After spending a day in Rhode Island, and three days in Portland, Maine and the area around it, we spent our final two half days in Sturbridge, Massachusetts so that we could visit Old Sturbridge Village!
My boyfriend, Daryl, came across information regarding Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts while trying to plan our route home from our week long road trip. He said it looked like a really cool old-time town that our oldest son, Jaxon, would really like too! He booked us a room at the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges, and we were set!
When we arrived, we found out that our room was actually one of the Reeder Family Lodges. The main house only has single beds, and we needed a room with two beds and a pack-and-play for the baby. The room was clean and decorated in a very old fashioned, grandmotherly way. I loved it! After we had settled in, we decided to head over to Old Sturbridge Village to check it out!
We bought our tickets at the Old Sturbridge Inn desk and were given return tickets to use the next day as well if we needed them. We also got a discount for buying them at the Inn! We decided to have lunch at the Oliver Wight Tavern at the village. There wasn’t a huge lunch menu and Daryl and I ended up getting salads, but they were very good salads! They have a kid’s menu available as well, so Jaxon didn’t complain.
After lunch, we started our self-guided tour of the village. It really is such a neat place. All the buildings were moved there from other locations and are the original buildings from the 1800’s. The sign when you first walk in says you are walking into a town in 1830. All the people who work there are in full costume, and actually working, or playing games as children would have years ago. The kids actually teach your own kids how to play the games with them. We learned a lot from the man who made things out of tin, the blacksmith, the ladies dying yarn, and the people making cheese in one of the houses. It was so hot, I have no idea how they wore all that clothing!
We made it about half way through the village the first day (we got a late start), so we headed back to finish it up the next day. I thought it would only take a couple hours but we ended up staying another 4 hours. The gift shop is huge and had a ton to choose from as well. I bought a clay mug that was made at the village and Jaxon bought some candy.
I would say that if you started early, you could definitely make this a one day kind of trip It’s a great place for kids, but also offers so much history for adults as well. I kept finding myself wishing things were the way they used to be while realizing how fortunate we really are all at the same time. You don’t really realize how much things have changed until you take a step back in time. Old Sturbridge Village lets you do just that. I would highly recommend a visit should you find yourself traveling through the area!
This summer we went on a week-long family road trip. We spent three of our days in Portland, Maine with our two boys Benjamin and Jaxon, ages 1 and 8.
It wasn’t my idea to stay in Portland, Maine, but I’m glad we did. The city has a well-earned reputation for its beer and seafood, and surprisingly it was also a great little city to stay in with kids! Other than a visit or two to a lighthouse or park area, I was a bit worried how we’d spend our time there. We ended up finding so much to do and the kids had a blast!
We stayed at the Hyatt Place right in Old Port, within walking distance to everything in the Downtown District. The room was beautiful (sorry for the lack of a photo, it was a bit hectic with the kids when we first arrived) and plenty spacious for the four of us. I had read some reviews online and there were quite a few complaints about the noise from a nightclub across the street. There were ear plugs next to our beds, but the nightclub wasn’t open during the week, and our room didn’t face that direction anyway. If you plan to stay here, I’d request a room on the back side of the building, just in case.
Since we arrived in the afternoon our first day, we decided to just walk around the city and grab lunch. We ended up at Liquid Riot for lunch. It’s a newer brewery/pub. We figured it would be typical pub food and that Jaxon would be able to eat there as well, but they don’t have a kids menu. My son and I ended up splitting a House Burger with stout bacon jam and frites with Chipotle Aioli – it was a really good burger! Daryl really liked his burger too! Actually, all the food on the menu sounded really good to us, it’s just not the most kid-friendly place.
After lunch, Daryl and I grabbed some coffee at Arabica Coffee and then we took a really long walk along the water, then back through the city. It was beautiful! We headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and to give Benjamin a little time to get down and run around. We started doing a little research on restaurants for dinner so that Jaxon would be a little happier with his meal choices. We chose to go to Buck’s Naked BBQ after reading it was family friendly and had a play area for kids. While the play area was a beat up old play house and kitchen set, Jaxon still had fun climbing in it and signing his name on the roof. The food was okay. Daryl and I both order Pulled Pork entrees and sides and enjoyed trying all the sauces. We decided the yellow Carolina sauce was our favorite. Every night we were in Portland, Jaxon asked if we could go back for dinner again!
Our last stop was at Beal’s Ice Cream so Jaxon could make his own ice cream sandwich combo! They were huge and he ate the whole thing!
