Last Wednesday I packed the kids in a rental car and we embarked on this year’s Mother-Sons Adventure!
This is the 5th year I’ve traveled alone with children and I’ve learned that the only way to have fun is to act like one of them.
Of course I still have to be the responsible one so on the road trip up to Portland, Maine, I had a few stops planned. The first was the Black Duck Cafe in Westport, CT.
According to Guy Fieri. their Clams Casino was the bomb so that’s what I ordered.
I wasn’t that impressed. I may have gone in with too high of hopes but the place was just OK. The kids had fun by the water though, just as I suspected. I let them explore a bit before heading back on the road.
Our next scheduled stop was Ogunquit Beach in Maine.
My mom mentioned they had a wonderful little trail along the beach and that it would be a nice place to get out and stretch our legs.
She was right. This place was gorgeous! And the kids absolutely loved it.
We stayed much longer than I anticipated because we were having too much fun walking around and exploring, which is exactly what these trips are all about.
There were a ton of shops and restaurants on their main drag so we decided to eat dinner in Ogunquit.
We split a lobster salad (of course), steamed shrimp, and fish and chips. It was a great meal and there was an ice cream place next store.
After dinner we headed for our hotel in Portland, which was just under an hour away.
The next morning was explore Portland day.
We started with a walk to the Portland Observatory.
This place was fantastic!
The volunteers were friendly and knowledgable. They had binoculars for the kids and let them color them while we waited for the tour.
As we climbed the observatory steps we would learn more and more about the tower and the history of Portland, and at the top they offered to take our picture.
We walked back to our hotel — picking up lunch on the way — grabbed the car and headed to South Portland to visit a lighthouse.
Spring Point has this awesome trail of rocks that leads you to the light house. We had fun navigating them, calling it a rock maze.
The 5-Year-Old was a little trepidatious at first but came around with big brother’s example.
There was another light house I wanted to see but the kids were hell bent on playing in the water so instead we decided to visit Willard Beach and relax.
I got a much needed break so I can call Dad while they frolicked in the surf.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped for sushi — somewhat of a tradition for the 11-year-old and me.
The next morning we checked out of our hotel and headed for our next big stop, Mt. Washington.
Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. We stopped at the welcome center to learn more about it on our way.
As we got closer to Mt. Washington, this sign caught our attention.
We decided to stop and check it out. This is why I love road trips. There are lots of little adventures we discover on our way to our destination and I’m never afraid to veer off our path.
We followed the path not knowing what to expect.
There were these great little informational signs along the way.
There were also some lookout points. This one was above the falls.
The end of the trail didn’t disappoint!
The water was crystal clear and they begged to swim but it was too cold and we had to get going. There was a mountain waiting to be climbed, well, driven!
It’s a gorgeous 8-mile drive straight up Mt. Washington. The road was narrow at some points but the views couldn’t be beat! We decided to drive ourselves so we could stop whenever we wanted and we did.
I let them explore the rocks and paths. They were having a blast!
So was I.
We made it to the top and parked the car.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather.
We stopped some more on the way down and explored more rocky trails. The kids were in heaven.
After a full day of exploring we had to find a place to stop for the night before heading to Montreal. This was the only overnight I didn’t have planned.
We got lucky when we passed the Seymour Lake Lodge.
They just recently opened with new owners who were very nice and hospitable. With the lake right across the street, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
The next morning we headed to Montreal. Our first stop: The Biodome.
Montreal turned an old Olympic site into a tourist center with an Insectarium, Botanical Garden, and Planetarium.
The kids loved it.
We stuck with only the Biodome before heading to our AirBnB. It was a long day with the driving and we got lost around the park when we tried to find the car. Everyone was exhausted.
After we rested up in our Montreal apartment we headed out for dinner trying, of course, the famous Canadian dish, poutine.
Not going to lie, it was delicious but not something I’d get every day. The kids weren’t fans. They just didn’t understand why there was so much stuff on their french fries!
The next morning we filled our bellies with these amazing crepes before exploring Montreal.
The boys tend to do better in country environments than trekking all over a big city so I decided we’d take one of those land and water tours.
They enjoyed it and we did a little exploring of our own.
In the evening we Uber’d to Mt. Royal Park.
Every Sunday in the summer there is a Tam-Tams festival and I wanted to see it for myself.
The boys were more interested in the park across the street.
We played together and enjoyed the beautiful weather before our walk back to the apartment.
The next morning we headed to our final major destination on the road trip, Ausable Chasm in New York.
We rented a cabin for two nights so we could explore the area.
The chasm hike was beautiful.
There was a path that led to a short, guided rafting/tubing trip.
We learned about the area from our guide and hopped on a bus that took us back to the campgrounds.
That night we made friends with neighboring campers and the kids made s’mores and played with sparklers.
The next morning we got a little swimming in, rented a bike and hit some of their trails.
Unfortunately, we hit our first rainy day while camping so we decided to do lunch at a local place and then head to the movies to see “Finding Dory” during the thunderstorms.
The rain slowed up a bit in the evening and we built our first ever campfire!
It was a wonderful way to celebrate our last night on the road. The kids ended up playing hide and seek with friends they made and I got to sit by the fire and contemplate how awesome our trip has been. I ended up sharing this on Facebook…
As I sit here alone by the fire I can hear the kids as they play hide and seek with friends they met on the campsite and it’s making me smile.
I love that they are out of thier element, meeting new people, and seeing new things.
Together we navigated two new cities, got lost on a hike in the woods, drove to the top of the highest peak on the east coast, traversed some pretty dangerous rocky mountain paths, built a fire and tried to learn some French.
I watched awesome brother interactions and had to seperate them when I couldn’t handle the bickering any longer.
With a loose itinerary we made some amazing unexpected stops and decided to skip things we simply weren’t in the mood for.
I’m tired — they are exhausting — but I can’t imagine not doing this with them every year. How will they learn to navigate a world they haven’t seen?
I can’t wait for our next adventure and this one isn’t even over yet. Isn’t that crazy?
While I’m on these trips I love sharing thoughts and images on social media. It helps me have at least some adult interactions.
The next morning we woke up, packed up and headed toward home. However, I had a few stops planned.
The first was the Garnet Mine Tour.
I just knew the boys would love this and they did! They could have spent all damn day there. I, on the other hand, was not that impressed.
The “tour” didn’t offer much and it was run by very young employees. It wasn’t horrible just not what I expected.
Our final stop was Storm King Art Center.
I didn’t expect the fee at the entrance but we went off the beaten path to get there so I wasn’t turning back and it ended up to be worth it.
The views were gorgeous. It was really a one of a kind place where art met nature in a pretty cool way. We walked around for a short time, but truth be told the kids just were that into it. I thought it was a beautiful and relaxing place.
That was it. Our last stop was about 3 hours and 30 minutes from home. The kids were little troupers on this adventure. They went from country to city back to country, spent an obscene amount of hours in the car and had to endure my dorkiness along the way.
These trips are the highlight of my year and I hope when they look back they will feel the same way. This is our 5th trip since I started the Mother-Son yearly travel tradition. Here are links to some of past adventures….
- In 2015 We Explored a little of Utah, Idaho and Wyoming and kayaked in Grand Teton.
- Ryan and I drove the Pacific Coast Highway in 2014
- In 2013 that we rafted the Green River.
- We kicked off the tradition with a day in DC in 2012.
I hope you enjoyed traveling with us! We have a few ideas for next year but haven’t decided yet. We’re leaning toward Texas!