Travel Reviews



No matter how experienced a traveler you are, and regardless of how many miles you have trekked as a solo traveler, traveling with kids is an entirely different ball game. It takes planning way beyond your standard travel planning, and you cannot pack as light as you otherwise would. In addition, you have to be very particular about choosing your travel destinations. Interestingly, no matter how well planned your trip is, you should never expect everything to work exactly how you imagine when you are traveling with kids.

If you are planning a vacation with your kids, a beach getaway may be the perfect choice. Beaches are not only meant for sun worshipers and honeymooners, they can be a fantastic destination for kids, since they love sand and water. Phuket would be a great place to head to, since it is renowned for its beaches and is family friendly.  You wallet will be happy too, since Phuket is affordable. Here are some tips that will help you pull off a memorable beach vacation in Phuket.

Plan in Advance

Planning is essential and it cannot be stressed enough that when traveling for kids, this is something you just cannot skip. Plan your itinerary, make a list of supplies that you want to pack and consider your children’s sleep and meal patterns when making your travel plans. Remember that once you arrive, everyone will need to adjust to the time zone change, and how that will affect your sleep schedules.

When traveling changes in times are not the only thing your kids will need to adjust to. Changes in their diet must be considered, especially if you have picky eaters. Finding out about what types of food is available and taking along some foods they like is important. If you have an infant who is still on baby formula, make sure to pack enough as it probably will not be available in Phuket. Scheduling a visit to your child’s pediatrician is imperative, as they can advise you of any important medical issues when traveling abroad.

Do Not Compromise on Accommodations

As a solo traveler, you might not be as finicky about your lodging. In the past you might have accepted almost any type of room or even a bunk at a hostel to crash for the night.  However, it is different with kids, and you should not mind paying slightly more to get a proper hotel room. This does not mean that you need to book some extravagant suit at The Hyatt, but it should be something clean, comfortable and with the necessary amenities at the very least. You can find many three star resorts that will easily fit your budget while providing you with comfortable accommodations so you and your family can rest easy.

Phuket Beach Vacation

Say No to Long Day Trips

Your focus on a beach vacation should be on relaxing and chilling out, rather than being in a rush with exhausting schedules. Day trips sound fun, but they can be a nightmare with kids, especially with the younger ones. Most Phuket excursions will require you to leave very early in the morning, travel long distances, explore the area and be back later in the evening. The whole schedule is very rigorous for younger children who need to rest, nap and eat on time. It is certainly not something to pursue unless you like dealing with cranky, tired children. If you are taking long excursions such as the Koh Phi Phi tour, consider making it an overnight stay rather than a day trip, so your kids can rest and relax.

Phi Phi Island Tour

This is a collaborative guest post. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

If you are visiting or living in the great city of Melbourne, you should take advantage of all that Victoria has to offer. With just a few hours of driving, you can reach Victoria and all that it has to offer like, scenic coastal drives, beautiful gardens, amazing Australian wildlife, delicious food, rejuvenating mineral springs and so much more.

All kinds of accommodations can be found in Victoria. Beyond the traditional hotels you can opt to stay at rustic cabins, quaint bed and breakfasts, beachside lodging, mountain retreats, farm stays and many other awesome places to hang your hat.

Below you can check out some of the most popular destinations in Victoria for nature lovers, romantic trips or getaways with family and friends.

Daylesford & Hepburn Springs

Want to experience ultimate relaxation? Check out Daylesford and Hepburn Springs – Victoria’s famed Spa Country. You can choose from more than one hundred natural spa treatments that are sure to leave you well-replenished, or just enjoy the rejuvenating powers of immersing yourself in naturally occurring mineral springs.

Mornington Peninsula

You’ll find this paradise just over an hour from Melbourne, but you’ll feel like you’ve traveled a world away. Strewn along the coast are quiet Victorian seaside towns, lovely sheltered beaches, fancy wineries as well as local markets. Here you can spend your days lounging by the beach in the pleasant Sorrento or Portsea. Enjoy tasting local wines and  gourmet cheese in Red Hill. In Mornington Peninsula everything you want is at your fingertips.

The Dandenongs

Located a mere hour from Melbourne, The Dandenongs is a paradise near the city. Lavish foliage, abundant gardens, forests of tall ash trees, and quaint towns are the charms of Melbourne’s concrete jungle. There’s more to do than just enjoying the nature here. It’s possible to visit here via ferns and gullies on the historic Puffing Billy. Be sure to visit the region’s most famous establishment, Miss Marple’s Tea Room for a delicious taste of scones and tea.

Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley is a real foodie haven in Victoria that’s renowned for its world-famous wineries, beautiful accommodations and fine restaurants. Yarra Valley is a renowned weekend destination both for Melbourne’s visitors and residents. Go out for a stroll, take photos of the rolling vineyards of the valley while on a hot air balloon ride. You can also get up close and personal with wildlife such as dingoes, wombats, platypuses and kangaroos at the Healesville Sanctuary. Don’t forget to savour exquisite meals matched with the some of the region’s best red and white wines to complete your gourmet experience.

High Country

Take in the majestic snowy peaks, pleasant heritage towns, rolling countryside, and superb wineries all while breathing in the fresh alpine air. There’s plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors in Victoria’s High Country. Sample creative cuisines in Milawa and Beechworth or spend an afternoon sipping wines in Rutherglen. Relish in the amazing scenery by biking or horseback riding through mountain trails. In winter, you can ski or snowboard down the slopes of Mount Buller, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham.

Victorian river trips

Want to fully enjoy Victoria’s natural wonders? Here you can find some of the best river scenes in the world where you and your travel companions can enjoy a plethora of activities. Check out the list of river trips from DriveNow and have a fun weekend break at Victorian Rivers. Take some time to relax  riverside under the sun or swim through unspoiled waters nestled by nature and wildlife.

There you have it! Don’t forget to plan your itinerary in advance to maximise your stay. While you’re at it, it’s best to book your personal transport in advance so you can avoid lines, traffic, and even visit locations that aren’t normally reached by public transportation.

This is a collaborative guest post. The views and ideas expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

 

Traveling alone or with another adult is very different to traveling with kids. It is simple just to pack for yourself and hit the road. Beyond that, traveling by yourself is much less expensive than traveling with a family. Since Traveling solo is less expensive it will allow you to travel to more pricey destinations, such as exotic islands.

Traveling to new places is so rich in experiences that no one should have to be deprived of it. However, when kids come along, the thought of traveling is something many parents dread, thanks to the stress, expense and time management issues.

Many parents have to forget about traveling once they have kids, especially embarking on international trips. If they really need a break, they might take turns going on a solo adventure. While this may give mom or dad some relaxing time to unwind, it does not provide for the family to take a trip and build those precious memories.  Kids benefit from traveling as much as adults, it not only rejuvenates them mentally, but also offers them a great learning experience.

If you are a parent, who is reluctant to travel with toddlers or young kids, start by choosing kid-friendly destinations that are not overly expensive. Next, make sure your kids sleep well and eat on time,  so you are not dealing with cranky kids on your trip. Packing a small backpack for each child with snacks and small toys or games is a great idea. If you are not used to traveling internationally with toddlers and are on a tight budget, you should consider Pattaya, Thailand for your next family vacation. Find out below why Pattaya is an excellent choice for families looking to take an international vacation.

Easy to Access

It is no secret that Thailand is one of the cheapest holiday destinations for a country that offers pristine, exotic beaches along with an abundance of nature and entertainment options. However, most families with kids get turned off because the more famous islands require additional flights or overnight road travel.

Fortunately, Pattaya is a mere 3-hour drive from the capital, and families will easily be able to find buses and cabs from the airport. It is recommended that instead of using public transportation, you rent a car from the airport and drive on your own. This way you will be able to travel at your own pace, and your kids can easily rest in the back seat.

Budget Friendly

While it is already well-known that Thailand is one of the most pocket-friendly destinations, not everyone knows Pattaya is the cheapest destination within the country. Pattaya’s location near the capital eliminates the need for additional flights which saves you money right off the bat.

Accommodations are extremely economical. You can find a room at a 5-star beach resort such as the Hilton for about $250, and even less during certain times of the year.  There are also much cheaper three-star, four-star and Airbnb options available to suit every budget and family’s needs.

Attractions for Everyone

Pattaya has a lot to offer for everyone in the family, and your kids are not going to get bored. Let your kids  play in the sand and surf at the lively Pattaya beach while you chill out on one of the lounge chairs or enjoy the water sports.

If you want to experience a more scenic and exotic beach, take a trip to the famous Coral Islands. You can apply online for many more kid-friendly Pattaya tours such as the Cartoon Network water park, Safari World to experience the wild up, close and personal and a beautiful elephant sanctuary.

This is a collaborative guest post. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

Most of us enjoy traveling, especially during the summer months. Even people who are not in the best health like to get away, and take a trip. Travel may even do them well, because taking time to relax on a vacation can have a restorative effect. Not to mention, a change in scenery can do wonders to lift the spirits and even promote healing.

Just a few decades ago, someone who was elderly, prone to ill-health or infirm would not have dreamt of traveling far. This was understandable, after all, most airports did not cater to their needs. Getting on a plane was an exhausting nightmare that most people could not cope with.

Beyond air travel, many people  worried about what would happen if they got sick while they were away. Up until fairly recently getting comprehensive travel insurance if you were not in good health was all but impossible.

Fortunately, things have changed. Several insurance firms now offer a good level of coverage for the sick, elderly and infirm. An example is the united healthcare pre-existing conditions policy. Provided your condition has been stable for 6 months, you can get a quote from them. In many parts of the world, for example in Europe, the law states that assistance must be provided at the airport and on the plane for disabled or infirm passengers.

As you can see, two of the major hurdles that faced travelers with pre-existing conditions have now been removed. As a consequence, people are  taking advantage of this fact, and traveling more. With a little extra preparation, you can do so too, even if you are not in the best of health. There are just a few extra things you need to take into account.

