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7 Things Loved By My Family at Moreys Piers

We took a lovely jaunt over Father's Day weekend to one of the very few shore towns that I have NOT stayed at yet!  I know. You have a hard time believing that, don't you? ha. But it's true. I'll be honest with you.  Real is why you come here and honestly, you've come to expect me to be REAL with you, right? 

Wildwood has never been one of my favorite places to visit.  We'd go there when we stayed in Cape May to have some fun on the boardwalk - but I would have NEVER in a million years have considered staying there.  I just didn't feel it was safe.  I thought there were some scary parts of town that I felt would not be smart to visit with small kids.  I thought the same about Atlantic City & I gave them a '2nd shot' with Boston 3 years ago.  I saw there that they were really trying to clean it up - but unfortunately, I haven't been back with kids yet.  So hopefully we'll have an awakening with AC like we did with Wildwood over Father's Day Weekend!

In case you didn't notice by the title....but we LOVED our visit there. 

And I'll tell you - it's one reason & ONE reason alone why - MOREY'S PIERS.

Yes. There are still parts of town that I felt uncomfortable in.  I won't lie.  But Morey's Piers is different. MUCH MUCH DIFFERENT. 

7 Things Loved By My Family At Morey's Piers

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1) THE MOREY FAMILY.  As you know in my love of travels and sharing here - I am a sucker for a real life story.  And the story behind the magic of Morey's Piers was so fun to see!  I missed a special cocktail event because well.... traveling with a toddler puts a vice grip on my plans. lol Truth be told.  But I did get a great break to really wander the hotel we were staying in and read the walls.  For. Like. HOURS. 

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2) THE PAN AMERICAN HOTEL.  What a CLASSY place!!  You know me - I'm a sucker for amenities so when I saw the Philosophy products in the gorgeous bathrooms?  I died and went to bath time heaven!!  I've stayed at thousands of places.  And if there is one consistent thing that tells me the character and class of the place - it's the toiletries!!  Everywhere you turn in this hotel you see a story.  You can get caught up in the walls of time beginning with the ride down the road with the big spinning Pan American sign in the back of an old pickup truck!  (And the chairs in the lobby are the coolest chairs I've ever seen!)

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3)  THE PIERS.  Notice I didn't say the Boardwalk.  Cause until they stop allowing people to smoke and flick their ashes on me and my kids - I'm not a fan of the boardwalk at all.  (And I'm not a smoke-snob.  Both of my parents smoke heavily their entire lives.  I just don't believe that it should be allowed in a public place like that.  It really bothers me when I walk up to a store and their workers are standing in their doorways trying to get me to come in there and their stink cigs behind their ears and in their hands.  GROSS!  There are way too many little kids running around on that boardwalk - there shouldn't be any smoking.  But if you are like me in that? GET ON THE PIERS!!  Cause the Morey family does it right.  NO SMOKING ALLOWED.

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3) THE FUN on THE PIERS.  Yeah.  You can find so much to do on those three piers that you never need to hit the boardwalk or the streets of Wildwood if you're a fuddy-dutty-like me.  And honestly, there are many out of towners that need that 'comfortable place'.  Morey's Piers have so many really fun things to do! I died after finding out there was THREE piers to PLAY!  The Ghost Ship & Kong were our favorite rides.  LOVED them.  

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4) THE FOOD.  When I think about beach & boardwalk food - I think cotton candy, pizza, 'snack bar' type food.  But not at MOREYS PIERS!!  When we arrived they gave us a ton of generous coupons to experience all the food at the piers & I am so glad they did!!  The last day, I ended up sharing some of them with a sweet woman we met at the waterparks who was there from Illinois (where I'm from). Cause honestly, I felt bad with all the talk I made about the 

5)  THE WATER PARKS.  Seriously one of the coolest thing ever is enjoying a WATER PARK while near the ocean!  The PIers really have a couple cool water parks that everyone has to take advantage of when in Wildwood.  Being a kid from the midwest and never even seeing the ocean till much later in my college years, the only water fun we got were water parks.   I grew up in a boat on a dirty lake in southern Illinois.  Our 'special treat' was hitting a water park.  So to be a kid and have the ocean at your fingertips?  I can't even IMAGINE what a cool opportunity that is. The #1 thing that I love most from my move to Philly is that we are within a couple hours drive of the shore.  From Cape May to LBI - I am forever in love with it.  Add a boardwalk AND a waterpark?  Totally died and gone to heaven reliving my childhood with my son at the 

6)  THE HISTORY.  More than one occasion my family had to distract me to STOP looking at all the images on the walls at the Pan American Hotel!!  I stopped every time so that I could read, snap and share the great history of Morey's Piers!  

7) OH-MY-THE-ORANGEAIDES.  Seriously.  I should be embarrassed with how many orangeaides I had on those piers!!!  My mouth is watering now for one dangit.    

Now check out their fun History YouTube video:


How To Have Fun For Father's Day In New Jersey

How To Have Fun For Father's Day In New Jersey

'Tis the season for water parks and Summer adventures! This year, we're  thankful for Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks for providing us with a perfect Summer getaway location! We'll be visiting this weekend to celebrate Father's Day and there is a ton of stuff to do - for the whole family! We are going to stay at the Pan American Hotel where they have a great bistro called Alosi's Bistro where we'll be stopping for breakfast!  There are two new amazing attractions at Morey's including KONG and artBOX:LAB. 

