FindandGoSeek's BLOG

Posted by missmagpie on 13th April 2014

Win a One-Night Stay at Hotel Vermont

Hotel Vermont

Wouldn’t you love a quick getaway this spring? Who knows how long Mud Season will officially last here in Vermont after the amount of snow we’ve had this season. While you’re waiting for things to dry out, think about a quick getaway to the Hotel Vermont. A stay at this boutique hotel in downtown Burlington will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for summer.  Not only do the rooms have incredibly comfortable beds, their bedtime menu with flannel PJs, Vermont teddy bears, stories and aromatherapy will ensure that you have a good night’s sleep.  Our Family stayed here last here in September and loved it!

FindandGoSeek is giving is offering one lucky reader the chance to stay at the Hotel Vermont! The prize package includes:

  • 1 night at Hotel Vermont
  • 1 queen/double or king trundle room
  • Breakfast for two at Juniper

How to enter

To win, you must be a registered member of FindandGoSeek.net. After becoming member of FindandGoSeek, you must write a review that characterizes your specific experience (good or bad) of any activity or event that you and your family have been to and you will automatically be entered into the drawing to eligible for the Hotel Vermont Giveaway.  The more reviews you write, the more chances you have to win.

Some things to remember about writing reviews on FindandGoSeek. Reviews are your own opinion of a specific place, event or activity. Be objective and truthful.  Tell us how your really feel and why.  Useful reviews are detailed and specific, and give the reader a feel for your experiences.  Think about what kind of information you want you ask a friend or relative to recommend a day camp, pre-school, restaurant, playground or hiking trail for your kids.

Contest Dates

The contest will run from today, April 13, 2014 until Midnight (ET) on Friday, April 18, 2014.

Giveaway Restrictions

Accommodations are based upon space availability.
Not valid holiday weekends May – March, UVM Graduation Weekend, VT City Marathon Weekend, August 1 – September 30.
Redeemable by July 1, 2015.
No Cash Value.
Prize is non-transferable

Rules and Guidelines

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Open to those 18 Years of age and older.
  • US and Canadian residents only.
  • Winner is randomly selected.
  • Winner will be notified via email.
  • Additional restrictions may apply.
Posted by missmagpie on 10th April 2014

Reflections of a Great Ski Season in Vermont

Not too long ago Vermont winters in our house meant on Friday night ski bags needed to be packed with boots, mittens, balaclavas and hand warmers. Our skis had to be lined up by the back door so that we were ready early on Saturday morning to head out to the mountain for our kids’ Ski Program. Those days are long gone and have been replaced by leisurely family ski days with more reasonable start times.

Thanks to my new role as an Ambassador for the All Mountain Mamas, Ski Vermont’s Family Ski and Ride Guide, we now travel around Vermont skiing and riding at as many mountains as we can each season.  I won’t lie, it is a great gig. This year we were fortunate to hit slopes in southern, central and northern Vermont.  

We started the season by meeting up with my sister and her kids at Stowe Mountain Resort. When I suggested taking my nephew out on a run with us,  I had no idea this 6 year old had never been on the Gondola before. He confidently told me he could snowboard “anywhere” and I believed him. Look at that face, wouldn’t you?

In early February we had the opportunity to check out Suicide Six in Woodstock, VT. I thought it would be so imposing, the name alone suggests a death sentence. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. With only 23 trails, 2 chair lifts and a cozy lodge we felt instantly at home.

We fell in love with the little ski area along with the town. Woodstock is quaint beyond words. The streets are lined with charming shops, boutiques and restaurants.

A visit to Stratton provided the opportunity for my daughter to try snowboarding. She throughly enjoyed the learn-to-ride program. I think we may have a convert on our hands.

Anyone planning a weekend stay at a ski resort will tell you that off mountain activities are just as important as on. Among other things, Stratton has this awesome, lift-served tubing hill!