Travel insurance

When it comes to travel insurance, there are a wider range of policies available now. However, it is very important that you do your research before buying a policy. You need to understand exactly what is covered and what is not.

It is very important to fill in the application form accurately. Failure to do so, can easily invalidate your policy. You also need to understand what you have to do should your condition change between the date you book your vacation and when you actually travel. Normally, you will still be covered, but not following the notification rules, could leave you without proper coverage.

Save The Contact Numbers

Remember to add your travel insurance contact numbers to your phone. Calling  them is a good way to make sure they get put into your mobile correctly. Once you know you have got through to the right place, you can quickly and politely end the conversation. Double-check that you have included the area code and that the numbers are the ones that have been set up so they can be dialed from abroad. It is also worth making a photocopy of these numbers and keeping that in a wallet or purse.

Pack Your Medications

Make sure that you have enough medication to take you through your entire holiday. It is wise to take at least an extra week supply with you. That way if you get delayed, you will not have to worry for a few days.

Double-check that you can legally take your medications into all of the countries you are planning to visit on your trip. You usually can, but how much you can take may be limited. You may also need to carry your prescriptions or other documents with you.

It is also wise to find out what your medications are called in your destination country. Should you lose anything, replacing it should be a lot easier. If you take expensive medications double-check to see if your travel insurance covers replacing any that you lose.

This is a collaborative post. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

Hiking is an excellent hobby that lets you experience nature, see amazing sights, see wildlife and get a great workout. If you are setting out for a hike, you probably know the importance of a comfortable backpack and good hiking shoes. However, there are some other important items that you should pack before you go on your next hike. Below you will find my list of 17 Top Hiking Essentials that can help you survive if you have an accident, or find yourself in adverse conditions.

Flashlight

A flashlight, lantern or headlamp is an absolute essential. It can get very dark at night and you will need something to light your way. Headlamps are a good choice because they keep your hands free. Most headlamps have different light modes including a strobe mode that can be used to signal for help in an emergency.

Map

You might have all the apps or GPS devices you can imagine, but you need to have a real map with you. Technology can fail and your devices can run out of power. Often, the signal strength is not good out in the mountains or remote areas, so you need to have something to rely on. Topographical maps are the best choice.

Compass

In addition to a good map,  you need to have a compass you can rely on as a backup if those sophisticated GPS devices and apps fail you  Compasses don’t need a power source or batteries, and some come equipped with a sighting mirror that can be used to flash sunlight to signal a helicopter or rescuer in an emergency. Technology is great, but don’t underestimate the importance of tried and true navigation devices.

Sunscreen

Out in the elements, you need to protect yourself from the damaging UV rays of the sun. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen, and remember to apply it. A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is recommended. Check that the sunscreen you choose blocks UVA and UVB rays.

Sunglasses

A good pair of sunglasses are essential. Make sure you choose a quality pair because your eyes are worth it. A key component in a quality lens is the ability to block 100% of ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB). Did you know that UVB rays have been linked to the development of cataracts? Protecting your eyes is very important for your health. Be wary of cheap sunglasses that may put your eyes at risk.

First Aid Kit

Purchasing a ready-made kit is best, because they are designed to have supplies for a variety of issues, and save you the time of building your own. There are specialized first aid kits made for hiking and camping. A well stocked first aid kit will have all types of supplies including a snake bite kit.

Power Bank 

High capacity power banks are perfect to pack along to use if you need to charge your phone or other devices. You may think your phone has a great battery life, but you need to prepare for the unexpected. Power banks can be life-saving if you have an emergency or encounter conditions that cause delays.

Solar Charger

A solar charger can be used to power your smartphone and other electronics if you run out of battery power and deplete additional power banks. Using a solar charger can help you call or message for help if you have a signal.  Many solar chargers include a flashlight and even a compass.

Tools

A good knife and multi-tool are great to use for repairs, food prep, cutting branches or to use in emergency situations You can find all kinds of knives and multi-tools on the market. Choose one that is durable and lightweight.

Hydration

When you are hiking, you need plenty of water. Hydration packs and water bottles are a good way to make sure you have a supply of clean water to drink. There are personal water filters that can be used to turn stream or other water into safe drinking water. Carrying one of these filters can give you peace of mind that you will have life-sustaining water to drink if you are stranded or run out of water.

Emergency Shelter

Even if you are not going on an overnight hike, you should still pack an emergency shelter. You may feel confident that you will not get lost or injured, but it is best to be prepared for the unexpected. Something as simple as a space blanket or lightweight tarp can protect you from wind, rain, snow or sleet while you wait for help.

Safety Whistle

A loud safety whistle should be in your gear. If you need to signal for help, this will be heard a lot farther than your voice.

Insect Repellent

Carry a spray or lotion to protect yourself from biting insects, spiders, ticks and more. Many insects such as ticks can spread deadly disease so, be sure to protect yourself with an insect repellant that works well for the area you are hiking in.

Matches

Waterproof matches stored in a waterproof container can help you build a fire. Whether you need them to start a campfire on an overnight hike, or to light a fire to keep warm or signal for help, dry matches are essential. You pack a butane lighter to use as a backup.

Firestarter

A Firestarter like some dry tinder, candles or special wood soaked nuggets should be kept in a waterproof bag. These items will allow you to quickly get your fire to ignite. Even household dryer lint can be used.

Food

Don’t forget to pack extra food even on day hikes. Food items that are light but have good nutritional value are dried meats, nuts, protein bars and dried fruits.

Extra Clothing

Weather conditions can change rapidly, so pack an additional layer of clothing to protect yourself from the elements. Choose your clothing based on the season and the worst weather conditions you could face.

Hiking and camping are fun activities the whole family can enjoy. Preparing for emergencies and adverse conditions will give you peace of mind, and help keep you safe if you encounter trouble. How do you prepare for a hike? Do you have any important tips to share? I would love to read them in the comments.

 

Phuket, the largest island in Thailand is also one of the major tourist spots in Southeast Asia. It is listed among the best beaches in the world, and rightly so. Even some of the most exotic and expensive beach resorts in Africa and the Caribbean cannot match this tropical Southeast Asian beauty.

To top it off, it is by far one of the cheapest beach locations in the world. If you are flying into Phuket from the West, the airfare might put a bit of a dent on your wallet, but other than that everything else is pretty reasonable.

Phuket has an international airport but it does not host many international flights, so in case your airline does not offer a direct connection to Phuket, you might have to travel through Bangkok, which makes the journey a bit tedious. For this reason, we suggest dedicating at least a full week to Phuket so that you can relax and enjoy it to its fullest.

Phuket is not a place for day-tripping, and even a 2-day stay is not enough to see it all. If you are heading towards Phuket, here are four things that you must do.

Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi, popularly known as the Phi Phi Island is the biggest claim to fame is the famous Leonardo DiCaprio Hollywood flick The Beach (2000). Yes, the movie was shot right here on this island. However, even if you are not a movie buff, the island itself is way too serene and beautiful to be missed out.

If your stay in Phuket is for an extended period, we would highly recommend spending a night or two in Koh Phi Phi. However, if you do not have to do that, at least a day trip on this pristine white beach is a must.

Phang Nga Bay

Another divinely beautiful spot near Phuket is the Phang Nga Bay, which is famous for the beautiful limestone formations erected out of the emerald-green sea water. Phang Nga Bay is also home to James Bond Island, which got its name after two Bond movies were shot here. There is a lot to do in Phang Nga Bay, but some of the must-dos are limestone cliffs, the hongs, and Koh Panyee.

We recommend that you take a long tail boat from the eastern side of Phuket to shorten your travel time to Phang Nga Bay. Some luxury travelers also prefer taking a private speedboat or a Yacht which allows greater independence and shorter travel times. You might want to check out https://online-phuket.com for some great excursion deals to Phang Nga Bay to suit your preferences.

Phuket Fantasea

The scope of entertainment in Phuket goes way beyond beaching and island hopping, and Phuket Fantasea is a classic example. This happening cultural theme park that hosts over 4000 people every day is a landmark in Phuket’s nightlife. It offers a variety of shows and exciting performances along with tantalizing eating options.

Soi Bangla

Phuket is a town that seldom sleeps, and if you are looking for some late night fun, Bangla Street is your place to be. This beautiful street that stretches at over 400 meters come to life right after sunset and stays festive till the wee hours of the morning. The road is decorated with colorful neon lights and is home to many pubs, bars, cafes, eateries, nightclubs, and shopping places.

 

This is a sponsored guest post, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

 

 

5 Days on the French Riviera

Having a year-round holiday vibe, the French Riviera or Cote d’Azur epitomizes the joie de vivre. Enjoy and see it yourself, the good-life spirit in the Riviera’s coastal resort towns and up high in perched villages clinging to the foothills of the Alps. Play in the maze of old-city alleys, find out what’s new at the Provencal markets, go on road trips full of picture-perfect views and appreciate summer sound of cigales. In the five days in the Cote d’Azur sample itinerary, we’ll take you to the very best sites and sounds of the French Riviera.

Where to Stay in the French Riviera?

If you’re looking for a non-stop action and the city life, Nice is perfect for you. Later in this guide, you’ll learn that Nice has a good boardwalk, many dining and drinking options, and casinos. Since it is the fifth largest city in France, Nice has a lot of accommodation to choose from the suits all your tastes and budget – from French Riviera home rentals, apartments to five-star hotels.