Kong, an iconic boardwalk landmark in early 1970s, and also the new gorilla themed amusement ride is now open on Surfside Pier. KONG, who you'll see snorting smoke and fog, sports an “I love Wildwood” t-shirt (who wouldn't?) and clutches one of Wildwood’s well-known tram cars while hanging from the 60 feet tall lighthouse at the ride’s center - sounds awesome! Eight vintage shark themed ride vehicles will duck and dive around the infamous gorilla, bringing riders 26 feet in air. After sunset, KONG lights up the night sky with a rotating light on top of the lighthouse and enhanced LED lighting outlining each ride vehicle. This looks like it will be a great ride for us to try out this weekend while we celebrate Father's Day! 

 

Underneath the ride is Kong & Co. a new 3,000 square foot retail space offering charging stations and comfy chairs, as well as chocolate covered frozen bananas and merchandise for purchase. Besides there being snacks and merchandise, the charging stations is such a great idea. Sometimes large families like to split off during their vacation, and if your phone is dying, it can be nearly impossible to find the rest of the family! These charging stations are really convenient!

artBOX:LAB is a new interactive workshop for kids. The resident artist, David Macomber, leads the class and allows kids of all ages to create their own spins on works of art to take home! There is a rotation of guest artists all Summer long so you'll be able to experience a lot of different artistic perspectives and more! Classes include block printing, origami, painting, and even jewelry making! The classes are available Thursday-Sunday from 5pm to 10pm so this would be a GREAT wind down activity for the kids after all day at a water park! There are no appointments necessary and class prices are anywhere from FREE to $35! 

If you're not used to the weather in Wildwood, NJ, they're pretty warm during the Summer. In June, the temperatures can reach the low 80's so make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and most importantly - your bathing suits! 

Now that you've got a sneak peek of Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks - keep an eye out for my followup after Father's Day weekend! What would you be most excited to try? Let me know in the comments below! 

For more information, you can find Morey's at:
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Connect with me on Pinterest to follow along with other Real Mom Travels! 

Hershey: The Sweetest Place on Earth

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Chocolate.

Just say the word, and I am there.

One of the things I absolutely love about living in Philadelphia is my proximity to Hershey, PA. That's right, Chocolate Town!  I have had the pleasure of visiting many times over the past several years, and I'm heading there again this week as I am what every chocolate lover dreams of.. A HERSHEY AMBASSADOR!  Rough job, I know.  But SOMEBODY has to do it. 

I always look forward to my Hershey visits. No, not just because I can stock up on the best chocolate on the planet!  But I love that Hershey is a family-friendly destination. For locals who can't quite swing a big vacation, Hershey is the perfect "staycation." There is so much to do, including Hersheypark (Boston LOVES the chocolate characters!!  The pic to the left is from our 1st ever visit to Hershey.)

Thrill lovers: did you know Hersheypark has 12 rollercoasters? Epic! They also offer live entertainment as well as kid-focused rides for even the smallest chocolate lovers.

Hershey, PA offers more than just the theme park, though. Visitors can head to ZooAmerica, with over 200 animals on 11 acres. There is also a large educational component. Keep the learning going through the summer! Kids can learn about the history of Hershey at The Hershey Story and get the whole scoop on how chocolate is made at Hershey's Chocolate World (and pssst: you didn't hear it from me, but after the informational tour they may or may not give out chocolate samples. SCORE!).

Accomodations are not lacking in Hershey, and I can attest that the Hershey Lodge is fantastic for families. If you want to take it to the next level, check out The Hotel Hershey!  We are MEGA excited about staying at Hotel Hershey as we've only stayed at the Hershey Lodge in the past. Check out their awesome packages, as well. There are great seasonal and year-round offerings that make a stay at Hershey all the more sweet.

Also? I may be a little obsessed with the fact that Kate Gosselin lives nearby. Because. KATE GOSSELIN.


I digress.

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So whether you are near or far, take the scenic ride through the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania and make your destination the Sweetest Place on Earth!

Check our twitter, Instagram and Facebook stream for our overflowing amount of images from our experiences.  I promise to share unique shots at our favorite sweet spots!

What is YOUR favorite Hershey memory?

****Yes, as an ambassador I get some SWEET deals! Some of the activities are comped in result of my ambassadorship with Hershey, PA.  But of course - the REAL mom is always going to be real.  Now, back to my chocolate dream.

 

Tuckerton Seaport Privateers and Pirates Festival: June 7, 2014

Yo ho ho!

It's time to don your best pirates attire, put on your finest eye patch and get ready to set sail on your dreaded pirate ship!  That's right, it's that time of year again: Tuckerton Seaport is hosting their annual Privateers and Pirates Festival!

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On Saturday June 7 starting at 11am, Captain Black will be coming ashore with the crew of the Valhalla, ready to transform Tuckerton Seaport into a pirate paradise. For the pirate-at-heart, this is the perfect event for the entire family. Meet pirates in person, join a treasure hunt, and get your picture taken on the plan. The best pirate costum will be awarded a prize at the end of the day!