We rounded out the season with a trip to Jay Peak at the end of March. This northern ski resort is still open and is shooting to stay open until Mother’s Day!

Jay Peak takes off mountain activities to a whole new level. The indoor water park is unbelievable. Tubes, chutes, surfing, hot tubs, lazy rivers…they’ve got it all.

Reflecting on our trips to these great ski areas I am almost wishing the season didn’t have to come to end an end. Almost.

About

instagram-travel-thursday-IG-picture Instagram Travel Thursday is a hosted weekly blog post collection. It helps to promote great travel around the world. Follow along with the adventures of other expert travel bloggers each week.

Posted by missmagpie on 6th March 2014

Homeaway Heaven on Eleuthera – Bahamas

Eleuthera is known for it’s pink sand beaches, turquoise ocean and secluded snorkeling spots. It is a small outer island of the Bahamas and just a short puddle jumper from Nassau.  What might surprise some visitors is the lack of resorts and restaurants. But if you are looking to truly get away from it all as we were, this is a fantastic place for a family vacation. We rented a 2 bedroom Homeaway property in Governors Harbour with a private pool. This stunning villa was surprisingly reasonable. Our average nightly rate for 4 people was just $392/night. We would never be able to afford to stay in a 2 bedroom hotel suite of this size or caliber.  Not only did we have 2 bedrooms and 2 & 1/2 baths, but we had a beautiful living space, well appointed kitchen, lots of outdoor living space and a washer and dryer. Our family had plenty of space to spread out. Our hosts Kathy and Bob were so warm and welcoming.  She made us dinner on our first night – a wonderful surprise after flying all day.  And throughout our stay brought us fresh vegetables from her garden. We prepared many of our meals at home.  Food shopping is piece-meal on island . You will need to gather your food from different markets.  There are two small grocery stores in Governors Harbor, however the biggest and best one is in Rock Sound.  They even carry a few gluten-free products there.  Be forewarned, everything costs almost double what it does in the U.S. A 1/2 gallon of milk is $7.50!  Many visitors  to Eleuthera bring dry goods and even frozen meat with them. Most days you will find the local fisherman sharing the day’s catch on a stand right in the middle of town.  This is by far the best source for the fresh fish and lobster.  They will filet your grouper or butterfly a lobster tail.  I paid $10 for two of the tastiest lobster tails I have ever had. When our 15 year old son wanted to learn to Scuba dive, we thought Eleuthera would be great place to do it.  We were right. The water is crystal clear and calm.  I swear you can see for miles.  We spent a day with Al at Ocean Fox in Davis Harbor on the southern tip of the island. We highly recommend him for first timers. Most days though we spent exploring the uncrowded beaches of the island.  Often we were the only ones there. Just the way we like it.

Top 10 Tips for First Time Visitors

  • Cash is King – Not a lot of places accept credit cards. There are ATMs on the island, but the surcharge is $3 plus your foreign transaction fee.
  • Tippy’s - You likely aren’t coming to Eleuthera for the cuisine. But if you are looking for a great meal be sure to make a reservation at Tippy’s one night.
  • Island Farm- Located in Palmetto Point.  Great place to find organic produce, fresh baked bread, cheese, salsa and jams.
  • Banks Road Deli – This deli is on the road to Tippy’s. Here you can buy sliced deli meats, cheese, pasta, and sauces. But best of all they have fresh croissants and baguettes!
  • Bugs – They are vicious! There are noseeums and mosquitoes. Bring bug spray and/or sunscreen with bug spray in it.
  • Bottled Water – Although we had a 5 gallon water dispenser in our house, we wished we had we had brought refillable water bottles from home to take to the beach with us.
  • Car Rental – You will need one and it is very expensive! Between $55-65/day, plus pick up fees, etc. You won’t find a Hertz or Avis on the island. Your property agent can suggest people to rent cars from.
  • Beaches – Get out and discover as many beaches as you can.  Be sure to print the directions before you go and take a map! We loved French Leaves (AKA Club Med) and Twin Cove.
  • Harbour Island – Worthy of a day trip.  We took a water taxi over ($14 for the four of us each way) and rented a golf cart once we were there.  We had a lovely, but expensive, lunch at Sip Sip.

