Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Last of our Trip

Just a few more tidbits from the trip.  One is that I HIGHLY recommend visiting White Mountain Cider Co.  Their cider donuts are awesome, their breakfast sandwiches and flavored coffees are great, and their panini sandwiches for lunch are fantastic.  They have a little shop with other local grocery items, and there is a restaurant as well.  Definitely a great spot!

We stopped at a scenic overlook on the way home.  Despite the looks on the kids' faces, they did like the mountains.  They are just not fans of posing for pictures.  You'd think they would be used to it by now..

An unexpected stop on the way home was at a service station to get a tire plugged.  Someone was driving half of a house down the highway and a giant section of roof came off.  There was debris everywhere, including giant roofing nails.  I'm not sure really what was going on since the section of the house was shrink wrapped, but we could see inside and there was a made bed, pillow, bedspread, and all, as well as a table and chairs with tablecloth, etc.  It was bizarre.  I'm not sure how well planned this move was, and it didn't end well for us.  We had a nail in our tire and had to have it plugged.  We were lucky that we did not need a new tire right at that moment, but it was not the ideal way to end our vacation.

We had dinner one night at Muddy Moose in North Conway after browsing the shops downtown.  It was mudslides all around (special mudslides for Mommy and Daddy) because, hey, why not?

After the kids were in bed each night, I stole some time to work on this puzzle.  I used to do puzzles all the time when I was younger, it's just hard to find the time now.  I find it to be very stress-relieving!

We had a great dinner at Moat Mountain Brewing Company.  The kids were so well behaved and the food was great.  Definitely recommend this place for kids and for grown ups!

We were lucky to get a few hours of nap/quiet time and I took advantage one day to run to the store for a few things we needed, as well as to refuel with my first iced coffee in a few days.  It's becoming a problem...

We had such a great time and I hope the kids took home many memories.  We hope to go back again soon and we thank the Farleys for such a perfect gift!

Echo Lake

I have great memories of days at Echo Lake, so I definitely wanted to take Dave and the kids to this beautiful place.  From the beach area, you can see Cathedral Ledge.  There are often rock climbers taking the challenge, though we didn't see any on that particular day.  It was a beautiful day but the beach was not crowded at all, and the kids really had a great time.

Both boys were IN the water.  This was a big accomplishment since they are usually not big fans of the water.  They were so proud of themselves!  All of the kids made friends with the other kids there, particularly Mairead.  It was great to see her interact with other kids and call them 'my friends.' 

This was one of my favorite parts of our trip.  The scenery is beautiful, the environment is very serene, and the kids were happy and relaxed.  I like that they are at an age now where I can actually sit in a chair and watch them play... it's nice not to be rescuing a toddler every two minutes!  We are still vigilant when they are in the water, of course.  I miss my babies, but I love these kids and how we are able to do different fun activities now.

If you are thinking of going, the beach area is small and backs up to a tree filled shaded area with picnic tables.  There is a parking lot for which you pay a small fee to enter.  There are bathrooms and vending machines, and the park is 'carry in- carry out.'  There is a trail that winds around the lake that would be easy for kids to explore.  I think they also offer canoe rentals, though we did not explore that option!  There is a lifeguard on duty and the 'safe to swim' area is clearly marked.  It really is a perfect spot to spend the day!


The passes to Storyland were such a great Christmas gift!  I remember going there when I was little and having so much fun, and my kids also had a blast.  Mairead, especially, was in heaven.  She loves rides and ran from one to another.  She was still wary of the roller coaster, and we the Turtle Twist was a bit too much for us, but otherwise, she did great!  The boys are still not into rides.  I think it's a mob mentality of sorts.  One boy decides he isn't going on a ride, then the other boy echoes that, and then they decide they aren't going on anything.  They still found a ton of fun stuff to do, though.