Not only will the day be filled with fun adventures, there will be live music as well. Here are some other great highlights waiting for you:

Privateers & Pirates Festival Highlights

  • Pirate Meet & Greet
  • Pose on the Plank
  • Pirate Costume Contest for Adults and Children
  • Piratology 101: Learn about the Golden Age of Piracy!
  • Cannon Demo: Watch how to handle and fire a cannon. Volunteers will be needed to join the gun crew. Don’t be scared by the big BOOM at the end.
  • Scurvy Mutineers Sword Fight Show: A live steel combat show complete with action and laughs. Volunteers will be selected from the audience to join the mutiny.
  • Whip Show: Things will really heat up as tricks and skills are shown.
  • Pirate Pistol Duello Show: A stage show of how a friendly game of Liars Dice can go terribly wrong. Learn how pirates settle an argument.
  • Amputation Demonstration!
  • American Water Puddles Van: Learn about water conservation, where the water locally comes from, how the water is treated and play interactive games where you can estimate your daily water usage
  • Watch the Parrot Pirate Party with a Parrot that Talks
  • Pirate Food Court
  • Make-and-Take Crafts
  • Live Music by Pirates for Sail
  • Treasure Hunt sponsored by Fantasy Island Plus, Pirate Ship Bounce House included with Admission!
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Tuckerton Seaport is located at 120 West Main Street.  Admission for the Privateers and Pirates Festival is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children, and free for Seaport Members and children under 5. Event admission includes access to the Seaport’s 40 acres of family fun, featuring maritime activities, historic and recreated buildings, live animals, a boardwalk, miniature golf course, and exhibits.


For more information, find the Tuckerton Seaport on Facebook or call 609-296-8868.

Tuckerton Seaport Summer Events

We are HUGE fans of Tuckerton Seaport, and have had the opportunity to visit several times in the past few years. We'll be up again for their Privateers and Pirates on June 7 (check out our experience from last year!). In addition to Privateers and Pirates Day, Tuckerton Seaport has a jumpin' calendar all Summer long with fun events you won't want to miss. Here's a quick run down: 

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RFA Bass River Summer Flounder Tournament: June 7, 2014

For more info: http://joinrfa.org/rfa-bass-river-tournament/


Pirivateers and Pirates Festival: June 7, 2014   11am-5pm

All Things Pirates! Learn the difference between privateers and pirates and then be one. Pirate history – authentic and make-believe – plus a treasure scavenger hunt, costume contest and pirate craft activities. Enjoy the crew of the Valhalla Pirates with historic pirate entertainment. “Pirates for Sail” live band, Grog Garden and tasty food vendors. General Admission applies.

 

On-line Auction: June 14-July14, 2014

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With over 200 items on our auction block, the Seaport’s Annual On-line Summer Auction is a great way to support educational programs right here on the Jersey Shore while also getting some incredible deals on vacation packages, tickets to local attractions, dining gift certificates and VIP experiences. Visit www.biddingforgood.com/tuckertonseaport

 

Baymen’s Seafood & Music Festival: June 21 and 22, 2014    11am to 5pm

Enjoy delicious Jersey fresh clams, crabs, scallops and shrimp from the finest local seafood purveyors.  Micro brew court. Crafters, vendors, music, food, refreshments, family activities, demonstrations,boat rides, boat builders and decoy carvers. Speak with commercial fishermen to learn about occupations on the bay or take a clam shucking class. So bring the family and plan to spend the day. Music from local favorites: The Mott’s Creek Pickers (Sat) & The Billy Walton Band (Sun). Selected as one of the Best Outdoor Festivals by NJ Monthly Magazine. Presented by the Jersey Shore Folklife Center. General Admission applies.

Roots Music Festival: June 28 and 29, 2014     2pm – 8pm

The Tuckerton Seaport is thrilled to host the Roots Music Festival on June 28th & 29th.  Kick back for 2 great days of music, wine tasting, food, crafters, vendors, demonstrations & activities. Live roots music from The Billy Walton Band, Ryan & the Blue Hearts, James Day & The Fish Fry, Steve Guyger, The Keystone Swingbillies, Snake Brothers, Home Cookin’, and Zydeco-a-Go-Go.  Uncork some fun and enjoy a perfect afternoon of wine tasting from some of NJ’s finest wineries Di Matteo, Tomasello, andValenzano. Complimentary wine glass included. Try free samples from the barbeques of best local barbeque cooks and vote for your favorite. $20 day / $15 members; 2 day combo pass $30 / $25 members. Pre-sale special!  Buy 2 day combo in advance and receive free reserved parking.

 

Fourth of July Celebration

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Parade followed by children’s activities, baby parade, entertainment. Fireworks over the lake at dusk. This event it FREE! 


Sunshine Foundation Fishing Tournament & Family BBQ: Saturday July 12   3pm–7pm

Check back on the Tuckerton Seaport events calendar for more info in the near future.

     

Tuckerton Seaport Celebration & Fundraiser: August 12, 2014      6pm – 9pm

Our premier fundraising event features endless hors d’ oeuvres and entertainment by the Billy Walton Band!

