Showing posts with label travel with kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel with kids. Show all posts

6 Family Friendly Day Trips

If you've just purchased one of the Columbus houses for sale, or you've lived in the city for a while and are looking for something a little different, you'll have access to a wide range of opportunities for family-friendly day tripping.

Columbus is centrally located between Ohio's two other major cities, Cincinnati and Cleveland, and there is a long list of historic towns, parks, and many other fun destinations within easy reach to explore.

Downtown Mansfield, the Carousel District

The kids will love visiting Mansfield, with its downtown area known as the Carousel District. Located just an hour from Columbus, it's home to the Richland Carousel Park which made history when in 1991 it opened America's first new hand-carved carousel in 60 years. It was inspired by G.A. Dentzel, one of the most highly acclaimed carvers of the early 20th century and includes 52 creatures including horses, chariots, and a menagerie of others, like a mythical hippocampus.

Mansfield is also home to a fantastic children's museum, an immersive attraction aimed at kids aged two through 10, with dozens of exhibits, including a dinosaur dig where the kids can play paleontologist as they discover bones from prehistoric creatures, a doctor's office where they can perform exams and take X-rays, and a petting farm where they can ride a horse, feed pigs and milk cows while.

Hocking Hills State Park

An hour southeast of Columbus you'll find Hocking Hills State Park, home to unusual rock, caves, a spectacular waterfall, and all sorts of hiking trails. A walk in autumn brings the chance to stroll through brilliant fall colors. Zipline rides, kayaking, and rock climbing are all possibilities here too, but the highlight may be Ash Cave, which forms a huge recess in the rock that you can walk into.

Amish Country

There are more than 330,000 Amish in America, and Ohio is home to its own Amish Country, made up of several towns, with the largest Millersburg, about an hour and 40-minute drive from Columbus. You'll be in a place that feels foreign; in fact, in many of the communities, people speak Pennsylvania Dutch as their first language. The Amish live without cars and most modern technology - you can see them getting around in horse-drawn carriages and purchase some of their magnificent handcrafted items downtown.

Cuyahoga National Park

Less than two hours north of Columbus is the state's only national park. Stretching from Cleveland to Akron, this huge park is a magnificent area of natural beauty following the course of the Cuyahoga River with walking and biking trails, caves, and waterfalls. A 2.2-mile trek, perfect for miles, will take you around the Virginia Kendall Ledges, passing through the forest dotted with mossy cliffs, caves, and huge limestone boulders. There are several notable waterfalls too, but the most impressive is 65-foot-tall Brandywine Falls, easily accessed via a wooden boardwalk.

Olentangy Indian Caverns

For those who have an interest in Native American history and perhaps want to teach their kids more about it too, the Olentangy Indian Caverns are less than a 30-minute drive north of Columbus. The natural cave system was once used by the native Huron people as their shelter. The caverns stretch over three floors and provided a safe haven during war, as they're hard to see from above ground. Guided tours can take you underground to explore them. Other attractions can be enjoyed here too, including mini-golf, a petting zoo, treasure hunt maze, and gem mining.


Just 45 minutes from Columbus, Springfield is home to a fun farmer's market, a unique rock garden, and a child-friendly art museum. At Young's Jersey Dairy, you can visit a petting zoo, hit the batting cage, play mini-golf and enjoy famously delicious ice cream cones. On a warm day, Buck Creek State Park hosts a large lake for watersports like swimming, water skiing, fishing, and boating.

Explore the Flavors of the Land Down Under

As the kids get a little older, they are more adventurous. They can handle road trips like semi-professionals. Both love to watch travel videos and learn about new areas. More than once they have hinted that they want to take a big trip in the near future.

Australia is on our travel bucket list.The wildlife, the bush, and the coastal views make it an obvious choice for a destination,but what really appeals to my adventurous kids is the food!

Australian cuisine is more than just sausages and meaty pies. A wide assortment of fruits and vegetables are grown in the land down under, making it a total foodies destination.

Did you know that granny smith apples were first grown in Australia? But that isn't all. You can find well known fruits like plums in the land down under, but also bush fruit like quandong, which is a native peach and muntries,which are a native cranberries.

