Last Minute Getaway Ideas for This Upcoming Labor Day Weekend

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What better way to say goodbye to summer than a quick Labor Day getaway? This summer has flown by, and I am looking for ways to send summer off with a bang with my little family. I’m thinking a trip is in the works. Labor Day weekend begins next Friday once you clock out of work, so you’ve only got a week to make your plans. I’m here to help with some road trip destinations near NYC and some good ideas for a last-minute international flight.

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The Adirondacks and Lake Placid

Drive Time = 5 Hours

If you are looking for an outdoor adventure within driving distance of NYC, look no further than Lake Place in the Adirondacks. Your whole family will enjoy the scenic views, and you will find plenty of things to do outdoors, such as hiking, paddle boarding, or golfing.

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Rhode Island Beaches

Drive Time = 3 Hours, 15 Minutes

If you want to enjoy some family beach time, head towards one of the Rhode Island beaches, such as Narragansett Beach, Salty Brine State Beach, or Roger Wheeler State Beach. These quaint seaside towns cater to beach-loving families. Families will love watching the fishermen, riding bikes, and eating their share of seafood.

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Ocean City, New Jersey

Drive Time – 2 Hours, 15 Minutes

Did you know that nearby Ocean City has been named New Jersey’s favorite beach multiple years in a row and was even named Best Beach in America in 2016 by Coastal Living? When you visit, it is easy to see why. This is a super family-friendly beach destination complete with a boardwalk, an amusement park, and beautiful beaches.

The Great New York State Fair

Drive Time = 4 Hours

If your idea of saying bye to summer involves a wild and crazy time for your kids, then head to The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, which runs from August 21st – September 2nd. This is the oldest state fair in America, and they do it big! In addition to the typical fair rides and food, this state fair also has crazy good entertainment, such as concerts by famous musicians over Labor Day weekend.

Best Last-Minute International Spots

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For those families looking for a last-minute jet-setting adventure, I found some great tips on Kayak. For example, Kayak suggests, “If you’re looking for an international bargain, head north or south — not east or west. Based on last year’s data, destinations in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean shine through as affordable escapes, with median airfares barely breaking $300 roundtrip for Labor Day. Noticeably absent from the list? Destinations in Europe, Africa or Asia.”

What are you planning to do with your family this Labor Day Weekend? Let me know in the comments!

10 Awesome August Events for Families in NYC

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August has arrived, which means summer will be over before we know it. So, we’d better do our best to enjoy every last minute we have! Thankfully, there is tons of fun things to do in NYC for families this month – everything from delicious food events to outdoor carnivals. You can even go ahead and visit the nearby apple orchards and stock up before fall.

Today, I am highlight 10 family-friendly NYC happenings in August, so get your calendar ready!

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Restaurant Week

As a foodie, you know I am super pumped for Restaurant Week 2019. Running from July 22—Aug 16th, Restaurant Week offers deals at over 370 restaurants with prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. TimeOut has a guide for places to take the kids during Restaurant Week.

Manhattan’s Summer Streets

Saturdays in August mean car-free days in Manhattan where families are encouraged to use other means of travel (i.e., bikes, scooters) for a 7-mile stretch. Along this route, there are rest stops with family-friendly activities.

Bronx Zoo’s Dinosaur Safari

If you haven’t taken the family to Dinosaur Safari at the Bronx Zoo, make plans to visit before this exhibit closes in early November. Your kids will love seeing the 40 animatronic dinosaurs and the fossil dig.

Sand Sculpting Contest

The 29th Annual Sand Sculpting Competition will take place on August 17th at the Coney Island Beach. These sand sculptures are incredible and totally worth the trip!

Fly NYC

For a more laidback family adventure, check out FlyNYC Kite Flying Festival on Saturday, August 17th at Riverside Park. If you don’t have a kite of your own, kite kits are provided until they run out.

Photo:  NYC-ARTS

Photo: NYC-ARTS

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

This weekend, head to Queens for the amazing Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. Your family will marvel at the custom-made boats and enjoy cultural favorites (i.e., music, demonstrations, food, and bubble tea).

Hercules in Central Park

The Disney version of Hercules is being performed in Central Park in the evenings from August 31st – September 4th. Not only will kids love this live theater experience, but parents will appreciate that it is FREE!