With it's close proximity to both New York City and the New Jersey beaches, Tuckerton Seaport needs to be on your Summer Bucket List!  The only question left to answer is: which events will YOU be going to?


Kid-Friendly Things to Do in New Jersey

Philly-area families know that once Summer hits, the best place to be is the beach. Luckily, we are within a 1-2 hour drive to fantastic beaches. New Jersey is one of my favorite places not just to hit the sand and sea, but to take my kids.  The entire state has fabulous attractions and events all year-round. Here are some of the best kid-friendly things to do in New Jersey: 

    

 

Tuckerton Seaport

Quaint, yet a hop skip and a jump from New York City and the Jersey Shore, Tuckerton Seaport is the perfect day trip for the family. If you are staying at the beach and want to shake up your week, Tuckerton Seaport Museum is as fun as it is educational. This attraction is rich in preserving the “maritime history, artistry, heritage and environment of the Jersey Shore. They also have super fun events, like the Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival.

Adventure Aquarium

You don’t have to travel far into New Jersey to find family-friendly fun. The Adventure Aquarium, just over the bridge from Philadelphia, is a hot spot for visitors. Watch the hippos swim, touch a shark and laugh at the dancing penguins. There is a ton to learn about sea life as well as watch  one of their Meet the Divers shows!

Atlantic City

Who knew that Atlantic City was family friendly? Over the past few years, the town has rebranded, making sure to offer something for everyone. There is the beach, fun places to eat like Rainforest Cafe, Atlantic City Aquarium and the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. This is only a smattering of what AC has to offer families. How will your family #DoAC?

Sahara Sams

We all love Summer because the warm weather and brilliant sunshine gives us a much-wanted opportunity to spend time outdoors. But what about the weeks it rains all day? Then there is nothing better than an indoor/outdoor water park!  Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin is the best of both worlds, offering both an indoor AND outdoor water park! Outside is complete with a children’s splash park, wave pool and volleyball courts. Inside offers water slides, lazy rivers and an arcade. Perfect for any weather all through the year!

Congress Hall  

Some resorts are perfect for adult-only vacations. But what about family getaways? Congress Hall in Cape May has families covered! Offering luxurious accommodations, Congress Hall still knows how to have fun. Get your karaoke on during the weekly Family Karaoke Nights as well as the Carnival on the Grand Lawn every Monday night (which includes a complimentary family-friendly movie once the sun goes down)!

Cape May County Zoo

If your visits bring you to Congress Hall, then there is no better way to spend a day of your vacation than the Cape May County Zoo. A beautiful show of natural environment, the lush gardens are an oasis for over 500 animals (representing over 200 species!). The beach is the perfect place to get an education on the animals of our planet!

What are YOUR favorite kid-friendly spots in New Jersey? Inspire our next trip by sharing your tips!

#RockYourVacation in STYLE with Kissimmee!

 

Ya know... Do you ever stop and wonder "How can I vacation or get away more?  Who doesn't wonder that on a daily basis.  I know I do!  Especially if you get an opportunity to WIN a fabulous vacation that is totally paid for!!!

I'm sure you've seen me post about the amazing trip I get to enjoy with Experience Kissimmee, right? (Time to totally catch up on the instagram #RockYourVacation awesomeness!)  But from ziplines to gators to a feast watching a real medieval battle - this trip is so much more than a 'visit to Kissimmee'.  It's been a EXPERIENCE in KISSIMMEE!  

I love to travel.  It always has been a passion of mine.  I've been to Florida twice in the last month and everytime I come down here I see something totally different than the last!  So much to do that you're guaranteed to NEVER hear 'I'm bored!'

When I think of Kissimmee - I think of an experience over a visit for sure.  So what am I doing this week?  Promoting the AWESOME promotion they are doing called #RockYourVacation!!  Experience Kissimmee held a video contest on Instagram on how you would #RockYourVacation and now the voting has begun!  Be sure to head over to www.RockYourVacation.com and vote ONCE a DAY for your FAVORITE video!  There are some really amazing & creative videos.  Who would have thought you could rock a 10 second video? haha  

Ok - so this winner is getting a trip of a lifetime valued at $10,000!!  NO KIDDING!!  Some of my press friends and I get to experience tiny bits and pieces of this trip and I can assure you - it's going to #ROCKTheirVacation!!  

So where am I staying?  A GORGEOUS home with AllStar Vacation Homes.  Where am I eatin'?  A persona chef has created some meals for us from   A Chef of Your Own   Also dining at Columbia Restaurant..and DESSERT at Chocolate Kingdom! Plus caught a show and dinner at Medieval Times.  Shopping?  Orlando Premium Outlets of course!  Playing?  ZIPLINING at Gatorland, SeaWorld Orlando VIP tour, getting crazy at FUN SPOT USA!  

THEN.... yeah.  That's not all. 

THEN - we're going on an airboat ride AND a hot air balloon ride!!

Yes.  I do love my job.  Someone's gotta be a daredevil to share the fun with you, right?

Ok... so enough about ME. 

Get over there and ROCK YOUR VOTE FOR #RockYourVacation!!!

Sandman Matt at the Golden Inn

Can you build the ultimate sandcastle? If you have watched the Travel Channel's Sand Masters and wondered "How do they do that?", here is a chance for you to learn from one of the Masters himself. 

