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Archive for October, 2008

Why Family Adventure Guidebooks?

October 30th, 2008 by bsmith | 1 Comment | Filed in Family Adventure Guidebooks

Hi Everyone,

Next week, I promise I’ll have a cute picture of Jared and Destiny at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.  For now, I wanted to take a minute to share a little “fairy tale” that my friend Deb wrote for me, after I asked her to envision  where my business might take me. 

I received  some great ”vision statements”  from many friends and family members through this exercise, but this one was certainly the most poetic.  I also think that it captured why I have embarked upon this venture (or misadventure as it seems at times) of blogging about family travel and writing travel guidebooks. 

Deb has given me a eloquent mission statement of sorts.  In the coming days, months and years I’ll be trying to live up to her high standards.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

 

 

 

Deb’s Dream for Me

 

Once upon a time there was a woman who, because of divine determination, destined herself to be the female steward for 3 amazing kids.  In her search to introduce said children to the wonders of this amazing planet this woman became perplexed.  Why, said she, did family vacations and adventures need to be so problematic.  Where were healthy eating places, kid friendly and affordable lodging, potties with toilet paper and smiles, no entrance fees, fresh air and natural sounds of birds and musical instruments rather than the clanging and crashing of all things battery driven?  

 

 

In this age of “Greening” why are interactive toys and games made with a seasonal expiration date.  If we are teaching our children to be saviors of the earth, she thought, why do we provide them with landfill?  What happened to literature for kids and art and singing and meals together and conversation and laughter?  There must be places, other than in my amazing home, where these values are truly valued, where the village is valued regardless of political bent, where the entrance fee isn’t an IZOD T-shirt, or where there’s no entrance fee at all, because of course God didn’t intend for His amazing handiwork to be inaccessible to anyone. 

 

 

“Wait”, thought the woman.   “God has blessed me with the gift of faith.  He has also provided me incredible brains, patience, hutzpah, and kindness. I also know that the rewards to me of using these “God gifts” will more than satisfy my needs.   And although at times I rue the day that Gates and Jobs were born, I have developed skills and a compatibility with computers that affords me an opportunity to enhance peoples lives in ways beyond one person’s ability to imagine.”   “I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD; ONE KID, ONE DESTINATION, ONE HAPPY MOMENT, ONE EFFORTLESS TRIP, ONE OVERWORKED MOM, ONE FRAZZLED DAD, ONE DAY AT A TIME”,   Bridget said.   And she smiled.

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Mom’s First Business Trip: Deerfield Beach, Florida

October 27th, 2008 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Business Travel

Embassy Suites, Deerfield Beach

Embassy Suites, Deerfield Beach

I’m at the airport returning from a few days in Deerfield Beach, Florida.   Although I didn’t get a chance to bring the family this trip, it is so rare that I get out of the state,  I am compelled to take a minute to blog about Deerfield Beach  as a potential family travel destination.

Deerfield Beach is a sleepy Florida Beach town between Miami and Orlando.  There are a few chain hotels like the Hilton, Comfort Inn, and Embassy Suites, and a lot of little rickety mom and pop hotels.  Since I was at a conference of Dangerous Goods Trainers, I didn’t get out much, but I did get a look at the beach.  It was a very windy day, and liked like a fun place to para-surf.  The surfers were catching amazing amounts of air.  A young family bravely posed for a family picture on the rocks as the wind whipped through their hair.  It was high tide, so the beach was mostly for looking at rather than playing on.  The weather alternated between being rainy and windy to clear and muggy.  I enjoyed my few minutes of windy quiet.  I think my kids would have been a little chilly.

Some friends stayed at the Comfort  Inn at the end of Hillsboro Blvd.  They said that conditions were rather Spartan.  I did catch a glimpse of a slide as I drove by.  The motel was right on the beach, so it might be worth exploring if you’re a looking for a simple affordable place to stay with the kids. 

The conference took place at the Embassy Suites.  It was a gracious hotel with a nice pool located right off of the beach.  The food at the restaurant was good, and there were lots of fun places to lounge by the pool.  Apparently the concierge can set you up with all kinds of fun activities from airboat rides to snorkeling, to outings to Butterfly World, to a Funky Fish Kids Day at the hotel so Mom and Dad can have a break.

I stayed at a Comfort Inn in nearby Parkside.  The hotel was very cheap, about $150 for three nights.  The breakfast was delicious.  The motel was next to the freeway, the toilet ran a little too long, and there were tiny mystery bugs joining me in my room.  It was affordable, but I definitely got what I paid for! 

