Me, Myself & Baby I

Out of the mouths of babes

Archive for the category “travel”

It’s a Weekend of Whatever I Want But I’m Leaving My Heart in New York City

Life is all about firsts.  Even as a married woman with a child, I continue to have wonderful, unforgettable new experiences.  This weekend I am doing something I have never done before!  For the first time since I’ve gotten married, I am going away all by myself!

My best friend since childhood (second grade to be exact) is getting married!!!!  She flew in especially for my big day and I am beyond ecstatic to celebrate with her as she begins her new life!  I wouldn’t miss her wedding for anything and am so excited to be a bridesmaid.

My weekend in San Francisco is jam-packed and filled with lots of my all-time favorites–particularly pampering, good food and special friends!  Manis/pedis, rehearsal dinner, hair & make-up, bridal party photos, wedding ceremony & reception!  Although I will miss my boys like crazy, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m also kinda psyched about having a hotel room to myself!  When I land, I have the whole rest of the day all to myself to do whatever I want, go whereever I want, eat whatever I want, see whatever I want…. (you get the idea)

It’ll be good for Scott to spend a whole weekend with Ian.  And they’ll be visiting both grandmas.  Plus, they have a brand new episode of Ian’s favorite show to watch!

Yo Gabba Gabba! meets The Fresh Beat Band in the new epic musical adventure “Yo! Fresh Beats Go Gabba Gabba!” premieres Friday, June 8, 11:30/10:30c on NICK Jr.

Scott has strict orders he must wait for me to get back to watch the Mad Men finale airing on Sunday night.

I may be going to San Francisco, but I will be leaving my heart in New York.

Until next week!!!!  Maybe my boys will even appreciate me more when I get back!  I know I’ll be in need of tons of hugs and kisses from them upon my return home.

Family-Friendly Escape at The Benjamin Will Have Kids Roaring for “Lions & Tigers & Cereal” (Oh My!)

A few Sundays ago, my family and I attended the Macaroni Kid Family Travel Expo.  We received some great tips and information for our already booked summer vacation to Rhode Island.  We also were the lucky winners of a Britax raffle.  But I would have to say the biggest treasure was learning about the fun family promotion The Benjamin hotel is currently offering.

Lions & Tigers & Cereal (oh my!), the newly unveiled family-friendly getaway at The  Benjamin, a boutique NYC hotel located in the heart of midtown, will have kids roaring with laughter and parents relieved that everything is taken care of.  From a daylong outing to the zoo, to a cereal buffet delivered to the room the night before, it’s all covered.  The one-night adventure, available through September 30, is priced seasonally starting from $374 this summer and includes:

  • Four zoo tickets for the entire brood to enjoy a day of animal escapades at the Central Park Zoo.
  • A cereal smorgasbord with an assortment to choose from, fruit and milk delivered the night before.  Let’s face it, kids who wake up hungry as a bear just can’t wait for breakfast; all rooms at The Benjamin feature a kitchenette (with refrigerator and microwave), so it will be stocked and ready to go.
  • Breakfast in-room for Mom & Dad, who tend to be more patient and can wait for room service (which, by the way, is from The National, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant, located in the hotel.  This restaurant happens to be one of our all-time favorite neighborhood spots for weekend brunch!)
  • Winks’ Kidzzz Club Frisbee for fun times in the park and a souvenir to take back home.
  • Travel-size sunscreen for the alfresco adventure.  (Seriously, what haven’t they thought of!)
  • Winks’ Kidzzz Club, created to educate little guests on the importance of sleep, makes children feel right at home with the following for use during their stay: kid-sized bathrobes, a lending library of family favorite bedtime books, an organic wool-filled Toddler Pillow by Woolly Boo.  Winkzzz himself (well, a stuffed animal version) is included for kids to take home (one per room, others available for purchase).  Upon check out, a Sleep Certificate is awarded to children.

The Benjamin’s Sleep Concierge, the first and only in the industry, is there to make sure guests big and small get a good night’s sleep.  Kids and parents can order up any number of pillows from the hotel’s 12-choice pillow menu (if a pillow fight emerges, don’t blame the Sleep Concierge!).  The five-foot body cushion, while larger than most kids, tends to be a favorite amongst the smaller set.

For Lions & Tigers & Cereal (oh my!) reservations, visit www.TheBenjamin.com or call 1-888-4-BENJAMIN (1-888-423-6526) and use booking code KIDZZZ.

Even though we live with-in walking distance of The Benjamin, I am definitely booking an overnight stay for us.  I will probably wind up fighting my son for Winkzzz!  (Yes, I am still very much a kid at heart!)

Lainie of Leisure at The Spa at Norwich Inn

Spring break may be behind us but I am going to try my best to remain as relaxed, refreshed and happy as I was last week while alone with my family in Connecticut.

