes!)

 

My only regret about my Mount Vernon visit is that I didn’t get a chance to take a photo with George Washington.  Or Martha. I guess I have to go back! I can’t wait to bring my family! In the meantime, we have some fun recipes we’ll be sharing in the next few months using American Heritage Chocolate!!

 

 

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and American Heritage blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

 

A Historic Chocolate Tour of Monticello

Fall is by far my favorite time of year and fall in America means harvest time.  This past weekend, as part of a paid SocialMoms and American Heritage Chocolate blogging program, I had the opportunity to visit Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, and attend the annual Heritage Harvest Festival.  We celebrated the harvest and the legacy of revolutionary gardener Thomas Jefferson, tasted heirloom fruits and vegetables, visited with artisan crafters, and learned so much about our history. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello As guests of American Heritage Chocolate, we had the privilege of a complete guided tour of Jefferson’s home.  We were able to step back into history and see Monticello as it existed during Jefferson’s life.  I had no idea that Thomas Jefferson was such an incredible architect.  As a former interior designer with an education in architecture, this experience was fascinating to me.  Photos cannot do justice to the detail and design of this home. The Stairway at Monticello This is the stairway looking from the top floor of Monticello to the basement level.  Narrow and steep and hidden.  Unlike most homes built in this period, Jefferson did not have a grandiose staircase upon entry to the home.  He also chose to design Monticello in a fashion that would conceal the true size of the home.  Monticello is an incredible 11,000 square feet while Mount Vernon is 8000 square feet and appears much larger. Dome at MonticelloThe inside of the dome shaped room at the top of Monticello. During our tour we were introduced to not only facts about Jefferson and his life but also to the origin of chocolate in America.  This is a men’s travel grooming kit from Jefferson’s day.  Inside you can see grooming necessities, drafting tools, and everything needed to enjoy chocolate while traveling! Men's Grooming Kit After our special tour of Monticello Friday evening, we attended the Chef’s Harvest Dinner atop Montalto.  Monticello means hillock or “little mountain” while Montalto is Italian for “high mountain”.  From one side of Montalto the city and University of Virginia is visible below, from the other Monticello.  The panoramic views from the harvest dinner were breathtaking.  We sampled rich foods from local and regional chefs, tasted Virginia wines, and had the opportunity to talk with one of our hosts from American Heritage Chocolate, Rodney Snyder. Heritage Harvest Dinner Rodney is the Chocolate history Research Director for Mars Chocolate North America.  His passion is educating people about the fascinating journey of chocolate throughout human history and culture.  He’s the author of “From Stone Metates to Steel Mills: The Evolution of Chocolate Manufacture” as well as part of the chocolate history book “Chocolate: Culture, Heritage, and History”.  He guided the development of American Heritage Chocolate which is a historic chocolate based on the recipes from Colonial America.  American Heritage Chocolate lets us taste and experience chocolate as it was enjoyed by our founding fathers.  We learned so much about the history of chocolate and how it has been woven into American culture for centuries. During Saturday’s Heritage Harvest Festival we spent some time with the Chocolate History Ambassadors from Mars as they demonstrated how chocolate was historically made and enjoyed.  These ambassadors volunteer their time to share the chocolate-making experience at historic sites across the country.  It was a so interesting to see the authentic tools in use as chocolate was made before our eyes. Chocolate making The Chocolate History Ambassadors make delicious hot chocolate for all to sample.  They introduced us to true hot chocolate, the way founding fathers like Jefferson enjoyed chocolate.  Hot chocolate is a rich and creamy drink made from melted historic chocolate and hot water.  The servings may look small but it is the perfect amount of this sweet drink. chocolate drink In addition to tasting the chocolate drink while visiting the wonderful people from American Heritage Chocolate, we sampled delicious baked goods created with this rich historic chocolate.  American Heritage Chocolate is exclusively sold at gift shops at historic sites, museums, and historic inns.  The employees at these fine locations have a passion for creating recipes like these from the chocolate sticks, bites, and chocolate baking blocks from American Heritage Chocolates. Chocolate Recipes I couldn’t wait to get home from my trip and prepare the delicious hot chocolate I’d learned to make for my family.  I feel good about creating recipes from this chocolate because I know it’s made with all natural ingredients and no preservatives.  I’m looking forward to using the product in new recipes and improving some family favorites. American Heritage Chocolate

This weekend Brett is traveling to George Washington’s Mount Vernon to explore our amazing heritage and learn more about chocolate’s journey through time.  I cannot wait to hear all about it!