Smorgasburg

Back to food again, because, of course! Smorgasburg is held Saturdays and Sundays during August in Prospect Park. You can try a wide variety of dishes and treats.

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Richmond County Fair

Take the family to an old-fashion county fair (and Staten Island’s one and only) from August 31st to September 2nd. This is a wonderful way to send out summer.

Summer Outdoor Movies

Families have tons of options for free outdoor movies this summer in NYC. Check out this list of outdoor movies in NYC from the New York Times and make plans to get there early!

Photo: Whitney Browne of YYDC on  Battery Dance Festival

Photo: Whitney Browne of YYDC on Battery Dance Festival

Battery Dance Festival

Make plans to spend time at New York’s longest-running dance festival. The Battery Dance Festival will be held August 11th – 16th at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park.

Which NYC event are you most looking forward to enjoying with your family this month? Let me know in the comments!

How to Survive an NYC Heat Wave

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Last week in New York was brutal! A crazy heatwave hit, and it was sweltering. Those of us who call NYC home aren’t accustomed to temps this high – and apparently, the city as a whole isn’t either since 50,000 lost power!

Now before you think I am overreacting, you should know that this heatwave was deadly. This last heatwave has been blamed for at least 6 deaths. A heatwave of this magnitude should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, for many of us, we don’t know how to handle a heatwave because we don’t deal with them frequently.

So today I’m sharing tips on how to survive an NYC heatwave so we can all be better prepared next time.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

When you hear that a heatwave can be deadly, this is because high temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is more serious than heat exhaustion. If you suspect you or someone else is suffering from heat stroke, you need to call 9-1-1 immediately.

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To distinguish between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, refer to the above illustration. The basic idea is if you start to feel unwell, it is best to get indoors and try to cool off.

Fill Up on H2O

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Next, if you know it is going to be hot, it is best to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Take a water bottle with you wherever you go. If you are forced to be outdoors, it is even a good idea to wet your clothes with cool water.

Dress Lightly

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Another way to stay cool is to dress appropriately for the hot temperatures. Avoid any clothing that is tight or made of thick fabrics. Instead, you should wear light, loose clothing that allows your skin to breathe easier. Fortunately, there are plenty of fashionable options that are designed for hot temperatures, such as sundresses and palazzo pants.

Stay Wet

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If you simply can’t stay indoors and must go outdoors, choose water activities where you can stay wet. For example, my daughters enjoyed early morning swims. They got some of their daily physical activity in the pool before it reached the hottest point of the day.

Use This as an Excuse to Bond Indoors

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Finally, the best way to survive an NYC heatwave is to stay indoors! Use the excessive heat as an excuse to hang out at home, catch up on indoor tasks, and bond with your family. My daughters entertained us with dancing performances and comedy routines. We relaxed and just enjoyed the time we had with one another without all the distractions we usually have.

A heatwave is the perfect excuse to make some homemade popsicles, bust out your favorite board games, and watch classic films. When you start to feel stir-crazy, just remind yourself the heatwave will be over before you know it, winter will arrive, and you will be begging for the summer to return.

How NYC Families Can Save Money This Summer

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During summer, there is nothing worse than hearing your kids whine that they are “sooo bored!” But, if you spend money trying to keep them entertained each day of summer break, your wallet will start to hurt. And, if you are like me, I would rather spend my hard-earned money on a fabulous vacation than spending it doing a bunch of little things around the city. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to save money and have fun in NYC.

Free Library Fun

If you don’t already have a library card, now is the time to get one. Today’s libraries aren’t the stuffy old places you might remember from childhood. They offer tons of free materials you can borrow – including DVDs. Plus, the New York Public Library Summer Reading offers some pretty great kids programs that go beyond the standard story times, such as a DJ Dance Party.

Free Outdoor Movies

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During the summer, families can take their pick of free outdoor movies once the sun goes down. The most popular outdoor movies are hosted by NYC parks, are all PG-13 and under, and feature movies such as The Incredibles 2 and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Check out Time Out New York’s guide to what is showing where and when here.  

Free Outdoor Concerts

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Families can also take their pick of free outdoor summer concerts taking place all around New York City. For instance, there are the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Park series (with all performances beginning at 8 pm) and Make Music New York on June 21st from 10 am – 10 pm.

