Tag Archives: family travel

Escape your reality at THE New England Renaissance Faire

*Disclosure* Our family received tickets to the Faire to facilitate our blog post. All opinions are our own!*

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! FALL! I know, I know, it’s not TECHNICALLY fall yet, but… Pumpkin Spice is back at my favorite coffee shop, Avery is back in school, I need to wear a sweater in the morning, and King Richard’s Faire is open!

Our family has been visiting the Faire every year for the last 4 years. It’s fun for our whole family. I love people watching and seeing all the amazing costumes. Avery loves the performers, and of course the unicorns (Yes, they do have unicorns in Carvershire!) and Dave loves the food!

Avery at King Richards Faire

Each weekend has something different to offer. Our favorite time to visit is during Harry Potter Fan Fest Weekend, which is coming up September 21 & 22. This event features Sorting of Houses (Ravenclaw here!) trivia contest, and a costume parade for all ages. It’s a lot of fun.

Not a Potterhead? That’s ok, members of all fandoms are welcome at the Faire! Game of Thrones fans will want to visit the shire on 9/28 or 29. Do you like men in kilts? Are you a man who wears a kilt? Then visit on October 5 for the Highland Hunks competition! Are vikings or pirates your thing? Maybe you’d like to visit during Invaders Weekend, October 12 & 14.  Love it ALL? The last weekend of the faire, 10/19 & 10/20 is the Fantasy Finale, and features the best costume contest you’ve ever seen. It is sure to be amazing!

No matter when you visit King Richard’s Faire, you’re going to have a great time. With eight stages of live entertainment, a joust, a few hundred actors, singers, dancers, stage combat pros, acrobats, puppeteers, and general (planned) mayhem of “Carvershire” (all free and included with admission!) how could you not??

We look forward to sharing all our photos when we visit in a couple weeks!


Escape YOUR reality at King Richard’s Faire, New England’s largest and longest-running Renaissance festival!

Visit the Faire weekends and Monday holidays from August 31-October 20, 2019, where entertainment, exciting rides and skilled games abound on the Faire’s enchanting 80-acre wooded site (235 Main Street, Carver, Mass. 02330). You’ll be dazzled by acrobats, aerialists, and jugglers! Be captivated by minstrels, dancers and puppeteers and enthralled by fire-eaters, magicians and exotic tigers. Hundreds of talented performers perform non-stop for you throughout the day on any one of our eight vibrant stages. The King’s handsome knights battle on horseback as bawdy beggars compete in mud. Wacky wenches will leave you in stitches while happy villagers engage you in the lanes. Frolicking faeries can be seen dancing through the forest, where you can try your skill in his majesty’s Gaming Glen.

See the website for new acts and special events for the 2019 season!

Afterward, epicurean pleasures suited for royalty, will tantalize even the pickiest of taste buds. Satiate thy palate with giant spit-roasted turkey legs, ringlets of fryes, and boules of chowder or stew, and quench thy thirst with champagne, specialty cocktails, wine and brew.

Many of the King’s talented artisans journey from around the globe and have much to offer all who enter the gates of Carvershire. Discover beautiful handspun pottery, fabulous jewelry, and incredible face painting. Delight in period clothing, leather, armor, and moccasins. Be amazed by our blacksmith and forged weaponry and other works of art. Revel in scented oils, perfumes, handmade crafts and psychic readings as you make memories to last a lifetime.

New in 2019: a new King Richard XI to lord over Carvershire with his lovely bride, Queen Anne and visiting princesses in the village to sample talented artisan wares, food and drynk, and entertaining new performers. New to the entertainment lineup in Carvershire this year: The Accidental Acrobats, a duo of contortionists; Sir Guy, the comedian; Kasam the Masked Master; GoGaucho, a dynamic blend of dance, music, comedy and other tricks; and mesmerizing music from Moon Chariot and piping by the Portland & District Pipers.

