77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 68 – Cuttyhunk Island, MA

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line:  Day 68 – Cuttyhunk Island, MA

Cuttyhunk Island is the last of the Elizabeth Islands islands which stretch to the southwest of Falmouth.  The town of Gosnold, MA extends down the stretch of the Elizabeth Islands and has 52 of the town’s 86 year round residents (according to Wikipedia).

We discovered Cuttyhunk about 10 years ago while sailing with friends.  Cuttyhunk harbor is a beautiful place to spend a couple of nights, but make sure you bring plenty of provisions on board, because shopping is very limited on land!  Besides the incredible sunsets and the high number of sailboats (as opposed to motor boats – commonly referred to as “stinkpots” in the sailing world), our family loves the experience of the Raw Bar boat delivering their goods after 5pm!  In addition to shrimp cocktail and freshly picked clams and oysters, the Raw Bar also brings fresh “clam chowda” (a New England tradition).

What else is there to do at Cuttyhunk Island?  Not much!  During the summer the population grows to about 300 people, but as far as activities, people go to the beach, fish, and walk.  Since the island is only about 1.5 x.75 miles big, the main mode of transportation is golf cart!  One of our favorite walks is to go up Tower Road and on a clear day, we can see the other Elizabeth Islands, the southern Massachusetts shore line and also the Gay Head Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you don’t have a boat (or a friend with a boat), you can get to Cuttyhunk via ferry and helicopter.  Maybe I’ll see you there next year waiting eagerly for the Raw Bar boat to visit you.

 

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 63 – Hyannis MA

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 63 – Hyannis MA

Continuing along on our vacation, we stayed a night in Hyannis at the Hyannis Marina. This was a new experience for us because we always stay on a mooring and this time we stayed in a slip, complete with electricity!  (A luxury for a sailboat who’s batteries don’t have the capacity to allow all the electronics on board to work, ie – microwave or tv.)

Hyannis, MA is a wonderful town for vacationers to stay in or visit from surrounding towns on the Cape.  The town offers many experiences, including shopping, fishing trips, plenty of restaurants, and the ferry to take them on a day trip to either Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.

While we were in Hyannis, staying at the Hyannis Marina, we went to Trader Ed’s for relaxing at the pool, some drinks, and yummy clam chowder.  Then later to Tugboats for a delicious lobster dinner.  I highly recommend Tugboat’s Restaurant for their great menu and excellent wait staff.

Less than 24 hours later we left Hyannis off to Oak Bluff’s on Martha’s Vineyard, passing by the Hyline Ferry that goes into Hyannis and then later, the Hyannis Yacht Club on the west side of the harbor as we followed out another sailboat.

 

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Hyannis that you’d like to share?  Please post below in the “reply” section!  Thanks!

 

 

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 62 – Nantucket

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 62 – Nantucket

As you may know (if you’ve read my blog a lot), my family enjoys sailing on our Windpath 35′ Catalina sailboat.  We’ve been going to Martha’s Vineyard for many years and this year we decided to return to Nantucket for the second time.

We left from Kingman Yacht Club around 6 am and made excellent time getting through Wood’s Hole and down Nantucket Sound to arrive in Nantucket around 2pm.  Nantucket Harbor welcomes some of the most impressive yachts on the water coming from Europe, the Caribbean, and even Australia which are always fun to see.

Once on land there is plenty of shopping, dining, beaching, and biking as well as some museums, a vineyard and the Cisco microbrewery.  When we were there for a couple of nights my daughter and I went biking using Young’s Bikes to Madaket and had lunch together at Millie’s.  While on our Nantucket vacation we also went to the beach where the girls were able to practice sailing a sunfish sailboat (after starting their lessons last week (locally) at the Lawrence Community Boating) and we ate lunch and dinner out a couple of times.

Nantucket is a quintessential New England experience.  Much of the island still looks like it’s back in the “whaling days”.  If you ever get the chance to travel via ferry, boat, or plane over for a  Nantucket vacation, I highly encourage you to experience a piece of New England history as well as view the million dollar yachts that come to Nantucket.

Do you have a favorite memory from being on vacation at Nantucket?  Share it below in the “reply” section!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 61 – Mel’s Funway Park, Litchfield NH

Mel’s Funway Park, Litchfield NH

We took our first trip up to Mel’s Funway Park in Litchfield NH this week – a 40 minute drive from Pelham NH (our home town).  We may have picked the hottest day of the year….   but it was good in one way because that meant there were no crowds.  On the other hand, we could only get through 9 holes of mini golf instead of our 18.