For me, trips are all about delicious food, fabulous accommodations and shopping. We didn’t do well in terms of antiquing in the Litchfield Hills area so after playing one last time in Coco Key’s arcade, we hit the road.

Since we weren’t in a hurry to get to The Spa at Norwich Inn where we’d be staying for the last 3 nights of our spring break, we detoured to Tanger Outlets in Westbrook and Clinton Crossing. So happy we did! (Although Scott received a call from the fraud department of his credit card since they were concerned about all the spending that was being done!)

After checking in at The Norwich Inn, we enjoyed unwinding at a delicious dinner at Ascot Pub. Scott and I shared the signature cheese board (along with Ian), a chopped salad and a charcoal build a burger.

The evening ended on a high note when I spotted Partida Tequila at the bar. I spoke to the bartender about how I handled the PR for Partida, launched the brand and shared my experience of visiting the distillery in Guadalajara.

Day 2:

Everyone needs a spa day. I used to treat myself to an annual birthday massage but haven’t since I was pregnant with Ian three years ago. After my blissful massage, we drove to Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic Village reminded me a lot of the quaint Peddler’s Village (located in Historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania)

I still can’t get over how delicious and cheap our seafood lunch was at 10 Clams (everything is priced $10 clams or less) It rates up there as one of the best bowls of thick and creamy lobster bisque and the lobster roll was piled high with succulent pieces of lobster. Luke’s Lobster rolls no longer impress me.

We shopped, drove around the Mystic area and oohed and ahhed over the New England homes. That evening we enjoyed yet another fabulous dinner at our hotel this time at Kensington’s. As posted on their website, Kensington’s “offers a comfortable atmosphere, impeccable service, and unforgettable food” and I couldn’t agree more.

I am so happy we ordered the special salmon dish. Ian wasn’t really in the mood to stay put in the restaurant that night so I had to gulp down the food and go back up to the room with him without even finishing my glass of wine. He was an angel the rest of the week so I can not complain, especially since he’s a two and a half year old.

Day 3:

I kicked off the day with a facial and then we drove for lunch at The Golden Lamb Buttery in Brooklyn, CT. Separate review to follow soon.

We tried to do some more antiquing but mostly struck out with finding treasures this trip. That evening (our last of the trip) we decided to do room service since Ian had been such a great boy at lunch and we didn’t feel it was fair to subject him to another restaurant again only hours later. I insisted we build another burger, along with more soup and salad.

Clearly the song for the last leg of our trip was Yo Gabba Gabba’s “There’s a Party in My Tummy.”

As I packed up our bags to leave The Spa at Norwich Inn, I thought, “Bye, bye Connecticut. I will miss the morning (tea) seep, steam/sauna and (jacuzzi) soak followed by delicious seafood and lots of shopping! Ahhh!”

Huge thank you to Scott for making this trip possible. I never thought a Spring Break in Connecticut could be as awesome as the Caribbean. It really hit all of our family’s wants and needs. I am still amazed at how much wonderful stuff there is to do in Connecticut. I am so happy I discovered some of these gems with my two boys by my side. Let’s do it again next year! Easter at Winvian, for sure!

Making a Big Splash at Coco Key Water Resort

Raising a family is TAXING (get it, guys…it’s April 15th today) All family members, regardless of age and responsibilities, need some fun, rest & relaxation!

We traveled to Coco Key Water Resort (located in Waterbury, CT) from the ultra-luxurious, very high-end Winvian (see yesterday’s, April 14th post if you haven’t already done so) I keep wanting to call this place Coco Loco.

Everyone I had asked about Coco was uncomplimentary so I was mentally prepared for the worst but hoped it would be fine on a week day in early April.

You know how they say that when you have low expectations, that things turn out even better and you are not the least bit disappointed? That was exactly the case when we got here. (Whew! Big sigh of relief)

Admittedly, I would redecorate the hotel and add colors to the dark brown motiff. Aquas would be so nice here and/or some bright colors.

The water park, which was what we came for, was a blast!

We all loved tubing on the lazy river.

Ian wasn’t the least bit overwhelmed or scared and enjoyed splashing around, going down the smaller water slides and playing.

Scott and I talked about how we were having such a fantastic family vacation filled with wonderful balance. The restaurant Tradewinds really catered to kids with Nickelodeon airing on the big screen TVs and a kid-friendly dinner buffet.

But by after dinner, we all had enough of this place. Hours after taking off our bathing suits, we were now just waterlogged and ready for a better atmosphere. It felt almost like being stuck on a cruise ship which at first was fun, but now you’re just itching to get off.