Visit kingrichardsfaire.net for a site map, event schedules, and ticket sales.
235 Main Street, Carver MA 02330
adult: $34
child 4-11: $17
children 3 years of age and younger are free
Website link: http://kingrichardsfaire.net
Ticket link:

American Girl Grace Thomas Train Ride

**Disclosure- We were offered tickets to this event, in exchange for promotion, but guess what?  We had already bought them! All opinions are our own!**oYuPMt0American Girl Grace Thomas train RideKhwvDBZ4zCj5npGxYBuVOqwiBQYnHfWlQvFGAgohuwpxD3_pWjv4tkV4aT-4TMgT5otR-IEhE4CBy_INsdgtW3VD4rgz-SIGGrJRlFO95Eio3HjS7qcR7qdl5PjZ-=s0-d-e1-ft Avery has just started to show an interest in the awesomeness that is American Girl. She has visited the store, and was given an original Felicity doll by my sweet cousin. So, when we heard that The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council was partnering with American Gil Boston to present a special train ride, we knew we needed tickets!  On September 19th, Avery and I will be departing the Historic Blackstone Valley Depot and taking a tour through the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. There will be fun activities, crafts, treats, and more!!

Grace Thomas Blackstone Valley train ride Grace Thomas™, American Girl® 2015 Girl of the Year™, has a three-book story based on her life growing up in the Blackstone River Valley. Grace’s story identifies landmarks including: a train ride through the Blackstone Valley, Slater Mill Historic Site, the Blackstone River and Canal, and the Blackstone Bikepath. To celebrate the Grace character and give girls a chance explore the real-life setting of her stories, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council—in partnership with American Girl Boston—are presenting the “Grace Thomas Train Ride Experience.” These special train rides will begin at the Historic Blackstone Valley Depot and take girls and their families through the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park with a variety of Grace-themed activities, including crafts, treats, and tons of photo opportunities.

Come along for a spectacular trip with your favorite American Girl® doll!

The train ride includes:

  • 60-minute round trip train ride
  • Photo ops with American Girl and Blackstone Valley backdrops
  • Pink lemonade served in a keepsake mug
  • Entertainment, activities, crafts, and games aboard the train
  • On-train presenters, and costumed chefs
  • A gift bag with keepsake souvenirs for each child:
    • A celebration shirt for Grace Thomas
    • American Girl® recipe book
    • Cookie cutter set
    • Delicious chocolate Eiffel Tower candy
    • American Girl® scrapbook
    • Decorative sticker sheet
    • Party balloon for Grace Thomas
    • Doll-size American Girl® shopping bag


Trips depart at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm.

Visit www.BlackstoneValleyAmericanGirl.com for more info and to purchase your tickets.


And the train ride isn’t all that’s in store for the weekend!!   Check out these other fun, Grace Thomas themed events:


We can’t wait for our train ride, and we hope to see you aboard!!

Blackstone Valley Tourism CouncilLearn more about  Blackstone Valley Tourism Council on FACEBOOK   &   TWITTER

Thomas Land at Edaville USA

Avery and I were invited to attend a grand opening media event. We were provided with admission, lunch, and a small gift in exchange for our honest review!

A Vist to Thomas Land at Edaville USA

YOU GUYS!!!!  It’s open!! Thomas Land at Edaville USA is OPEN!  And Avery and I got to be part of the opening day festivities!

Opening Day at Thomas Land - ActivitiesLast week, we headed to Edaville to check out the grand opening of Thomas Land. We got to enjoy so many fun activities including face painting, caricatures, temporary tattoos, balloon animals, and Avery even got to play and lead a game of Simon says!

Simon Says with Conductor Sam at EdavilleSpanning over 11 acres, it is the first, but also the largest permanent Thomas and Friends attraction in North America! (There is a park in Japan and one in the UK)

Attractions at Thomas Land feature a 20-minute long, scenic train ride on a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine, and theme park favorites including a roller coaster, drop tower, Ferris wheel, soft-play area and much more.

Thomas and Friends at Thomas Land

There are 11 different rides and attractions:

  • Bertie’s Bus Tours
  • Cranky’s Crane Drop
  • Diesel Derby
  • Firefighting Flynn
  • Harold’s Lift-Off
  • Rockin’ Bulstrode
  • Sodor’s Cranberry Carousel
  • Sodor Windmill
  • Toby’s Tilting Tracks
  • Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster
  • Winston’s Skyline Express (Coming Soon!)

