Pssst! If you’ve been following the blog this week, then you know we would really love to be able to post a third top 5 list this week, one from you, our readers. What has been your favorite outing that you discovered from our blog? Pick just one and tell us what it is by leaving a comment on this post or on our Facebook page. We will tabulate all the responses and summarize them in a top 5 post later this week. Can’t wait to hear your favorite!
Now, back to today’s post…
In case you haven’t heard, this week marks our third blog-a-versary. That’s right. Three years of “scouting your CT outing.” After three years and almost 300 outings, you’d think we’d be running short on new ideas for family fun. But the truth is, the more we explore, the more we discover! And our “to do” list is overflowing with possibilities for our fourth year of blogging.
As promised, now it’s my turn to round up my top 5 outings from the 2013-2014 OAAM blogging year. But first, I couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic. How many of you remember this look?
Yeah. I kind of cringe a little when I see that too. It’s the same feeling I get when I look at my high school prom picture 🙂
Lucky for us, we found a wonderful partner in DreamUp Studios who helped us bring our vision to life this year with a gorgeous new site that much better reflects not only our personalities, but the style and sensibilities of our readers as well. So thanks again, Ashley! We would not be where we are today without you.
And of course, we also have to thank our fabulous site photographer, Kathryn Deane Photography. Kathryn hit the ball out of the park this year with a fantastic fall photo shoot that left us wondering: who are all those pretty people up there in that header pic? It couldn’t be our crazy crew! Over the past two years, we have been so fortunate to work with Kathryn. She’s talented, creative, and above all: patient 🙂 It’s hard to imagine our blog without her!
In truth, I could go on thanking people all day. There have been so many folks who have had a hand in making Out and About Mom such a success. Our husbands, for example, who have put up with being dragged out of bed early on Saturday mornings; who have wrangled the kiddos while we wielded the cameras; and who have withstood the eternal embarrassment of standing next to us while we photograph yet another restroom.
We also can’t forget about our wonderful sponsors who have bolstered the site with their financial support and made it possible for us to keep the blog going. We look forward to continued partnerships with them, and we hope to gain the support of still more family-centric businesses and organizations in the coming year as we expand our sponsorship options.
But the most important people to thank are our readers. Because without you, the site would not exist. So thank you for your ongoing support and your unwavering dedication to helping us spread the word about this little blog we dreamed up one day in Mandy’s living room. We could not have imagined three years ago that Out and About Mom would have the following it does today. And we hope that we can continue to grow this community until it includes every CT parent who enjoys getting “out and about” with their little ones!
Now, for the much anticipated outings list. It’s hard to narrow it down to just five when there are so many wonderful places (and wonderful people) that we’ve visited, but below are my top picks for our third blog-a-versary (in no particular order; hey, it was hard enough just to choose the five!). Enjoy!
Pumpkintown USA; East Hampton, CT
Every fall, Connecticut gets a new town on the map: Pumpkintown USA. Last year was my first visit, and I am looking forward to making this an annual family tradition. From the charming pumpkin people to the kids’ activities (including a hay maze, bounce house, “the ride”, and more) to the pumpkin patch and country store, this totally non-scary Halloween-themed event is sure to be the highlight of the season for little boys and ghouls 🙂
Wee Faerie Village; Old Lyme, CT
Another famous fall event that has become one of my favorites is the annual Wee Faerie Village hosted by the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. Each year, local artists prepare a dazzling display of faerie-inspired sculptures nestled throughout the Museum’s gorgeous grounds. The theme and art installations change from year to year, so there’s always a new faerie land to discover. You’ll also find plenty of kid-friendly activities like crafts and storytimes. Grab your wings (seriously, everyone will be wearing wings), and go!
New Britain Museum of American Art; New Britain, CT
The NBMAA gets my vote for the most delightfully surprising outing of the year. Not only did I not know that we have a world class art museum just down the road in New Britain, CT, but I certainly had no idea just how kid-friendly a fine art museum can be! From family-friendly galleries and exhibits to the always-open Art Lab to drop-in art classes for kids (including their brand new “Museum and Me: Playdates with Art” series for babies ages 0-2 debuting this month), the NBMAA has what it takes to earn a spot on your list of places to go often. It will definitely be on mine!
Ray of Light Farm; East Haddam, CT
Sometimes an outing is more than just a few hours of fun. Sometimes it can be an inspiration. Like spending some time at Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam, CT where dedicated volunteers donate their time and their skills to help abused, neglected, abandoned, or just down-on-their-luck animals. Whether you simply stop by for a visit with four-legged friends, opt for a drop-in pony ride, or sign up for a weekly class, please go and support the wonderful people running this amazing organization devoted to giving a second chance to animals in need.
Children’s Museum at Holyoke; Holyoke, MA
We have a lot of wonderful children’s museums here in Connecticut, but every so often we remember that our neighbors in Massachusetts are closer than we think. Like the Children’s Museum at Holyoke, MA, which is just a quick, 40-minute drive from the Hartford area. Packed full of fun exhibits, and located at Holyoke Heritage State Park, which also boasts a cute preschooler playscape and a historic carousel that is open all year ’round, this museum is a best bet for an interstate adventure.
So there you have it. My top 5 outings from our third year of blogging. I can’t believe how many new places we discovered this year, and I can’t wait to see where our fourth year of blogging will take us!
Of course, we always love reader recommendations too, and we’re hoping to get lots this year. Whether you leave a comment on a post, post a comment on our Facebook page, or just drop us a note via email, we hope to hear from each and every one of our readers about their favorite places for enjoying time with their little ones.
Looking forward to another year of great adventures!
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- NEW Imagine Studio – Under the direction of Karla Kress-Boyle, opening this fall at 97 South Street is West Hartford’s only Creative Arts Studio. Focusing on building imagination and self confidence, our wonderful staff will be sharing their talents in Dance, Art, Music, Yoga and Theater programming.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
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