Exploring native versions of fruit we already know makes it a exciting culinary adventure for the entire family, but we want more than fruit. We want to try all of the native foods!

Australia has many unique meats that we wouldn't be able to try as easily. Emu, kangaroo and crocodile meat are available for consumption, while they are not common, you can expect to find kangaroo in sausages. Lamb is a popular meat in the land down under, as are many varieties of seafood. By all accounts, Australia is a land of culinary delights.

Traveling with the kids to Australia would be an unforgettable adventure. There are so many things to see, do and taste that it could be easy to exhaust the family while immersing them in the culture. As a seasoned traveler, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep everyone happy.

First, I always recommend finding a private tour guide. This gives you a chance to gather info, check out hotspots and avoid crowds and lines. The price of private destination tours is often more affordable than taking a tour with a group of strangers, and it gives you a chance to talk one on one with your guide to learn all of the history and mystery of the area.

My second tip is have dinner prepared for you, instead of heading out to a restaurant. Having the chef come to you is the best way to learn about what you are eating, and see the meal being prepared right in front of your eyes. While having dinner in on an international trip might seem like an additional expense, it is one that is well worth it. Being able to relax and stay in for an evening gives the family a chance to recharge their batteries for further adventures. Your personal chef will entertain your with delicious food, rich stories and leave you hungry for more. Lucky for you, the chef is likely to share recipes with you so you can bring the flavor of Australia to your friends at a later date.

If you have traveled to Australia, I would love to hear about your culinary adventures in the land down under in a comment.

Travel With Kids: What to Do in Richland County Ohio

My family had the chance to visit Richland County last month. This was a big step for us, to be branching out into the arena of family travel. Once upon a time, my husband and I could throw a few items in a bag and hit the open road, a trip to the beach {700 miles...} no problem... now we have 2 kids. Our traveling has up until this point has been limited to the time frame of 15 minutes between stops to wipe a nose, find a binky, retrieve a lost toy. Richland County was the perfect place to start our travel adventures as a family. Let me tell you why.

First off, Richland County offers so many possibilities for family entertainment and activities! My kids were thrilled to visit the Mansfield Fire Museum. The display of working firetrucks of the past had my son so excited he could not contain himself. My husband and I enjoyed learning about the history of the area, the fire chiefs of the past and the replicated scenes from Mansfield.

One of the many fire trucks on display at the Mansfield Fire Museum

My daughter adored the trip to the Richland Carousel Park in downtown Mansfield, but my son went wild for it. This is a lovely carousel that has the distinction of being the only new, hand carved carousel to be made in the USA since the 1930's. The animals are lovely, beautifully detailed. The ride goes surprisingly fast to the delight of kids. The music? Classic! It completes the experience in a wonderful way. We loved the gift shop as well, they had tons of great trinkets and toys to make ideal souvenirs.  We loved that the rides are affordable and the carousel was truly a work of art.

Girls just wanna have fun on the carousel...
funny faces for selfies anyone?

He loved it! He wanted to do it again and again! 
Roo loved the carousel. He is still talking about it!

Malabar Farm was the home of famed author Louis Bromfield, this is a lovely property with a rich history. Unfortunately I cannot share much of that with you, we found that the house tour and wagon ride of the property were not child friendly. At least not for our fussy kids. I managed to get a few photos before being effectively sent on my way with my squawking kids. My husband and I agreed we would love to return, without the kids someday. Either way, we are going to try to visit again for Heritage Days this month.

The desk of Bromfield

Papers still in the drawer of the desk.

I will be featuring the Ohio State Reformatory in a post later this week, as well as the scoop on where to stay and what to eat while you are in town with the kids. Have you ever been to Mansfield or Richland County? If so, give us the goods on what is good, what is fun and where feels like home!

A Day at Malabar Farm with the Kids

A few Sundays ago we decided to re-visit Malabar Farms in Richland County, Ohio. We have been numerous times in the past, but it seems that since the kids were born our visits have grown fewer and further between.

As a Louis Bromfield fan, I love to not only check out the house but also to stroll the scenic, Pleasant Valley farm.  The property has a lot to offer, making it a destination that can appeal to everyone.