Our two main reasons for going were the NH mini golf and go carts, but our friend convinced us to visit the batting cages for a couple of swings – surprisingly fun, even for our Spanish exchange student, Lili, and her friend, Amaia.

Mel’s Funway Park also had a great driving range, lazer tag, a lazer maze, and an arcade! Although we didn’t participate in any of these games we hope to when we go back to Mel’s Funway Park.

Notice the car Kesli is riding in?  This business, RGA Tire and Auto is located less than a mile from our home in Pelham!

At the end of our visit (after the mini golf, go carts, and batting cages) we all had a great cone of delicious ice cream from Gifford’s Ice Cream, which was conviently right next to the mini golf course!

We tried many different flavors:  Cake Batter, Cookie Dough, Strawberry and Rainbow SherbertYUMMY!

Do you have a favorite go carts place or mini golf course that you enjoy?  Tell me about it below so we can visit it for a review!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 60 – Water Country, Portsmouth NH

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line:  Day 60 – Water Country, Portsmouth NH

What a great day we had this week at Water Country, the largest water park in NH!  Not too sunny and the special group price we got by entering the park with the exchange students from Spain was a bonus!  :)  … and for those of you “working moms and dads”, my phone had great service for conversations and checking on e-mails.

The traffic was awesome driving 50 minutes from Pelham NH to Water Country in Portsmouth NH at 10:30am and the parking was free (unless you want to be up close to the entrance/exit).  One of the other great things about this NH water park is they welcome you to bring in coolers – that alone is a huge savings! (But on this particular day we decided to treat ourselves to an order of fried dough.)


Our favorite place is the wave pool, so we started at that end of the water park to get acclimated.  After that we went over to Racing Rapids and got caught in a down pour!  Then we started our long trek to the other side of the park and hit almost all the main attractions: Double Geronimo, Dragon’s Den (30 minute wait), Thunder Falls and Wild Canyon, Double Dive Boggan, and the Black Hole and Warp 8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucky for families with kids under 48″, the park has 3 areas carefully watched just for them:  Ollie Octopus, Pirates Lagoon, and the Tahiti Tree House.

Whether you go to Water Country for the wave pool, the kiddie area, or the thrilling Geronimo, you’re bound to have a fun time as long as it’s hot!

If you’re looking for more “low key” trips, perhaps a local spray park in Lowell, Dracut, or Derry would suffice or maybe Liquid Planet in Dover is more your style.  Whatever your pleasure, make sure to get out with the kids and have fun!

If you really enjoy water parks, you might even consider a season’s pass which was very tempting to me the day we went, just $59.99 for the season!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 59 – Hampton Beach, NH

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line:  Day 59 – Hampton Beach, NH

With 60% chance of rain, we were still determined to go to the beach today.  After all, our exchange student from Spain, Lili, is used to getting into the Atlantic on the north side of Spain, we had to let her see a US beach, right?  So, where do we go from Pelham NH on a cloudy day?  Hampton Beach, NH!  Initially, I was headed for North Hampton Beach, but since I had driven to Hampton NH so many times recently due to Tim’s purchase on Ashworth Ave, that’s where we ended up!

On our drive to Hampton Beach, NH, it poured rain and I asked the 3 girls several times, “are you sure you want to go to the beach?”  ”Of course, Mom!” was unanimous.  After all, they expected to get wet in the water, so what’s the difference if the rain gets them too?  We ate lunch in the car as soon as we arrived (after getting a fantastic free parking spot right on the street) and suddenly the rain stopped.  The girls ran into the very clean bath house, changed, and were out on their way with the boogie boards and wet suits down to the beach!

The water at Hampton Beach is much too cold for me (especially since my wetsuit was on someone else AND there was no sun), so I opted for sitting on the beach (and using the umbrella to stay dry in a couple of passing showers).

If you’ve never been over to the beach, you may like Hampton Beach.  Certainly there are a lot of shops, restaurants, and activities to do in the area if the sun isn’t out and chances are, if you’re from this area, you will probably run into someone you know.  The drive from Pelham was only about 50 minutes with no traffic, so I considered it a reasonable trip for even a half day!  :)

If beaches aren’t your “thing”, you may find something else you like in NH to enjoy the outdoors!  Look on the NH State Parks website for other ideas.

Do you have a favorite beach other than Hampton Beach I should write about?  Tell us about it below!  Thank you!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 58 – Liquid Planet Water Park Candia NH

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line:  Day 58 – Liquid Planet Water Park, Candia NH

Destination: Liquid Planet Water Park in Candia NH!