Have you tried American Heritage Historic Chocolate

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and American Heritage blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this subject, click here.

Family Tent – Sleeps 6 – 10 People

The weather finally warmed up and all the snow melted.  We were able to set up the Sportz SUV Tent with Screen Room that was sent to us for this review by Napier Outdoors.  This tent was very easy to set up with the help of a 4 year old and a 9 year old.  We had the tent up and ready in about 15 minutes.

Truck tent that sleeps 10 family tent

 

Tent Features

– Attach to your vehicle to use the cargo area for storage or additional sleeping space

 

– Universal vehicle sleeve fits all CUV’s, SUV’s, and Minivan’s. Easily adjust the vehicle sleeve for a custom fit to your vehicle

 

– Transform the vehicle tent into a ground tent by fully removing the vehicle sleeve- Exclusive to Napier’s SUV Tents.

 

– Roomy 10′ x 10′ tent sleeps 5-6 people

 

– Plenty of headroom with 7′ at the center and 6′ at the corners

 

– 7′ x 6′ floorless screen room for bug free relaxation

 

– Fully removable screen room allows for easy removal when not in use

 

– Fast set-up with shock corded poles and clip system, simple enough for one person to set-up

 

– Bathtub style floor for superior water protection

 

– Full rain fly to protect you against the wettest weather

 

– 6′ x 6′ awning provides plenty of shade

 

– 2 Large entrance doors, 3 windows, and 2 skylights for ventilation

 

– Storm flaps in windows and screen room for added protection and privacy

 

– 2 gear pockets, gear loft and lantern holder to keep you organized

 

– Transform the screen room into an additional sleeping room by using the window storm flaps and optional foot print (Sold Separately)

 

– Expandable carry bag for easy storage *I love that they made this expandable, keeping in mind that the tent won’t fold the same after use*

camping with kids tent with screen room

You can purchase the  Sportz SUV Tent with Screen Room #84000 online for $379.

 

A product was provided to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

 

How many people do you sleep in your tent?

5 Packing Tips

I’m camping with all of the Girl Scouts in our town this weekend.  We leave Friday, come home Sunday.  The following Friday, I leave to go visit Mount Vernon for a media trip.  Fun? Yes. Exciting? Yes.  At least…. once I’m done packing. You see, I have historically had a reputation as an over-packer. I’m not too proud to admit it.

 

 

One quick and sure-fire way to ruin a vacation is to not pack properly.  There’s nothing like getting to your destination, and finding that you don’t have everything that you need. That’s why I’ve put together a few tips on packing that can guarantee you have the basics each and every time.

 5 Packing Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss

5-packing-tips

1.)   Mix and Match Outfits: When packing, space is of the essence. It can be hard to decide what exactly you may need, and anticipate for each and every activity on your trip. I’ve learned to pack clothing that is versatile, and can be easily switched up. I may pack a little black dress, for instance, that can be worn by itself for a night on the town; or paired with a blazer for a more professional look.

2.)   Keep “vacation toiletries” separate from regular toiletries:  Toothbrushes, mouthwashes, bath soap… all the most common things to be left behind when traveling. That’s why I keep a Ziploc bag of these essential items just for traveling. Not only does this help to not leave anything at home, it eliminates me forgetting my favorite shower gel in the shower at the hotel (something I’ve regretted doing time and time again).

3.)   Don’t Assume: Don’t ever assume that the hotel will have the essential items you need for your trip. If you know your clothing will need ironing, just pack an iron. If you’ll need to blow dry your hair, take a blow dryer! Lots of times the items at the hotel, if they have them, aren’t of the same caliber as the ones we’re used to. Trying to knock the wrinkles out of your slacks may turn out to be a much more tricky task with the small travel iron at the hotel!

4.)   Expect the unexpected: ALWAYS plan for the unexpected lady surprises. This means extra underclothes, and Carefree pads. I can’t stress enough the importance of this! I’ve been caught of guard, and had to resign to buying some very expense and overpriced off brand feminine products from the hotel gift shop. Now, I never forget my Carefree! (This also applies for all outings. I was caught quite by surprise at Fenway Park last month and upon finding nothing for sale in bathrooms, had to ask three strangers, which in itself was embarassing, although they had none- I did find out you can get some supplies at the First Aid Station).

carefree-acti-fresh

5.)   Roll, not fold:  A little extra suitcase room can go a long way. Rolling your clothes, when possible, rather than folding leaves you with a lot more open room for your items. This also keeps the close tight and compact, allowing for less wrinkles during travel!