French Riviera Travel Tips

  • Cote d’Azur is a year-round holiday destination, and best enjoyed during the shoulder seasons from April to June and September to October. During these months, the weather is great for all types of activities, tourists and visitors haven’t yet arrived or have left already, and the traffic isn’t bad.
  • You can tour around by foot in the Cote d’Azur major towns such as Antibes, Cannes, and Nice, and even use the train or bus to get from one destination to the other. Much better if you can rent a car, as it will open up the beautiful countryside for exploration.
  • Some of the museums are usually free on bank holidays and on the first Sunday of the month.
  • There are so many excellent products to bring back as souvenirs such as jams, olive oil, lavender, perfume, and many more, so consider paying for your extra luggage for the return back home.
  • If you’re into Scuba diving, there are few dive clubs in and around the Antibes.

Day 1: Arrive in Nice, Explore Nice

Most flights arrive into Nice in the late morning or early afternoon depending on where you are traveling from. Check into your hotel and then spend the rest of the day discovering the streets of Nice.

Tour along the Promenade des Anglais, a paved walkway along the coastline of Nice. Climb the Castle Hill to see the entire view of Nice. Go to Old Nice (Vieux Nice), a picturesque part of town with narrow streets, many cafés and restaurant, and colorful buildings.

Day 2: Villefranche-sur-Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

On the second day, explore the many scenic towns in the Cote d’Azur.

Villefranche-sur-Mer is located on the coast just east of Nice. You can get in this town by hiring a taxi, which is the easiest way. Spend half your day exploring the calm and colorful streets of Villefranche-sur-Mer. There are few great restaurants you can find along the water’s edge, a good place for your lunch.

After lunch, grab another taxi and go to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Cap Ferrat. This Villa is a mansion that was constructed in 1905 by a rich baroness. The house is just stunning and most tourists visit here to see its beautiful gardens.

A few minutes away from Villa Ephrussi is the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat where you can rest in the small beach and harbor. To appreciate the beauty of the town, walk along the Promenade Maurice Rouvier to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. From this place, you can grab a taxi going back to Nice.

End your day with dinner and drinks in Nice.

Day 3: Monaco

Spend your third day in the French Riviera by exploring Monaco. But, if you have enough time to relax on the beach in Nice, it’s better before going to Monaco.

After your sumptuous meal, take a 20-minute train ride from Nice to Monaco.

In Monaco, tour along the harbor, as this is the place to go yacht watching. Other amazing ways to enjoy Monaco are gambling at the Monte Carlo Casino, walk through the Japanese Gardens and see Prince Rainier III’s private collection of cars. After that, grab a drink at Café de Paris Monte Carlo.

After dinner in Monte Carlo, catch the train going back to Nice.

 

Day 4: Antibes and Cannes

Your journey continues along the coast of Cote d’Azur. Catch the train from Nice to Antibes, which will take you about 20 minutes.

In Antibes, you’ll see the largest yachting harbor in Europe – the Port Vauban. It is larger than the harbor in Monaco.

Walk along the coastline of Antibes and visit their interesting museums such as Picasso and Absinthe Museum. From Antibes, ride a train going to Cannes, it’s just 7 minutes away from Antibes. Cannes is known for its luxury hotels and its annual Cannes Film Festival. Spend your day on the beach, sip a drink in Ritz-Carlton Hotel, or experience the Italian cuisine at one of the several restaurants on docks perched over the ocean.

The annual Cannes Film Festival runs for ten days in mid-May.

Catch the train going back to Nice.

Day 5: Drive the French Riviera to Marseille

For your fifth and final day, rent a car and drive some of the most picture-perfect roads in France. Between Monaco and Nice, there are three cornices, winding roads along the mountainous coastline. They are easy to drive and will give a tourist a different view of the Cote d’Azur than from the shoreline.

 

This is a sponsored guest post. The views and words do not necessarily represent those of Mommy Ramblings.

I cannot believe it is the beginning of April, and we have ice all over the trees. The weather has been so crazy here in the northeast. We recently took a trip up to Binghamton, and it was downright nasty out. Coming home we found ourselves dealing with freezing rain. Thankfully, we made it home safe! One of the best things about that night, was having dinner at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

As soon as we crossed the threshold into the country store, we stepped back in time. It was as if we were teleported back in time to an old-fashioned general store.

Glancing around we saw classic toys, old-fashioned candies, apparel, home and garden accessories on our way toward the dining room, which is adorned with oak tables and chairs. We can count on Cracker Barrel to have a warm fire burning which warmed our bodies and souls. We were fortunate to be seated at a table in front of the large hearth and fireplace. There are mind teaser puzzles on the table, as well as, all kinds of nostalgic items hanging on the dining room walls.

Cracker Barrel has an extensive menu including all day breakfast, with so many great southern favorites, it is hard to choose. We had a friendly server who did not mind allowing us some extra time to look over the menu.

My husband ordered the Country Fried Shrimp which consists of a half pound of buttermilk-battered shrimp and Cracker Barrel’s signature hush puppies served with tangy cocktail sauce.  He was able to pick three country sides to go with his dinner. My husband chose a side salad (counts as 2 sides) and pinto beans.

One of our sons and I each ordered the 10 oz. Rib Eye Steak cooked medium with three sides, He picked fries, macaroni and cheese and apple slices and I choose a baked potato and green beans.

Our youngest son had the Chicken Tenderloins which can be ordered marinated and grilled or crispy friend with BBQ or Honey Mustard sauce. He wanted them crispy fried and with BBQ sauce. For his sides he had corn, fries and macaroni and cheese. A large plate of their made from scratch Buttermilk Biscuits and Corn Muffins was brought for all of us.

The kids had homestyle lemonade and raspberry lemonade, I had coffee which our waitress refilled promptly and my husband had sweet tea.

After dinner myself, my husband and one of our sons ordered  one of the Frozen Mug Sundaes with Roasted Almonds. Our other son had the Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake which is served warm with rich, creamy vanilla ice cream. I had a bite and it was delicious! My husband and I each had one of their new hand crafted mocha lattes which are served with chocolate syrup drizzled whipped cream.

Needless to say, we were warm and stuffed with good, old-fashioned southern cooking when we left. One nice thing about taking a road trip is that you can usually find a Cracker Barrel along the way. They are usually located in areas that make it easy to get off and on the highway. I love that they have so many locations, over 600 stores in over 40 states.  It is nice that even when traveling to new places, I can count on Cracker Barrel to make us feel right at home.

So, let me know if you love Cracker Barrel as much as I do. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

A big plate of their made from scratch Buttermilk Biscuits and Corn Muffins was brought for all of us.

This post was sponsored by Cracker Barrel who provided us with gift certificates for dinner. As always, my words and views are 100% my own.

New York City is not only a magnet for people with a knack for success and penchant for audacious dreams, but also attracts tens of millions of tourists each year. For hundreds of years, entrepreneurs, capitalists and tourists have all played a part in making it arguably the most important city in the world.

Yet, the money-making reputation of NYC is simultaneously its greatest strength and its worst weakness. The Big Apple has no shortage of con artists who will zero in on visitors with shady, but seemingly irresistible offers.

Some tourists opt for hop on hop off bus tour specials as a way of keeping a safe distance between them and potential scammers. Whereas that is prudent, knowing the most common scams can go a long way in making sure you don’t lose your cash and possessions to persons with ill intent. The following are five of the most notorious scams in New York.

Tickets for the Staten Island Ferry

One of the best ways to see New York’s harbor and strike another borough off your bucket list is to board the Staten Island ferry. An iconic feature of daily New York life for years, many lifelong relationships have been established aboard the ferry. Sadly, there’s an elaborate and persistent scam operation that seeks to take advantage of tourists’ eagerness to ride the ferry.

Staten Island ferry has been free since 1997, but the majority of first-time visitors will not know that. Expect to meet street hawkers keen on selling you ferry tickets. They’ll claim that they had bought the tickets, but for some reason, no longer need to board. They’ll purport to sell you the tickets at an attractive discount. Do not pay any attention to them else you’ll end up with a worthless piece of paper.

‘Buy my Music’

This scam started elsewhere, but is now a source of anguish in many parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. A ‘musician’ donning headphones approaches and persuades you to listen to his music. Since you want to be polite, you give in to his request. Shortly thereafter, the ‘musician’ will shove a CD in your hand and pressure you to buy it.

If you insists on not buying, the musician’s demeanor will quickly change and in certain cases, he’ll summon his colleagues to demand that you buy the CD. The end result is you walking away with a music CD you didn’t want and parting with your hard-earned cash in the process. Worse still, the CD might not have any music on it.

Costume Characters in Time Square

Costume characters are at Times Square for much of the day. They range from superheroes and cartoon characters to body-painted denudes. Costume characters can add to the fun of a New York visit and they’ll often ask tourists to pose for photos with them. They expect a tip afterwards, which is only fair.

The scam here is that some costume characters get loud and confrontational if they are dissatisfied with the tip. They know first-time visitors will cough up more cash just to avoid the embarrassment. Always remember that you are under no obligation to tip more unless you had agreed on the value of the tip beforehand.

Of course, not all costume characters are obnoxious extortionists. However, as a tourist, you do not know which ones are honest, so it’s best to stay away.

Subway Pickpockets

Whereas anyone riding the subway must always be on the lookout for pickpockets, this is especially important for visitors. Your dressing and disposition can give you away as a tourist and this will make you a prime target for thieves. It’s hard enough keeping an eye on subway pickpockets when you are sober. It’s much worse when you are inebriated.

If you are tipsy, not only will you be vulnerable to conventional pickpockets, but you’ll also be in the crosshairs of ‘lush workers’. Lush workers target sleepy or intoxicated passengers and use a razor blade to cut open pockets and bags. Avoid carrying valuables or significant amounts of cash when using the subway to minimize your losses just in case you fall victim.

Central Park Pedicabs

You’ve probably already seen New York pedicabs online or on television before you arrive. It’s a pretty enticing proposition to sit in a rear cab as a friendly driver pedals around Midtown Manhattan or Central Park explaining the different landmarks in the process. In theory, it’s an awesome way to soak in the sights and sounds of the city.