The Golden Inn of Avalon will be hosting renowned sand sculpture Sandmann Matt Long Sunday, August25 through Tuesday August 27 as part of a unique and afforable VIP family overnight package. 

This is Sandman Matt's second visit to the Golden Inn. We were able to go down and see him last year as he created a sand work of art over a two day period.  He created a 4x4 sandcastle incorporating the logo from The Golden Inn. This year, he has promised a bugger and even better sandcastle! 

The Golden Inn of Avalon is offering the Sandman Package. The package includes three nights accommodation in a standard room with two queen beds (upgrades are available), two lunches for all participants, two sets of sand tools, expert training, and a contest with cash and other great prizes! The total package runs $529! 

Guests will also have a chance to show off their new talens in a contest for the Best Sandcastle, Most Original Sandcastle, and Best Sandcastle fitting the theme of Avalon. Cash prizes will be awarded.

About Sandman Matt

Matt Long has been sculpting sand for about 13 years and professionally since 2001. Matt has been commissioned by an array of companies and organizations including, Atlantis Hotels, Nickelodeon, The PGA Tour, W Hotels, and The Curacao Department of Tourism. Like most sand sculptors, he has won numerous sand sculpting awards. 

About The Golden Inn of Avalon

Open 365 days a year, The Golden Inn of Avalon, is the perfect place for a summer vacation or a getaway anytime!  Just steps from the beach, The Golden inn features 154 guest rooms are equipped with 27-inch color televisions, individual temperature controls and – in many cases – breathtaking ocean views.

Travel with an Infant to Disney

Travel with an 
Infant to Disney

 

Why yes! I did just get back from Disney World!  I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration for the first time and I had to get my family there for sure!! 

I flew in with Boston & Hudson (ahem-yes-I traveled with a 10 week old A.L.O.N.E!) on Thursday.  My husband arrived on Friday and we played all weekend till this morning when we returned home.

I have to admit... as much as I am a travel PRO - I wasn't too sure about traveling with an almost 5 year old and a TEN WEEK OLD.  Yes.  10 weeks.  That's a whopping only 70 days old baby.  

And the great news is that HE WAS AN AMAZING little traveler!!

I did learn a few things along with way that I'd LOVE to share with you. 

Please note-I'm in NO WAY a "DISNEY EXPERT".  I actually have only been there 3 times.  This being the 3rd.  Each time I learn a little something new.  That place can be incredibly overwhelming for newcomers-add a BABY to the fold?  Could mean a yes or no on your family go. 

TIPS FOR TRAVEL - 10 WEEK OLD TO DISNEY

*DON'T FORGET TO PACK ENOUGH FORMULA - Yes.  I ran out.  (YES. Gasp. I'm NOT breastfeeding...so please refrain from hassling me on that one. My boobs don't work-'nuff said.)  I ended up having to buy the already mixed formula in the gift shop and it wasn't the same brand.  Um.  MEGA blowouts for 2 days.  Poor baby.  He didn't complain at all.  In fact he loved the formula...but his body and that quick switch isn't the best thing for a baby.

*BRING A SUPER LIGHT COVER TO SHIELD FROM THE SUN - The sun in Orlando is HOT HOT HOT.  I brought a really lightweight cover and laid it over the top of our stroller.  It was a lifesaver!!  The cover was breathable and he didn't burn while tramping around the parks.  *Note, some strollers have special spf screens or covers for them.  If your stroller offers it-BUY IT!  It's worth it in the end.

*HAVE A SPRAYBOTTLE HANDY - Yes.  We got suckered into buying another one of the Disney misty thingys that are fans that spray water.  We already have one at home-but why would I be brilliant enough to pack that one?  Ugh.  Anything will do...but have one.  Babies get hot easy and some misting might make them feel better.

*PLAN TO NOT HAVE A PLAN - We actually didn't have a plan other than the events I had to take part in with the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration that I was there for.  But we decided to take it easy the entire time.  If we could fit something in - we did... if not... we just went with the flow.  By not 'planning' every second we were able to relax a bit.

*STAY AT A RESORT ACCESSIBLE BY MONORAIL - This was a big one that I learned.  By using the monorail, the baby was able to stay in the stroller and I just tipped the stroller and drove it up onto the platform.  If you take the strollers with a baby on a bus (which we had to do to get to Downtown Disney) then you have to have someone hold the baby and break down the stroller - then hold the baby the entire ride there...and on the way back.  The monorail was great for convenience with the dude and the stroller.

*BRING A BABY CARRIER - I honestly only used this when doing the travel there and back part.  It was great on the airplane to have him hands free.  It helped him sleep the entire time both ways!  WINNER!  But I can tell you that there are some rides that allow babies to ride!  Can you believe it?!?!  (THANK YOU Joovy!)

*BABY RIDES - YES!  There are some rides that allow the babes!  I about flipped when they said there were.  Hudson, my 10 week old got to ride the Toy Story, Peter Pan Ride, It's a Small World, Under the Sea at Epcot and a few others!!  I highly suggest the baby carrier when going on those rides....but you can hold your little peanut too!

Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival at Tuckerton Seaport

Who doesn't like a little bluegrass and barbecue? On May 19, 2013 from 11-5, Tuckerton Seaport will be kicking off the summer with the down home sounds of bluegrass and the sweet smell of barbecue. There are a TON of things to come out and do: rafters, vendors, food, refreshemnts, family activities, demonstrations, decoy carvers, boat building and boat rides!

New this year to the Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival is Todd's Musical Petting Zoo! Try out over 100 instrucments from accordian to zither, steel drum to thumb piano and everything in between!

Real Mom Media will be on hand to share with you all of the amazing things that Tuckerton Seaport has on deck for the day! Make sure you follow us Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to virtually follow along with us!

OR, come on down and join us! General Admission to the Tuckerton Seaport applies.

About Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum

Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum is located at 120 West Main Street in the heart of historic Tuckerton.  Event admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children, and free for Seaport Members.  Event admission includes access to the Seaport’s 40 acres of family fun, featuring maritime activities, historic and recreated buildings, live animals, a boardwalk, miniature golf course, and exhibits.  This event is supported in part by a grant from New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, www.visitnj.org.  For more information, find the Tuckerton Seaport on FaceBook or call 609-296-8868.  For more info, pictures, and a video of Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo check out www.diatoddnics.com/pettingzoo.html.

Must Do: #Duality #HowIDoAC

Must Do: #Duality #HowIDoAC

On 4th of July I got the opportunity to head to Atlantic City, NJ with my 4 year old to experince so many great new things they brought to the city in celebration of the 4th of July.

We stayed at the BEAUTIFUL Golden Nugget Hotel.  The rooms were spectacular.  They had gorgeous leather "L"-shaped couches, great views and a very comfy bed. Very modern decor and GREAT bathroom amenities!!

(Here's my quick view of the Golden Nugget Hotel via video:

We met at the pool in a private area to meet folks from the Atlantic City Alliance.  The ACA is a newly created non-profit entity funded and overseen by the city's casinos.  Their mission is really to bring more tourism into the area by showcasing the great places in town-outside of the casinos.  

GREAT job in my eyes!  

I have to admit-I've NEVER thought of AC as a 'family friendly destination'.  At ALL.  

But I have to give them big credit for really trying.  And if you follow the hashtag #HowIDoAC on Twitter you'll see what a great time so many people are having!

After meeting at the pool my son and I got cleaned up to head to Boardwalk Hall to the press dinner, viewing of fireworks, hearing Kevin Rudolf rock & checking out Atlantic City's hottest and newest attraction-a sound and light show called Duality.  Duality is a permanent show occuring twice an hour after dark up until 2am all year long.  This isn't just 'any old light show'...this is a $3 million dollar light show!!  

You have got to check this thing out.  AMAZiNG is not even the word for it.

Cape May Dining

PB & J Cupcakes at Congress Hall

Cape May Dining

My absolute favorite place to visit is Cape May, NJ.  I've fallen in love with this town from the first little trip my husband and I made after moving to Philly.  

The past few days I've been in a FOOD COMA.  I'm enjoying a stay with Cape Resorts Group learning about their properties and getting to taste their amazing cuisines.  

I admit it.  I'm a food addict.  Especially amazing food!!!  I can honestly tell you-even when I've stayed with their properties here as a patron, I've NEVER eaten better!

Pigs In a Blanket-Blue Pig TavernWe experienced awesome foods from Ebbitt Room at The Virginia Hotel, breakfast at The Blue Pig Tavern & Dinner at The Beach Shack.

Not to mention the small little wonders I found along with way.  I stopped in the little shop at Congress Hall and got lunch one day that was dazzling!

And the fact that they have peanut butter & jelly CUPCAKES?!?!

Yeah.  It was a highly caloric but well worth it day for me. lol

Braised Pork BellyMenus:

The Ebbitt Room - BEST meal on the trip!

Farm to Table Menu is how Cape Resorts Group rolls!  They take the food that is in season and provides an amazing array of tasty choices.  I'm going to share with you the menu we were given for our dinner.  This menu changes but the staples from Beach Plum Farm continues on.  

Beach Plum Farm Seasonal Choices

radishes, asparagus, strawberries, spring onions, spring carrots, kale, swiss chard, pork, lamb, basil, mint, spinach

Mahi MahiFirst Course:

Radishes & Green Apple Salad (hamachi sashimi & basil pistou)

This was my favorite course for sure.  I loved the way the meal mixed

Soup: 

Kale Soup - Confit of farm chickens, noisette potatoes, spring root vegetables

Second Course:

Strawberry ShortcakeBraised Pork Belly - Smoked swiss chard, picked curry spring carrots and onions

Main Course:

Mahi Mahi - Snap pea & mint risotto, shaved asparagus & citrus salad 

Dessert:

Strawberry Shortcake - Hello?  Do I HAVE to describe this to you?  Ok.. DECADENT.

Virginia Hotel & Cottages in Cape May

Virginia Hotel
Cottages in Cape May

I am a LOVER of hotels.  I love to travel...taste new flavors...check out the bathroom products and share my experiences!

Last summer I was apart of an AWESOME weekend getaway to Cape May to stay and promote Congress Hall.  It was the best experience ever!  