Where:  446 Raymond Road,Candia, NH 03034

 

 

Who: my 2 girls and our exchange student, Lili

When: July 7th

Why: It’s SUMMER and it’s hot and we need to “break our routine” of being in the house, and I had a Groupon, and, and, …

What a great day we had at Liquid Planet!  It was an impromptu decision to go up from our home in Pelham 40 minutes to Candia to this NH water park, but worth it!  Working with so many home buyers and sellers recently had decreased the usual summer fun time, so my girls deserved a fun day with Mom.  :)

Liquid Planet Water Park offers many choices to their visitors, season’s passes,  full days, half days, rides on the zipline and also miniature golfing in addition to water park, slides and Crater Lake.

You know the saying, though, “a picture’s worth a thousand words”, so here are several pictures and a video of our day!  If you’re looking for some water fun closer to home, you might enjoy one of the spray parks in Lowell, Dracut, or Derry NH.

Fun for littler kids (and big ones on occasion).

 

 

 

 

 

This NH Zipline is new this year, 35 feet off the ground and 1000 feet long. 

Crater Lake is new this year also and a lot of fun – there’s more area to the left of the picture for laying down on or sliding on your belly.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWgCPuHRppI[/youtube]

Miniature golf

and a double water slide too at Liquid Planet Water Park!

I liked the zipline and crater lake the best at Liquid Planet, but my kids are older – if you’ve been there, what did you like best?  Oh yeah, one more thing!  This NH water park is REALLY CLEAN!  Enjoy your trip if you choose to go one beautiful summer day!

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 53 – Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA

Today we visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.  There is no really easy way to get there from our home in Pelham NH, so having my Mom along on the trip, we at least have time to catch up on what my girls and I have been doing.  I believe the last time I was at the Peabody Essex Museum was probably back in 2005, but my girls have gone down 2 or 3 other times without me, usually with my Mom to a special children’s program.

Peabody Essex Museum was the first museum in the US, started back in 1799 by the East India Marine Society.  See below 2 displays located in their first hall, the East India Marine Hall, which is still part of the museum and also is the location for periodic chamber music and orchestral performances.

The Peabody Essex Museum holds a diverse collection of objects from all over the world and also has special collections come for periods of time.  Of particular interest to us on this trip was the Dutch and Flemish Masterworks (since our family came to America from the Netherlands and my brother and his family live their now).  This special exhibit is scheduled to be at the Peabody Essex Museum from Feb 26th – June 19th and contains nearly 70 paintings and many pieces of furniture collected by Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo from the leading Dutch and flemish artists of the 1600s, including one by Rembrandt.

 

In addition to viewing the Dutch display, we also visited the Yin Yu Tang building which was first on display in 2003.  This Chinese home completely intrigues me – it is the home of the Huang family who lived in it for more than 200 years in the Huizhou region of China.  This stately home had 16 bedrooms and often housed up to 30 family members and 3 generations!

No one is allowed to take pictures inside the ancient building, but I did get one from above, looking through the window.  While inside we listened to an audio tour that was just fascinating.  I know that I had been through this house the first time I went to the Peabody Essex Museum, but I found it just as fascinating this second time through.

The Peabody Essex Museum is a fun museum to visit and also has a small sandwich shop in the beautiful bright atrium.  Either before or after your visit, you could also stop in on another nearby historical location (of course in Salem, MA, there are many!) – and you might even decide to visit a local shop for ice cream, like we did!  :)

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 48 – Enterprise City in Dover NH

Enterprise City in Dover NH

Last week I took a bunch of kids up to Enterprise City in Dover NH for a field trip – what a BLAST!  This is “not your average field trip”!  Enterprise City (previously called Exchange City) is an on-site location for kids to use the business skills they have developed over a 5-8 week period of time preceding the trip.  The kids work with a very comprehensive curriculum developed by the Enterprise City staff in order to prepare for “THEIR DAY”!

Here’s some of the many things our group of 52 kids (ages 5th-12th grade) learned before going to Enterprise City:

  • Check writing and Register balancing
  • SIP Test (skills and interest profile test), Resume writing, job applications, and job interviewing,
  • How to write a speech (if applying for the position of Mayor or Judge)
  • What it means to be a “citizen”.
  • What basics the following “general” jobs do:  Managers/Owners, Accountants, Production Designers, Sales and Marketing
  • Business planning, including possible products to sell and the marketing of the business and the products
  • Personal budgeting
  • Team work

While at Enterprise City the students take on the roles of employers, employees, government officials, consumers and citizens.  They work in a variety of businesses, organizations and government agencies.