Unfortunately, this is a ride that can deplete your finances far faster than you had anticipated. It all comes down to the duration of the trip, unclear rates and the presence of extra fees. Pedicabs make exorbitant profits off of tourists.

The city has created certain rules to put a stop to this. This includes the requirement to have a clear sign on the pedicab showing the per minute charge (that’s right, per minute!). The pedicabs move very slowly, so your bill can accumulate rapidly. Stay away from pedicabs, but if you must use them, make sure it is licensed and the pricing is clearly indicated.

New York is not much different from many large cities around the world. Criminals and scam artists will always look for an opportunity to make a quick buck off an unsuspecting tourist. Those visitors who do not take necessary precautions may end up leaving the city without their money and/or personal items. Knowing the most common tricks scammers use will help make your NYC vacation one whose memories you’ll treasure for years to come.

This is a sponsored guest post. The views and ideals expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Mommy Ramblings.

Traveling to a different country can be a wonderful, life-changing experience if you stay safe and healthy while you’re away. Dealing with medical issues while you’re traveling can be disorienting, plus being away from home, could leave you wondering what to do. Some advanced preparation will help you keep a level head. Check out the list below for four different ways to handle medical emergencies in other countries.

Look for Low-Level Care

Preparation is one of the best ways to combat any medical issues you might encounter while traveling. Before you leave, do some research to find some local pharmacies to purchase supplies for non-emergency medical issues like scrapes, minor burns, allergies, or to fill prescriptions. Also, be aware that medications may have different names abroad, so know what your prescriptions are called at your destination. Knowing where to go and what to expect when you get there, can help you find the care you need while saving you the cost of going to a hospital.

Consider Costs as a Traveler

If you do end up needing to take a trip to a hospital, it’s important to understand how you’ll be billed as a tourist. Depending on where you’re traveling, a hospital bill could be free, or the most expensive part of your trip, so look into medical costs in the countries you visit. While doing research, make sure to look into whether your insurance plan protects you while traveling. More often than not, you’ll have to pay for medical expenses upfront with the option to file for reimbursement when you get home.

Add Extra Protection

If you feel like your current insurance plan is lacking when it comes to traveling, you may want to consider additional protection in case of a medical emergency. Often, additional protection from providers such as MedjetAssist will offer you extra benefits, like severe weather warnings or emergency translation. When looking for a plan that suits you, consider the risk that comes with the activities you’ll be doing, for a better idea of how much extra security you’ll need. Depending on what you’ve decided, you might want the peace of mind that comes with a travel plan.

 

Have a Backup Card

It’s always good to have a few different kinds of identification on you when traveling, and it’s no different when it comes to your health. In addition to any IDs you have with you, consider making a card with your medical information on it. This should include things like your doctor’s name and number, any travel insurance you have, emergency contacts, and even things like medication or prescriptions you might be taking. Carrying this card with you could prove helpful in circumstances where you’re incapacitated or can’t get to your documents.

One of the best ways to handle a medical emergency abroad is by being prepared for it. This applies not only to yourself, but also to the people you’re traveling with. Conduct your own research, consider additional protection, and print out your medical information to help you handle medical emergencies while traveling.

This is a sponsored guest post, it does not necessarily represent the views or ideals of  Mommy Ramblings.

Even though, we were knee-deep in our entire home renovation project, we managed to go on a quick getaway  at the end of August. Fitting in a special trip before school started was just what we all needed.  We were pleasantly surprised to learn that Woodloch, the #1 Family Resort in America according to Tripadvisor was just 40 minutes from our house!

From the first moment of our arrival, the staff was so friendly and made our stay so much fun. Woodloch is a true family resort reminiscent of the resort portrayed in Dirty Dancing. In fact, most of the families we met on our trip, return year after year to this pristine Pocono Mountain resort. It is no wonder why, there is so much to do and activities are plentiful for kids and adults of all ages.

The meal plan is spectacular and gets the family around the table 2 or 3 times a day. There is no shortage of food and everything we ate was expertly prepared and delicious. If you have specific dietary needs, all you have to do is let them know.

When you check in, you are assigned a table in the main dining room. That table is yours for the duration of your stay, and you will enjoy all your meals there, unless you chose to eat at one of the other restaurants on site. We had a table in front of the windows overlooking the lake.

As you enter the dining room for each meal there is a character meet and greet. That was a really nice touch and just one of the many things Woodloch does to make their guests feel welcome and entertained. Every morning at breakfast, a new activity sheet is placed on each family’s dining table.

The lake has a thrilling water slide, and our kids had to try immediately after our arrival.

They did allow us to stop off at our beautifully appointed suite that had all the amenities we needed. There are laundry facilities on site, perfect for ensuring you don’t return home with bags of dirty laundry.

Everything is very structured and you can literally be doing something from them moment you wake up until you go to bed. If you prefer, you can lay out by the lake or the indoor or outdoor pool. There is a very nice outdoor splash/wading pool for younger kids and the indoor waterpark type splash zone and slide was another favorite.

The indoor pool and water slide was perfect when one of the days we were there was unseasonably cold. My kids had so much fun in the large indoor pool, splash zone and water slide. Soft, fluffy towels are provided near every pool and by the lake.

Woodloch had terrific entertainment at night. We participated in a “Block Party” on the grounds complete with carnival type games that we could play with the coupons we were given and win prizes.

There were games even little kids could play and win. We saw an amazing Billy Joel cover band that was just phenomenal! The magician and dog trainer put on great shows that entertained kids and adults alike.

We loved walking the grounds from our room to the main dining hall and activities. Woodloch also has shuttles that run all day to transport guests around the property.

 

They have go karts for bigger kids and adults, as well as Jr. Go Karts my little ones could drive themselves. The Jr. Go Karts were a huge hit. The indoor bumper cars were fun entertainment for everyone in the evening. A pontoon boat tour of Lake Teedyuskung with a boat captain who was a riot, was another highlight.

There is just so much to do! They have the signature Woodloch game of skill throughout the grounds and my husband had to make sure he mastered it before we left. There are kayaks, sailboats, paddleboats and stand up paddle boards that guests can take out on the lake. Bingo games, lawn games, trivia games, mock game shows, arts and crafts and so much more are available to guests.

Bumper boats, petting zoos, a gymnasium where they have fun family activities, an indoor play structure, arcade and more make for very exhausted kiddies at the end of the night. There were so many activities, we did not even get to experience everything. I guess we will have to make another trip there. Now I see why families come back every year.

The resort makes you feel so at home, you do feel like family and returning is like going home again. They do not treat you like a number, their enthusiastic and friendly staff is so genuine and they really take time to get to know you. I cannot believe how lucky we were to have discovered this jewel so close to where we live. My kids are still talking about our time there, and asking when we can go back.

They have lovely gift shops and stores on site, there are other restaurants including a deli. We stopped off at the gift shop and picked up sweatshirts, Woodloch logo toy trucks, coffee mugs, t-shirts and more to remember and celebrate our time there.

Thank you so much to Woodloch for arranging this wonderful and much-needed mini vacation for our family. Erica coordinated our trip and no detail was overlooked. If you are looking for a fun, family resort to spend some quality time with your family, Woodloch should be at the top of your list. 

We have more videos on our YouTube Channel and will be adding even more.  Check them out, they will give you an up close and personal look at this spectacular family resort. If you have any questions please ask in the comments, I will do my best to answer them, and if I cannot, I will reach out to the staff for you.

If you would like to book your own family getaway at Woodloch, you will not be disappointed. They have fun activities no matter what season you plan to visit. You can learn more and book your stay on their website as well as, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramPinterest and YouTube.

So, what do you think of Woodloch Family Resort? Let me know if you have great Woodloch memories of your own.  We certainly created a multitude of memories at Woodloch this past summer!

We recently went to Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ for Dinner and a Tournament. My husband had been to Medieval Times in another state years ago but, it was the first time for myself and our kids. We were greeted at the door and given red and yellow crowns which were the color of our knight.  After that, we were escorted to our seats and then given a “goodie bag” of special merchandise.

We had great seats at the front of the arena. We sat at a long desk type table allowing us to eat, while not missing any of the action. The waitstaff was great and brought our drinks, soup, main course, dessert and coffee to us. The food is selected so you do not need utensils to eat it. Being able to eat with their hands was a real treat for our kids.

There were also flashing swords and other things you could buy to cheer on your knight. We bought the kids 2 of the flashing LED swords.

When the tournament started all of our eyes were glued to the action. We thought our knight was going to win. Our knight did not win, but he made it to the very last battle. Regardless of the outcome, the evening was still entertaining and fun. Upon exiting the arena, we were able to take photos with the knights as well as buy souvenirs.

After buying some towels and other items, we headed home with great memories. Have you ever been to Dinner and a Tournament at Medieval Times?

As a blogger with the USFG, we received free tickets to Medieval Times. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

How is your summer going? We are in the middle of an entire home renovation. Thankfully, we live on a lake so afternoon swims happen daily when the weather is good. We have some small trips lined up for August when things should be mostly completed. Other than that, we are taking day trips and doing what we can, without totally coming unhinged.

Darien Lake is one of the places we are going as a family this summer. Their wide range of entertainment has made it “destination fun” since 1964. That is longer than I have been alive! Darien Lake is located just 45 minutes from Niagara Falls between Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y.

Today the park boasts more than 50 rides, including six world-class roller coasters, dozens of family friendly rides, the regions largest water park complete with a wave pool and 20,000-seat performing arts center. Everything is operated by Live Nation; and  world-class in-park entertainment.

The Viper is celebrating its 35th year at Darien Lake. Okay, I am older than the Viper, but not anywhere near as old as Darien Lake.

Click HERE to schedule your visit today! Have you ever been to Darien Lake? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

This is a sponsored post, as always my words and views are 100% my own.

