Julia Tolstrup

Julia Tolstrup

Latest posts by Julia Tolstrup

Ultimate Holiday Experiences in Connecticut

Ask any kid what they love most about the holidays and you might get the same answer--PRESENTS! But as they grow up, while a few of those precious treasures may linger in their minds, it's the traditions and special memories that will really stick. Those little moments that made holidays so special are what nurture the nostalgia we often feel around this time of year. Here in Connecticut, there is no shortage of amazing opportunities to make one of a kind memories for your family during the holidays. Tap into the magic of the season at any one of these ultimate holiday experiences throughout the state.

Holiday Train Rides With Santa in Connecticut

To be honest, I don’t know the last time I saw Santa in a sleigh.  Nope, over the past several years, I’ve seen Santa arrive to greet crowds of believers in a fire truck, a police car, a helicopter, and a Porsche (really, Santa??). 

So it was no surprise when my 5-year-old came home from school telling me her friend Abby saw Santa on a train.  And she’s absolutely right – there are a few amazing Holiday Trains in Connecticut, where you and your kids can enjoy both your love of trains and the holiday season!  Watching the steam roll and waft in front of the train's headlight, while giant snowflakes fall will throw you back 60 years -- in the most wonderful, magical, 'It's a Wonderful Life' sort of way.  

North Pole Express and the Santa Special

By the time you read this, most of the good dates for the North Pole Express will be sold out. The good news is, this speaks volumes about the world-class holiday event in our very own backyard. The bad news, of course, is that unless you're willing to trek up on a random Tuesday night or wait until after Christmas (there are trains running until December 29) you might want to hold off until next year. But again, it's likely that even at this late date (and yes, the end of October/early November is very late when it comes to North Pole Express tickets) you will still be able to book in for a school night here and there. On the other hand, if you would rather take your little ones aboard the Santa train during daylight hours, the Santa Special is just the thing for you. And the best part is, it doesn't sell out nearly as fast. 

Ultimate CT Halloween Guide 2017

It has come to my attention that Connecticut sort of owns Halloween. You'd be hard-pressed to find yourself very far from an amazing haunted house, a fun-filled parade or celebration, or a quaint New England farm decked out for All Hallow's Eve. Halloween has been jostling Christmas for the top holiday spot for some time now, and while it isn't quite a foregone conclusion yet, it's safe to say that it's come a long way from the days of pillowcase trick or treating and glow sticks. Not that these steadfast traditions are going anywhere, don't you worry. Read on for your ultimate guide to the good, the even better, and the totally terrifying across the entire state this Halloween season. 

Get on the Connecticut Art Trail with Passport

Connecticut is many things to many people. For some, the amazing local food scene whets the appetite and keeps them coming back for more. Others like to get out in nature on one of our states many trails. But if you're someone who just loves to while away an afternoon taking in great works of art, and maybe you're thinking it's time to get the kids involved, too, have I got news for you. The Connecticut Art Trail not only houses some of the most spectacular treasures but with the new and improved Connecticut Art Trail Passport it is also right at your fingertips.

This (Sort of) Secret Waterfall will Blow Your Mind!

Great Falls, a waterfall tucked in the Falls Village section of Canaan, Connecticut far up in the northwest corner of Connecticut, is a sight to behold. Though variable depending on the rains, when it’s on, it’s on. The falls have long been a popular sight for day trippers looking for a little escape. With hiking, views, and the chance for a little bit of floating and swimming (depending on skill level and currents, of course) it’s little wonder that this hidden gem is getting pretty popular.

Vikings Invade the Connecticut Coast!

I admit it, as soon as I learned there was a 115 foot Viking ship resting in Connecticut waters, I couldn't get the kids packed into the car fast enough. Not only does this speak to our family's Scandinavian heritage and a long standing interest in all things Viking, but also hello?! There's a 115 foot Viking ship resting in Connecticut waters! This sort of thing does not happen every day. But it's happening right now at Mystic Seaport and if you have time during these dog days of summer or over Labor Day Weekend, make a point to invite yourself aboard the Draken Harald Halfagre before the ship closes to visitors for the winter and sails away next spring. 

20 Things Your Kid Can Do to Support the Paris Climate Accord

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -Dr. Seuss

When it comes to making a difference in our world, even grown-ups can feel pretty small sometimes. It's hard to imagine that a single act could really change much of anything. But looking at the big picture can help. Imagine if everybody on your street did the same small things every day. And imagine if each of those neighbors told a friend, who started doing those small things, too. Before long, all of those individual little acts start to add up to big change. With the U.S. government's recent decision to back out of the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement in which individual countries pledge to do their part to curb global warming, now more than ever we need to think of ways we can start living a little lighter. Set aside a half-hour with your child and read this list of simple things kids and parents can do, together, to support the efforts and spirit behind the Paris Climate Accord.

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