Check the website for height requirements and restrictions: HERE (Avery is 36 inches tall and there were only two rides  that she wasn’t tall enough for)

Rides & Attractions at Thomas Land USAAvery had so much fun! There were a few rides that were not operating while we were there, so we can’t wait to go back and try them all!  The area was really beautiful, and they did such a great job with the them! We did wish there was a little bit more shade, but we just took breaks in the shady areas, and inside, and we were fine. Just make sure to wear sunscreen! Riding Thomas the tank engine around edavilleAdmission to Edaville is $29 per person (ages 3 and up) and you can buy tickets on the Edaville USA website or at the gate. Thomas Land is included in general park admission!

Follow Thomas & Friends on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram  And keep up to date with the happenings at Edaville USA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It Kind of Smells Like Puke Over Here

**Warning** This post is gross. I used the words puke/vomit/upchuck/spew at least 10 times. This is not for those with a weak stomach. It may make you want to puke. Sorry.**


This week has been crazy.  On Tuesday morning, we woke to a super powerful storm. Seriously, it was epic. Avery had crawled into our bed around 1am, as if she KNEW the shyte was about to hit the atmospheric fan. Sometime around 6:30am we both woke to house shaking thunder and wind, which we thought was sort of cool, until 6:45am when Dave ran into the bedroom screaming “GET UP!!! GET UP!!!! I think a tree fell on the house!!”   Of course, I said “No, we would have heard that! That noise was just thunder.” And of course I was so very wrong.

A tree fell on our house!

Rhode Island Tree on House from StormAnd, Dave was right under it.   See the partially obstructed window?  That’s the bathroom. Just to the right of it, where the tree hit, is the shower. That’s where Dave was.

We’re all ok, and our house will be fine, and that’s a blessing as there were many in our neighborhood who didn’t fare as well.

We got the tree off the house. Well, we didn’t, our neighbor’s landscapers did. (THANK YOU R. Patenaude Landscape & Materials!!!)  Dave tarped off the holes in our roof (and our neighbor’s)

This post isn’t really about the tree, or the storm, or the damage.  Maybe I’ll write more about that another day. This post is about how I checked us in to a hotel.

Because….I’m weak.  No, really, had it just been Dave and I, I would have toughed it out. But, with a toddler a power outage is a whole new ballgame!  She was hot, she was hungry, she wanted a show, she wanted a freeze pop.  She was great all day, really. The excitement of having people stop and take pictures of our house, and walking around the ‘hood to see the destruction, oh and having 4 guys throwing hunks of tree off our roof, kept her entertained. But, there is only so much a girl can take.

We thought we’d go stay with my parents, but I thought it might be fun to get a hotel. A hotel with a pool!! We deserved a little staycation!


We checked in to the La Quinta Inn (the only hotel that still had availability) with the rest of our neighbors (seriously, everyone we met at the hotel was from our neighborhood!) and headed right to the pool!

The glorious, glorious pool! We swam, we laughed, we…smelled something.

“It kind of smells like puke over here.”

It smelled like puke.

I looked across the pool, and there, on the deck, was a dad, mopping up his young son’s spew with the pool towels. Seriously, he used every. single. towel.   And then…AND THEN! He just threw all those towels in the family bathroom!  What if I needed to use the bathroom?  I didn’t. but what if I did! It was now a dead zone. I thought they should shut the door and drywall over it. Nobody should be going in there.

After the clean-up, the mom walked out of the pool area, to tell the hotel staff I assumed.


She went to get a menu for the local pizza place!  WHAT?!  Your kid just got sick all over the pool deck, and you’re thinking about eating? Pizza of all things?



They. Got. Back. In!

In fact, they basically forced this screaming, just-puked child into the pool.  Who does that?!

OK, so at this point, you’re probably thinking “Why the heck are you still in the pool? Why have you not left to take a scalding, shower?  Why aren’t you dousing yourself in hand sanitizer?”