Our group of kids from Pelham NH participated with many other home schooled students from MA, NH, and ME who have (in many cases) never met one another, so our day “ran” a little longer (9-3) than the average school field trip.  While we were there we had 12 businesses and offices open, including:  the City Hall, Bank, Distribution Center, Snack Shop, Sign Shop, Newspaper, Broadcast Center, Nature Shop, Post Office, Sports Shop, Technology Shop, and Multi-Service Center.

During our day at Enterprise City, the kids planned together about their business, got two paychecks, worked at their jobs, and had 2 breaks, including lunch (which were their only opportunities to go out and spend their money).  Certainly everyone KNEW that the goal of the day was to do enough business in order to pay off their business loan, but it wasn’t   until the kids took their second break that it really “sank in” that the money they earned while at Enterprise City would NOT be leaving and that the more money they spent, the more each business could pay off their loans.

I love this kind of activity!  Although we had a LOT of preparation, the kids learned so much more with all the hands-on experience!  If you have any chance to influence your school system regarding a meaningful field trip, a trip to Enterprise City is a must, it  is ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!  The staff is great, the curriculum is excellent, and the experience they kids take away is HUGE!

Contact Enterprise City today for more information!  Alternately, if you can gather a group of kids of 40 or more, you can also reserve your day!

Here is a picture of the City Hall workers whom I supervised, we had (from left to right):  City Attorney, Policewoman, Environmental Officer, Judge, Mayor, and City Manager (Accountant).

77 Days on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line: Day 47 – Museum of Fine Arts Boston MA

Museum of Fine Arts   Boston MA

Did you know the Museum of Fine Arts (commonly called MFA in New England) has a brand new wing for “American Art“?  Just opened in fall 2010 and costing over 504 millions dollars and taking 5 years from beginning to end, this wing is really impressive and very well laid out with both engaging pieces of art as well as high tech interactive items for kids and adults to explore!  My Mom requested we take a trip there to celebrate her birthday, so my girls and I packed up and went!

I’ll admit that art is not at the top of the list for me…. you probably know from reading here that I’m more likely to want to go skiing or sailing or camping, but our visit to the Museum of Fine Arts was really quite enjoyable.  I believe if you’ve never been there, you really need to go with a plan because the museum is really quite expansive.  Our trip was solely to explore the new wing containing art from North, Central, and South America laid out in four floors, including art from as far back as the Olmec and Mayans right up to the present.  The layout is really well designed, as we moved from the bottom floor up, we came closer and closer to the present.  Not to be overlooked is also the history lessons that go hand in hand with the art….the one thing that stood out to me is that it wasn’t until the third floor we visited, did we see women artists displayed.

Again, admitting I’m not much of an art aficionado, I’ll just mention a couple of the predominately displayed artists:  Paul Revere, John Singer Sargent, John Singleton Copley, Mary Cassatt, and many more (as you can imagine – in order to fill up 51,338 sf of gallery space)!

The challenge in going to the Museum of Fine Arts with kids is to keep them engaged and actually looking at the art, so we played a little game that after being on each floor we each would name the one or two pieces of art we liked best and why.  This was really interesting because you just never knew what any of the four of us would say…as you can imagine since our ages are from ten through seventy-one!

Two of the things I thought were most “cool” about the new wing at the Museum of Fine Arts were the interactive screens we could go to for more information or short quizes to help us really learn the fine details between different periods of art.  The other part that I found particularly fascinating was on Level 2 “Behind the Scenes” which explained a bit about how particular pieces are chosen to go on display and how the displays are designed.

If you have never been to the Museum of Fine Arts, I highly recommend you go – the Museum is recognized internationally for it’s collection and it’s less than an hour’s drive away from the MA-NH state line (Pelham, for us!).  You should expect to eat a meal there and there are several different options for you, from “pack and carry” to very fine dining.  In fact, just before entering the large new wing, there is a huge open area which serves delicious looking food! (see to the right)

My final two tips would be to wear walking shoes and to visit your local library first to reserve discount tickets to the Museum of Fine Arts.  We used tickets from our Pelham Public Library and paid $5 each and my Mom got the discount tickets from the Haverhill Library which gave us the discounted $7 admission.

One of my favorite parts of the display was the American Impressionists – if you go, tell me below what your’s is?  :)