When we arrived, we had to visit the playground area. The kids were entertained by the large tractor, slide, and swings. After a few moments of leg stretching and playing, we took a walk to the barn, where we petted cats, cooed over baby goats and checked out some lazy cows.

From there we admired the house, from outside.

We strolled to the Pugh Cabin and continued back to the cave formation.  The walk was ideal on a late Sunday afternoon as traffic was minimal. As a parent, I truly appreciate a walk in the woods, so this was one of my favorite parts of the adventure.

The kids were tired upon arrival of the gift shop. We chatted up the lobby bird, strolled the shop and picked up a snack of fudge.

Snack excluded, this was a completely free adventure. They do not charge admission to visit the grounds of Malabar farm, but the house tour does hold a fee.

If you go, plan to drive to the top of nearby Mount Geez for a breathtaking view of Plesant Valley. Stop by the cemetery on the farm to pay your respects to Bromfield, and don't forget to check out famed Pugh cabin from the film, the Shawshank Redemption. You might also want to peek at the infamous Ceely Rose house.

You might also enjoy this guide on activities in the Richland County area for kids.

A Weekend In Wayne County

This post was written by my husband Adam to reflect on our visit to Wayne County Ohio. Special thanks to the Wayne county Visitors Bureau for hosting our trip!

Sara made arrangements for us to meet Marty ,with the Wayne County Visitors and Convention Bureau, at the Barn Restaurant just on the outskirts of rural Smithville, Ohio. The trip out provided us with scenic vistas of rolling hills and gentle farmlands. This in itself was a treat for our family, who are used to the more flatter regions of north central Ohio. The kid’s joy of the ride was apparent by both my daughter’s exclamations of passing wildlife as well as my son’s frequent reminders that he could smell cow poop.

I stubbornly refused Siri’s suggestions as I pulled into the parking lot ten minutes late for our scheduled rondevu (a slight that I would shamelessly blame the robotic-voiced assistant for). As is almost always the case with small children, one cannot simply arrive at a location, pop out of the car and expect to be in “touring mode”. It seems that one challenge or tragedy begets another. Today's rear-tragedy consisted of a chocolate covered little girl and a “hangry” little boy who was still sore with us for cutting into his Angry Birds time.

A beautiful walkway led us past roaming geese and ducks looking for handfuls of feed from quarter machines spaced strategically throughout the property. The path diverted us onto a small covered bridge, which spanned an equally small creek that was the early afternoon hang out of several awkward and furry goslings. The quiet waterfowl were taking advantage of the shade the bridge provided, as well as bobbing along a babbling little waterfall just beyond the span. An assertive mother goose reminded us that she was aware of our presence and would gladly nip us in an uncomfortable place (say the pinkie toe, nostril or webbing of the hand) if we got too close to her brood. We respectfully declined her bites for the restaurant's main entrance.

The Barn Restaurant is perhaps one of the most aptly named businesses in the region. It is literally an old barn converted into a charming eating establishment. Interestingly, one of the barns shorter sides sports a glass facade, which provides dining visitors with a wonderful view of a farm pond and a hilly country backdrop.

A small visitor’s center greeted us just past the main entrance. I was of the impression that this area was created with children in mind. A miniature train located near the log ceiling would cheerily begin its circuits whenever a particular red button was pushed. Of course whenever the Lehman children were in this room, said button was depressed and the train was in perpetual motion! Similar activities included a beehive display, a gigantic, community built puzzle depicting the Manhattan sky, and various antique farm equipment with interpretive signs.

We were introduce to Marty Starkey, the kindly and informative Executive Director of the Wayne County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. I cannot stress enough the importance of speaking with a representative of a local visitor’s bureau when exploring an area for the first time. Of course this breaches the protocol of manliness, particularly where asking for directions is concerned. However, and this has been our experience, you will spend way too much time driving around aimlessly and turning around in frustration without knowledge of the area. Of course a popular alternative is to cram your glove box full of brochures whilst yelling at the poor person in the passenger’s seat who is only trying to make sense of the 1” x 1” map printed on the back of these little publications. I have suffered many a wicked paper cut from my wife who has used the edge of these brochures to swipe at me in true Game of Thrones-like fashions.