Well, because I had been telling Avery for no less than 7 hours, about how we’d get a hotel and if she’d just play nicely or read, or stop whining, she could go SWIMMING! And the puke wasn’t IN the pool, it was just next to it, and I was hoping that the chlorine would kill off anything that the kid brought in the water with him.  I said a prayer to the patron saint of gastrointestinal distress, while trying to convince myself that viruses cannot survive in hotel pools (they totally can)

We tried to stay as far away from these people as possible, and near the ladder in case we needed to make a quick escape.

A hotel staff member came in to the pool area with an armload of clean towels.  He opened the dirty towel bin and gasped.  Puke.

The mom came over and nonchalantly told him what had occurred, “Oh, my son got sick over there, we cleaned it up with all these towels, so….”  then went back to her pizza menu, leaving him staring at the most disgusting load of laundry he’d ever encountered.

He left, and few minutes later a group came in to clean up the mess.

There were four of them. Two men and two women,  The looked, silently at the contaminated section of pool deck, and then at each other. Whatever they get paid, it is not enough. They were not dressed appropriately for the task of cleaning up vomit.  They were wearing SANDALS! They should have been wearing Hazmat suits. That’s what I would wear if I had to clean up spew of a stranger. At least a gas mask of some sort.

They cleaned, though, honestly, I’m not sure they did that great of a job.  I didn’t notice any heavy duty, super toxic cleaning supplies.  Which is what prefer to use when dealing with clean-up of this nature.  The more toxic the better., because I doubt a spritz of lavender and lemon grass is going to get the job done. I want every germ DEAD! I want their germ families DEAD! I want their houses burned to the GROUND!  Sorry. I just really hate puke-bugs.

Let me make it clear, we had a WONDERFUL stay at the La Quinta in Coventry RI. The staff was FANTASTIC, the bed was heavenly, the electricity was a godsend.  It was a great staycation!


The next morning, Avery and I got up and had breakfast in bed, then we headed back to the pool. We had a great time swimming, and had the pool to ourselves most of the time, and nobody puked.

As we were leaving, another family came in. The daughter hopped in the pool and made a face.

“It kind of smells like puke over here…”



Toddler’s-Eye View: #WickedCyclone Six Flags New England

a toddler's eye view #WickedCyclone media day

If you follow us on social media, and read my blog post yesterday, you would know that we attended the media event at Six Flags New England for the grand opening of my new favorite coaster, Wicked Cyclone.

Avery brought her nabi Square HD camera and took photos of the day! Here they are:

Photos Avery took of us at Six Flags with her nabi HD camera

While we waited for the gates to open, Avery took a few portraits.

Selfies at Six Flags New England

And of course, we took some selfies throughout the day.

Media at the Wicked Cyclone event

She took a few shots during the presentations

Avery's photos of WIcked Cyclone

And captured the beauty of the metal and wood, hybrid coaster! (and the fence)

Avery's photos of Flashback at Six Flags New England

She got a few great shots of Flashback!

skyjack and coasters at six flags

Goliath…and…a skyjack.

Carnival Games at Six Flags

I think the bright colors are what caught her eye, here.


A couple of shark shots

Photos of trash cans at six flags new england

And a couple of…trash can shots?

And let's close it out with a few random photos!

And let’s close it out with a few random photos!

I was impressed with Avery’s photo skills and I loved how easy the nabi Square HD was for her to use! She had a great day and I’m proud of my little photographer! I can’t wait for her to shoot our next event 😉

For more info on Six Flags New England and Wicked Cyclone, follow them on FACEBOOK  —  TWITTER  —  INSTAGRAM

Pictures of Avery taking pictures

Wicked Cyclone Will Blow You Away!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event as a member of the media. All opinions of this incredible coaster and awesome park are my own. Wicked Cyclone Logo graphic Wicked Cyclone Media Day at Six Flags New England
OK you guys…I love my job. Seriously. I know I complain sometimes about long hours staring at my computer screen, and  back pain from my not-even-remotely-ergonomic desk set up, but, with this job comes some pretty awesome opportunities!

Today, I got to be one of the very first people to ride the highly anticipated, Wicked Cyclone roller coaster, opening May 24th at Six Flags New England!!!!  And let me tell you, It. Was. INCREDIBLE!  It has moved right into the #1 spot on my Top Ten Coaster list!!