About

instagram-travel-thursday-IG-picture Instagram Travel Thursday is a hosted weekly blog post collection. It helps to promote great travel around the world. Follow along with the adventures of other expert travel bloggers each week.

Posted by missmagpie on 9th January 2014

Win a Two Night Hotel Stay!

Lake Morey

Lake Morey Resort

Nestled in between the Green and White Mountains above the Connecticut River, Lake Morey Resort is more than 100 years old with third generation family ownership. This resort is the perfect getaway location for families any time of year. However if your family enjoys wintertime outdoor activities like skating, sledding, sleigh rides and more, Lake Morey is the right desitnation for you.  They are sure to keep everyone entertained and have plenty of hot chocolate and marshmallows when it is time to warm up!

Ice Sports University (ISU) Weekend

During its inaugural ISU Weekend, guests of all ages and athletic abilities can learn to curl, Nordic skate, play pond hockey, ice fish, snowshoe and Nordic ski. With its own 600-acre lake providing the icy playground for the weekend’s festivities, the resort will have instructors on hand giving one-hour lessons on Saturday morning and afternoon, culminating with a friendly competition from 3pm to 4pm for those who wish to try their new skills in action.  Prizes and participation “diplomas” will be awarded during a fun Graduation Ceremony on Sunday morning.

Throughout the weekend, the resort’s complimentary 120-seat indoor movie theater will be streaming classic, family-friendly Olympic and winter-sports-themed movies, and a variety of other indoor activities are available for “ice widows and widowers,” from swimming and table tennis, to massages and other treatments in the resort’s Waters Spa.  On Friday and Saturday evening, guests can enjoy live entertainment in the Steamboat Lounge, and the Lake Morey Beer Master will offer a variety of specialty brews on tap.

Giveaway 

Before watching the 2014 Winter Games, get in the Olympic spirit with a fun taste of the skill it takes to succeed as a top competing athlete! Let us send you to Lake Morey Resort’s first annual Ice Sports University (ISU) Weekend, January 24-26, 2014 .  One lucky winner will receive a Grand prize package to attend!

Lake Morey Resort

 

Grand Prize Package:

  • Two nights’ accommodation in a deluxe room
  • Four ISU passes -2 adult and 2 children – for all scheduled workshops and competition
  • Breakfast Saturday and Sunday
  • Dinner Friday and Saturday
  • Equipment (except helmets) provided onsite
  • The total value of the prize package is $858

Enter to Win

Enter below to win the prize package:

 

Rules and Restrictions

  • Offer valid only during ISU Weekend, January 24th and 25th, 2014
  • Winner will be put in contact with the hotel and need to finalize booking and make all arrangements no later than Friday, January 17th. While booking, winner will choose three activities in which to participate during scheduled workshops. Choices include curling, Nordic skating, pond hockey, ice fishing, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing.
  • 18 Years of age and older.
  • Open to residents of the US only.
  • Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email.
  • Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.
  • Offer is not redeemable for cash.
  • Prize is non-transferable.
  • Employees and Contractors of FindandGoSeek are not eligible to participate.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • Additional restrictions may apply.

Good luck and thanks for participating!

Posted by missmagpie on 3rd January 2014

10 Things to do January in Vermont

Winter Fun in Vermont

If you live in Vermont, you know winter with kids can be l-o-n-g. But snow and cold temps don’t keep us inside. Well, maybe -9 does. But there is plenty to do and  fun to be had.  We have rounded up some suggestions, so put them on your radar now.