If you want to envelop yourself in the culture and feel of a place, one has to be willing to seek out a local. Otherwise, you are just an automaton marching in step with other families, window shopping the sidewalks of Main Street U.S.A. For us, Marty was just that local. A walking, talking, smiling plethora of  knowledge; here before us stood a lady devoted to getting our little family a well rounded taste of Wayne county. The fun little twist of our adventures, would be that most of our stops would be a bit off the beaten path.

Our nice talk with Marty only served to enrage the beast that is my son’s stomach. After exchanging “so longs” with the Director, it was time to turn our attention to the hostess. En route, we passed the establishments famous “Old Time Salad Wagon”. As I purused the conestoga wagon of culinary options, my daughter whom I was carrying at this point murmured something resembling “Mommy” through her binkie. It was then that I noticed that Sara and Rolf were being seated, while the kind waitress gave me a patient look.   

The Barn Restaurant has a menu full of country delights. As our visit fell in the lunchtime range, the entrees included large portions served with fresh local farm vegetables. Their kid’s menu (and accompanying crayons), provided quick, fun options for our goblins who typically chant “CHICKEN AND FRIES” when we are in an eatery. Of course this chant always seems amplified, particularly when we are seeking to minimize humiliation.

The wife and I have been working on a formula that baffles us, much like a mathematician struggles with 𝛑. The enigma is this: when is it best to order a meal for your children? When the day is long and the blood sugar is low, it seems wise to “preorder” your kids food so that the torture of them having to actually talk to you isn’t as taxing. The benefits of this choice is that your little ones get their plate a bit sooner than Mom and Dad. The downfall of this system is that your little ones get their plate a bit sooner than Mom and Dad. In other words, this gives them more time to declare that they hate what you ordered. Or, in the case of my son’s favorite stunt, eat his chicken and fries as if he is a competitive eater. This is always followed up with everyone’s favorite line, “let's go now, Dad.”

Fortunately, my children ate.
After settling the bill and tip, it was time to turn our attention to the outdoor activities that we spied on our way in, Similarly, the picturesque view of the restaurant served to tease us of the fun to come.

It wasn’t too difficult to discern that the local waterfowl are fed, and well! As I was bent over Harper, elbow deep in another diaper deposit, we were approached by both a wood duck and a Canada Goose. However, there expression soon registered something resembling confusion. They wisely chose to remain a few feet away, likely in fear of being diapered amongst their peers.

We purchased feed from quarter machines and made our way around to a gazebo, a walkway of which, jutted out into a pond. The fish were as ravenous as the geese, and our little ones enjoyed the interaction. That is of course until the feed and quarters run out. Luckily, there was a toy store on the premises.

To reach Toyrifix, all one need do is put down that duck feed, and head a matter of yards across the parking lot. This was a stroll that was welcome by all. I lagged behind so as to discreetly adjust my belt one notch. In doing so, I saw in passing a farmhouse with signage proclaiming it: The Buchanan Place. This I would later read, along with an olde time confection store, The Oak Cupboard, as well as the aforementioned Barn Restaurant, served to compromise the Barn Restaurant Shops as a whole. Since we had just eaten and had no desire to chase children within a shop full of breakables, we kept stepping.

Toyrifix has a fun, museum-like atmosphere to it. Most of the toys had a sample for children to play with. A rather neat way to diminish purchase regret. Sara and I exchanged Clint Eastwood nods in appreciation. Here were toys we remembered from our own childhoods. As my son delighted in Legos and stuffed animals, Harper and I spent some time spinning a Snake Top. This throwback from the seventies features a toy serpent which disappears and reemerges from an old school wooden top. I spied my wife gleefully in the girlie aisle.

I also spent way too much time contemplating the purchase of a toy submarine. I fondly recall receiving one of these beauties in a box of cereal back in my youth. The idea is to fill the little U-Boat with a concoction of baking soda, vinegar, and approximately thirty-four other chemicals. The results were that said sub would sink and rise hauntingly in your water glass for half a minute. It was, of course, unfortunate that the craft would then live out the rest of its days amongst corn-on-the-cob holders in the dish drainer.