I’ll tell you a bit more about the coaster in a second, but first, let me take a moment now to show you this adorable little blog and photo assistant:Avery is so excited about the Wicked Cyclone Media event at six flags new england Look at her posing with her little media badge!!!

Avery got to tag along on this adventure, and while she’s not big enough to ride, that didn’t stifle her excitement!  We were all excited about WIcked Cyclone!Of course, she may have just been excited about all the free Friendly’s Ice Cream they were handing out… (Thank you Friendly’s!!!)  Celeb sightings at Six Flags! Bugs, superheroes, Rob from Biggest Loser Season 16We arrived at the event, and grabbed a spot up front for the opening ceremony. We were surrounded by celebrities!! Bugs Bunny, Wonder Woman, Miss Massachusetts, and even Rob from Biggest Loser! The presenters at the grand opening of Wicked Cyclone Six Flags New EnglandWe got to hear from Six Flags New England Communications Manager Jennifer McGrath, Extreme Meteorologist and Storm Chaser Reed Timmer, Six Flags New England President John Winkler and Friendly’s Ice Cream EVP and COO Steven Weigel. They were all just as excited about this coaster as all of us were!

The Red Cross at Six Flags New EnglandThe Red Cross was also on hand to talk about what they do for our communities when disaster strikes.

Six Flags New England made a donation of $5000.00  to The Red Cross of MA and 5000 park tickets to the Red Cross employees and volunteers. Friendly’s then matched the $5000.00 donation and gave 5000 cartons of ice cream!! How awesome it that?!

Wicked Cyclone digital image And then, it was time to ride!!

Take a minute (well, a minute and 46 seconds) to watch this animated ride along video.

Seriously. Best. Coaster. EVER! And I’ve ridden quite a few!

The track is unbelievably smooth, at no point do you feel like you’re being rattled, or shaken, or tossed around like some coasters. I also love that it utilizes a locking lap restraint, (a very secure locking lap restraint, that even prevents your legs from moving) as opposed to the over the shoulder style restraints we’re all used to on coasters with inversions. Oh, and it is fast! Super fast! Had I been by myself, I’d have ridden until they kicked me out! Avery wasn’t all that interested in waiting for me, though, so today, it was just one ride. #sadtrombone

Here are a few fun facts about Wicked Cyclone:

  • Designed by Engineer (and my hero!) Alan Schilke of Rocky Mountain Construction
  • It is a Hybrid coaster integrating both wood and steel
  • Built using much of the existing structure from the original Cyclone rollercoaster
  • This coaster has 3,320 feet of track
  • It stands 10 stories tall
  • Reaches speeds of up to 55 mph
  • 24 seatsper train
  • 109 foot hill
  • First coaster of its kind to have a 200 degree stall and two Zero G Rolls
  • The world’s only Double Reversing Bank Airtime Hill
  • Riders experience more airtime than any other coaster in New England

Great themeing at Wicked Cyclone The themeing of the queue and surrounding area was great, and we made a quick stop in the gift shop (of course) to check out the cool Wicked Cyclone merch! Lunch was provided at the event. Avery enjoyed every bite.Then it was time for lunch!! Six Flags was kind enough to provide all in attendance with a free, and delicious, lunch! Avery was in heaven with her fruit, hot dog and mac & cheese!  Fun day at Six Flags New EnglandAfter lunch it was time to take a few more photos and head home.  We had an incredible day at Six Flags New England, and cannot wait to go back for a few more rides on Wicked Cyclone, as well as all the other rides and attractions the park has to offer!


So what do you think?  Are you brave enough to weather the storm and ride Wicked Cyclone?

Wicked Cyclone opens May 24, 2015. Season Pass Holders can get an exclusive early preview on May 22 and 23.

 For more info on Six Flags New England and Wicked Cyclone, follow them on FACEBOOK  —  TWITTER  —  INSTAGRAM

Stroller Rental Disney World – Baby Wheels Orlando Review

*Disclosure* We were given our rental free of charge, to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own*


We tried something new on our last Disney World vacation!

No, not Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

For the first time in our family’s Disney World history, we rented a stroller!

