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For the kids’ first trip to the Katahdin region, MP planned an overnight stay at New England Outdoor Center (NEOC) in Millinocket. The family-friendly, lakeside resort offers a variety of fun adventures, including moose tours, rafting, canoeing and hiking. For accommodations, guests can choose from rustic cabins to modern lodges.

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Our home for the night – the Eagle lodge.

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One of the benefits of the kids getting older is the ability to take longer hikes. With this thought in mind, MP decided the New England Outdoor Center (NEOC), an adventure resort located on Millinocket Lake, would be an ideal home base while we explored the Katahdin region.

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While researching different trails, MP was surprised to find a variety of hikes in Baxter State Park that are kid-friendly, each ranging 3-4 miles round trip. She had a few trails on her wish list, but friends from Millinocket suggested we check out the Debsconeag Ice Caves. Part of the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness area, the caves are located located just south of Baxter and Mount Katahdin. The caves are made up of heavy boulders that were pushed together by glaciers during the last ice age, and brave hikers can explore inside. Our family couldn’t wait to experience these uncommon ice caves for ourselves.

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Last summer, after a weekend camping trip to Campobello Island in New Brunswick, we visited friends at their home in Lubec. We started our day with coffee and catching up while the kids played, and then took a short drive to Quoddy Head State Park. The park, which is located on the easternmost peninsula in the U.S., is home to the candy-striped West Quoddy Lighthouse.

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To celebrate the end of a successful school year, families from CP#2’s third grade class met in Kingfield to experience Maine Huts & Trails  — a series of backcountry trails and eco-lodges for adventurers of all levels to enjoy. Our brave plan? To hike 3+ miles through the woods to The Poplar Hut, where forty of us would convene for the night.

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Over Memorial Day weekend, we returned to the Oxbow Farmhouse in Newcastle with good friends and their children. The rustic home, which is located on the expansive grounds of Oxbow Brewing Company, sleeps nine and provides plenty of space for additional sleeping bags.

We arrived in the late afternoon with armloads of luggage and groceries (each family was responsible for a meal). Our kids were drawn to the collection of Disney films, but once the grownups selected rooms and unpacked, we encouraged the kids to leave the TV behind and explore outside.

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The exploration paid off quickly. To their delight, the kids discovered a bean bag toss, a friendly barn cat, and a tree house near a small pond that was filled with frogs. The friendly staff at Oxbow also mentioned that three piglets live on the property, so a group of us walked to find them huddled together in a pen. The piglets were shy but our young troupe, who range in age from 3-10, had fun offering the babies bits of hay and calling, “Here, piggie, piggie!” in hopes of some attention. Continue Reading »

School is out in less than a month, and our summer is going to be busier than ever. MP has a special project she is working on, the kids are going to day camps, and we have family visiting from California for a few weeks. Still, there is always room for a few new adventures! Here’s what is on our list:

Maine Huts & Trails

We’ve heard so many good things about Maine Huts & Trails, a nonprofit organization in Kingfield that provides lodging and outdoor activities for all ages and levels of expertise. When a local Mom suggested CP #2’s third grade class take a year-end trip to Maine Huts & Trails, we were all in! Our plan is to take a short hike in with the kids to our hut, explore the grounds and enjoy a big, family-style meal together. We can’t think of a better way to kick off summer!

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Photo courtesy John Orcutt Photogrpahy

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For CP#1’s 10th birthday, our family decided to venture into Portland for the afternoon and treat ourselves to homemade sodas at Vena’s Fizz House. The cozy corner soda bar, which is located on Fore Street, is open to all ages. And while Vena’s specializes in mocktails and cocktails (served only from 7-11 p.m.), the menu has craft sodas and lemonades for the younger set.

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When we arrived, a group of tourists and friends were enjoying drinks, and a young couple at a high hat table sat beside us. MP and the kids scanned the menu and decided on a Blackberry Coconut Fruit Fizz, a Raspberry Lime Rickey made with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and a chocolate cream soda naturally sweetened with honey. Continue Reading »

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