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national parks

09 Jul
Great Smoky Mountains Shakedown (Part Two) With the Townsend KOA

Great Smoky Mountains Shakedown (Part Two) With the Townsend KOA

After three full days of exploring the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains, we were in no rush to leave. I was getting used to putting the boys to bed each night then soaking in the indoor hot tub at the Cherokee KOA. But there was so much more to do and see.  So it was onward to the Tennessee side of America’s most visited national park. We chose the Townsend/Great Smokies KOA because of its great online reviews, its proximity to Cades Cove and the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and its close (but not too close) proximity to... Read More
09 Sep
Hiking Acadia with Kids: 5 Amazing Hikes for the Whole Family

Hiking Acadia with Kids: 5 Amazing Hikes for the Whole Family

This article originally appeared in the Jayco Journal. With over 120 miles of hiking trails on Mount Desert Island, you could visit Acadia National Park many times over and never walk the same path twice. After three visits to Acadia (two of them with young kids in tow) we have discovered some amazing family-friendly hikes that will please both children and adults. All of these hikes encompass the best that Acadia has to offer, with sweeping ocean views, dramatic granite cliffs, and landscapes filled with cedar, birch, and spruce.  This easy... Read More
04 Aug
A Scavenger Hunt for all Ages: Story of the Forest, Shenandoah

A Scavenger Hunt for all Ages: Story of the Forest, Shenandoah

We were stale. By the end of last summer, we had Max and Theo hiking up to three miles no sweat. On our trip to New York State we took on trail after trail, finding waterfalls and gorges and swimming holes. But a pregnancy and newborn took its toll on all of us, and a year later the trail blazers were rusty. Even though I had found some online descriptions of kid-friendly hikes, I decided to talk to the rangers at the Big Meadows Visitor Center so we didn’t get in over our heads with the preschoolers and newborn we happened to be... Read More
30 Aug
We looked at the swim and we jumped right in…(part three)

We looked at the swim and we jumped right in…(part three)

Echo Lake Beach, Acadia National Park Acadia National Park is a gift that keeps on giving. Just when you think you have the place wired you discover something new and exciting.  While perusing my handy National Park Service map one night around the campfire I noticed that there were two officially sanctioned swim spots in the park.  The first one is, of course, the glorious and always chilly Sand Beach.  But if you take a look at the eastern half of your map of M.D.I you will see a cozy little lake to the left of Somes Sound.  If you listen... Read More
25 Aug
Sometimes You Have to Get the Baby off Your Back: Dating in Acadia

Sometimes You Have to Get the Baby off Your Back: Dating in Acadia

Sometimes you just have to be open to what the universe sends your way. Last year the universe sent us some great camping buddies by way of a casual workplace acquaintance and some good ole pop-up camper chatter. A woman I had lunch with at work heard lots of stories while we were in the process of buying our new camper. These stories got passed on to her husband and, wouldn’t you know it, a few weeks later they had a pop-up and we were meeting for a weekend trip in Cape May.Fast forward one year and we are planning a two week camping... Read More
24 Aug
Return to Bubble Pond: The Past, Present, and Future

Return to Bubble Pond: The Past, Present, and Future

Stephanie in Acadia National Park, 2007 It may be cliche to say it, but I don’t care.  Having kids makes everything new again.  The first time Stephanie and I went to Acadia National Park together was back in 2007.  We had an awesome trip and did a lot of hiking and biking–accompanied by a lot of relaxing.  After the bike ride that was recounted in the last post, Stephanie decided to kick back and relax on a warm rock next to Bubble Pond.  She had earned it. Before we had the boys relaxation was an option at any point in the day.... Read More

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