 

The most important part about traveling is to have fun! Following the tips above will leave you spending less time stressing about your bag, and more time enjoying your vacation!

 

 

carefree-logo

So soft, so thin, so absorbent. Carefree® Acti-Fresh® daily liners leave you feeling nothing but fresh. Get $0.50 off any Carefree product at http://www.carefreeliners.com/carefree-coupons-offers.

 

 What are your packing tips?

 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Energizer Personal Care via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Energizer Personal Care.

  • n the rights to this image

Bear Creek Campground at Lake Compounce

Lake Compounce, America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America, recently opened their new Bear Creek Campground to visitors.  Having a campground with close proximity to the park seems like a natural progression and a great way for this staycation destination to become a vacation destination.Thanks to Lake Compounce, we were able to stay the all new Bear Creek Campground and spend the day a  Amusement Park in Bristol, CT.  It features the award winning wooden roller coaster, Boulder Dash and has Crocodile Cove water park.  Now, you can stay at Bear Creek Campground and enjoy even more time at the park.

Camping at Lake CompounceFrom Bear Creek at Lake Compounce Website

The Lake Compounce Bear Creek Campground is a brand new 15 acre campground which features 20 fully furnished cabins that sleep up to 10 people, 56 RV sites with water and electricity hook ups, and 30 tent sites. In addition, five tipis have been added to the campground; each sleeping six and equipped with cots, electrical outlets and a miniature refrigerator. The campground also has a main lodge that features a general store for stocking up on camping staples, as well as a 24-hour restroom, shower and laundry facility. Each campsite has a picnic table perfect for games and meals, and a campfire pit for barbeques and simply relaxing.

Features

Tents

  • • Picnic Table
  • • Fire Pit
  • • Daily Kid and Family friendly Activities
  • • Close Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilet)
  • • Leashed Pets Welcome!
  • • Discounted Tickets to Lake Compounce

rv set up at Bear Creek
RV’s

  • • 50/30/20 amp capabilities
  • • Water Hook up
  • • Electricity Hook up
  • • Can accommodate any size RV or Motor home
  • • Cable hook up
  • • Fire Pit
  • • Picnic Table
  • • Wi-Fi access
  • • Daily Kid and Family friendly Activities
  • • Close Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilet)
  • • Leashed Pets Welcome!
  • •We offer a dump station on site
  • • Close Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilet)
  • • Discounted Admission Tickets to Lake Compounce

bear creek lake compounce
Regular Cabins

  • • 2 full size beds (linens included)
  • • 1 twin size bunk bed (linens included)
  • • Full Kitchen
  • • Full bathroom (shampoo, soap, and towels included)
  • • Loft
  • • Dining Room table
  • • Wi-Fi and Cable
  • • Heat and Air Conditioning
  • • Picnic table
  • • Fire Pit
  • • Daily Kid and Family Friendly Activities
  • • Parking for two vehicles
  • • Discounted Admission Tickets to Lake Compounce

tipis at bear creek


Tipis

  • • 4 Cots (up to 5 cots available)
  • • Mini-fridge
  • • Plug ins for electronics
  • • Fire-pit
  • • Picnic table
  • • Close Parking available
  • • Wi-Fi
  • • Daily Kid and Family Friendly Activities
  • • Access to clean Public Restrooms (showers and toilets)
  • • Discounted Admission Tickets To Lake Compounce

Our Review of the Campground

We enjoyed our stay at Bear Creek.  The fact that it is on the same property as Lake Compounce is a huge selling point.  Bear Creek did just open up at the start of July 2014 and the staff is working hard to get many projects done.  The camp store is well stocked with food and camping items and the bathroom/showers are brand new and well maintained.

We stayed on an RV campsite.  It was easy to pull into and it has electricity, cable and water hookups.  The sites are level.  There have been trees planted but right now the sites are not shady.  They show great potential and I am excited to see how the campground grows.

There were activities everyday such as movies, bingo, tie dying and daily wake up with Kyle the Crocodile.

Kyle the crocodile

The campground was quiet and night and we got some really good sleep after a busy day at the park.  We spent 7 hours there and then took the convenient shuttle back to our camper.  We returned to Lake Compounce in the evening to play games and watch the light show.

