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Posts Tagged ‘family travel’

In February, when the first of two big snowstorms hit, our family visited Heywood Kennel in Augusta for our inaugural dog sledding adventure. Owner Colby Briggs and his partner Erin Noll have operated the kennels since May 2016 after his parents retired from the business.

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Located off a busy road, Heywood is home to a wood-fired warming hut and 30 good-natured sled dogs. The temperature was below 20-degrees on the morning we arrived, and our hosts were kind enough to offer extra snow pants (MP forgot her own) and hand warmers. Once we were ready, Colby warned us that the dogs would be loud when we met them at the kennels and for good reason. After a mild January with little snow, the dogs couldn’t wait to pull a sled.

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You have to love a getaway that’s less than 30 minutes from your home, but makes you feel as if you’re hundreds of miles away. In our case, Maine Forest Yurts, which is located in Durham, is such a place. The 100-acre retreat, which opened in 2013, is owned and operated by Bob Crowley, winner of the reality series “Survivor: Gabon,” his wife, Peggy and their adult children. The secluded property includes three yurts, wide trails to explore, a fairy house village and a shallow pond that’s great for skating.

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Now that school is back in full swing, MP finds herself daydreaming about summer adventures with family. One of her favorite memories is a morning hike to Moxie Falls in the West Forks. At a vertical drop of over 90 feet, the waterfall is one of the highest in New England.

The hike to Moxie Falls is short – just .6 of a mile one way, making it an easy walk with kids or dogs in tow. This well-groomed trail is flat and features some fun little climbing spots along the way, such as boulders and felled trees.

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We traveled to the woods of Western Maine in late July for a weekend at Northern Outdoors, an all ages adventure resort. Located in The Forks, Northern Outdoors is best known for white water rafting adventures, but for our young crew (ages 9-up), we decided a self-guided paddle down the lower portion of the Kennebec River was the best option.

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Visitors can choose from traditional camp sites, condos or rustic cabins like this one.

Float trips down the Kennebec begin in the afternoon, so our family had plenty of time to explore the area (more on our hike to Moxie Falls in a later post). The kids also enjoyed the pool that’s located on the grounds. CP#1 and #2, along with their cousin C, had a blast making up crazy jumps and playing in the water.

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When our family takes a summer road trip, we’re not the “let’s hurry to our destination” types. Rather we like to check out the places that catch our interest along the way. While driving to Blue Hill, we decided to stop at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory in Prospect. Located on the grounds of Fort Knox historic site, the 420 foot high observatory is the only one of its kind in the United States and the tallest in the world. In fact, it’s even taller than the Statue of Liberty!

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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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