Why would anyone ever go to Riverside California? Well, obviously not by choice right? I got stuck there for a work trip recently and discovered the most amazing oasis: The Mission Inn.
In my airport taxi, I cruised across miles of highway and then through an unassuming and somewhat discouraging urban area. I had no hopes of a travel adventure or even a comfy bed. I was therefore a bit surprised when the taxi rounded a corner and and pulled into a valet loop surrounded by large old palm trees. I had clearly landed someplace special.
Passing under a glorious arch, I wandered toward the lobby somewhat stunned. I even passed live parrots on my way. Read more
It’s hard to wake up to the last day of the trip. We weren’t flying home until the next day but this was our last full dawn till dusk day of adventure in Thailand. On the agenda were temples, ruins, shopping, and eating. We already knew that the mid-afternoon would be too hot to accomplish much so we aimed for an early start.
Breakfast at Luang Chumni Village was easier today. We had already discovered Read more
Looking for the perfect place to stay with your family? Explore Ayutthaya from affordable, interconnected rooms in Luang Chumni Village. We were offered no special promotion to review this wonderful guest house. We were simply lucky enough to stumble on it. OK, Bill found it on-line after a bit of research. I was simply lucky enough to be traveling with him. The “village” is a traditional Thai house surrounded by water and is tucked along a quiet street. It’s just a short walk from the famous statue of a Buddha head in a tree, nestled among exciting ruins. Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand for 417 years and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing many temples and historic sites. Read more
We’ve been in Taipei just over 24 hours now. We stayed up for the first 14 hours straight and then finally slept. Ah, glorious sleep. When we planned this trip, we were hoping to set up a Taipei with Kids writing opportunity. There’s not a lot out there on the subject. Is 1 day really enough to say anything? Well, within 10 hours, we accumulated quite a few funny and “educational” experiences plus a few “rules” for enjoying Taipei with kids.
1. First stop was breakfast at a little hole in the wall restaurant. They took one look at us and handed us some sticky, laminated menus. One had American food. The other listed Chinese breakfast items. Rule #1: Stick to the local specialties. We ordered breakfast crepes with egg and bacon, egg and pork, and egg and corn. All were delicious! And the milk tea for the kids arrived in a sealed cup that we Read more
We’re going back! Eighteen years ago, I promised friends that I would be back in two years. Easier said than done. There was a wedding and then a baby and then another baby. Somewhere in there we gained car payments, a mortgage, and two full-time jobs to go with it all. Plane tickets aren’t cheap and vacation time is priceless. What seemed so simple, never happened. I thought about my friends; I sent cards; and even experimented with Internet calls in their first incarnations. But I never got back.
Then, a few years ago, we were outrageously lucky enough to spend six months in Vienna, Austria. As we made new friends and began to feel at home, there was a strange underlying sadness for me. How could I commit to this new culture, to the German language and its torturous grammar, and to our new friends when I had never made it back to Thailand? 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 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
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