FindandGoSeek's BLOG

Posted by missmagpie on 29th May 2015

Welcome to Winooski, Vermont

Winooski is quickly becoming known as the Brooklyn of Burlington. With just over one square mile of land, Winooski packs a punch with its hip dining and drinking options. Though known to outsiders for its busy rotary, surrounded by popular restaurants and bars, Winooski is a diverse city with a rich history and plenty to do.

Best Meal

For over ten years, Sneakers has been my go-to for delicious breakfast. Not only is their food delicious and their waitstaff prompt and pleasant, but their menu caters to all appetites and is wallet-friendly to boot. Sneakers is bustling enough to make it suitable for kids but never feels too chaotic or loud. What’s more, even though you’re pretty much guaranteed a wait on a weekend morning, Sneakers will send you next door to Monkey House where you can grab a cup of coffee for yourself and entertain the family with board games or a round of pool while you wait for your table.

Best Outdoor Activity

When the kids need to just play, stop by the elementary school, as their playground is fantastic. But if you’re in the mood for activities for the whole family, stroll along the Winooski River Walk and the Winooski Nature Trail. The River Walk is very family friendly and gives kids an up-close view of the falls. For a little more adventure, continue onto the Winooski Nature Trail. This scenic route takes you along the river to the falls. Just over a mile in length, it’s well-maintained and manageable for active kids. Just be aware of the steep cliffs by the gorge.

Best Indoor Activity

Libraries are always special places, but they are especially so when graced with enthusiastic children’s librarians. Winooski Memorial Library may be small, but the energy of the librarians makes it larger than life. And though Winooski is packed with dining and drinking options, indoor activities are somewhat limited. When caught on a dreary day, the library is the perfect place to wait out the rain.

Best Money Saving Tip

On Sundays throughout the summer and early fall, the Winooski Farmers Market offers local produce and products for sale, as well as free live entertainment and activities for kids. Kids can join the POP (Power of Produce) Club for discounts and special offers, but even those who aren’t members are invited to enjoy the vegetable, farming and nutrition-related activities.

Secret Spots & Little Known Gems

For an afternoon of fun away from the bustle of the rotary, stroll up to Landry Park. After a pleasant walk from downtown through one of Winooski’s quaint neighborhoods, you’ll stumble upon this gem – great for a picnic or quiet walk. Let the kids explore the playground, watch the skate park, take in a baseball game, swim in the pool, or play tennis. In the winter, the sledding hill gets a lot of attention, as does the outdoor skating rink.

About the Author

Gretchen Stern is the mother of an active four-year-old boy. She spends her weekdays as the Organizational Development Manager at the Children’s Literacy Foundation, freelance writing for Parent Express, RootsRated, KidsVT and dancing to stay healthy (and sane). On the weekends, she enjoys exploring Vermont’s food, libations, rivers, and mountains. You can find her here.

This post is part of our Hometown Expert Series: We invited FindandGoSeek users to share their insider tips about visiting their town. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where you live in Vermont and want to write about it, please contact us.

 

Posted by missmagpie on 21st May 2015

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort – Lake Placid

The village of Lake Placid is located on the shores of Mirror Lake. Main Street is lined with gift shops, art galleries and restaurants. The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort is a perfect choice for families looking to stay in a lakefront property and still be close to town. The Golden Arrow is a family-owned and 3rd generation operated resort. Boasting multiple awards for being a leader in green and eco-friendly hotels, they are committed to protecting the beauty of the Adirondacks and Lake Placid region.

With so many accommodation choices at the Golden Arrow there is a room to fit every family. A two-room family suite was perfect for our family of four. We stayed in the Panther Suite which is located on the fifth floor. It had a master bedroom with a king-sized bed and wood-burning fireplace plus a separate room for the kids that had two queen-sized beds. Both rooms had balconies overlooking the lake. The foyer area had a small dinning table, a mini fridge, Keurig coffee maker and microwave. If you are looking for a full kitchen take a look at the Table Top or WolfJaw suites.

Lake Placid

The village of Lake Placid is well known for hosting the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games. The Golden Arrow Resort is less than a 5-minute walk to many of the famous Olympic venues. Just across the street from the hotel you will find yourselves on the footsteps of the Olympic Museum, the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, and site of the “Miracle on Ice.”

The resort is also located close too many outdoor recreational activities. Go boating, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding on the lake. Bike the panoramic mountain loop or go hiking like we did. There are so many great trails in the area for all abilities. We chose Cobble Hill, a short hike that pays off with spectacular views of Lake Placid and the surrounding mountains. Our family picked the steeper of the two trails to get to the summit. If you are not into pulling yourself up a sheer rock slab, I would suggest taking the 1.6 mile route that gradually winds it’s way to the top.

