Kykuit in Sleepy Hollow, New York

Kykuit is a Dutch word meaning “lookout.” John D. Rockefeller appropriately used it as the namesake for the 1908 mansion he built 500 feet above sea level on the banks of the Hudson River. “JDR” Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and widely considered one of the richest men in history, originally purchased 400 acres at the start of the twentieth century.

Kykuit was home to four generations of Rockefellers until JDR’s grandson Nelson, upon his death in 1979, left Kykuit to the National Trust for Historic Preservation instead of his own children. Now, the Historic Hudson Valley nonprofit coordinates public tours and the house remains as it was in 1979. We’ve been members of the HHV for a couple of years and enjoy exploring their properties and program. One of our most favorite fall traditions is the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor. You can read about our adventures at the Blaze here.

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New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford, a small city located in the southeastern part of Massachusetts (about an hour from Boston), is known as the whaling capital of the world, due to the protected deep water harbor of Buzzard’s Bay and ideal transportation routes. Indeed, New Bedford has a rich history in whaling, fishing, and commerce. At its peak in the mid 1850s, New Bedford employed over 300 ships and 10,000 fisherman.

My family recently took a weekend trip to visit the New Bedford area and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of family friendly activities, even in the “off” winter season. I started my research at DestinationNewBedford.org and found lots of helpful advice.  I printed copies of the Kids Scavenger Hunt for my kids to complete while we were in town, although you can find copies at many local attractions.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017

This might seem odd: a family travel blogger posting a holiday gift guide? Absolutely!  I have been offering advice and my personal experiences to so many people recently, I thought I would share with everyone.

I am a huge proponent of giving experiences for the holidays instead of material possessions.  My husband and I strongly believe that the best gift we can give our children is time together, exploring and learning about our world. I also love the area of supporting my community through museum and nonprofit memberships to further the good work so many places do to preserve history, protect land and wildlife, and give children the opportunity to learn and grow outside of the formal classroom.

I first wrote about "giving experiences" on CTinStyle before I launched Coast2CoastwithKids. Since that time I have both given and received even more experiences as gifts. Regardless of where you live, there are experiences you can share with children of all ages. Here are my favorites:

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Why I Love Staying at Marriott Hotels

Airbnb and Homeaway are popular ideas when it comes to housing while traveling and I love the idea of staying in a neighborhood and really becoming part of a community. I also know several people who love hitting the road in their camp or trailer, or even camping in an old fashioned tent, communing with nature. For me, and my husband and young(er) children, it’s less hassle and gives me more of a “vacation” versus “trip” feel to stay in a hotel when we're traveling as a family. I like the idea of someone making my bed with fresh sheets each day, whipping up breakfast, and helping me navigate around a new place.

My family has become loyal fans of the Marriott company. You’ll read specifics about my favorite Marriott properties in some of my posts, but my favorite brand of the company is the Residence Inn. Residence Inns are designed to feel more like a home than a “regular” hotel room. Plus, they’re consistent in many ways I appreciate:

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