With a baby and toddler, traveling can be daunting, especially when kid-friendly doesn't turn out to be baby and toddler friendly.

We've realized what a difference that is, so we are here in hopes to share and learn about the best places to go with our babes and tots in tow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Washington State Kid Scene Part II: A Day Trip on San Juan Island

What an advantage we had being so close to the ferries, so we had to do a trip to the San Juan Islands and hit the main island of San Juan, starting at Friday Harbor. It was about an hour ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor in the ferry and the kids loved driving onto the ferry and then walking around upstairs. We started at Friday Harbor and made a trip around the island, hitting Whale Watch Park” (Lime Kiln Point State Park). There we were able to have another picnic lunch while looking for whales. Keep in mind that there are cliffs with drop offs, but we were able to find an area that was safe for the kids, but we were on guard the whole time. The only whale we did see that day was the whale mile marker that Liam noticed when we hiked back to our car and also the Orca statue by the restrooms. I must say, the restrooms there were the cleanest public restrooms I have ever seen. I wish I had taken a picture (strange, I know), but the toilets were some environmental sound systems that were just huge holes that ran down into some sort of "recycling" system AND it didn't smell. AT ALL. I was totally intrigued, but so afraid that one of my kids would fall down them--I could have fallen in too! Anyhow, the whole park was fun filled-whales or not.

From there were started our circle around the island and hit an Krystal Acres alpaca farm. One of my friends from elementary school still lives in Washington and owns several, so I guess this is the area for alpacas. My son and cousin thought they were amazing and it was nice to stop and let the kids out to run a bit.

From there we headed towards the English Camp. Apparently, there was a battle between the Americans and the English over a pig. Who knew! Anyhow, the English Camp was along the water and had a beautiful English garden. Another perfect way to burn off some energy. I was thankful for having our rain boots for this park though, so think about packing them and a change of clothes!

We then drove to Roche Harbor and attempted to have ice cream, but the kids fell asleep.

And we also had to drive past the Westcott Bay Sculpture Park
, featuring over 100 sculptures on 19 acres. I want to go back and visit and my heart ached as the curator seemed to get excited that we stopped, then we quickly left realizing that opening the doors might wake up the kids and they so badly needed that nap. I owe them a donation!

We then circled around and were hoping to get a glass of wine at the San Juan vineyards tasting room, but it was closed, which I guess never happens-lucky us. I should also mention that across the road from the vineyard is a camel...yes a camel. Just another fun thing for the kiddos and definitely a conversation piece.

So back toward Friday Harbor we went. My sis and I went into the market for some ice cream and we headed back to the ferry for an ice cream feast on the way home. Note: the ferries have very little food, so load up before you go! There is a cute market right in the middle of Friday Harbor and across from the visitor center where you can pick up delish picnic items and aforementioned San Juan ice cream!

A wonderful day trip, but we were exhausted. There is a lot more to see and I look forward to another trip there soon. Make sure to plan ahead and take a look at the ferry schedule. Nothing is worse than missing the ferry with cranky kids but we were there from about 9 am until 5 pm and with little cat naps here and there, it was a perfect trip. My sister and I even got in a little shopping too!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Washington State Kid Scene Part I: Deception Pass, Tulip World and Guemes Island

We went out to visit my sister in Washington state again, but this time it was with my parents and my two kids in tow-hubby had to stay home. It was just as well as my sister's husband is a naval pilot and deployed and not home either. Poor Liam and my Dad had to endure a lot of girl power that week, but they survived.

We took a direct flight on Alaska Air and it was pretty much a breeze. Liam brought his rolling, giraffe backpack packed full of magnaformers, Edushapes Magic Shape and a lot of snacks including the squeezable apple sauces and squeezebox chocolate milk. We barely had to use the DVD! For my 14 month old daughter, a bunch of flap books and touch and feel books were all we needed to keep her happy and busy.

We arrived in Seattle and went straight out to Anacortes. We were out there for the Mother's Day weekend and took the moms, including my sister's mother-in-law to Guemes Island to a quaint restaurant, Anderson's General Store. We took over the whole outdoor seating area since we had just missed the lunch rush and it was perfect. We had a view of the water, the kids had plenty of room to "move, " and the staff was terrific!

We also met my mother's family and our kids met their great-grandmother, great-aunt and great-uncle. We had a picnic lunch at Deception Pass State Park. Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island and connects Skagit Bay with the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We drove, but you can walk across the bridge and see the site. I had to look up why it is dubbed as being deceiving and learned that it appeared to be a narrow bay instead of a strait, and it became infamous because many Chinese immigrants were smuggled in here for labor back in the late 1800s.

We drove across the bridge and then had lunch along the water with the family. It was a bit breezy and chilly, but we were able to enjoy lunch and let the kids play.

From there we took off to see if we could see the last of the tulips at Skagits Tulip Festival. There are several farms near Mount Vernon, Washington and we were luck enough to see the tulips in bloom the very last day. It was like we were in Holland and the kids had a blast running around the windmill and the beautiful mazes and paths.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Itsy Mitsy Runs Away- The coolest book ever!

So this isn't about traveling, but we will be bringing this books on the plane with us on our trip to Seattle. You should get one too for your next trip!

Our very dear friend, Elanna Allen created a delightful, charming tale in Itsy, Mitsy Runs Away. We love it and it hits home with Liam, who also hating bedtime. Check it out! We bought a bunch of them, so everyone is getting them for their birthdays over here.

Spread the word and the love!

"this runaway story [is] a runaway hit!"
* Kirkus Review of Books STARRED REVIEW

"Debut talent Allen...has a breezy drawing style and a cheery disdain for logic...
The freewheeling art stays anchored by Allen's very funny text."
* Publisher's Weekly STARRED REVIEW