Best Of Lists

Huntington Beach Weekend Getaway: So Far and Yet So Close

The Los Angeles Grail, the Great Quest of the Southland, may well be the search for the ultimate family weekend getaway. The vacation that gives the most pleasure for the least effort. The highest decadence to travel time ratio. And I am here to share the news that Nirvana is only an hour away down an Orange County stretch of the 405 to Huntington Beach.

East River Ferry: 20 Fun Things to Do With NYC Kids Along the Route

For a long time, New York City seemed to forget that it was made up of islands. But over the past few years, we've been remedying this situation by reclaiming our waterfronts with riverside parks, and creating new opportunities to get out on the water, whether for transportation or pleasure.

The newest addition to NYC's waterfront culture is the East River Ferry, operated by NY Waterway. With stops in Midtown, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Dumbo, the Financial District and Governors Island (and Atlantic Avenue and Red Hook on summer Fridays), the East River Ferry is a great way to visit lots of fun spots for a full day out with the kids.

With an all-day pass ($12 for anyone over age 5), you can hop on and off the ferry at any of the stops throughout the day, so you can hit different attractions in multiple boroughs. My family and I tried it, and we discovered 20 great things to do with kids along the East River Ferry route.

The Ikea Ferry: A Free and Fun Ride to Red Hook for NYC Kids

The Staten Island Ferry isn't the only free boat ride in town. The Ikea ferry also offers a (usually) no-cost tour of New York City's magnificent waterfront.

The Ikea Water Taxi departs from Slip A at Pier 11, right near South Street Seaport, and sails you to Red Hook, Brooklyn, land of funky post-industrial architecture, and trendy restaurants and shops. In addition to shuttling you right to the Swedish megastore, it's a great way to visit this cool neighborhood, which is quite a long walk from the subway.

My family and I had never taken this trip before, so this summer we decided to cross it off our bucket list. Here's how we fared during our maiden voyage.

Fun Summer Vacation Literary Itinerary for Kids: Hartford to Boston

Wouldn't your little writer love visiting Louise May Alcott's Orchard House or Walden Pond this summer? What a great road trip for your tweens and teens! This itinerary given to me by Corrine Upton over at the Mark Twain House has covered it all starting in Hartford and finishing up in Boston. Over the course of five days (or less, for those who are ambitious), visit the birthplace of Mark Twain’s most famous characters, get inspired by Edith Wharton’s landscape design, and visit the grave sites of Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson and Alcott at Author’s Ridge at Sleepy Hollow.  
 
Below, you'll find the full itinerary of a New England literary pilgrimage-- offering a unique, inspiring and educational summer vacation. And if you'd like even more fun literary locales check out more destinations like Dr. Seuss' Sculpture Garden, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and Emily Dickinson's house all in Western Mass.

Foxwood's: Casino Fun for Kids!

You might not think of a casino as a family friendly destination, but Foxwoods, near Hartford, has some surprisingly fun—and wholesome—options for kids. From Ice skating on their brand new outdoor rink, an enormous arcade with current and vintage games and a museum dedicate to Connecticut's native Americans, a trip to Foxwoods has a lot to offer.

Holiday Traditions 2010: Christmas Department Store Windows Walk

Click here to see the amazing 2014 Department Store Holiday Windows.

Remember this: your children's holiday memories won't be about the toys they get under the tree, they're going to be about the wonderful holiday traditions that your family shared. One of these traditions should be going to see the department store holiday window displays. These festive holiday windows are a great way to get into the holiday spirit and this simply magical experience is completely free.

 

Lots of people like to do the Holiday Windows Walk on Christmas Eve, but it's also a great way to walk off your Thanksgiving turkey because the crowds tend to be smaller when the stores are closed (and before the RockefellerCenter tree is lit.) We've rounded up the best ones for kids plus some other great holiday stops to visit while you're in the neighborhood.

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