We have been having a lot of rain lately, so we really lucked out when we picked Saturday, June 3rd for our day trip to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. We planned this family trip to celebrate my birthday on the 4th. Originally, I had wanted to go on the fourth and my daughter suggested the third. It was a very good idea, because it was raining buckets on the fourth.

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During the month of June, Dorney Park is  joining Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in their Lemonade Days to help make an impact in the fight against childhood cancer. During their Lemonade Days a portion of the proceeds from online ticket sales will go to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. To learn more about this great cause click HERE.

Check out the additional Summer Events & Attractions below:

• Coca-Cola Share a Coke – June 9-10
• Father’s Day Beef & Beer – June 18
• Independence Day Fireworks – July 4
• Christmas in July Breakfast with Santa – July 25
• Food Truck Rally – August 26-27

My kids love Dorney Park, my older kids love the roller coasters and thrill rides. My younger ones love Planet Snoopy and so do I! There are rides we all love to go on together as a family like that Road Rally where you get to drive gasoline powered “race cars” on a track. That is a must-do attraction for all of us every time we visit. My son Ethan was so excited to drive all by himself this year!

 

We have such a blast at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom and make lifetime memories. Check out our video compilation of our day there below.

If you live within driving distance or will be visiting the area, you should seriously consider a visit to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. We can’t wait to go again. If you have been to Dorney Park, let me know what you love most in the comments.

 

This post is sponsored by Blog Meets Brand and Cedar Fair. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

 

We had a very fun and exciting summer and visited many great places. Toward the end of August we went to Lake Placid.  Even though we live in New York State, we had never been  to Lake Placid. Living in the Catskill Mountains, I was under the impression that the Adirondack Mountains were more or less  the same. Living on a lake myself, I just never felt an urgency to travel up that way. I am so glad we did though because it is so very different.

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I was truly amazed at how traveling a few hours in my home state brought us to a place that we were  in awe of. As my husband and I started getting closer to Lake Placid we were so moved by the beauty of  the majestic mountains. I think as we get older, we appreciate the beautiful landscape  of our great country more and more. My husband had me snapping photos on the highway. Don’t worry I was not the one driving.

We made our way through the shop lined streets of town to The Mirror Lake Inn. Family owned since the 1930’s this resort has been owned and operated by Ed and Lisa Weibrecht since 1976. Their son Andrew’s Olympic medals hang behind the front desk. The Inn overlooks Mirror Lake and every room has a lake view. There are always freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the lobby along with coffee and tea.

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The staff at the Mirror Lake Inn were so nice. Sandy Caligiore the PR Representative for the resort made sure everything was set up and ready for our arrival and helped us plan our getaway.  The staff was there to assist us with anything we needed and were always around to greet us with a smile. We were so grateful for the warm welcome, luxurious accommodations and world-class dining they provided for us during our stay.

Our room was comfortable with a nice sitting area overlooking the lake. Waiting in our room for us  was a nice fruit, cheese and cookie plate and 4 Saratoga sparkling waters.

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We had dinner at the Taste Bistro our first night and it was fabulous. The menu is full of comfort foods infused with French, German and Italian elements. We started with their signature Fried Brussels Sprouts served with fresh lemon and sea salt. Our boys had the Kilcoyne Farms Burger which is of a half-pound of local beef served on a house-made kaiser roll with house smoked bacon, caramelized sweet onion, lettuce, tomato and NY sharp cheddar cheese.

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I had the marinated and Seared Tenderloin Beef Tips served with mashed potatoes, farm vegetables and balsamic onions. My husband had the Kilcoyne Farms Pot Roast made from pasture-raised local beef, caramelized root vegetables, and local potatoes. The atmosphere, food and service was astounding. The boys had Shirley Temples and my husband and I had fresh lemonade. We even shared some chocolate cheesecake with fresh berries for dessert.

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The boys wanted to swim in the indoor pool so we made our way down to the pool inside them main Inn on the lower level. It was nice and warm and had a very large whirlpool tub and large pool with a waterfall and bridge feature. There were nice chairs and lounges around to relax on as well as loads of soft fluffy towels for drying off.

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They were pretty exhausted after swimming and we made our way up to our room where they promptly fell asleep. In the morning we had the Adirondack Breakfast Buffet at The View restaurant and it was so good. A very nice assortment of eggs or omelets cooked to order, french toast, bacon, sausage, cereals, fruit, yogurt and so much more.

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After breakfast we had to go to Plattsburgh to get a battery charger for my camera. I have never left a charger home and this was a first. I could have kicked myself but we had to make the drive since there was nothing available any closer. When we returned we went down to the lake and the boys swam and then collected rocks that we are going to put in a jar as a memento.

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After that we had a dinner reservation at The View restaurant, a 17 time winner of the Wine Spectator’s Dining Guide Award.

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For appetizers, I had the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail that consisted of wild caught white shrimp, Marie Rose sauce, fresh horseradish, chardonnay vinegar, gelée and mustard greens.
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My husband had the Wheat & Greens Salad with Freekah green wheat, artisan greens, local fresh chevre and walnuts, shaved vegetables and raspberry-dijon vinaigrette. They were also doing tastings between courses. One of our little guys had the Italian Boboli Crust Topped Pizza with house marinara, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and topped with pepperoni. Our other little guy had the 7 oz. Black Angus Strip Steak char-grilled  and served with french fries and bordelaise sauce.
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My husband and I had the Prime Beef Filet grilled and finished with Maldon sea salt, potato pavé, baby vegetables, glazed cipollini onions, tarragon butter and pinot noir reduction. The filet was exceptional, my husband said it was the best he has every had and I have to agree.

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We both had Cappuccino and Cheesecake for dessert and the kids had Ice Cream.

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After dinner we all went swimming in the indoor pool.

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We had the breakfast buffet in the morning again at The View and enjoyed it just as much!
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Afterward Seth Dow, an account manager for Mirror Lake Inn took me on an informative tour of the Inn and all the different rooms available for guests. He was a very personable and knowledgeable, young man who provided me with a tremendous amount of  information about the inn as well as the area. I was surprised to learn that the inn actually burnt nearly to the ground in the 1980’s and the only things that were saved were the murals that were cut out of the wall and the grandfather clock. You would never know though because it was rebuilt to look exactly as it originally had when it was first built.

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The entire inn is full of wonder, from the stuffed bear and other animals that are situated around the library to the memorabilia, books, games and more that fill the shelves and tables. The lovely traditional Tea Time is at four o’clock and is served in the inn but can be enjoyed on the rocking chairs on the porch overlooking the lake or in one of the parlors or library.
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We went down to the lake, swam and then took a family paddle boat ride. Mirror Lake is lovely, if you are not used to the temperature of lakes in New York State you might be shocked but even though it is colder in Lake Placid than on our lake the water was only a tad colder. I appreciated that as on the lake I live on, they do not allow gasoline powered watercraft. This makes the lakes so much cleaner and nicer to swim and play in. There is a sandy beach area for kids to play, lots of lounges, fluffy towels and paddle boats and kayaks you can take out.

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After the lake, the boys decided it was time to go to the outdoor pool, so we ventured up and spent some fun time in there. There are plenty of lounges, tables and chairs around the pool and the view of the lake from the pool is beautiful. It is very peaceful and serene all around.

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The grounds of the inn are gorgeous with lush landscaping, beautiful flower gardens and great views. There have a huge, outdoor checkers set and plenty of relaxing Adirondack chairs to sit and take in the breathtaking views of the lake and mountains.
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The charming town is foot steps away and filled with nice shops, restaurants and a movie theater. A very popular attraction is Whiteface Mountain. We had a blast and a great workout climbing to the top of  Whiteface which is 4,867 feet above sea level. We took the elevator that is inside the mountain down. If you go to Lake Placid do not miss the opportunity to climb this spectacular mountain.
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The Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid is a beautiful resort and destination any season of the year! If you love to ski,  you will want to visit in the winter. The Olympic Ski Jumps need to be seen and they are training on them even in the summer. In the fall the turning of the leaves draws visitors as well. Anytime you go, you are bound to be as impressed as we were.
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There is a spa downstairs for full pampering as well as a gift shop where I picked up a Mirror Lake mug to reflect on our time spent there whenever I enjoy my coffee or tea. Our days at The Mirror Lake Inn were truly a grand experience that we cannot wait to repeat very soon. Next time we want to go with all of our kids to make some great memories!

Let me know if you have ever visited The Mirror Lake Inn or Lake Placid? If not, is it a destination you are considering? Feel free to answer in the comments, I love to read your thoughts. You can book a reservation on their website or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Skytop Lodge

My family and I recently returned from Skytop Lodge and I cannot say enough about the awesome days we spent there. Skytop Lodge is a stunning piece of history that sits upon 5,500 majestic acres atop the picturesque Pocono mountains.

Although this resort is only a 1.5-hour drive from our home in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York, I never heard of it before this summer. Even though I have traveled to the Poconos more times than I can count, this was an entirely different experience. From the moment we arrived, until the moment we left, we could not look at the old world charm of the stone lodge without being in awe.

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Vacationing at Skytop means taking a step back in time. While they have all the modern conveniences we have come to rely on, it is the 4 pm afternoon tea time you look forward too.

Tea time is served in the main lobby or Pine Room and features an assortment of large, fresh-baked cookies, ice-cold lemonade and an assortment of teas. Once you have made your selections you can choose to enjoy your treats in the main lobby or as we did sitting in rocking chairs on the porch overlooking the grounds.

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My boys loved the little chipmunk that decided to join us for tea and cookies. He was very polite and ate a small piece of whatever cookie you gave him.

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Downstairs the arcade really takes you back to a time when families were unplugged and played games of ping-pong or went to the malt shop AKA the Tea Room where you will find an old-fashioned luncheonette counter reminiscent of an old-time soda fountain. Order up an egg cream or one of the “World’s Greatest Milk Shakes.”

