I decided to put together a little list of fun things to do in New England this summer after a friend asked about places Matt and I take the kids camping. Since Matt and I just dropped off three of our kids at a two week long sleep-away camp, Camp Brookwoods in New Hampshire, the request couldn’t have come at a better time.
The funny thing about sending your kids away to camp is how much you think you are going to enjoy a calm, quiet, clean house. The mere idea got me through some pretty stressful times this year… “two more months… I can rest in two more months”. I would just imagine myself floating around our swimming pool for hours (an activity I have come to believe is reserved for children, twenty-somethings, and seniors). Not sure who is caring for my three year old in this selfish fantasy of mine, but whatever, it was a coping mechanism.
The reality is that not having my kids here is really tough and I miss them like crazy! The quietness of our house is almost eerie. Plus, it’s too consuming constantly obsessing over what the kids are doing, and if they’re having fun to actually enjoy my little hiatus.
However, I have found that there are two perks to having a little downtime: First, I get to use this time to clean out and organize all the kids rooms, school supply cabinets, pantries, and basement. This is close to impossible when they are home, and it distracts me from being swallowed up by the depths of my own self pity. Second, as the saying goes, “distance makes the heart grow fonder”. It’s true, and for this reason I would suggest sending your kids to sleep away camp at least once. Because if you think you’re having a hard day with your kids, just remember that missing them is much harder.
As for my list of fun things to do in New England this summer, I chose places I felt are enjoyable for both kids and parents (I’m a little selfish that way). If anyone has any questions about any of these places, please feel free to ask in the comment section or send me an email.
- Lost River Campground. Woodstock, NH. The White Mountains region is truly a New England treasure. I will do a post in the fall of more amazing things the area has to offer, but for now, I would highly suggest checking out the Lost River Campground in Woodstock, NH. They have cabins, tent sites, camper/RV sites, a play area and a little arcade for the kids. We originally chose this spot because they were one of two campgrounds in the area that could accommodate our obnoxiously large rig. However, it’s the convenience, location, and breathtaking scenery that keep us coming back year after year.
- Footbridge Beach, Ogunquit, ME. A couple years ago our close friends decided to leave the hectic (and pricey) Massachusetts lifestyle to open a horse farm in Maine. I objected, cried, and stomped my feet, but they went anyway. I didn’t quite understand why they would do such a crazy thing… until I saw this place. Ogunquit is a picture perfect New England coastal town and home to some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. I also love that it’s right off of 95, just over an hour north of Boston (you’ll notice that convenience is a trend with me). Oh, if you’re wondering, the horse farm is a smashing success and just a few miles from the beach. So if you’re horse people, check out Living Wells Farm on your trip to the beach. Tell Cat Susie sent you… then kiss her for me because I really miss her.
- Normandy Farms, Foxboro, MA. This is without a doubt the fanciest campground in New England. I’ve always heard locals say they would pack up their families just to go camping right here in Foxboro, which sounded really odd to me. I hadn’t had a chance to check it out myself until friends of ours (and fellow RVers) made a stop there last summer. They have been to campgrounds and RV parks all over the country and said this was one the best, and I’d have to agree. I love that you can make your dinner on a campfire one night and eat at Davios Steakhouse the next. If you live locally and want a first class camping experience, it doesn’t get much better than this!Gorgeous bus and photo credit: Landyn Hutchinson
- Falmouth, MA. I love the Cape! There isn’t a place I’ve visited there that I wouldn’t recommend to someone, but for a fun and easy trip with the kids I would suggest checking out Falmouth. It’s a lot easier to get to than many other Cape towns, and has lots of small beaches with convenient parking. The adorable downtown has plenty of shopping and delicious restaurants. If fishing is on your list this summer I would recommend Matt’s go to charter, Captain Eric Stapelfeld. This guy is one of the best in the business, and a total riot to be around!
- Cliff Walk, Newport, RI. Newport is obviously a New England must! The Cliff Walk is one of the first touristy things Matt and I did when we moved here 15 years ago, and it never gets old. After your stroll down this breathtaking trail, I would suggest hitting up Perro Salado for dinner!
- Freedom Trail, Boston MA. So, I know this is as touristy as it gets, but it’s one of those local gems that can get overlooked by New Englanders. I had a chance to walk the trail a few weeks ago with my son’s class and it really is amazing. History is fascinating to me, so I was totally geeking out on this trip. The bonus to a day on the Freedom Trail is that it ends in the North End. North End = food. Lots of it, including one of my favorites for authentic Italian, Prezza.
- Southwick Zoo. Mendon, MA. Hands down, best zoo ever. Seriously. If you haven’t been yet, make it a point this summer. If you haven’t been in a while, go again… it’s even better now. I love that it’s still family run (a rarity these days), and how detail oriented they are. This place is truly special!
- Borderland State Park. Easton, MA. This one is just a couple miles from our home so we hit it up a lot! Besides being absolutely beautiful, it’s great for a morning run or bike ride on miles of manicured trails.
- Easton Children’s Museum. Located right down the street from Borderland State Park you’ll find this impressive, interactive children’s museum. I prefer it to many other larger children’s museums we’ve been to for it’s convenience, but my kids actually seem to enjoy it more too! I would suggest checking out their calendar for list of upcoming events. Adult bonus: Breakfast or lunch just a few blocks away at The Farmer’s Daughter. I promise your meal alone will be worth the trip to Easton.
- Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA. Another touristy must for all New Englanders! This place is fascinating whether or not, like me, you’re a history buff. You really get a good sense of how the Pilgrims and Native Americans lived hundreds of years ago while strolling though the replica villages. The best part is that the staff who play the roles of the Pilgrims never break character so it’s a lot of fun interacting with them throughout the day.