The Loopy Lab was a huge hit with all of the kids.  We almost did not go in because it was more of an indoor attraction and we were not even sure what was in there.  But once they were in, they didn't want to come out!  I was impressed with them since it's loud and chaotic in there, but it's pretty awesome.  There are about a billion foam balls in the place and you can put them into vacuum tubes to watch them get sucked up and then launched into the air, you can shoot them out of cannons, you can fill a basket high in the air and when it is full, the balls rain down on unsuspecting parties below.  It's nuts, but fun!

Another thing we almost didn't do was the circus.  We were near the circus tent and realized that the next show started in ten minutes, which was at noon.  It was really hot at that point but we figured we would give it a shot.  The kids loved it, so I'm glad we went!  It was called the 'Hanneford Circus' so we sort of had to go because of Dave's relationship with Hannaford grocery stores, of course.  There was one lady who was seriously the most amazing hula-hooper ever.  It was unbelievable what she could do.

They have a pretty cool spray park at Storyland now.  It is very new, so there is really no shade nearby, which is a drawback for parents who are supervising.  But, there was obvious construction still going on, and it looked like they were building large wooden canopies to provide shade in that area.  The spray park sprays just enough water to cool kids off, but nothing that can soak a kid all at once or spray in anyone's face, etc.  From inside the submarine, you can look at a monitor and see people run by outside, and then use the joystick to control a water gun that sprays the people running by.  The kids loved doing that.  Dave and the boys even took shelter in the submarine when an intense downpour occurred.  It was crazy- loud thunder and lightning, very strong winds, and a VERY dark sky.  Mairead and I were on the Turtle Twist when it happened and we had to ask the girl to let us off the ride.  It was just as well because that thing was a little too twist-y for us.

What happens if you come to Storyland with no responsible guests? ;)
We loved that they offered stroller rentals.  We never use our stroller anymore and did not want to take up the space in the car to bring it.  But, it was definitely hot when we were there, and the boys needed a place to rest and retreat.  So, we rented this double for $8.  Totally worth it!

If you haven't been to Storyland, you might not know that for the price of one admission, you can get in three hours before the park closes on one day, and then come back another entire day.  So, we got three hours in on the first afternoon, and then arrived right when the park opened the next day.  This allowed us to do more since we were not lugging around tired children after eight hours at the park.  Breaking it into two visits was perfect.  Also, in case you haven't been there, the line for the antique cars can get long.  We did that first thing in the morning on the second day and Dave and Mairead waited only about five minutes.  We really didn't have to wait in any lines at all, which was awesome.  I guess we picked a good time to go-- it was only June, so summer vacation was not quite in full swing.  We went on Sunday afternoon, and then again Monday morning.  Nothing was crowded and it was great.  Hot, but great. 

This picture is of the horrifying moment in which Cinderella stepped out of her pumpkin coach.  Everyone was waiting to see her, she stepped out of the coach and most of the kids oohed and aahed and even squealed with delight.  My boys, on the other hand, screamed in terror.  Terror.  Covering their faces, hiding behind me, crying and screaming.  They took a lot of the attention away from poor Cinderella. 

After the scare at Cinderella's castle, we moved on to the pirate playground where you could shoot water from real cannons.  They LOVED this area.  Mairead was riding on the swan boat to Butterfly Island while the boys played here.

We all rode the antique carousel which is really beautiful.  Mairead chose a horse and my non-adventurous sons chose to ride... a bench.

        Of course, we had to get ice cream.  What vacation is not complete without ice cream?  Storyland does allow you to bring in your own food and drink so we were able to have lunch, juiceboxes, water, and snacks for the kids.  The whole place is very clean, very laid back, and entirely family friendly.

We really had a great time and would love to go back.  I had thought of Storyland as being only for very young kids, but there were children there who were probably as old as 10 who were having a great time.  This is probably in part because there are several new water based attractions.  There is a log flume ride, some kind of ride where you get in a boat that goes around a track, but water canons soak you as you pass, a raft ride, and maybe 1-2 others.  So, I think we have a few more trips before they are too old.  Of course, we'll have to try Santa's Village, too!  There are so many fun things to do up in that area.  Every time I visit, I can't wait to go back!