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The halls are peppered with photos and artwork of the Lodge and the many events that have taken place there since 1928. The dog shows, sled races, golf tournaments, tennis matches and so much more. All around you will find pieces from the rich history of this historic resort.

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Climb the stairs of the Lodge all the way to the Skytop Observation Post  which was used for spotting and reporting enemy aircraft during WWII.  It was manned around the clock by volunteer staff, guests, cottagers and townspeople. for the duration of the war. The observation tower has views of Skytop’s 5,500 acres as well as the Delaware Water Gap and beyond. It is a great place to take photos and just imagine what it must have been like to be a lookout during the war.

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Spending time out in nature is something I think a person should do every day, whether it is a morning walk, having coffee admiring the birds in the feeders or a challenging hike, it is good for your mind, body and soul! Skytop has trails throughout the estate property that let you embark and gaze upon the peace and beauty of nature at its finest.

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All kinds of trails are available, guided tours, self-guided tours, trails suitable for strollers and trails that are much more challenging. They take you to crystal clear waterfalls, pristine lakes, mountain vistas, ancient forests and more.

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The forests are alive with all kinds of wildlife, downstairs there is chart where people list what they saw that day. While we were there, someone spotted a black bear on hole 11 on the golf course, a family of otter swimming under one of the falls and so much more. Beyond that there are blueberries and huckleberries galore.

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Downstairs in the lodge there are wildlife exhibits of live snakes and turtles, booklets about wildlife and guides you can take if you are brave enough to venture off on one of the trails yourself.

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One of the highlights of our time at Skytop was the time we spent with their naturalist Rick Koval. Rick took us on a tour of the butterfly house and a guided tour of falls. The butterfly house is new and you can take a tour where you will learn all kinds of interesting facts about butterflies and get to feed them. It is utterly informative and absolutely amazing. There are many great photo opportunities too! Check out the caterpillar that looks like he is smiling in the collage below.

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The hike with Rick was a real treat. After your first hike with him, you will be scanning the activities’ sheet to see when the next walk or hike with him is.  Rick kept parents and kids engaged with his wealth of knowledge about the trees, flowers and wildlife found in the northeast Pennsylvania region and hands-on learning and tasting along the way. Who knew sassafras smelled and tasted like Fruit Loops?

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He showed us some of the most poisonous mushrooms, we did not taste test those but took his word for it. We all got hands on with nature and wildlife like the adorable newts we met along the way. The highlight was the beautiful waterfall we all stopped to admire and as we reach the end of our hike we immediately wanted to know when and where the next one was.

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After a nice hike it was time to hit the pool. Choose the outdoor or indoor pool or do both since they are connected. Relax and unwind on a chaise while your kids and maybe your husband if he is like mine, cannonball to their hearts desire. Then swim laps in the lap lane of the indoor pool. There is a kiddie pool and large hot tub for adults to soothe sore muscles in.

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There are plenty of choices for dining. In the morning there is complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby along with fresh fruit and some fresh-baked goodies. If you are looking for a full breakfast, you can eat at the Windsor Dining Room.

The Windsor Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their cuisine is innovative and supports local farmers and ranchers. Everything is served in a classic setting. Be aware that no jeans, t-shirts, hats or shorts are permitted. On Saturday evenings, jackets are required for men. Ladies and children are also required to wear proper attire.

We really enjoyed the Tap Room, it is more casual and nice for families. They serve a full menu of traditional pub fare including lunch, sandwiches and dinner. I had a BBQ brisket sandwich that was so good my husband could not wait until I said I was too full to finish it! There serve large portions and the food is amazing.

The Inn-Between Deli is conveniently located in the Inn at Skytop between golf holes 9 and 10. The deli serves a light sandwich and salad menu. We found the Inn-Between Deli to be very convenient when we were at the lake and beach with our kids.

Also located at the Inn is the Lakeview Dining Room. Enjoy your meal in a relaxed setting overlooking one of Skytop’s lakes and award-winning golf course. The menu is extensive and offers something for everyone. Jackets are not required but jeans, t-shirts, hats or pool attire is not permitted. The front desk staff can assist with any questions about dining options and make reservations for you.

At night enjoy a marshmallow roast around the campfire or have fun playing Bingo with the other guests, movies are also shown in the afternoon and evenings. There is even a Camp in the Clouds for kids and so many other activities.

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Even though in our first few days we had quite a bit of rain it was not constant and in the times of clearing we still were able to do so much. The last couple of days the weather was beautiful and while we did not believe the place could be more beautiful it was. Every time we went about we discovered something new and yet there was still so much we have not experienced.

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Besides The Lodge there are other choices for accommodations on the property like the Inn at Skytop, The Cottages and the Stream Side Cottages. We chose the Lodge because we wanted the full, rich experience that only staying in the Lodge can provide.

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The Lodge guest rooms were newly renovated in 2015 and the inspiration for their design was Skytop’s history, traditions and the natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains. Incorporating that rich history with today’s modern conveniences led to the three signature designs of the Lodge guest rooms: Water, Garden and Mountain. There are also individually designed suites inspired by Skytop historical figures.

Our Garden theme room was gorgeous with a view overlooking the gardens, outdoor pool and the butterfly house.

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Three dormer windows let in the natural light and let us peer down on everything below. In the closet were 2 large umbrellas, 2 handcrafted walking sticks and 2 luxurious robes. Waiting for us when we arrived was a plate of fruit and cheese along with flatbread crackers and a note from the staff.  The housekeeping service was excellent and made sure we did not want for anything.

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The valets were so accommodating and friendly it really was like coming home every time we came back from an activity, hike or trip into town. Shay at the front desk is a real treasure and always had a smile on his face, upon check in he remembered speaking to me the night before and went above and beyond to make sure everything was perfect for our stay. Christy, director of group sales worked her magic to make sure we had everything we needed. The smiles were genuine as was the desire to really help guests have the best possible experience.

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Down by the Inn, a short walk from the Lodge is a lake with a beach area. There is a large inflatable island of fun out in the lake that my kids just loved. There is a sandy beach area that is filled with lounge chairs, tables, beach umbrellas and more.

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Nothing is overlooked at Skytop, the pool area has stacks and stacks of soft, fluffy, cabana striped beach towels. Down by the lake there are sand toys galore kids can use as well as more stacks of soft, fluffy towels. There are ample lounges, chairs and tables at both pools and on the beach. In the pool area they have fun noodles, diving rings, balls and other pool toys.

The grounds are impeccable and off the porch you will find a nice large playground for kids, a lawn chess set, a kid size golf course and so much more. All kinds of lawn games are available like crochet, volleyball, badminton, lawn bowling and more. If you are the competitive type, there are tournaments you can take part in.

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If you are a golfer, you will love the award-winning golf course with spectacular views and the ability to see a variety of wildlife as you are teeing off.

Among the beautiful perennial flowers the gorgeous butterflies and birds. A white gazebo adorned with flower boxes filled with vibrant, red and white geraniums awaits. Take a seat in one of the comfortable rocking chairs and spend some time listening to the calls of area birds like the Northern Cardinal.

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The SkyLites Activity Newsletter informs you about all the different activities happening each week. There are daily activities, 7 days a week and an activities desk to register for the things you want to do.

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For the adventurous, the Adventure Center has a 3-hour treetop adventure course with challenging obstacles including elevated bridgeways connecting tree platforms, logs hanging from ropes to walk across, ladders, a cargo net and 7 different zip lines. This is not for the little ones, you must be a height of at least 5’11” with your hands above your head and must have a waist size of less than 41″ to participate. Other activities include paintball, rock wall climbing, archery and more.

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Skytop Stables in on the property and you can take a western style wilderness ride to the top of the west rim tail for a picture perfect view of the property. The horses are well-natured and there are professional guides to make sure everyone has a great experience.  Pony rides are available and you can also go on a hay ride.

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If you are in need of pampering, look no further than the Skyview Spa. The Spa offers a wide selection of stimulating, healing, and innovative spa services that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

Bring your dancing shoes because every Saturday night following a tradition from the early 1940’s, children and adults of all ages celebrate the tradition of the Grand March accompanied by the Doug Smith Orchestra. An elimination dance is held right before the Grand March.

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Shuttles are available to take guests to different activities and hiking trails from the North Porch.  A beautiful gift shop will let you take home memories in the form of a beautiful pottery mug, silver-plated Christmas Ornament of the Lodge, Skytop logo clothing and more.

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Skytop truly is a hidden jewel atop the Pocono Mountains just beckoning to be discovered. Spending time at Skytop is not a vacation it is more than that, it is an extraordinary experience that I feel blessed to have discovered. I know why people return every year to Skytop, it is the perfect blend of past and present where you will create memories to last a lifetime. I know we will be back, next time with the whole family!

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If you would like to make reservations at Skytop you can right on their website You can also stay in the loop with them on Facebook and Instagram. If you have any questions please ask in the comments and let me know if you have experienced Skytop, I would love to hear all about it.

Here in New York, the last day of school is tomorrow. If you are thinking about fun family trips to take with your kids, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, PA is a great choice! Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom has been bringing thrills and fun to visitors for 132 years. If you like roller coasters the historic ThunderHawk that originally opened as “The Coaster” back in 1924 has been refurbished for the 2016 season. The ThunderHawk has all new trains and is totally repainted to resemble the original design. The outline of the classic wooden roller coaster is outlined in bright, white lights to remind riders of timeless American wooden roller coasters of days past.

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Don’t despair if you are not a thrill rider because Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom truly has something for everyone. Whether you come for water slides to seek relief from the summer heat, love the thrill rides, want to try your hand at games of chance or skill,  live events, Dinosaurs Alive or kid’s rides and fun in Planet Snoopy, you will find it!

