Lyman Orchards was only 20 minutes down the road. I went there the first time last year and was extremely pleased, so we put the windows down and let the cool fall air clear our heads while we wound our way to a much larger orchard, where "Pick Your Own" comes with scenic vistas and endless acres of apples for the children to explore.
It seems like everyone is on the "get into nature with your kids" kick. Big companies are using it for marketing, mom blogs are applauding it, but it's going to be a real downer when you're running from a bear through the mud wearing flip flops and your children are clinging to your legs. Okay...it won't be that bad but a little preparedness goes a long way in having a great time with your little ones.
Why did this video choke me up? I'm fully aware of the money and time that goes into creating viral marketing, but that doesn't change the fact that this pulls at the heart strings. We're facing a real issue in our children's generation and this clip tells the emotional story through a handful of characters who, unsurprisingly, remind us of people we know. This is why we're big fans of #getoutstayout and will happily embrace the Nature Valley hashtag #getoutthere.
What do you think of the video?
The first night, a volley of excited words shoots across the room as we recap our first day at East Hill Farm in Troy, NH. We ended up here after a spur of the moment decision to get away for the weekend. We threw the backpacks in the car and drove towards this quaint New England oasis at the foot of Mt. Monadnock and settled in for two days of mountain views, fresh food, and chickens...lots of chickens.
I know, that title sounds weird. This isn't a post for people with exceptionally small feet. It's for people who have kids who, in turn, have little feet. I'm aware that not everyone is an avid hiker and hitting the trails can leave some questions unanswered, so I hope this post covers some basic essential tips and gear.
Name: Buell's Orchard
Location: Eastford, CT
Difficulty (for little feet): Easy!
Summary: It's not quite Fall yet (oh so soon!) but a good friend invited me and the boys to Buell's Orchard- founded in 1889- and I thought it would be a great way to spend a hot summer day. When I've come here in the past, it's been on Columbus Day weekend when they have fresh caramel apples, hayrides and fun for everyone.
In the Summer, the scene is slower and more relaxed. The orchard store front is quaint and very New England, complete with pickled veggies, fresh veggies and fruit, and trinkets (and homemade apple cider donuts!)
Blueberries are in season, so we each got a small bucket and set off down the rows of blueberry bushes, full of large juicy berries. Of course, with the kids, more berries went in the mouth than the bucket, but regardless, we walked away with enough for a whole blueberry pie!
A quick trip to the store for the pie ingredients and in a few hours after fumbling our way around the kitchen, my good friend and I produced exceedingly delicious blueberry pies. We surprised ourselves but really lend all the credit to the fresh blueberries from Buell's.
The drive out to Buell's is almost worthwhile in itself as you pass by CT woodlands and, depending on your direction, by Bigelow Hollow State Park. Bring a picnic basket and stop by bigelow before or after to make it a whole day trip!
If you're looking for a great local orchard, be sure to check out Buell's, you won't be disappointed!
New website. No pressure.
Actually, I'm serious. This is the first project I've taken on in a while that is just for fun. There's no connection to business, no clients to please, n o schedule to maintain, just a lot of posts about trips that I take with my family around Connecticut and lower New England.
The plan is simple: tell you about the trips we take and whether you should check out some of the spots for yourself. Most of the reviews will cover hiking trails, parks, waterfalls and stuff away from the TV and computer screen. But there will be museums, aquariums, and kid-friendly spots that are worth checking out, too.
This whole thing started when I found myself unemployed near the beginning of 2015. While searching for a new job I had all this time with my two boys and I decided to make the most of it. I've always been an outdoorsy type myself, and if I had my druthers, my kids will inherit that love for the wild and all that comes with it. I vowed to take the kids to at least one park per week, and without being too strict, we've been doing that pretty well since March.
I believe there are a lot of restrictions and fears around raising kids these days. The age of information sharing has everyone afraid of what's in the air, what's in the food, and what other people will think about your kids and your parenting. Enough already. Let your kid poke the bug with a stick. They'll be okay...really. The only parenting input that I will ever EVER talk about here is the need to get the hell away from the screen. Our kids needs to see the world, breathe the air, play in our rivers, learn about the trees and which leaf is a Maple vs. and Oak.
Okay, that being said, let's kick this off with our most recent trip to a local favorite spot of mine, Cotton Hollow nature Preserve in Glastonbury, CT.