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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

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Happy New Year! We missed you. With the holidays behind us, our thoughts are turning to winter and our wish list of things to do throughout the season. Skating, cross-country skiing, brunching with friends and local road trips have become favorite activities for our family, but we’re always looking to do more. Here’s our wish list for 2017: (more…)

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MP recently met with Courtney Cronin, a Portland-based mother of two who is the founder of Maine Forest Playgroup, a parent-powered program that encourages families to enjoy the outdoors together. Designed for children ages one to five, the group meets on Friday mornings at nature preserves, parks, and beaches in and around Portland.

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Courtney started the group in December 2015. As a mother to an infant and an active toddler, she wanted a playgroup that would engage them both. A lifelong love of the outdoors, coupled with years of community outreach experience, gave her the tools she needed to start. Courtney organized the initial playgroup meetings on her own, offering an outdoor activity and a fun, new location for families to meet each week. Before long, word about Maine Forest Playgroup spread and parents began volunteering to facilitate group outings. Courtney says at least a dozen kids and parents show up on Friday mornings, no matter what the weather. (more…)

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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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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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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. (more…)

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Note: Sadly, Willowbrook Village closed in fall 2016 after 46 years of operation. See this Portland Press Herald feature for more.

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With Maine Maple Sunday landing on Easter this year, we knew we wouldn’t have time to visit one of our favorite farms. So, we decided to switch things up a little and make the trip to 19th Century Willowbrook Village in Newfield for Maple Syrup Saturday. The historic, country village has long been on our wish list of places to visit and this special event, which featured carriage rides, maple syrup making, a bean supper-style lunch, and a letterpress demonstration, gave us good reason to go.

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