Golden Arrow Travel Planning Tips

  • Choose a room with a lake view on a high floor. They are quieter and have the best view.
  • Pets are allowed in specific rooms.
  • The Alpine Village Shoppes are connected directly to the hotel. You never have to go outside to grab a cup of coffee or snacks.
  • Bring bug spray in the warmer months.
  • With so many places to eat, know your dining options before you go.
  • If you purchase an Olympic Passport check the weekly events calendar as activity times and availability vary.

Disclosure: While my accommodations and some meals were provided by The Golden Arrow Resort, as always my review reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.

Posted by missmagpie on 18th May 2015

Where to Eat in Lake Placid

On a recent weekend visit to Lake Placid, we quickly found out that 48 hours was not nearly enough time to sample all of the area restaurants that we would have liked. However the ones we did try, we can recommend.

Start off with a hearty breakfast at the Golden Arrow’s Generations Tap & Grill. It is the perfect place to fuel up for the day if you plan to spend it exploring Lake Placid. We sampled their Belgium Waffles, Adirondack Buttermilk Flapjacks, Whiteface Oatmeal and a whole host of sides like home fries, bacon and fruit. I’d suggest eating on their outdoor deck. The view of Mirror Lake and the Adirondack Mountains is fantastic. This terrace also overlooks their ‘green roof’ which produces fresh herbs for the restaurant.

Dinner choices are plentiful in Lake Placid. If you like BBQ, you will definitely want to try Smoke Signals. If possible ask for a table in the back. There are large floor to ceiling windows that open up right on to the lake. Families might appreciate sitting in the oversized booths where there is plenty of space to spread out. Although I am not usually a fan of wings, the server convinced me that I should try them “they are the best around”. He was right. These finger-lickin’, smoked chicken wings had the most tender meat, it practically fell off the bone. I loved their homemade BBQ and the Adirondack BBQ Tacos were flavorful as well.

A few years ago when we visited Lake Placid we sampled all three restaurants at the Mirror Lake Inn. We can also recommend The Cottage, The View and Taste Bistro for lunch or dinner.

Ice Cream is good anytime right? You can have it after dinner, after lunch or for an afternoon snack. Our kids liked Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery so much we went twice! Emma’s claims they have the best milkshakes in town. We’d have to agree. Their soft serve ice cream is pretty tasty too. It is easy to get sidetracked when ordering here. There are specialty sundaes, tons of toppings, fantastic flavor choices that change weekly, snow cones and more. I’ll admit I wanted to try the frozen cheese cake on a stick but that would have required a 3rd visit.

On our way out of town, we drove through Keene, NY and immediately did a u-turn when we saw the sign for fresh donuts outside of the A.D.K. Market. These little fried morsels pretty much melt in your mouth. The display case is so tempting that in addition to taking a dozen donuts home, we bought an apple pie, apple dumplings and brownies. A quick pitstop in here might cost you 5,000 calories but they are totally worth it.

These are a few other restaurants you might add to your list to try. We’d didn’t get to them, but have it on good authority that they are worthy of a stop.

  • Chair 6 – Eat here for breakfast and try the sweet potato pancakes.
  • Lisa G’s – Family Friendly dinning with the locals.
  • Liquids & Solids – A gastropub with an unique twist.
  • Big Mountain Deli & Creperie – Choose from 46 different sandwiches that have each been named after of the Adirondack’s High Peaks.

Disclosure: While I was invited to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort and received a complimentary meal at Generations, my review reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.

Posted by missmagpie on 16th March 2015

Yoga in Tulum

While Tulum is known for weeklong yoga retreats, you may not want to spend your entire vacation bound by scheduled workshops and yoga sessions. I don’t blame you. If you are like me, your daily dose of zen can come from simply relaxing on one of the world’s best beaches.

But say you do want to incorporate a few yoga classes into your holiday, it doesn’t have to come at the steep price a glamorous Wellness Center stay. The beautiful Las Ranitas Eco-Boutique Hotel offers daily yoga classes for guests and visitors. You can explore your practice for just $15/USD while sunlight streams through floor-to-ceiling windows in this stunning studio.

Located at the far end of the hotel zone and tucked into the jungle, you will find this impressive yoga studio. Yogis of all levels meet at 10:30am daily for a hatha and vinyasa flow class. Don’t worry if you forgot to bring your own mat, they have plenty. There are also blocks, straps and a water cooler to refill your bottle. You just need to show up ready to meditate and then get down to business.

