Thanks to Washington’s birthday, a three-day weekend is in your future. If you’re still trying to figure out how to spend the much needed day off, look no further than celebrating President’s Day like a President. Natural Retreats, the experiential travel company written about in Travel+Leisure and The Huffington Post, has a list of destinations and activities to embrace some of our previous President’s favorite pastimes. From spa days, to skiing, to fly-fishing -- live like a President during that 3-day weekend!
1. Soak in the Jefferson Pools at Virginia's Homestead Preserve
Now one of the oldest spa structures in America, Thomas Jefferson himself was known to unwind (sometimes 3 times a day) in “The Gentleman's Pool House” on the Homestead Preserve. Set in the heart of Virginia’s breath-taking Allegheny Mountains in Hot Springs, the Jefferson Pools (also known as the Warm Springs Bath House) are surrounded by stunning panoramas of the National Forest and the perfect place to find tranquility and to relax. POTUS approved.
by Melissa Moore
Where does your family go to enjoy the vibrant colors of leaves changing color? Maybe, you follow the crowds to Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive. Or, possibly you head to your favorite pumpkin patch, the one with pumpkins still attached to the vine, and hope that there are some colorful trees in the background for the perfect family photo. This year, with family in town from California, our family went searching for the most impressive display of color that we could find within a three hour drive of Washington DC, and we hit the road for the mountains of West Virginia. On our one day road trip adventure we visited both Blackwater Falls State Park and Seneca Rocks.
Follow your heart straight to adventure at Disney On Ice! Just keep swimming with Dory and new pal Hank from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory as they set out to find her parents. Cheer with the Emotions from Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out. Venture to wintery Arendelle where Olaf and Kristoff help reunite Anna and Elsa and learn love is the most powerful magic of all. See the Disney Princesses achieve their dreams through bravery, kindness and perseverance. And celebrate true friendship with The Toy Story gang.
Make unforgettable memories with Mickey and your Disney friends when Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart skates into the Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax, VA from October 19-23, 2016.
Enter to win a family 4 pack of tickets to Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart opening night October 19, 2016 at 7 p.m. Comment below with your favorite Disney character to enter. Winner will be picked using Random(dot) org on October 7, 2016. GOOD LUCK!
Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart is bringing Disney•Pixar’s record-breaking animated feature Finding Dory to the ice for the first time in this live production produced by Feld Entertainment. The ice-skating extravaganza featuring Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out, Disney’s Frozen and other beloved Disney stories visits EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, VA on October 19 – 23, for 9 performances. Tickets are on sale now.
Just keep swimming with Dory, Nemo, Marlin and new pal Hank from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory as they embark on a life-changing excursion to find her parents and discover the true meaning of family. Cheer with the Emotions from Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out –Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust– as they help Riley find the confidence to win the hockey championship and experience the emotional rollercoaster of growing up. Venture to wintery world of Arendelle where Olaf and Kristoff help reunite royal sisters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and learn love is the most powerful magic of all. See Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana and the Disney Princesses make their dreams come true through their virtues of bravery, kindness and perseverance. And celebrate true friendship with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and The Toy Story gang. Make unforgettable memories with Mickey, Minnie and all your Disney friends when Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart skates into Fairfax, VA!
There’s something for everyone in a show that features 60 characters. The wintery world of Arendelle sets the stage for Olaf and Kristoff as they help reunite royal sisters Anna and Elsa and learn love is the most powerful magic of all. Audiences will celebrate friendship with Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and more pals from Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story. With Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse leading the way, this new Disney On Ice production will excite and amaze fans of all ages.
Date and Time of Performances:
I am a Feld Family ambassador. In exchange for my time and effort of attending shows and reporting my opinion on this blog, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets. All opinions are my own.
By Amy Suski
We just got back from a two-week long vacation through Great Britain and France with 3 kids, 3 iPhones, 1 iPad mini, 1 Macbook, 2 iPods, and a digital camera. (In case you're wondering this is not an advertisement for Mac products -- our family just happens to be addicted to them.) To power all these devices, adapt to international currents, and connect to WiFi we needed a strategy. Here I share with you what worked and what didn't.
1. Accell USB Charging Kit with International Plug Adapters: this little kit automatically detects and switches to the correct voltage for the country you are in and was essential for quickly recharging our iPhones, iPods and iPad. It has two USB ports so we could get two devices charged at a time, plus it can be used at home whenever two USB devices need to be charged in the same outlet. Another bonus: the 2-pronged US plug folds down so that it is easier to carry. The kit retails for $21.99.
2. International AC Plug Adapters: although most of our devices were covered by the Accell USB charger above, in order to charge the MacBook and digital camera, we needed another set of adapters for converting their AC plugs. I was lucky enough to find a set of adapters from our last trip that worked just fine, but next trip I'm going to bring an extra set since competition for charging devices was at a premium.
3. SkyRoam Personal Hotspot: The WiFi provided for free by train stations, airports, and hotels was spotty at best. Since I had to bring work with me, I wanted to ensure I could work online, especially when hanging out in a waiting area with nothing else to do. For $99.99 we purchased this handy device which for a daily fee of around $8, gave us unlimited WiFi for up to 5 devices. In addition to allowing me to work on my laptop, it allowed us to access directions, travel information, and reservations on our iPhones without racking up roaming charges. Every day we slipped it into our backpack and more than once it saved our bacon by allowing us to use Maps when we were lost, search for a nearby restaurant, or summon a ride through a car service app when our feet were just too tired to go on. The only problem was that the battery life wasn't long enough to get us through a whole day of traveling. Next time, we'll be bringing a back-up power source (#4).