  • Lollipop Races - Every Sunday at Cochran’s Ski Area. Win or lose, lollipops for all.
  • Free Ice Fishing Clinics – Saturdays little anglers can tackle the ice.
  • Snow Tour de Snow – Ski, snowshoe, walk, run, pull a baby sled. Just have fun!
  • Nordic Ski Club – Parent run after school program where kids learn and have fun doing it.
  • Skirack Swap & Sale – Need some last minute gear? Or have stuff to ditch? This is the last swap of the season.
  • Learn to Ski & Ride Month – Never skied before? No Problem! First timers can learn for as little as $29.
  • Winter Trails Day – Free Nordic skiing and snowshoeing at participating Vermont Resorts.
  • Winterfest – Fun filled day of winter activities at Shelburne Farms.
  • Ski and Ride PHAT Days – Everyone needs a brain bucket. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Find out why.
  • Ski for $3.50 – Mad River Glen rolls back the clock to 1948 and rolls back lift tickets too.

Grab those mittens and your coat and make plans to play today.

Posted by missmagpie on 10th December 2013

Win New Year’s Eve Stay at Hotel Vermont

Hotel Vermont

Does your family have plans this year for New Year’s Eve? Imagine heading downtown for First Night Burlington but not having to head home! No parking, no shuttles, no freezing cold walk. That’s right. You could stay at the Luxurious Hotel Vermont for the night.  After enjoying the festivities with the kids you could simply stroll right on over to Cherry Street and hop into bed.  Perhaps you will even order something from their Bed Time Menu.

Does it sound like the perfect way to ring in the New Year? Let us help you make that happen.  Enter below to win a one night stay at the Hotel Vermont on New Year’s Eve plus 4 First Night Buttons. 

Rules and Restrictions

  • No purchase necessary.
  • 18 Years of age and older.
  • Open to residents of the US only.
  • Winner will be selected randomly and be notified by email.
  • Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.
  • Offer is not redeemable for cash.
  • Offer valid only for December 31, 2013.
  • Room size is 1 queen/double or king trundle room and is based on availability.
  • Prize is non-transferable.
  • Employees and Contractors of FindandGoSeek are not eligible to participate.
  • Additional restrictions may apply.

Good luck and thanks for participating!

Posted by missmagpie on 25th November 2013

Passports with Purpose 2013: Extraordinary Prizes for an Inspiring Cause

Passports With Purpose

WHAT is Passports with Purpose?

buildOn Building Schools

For the last five years travel industry bloggers have been rallying together to raise money for charitable organizations.  I am talking about groups who really need it.  They created an annual fundraiser called Passports with Purpose. In their first year, just a few of them banded together and raised $7,400 for Heifer International.  Last the year, they raised over $110,000 for Water.org! The number of contributing bloggers has now grown to well over 130 writers.  It is amazing what a community of like-minded folks can do, right?!

I am grateful to be a part such a supportive travel blogging community and very excited to join this worthwhile effort. This year the designated beneficiary is buildOn and the goal is to raise $115,000.  The money will be used to help build three primary schools and fund three Adult Literacy Programs in the Sikasso Region of Mali, Africa.

GIVE + GET Prizes

You can help too and it doesn’t cost very much. For just a $10 donation you will be entered to win one of the many awesome prizes (like trips, gear and electronics) that have been secured by each of the participating bloggers.  FindandGoSeek is excited to partner with Hotel Vermont to donate a one night stay + breakfast for two at Juniper. We recently stayed at the Hotel Vermont and can tell you it doesn’t surprise us one bit that it landed on Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Best New Hotels in the US for 2013! This hotel has gone all out when it comes to wrapping local and luxury into one.

Hotel Vermont

Here is how it works:

  • 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 November 25th to December 9th 2013.
  • Winners will be randomly selected and all winners will be notified on December 16th.

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.  There is a FAQ right here that will answer all of that for you. Plus this wouldn’t be possible without the incredible PwP team and our Sponsors – so thanks!

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

Please join us and check out the PwP prize catalogue for this awesome cause today!