Victor Varana begins each class with percussion drumming, a mantra, chanting and singing. After you come out of that transformative state, he will guide you through 90-minutes of beginner to advanced yoga poses. While you are in downward dog, Victor doesn’t hesitate to walk over and readjust your hips so that you get the most out of the stretch. If you find a certain sequence of poses to difficult, as I did, don’t be overwhelmed just do what you can and make the class what you want it to be. You will leave this class feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to enjoy the rest of your trip.

Note: Las Ranitas is undergoing a major renovation and will re-open in early 2016. In the meantime you can find classes with Victor Varana here.

You can find more about vacationing in Tulum, Mexico here.

Posted by missmagpie on 6th February 2015

Win A Stay at Hotel Vermont

Hotel-Vermont

No one knows Vermont better than you! Our FindandGoSeek readers are out there daily eating in local restaurants, taking swim lessons, putting their kids in ski programs, going to story time, open gym and pretty much accomplishing more than we could ever do. We need you to tell us what you’ve been doing lately with your family and in return we will say thank you by entering you into a drawing for a one-night stay at the Hotel Vermont.

Enter To Win

Parents everywhere want to hear what is great (or not so great) in Vermont for kids. Enter to win by finding the listing or event your family has been to and then write your review. Now you’re entered–it’s that easy!

Writing A Review

Some things to remember about writing reviews on FindandGoSeek. Reviews are your own opinion of a specific place, event or activity. Please objective and truthful, telling us how you really feel and why. Keep in mind that useful reviews are detailed and specific, and give the reader a feel for your experiences. Think about what kind of information you would want to know when you ask a friend to recommend a day camp, pre-school, restaurant, dance class or pediatrician for your kids.

Contest Rules

  • No Purchase Necessary.
  • To enter the drawing write a review that characterizes your specific experience (good or bad). Accepted reviews are automatically entered into the random drawing.
  • Multiple entries will be accepted. One review will count as one entry into the drawing, multiple reviews may be submitted and will count as multiple entries.
  • Prize winner will be decided by a random, computer-generated selection from the entries received during the promotion period.
  • Winner will be notified by FindandGoSeek via email. Failure to respond within 72 hours will result in forfeiture of the prize and an alternate winner will be selected.
  • All entries and copyright in them automatically become the property of FindandGoSeek.
  • The prize:  1 night stay at Hotel Vermont it has these restrictions:
    • Good for 1 queen/double or king trundle room.
    • Accommodations are based upon space availability.
    • Not valid holidays, special event weekends, or Saturday stays between May – October.
    • Redeemable by June 12, 2015.
    • No Cash Value.
    • Prize is non-transferable
  • Contest ends February 12, 2015 at midnight.
Posted by missmagpie on 2nd February 2015

Embracing the Vermont Staycation

Vermont Staycation

I doubt there are many parents who can claim they have explored all of Vermont. Imagine not having lost luggage or flight cancellations due to weather. You won’t need to travel long distances or buy expensive plane tickets either. A Vermont Staycation gives you more flexibility, less hassles and in the end saves you time and money that is will be well spent with your family. You could put your kids in a vacation week camp (some even have single day options) or use February break as an opportunity to check a few of these items off your Vermont bucket list.

Museums – For a small state, Vermont certainly has a lot of museums. There are museums dedicated to farming, maple syrup, fly fishing and railroads. We even have a children’s museum that is set to re-open in it’s new space this month.

Bowling – You are not likely to strike out by spending an afternoon at a bowling alley. Many of them have become a destination including arcade rooms and laser tag.

Family Fun Centers – What is your family into? Pinball? Sports? Roller Skating? Vermont has lots of entertainment centers where you can do them all. If you haven’t been, check out Tilt or Gonzos HD Sports.

Rock Climbing – How about getting a family day pass to an indoor climbing center? Kids as young as 5 can do it.

Skating – Kids of all ages love to ice skate. Find an outdoor skating rink, pack a thermos of hot chocolate and some snacks and call it an adventure. Too cold for you? Most indoor rinks offer daily public skate times.

Indoor Pools & Waterparks – There are plenty of pools where the kids can splash around all day long. Or plan a trip to stay and play at of the waterparks.

Zip Line – I know winter zip-lining probably isn’t the first thing to come to your mind, but we’ve done the ArborTrek at Smuggs’ and it is so fun! You could even book a mini stay at Smuggler’s Notch. Aside from skiing you can then take advantage of their off-mountain activities like the fun zone, indoor water-park style pools and tubing. Feel like your kids are too little? Think again, they have a fantastic day care that takes kids as early as 6 weeks!