So with the awesomeness and all that is in Cape May-why not return - right?

I wanted to stay at or near the location where my husband & I went on our first 'shore trip' when we moved her from Chicago years ago.  I actually found this property while searching and about fell over when I saw one of the porches actually overlooked the place we stayed!

I have to be honest with myself you...I am a bit travel spoiled!  Yes.  I know.  Me?  Yes. I can't believe it either.  =)  When I was in my 20s and met my husband he took me all over the country. 

We went from Chicago to Vegas, LA, Boston.....finally to Philly.  And since I've been blogging, I've been invited all over as well!  Stayed at gorgeous places (and a few DUMPS along the way...ahem.)  

But the Cape Resorts Group has by far surpassed anything I've ever experienced.  I don't know if its because after meeting Curtis the owner, and hearing his amazing story of how his grandfather use to own Congress Hall and he grew up running the halls!  He later renovated it and gave it life again.....

I love that it's not run by some 'hotel management company' that doesn't even know much about the hotel! Curtis has so much passion in the place-you can tell before you even walk through the front doors.  The warmth and welcome feeling you get from all the properties is impeccable.  You can tell that he takes care of his employees too because they are always smiling and go above and beyond a typical hotel staff.  

In fact, I forgot my coat there when we checked out on Monday and by Tuesday it was at my doorstep!

The off season price to stay in the cottage we stayed in:  The White Cottage (Penthouse Suite) was approx $200 a night.  Not bad for that ocean view, right?  

*Outstanding service

*Close proximity to Washington Mall (SHOPPING!!)

*Open all year round

*AWESOME bathroom amenities!

Great Wolf Lodge Review

Great Wolf Lodge Review

I've been DYING and trying to write this post.

Oh..for 2 weeks.

And here I am.  In the radio studio and finally can share the awesomeness of our experience.

I honestly have NO CLUE where the first couple weeks of October went.

But if you can tell me?  I'm down to hear it.  =)

Anyway.  

My little family of 3 got this super awesome experience to go check out Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos.

First off:  NEVER been to the Poconos.  I always think of the Poconos when I watch or hear of the movie Dirty Dancing.  Come to find out from my facebook friends-I Boston threw the eyes of a pineapple ring! hadon't even know if it was filmed there! ha.

Anyway, we drove to the mountains.  

The Poconos.  

It's sooo awesome how many short trips there are from Philly to family getaways.  

Honestly...Hershey?  Hour and a half.

Shore?  Hour and a half.

Baltimore?  D.C?  

You get the picture.

But the Poconos?

A family home run.

So-here is my review of the Great Wolf Lodge in Scotrun, Pa.

Yes.  I'm sure they've heard ALL the jokes.  (As that's what I told my husband..FUNNY guy.)

First off:  It was a 1st class deal!!  

They whisked us into the Family Suite (complete with a balcony, couch, 2 beds, fridge, dining table..and more.)

They then shared this super awesome new feature they have added to the park called Story Explorers.  (WHICH-by the way they are doing this UNREAL family giveaway!!!!  This contest is really awesome.  So...by all means check it out.))

I decided to switch it up a bit and ask my husband what he thought about the trip.

He doesn't get to do these things all that awesome-nor has he EVER blogged.  (He's kind of an important, busy man.  Ahem.)

This is was response:

- water slides were awesome...lines were a little long

- kid pool and slides were excellent - no lines and perfect for a 3 to 5 year old - they can go up by themselves

- loved the make your own stuffed animal thing - and the book was awesome

- food was medicore and service wasn't great

- night time story was very unique and cool 

overall I would go back in a heartbeat.  I thought it was a great experience...but I would go back on a weekday.

My take on the trip:

-The 'one stop' $ shop for the room that included the water park rocked 

-The bowling alley was RIGHT down my alley

-My husband and 3 year old are SUCKERS at the game room. (Yes. They won..again..the big claw game.)

-The bands for kids and family?  AHEM.  Should be different colors.  (Yes-I am the idiot that put my 3 year olds band on...then I had to run to the room for a bathroom emergency which in turn wouldn't let me in and a guy had to tell me that it was a kids band.  Yes.  Not so smart.)

-The food?  Eh.  TOTAL kid food.  

-Would have loved to go on more rides...but lines were awful.  Plus we had a schedule to keep so we didn't get to enjoy the waterpark as much as I wanted to....

-But they did have a cupcake making station.

-The storytellers exhibit was a HIGHLIGHT!!  I loved watching Boston pick out his friend then learn the story.  Plus the book is really cool that they make with your kid in it!!

-

Hershey Lodge Reviews

Fireplace, Hershey Lodge EntranceHershey Lodge Reviews

One of my favorite things to do is travel.  Obviously. I kinda have a 'travel' section on my website.

And I like to think I'm great at picking nuggets that fit my family.  

This past weekend was a big holiday weekend where many families either hopped on a plane or loaded up the car. 

Well..up until about 9pm on Friday night we weren't going to leave the living room!