Posted by missmagpie on 18th November 2013

Travel Book Review: The Family Traveler’s Handbook

 Family Traveler's Handbook

 

Traveling with kids can be daunting if you have never done it before. The planning, the packing, the car ride, the plane ride, the hotel…the list goes on and on.  With a little know-how, traveling with your family can be one of the most joyous and memorable experiences ever. These days there is ample information available to help parents plan a family vacation, however I recommend real-world advice from parents who have been there and done that.  One parent I trust is Mara Gorman.  She is the author of a new guide called The Family Traveler’s Handbook. Mara has been traveling with her two sons since their infancy. She is no stranger to day, weekend and extended trips. She knows the ins and outs of vacation rentals vs. staying in a hotel and even when it is more economical to purchase an “all-inclusive package”.

Mara has also experienced some less than ideal situations on the road. Yes, sometimes it happens. Kids get sick. They need to nap. They don’t eat adult food. The sun doesn’t shine (ever) during the week long beach vacation you planned. She has plenty of solutions for those concerns too. When it comes to an expert, I definitely think she qualifies.

Mara is a fellow Vermonter. I recently sat down with her to ask her about traveling to the Green Mountain State with her children:

You are originally from Vermont. When you come “home” to vacation with your kids what are some of your favorite places to visit?

We have so many that it’s hard to list just a few! My family is from Central Vermont, so that tends to be where we spend a lot of time. In the summer, we really love to head over to Stowe to ride or hike on the rec. path there, eat at The Blue Donkey or Crop, and play mini golf. The zip line at Smuggs is awesome at any time of year, and we also love some of Vermont’s museums including the ECHO Center and the Montshire Museum of Science.

The Mad River Valley is our home base and in the summer my kids can’t get enough of swimming in the river (especially at the Lareaus swimming hole), visiting the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market, or hiking to Sunset Rock in Warren. In the winter we love to ski at Mad River Glen and snowshoe in Camel’s Hump State Forest. And in all seasons we love having dinner at Hostel Tevere or ice cream at the Sweet Spot (my boys swear it’s the best ice cream in the world).

We are heading into ski season in Vermont, what advice would you give to families planning a ski trip for the first time?

If you’ve never been to Vermont to ski, I’d say be prepared for any and all kinds of weather. There’s a saying that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and I think that’s definitely true of Vermont winters. Make sure you have an appropriate vehicle and tires to get where you need to go and bring plenty of layers that you can add or take off as you need to.

I’d also recommend staying at a resort that caters to families like Okemo, Sugarbush, or Jay Peak. At Smuggler’s Notch, you don’t have to drive once you get there – on-demand shuttles will take you everywhere you need to go in the resort. The ski school is top notch. And there are tons of things to do other than skiing, from tubing to snowshoeing, to playing in their huge indoor FunZone (my kids loved the pingpong and giant inflatable slides).

And don’t forget to bring your camera – Vermont is gorgeous in the winter. You’ll definitely want to take lots of pictures.

Get a Copy of the Book Now

This book is part of a series DIY Travel Guides written by some of the most successful travel bloggers.  You can purchase copy of The Family Traveler’s Handbook at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I think it would make an excellent holiday gift for the parents in your life that are looking to get out and explore this season!

What is covered in this book:

  • The What and Why of Family Travel
  • Before You Go: How to Plan Your Trip
  • On the Road: Making the Most of Your Trip
  • Special Considerations in Family Travel

About MaraMara Gorman

Mara Gorman is an award-winning freelance writer and family travel blogger at The Mother of all Trips. The blog’s name was inspired by a 13-month adventure across 6 states, 3 countries, and 2 continents that she took with her husband and toddler. Since that first extended trip, Mara has logged thousands of miles of travel with her children across North America and Europe.