Roadtrip

When is the last time you went to Woodstock or Quechee? We’ve been to both. In Quechee we stayed in a very affordable resort that has 2- 3 bedroom suites and a huge pool. It is nearby to the Montshire Museum, Simon Pearce, VINS, the Harpoon Brewery and more. We visited Woodstock primarily so that we could ski at nearby Suicide Six. The Woodstock Inn offers ski & stay packages with complimentary lift tickets.

Booking an overnight stay in a hotel can really make you feel like you are on vacation, even if it is in your home state. Vermont has so many amazing properties it will probably be hard to choose! Be sure to ask if they have a VT resident discount and utilize the concierge to help make the most of your stay.

Ok, I know I said you should explore Vermont, but in under two hours you can be in another country! Montreal is so close and no planes are involved. Check out some of these helpful tips to plan an day or overnight trip there.

Check out the events calendar too! We have packed it with fun things for the week. Let us know how you are going to create a memorable school break for your kids.

 

Photo Credit: James Walsh, Flickr Commons 

Posted by missmagpie on 30th December 2014

5 Family-Friendly New Years Celebrations in Vermont

New Year's Eve Vermont

Kids want to ring in the New Year just as much as their parents do. There are plenty of Vermont venues that are family-friendly and welcome all to party like it is 2015. From Noon-Year Parties to First Nights there is something for everyone this year. Remember to check each celebration to see if you need to sign-up in advance or buy tickets. This New Years Eve is sure to be one to remember.

New Year’s Eve Events

Free Classes at Flynn Arts Center – During First Night Burlington, FlynnArts opens their children’s classes to anyone who has ever wondered what their classes might be like. Try Family Dance, Family Music Together, Breakdancing and more.

Noon-year Party @ Milton Public Library – For little ones ages 3-7 who might not make it up until midnight, celebrate at the library with games, crafts, cake and treats.

Countdown to Noon-Year @ Ilsley Public Library – This celebration is for all young children in Middlebury who won’t be awake when the ball drops. They are looking for older kids to volunteer with crafts and face painting.

New Years Eve Fireworks and Skating @ Memorial Sports Center – Fireworks will begin at 7:30pm at the Middlebury Recreation Field. After the fireworks head over to Memorial Sport Center for free Ice Skating from 8:00 – 9:30pm.

New Years Eve Montpelier – This town wide extravaganza has it all! Marko the Magician will be performing two shows. There will be early fireworks from the State House Lawn and a huge party at City Hall.

Be sure to check our calendar for other New Years Eve Celebrations, fireworks displays and torch light parades.

Posted by missmagpie on 15th December 2014

7 Ski Deals in Vermont

Skiing in Vermont

 

From the way it is looking so far, it is going to be a great year to ski and ride in Vermont! Thanks to record snowfalls in December, our ski resorts are boasting some of the best, early season conditions in a long time.  It is all the more reason for your family to get out there! You might already know that many resorts offer significant savings (up to 30% off) if you purchase your tickets on-line before you go, but we have rounded up some extra deals and steals that should make it a bit easier on your wallet this year.

Ski Deals

  1. Youth Pay Their Age Day – Kids 18 and under pay their age on January 4, 2015 at Mount Snow. If your kid is 12 then their full day lift ticket is only $12.
  2. Free Nordic Trails Day – On January 10, 2015 you can learn to cross country ski free of charge at places like Bolton, Blueberry Lake, Smugglers Notch, Jay Peak and more.
  3. Town Meeting Day Special – Vermont high school, middle school and elementary school students ski free on March 3, 2015 at Mad River Glen. Also keep your eye out for Roll Back the Clock day too, when lift tickets are just $3.50!
  4. Ski and Ride for $29 – January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month. Beginners can get a lesson, rental equipment and a full day lift ticket at 13 ski resorts. You must sign-up in advance.
  5. Ver-Mondays at Stowe – Select Mondays this season you can get a lift ticket at Stowe for just $62!
  6. Women’s Wild Wednesdays – This one is for Mountain Mamas. On Wednesdays Smuggs offers 1/2 lift tickets plus 50% off full day childcare.
  7. $30 Thursdays – Every Thursday you can ski Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush for just $30 bucks.

Other Ways to Save

Check out the Vermont Travel Card. For just $49 you will enjoy serious savings at 11 Vermont Ski Resorts.  How would you like to pay $67 for a lift ticket at Stowe instead of $108? We learned about this great deal when we joined the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. Not only did we get a bunch of 2-for-1 lift tickets at ski resorts like Jay Peak, Stratton, Burke and Mount Snow, but we got a 2-for-1 Vermont Travel Card too.