The longer we stayed, the more we did notice issues including:
*not a single ice machine on all four floors worked
*room service could not bring up ice so we had to go back downstairs to the restaurant to obtain some to keep Ian’s milk cold
(“Ice, ice, Baby quickly became a song for this leg of the trip, along with “One Night Only” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”)
*the arcade was completely out of order late afternoon (it was restored in the evening)
* understaffed for the amount of guests over a holiday week
*jacuzzi had an out-of-order sign
*our room tv was fuzzy

I definitely recommend the water park it for a day trip to the water park on an uncrowded week day.

I do think its a wonderful concept and am seeking investors to start an indoor water park in New York City!

Kicking off Spring Break at Winvian

They say priorities shift and change when you become a parent. Even those cocky individuals who think,”Oh that will happen to me,” I have news for you, guess what, it does.

Spring Break is usually to Cancun. The Dominican Republic. I think Turqs & Caicos has become another popular hot spot.

I can not stress enough how much I wanted to go to the Caribbean. However, my better half does not enjoy “planes, trains and automobiles” very much and was adamant about us not flying with our toddler. Despite all my begging and pleading, I was unable to change his mind. He felt we would not really get the R&R we were seeking with our son on the trip.

Instead he planned an itinerary which suited all three of us:
* No airplanes and a car ride under 3 hours (Head of household)
* High-end, luxurious accommodations, fine dining, spa treatments and shopping (me)
* An 84 degree indoor waterpark (Baby I)

Although when he told his friends about our upcoming vacation, they asked what was he getting and he replied, “the bill.”

Once he dangled Winvian, I was putty in his hands! There is no place I would want to return to more than this Relais & Chateau property. Our stay at the Log Cabin there in January 2009 is on a super short list of best places I’ve ever had the pleasure of going to. I have even recommended Winvian to friends for their honeymoons.

On the car drive up, I sang, “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Winvian….” (to the tune of the Sesame Street song)

Winvian is situated on a private 113-acre estate, located three miles due south of the Litchfield’s town center. There are eighteen cottages in all ranging in size from 950 square feet to 1,250 square feet. They are all appointed with memorabilia, furnishings and artwork that complement each architect’s vision.

It was a no-brainer which cottage we would select this time around. We knew our rock star would feel melodic and right at home in the Music cottage. Of very modern design, this cottage is a celebration of all things musical. Strong colors and bold design are the forum found in Music. We got to “play” the cottage inside and out!

these bongs make me think of Matthew McConaughey; I might be prejudice but I think my boys are just as cute!

"you can ring my bell"

The plush gold king bed met with Prince Ian’s approval.

our sleeping beauty

He fell asleep before our 7:30pm dinner reservation so we had decadent room service. It was our second meal of the day in Connecticut that contained lobster.

octopus duo, Maine lobster stew & 'Cote de Boeuf for 2

We lifted our grown-up “no TV on vacation” ban especially for MadMen. It was extra fun watching it in such a special cottage that screamed Liberace to me.

The Make Your Own S’mores made it the most fun family slumber party and best Sunday ever!

I am such a pyromaniac! If only I cooked this well in an oven!

best family sleep-over ever!

I want really this to be our new Easter tradition. Scott must be in agreement because when we checked out, he told the staff they would see us next year! YES!

a new fav family photo...until next year!

Note: Winvian is usually adult-only but does designate some "children welcome" weekends, including Easter.

very Blair Witch Project feel to me<

Learn more of our Spring Break soundtrack and what else we did in Connecticut in other upcoming posts!

Packing (& Unpacking) for a Family of 3

Packing (& unpacking) for a family of three with one under three is a major undertaking.

I certainly deserved a vacation for packing all our bags!

Between uncertain weather, wanting to look and feel our best and a toddler who has some favorites and set routines, there’s a lot to cram into bags.

We only went away for 5 nights/6 days, but it feels as if we are moving.

We traveled home with several more bags and packages because we made quite a dent in our credit card with all the shopping we did! Thank you to the best, most generous, husband! (I’ll try to forgive you for not letting me buy the Stuart Weitzman wedges at Saks off Fifth in Clinton Crossing, the Le Crueset pot in the color the outlets never carry and a lip therapy balm from the spa!) Seriously, as my Dad used to say, “I made out like a bandit!” Between the J. Crew dress and shirt, white gold tiara necklace, spa treatments….

No one left empty-handed! Even picked up a trinket for my sister on National Sibling Day which was a memory from her childhood. It’s kinda weird that all the toys and memorabilia from my childhood is now relics at antique shops! We also bought our niece’s first teenage birthday present and have to save it until she turns 13 in June.

This is the pile of mail we were greeted to upon our arrival back home.

Now if you excuse me, I have unpacking and tons of laundry to do.

Not to mention, RSVPing to a few upcoming events, scrapbooking, magazines and catalogs to scour through, emails to follow up on and blog posts to write. The amount of material I have from our fun Spring Break in Conneticut alone is overwhelming. You are in for a few treats int he coming days! This is the only less than glamorous, down and dirty post!

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