4. Back-up Power Sources: My kids were smart enough to bring small chapstick-sized back-up power sources for their devices. I didn't and regretted it. We had many long days pounding the pavement and none of my devices could make it from start to finish, so my husband and I tag-teamed turning on and off our phones so that we could conserve our connectivity.
5. Upgraded Phone Plan: Given that we were renting a car, traveling in unfamiliar areas, and occasionally needed to make reservations on the fly, we definitely wanted some cell service. By purchasing a one-month international plan before we left the US, we avoided costly roaming charges. For about $40, the Verizon plan allowed one month of limited voice and messaging, but no data. I missed the significance of this last point until I'd racked up $25 in international data roaming charges. For the rest of the trip, I turned OFF data roaming and relied on the WiFi we were able to get through SkyRoam. Although we didn't come close to using our voice or messaging allowance, for peace of mind I'm glad we invested in the international phone plan. Next time, I'll just be smarter about the data settings to avoid unnecessary charges.
Of course, once we mastered the art of charging and connecting our devices, we couldn't wait to turn them all off. Although it was nice for the kids to be able to communicate with friends, snap pictures of Big Ben, and entertain themselves while waiting for a flight, we really didn't want them immersed in a video game while their vacation happened around them. We needed to teach our kids that sometimes the best memories of travel can be caught while idly people watching from a cafe or counting cows during a car ride through Normandy. So my advice is, once you are comfortably connected, charged-up, and ready for every possible travel conundrum, power down and just enjoy!
The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of the businesses mentioned.
by Micaela Williamson
For Summer 2016, The Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail has launched an awesome new game called "Bucket's Buddy Adventures" that rewards visitors for experiencing fun, family-friendly things to do in the Shenandoah Valley area. The game consists of four adventure cards (Creativity, History, Great Outdoors and Wellness.) Each of the cards has a checklist of places to visit throughout the summer. When you visit each location, there is a clue to find a magic word to enter on your mobile device. Plus, the locations all have free prizes to give away to participants. When a card is complete, you are entered to win even more prizes, including an overnight stay and free tickets to many attractions.
My family got to test out the game firsthand and had a blast. Here are some of our adventures:
Back Home on The Farm
This farm had a ton of different activities including a cow train, rat rollers, a giant tunnel slide through a hill, and a beautiful butterfly garden boasting four species of Virginia butterflies. Plus, there is a greenhouse play area for little ones, farm animals to meet, and an extremely impressive Virginia carousel which is handcrafted to showcase the state's history. Be sure to stop by the country store to pick up a free prize and purchase some delicious homemade jam.
Explore More Discovery Museum
This is a fantastic, hands-on children's museum located right in downtown Harrisonburg. Exhibits focus on science, engineering, the human body, building, art and the imagination. Kids can pretend to be a mechanic, work at a farm, run a kitchen, act on a stage and even tell a newscast in a mock TV news studio. There is so much to see and the location is walkable to many great downtown restaurants and shops.
Mulligan's Golf Center
Mulligan's is a brand-new mini golf center that appeals to all levels. Kids will love the challenges and all the water features.
Mt. Crawford Creamery
Mt. Crawford, VA
This was our first time ever visiting a creamery. Every day at 4 PM, the cows are milked in the dairy barn, and staff is happy to share about the process and answer any questions. You can also pet the baby calves and get a free tasting of chocolate milk and old-fashioned buttermilk at the front desk. It's much more special than visiting the grocery store!
Alamo Cinema and Drafthouse
After seeing a movie at this cinema, you'll never want to visit a traditional movie theater again. The Alamo Cinema and Drafthouse has a gourmet menu complete with sandwiches, snacks, entrees, brunch, craft beers and signature cocktails. Movie goers can relax in the lush seats, and enjoy the latest films.
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
This extensive museum is interesting for kids and parents alike. The galleries include multimedia exhibits about the history of life in the Shenandoah Valley, an impressive miniatures collection, and changing art exhibits. The seven acres of gardens are gorgeous feature a picnic area and scavenger hunt for kids. Plus, visitors will want to check out the historic Glen Burnie House.
Come inside this store to play Bucket's Gadget Game and earn a prize. Kids and adults alike will marvel over the cookie cutter collection and walls of interesting kitchen gadgets. We highly recommend sampling and buying some of their delicious homemade fudge!
This market is known for its craft soda collection, savory sandwiches and fried chicken. Kids can play the "Throx Picnic Challenge" and earn a free, soft serve ice cream cone.
Other places to visit on the Bucket's Buddy Adventure include:
Where to Stay:
Learn more about Bucket's Buddy Adventure game and experience all the Shenandoah Kids Trail has to offer by visiting the Go Blue Ridge Travel website here.
We were guests of Go Blue Ridge Travel and received a complimentary visit to attractions and overnight stay in return for an honest review. All opinions are our own.
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Kid Trips' blogs profile fun events and cool family-friendly venues. We focus on regional and national family travel articles.
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