We really squeezed a lot into our second day. After breakfast at the hotel, we headed over to Old Orchard Beach. The beach itself is huge. It’s quite a walk down to the water. We didn’t swim here though since we had a reservation to get to next, but we did have lunch on the Pier. We tried the old Hot Dog and a Coke for 99¢ stand. Jax and I ordered hot dogs, fries, and Cokes, while Daryl got a Gyro. Benjamin had some pieces of french fries and the food we packed him. I was expecting the hot dog to be horrible, but it was good. The Coke came in a tiny paper cup. I don’t like soda and prefer Jaxon not drink it, so the small serving was fine with me. Next door was the Fried Dough stand. Jaxon LOVES dough, so we just had to try it. He loved it, but the powdered sugar was a nightmare to clean off of him afterward!
After lunch, we went to Monkey Trunks Adventure Park in Saco, Maine. It’s a rope and zip line course. Daryl and Jaxon did the course this time, while I stayed with Benjamin and watched. Jaxon was so brave and completed a lot of the course! After his first time down the bigger zip line, he was hooked. He wanted to do it again and again! We went on a weekday and it wasn’t busy at all. The staff was great and the boys had a blast!
Next up, we stopped at Ferry Beach State Park. This was a much smaller beach and there was a lifeguard there but she left soon after we got there, around 5pm. This time, Daryl and Jaxon braved the ice cold water and took a short swim! I don’t like cold water, and Benjamin doesn’t like anything about the beach haha! We watched and took pictures. We didn’t stay long since it was so late, and headed back to Portland.
We went to DiMillo’s on the Water for dinner. It’s a huge old boat that has been turned into a restaurant. Most of the time I didn’t notice the motion of the boat, but every once in a while I’d start feeling it rocking and it made me a bit dizzy. This was a bit pricier restaurant, but the food was delicious! I had a Butternut Squash Stuffed white fish (unfortunately their website requires a password at the moment so I can’t get the exact names of our meals) that was amazing and they have a kid’s menu as well, so Jaxon was happy! Reservations are suggested, but not required. The woman at the desk wasn’t the friendliest and seemed a little bothered we didn’t have a reservation. We had to wait about 30 minutes to be seated. Everyone else was wonderful and we had a great experience there!
Once again, we had breakfast at the hotel before heading out for the day. We planned to visit Fort Williams State Park first. This place was so cool! You’ll find the most photographed lighthouse in the United States there the Portland Headlight built in the 1700’s and still in operation today! There’s also a rocky “beach,” an old deteriorating mansion, and a lot of older fort remnants etc from many many years ago. I always wonder how things actually were when these places were built, how they just became abandoned, and then finally end up as park of a park. It was fascinating to learn some of the history here. Jaxon played with sticks and stones down near the water for a long time. He really loved exploring the coast everywhere we went on this trip.
We spent the second half of our day in Freeport, Maine. The L.L. Bean Factory store is located there, along with a ton of other stores. It looks as if it used to be an old town, and the houses have all been renovated into stores and restaurants!
We ate lunch at Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern. I ordered the Cashew Crusted Goat Cheese as an appetizer plate and it was amazing! I wasn’t as happy with my lunch. I felt I had to eat something that was local and ordered the Double Dog Basket with red Maine hotdogs. First, I can’t eat two hot dogs at once. Second, they were hot pink and had little knots where the casing was tied, which turned me off. Finally, they didn’t taste like very good quality hot dogs. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the hot dogs, but the boys both liked their food and I really liked my appetizer, so overall I would recommend trying this place for yourselves.
We walked around Freeport and did a little shopping. Of course, everything I bought was for the baby or Jaxon, but that’s usually how it goes once you have kids. They have a great variety of stores. We really wanted to try Frosty’s Donuts, but apparently, once they sell out for the day, they close. If you visit Freeport, make sure to get to Frosty’s early – they must be really good! We also missed the candy store – they close earlier than the other retail shops so again, go early! I did manage to get a Black and White Latte from Coffee By Design and I’m not kidding when I say, it was the best coffee drink I’ve ever had!
We had dinner back in Portland at The Great Lost Bear. It was also listed as a family-friendly restaurant but seemed to be more for the bar crowd. The menu is huge and there is a kids menu too. We ordered the Chili Nachos (I feel like we always order nachos!) and I had the open-faced Turkey Melt. The food was really good once again. We really didn’t have a bad meal on our entire trip (minus my poor decision to order red hot dogs).
Overall, we loved our stay in Portland. The scenery is beautiful, the food was excellent, and there was plenty to do with the kids! I wish I was able to get pictures of our food, but my phone stopped working after day one of our trip and I didn’t want to pull out the DSLR. Next time I may just have to!