Family Friendly Tip: Be sure to follow along with the All Mountain Mamas Vermont’s Only Family Ski & Ride Guide this season. We are delivering the latest and greatest for families as they navigate the ski slopes of Vermont.

 

Posted by missmagpie on 11th December 2014

The Gift of Travel

The Gift of Travel

I recently sat down with Nathaniel Boyle of the Daily Travel Podcast to talk about how my Grandmother and my family gave me the gift of travel from a young age. When I was 11 my Grandmother invited me along on a business trip to Greece. Lucky kid, I know, and after that I was hooked. Travel became an integral part of my life. It inspired me to get out there and see the world. I was fortunate enough to continue to travel with my Grandma throughout my life, even well into her 90s. Amazingly we just set sail from Venice this summer on her 96th birthday!

We discussed my biggest travel regret. No deliberation there – not studying abroad. Seriously I was an International Relations major, how did I mess that up? You can bet I will encourage my children not to make the same mistake. I mean after all the places they’ve been to at this point how could they not want to go?

Be sure to check out Nathaniel’s travel resource list. In my interview he asked me for a few of my faves – best piece of travel gear (can you guess?), my secret money saving travel tips (doesn’t everyone want to know?), my favorite internet travel tool (it was hard to pick one), my worst travel mishap (involves a cruise ship and insurance) and more.

Nathaniel asked me how and why I got into travel blogging. It all started here in Vermont. Then I had a chance to talk about what makes Vermont so special and why it’s people so awesome. So give it a listen if you are so inclined.

Podcast with Nathaniel

 

Posted by missmagpie on 1st December 2014

Passports with Purpose 2014

pwp_logo_w_tag

What is Passports with Purpose?

Passports with Purpose is an annual travel blogger fundraiser. Each year Passports with Purpose chooses a charity that will do long-lasting good for communities in places that travelers visit. They have built schools in Cambodia and Mali, libraries in Zambia and an entire village in India! In order to do make this happen, numerous travel bloggers get together and donate awesome prizes to this giveaway  — luxury hotel stays, travel gear, guided tours and more!

Who Will Benefit from the Fundraiser this Year?

Families and children like these cuties. The Passports with Purpose Board carefully selected Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) as the charity of choice this year. SHI does some incredible work. They believe in giving a hand-up, rather than a hand-out. Families learn how to plant organic vegetable gardens, fruit trees, as well as build fishponds and chicken coops, all while protecting the environment. And guess what? When families have the seeds, materials and training to grow their own food, malnutrition rates go down. Sustainable Harvest International can help one family for five years with every $5,000 raised.

Sustainable Harvest International

What and Why is FindandGoSeek donating?

Vermonters can totally relate to eating food that grows from their own land! We have no shortage of Farmer’s Markets that’s for sure. Lots of people here join a CSA share each year with a local farm. Our restaurants and chefs pair up with local Vermont farmers and food producers via the Vermont Fresh Network and at last count the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) had a list 578 certified organic farmers in our small state! So yeah, I’d say we are into sustainable agriculture here too.

We are thrilled to partner with Hotel Vermont to donate a one night stay + breakfast for two at Juniper. Not only does this hotel partner with so many local companies to provide a true Vermont experience while you stay there, their restaurants source local ingredients as well. We think this is a perfect match!

Win

Did you know the Hotel Vermont was just named one of the 12 Best New Hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler? It is a well earned award. They’ve gone all out when it comes to wrapping local and luxury into one.

How Does it Work and Where Can I donate?

Basically you give, they get and you are entered to win! Each $10 donation that you make is a chance to win a fabulous prize.

  • Donors make a tax deductible donation in increments of $10.
  • For each $10 you donate, you are entered to win the prize of your choice.
  • Donations will be accepted from December 1-17, 2014.
  • Winners will be randomly selected and notified via email on December 21, 2014.

The Details

You might have a few questions about donations, how they choose which non-profit to fund or even how to get involved next year.  You will find all that information right here.

Also you should know if you win our prize for the one night stay at Hotel Vermont it has these restrictions:

  • Good for 1 queen/double or king trundle room.
  • Accommodations are based upon space availability.
  • Not valid holiday weekends May – March, University of Vermont Graduation Weekend, VT City Marathon Weekend, August 1 – September 30.
  • Redeemable by July 1, 2015.
  • No Cash Value.
  • Prize is non-transferable

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the incredible Passports with Purpose team and our sponsors TBEX and HomeAway – Thank you!

Please join us and check out the Passports for Purpose Prize Catalogue for this awesome cause today!