My trip to Costa Rica
This Spring Break, I went to Costa Rica with my friends from Spanish Immersion – we have been studying Spanish together since Kindergarten and we took the DELE (The Spanish fluency test taken in college) in May. This was sort of a good-bye trip before we separate to different high schools next year. It had been the topic of conversation for months, we were going zip lining, kayaking, rafting, hiking to a volcano, etc. I was all for it, but I’m a very cautious person and I was secretly terrified of having to be responsible for myself in a 3rdworld country. I’ve traveled a lot and everywhere but this was my first real trip that was just my friends, some parent chaperones, and me. As I started to pack, it dawned on me how dangerous and how risky this trip would be. I mean, we had to bring special meds for every possible situation! I also can’t swallow pills so my meds were different from everyone else’s. As soon as I Read more
Vienna ist für kinder! Vienna, Austria boasts castles, boat rides, music history, gorgeous Hapsburg-yellow buildings, and fantastic parks. We lived in the 19th district of Vienna for six months in 2008 with two young kids and we fell in love. Many activities and museums are designed specifically für kinder (for children) and others are just naturally fun für kinder. Here are a few of our favorite hidden family hotspots. Read more
Manhattan can be an expensive and intimidating destination for anyone. It’s a great place to travel as a family but it’s challenging to get past the big tourist destinations and into the real city. Here’s a few of our recent finds to get you started! The Tenement Museum is a fantastic window into the history of New York City and into America in general. It should not be missed but you must get your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Visits to the museum are by guided tour and there are several unique packages to choose from. Most of the tours take place at 97 Orchard Street, a renovated tenement building with a basement and 5 floors, each housing a different window into history. The building once housed 2 shops and about 22 apartments, each only 325 sq ft and without plumbing or electricity. During a 70 year period centered on about the turn of the last century, approximately 7000 individuals and 30 different businesses were housed in this one building.
We took their newest tour, the “Shop Life” tour, on the bottom level and enjoyed an overview of life as a new immigrant to New York with emphasis on the wave of German immigrants from about 1860-1880. We learned through old photos, newspaper clippings, an interactive card game, visiting rooms, holding artifacts, and a high-tech smart board (you may be impressed by the high tech smart board but your child will likely be a lot less impressed as there are many in school classrooms across the country). The 90-minute experience gave us all a multi-faceted vision of what life was really like for the proprietors, John and his wife Caroline, as well as glimpses into the other businesses that once occupied the building including a kosher butcher, an undergarment factory, and an auction house. The finale was a video of a nearby contemporary local storeowner and wrapped up the tour with thoughtful style and a new perspective on modern NYC life. The tours are billed for kids aged 8 and up because they do involve listening, sitting, and not touching. There are also food-sampling tours, live actress Read more
Our affordable London hotel (lower left) was under the Eye!
It wasn’t that long ago when finding a hotel meant pulling out my Lonely Planet Guide and telling the taxi/rickshaw/tuk tuk driver to take me to whichever guesthouse was recommended. Many other travelers used the same method and inevitably places became too popular and overcrowded. Sometimes I found lodging by word-of-mouth and by getting advice from other travelers, but often these recommendations were based on the very same guidebooks. Sometimes lodging solicited me. I remember coming out of immigration at the Kathmandu airport and being accosted by a sea of people offering beds in their various guesthouses and feeling overwhelmed by it all; the sights, the sounds, the hustle, the bustle. But that was in the 80’s, when international phone calls were only for periodically checking in with worried relatives at home and incoming mail was so slow it had to be sent general delivery weeks in advance. Read more
Colonial Williamsburg has to be America’s quintessential educational family travel destination. It’s like Disney for the NPR-crowd. Kids have fun and think they are on vacation. Almost accidentally, they learn about American history by watching and interacting with characters in costume. We had a great time but found it challenging to get our arms around the entire experience. There is too much to do in a short visit and yet I’m not sure parents or kids are likely to enjoy more than a few days at a time. Based on our recent visit, here are a few insider tips to help your family have a blast.
Colonial Williamsburg might also be one of the most photogenic places on Earth. We hope you enjoy a small sample of the five zillion photos we took while visiting. Read more
From the top of Chair 1 at Alpental.
Snoqualmie pass is the major east/west migration route through the Cascade mountain range from Seattle. It is also the home of The Summit at Snoqualmie, an amalgam of four ski areas that each have a unique and distinctive vibe despite being commonly-owned. There is Summit West, a perfect place for families to learn to ski. Summit Central has the terrain park and is popular for night skiing. Summit East (a.k.a. Hyak) is my family’s low-key favorite. And finally there is Alpental, which has the steeper terrain and backcountry access that expert skiers love. I’ve been skiing at Snoqualmie pass for over 20 years and have had a season pass there for the last decade. I won’t tell you where my secret stashes of snow are located, but here are a few other things that I have learned:
Linking North and South London, the Emirates Cable Car is a perfect family travel accessory. It likely won’t be the main event of your day, but like any good travel accessory, it can add zip for very little cost. Just a 5-minute ride across the Thames River and only about $6.50 for an adult and $3.50 for a child. The cable car boards like a ski lift in that you walk on while the car is moving slowly (in Read more
Check out our post on WanderingEducators.com! Hot cocoa, long walks in ancient oaks, and the Wind in the Willows museum.