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Our family just spent Father’s Day there and we had a blast!  If you have little ones, KidsFest is taking place in Planet Snoopy on Saturdays and Sundays from June 17- 26 from 11 am- 5 pm. There are lots of fun activities like craft stations, science demonstrations, a petting zoo and special character opportunities. Our kids loved the trivia contest where they each got a Dorney Park mini fan after answering some fun questions about the Peanuts Gang and Dorney Park. Schroeder also had a sing-a-long and Lucy, Charlie Brown and Linus were there donned in their camp attire! There are plenty of character photo opts too!

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Planet Snoopy is full of fun rides like the Kite Eating Tree, Snoopy’s Moon Bounce, Peanuts Road Rally, Woodstock’s Express and much more! Woodstock’s Express is a runaway train kid’s coaster that our kids just loved!

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This June Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom wants everyone to feel like a kid so everyone pays the kids price for tickets and a portion of online ticket sales goes to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the fight against childhood cancer. Now you can spend the day riding heart-racing coasters and waterslides, knowing there’s a heartwarming cause behind all the fun.

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If you do take a trip to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom by June 30th, share your photos online with the hashtag #OneDorneySmileAtATime and Dorney Park will donate $1 to help make an impact on those children battling who are battling cancer.  Now that is a great reason to capture and share those smiles!

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You can learn all about the events going on at Dorney Park HERE! Keep up with Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments. If you do go to Dorney Park, let me know how you liked it in the comments too!

 

 

This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. As always my words and opinions are my own.”

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If you are looking for a fun filled family getaway, get ready to have a howling good time at Great Wolf Lodge. Located in the scenic Pocono Mountains of  Pennsylvania this resort features a never ending array of activities that will delight parents and kids alike.

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From the moment we checked in, we were greeted with smiling, helpful staff who went above and beyond in every way possible to make our stay perfect in every way. The kids were given Wolf Passes upon check in that were able to be redeemed for all kinds of things inside the resort as well as activities like the Ropes Challenge.

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The water park was very clean and had ample seating around the attractions. There were cabanas that could be rented as well. There is pool side wait staff if you want to order drinks. Unlike other water parks you can bring food and drinks into this water park.  That is very nice, especially if you have a family member with special dietary needs.

The Big Foot Pass was a favorite of my son Ethan as well as my husband. They navigated their way across a pool holding onto cargo nets above or braving it and not holding anything as they jump onto giant floating lily pads. A great way to build dexterity and strength while having fun! Videos for this will be on our YouTube Channel soon.

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We spent great family time in Crooked Creek swimming in single or double tubes as well as free swimming. There is a gentle current but don’t be fooled in thinking this is a calm lazy river! You are bound to get soaked by the overflowing buckets that seem to know just when to empty their water onto your head! It is all great fun, even when you get soaked!

Speaking of soaked, Fort Mackenzie is a water tree house with multiple levels of splash-crazy fun! Interactive water toys and kid activated splash features line the way to the Totem Tower Body Slides! Listen for the bell and then take cover if you can because that means the gigantic bucket on top is ready to tip and when it does…you are going to get drenched!

 

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 The Slap Tail Pond Wave Pool is fun for all. A beach like shallow entrance  leading up to a max depth of 5 feet allows you to walk out and play in the waves. The waves roll in and out giving you some calm water time before then next batch of waves comes rolling in.
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Our family enjoyed an awesome breakfast buffet with choices of  farm fresh eggs, apple wood smoked bacon, signature wolf waffles, organic yogurts, granolas, made-to-order omelettes, fresh fruits, berries and much more at The Loose Moose Family KitchenSeasonal family lunches roll out lighter fare, and dinners overflow with entrées inspired by world cuisine. Of course no vacation is complete without dessert and they have a simply splendiferous variety of desserts.

 

On the water park level there is the Hungry Like A Wolf   which is just what we were after staying  until closing at the Water Park. A large pizza and a bottle of ice tea hit the spot! Crowd pleasers like Brooklyn style, hand-stretched pizza, savory Italian and meatball Parmesan sandwiches, garlic cheese bread and freshly made salads fill the menu. You can call ahead and make make meal time a snap with easy pick-up.

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There is a Starbucks on the 2nd floor and for convenient poolside dining choose Grizzly Jack’s Bar & Grill or Buckets Incredible Cravables. Have a Sweet Tooth? Whether you want fudge, ice cream, cake, cupcakes or cookies, Bear Paw Sweets & Eats is the place!

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The staff in the stores and attractions are very friendly and helpful. Our kids loved redeeming their wolf pass in the Creation Station where they could choose to make their very own Great Wolf Lodge Character. There are lots of outfits and clothing choices for these critters that really makes creating their new friend super fun!  They were also able to activate a Clubhouse Crew game to play with their new friend and when they helped Sammy Squirrel find her nuts they were able to return to the  for a prize!

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We had a full-immersion 4-D thrill ride at the Howlywood XD Theater.  After choosing our movie we were taken to our seats to strap in for a multi-sensory adventure that we will never forget as we traveled along a haunted mine! The motion enhanced chair, glasses and special effects transported us to a totally different dimension.howlywood-1-img9463-800x533

Next we embarked on some dazzling mini golf at the Howl At The Moon Glow Golf indoor course. The kids had a blast putting and swinging along a nature-themed filled challenging course of black light illuminated fun!

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For fun with something bigger than a golf ball we headed off to Ten Paw Alley for some exciting bowling fun!

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Howlers Peak Ropes Course can elevate your family adventure to a whole new level. When you are ready to come down there is the Raccoon Lagoon Play Park to roast marshmallows or play a giant game of checkers.

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The Northern Lights Arcade lets you get your game on in a big way! This  gigantic arcade is filled with fun things to do for kids of all ages. All kinds of driving games, air hockey, basketball and much more provide some game fun for everyone! Our kids were able to redeem some of their tickets for adorable crock charms of the Great Wolf Lodge logo and characters.GWL 35

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Our kids were busy with something the entire stay and said it was the best water park resort they have ever been to! They wanted to know if people could live here  and before we left wanted to know when we could come back!

Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge? If you have or are planning a trip please let me know in the comments. If you have any questions, just leave them in the comments and I will answer to the best of my ability! Visit YouTube to see our video compilation of our experience HERE! More Videos will be posted soon. Also check out the videos and photos posted on Instagram.

Stay in the loop with Great Wolf Lodge on their website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

 

 

Although we were provided with a media trip and sponsored perks my words and views are 100% my own.

As New York State residents we have thought many times about taking a trip up to Lake George but just never got around to it. We finally made the under 4 hour drive there last weekend and we had a blast! We stayed at the Great Escape Lodge and spent our first day at their indoor waterpark and the second day at Six Flags Great Escape Theme Park which is across from the lodge. The outdoor waterpark Splashwater Kingdom had not opened for the season but we still had a fun-filled weekend.

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The kids really enjoyed the attractions at the indoor waterpark. It was not extremely busy even thought it was a weekend which was really nice. It is not as large as some we have been to but they had plenty of ways to have fun. The Lazy River was something we spent a lot of time in as a family and it was far from lazy. there are currents that push you around as you free swim or use one of the clear double seater tubes. As you go around there are plenty of cascading water falls, so navigate carefully if you don’t want to get soaked!

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If you are looking for a thrill ride you can go on together as a family, The Avalanche  is a  twisting, turning, exhilarating four-person raft ride. This  382-foot tube simulates all the thrills of a white-water rafting experience complete with a 41-foot drop. Oh and the ride is dark to further enhance the thrill! I screamed my lungs out when we went but was glad I experienced it!

Glacier Run and Snow Shoe Falls are 2 tube water slide, thrill rides. Riders will sit on a tube and go through loops, curls and down a 41-foot drop. Both slides are approximately 300-feet. However, they were not running when we were there. Not sure what the issue was.

The Boogie Bear Surf is a surfing simulator where you can body surf or stand-up surf. There are lessons available. To body surf on a boogie board you must be 42″ and over. To stand and surf you must be 54″ and over and a lesson is required to stand up surf.

Little Tots and Young Kids 54″ and under can have fun at Tip-A-Kanu Beach with slides, swings, shallow water and wildlife-themed spurting fountains.

Tall Timbers Treehouse has over  160 play features and is fun for preschoolers and up! There are smaller red slides for kids under 54″ and 3 more thrilling slides for the 40″ and over crowd. Water fights and fun can be had with the swivel water rifles, hydro blasters, arch jets and steering wheels that increase or decrease the water volume out of the fountains. Watch out though because perched high above the tree house is a ginormous bucket that soaks everyone below when it gets full! There are lots of videos from the waterpark on our Instagram.

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A couple of issues that  I did notice are unlike some indoor waterparks, it is not exclusive to just the lodge guests so there was a birthday party going on and some older kids that were causing a little mischief but the lifeguard quickly put the kibosh on it.  The lifeguards are all over and friendly but with the tube slides they should have a little bit better control of making sure only one rider is in the tube at a time. In other parks there is one lifeguard at the entrance of the large slides and they give the okay for each rider to go down the slide only when they have made sure the previous rider has exited. There were several close calls and some collisions we did notice. Our little guy hurt his foot pretty bad when he had a collision with another rider. The lifeguard was so sweet and tried to take his mind off the pain while they called in First Aid to get him ice. Monitoring the slides should be something they think about implementing.

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There is a fun-filled arcade called the Star Light Arcade but our kids are more the type that want to be the action, actually our whole family is, so we spent our time at the waterpark and Six Flags Great Escape. If your family likes arcades, the arcade features over 45 games fun for kids of all ages. They can collect tickets when they win and then redeem them for a variety of prizes.

If you want to shop for Lake George Souvenirs the lodge features North Woods Traders where you will find a wide variety of clothing, Adirondack gifts and craftsmen-inspired treasures.  Various travel supplies and sundries are also available in case you forgot anything.