Of course, those weren’t the only “blast from the past” toys to assault our senses. The shelves are stocked with treasures such as the Uncle Wiggily Board Game, wooden Labyrinths, Frontier Logs, Ant Farms and Jack-in-the-boxes. The merchandise within harkened back to a simpler time, whereas devices with wi-fi connection hadn’t yet gained control over our children’s imaginations.However, it is interesting to note that a good deal of the toys within Toyrifix are scientifically themed. In other words, parents back in the day also wanted their children to have a fun playing experience, whilst learning something in the process.

In the end, our little ewoks chose a dolly and a Lego contraption as their souvenirs. As Sara squared up the bill, I grabbed the kids, gave the Snake Top another spin and headed for the door.

Overall, our experience at the Barn Restaurant Shops was good. We took some nice photos of our visit, and Rolf and Harper are (as of this writing) still fond of that Lego set and a doll baby. I could only hope that residents of nearby Wooster appreciate this little nook within their backyard.

As for the Lehmans, we were sold the minute we stepped into the restaurant lobby. As we took in the kid-friendly environment, my children were approached by the host. Until our entrance, this kindly man had been standing vigilant guard over the daily specials board. He asked Rolf and Harper if they would like to see the Queen Bee. He then proceeded to lead them to the Honeybee display, and sure enough, to the delight of our six and two-year-olds, he quickly pointed her out to us. This guy clearly did this not as a work requirement, but because he was a thoughtful person who wanted to share his knowledge with our kids. I like to think that this is a reflection of Wayne County Hospitality.

As for us? We packed up, took Marty’s recommendations and headed to the first stop on the list: Kid’s Day in Downtown Wooster. But that as they another story.

The Barn Restaurant Shops are located at:
877 West Main Street
Smithville, Ohio  44677
(330) 669-2555

GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 40.85672109999999
Longitude: -81.8706656
Lehman: :{)

Our friend Martha Starkey is the Executive Director of the Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Located at:
428 West Liberty
Wooster, Ohio  44691
(330) 264-1800

GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 40.7970534
Longitude: -81.94697819999999

Lehman: :)

The Topiary Park of Columbus

Columbus Ohio is one of our go-to places for family fun. The city has so much to offer to families. From the Columbus Museum of Art to the awesome playgrounds for kids, there is always something to do in Columbus!

A few weeks ago we attended Brick Universe, to the delight of my Lego loving kids. After we had taken the time to play with all kinds of legos and browse the vendors, we decided to take in the Topiary Park of Columbus on Town Street. This is such a lovely little spot in the city. If you have never been, you are really missing out on something amazing.

Giving my kids exposure to art is important to me. Both kids love to sculpt with playdough and they both love to draw. Encouraging their love of the arts keeps them interested in creating! A little-known fact is that as a child, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I often wonder what might have been if only someone told me to keep sketching or had taken me to a fashion week kind of thing...

So, as we arrived at the Park, and found ample parking opportunities, we entered an almost empty park. An elderly man sat reading on a bench. At the other end of the park, a father-son duo conversed quietly. It was nice to be able to allow the kids a little freedom to stretch their legs and observe this living art in their own ways.

The park is one of a kind. It is a gorgeous, green and lush atmosphere with breathtaking flowers, a pristine pond, and these amazing topiaries. It is an interpretation of the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat.

The experience is delightful. It offers one the chance to walk amongst the art, a rare occasion in this digital day we live in. The stroll was nothing short of magical for my kids. They have been several times and they never tire of a trip to The Topiary Park of Columbus.

I loved how serene the park was, despite the location in the city. If I were frequently in the downtown area, I could see myself slipping away to the Topiary Park for coffee and contemplation or a dreamy place to pass time with a good book in hand.

A Stroll At The Kingwood Center

As a family, we love to visit The Kingwood Center in Mansfield several times a year. My husband and I love the flowers and plants. The kids love the statues and we all love the exercise! It is easy to spend an hour strolling the paths with the kids.

The Kingwood was one of the first places Adam and I visited when we moved to Mansfield, pre-kids. Over the years we moved, but we make a point to visit The Kingwood several times a year with the kids, not only for the experience but also to revisit our roots in a way.