Would I take the family to Deerfield Beach?  If I was nearby for a conference, it might be a fun place to get some R&R.  I think I would pick a different season however.  October seems to be a little too rainy and windy to make family travel fun.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

 

 

 

 

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A Spooky Train Ride…

October 12th, 2008 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Autumn Adventures

Roaring Camp is one of the jewels of Santa Cruz County.  It offers two railroad adventures, a narrow gauge ride up  a steep hill into the redwoods and a beach train that rides to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  Our family has been blessed to enjoy the beauty of the Holiday Lights Train complete with carols and a visit from Santa.  We have also had the chance to ride Thomas the Tank Engine, and enjoy post Fourth of July festivities.

I regret, however, that I never had the chance to ride the ghost train. On October 24th and 25th train passengers will be treated to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow as they ride through the redwoods.  That ride was pretty spooky already.  I think that this fun Halloween themed presentation would make it even better.  If you are lucky enough to be in the Santa Cruz area, check it out and tell me about your adventure.

Here’s a picture from our Roaring Camp visit this Summer.

 

Happy Trails,

Bridget

Destiny gets to work at the Blacksmith Shop

Destiny gets to work at the Blacksmith Shop

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Legoland is Spooktacular on Saturday Nights in October!

October 5th, 2008 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Autumn Adventures, Legoland
Destiny and Justin Show off the Headless Pumpkin

Destiny and Justin Show off the Headless Pumpkin

The kids and I had a blast at Legoland tonight!  It was crowded, but since we stayed until closing we were able to have the rides all to ourselves at the end of the night.  For those who are curious, if you come during the day you do not need to exit the park and then re-enter.  You do need  to come to the front of the park and pick up a wristband for the night time festivities.

Castle Hill is alive with music and stilt walkers.  The Rides in Land of Adventure were also open.  Jared tried Knights Tournament for the first time.  The kids enjoyed the Brick or Treat Trail and collected an assortment of doodads and unhealthy goodies.  Justin made friends with fellow Clone Troopers at the Hideaways and they captured the fortress.  We opted out of the costume contest since we were dressed in rather generic costumes, and I’m somewhat glad we did.   The lines didn’t seem worth the goodie bags.  During the contest we built Lego pumpkins and received some great balloon creations.

The party was a very fun way to enjoy Legoland, but I don’t think I’d recommend attending the night time party alone since your access to the park is limited and the price is steep.  If you purchase a regular admission on a Saturday in October you can get added value from your entrance by enjoying the night time party.  If you are a member make sure you use your coupon and enjoy the party!

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The Great Pumpkin Adventure

October 1st, 2008 by bsmith | 2 Comments | Filed in Autumn Adventures
Destiny and Jared are off on their pumpkin adventure.

Destiny and Jared are off on their pumpkin adventure.

If Linus ever comes to San Diego, he will surely wait for the Great Pumpkin at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center.  Destiny, Jared and I just returned from the hottest preschool field trip I have ever experienced!  Despite temperatures over 100 degrees, the Smith family had a great time at Bates Nut Farm. 

Our preschool purchased a package, also available to the public, that included tractor pulled hay ride, a hay bale maze, an informative presentation about pumpkins with lots of audience participation, and the privilege of picking one medium sized pumpkin from the patch.  The kids also visited with  farm animals in pens including geese, llamas, and sheep.  The pens were surrounded with plenty of dried corn, that the kids enjoyed gathering and feeding to their new friends.  Larger amounts of corn can also be purchased from the well stocked gift shop.

Two other very fun, but pricey, activities offered were a baby animal petting zoo  and pony rides.  These activies were $6.00 each.  Since I had already shelled out over $16 to visit, I decided to pass.  I would recommend deciding whether or not you plan to fund these activities before your visit, and warning your kids ahead of time if this is not on your agenda.

Bates Nut Farm has lots of special family activities planned this Fall.  This Saturday, it is sponsoring a scarecrow contest.  Every entry gets a free jack o’ lantern pumpkin.  There will also be a pumpkin festival and craft fair Oct 4-5.  Other fun events that Bates Nut Farm has planned are a costume contest  on October 25th and a doggy costume contest on Oct. 26th.

Bates Nut farm has been a tradition in our family since before we moved to San Diego.    I’m looking forward to returning next year.  Perhaps we’ll build a scarecrow.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S. I couldn’t resist posting this picture of Destiny…too cute!

Destiny's Great Pumpkin

Destiny

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