The last leg of our trip was to Sturbridge, Massachusetts to visit Old Sturbridge Village. Daryl randomly found it online while trying to map our route and figure out where we would stop on the way home. We enjoyed it so much – I’ll have a post up very soon!
We recently went on our first family vacation since our youngest son Benjamin was born. He’s 13 months now and we thought a short road trip would be the best way to travel with him at this age. I had never been to a lot of the New England states so, we decided to travel north this year! Our original plan had us traveling to Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, but we ended up narrowing it down. We planned a stop in Rhode Island, then it was north to Maine, and finally, a quick stop in Massachusetts. This is how we did Rhode Island in a day with our kids!
For whatever reason, years ago I decided I would love Rhode Island and just had to make it there someday. Before we headed off on this trip, we did a lot of research on where to take the kids and where to eat. We had only planned to spend one full day in the only state smaller than ours, so we wanted to make sure we made the most of it!
After grabbing gas and some really good coffee from Marylou’s inside of the gas station, our first stop was at Beavertail State Park. There was a lighthouse and museum, a small “aquarium,” and a ton of rocks heading down to the ocean. The park employee in the lighthouse was the most interesting man! He actually lived in the lighthouse as a young boy when his father was the lighthouse keeper and told us some really cool stories (and some really sad ones!). This lighthouse no longer has a keeper and now serves as a museum. We learned that there has been a ton of shipwrecks in the New England area – most occurring many years ago.
The aquarium was a small building right outside the lighthouse. There were several fish tanks inside containing different marine life commonly found in the area. We saw lobsters (of course!), a few different fish species, and a shark! Jaxon loved seeing a shark up close in an open tank! Again, the park employee inside was friendly and very informative!
Jaxon and Daryl climbed down the rocks to the ocean and explored a few different areas. Benjamin and I were able to make it down to one area so we could snap a family photo. Jaxon had so much fun that it was hard to pry him away to grab some lunch! On the way out we stopped at the cutest little outhouses for a bathroom break!
Our next stop was Newport to do part of the Newport Cliff Walk. We decided to grab lunch in that area and ended up at The Tavern on Broadway. It was so good! Jax had kid’s personal pizza, I had the Shrimp Mozambique, and Daryl had Sweet Chili Wings and Steak and Pineapple Skewers that were served on a giant piece of a leaf! Please don’t go by my awful iPhone 4 pics – this food was amazing and was presented to us much nicer than my photos show! I’d definitely recommend checking out this restaurant if you’re planning on spending any time in the Newport area!
After lunch, we headed over to the Newport Cliff Walk. Again, the scenery was just beautiful. The walk is along the backyards of huge mansions. Most of the walk is paved and stroller friendly, but there were some steps and we had to stop where the pavement stopped. On foot, you could continue on if you were willing to walk along large rocks. Where the paved area ended, you could also climb down the rocks to the ocean. Of course, Jaxon and Daryl had to do more exploring! Benjamin and I were perfectly happy to have a seat and enjoy the view!
We had dinner at Fat Belly’s Irish Pub in Providence, Rhode Island. While the food was really good, and they did have a kid’s menu, unfortunately, we ended up seated near some rather obnoxious, crude people. Thankfully Jaxon was so tuned into his tablet that he didn’t even notice all the inappropriate language (yes, it’s a pub, but it was bad). The Pulled Pork Nachos were delicious (again, an awful iPhone 4 pic – I’ll definitely be breaking out the DSLR on our next trip!)! That was the first time I had even heard of such a thing and now I must find them locally asap! Daryl and I both had burgers and fries. He chose sweet potato fries and I had truffle fries (yum!). The food was all really good once again!
After dinner, we headed back to our hotel for the night. We stayed at Comfort Suites in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The staff was very friendly, and the room looked as if it had been recently updated and was very clean. The beds were comfortable as well! We enjoyed the hot continental breakfast the next morning before getting back onto the road to head to Portland, Maine. I would definitely recommend this hotel! We went through Ebates and booked online with Hotels.com. The whole process was easy and we didn’t have any issues with any of our hotel reservations!
Overall we absolutely loved Rhode Island. The scenery is gorgeous and there is a lot to do! It appears to be a clean, well-kept state. Jaxon loved it so much he now has his little heart set on moving there. I would be okay with that too! Now, we just have to get Daryl a job, ha! I wish we had planned to stay there longer, but we were just as excited to check out Portland, Maine!