Bear Creek Campground is new and not 100% set up.  The area has some construction equipment around, construction supplies and dirt piles.  All of the areas have not been seeded with grass yet so it was a little dusty.  It is their first season and we talked with a staff about all the work that is being done to make it a better place.  I would go back again.

Best Camping on Cape Cod

After a long week in the city, there are few things better than escaping up to the Cape. Going on a hike, watching the waves roll in, and camping under the stars is sure to help you hit that reset button. There are 20+ campgrounds on Cape Cod. Whether you are in an RV or tent camping,these spots make for the best camping on Cape Cod.

Camping Spots on the Cape

Bourne Scenic Park

On the iconic Upper Cape is Bourne Scenic Park that is right along the banks of the Cape Cod Canal on the mainland side of the Cape. The park has two pools, a picnic area, plus a game room and playground for the little ones. This campground can handle both tents and RVs and has a few cabins available. It is open April through October from $36/day or $216/week.

Dune’s Edge Campground

On the lower cape is the quiet 100 spot, Dune’s Edge Campground that sits in the middle of sand dunes and pine trees. The campground is on the edge of Provincetown, which is a historic retreat for artists and writers. Camp here and after a 15-minute walk be in the middle of Cape Cod’s eclectic street scene. The campground is open May through October and is part of the Cape Code National Seashore. If you love to be on the water sailing, boating, fishing, or swimming you have come to the right place.

Nickerson State Park

Away from the coast 30 miles south is one of the most popular campgrounds that has 400 campsites on 1900 acres of forested land is Nickerson State Park. These camping spots are quite spacious and private which leads them to being sold out 6 months in advance. There are eight freshwater kettle ponds that offer up the chance to soak up the sun swimming, canoeing, and fishing. If you are a cyclist, check out the 22-mile Cape Code Rail Trail that runs along the Outer Cape where you ride past cranberry bogs!

 

Check out the bests camping spots in New England and where to camp in MA!

How to Get Started Geocaching

Geocaching is a great activity to do with the family.  It gets you outdoors, walking around and makes you use your mind.  We started Geocaching a year ago and we still are loving it. If you are wondering how to get started geocaching, read on!

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a global treasure hunt.  Participants use GPS enabled devices to locate specific coordinates where they can search for a hidden cache.  The caches are small to large containers that will have a log to sign and often fun little items to trade.  These caches can be in a parking lot, a nature center, just off a trail or on a small island that can only be reached by boat.  Geocaching has so many different levels of difficulty and terrain.

 

What do You Need to Start Geocaching?

What is Geocaching

 

Good Shoes

Start by going to Geocaching.com where you can sign up for a free account.  There is also a Geocaching 101 section that helps explain the game.  I also recommend getting the app.  You can use app to find a cache, mark it as found and leave notes.  The site and app are both very user friendly.

Next, find caches near you and head out on the hunt.  We were surprised to find that we had a few within walking distance of our house. After just one evening of geocaching, we were hooked.  It is kind of like being in a secret club and only the members know where the caches are.  I like driving by spots knowing there is a cache there.

Some walking trails and biking trails have several geocaches along the way.  I always check the recent logs on caches before I go.  If it looks like it has not been found or is really hard I may skip it.  Always remember that kids have a different way of looking at the world.  Sometimes I over think the hiding places or clues and my son will find it quickly.

geocaching 101

Why We Love Geocaching

The number one reason is that we can go geocaching as a family.

It gets us outside and seeing parts of our state that we have never seen before.

The excitement of the find is addictive.

My son gets to trade fun small items, like toy dinosaurs, compasses and rubber chickens. I recommend going to party store and picking up some small items to trade.  This is really fun for the kids.

When we go on vacation it is fun to find a cache or 2 while exploring new places and we get to see spots that are away from the typical tourist attractions.

geocaching swagCheck out these other Geocaching posts.

Geocaching

and

GPS

 What is your favorite outdoor family activity?

Where to Camp in Massachusetts

The good thing about Massachusetts is that it is close to some amazing camping spots. (And super close to Connecticut!) When you are ready to walk out of the office and sit next to a campfire making s’mores, Massachusetts’ outdoor playground doesn’t disappoint. Whether you want to camp near the dunes on the Cape or in the forest near a lake, you can find a great camping spot in MA. Where to camp in Massachusetts is as simple as deciding what you want to relax around and drive just a couple hours to get there.