Mara’s lifestyle and travel articles have appeared in a variety of USA Today special-interest publications and on websites like AOL Travel. She is an avid skier, loves museums, and cultural travel, and has never met an ice cream that she didn’t like. She also believes in serving global causes, especially those that help women and children; this belief is exemplified by her role as a board member of the travel blogging fundraiser Passports with Purpose. Mara lives in Delaware with her husband and two school-age sons.

Posted by missmagpie on 14th November 2013

7 Reasons to Ski and Ride in Vermont this Year

My Facebook feed is filled with gorgeous photos from Vermont Ski Resorts showing snow covered peaks, snow guns a blazing or skiers catching first tracks already.  Vermonters are chattering on twitter about first chair, top to bottom skiing and how many inches are currently at top of their favorite mountain.  I’d say we are pretty stoked about the coming season. With opening day right around the corner for many mountains, and a few already open, I can’t help but get excited myself! Here are just a few reasons you should plan a trip to ski or ride in Vermont this year if you haven’t already.

Your kids will learn to love it. Early.

 

There is no better time, then family time on the mountain.

Quiet chairlift rides are meant for talking. Or not.

You can always find a trail for yourself.

Sometimes you have to make your own trail. Like in your backyard.

We have some of the best Apres Ski ever.

Catch a race. Go down the Nastar course yourself. I’ve done it.

Follow along with me this year as I ski with the AllMtMamas. Hope to see you on our slopes!

 

ABOUTinstagram-travel-thursday-IG-picture

Instagram Travel Thursday is a hosted weekly blog post collection. It helps to promote great travel around the world. Follow along with the adventures of other expert travel bloggers each week.

Posted by missmagpie on 17th October 2013

Wheeling and Wandering: Travel with Bikes

My family will tell you I am not an athlete.  They will probably giggle a little when they say it too. You will get no argument from me. I will readily concede to that point. However, when we travel I am the first to ask if the hotel we are staying in has bikes or if we can arrange to rent bikes while we are in town.  I find it is a fantastic way to get around, not to mention it is reducing our carbon footprint.

Most recently we were in Austin, Texas for Austin City Limits.  Approximately 75,000 make their way to Zilker Park each day. There is no parking on-site. There are lots of road closures and plenty of traffic, so what better way to get to/from the festival than by bike? I was a little hesitant to ride on the crowded streets, come home at night and go back up South Congress (= not an athlete) but it worked out great.

In September we checked out the Hotel Vermont in Burlington.  They offer guests complimentary usage of their fleet of bikes from the Old Spokes Home. We totally took advantage of that and were excited to see they had a tandem bike.

This summer my husband and I snuck off to Quebec City while the kids were at sleep-away camp.  We were only in town for a few days but wanted to see as much of the city as possible.  Luckily our hotel had these great bikes available to borrow making easy to get around. I really liked the flat front baskets for carrying the things we picked up along the way.

This sweet ride is mine.  I call her the Iron Maiden. I bought her a few years ago because I had to have a cruiser. That metal basket on the front easily weighs 25lbs! I live on hill. On dirt road. In Vermont. Not exactly practical. But never-the-less when I can, I take her with me to places like Basin Harbor Club where getting around the sprawling resort by bike is a great option.

This summer when we were in Cape Cod, we wanted to explore a little more than just the quaint town of Orleans where we had rented a home. I am not sure when they developed a thing for the tandem bikes (honestly, I think it is more my son) but it works for them.

At the end of this summer on our annual pilgrimage to the Jersey Shore I realized the the Iron Maiden belongs not in the Green Mountains but on the sandy shores of New Jersey.  So I left her behind at my friends house and I will ride her each summer back and forth to the beach carrying loads of towels, sunscreen, books, shovels and pails.  Because a beach cruiser is meant to be just that.

 

ABOUTinstagram-travel-thursday-IG-picture

Instagram Travel Thursday is a hosted weekly blog post collection. It helps to promote great travel around the world. Follow along with the adventures of other expert travel bloggers each week.