Winter Fun at Camelback

This past weekend, we headed to Pennsylvania for some snowy, winter-weather fun in the Pocono Mountains.   My husband and son absolutely love winter, the snow, and all that goes along with it, so they were very excited for this adventure.

ski lessonsCamelback has a lot to offer guests in the winter.  You can go skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing- even ride a mountain coaster.  Camelback offers both skiing and snowboarding lessons, for children and adults (separate classes), as well as private lessons.  We did avail ourselves to lessons- no need to spend the whole day tumbling down everything, now is there?

You can bring your own skiing or snowboarding equipment, or you can rent some there. They have ski or snowboard boots, skis, poles, snowboards, and helmets in sizes from small children through adult. Not having our own equipment, we used rentals.  They size you up, you give them your height and weight (yes, you have to tell the truth), and they find a set that will work for you.  Even my little snow-bunny had the perfect sized skis.

20150207_121102None of us are skiers, so this was going to be a learning experience for the lot of us. The very first thing that we did after getting into our borrowed ski-gear was head to our respective lessons.  My son was with the children, so I dropped him off and signed him in.  He was given a nametag, and I was given a magnetic card on a lanyard so that they would know I was his mother, and would be authorized to pick him up. Without that lanyard, no one can pick up the children for security.

He did a great job, falling a few times, but getting the hang of it in general.  He totally freaked out the first time he fell- he wasn’t hurt, but it scared him, and the feeling of not being able to get up easily in his strange boots and skis (they really are hard to maneuver in for us newbies) was not comforting.  However, the staff was fantastic with him and very patient, and he was soon back at it and heading back down the training hill.
(more…)

Got Cabin Fever? Indulge it.

 

Winter this year has been (for much of the country) a very long, bitter, and brutal one.  Many of us are suffering from cabin fever, and can’t get out- or don’t want to.  I say, go with it.  An extended and frigid winter is no reason you have to stay cooped up in your own house, even if you are not a skier, skater, or if you left your dog sled in your other garage.  So what to do?  Head to Ohio.

Yes, Ohio.  Ohio doesn’t often get the respect it deserves.  Besides being the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and of Fannie May chocolates (and yes, you can go on a factory tour with samples to be had), it’s also the home to more number one children’s museums, zoos, and centers as a whole then any other state.  Take that, Florida!

HH5

So- head to Ohio.  There is this hidden gem called Hocking Hills, known as a “Scenic Wonderland” where there are 9 state parks and forests.  Steeped in Native American History,the clear abundance of natural resources and water encouraged pioneers to settle in the area in the 1790’s.  It’s still wild looking- wildlife that you can spot includes “deer, barred owls, ruffed grouse and an occasional bobcat”  as well as wild turkey (according to the Southeast Ohio Tourism Department).  Along with the natural hiking trails of differing lengths and levels of difficulty, many of which are marked off or able to be found on maps in visitors centers, are more then 15 natural waterfalls, some of which are seasonal.  The largest and most often flowing tend to be Cedar Falls and the Upper and Lower Falls at Old Man’s Cave.  You can walk a scenic 2 mile trail between them if you choose.
(more…)

Top 5 Attractions in Toronto with Kids

Once Winter has rolled around, there are fewer places on earth better than Toronto for getting your family into the holiday spirit. Every year, there are multiple seasonal events that are fantastic fun for kids and a darn good time for grown-ups too. Here are five of the best.

Toronto Christmas parade in 2008.

Holiday Parades
Every year, the Greater Toronto Area holds weekly Santa and Christmas-themed parades that are pure joy for little ones, featuring as they do, lights, music, floats, marching bands and a host of colorful characters—including the guest of honor, Santa Claus. The parades and events take place in 23 different locales, every Saturday, in and around Toronto, throughout November and into early December. The event not to be missed in 2013 is happening at The Junction Train Platform on December 7th between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Arrive early to meet Santa and his elves, enjoy story-time with Mrs. Claus and spend the rest of your day indulging in gift-shopping, craft workshops, or perhaps watching some seasonal dancing.

Cavalcade of Lights
The lighting of the tree in Nathan Phillips Square has been dazzling families for almost half a century now. These days, the focus isn’t only on the holiday tree though, thanks to the spectacular fireworks display, wide variety of family-friendly live music and ice skating rink dance party that all come with the event. A celebration of this magnitude may be a little overwhelming for younger children, but your pre-teens will be in heaven. In 2013, the Cavalcade of Lights is happening on November 30th, starting at 7 p.m.
(more…)

5 Great Family Winter Vacation Ideas

Winter is a great time to take advantage of the season and get your family into an environment that it’s never experienced before or doesn’t get to experience very often. Wintertime is a great opportunity to use some of those vacation days and spend your time snuggling up with those that are the most important to you as the days get colder and shorter at the same time. Vacation is a blast when you’re making the best of your cold temperatures, and we’ll talk about some of the best ideas for you and your family when you see that it’s starting to get colder out. It’s easier than you might have thought to get a great vacation out of the coldest time of the year!

1. The Cabin in the Woods. Perhaps the most classic winter vacation idea, you can always go with the good, old-fashioned cabin in the woods. There are plenty of locations that will make cabin rentals an easy reality when you and your family want to get out, and a low-tech vacation experience is a great way to bond with those to whom you’re closest. You can go as modern or as rustic as you want — your cabin can be equipped with modern amenities, or you can try and have a screen-free weekend with a deck of cards and a few good books. The possibilities are endless when you’ve got your very own cabin in the snow for a week or so.
(more…)