On our two previous trips with Avery, we brought our own strollers from home. The first trip we drove down and brought both our larger Chicco and our smaller Maclaren. The trip after that we just brought the Chicco.  This time we did not want to deal with lugging a stroller through airport security, and reached out to Baby Wheels Orlando!

We checked out the available strollers on their website and decided on the City Mini GT, a stroller that I’ve always wanted to try! I watched videos and read reviews, and knew this would be the perfect stroller for a Disney vacation! Lightweight, full recline for sleeping toddlers, easy to fold and carry, and a large  shade to protect from the Florida sun!

I made our reservation, securely, online, and then received an e-mail to schedule the drop off time! I set the time for about an hour and a half after our flight was scheduled to land, which would give us time to get to the resort, and check in.

Shortly after arriving at our resort, we received a call from John, who was on his way over with our stroller. He told us to meet him in the lobby, and a few minutes later, he was there!

The stroller was perfect! I really LOVED the color, too!

stroller rental Disney WorldThe parent console had pockets and cup holders, there was soft cooler, and a rain cover “just in case” (and for the first time in my long history of visiting Walt Disney World, it didn’t rain once!) They also attached a tag with their contact info, and “Princess Avery” so we’d know which stroller was ours in a sea of similar strollers!

Disney Stroller rentalsAvery loved it too! She said it was very comfortable, and perfect for naps!

City Mini GT stroller rental OrlandoLots, and lots of naps.

Dave and I both loved how easy this stroller was to maneuver around the parks, and how simple it was to fold up!!

And like I said…

Baby Wheels Orlando Stroller rental Disney world

Avery loved how well it performed at nap time!


Why should you rent a stroller from Baby Wheels Orlando?

1. For us, it’s so much easier to get through the airport stroller free! We can just check our luggage, and head to through security and to the gate unencumbered. It’s also nice to travel without worrying about whether or not our stroller will survive the flight.

2. It’s convenient!  Baby Wheels will deliver the stroller to your resort! You just tell them when you’d like them to deliver it and they’ll meet you in the lobby! Same goes for pick up!

3. Baby Wheels strollers come equipped with a parent console (CUP HOLDERS!!) and a rain cover (Totally necessary in Central Florida where sudden rain storms are very common) Our City Mini GT also had a soft sided cooler, which was great for food and drinks that we wanted to keep cold!

4. Many strollers to choose from! Baby Wheels offers single strollers, double strollers and even travel systems! With multiple brands/styles of double and single strollers to choose from!

5. You can try out a different brand/style of stroller! We really liked getting the chance to “test drive” the City Mini GT. We got to see how well it would work for our family, and have decided that if we ever need to buy another stroller, this would be the one!

6. If something goes wrong with your stroller, and you’ve purchased the insurance, it’s covered. You wont have to make an emergency trip to a big box store and drop your souvenir fund on a new one! Baby WHeels insurance is only $15 and covers for all mishaps, damage or even theft of the stroller or its accessories!

7. Renting a stroller from Baby Wheels Orlando gives you freedom. You can bring the stroller everywhere you go during your stay! Renting a stroller from the Disney parks is great, but you can only use them in the park you rented it at. You cannot bring them back to the resort, or even to the bus stop or parking lot. This can pose a problem when your kiddo is fast asleep and you’re also exhausted after a long park day. That walk to the bus can feel like 100 miles when carrying a heavy child!

8. Baby Wheels staff will teach your how to use the stroller when they deliver it!  The strollers they rent are all easy to fold, but it’s nice to have a quick demo!

9. Great customer service! If you have an issue just call and they will help solve it!

10.  Additional accessories are available including glider boards, additional consoles and they’ll even deliver a case (or more) of water when they drop off your stroller (at an additional charge)


We were really happy with our Baby Wheels Orlando experience and will absolutely use them again on our next trip to Walt Disney World!!

For more information visit BabyWheelsOrlando.com

You can also find Baby Wheels Orlando on TWITTERFACEBOOK

Baby Wheels Orlando has a special discount for Sweet Lil You readers!!! $5 off your rental!!  You’ll just need to enter the code BBlog at checkout!

IMG_6008Thank you Pam & John from Baby Wheels, for the great stroller and incredible customer service!!


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