Where to Camp in MA

Nickerson State Park, Brewster

Close to Cape Cod is one of the largest campgrounds at Nickerson State Park. There are over 400 campsites, yurts, and a group campsite is available. This camping mecca sits on 1900 acres of forested land and has eight kettle ponds where you can fish, canoe, or go swimming. One of the best things about the camping spots is that they are very large and have a lot of privacy with all the trees around. There are no hookups here but they do have flush toilets, showers, picnic tables with fire rings and dumping station available.

Wompatuck State Park, Hingham

Just 35 minutes outside of Boston is a great campsite that can accommodate both tents and RVs. Bring your bicycle and hiking boots and have fun on both the paved and hiking trails. You can fish at Cohasset Reservoir and have fun kayaking there too. Bring your water jugs and fill up on the fresh drinking water at Mt. Blue Spring – a true treat to do on a hot summer day. The campsite offers electric hookups, a dumping station, and potable water.

Shawme-Crowell State Park, Sandwich

When you want to camp near the beach out at the Cape, this is the campsite you want to head to. It has 285 sites in a wooded area and it even has yurts to rent. You can bring your horses and ride them on 15 miles of roads and trails. It has full hookups and a dumping station for your RVs.

Can’t stand to fully unplug from social media? Bring along a solar battery pack!

Where do you like to camp?

On the go first aid

On the go first aid is not always something we stop to consider. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my husband being safety man, I’d probably not be prepared often on the go.  He’s always been insistent that each of our vehicles have a well-stocked first aid kit. Which we do.  But I usually leave it in the van, and don’t carry it with me.  Some men carry protection in their wallets.  My husband carries bandaids (totally serious, and always at least 2…. which I found out when I cut my finger on my own jeans in a store a few months ago… he whipped out a bandage!!)  Mr. Martin totally needs a Safety Man shirt.  He’d rock that. Also a cape.  Made from bandages.

All of those scrapes and cuts from summer fun don’t have to have to be a nightmare to contend with. At least not anymore. Having a first aid kit nearby can help immensely, and it doesn’t have to be a big kit.  A few basics are all you need!

What to include in an on the go first aid kit

on-the-go-first-aid-kit-essentials

Bandages (I recommend a box with multiple sizes)

Ace bandage (or similar- can be used to support a twisted ankle or knee, or tied as a turnicot)

Puracyn OTC Wound & Skin Care  

Puracyn OTC Wound & Skin Care is a unique, patented solution of electrochemically treated saline for cleaning and healing wounds, including cuts, abrasions, irritations and lacerations.  The solution mimics compounds naturally produced by the body, making it an ideal aid in wound cleaning and healing.

Doctor-tested Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care is non-irritating, non-toxic and non-sensitizing as well as safe, effective and easy to apply in first aid situations. It does not contain antibiotics, steroids or alcohol and no prescription is required.

Benzocaine (or similar) in case of sting or bite

I’d love to suggest coins to call for help from a payphone but I’m not sure where many payphones are located anymore! 

on the go first aid kit

On the go first aid kits don’t need to be a full first aid kit. The above items will all fit into even a sandwich sized reusable container and won’t take up a ton of room in your day pack, diaper bag, etc.  It will allow you to treat minor cuts, scrapes and wounds on the spot when you are on the go, so that all of those fabulous fun memories you are making with your loved ones aren’t interrupted or put on hold to go back home or to the car for some first aid.

firstdayatbeach

My kids haven’t spent much time at the beach.  We just haven’t been often- pools, lakes, yes.  Ocean? Not so much.  On Mother’s Day, we took our first family of 5 trip to the beach! It was tons of fun, no injuries, and we’re all anxious to visit again when it’s warm enough to swim!

 

Puracyn-knee-scrape

Puracyn-wound-care

You can see the drops of Puracyn on his leg- we left them there so you can see that the solution itself is clear. We used the Puracyn to clean the wound for a few days- someone won’t keep bandages on and continues to fall and scrape the knee over and over again…

 

Check out the HUGE and fabulous giveaway Puracyn has going on over at their Facebook page-you’ll have a chance at winning a $400 summer themed prize package for fun at the beach, on a camping trip, at a backyard BBQ and more! Enter from 6/21 to 7/24/14 (18 and older)

 

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. I received one 4 oz. spray bottle of Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care and a branded first aid kit. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. I received one 4 oz. spray bottle of Puracyn® OTC Wound & Skin Care and a branded first aid kit. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.