I can’t believe it, but our little blog is turning two years old today! (Awe, our baby is growing up.)
It wasn’t long ago that I was sitting at home with my two babies and going a little stir-crazy. Shawna and I were friends from our previous place of residence, Atlanta, and had both moved to Connecticut and had both recently had babies. We hung out a lot during those early baby days and one day I threw out this crazy idea to start a blog. Well, thankfully she liked the idea and a few months later we were up and running with a real-life blog and our first blog post.
Now we spend our days taking care of even more kids and attempting to document destinations in and around our great state of Connecticut. I think we’ve taken pictures of more bathrooms in Connecticut than we would care to admit, but 160+ destinations later, we are still having fun.
Just for the heck of it, I took a little looky at some of our blog stats (though Shawna probably needs to audit these numbers at some point!):
- The OAAM crew grew from 3 to 5 kids
- Our readership grew from ~1,000 monthly page views to now exceeding 16,000
- We’ve written about over 160 destinations
- We’ve written 335 posts (destinations, Wordless Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, giveaways, product reviews, special events, OAAM Guides, etc.)
- We have almost 1,000 Facebook followers
- We have over 400 followers on Twitter
We are certainly growing and that is really exciting!
Like we did for last year’s anniversary, this year Shawna and I have combed through all the outings we’ve written about in the last twelve months and picked our top 5. Let me tell you, this was not an easy task!
So here we go, our top posts for our second year on Out and About Mom.
Shawna’s Top Five:
Stew Leonard’s Toddler Cooking Class – This year Stew’s in Newington, CT debuted their first ever cooking class for the preschool set, and it was a hit! The OAAM crew loved getting hands-on in the kitchen with unique recipes tailored for toddlers with simple steps and lots of peeling, pressing, and squishing. The kiddos got a real taste for the culinary arts, and the results were pretty tasty too.
Bodie’s Place Playground – We’ve sampled a lot of playgrounds here at OAAM, so when one of them takes our breath away, you know it’s a keeper. Bodie’s Place in Milford, CT has it all: Two unique and colorful playscapes (one small and one large), lots of swings, a sandbox, a mini sensory garden, plus a large covered picnic area that’s perfect for a quick lunch or even for hosting a party, and plenty of benches and tables throughout. And did I mention that the entire playground is completely fenced-in with a latching gate? Like I said, it’s a keeper.
Belltown Hill Orchards Apple Picking – Apple picking is one of my favorite fall activities, and Belltown Hill Orchards in Glastonbury, CT is one of my top picking picks. There’s a fun wagon ride, lots of apple varieties, easy picking, and it’s all followed by a yummy lunch at the Hungry Harvester concession stand. Don’t forget the apple fritters!
Essex Steam Train’s Day Out With Thomas – This year we were lucky enough to be invited to attend the annual Day Out With Thomas event at the Essex Steam Train in Essex, CT. We enjoyed a fun train ride on a real steam train (featuring, of course, that much beloved little trouble-making train), a midway complete with kiddie rides and food stands, and unique kids’ activities like a music show, a magic show, face-painting, and of course lots of toy train tables. But what really impressed us was how organized the event was, and how friendly, helpful, and in character all of the staff members were.
Roger Williams Park Zoo – As a Rhode Island native, the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI is one of my old stomping grounds. But it has undergone some big changes since my childhood days, and even though it’s over the border, it’s definitely worth the trip. With amazing animals (think giraffes and elephants) in habitats that allow you to get up close and personal, hands-on activities and exhibits, and plenty of places to grab a meal, this venue is the perfect place for a family day out. You can even extend your outing by checking out some of the other amenities in the beautiful Roger Williams Park, like the duck pond with paddle boats, a wonderful Boundless Playground, and even a carousel.
Mandy’s Top Five
Boston Children’s Museum – I’ve been to a lot of children’s museums during the last two years, but the Boston Children’s Museum has been one of my favorites. It is huge and offers a variety of activities for kids of all ages. My kids were pretty young (around 18 months) when we visited, so our favorite area was the room devoted to kids three and under, but there is so, so much more to explore. Plus, it is located right in downtown Boston, so that means you can make a full day of it.
Connecticut Science Center – I feel so lucky to have this amazing facility located right in my back yard. On bad weather days, we park right in the garage and head into the building without having to deal with Mother Nature. Once inside, my kids have so much to explore. They are obsessed with the water room located on the first floor, but that is just the beginning of their Science Center adventure. This place is a must-see for anyone living in or visiting the Hartford area.
Northwest Park – On a beautiful day, Northwest Park in Windsor, Connecticut is a wonderful place to visit. The property itself is a wonderful place to explore, but it also includes an animal barn, picnicking areas, a playground, a nature center and walking and hiking trails. I highly recommend enjoying the great outdoors at Northwest Park.
Buckingham Road Playground – This playground located in Avon, Connecticut has everything a kid (and their mom) would like. The playground structure itself is huge and has so much for the kids to explore. There are swings, a smaller playground for the young ones, and a covered picnicking area. But the best thing about this playground (at least in my opinion) is that it is completely fenced-in. Love it!
Gillette Castle State Park – Our trip to Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut was definitely one of my favorite outing this past year. Maybe it was just that we hit it on the perfect Spring day, but the ferry ride to the castle area followed by a stroll around the grounds was picturesque. Oh and the views of the Connecticut river from the castle grounds made me understand why the previous owner fell in love with this property. Bring a lunch and enjoy it while taking in this gorgeous part of our state.
So there you have it, the Top 10 OAAM outings for our second year!
We’ve had so much fun exploring Connecticut and the surrounding states and sharing our findings with you.
But hey, let’s be real. The only reason we can keep having so much fun checking out these family friendly destinations, is because we have great readers like you. Thank you so much for reading our blog, liking us on Facebook, leaving supportive comments, and just generally being awesome. Thank you! Thank you!
So what was your favorite OAAM outing? Have you checked out any of the places we’ve visited? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Meet Our Sponsors!
- Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool – Visit their newly renovated center in Glastonbury. Now enrolling infants, toddlers, preschoolers and pre-k children for their fall program.
- NEW: Jessica’s Garden – This Marlborough destination is a gardening center and food destination rolled into one. A great place to take the kids and enjoy the beautiful grounds and check out their ice cream and lobster shacks.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – Kathryn is a natural light photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
Are you interested in becoming an Out and About Mom sponsor? Click here for more info.
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