If you are in need of some pampering the Tranquility Spa  offers a variety of services to help you relax and rejuvenate. Need some “Mommy & Me” time? No problem, get a Mommy & Me Facial, Mani or Pedi! The Fitness Center features an elliptical, upright bike and universal gym, along with a flat-screen TV.

Everyone at the Lodge was so helpful and friendly. They have several activities with kids and Scrappy Doo. There was a dance party and our sons were so amused along with all the other kids. They also had a story time at 7:30 pm but our boys were not ready to leave the waterpark then. The waterpark was open until 9pm when we were there. Click HERE to see a video clip of the Scrappy Doo Dance Party on our Instagram.

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All of their Adirondack-themed suites are non-smoking and furnished with rustic log inspired furniture and accents in warm colors. We stayed in a traditional suite but they have other room options. The traditional suite we had was very nice and spacious, it had 2 queen beds and a sitting area with a couch that converts into another bed if needed. There is a table and 2 chairs as well as a coffee table in front of the couch. The bathroom has a tub/shower combo and toilet. The tub needed to be calked badly and it appeared black where the calk was missing in places. That is the only thing I found off-putting with the room. I would think they would have fixed that and cleaned it up. There were plenty of clean towels and the beds were clean and fresh. The sink is outside the bathroom area. Our room had a mini-refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, iron/ironing board and Wi-Fi access. They had ice cream machines and drink vending machines  for any late night snacks.  Other suites are available with breakfast bars, bunk beds and more, you can see all the options HERE!

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On Site dining options are Johnny Rockets, Tall Tales Tavern, Birch Bark Grill (by the indoor waterpark) and for coffee lovers there is the Tall Pines Coffee Corner.  There are many restaurants off site too as well as a Walmart and many other stores in the immediate area.

Special Deals are available, check them out HERE!

Great Escape Theme Park across from the lodge has over 135 rides, shows and attractions and features the brand new looping coaster-Greezed Lightin’.

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Greezed Lightnin’ officially opened to the public on May 28th but  was able to be ridden by us and other select guests.

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There are plenty of games if you like that, loads of thrill rides, a nice carousel, log flume ride, several kiddie rides and  plenty of places to eat. We found it to be an awesome place to spend with our family making memories. I would like to go back when Splashwater Kingdom is open!

 

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The park was very nice and quaint with Story town which  So many adorable, theme tiny houses that you could go in, my kids just loved those!  The swan boat ride was nice and so was a train ride that took you around the park. The hot rod cars that you could drive were another favorite

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A trip to one of the gift shops on our way out of the park to pick up two special friends to remind our kids of their awesome weekend was the perfect end to a super great weekend.

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If you are looking for a family fun destination in the Northeast, check out Great Escape Lodge in Lake George. If you have been to Great Escape I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you have any questions, ask in the comments and I will be happy to answer as best I can.

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Our stay and admission in both the indoor water park and Six Flags Great Escape was sponsored as a blogger working with USFG. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

If you live in the northeast or will be visiting soon and are looking for family fun destinations, we have you covered! Camelback Resort Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark  is located in Tannersville, Pennsylvania in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. This resort features Aquatopia, the largest indoor waterpark in the Northeast that opened in 2015. The waterpark is awesome!

 

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There is a lot to do for kids of nearly every age. The lifeguards are very attentive and collisions in slides are avoided as they pay extremely close attention to make sure the first rider is out completely before allowing another rider down the slide.

Penguin Play Bay is an area that even the youngest kids can enjoy! Multiple swings, small slides,  water activities and of course some shallow water to splash and play in provide hours of tyke size enjoyment.

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Kartrite’s Quest is a large area that offers fun for kids 40″ and above. Prepare to be soaked as a large bucket on top dumps water on unsuspecting guests below. Kids have so much to do in Kartrite’s Quest! They can splash, slide, play basketball, test their coordination and so much more!

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There are many slides throughout this area that vary in size from pint size to ultra grande! Small open and tube slides are great for kids to start out on. When they have their slide groove totally on, they can go up the stairs and ride any or all of the 3 large slides atop the quest! Out ‘N Back Trek & Silkroad Runner Slide are 2 of the larger slides for kids and adults alike.  Then there is the Lava Luge Bowl Slide that shoots riders out into a large bowl area.  We rode all these slides and had a blast!

There is a pool area where the water is a max depth of 3’6″ and features the Ally-Oop Lagoon. The lagoon has several basketball hoops on the wall and multiple balls so everyone can try their hand at some water hoops. There is a large artificial tree in the center of this pool that separates the sections. Off to the other side is the Croc-O-Nile Crossing. A series of floating platforms along with an overhead climbing type rope ladder that kids can hold onto as they make their way from platform to platform tests their coordination and navigation skills. If they do fall in they have to start over and cannot climb on a platform from the water.

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The Great Ka-Na-Gawa Wavepool is a large pool that turns into a wave pool intermittently with the sound of a loud fog horn.

 

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Children regardless of how well they swim need to wear a life vest if they are under 42″. There are life vests available for all ages supplied by the lodge. This policy was not enforced until our last day and our little guy was so upset when he was told he had to wear a vest based on his size alone. He was upset since he had been in the pool the entire stay without one and knows how to swim very well. This same situation played out many times with many other kids during that day.  It would be best if all lifeguards followed the same procedures so the kids don’t get upset. I think  there should be some type of water test for children who may be short but are good swimmers to allow them to go without the vest.

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The waves are very fun and the wavepool was one of our family’s favorite things. We spent many hours in that pool.  The lifeguards on duty at the wavepool  are very attentive and constantly scanning the water for anyone in trouble. Our kids had a blast in that wave pool and never tired of it. There are clear round tubes guests can use in the wavepool to sit in or hold onto. Guests are also able to just stand or free swim.

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The Lost River was another favorite spot. There is a  current that guides you around in a single tube, double tube or you can free swim it. Cascading waterfalls at certain points will get you wet if you don’t navigate away from them.

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The Venus Slydetrap is a 608ft. raft ride for 3-6 people. This is what we considered a family ride but our little guys were hesitant to ride and so we had to skip this. It looked really fun and I was disappointed not to be able to try it.

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My husband and 9-year-old went on some of the free-falling slides-The Paradise Plunge and the Skydive Plummet that looked very intense. They had a blast but they were not for the faint of heart!

The Bombora Flowrider  is an action packed surfing simulator. Guests can surf or Boogie Board and show off their amazing skills to the people who gather to watch. My husband gave some Boogie Boarding a try! There are lessons available in the morning and after closing. The waterpark is open until 9 pm.


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Mystic Springs is an indoor/outdoor warm spa lagoon with hydrotherapy jets. You can enter indoors and proceed to go into the outdoor section even in winter.  The hot tub can be used by everyone and is not just 18 or older. This may or may not pose issues for you. The issues we saw were some youngish teenagers  that were making out in there. There is also no lifeguard in the hot tube area and it is to be used at your own risk.

There are cabanas that you can rent if you so choose. Towels are provided but they are small. There are lockers and changing rooms. There are plenty of chairs, tables and lounge chairs around all of the attractions.  There is food available, but it is the typical chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries, pretzel type stuff.  Absolutely no food or drinks are allowed in. GoPro and similar action  cameras are not allowed to be used on the rides.

#CamelBackResort

It was not crowded when we went so there were no issues with that. I know from prior reviews they used to have the park open to the public and not just guests of the lodge. When it was open like that, there were reports of it being too crowded which I assume caused them to give the lodge guests exclusive access.

When you exit the waterpark you walk straight into a large arcade and the air condition can be quite a shock. The arcade seemed to have a nice selection of games but our kids are more the kind that want to be the action so they did not play any games. We all kept busy and active in the waterpark during our stay.

cbm arcade

There are several types of rooms to choose from. Rooms with bunk beds and suites are available. The rooms are not well-lit and are very dark. There is no sink in the bathroom but that is very common in these types of resorts. It does make one think what is on the door handle of the bathroom since you cannot wash your hands before coming out. The bathroom is very small and just has the toilet and tub/shower combo. We had a room with 2 queen size beds and a sofa that also opened to a bed. There was no maid service our second day which shocked me since we had been through most of the towels and thought they would replenish them. There was  no turn down service offered.

cbm room

cbm room micro

cbm room bathroom

The wi-fi is a bit iffy depending on where your room is located. We had to change rooms as the first room we had did not have a wi-fi signal at all. From what I heard many people were unhappy with the wi-fi coverage. Since I have to be able to log on and write, no wi-fi was not acceptable. When we changed rooms they put us near the front desk and we did have a good wi-fi connection.

The staff in the lodge could benefit greatly by some serious customer service training. This is not just my own opinion. Most of the guests we met there admitted the same. At check in, you could hear a bit of arguing among guests and staff as they were told coupon booklets were not valid that clearly showed they were and other issues. The lodge staff was not friendly and cheerful and requests were met with grunts or huffy annoyed breathing complete with eye rolls. That was really annoying and totally uncalled for. However, when you went to the waterpark you forgot that and did not encounter it again until you returned to the main lodge.

cbm lobby

Due to the staff in the lodge we went to eat off the premises. If you want to go out, there are several family and fast food restaurants off site as well as a Shop Rite and Walmart. The rooms have a microwave and small refrigerator with a tiny freezer.  Even with a few more than 2 lumps in this Camel’s back, the waterpark made up for the down side. There are activities you can pay for outside the waterpark like ziplines and other action activities.

We did run into guests who said they got good deals on a room, coupon book and breakfast vouchers on Groupon. If you are planning a trip check out specials. May has a special of buy one night at regular price and get one night at half off. If you have been to Camelback Lodge please share your experience in the comments. If you have any questions for me, leave them in the comments too and I will answer to the best of my ability. You can follow Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Keep following us as we bring you more great family friendly destinations in the Northeast.

 

Our stay was sponsored by Camelback Resort, my views and words are as always 100% my own.