The Kingwood Center is a 47 acre estate that is open to the public. The grounds are compromised of gardens that are breathtaking. Kingwood Center Gardens develops and displays exemplary gardens on the former estate of Charles Kelley King for the pleasure and education of its constituents.  While admission is free there is a parking charge. It is minimal and helps to support the operation of this amazing place in Ohio.

If you visit, plan to stop by the greenhouses. It is easy to get swept away in the fun of the outdoor experience, but the greenhouse offers many gems including a fantastic banana tree. We seem to make a purchase of a plant on each visit.

This is a great place to snap some awesome photos of your family. The flowers are awesome in the spring and summer, in the fall the leaves add a lot to the experience.

Be sure to bring quarters to buy a few handfuls of food for the ducks! If you pay attention you may see the peacocks. They were nesting on eggs on our last month so we really hope to make it back this summer to see babies!

Do you have a favorite public garden? I would love to hear about it!

Fryer Park Offers Kids An Out Of This World Adventure

A few weeks ago, we set out on a mission! Last winter we saw this great park in the Columbus, Ohio area. I was sure I would recall the park! But then 8 months time passed, and I could only remember that there was electronic games on the playground....

Well I knew it existed, but I couldn't remember what part of town it was in, of course I had no clue about the name of the park either. Hubby turned to google and found a park that sounded like it could be it. Fryer Park in Grove City. So, we hopped in the car and headed south to the capital, then off to Grove City.

When we arrived at the park, we walked around the pond, enjoyed the sight of the ducks and made our way over to the park.

The ducks ready for a swim

My kids were amazed with the park. They thought everything from the cave to the playground equipment was fantastic. They were hoping other kids would be there, but that wasn't the case. We had the place to ourselves.

My kids loved the cave!

The park was large, spacious and perfect for kids of a variety of ages!

I loved the plaques for the planets!

I loved being able to set the kids free. They ran, they played, they had a lot of fun!

"The Moon"

There were so many things for the kids to do! They loved exploring the moon, they delighted in climbing thru the cave.

This part of the park is perfect for bigger kids looking for a thrill!

While Fryer Park was not the park we were looking for, it was a great park in the Columbus Ohio area to visit. It was well worth the drive down and we will certainly be hitting this park up again! We visit a lot of parks, it is kind of our thing these days. With that in mind, I will be as bold as to say, Fryer Park is on our top 5 list of Ohio parks and playgrounds, which is quite impressive!

Grove City in general is a charming place. It is a great place to visit with your family for shopping, dining or playing!

Traveling With Kids : A Day at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

I visited the location in this article as a guest of the Columbus Zoo.

On our first week of summer we traveled to Columbus, Ohio with the kids to experience one of the many fantastic offerings the city has for families. We got a chance to get our walk on, enjoy the sun and see so many breath taking animals all in one spot!

Where was this? If you are following me on Instagram you might have guessed that we visited the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! If you are not following me there, you should be! I am getting more active there and sharing lots of my adventures!

We visited the Columbus Zoo on a perfect June day. As soon as we arrived and decided on a path, we were able to take in the sights of the Black Rhino enjoying his morning munch.

The mom in me swooned over the swans with the eggs in their nest.

My son and I loved the Camels!

The sheer number of exhibits and animals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium makes it well worth the trip to the city,

 The elephants were lovely!

The flamingos made a great group to photograph!

We have visited the Columbus Zoo numerous times over the years. I am never disappointed and I am always very impressed with the continuous effort to make this one of the best places for families to visit for a zoo experience!

This guy stole my daughters heart and attention. She was amazed with him!

I wanted to share a few tips with you to make your next trip to the Columbus Zoo even more enjoyable, if you are traveling with the kids.

Make sure your children wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking and this is a good thing! Kids will get plenty of activity and hopefully sleep wonderfully that night, but folks, do you really want to be carrying a 20+ pound child for several miles?

If your kids are not accustomed to walking very far, take them on a few walks around the block as preparation for the Zoo. 

Pack a few drinks and snacks for the kids to sustain them in between meals and exhibits!

Sunscreen! Enough said!

Bring a pack of travel Baby Wipes. Even if the kids are a bit older these are so handy for freshening up in the summer!

