Year in Review: Highlights of 2018

2018 was an exciting, adventure filled year for my family. We started a bit early by purchasing a new 2018 Chevy Equinox, and to date-exactly 54 weeks later- we have over 26,000 miles on the odometer. We’ve been as far west as Texas, as far south as Florida, and as far north as Maine. We’re explored over a dozen states, over twenty National Parks Service locations, over two dozen museums, two baseball parks (that brings our total count to 24 out of the 30 MLB parks), and created countless memories.

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Seven Free Things to Do in New England This Summer

Warmer weather and longer daylight hours mean more opportunities to get out and explore! There are many seasonal places to visit in New England, and while some of the following places are open year round, their spring and summer calendars are filled with more activities, more tours, more shows, and more fun! As an added bonus, your family can check out the following seven spots for FREE:

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Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic is a small town located in the most eastern part of Connecticut and is known for its historic seaport. Mystic is part of New London County, which includes other family friendly towns and cities ranging from New London to Groton to Niantic down to Old Lyme. The area becomes flooded with visitors in the spring and summer due to its close proximity to the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean. However, there is plenty to do in the “off season” too: food festivals throughout the year, the famous Pirate Invasion in the fall, the arrival of Santa via tugboat and holidays strolls in December, and the popular Mystic Irish parade in March. Recently, my family spent a few days of our April break exploring the area. We had so much fun we could have extended our trip to a few weeks! Lucky for us, the area is less than 90 minutes away, so we can return for day trips any time we wish. Here are some of our favorite spots:

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Submarine Force Museum and HS Nautilus, Groton Connecticut

When I mention I live in Connecticut, many people will exclaim “Oh you must know a lot of maritime and submarine history having the sub base nearby."  I've driven by Groton for the past 38 years and yet, until recently, I had not visited the area, known as the “Submarine Capital of the World.” On a spring break trip to nearby Mystic, Connecticut we stopped for the morning in Groton to finally explore the Submarine Force Museum, and tour the HS Nautilus.  While the actual Naval Submarine Base in New London is closed to the public, keep driving past the base until you hit the waterfront: On the left is the library, museum, and gift shop; straight ahead is the HS Nautilus; and to the right is the parking lot and various memorials.

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Mystic Seaport in Connecticut

My family has recently been on a nautical kick, with a weekend in New Bedford, Massachusetts and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. During a visit to Mystic, Connecticut a couple of weeks ago, Connecticut we thought we would continue to broaden our sealife knowledge with a visit to the Mystic Seaport.

Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the United States, was founded in 1929 and now welcomes almost 300,000 visitors and hundreds of school groups each year. It’s conveniently located one mile off Interstate 95, right on the water, in the picturesque town of Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic offers tons of family fun, such as the Mystic Aquarium (check out my post here). Spread out over 19 acres, the Seaport recreates 19th century life in a seafaring village with over 60 different exhibits, buildings, boats and areas to explore.

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