Hershey Bars at Check-InThen I realized we had 4 tickets to Hershey Park courtesy of the great people at Chevy.  ((Side note:  NO, they did not pay me to endorse them-but they TOTALLY have the BEST social media practice of all the car companies in the world.  SERIOUSLY. )) 

Anyway...so last minute I hopped online to see about their hotels.  Seems everytime I go to see if they have availability, I always get the 'contact reservations-nothing matches your inquiry at this time' type response.  

So, I called..and after 9 minutes, 54 seconds on hold ((I know cause I told my husband I'm hanging up if it hits 10 minutes)) I finally got a friendly reservationist.  

Hershey Kisses on the Wallpaper!They had one room at Hershey Lodge avail with a king bed.  Price:  $250 a night (($289 with tax)).  For sh*ts and giggles I asked about the Hershey Hotel rooms.  Yes.  One avail.  Price:  $489 ((YES....A NIGHT!!))

So, we decided to go for the poor mans special.

The $289 a night Hershey Lodge.

Now mind you, I had envisioned this "Lodge" like something you'd find in the Poconos.  

The trip took about an hour and a half to get there from Philly.  Not bad!  For some reason I was under the impression it was a lot further than that.  Now I know.

Reese's Guy with BostonWe got to the hotel, checked in and they gave us a special treat.... CHOCOLATE BARS.

THAT was kinda fun.  

We went up to our room and dropped off our stuff.  We didn't bring much since we were only going to stay the night and return the next day.  The room was average.  Very comparable to a Sheraton Suites or a Marriott.  

*NOTE:  I may be wrong, but don't recall paying upwards of $300 for either of those hotels.  $200 tops.  So the price that we paid for the Hershey Lodge wasn't the value we had expected.  And if we would have spent $600 for two nights, I would not have been a happy camper.  But since it was one night-not a big deal.

Kit Kat guy!They did have Hershey Kisses on the walls.  Yes.  In the wall paper.  

Another great thing they do at the resort is that they have a 'Kids Check-In'.  We missed it cause we were at HersheyPark but I thought it was really cool that they do that.  It definitely did well in the 'resort' area.  The check-in for kids, they from 2p-6p daily.  They give the kids their own 'key' and do other things like treats, etc.  

When we got back from Hershey Park I noticed they had someone from the Zoo there on the lawn with kids around them.  The man was holding a boa snake.  Boston was snoring so we didn't make it down there.  But I did notice they had a snowcone machine too.  

 

 

A couple things I noticed they did well:

*Biodegradable stuff.  Yes...they were on the 'save our planet' train like other hotel chains have done.  Great work.  Things like 'reuse your towels' and even a 'biodegradable showercap.'

*I'm a product junkie.  Hershey Lodge uses its own Chocolate Blend of products.  Chocolate Shampoo anyone?!?!?!  I rate a hotel on what kind of products they leave for you to use in the bathroom.  Congress Hall uses Aveda, W Hotel in Times Square uses Bliss, Avalon Golden Inn uses Bath & Body Works...and so on. YOU get the picture.  =)

Big smile and BIG strawberry Milk!*The Hershey Characters visited from 10-11a on Sunday morning.  Boston loved giving them a 'high five'.

*They have many things to choose from if you have a rainy day.  Like, Mini Golf, game room, etc.  We didn't see them-nor experience them.  But we knew they were there.

*The Bear's Den restaurant had GREAT stuff to keep the kids occupied!  They give out Wikki Stix.  (Their story is awesome...check them out sometime!)  Not only do they give them out-they display the artwork that kids make while there.  LOVED it!  I had to take pictures of it.

*Their gift shop had unique goodies in there.  Yes.  I'm a sucka for chotskies.  I won't pay silly amount of cash for something that is useless but if I find something fun in a gift shop or such I'll get it.  My son is a DIE HARD strawberry milk kid.  I think it's more psychological than anything.  Ever since he was tiny my husband use to take him to get 'strawberry milk and a donut' on the weekends at Dunkin Donuts. And it has just stuck.

So their gift shop had this almost lifesize bottle of strawberry syrup.  And it was a piggie bank.  So of course the SUCKA novelty lover I am got one for Boston.  I figured he'd toss it aside but turns out he loved it.  

Made me smile...not because I know how HORRIBLE that stuff is for my kid...but because it entails a memory that child will have for the rest of his life.  'Going with daddy to get strawberry milk and a donut' might be up there like 'hearing about the birds and the bees'.  NO!?!?!??!  Ok.  maybe not then.  

Oh well.  At least now he thinks we have to snag all of daddy's money and fill up our bottle so we can take a trip to Disney World!! hahaha. ((He's still at a great brainwashing age, ya know?))

You can't see the pic very well since it was after dinner and late when I took it.  But you can make out the smile and the bottle, right?!?!?!  

To RECAP:

*Hershey Lodge is a great place to stay if you head to Hershey, Pa.  It is definitely a bit overpriced...but I can't complain too much since we just came and went in 24 hours.  They did exceed the 'family options' though.

Have you been to Hershey? Where did you stay?

Check back to see our review of Chocolate World and Hershey Park.. 

 

DISCLAIMER:  This is my HONEST opinion of my experience.  No one knew I was coming....nor did I get any 'special' treatment to share my review.  My family paid for everything: except the tickets to HersheyPark.  They were provided by Chevy.  We just had a great time and many moments I said to my husband 'I have to write about this!'