Make sure your phones and cameras are ready for lots of great photo ops!

Grab a map, if the kids are really little, like mine are, decide what exhibits are most important to see and aim for those first, seeing what you can on the way. You never know how much a small child can take in terms of walking in the summer sun.

Take advantage of the play areas for the kids. Give them a break and a chance to let loose. You can rest on a bench and bask in the sound of happy children at play for a little while!

Have you ever visited the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium? If not what is your favorite Zoo?

A Day At Kelley's Island With My Sweetie #LakeErieLove

I just returned from a few lovely days from the Shores of Lake Erie. I can't wait to tell you about a simple adventure I took with my 5 year old and why this was the highlight of the trip.

Since I gave birth to Harper, Roo and I don't get a lot of one on one time. He is now 5, and I have missed him in many ways, despite the fact we spend most of our days together. On Monday night I whispered to Roo "Wanna go on an adventure with me?" He whispered back "And Harper?" I shook my head no and said "No, this is a special day for just you and me." Roo smiled and drifted off to sleep.

At noon my husband dropped us off in Sandusky and Roo and I strolled over to the Jet Express to get tickets for our adventure. We were headed to Kelley's Island, Ohio.

Photo Credit: Sara Lehman.

We had some time before our boat boarded, so we strolled around the area. We stumbled into a great shop featuring basically every old fashioned candy imaginable as well as a vast selection of soda. (I believe it is called Soda Pop's on W. Water Street.) This was a fun stop to make as we waited for our ferry. Roo got an apple juice and a few gummy candies to hold him over until lunch.

We made our way back to the ferry, and my little guy snacked happily on his sweets and a small bag of local chips. As he saw the boat approaching his eyes were wide with excitement. He said "Hold my hand Mommy!" and he bounced his way to the line to board. We climbed to the top deck and sat down, he slid closer to me and said again "Mommy! Hold My Hand!!!" He was excited and a touch nervous.

Photo Credit: Sara Lehman.

We enjoyed taking a few photos together and of the scenery. The ride wasn't too long, I didn't time it as I wanted to savor the moments with my growing son. I did hear that the boat can travel 34 mph, which is impressive!

Roo was quite impressed by the sight of Cedar Point from the water!

Photo Credit: Sara Lehman.

As we arrived my son was happy. We looked at the boats, we walked around town for a few minutes, scoping out restaurants. We held hands and happily walked around taking it all in. I asked him questions, he answered, we laughed. He very cutely told me that sometime he was going to have 20 babies of his own. I smiled. I said "What will you name all 20 babies?" He said "I don't know. I have to get 20 beds first Mom!"

We wandered into the Captains Corner. We weren't really hungry, but we knew we would be eventually. Roo opted for lemonade and we shared a basket of fries.

Photo Credit: Sara Lehman.

The conversation with my son, giving him the chance to make all the choices. My heart pinched me to savor every second, to let him eat junk food, to laugh with him and soak it all up. We rarely get the chance to do anything just the two of us these days.

Photo Credit: Sara Lehman.

We rode back after a walk around, we admired the view of the lake, the boats, the peaceful atmosphere, the feeling of community in such a lovely place in the world. I have been going to Kelley's Island since I was just a kid, my first trip was at the age of 14.  But, experiencing it with my son.... having a day alone. It made the experience new again.

Photo Credit: Sara Lehman.

After we arrived back in Sandusky, we sat on a bench and talked, looking at the boats and water. We walked around town, enjoyed a fountain and decided we had a great day.

Photo Credit: Sara Lehman.

If you are looking for a trip that takes you away to a slice of paradise, hidden in Ohio, I have to recommend that you get Jet Express tickets and exploring Kelley's Island. It is so much like being at the ocean, that you will forget you are in Ohio!

June is a lovely time to visit in my opinion. The temperatures were perfect (high 70s, low 80s) and going on a weekday gave us plenty of time to explore without the crowds I normally encounter on weekends. If you are looking for a great getaway in Ohio, #LakeErieLove the Lake Erie Shores and Islands make an exceptional option for families!

Thank you to my friends at Lake Erie Shores and Islands and Jet Express for hosting this day of #LakeErieLove with my son.