Free Public Pools and Splash Pads

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There are several options for cooling off during the hot summer in the city. Families can visit one of the free outdoor swimming pools in NYC (opening on June 27, 2019). A bonus for pool visitors is that NYC parks offer free swimming classes and free sunscreen. If taking the kids to the pool seems like too much, then head to one of the many local splash parks. Mommy Poppins has a list of the Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers for Kids in NYC.

Free Museum Days

Photo:  NYCGo

Photo: NYCGo

Visiting the fantastic museums can add up – unless you are smart enough to take advantage of the free museum days offered this summer. For example, Brooklyn Children’s Museum offers “pay as you wish on Thursdays from 2–6 pm and Sundays from 4–7 pm” and the Staten Island Zoo offers “free Tuesdays after 2 pm.”

Free Festivals

Another great way to keep the whole family entertained is to head to an outdoor festival. Many outdoor festivals are free to enter and explore – but you may wind up spending money to enjoy food, purchase arts and crafts, or participate in activities. One popular outdoor festival taking place in June is the Museum Mile Festival happening June 11, 2019, from 6 pm – 9 pm.

Now you have plenty of ways to save money and keep the kids busy and entertained this summer, leaving you money to take the vacation of your dreams.

Surviving the End of the School Year Freefall

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Dear Mom,

Hang tight. The last few weeks of school is the second toughest time of the year (after December). Between the dance recitals, end of the year banquets, end of course testing, teacher gifts, and warm weather excitement, our kids are going crazy. They are not following the rules. They are more hyper than usual. They are done.

And, you are likely done too. The good mom you were in September is long gone. The mom improvement goal you made in January lasted until Valentine’s Day. The mom who volunteered to bring fancy treats for school parties is now rushing to be the first one to sign up for paper plates. We are over it. We have used up all of our fun and shiny goodness, and now we are done.

But, school is not over yet! We have a few more weeks to get the kids out the door on time with homework done and lunches packed. We may not do it perfectly, but we can do it. We can make it to the finish line without losing our minds.

Here’s how we can get it done.

Stick to the Routine

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The routine has gotten you this far – don’t throw it out now. Keep doing what works. For example, the sun is up a little later, but school starts at the same time in the morning. So, keep bedtime as close to the same time as you have all year.

But Expect a Little Less

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If you feel done, just imagine how your little people feel! When you are tired, it is hard to do everything with the same energy as usual. So, yes, stick to your routine, but extend the kids some grace when they don’t act exactly the way you wish they would. Show a little more patience.

Write Every Important Date Down

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Like December, the end of the school year calendar is jam-packed. In order to stay on top of everything and not forget when your kids need to take this test or be at this banquet, you need to write everything down as soon as you receive a notification.

Purchase the Teachers the End of the Year Gift They Deserve

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With all the busyness of this time of year, don’t forget to purchase a gift for your child’s teacher. These men and women go above and beyond (and aren’t paid nearly enough). Give them something that shows you’ve seen all the hard work they’ve done this year and how much you appreciate them. Go ahead and buy it now before you end up rushing out the night before the last day of school.

Have a Family Countdown

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If your kids are clearly ready for school to end and summer to begin, make a family countdown. Count down the days left while encouraging them to stay strong to the finish. Make it a whole family affair and then celebrate when summer officially begins.

Take Time to Breathe

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Finally, take time to breathe. Look for little pockets of time where you can rest and relax. Remind yourself that this busyness is just for a season. Summer is coming soon.

Bermuda family trip!

I had the pleasure of visiting Bermuda for the first time with the family and it was a wonderful experience.  Stayed at the Fairmont Southampton for a few days and everybody was very friendly and accommodating.  The weather was the same as NYC so let that be a fair warning to anybody who wants to travel to Bermuda in the winter - it can get cold there!  

Most of the time we ate at the resort (we loved Jasmine Lounge because kids under 5 eat for free!) but we did go out twice and ate at Lobster Pot (great appetizers...get the Escargot!)  and Barracuda Grill in Hamilton.  Both served delicious seafood locally and the kids loved the pasta.  We were lucky to have Horseshoe Bay Beach practically in our backyard and the kids loved playing in the beautiful serene beach!