Today’s post is brought to you by The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. Don’t miss their upcoming presentation that is perfect for your littlest theater goers: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE! coming up on January 8, 2017 at 3:00pm.
Join Daniel Tiger and his friends as they hop aboard the trolley and explore their beloved Neighborhood of Make-Believe in this live theatrical production filled with singing, dancing, laughter and “grr-ific” surprises.
It’s an interactive musical adventure that will delight the young and the young at heart!
Purchase tickets or get more information about Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE! here. VIP tickets include access to a post show Meet and Greet with Daniel and friends!
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I love to try new things with my kids. That’s one of the reasons this blog has been so meaningful in my life. Over the past 5+ years, writing this blog has given me that extra little “push” to get out the door and explore a place that I otherwise might never have discovered. And that has been wonderful!
But I am also a girl who loves traditions. Especially at this time of year, I am always on the lookout for activities that we can share as a family season after season. And this blog has been equally effective in helping me find holiday events that my family can look forward to each year.
One activity that we have enjoyed over the years is visiting gingerbread house exhibitions. We have checked out the annual displays at the Wood Memorial Library in South Windsor and The Springfield Museums in Springfield, MA.
But this year, we thought instead of just looking at gingerbread houses, we would make some ourselves! And we found the perfect place to do it: Lyman Orchards Gingerbread House Workshop for Children!
This annual event definitely draws a crowd, so you need to register in advance online. There are multiple time slots each weekend, but we opted for the 1:00pm session so that we could arrive a little early and enjoy lunch at the Apple Barrel first (the Gingerbread House Workshop takes place inside the Apple Barrel, which is the famous Lyman Orchards farm store).
There were plenty of signs to make sure we were headed in the right direction.
And lots of convenient parking right out front. I don’t know why I thought it would be crowded, but we were pleasantly surprised to find only a handful of cars in the parking area.
As we got out of the car the kids spotted the ducks all the way across the pond. So of course we had to go get a better look 🙂
Next stop, the Apple Barrel.
As you enter, you’ll see that there are all kinds of fun events happening here during the holiday season.
The Apple Barrel is an amazing store! It’s filled with all kinds of fresh produce, baked goods, jarred/canned goods and lots of delicious treats and gifts.
Since I had read Mandy’s previous posts about Lyman Orchards (here and here), I knew that the Apple Barrel also serves a variety of lunch specialties like sandwiches, soups, salads, etc. They even have a kids’ menu with grilled cheese, hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken tenders and mac & cheese. You can check out their menu online here, but it’s also posted in the store.
It’s very casual. You just order at the counter and pick up your food when it’s ready.
There is a small seating nook with tables and chairs (and high chairs!), which is conveniently located next to the restrooms (where there are changing stations in both the men’s and women’s rooms).
These goofballs were ready for some lunch (after almost knocking over every single snack display near the counter in their exuberance to order–these two keep me on my toes for sure!).
Fortunately, it didn’t take too long before the food was ready.
The little guy enjoyed his mac & cheese with french fries.
And my big guy was inexplicably excited about his plain hamburger patty (no bun, no fries, no nothing). This kid is the pickiest of picky eaters! But hey, hamburger is new territory for him so I’m loving it all the same 🙂
I sampled the Cortland Sandwich: turkey, muenster cheese, cranberry mayo, cucumber and spring lettuces.
Hubby went for the Crispin: grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, lettuce, red onion, apple slices and apple glace.
Everything was really good!
While the family was eating, I snuck over to the area where the workshop would be held and snapped a quick picture of the space.
The gingerbread houses were already made and ready to be decorated! I wasn’t sure what to expect when we signed up (would I be building this house from scratch?), but it was nice that the houses were premade. That definitely made the activity even more kid-friendly because the houses were sturdy and ready for TONS of decorations. That’s the fun part after all 🙂
We finished up lunch and headed over to the front of the store where the workshop was taking place. We checked in (just giving our name was enough, though I had also printed out our receipt just in case), found a spot at the table with a house and donned the provided aprons, caps and gloves.
There were gloves for the grownups too. After a brief introduction and a few instructions, we were free to get started! At the front of the space was a long table just covered in candy. The variety was incredible! Everything from gummy worms, jelly beans and candy corn to Twizzlers, sparkly sprinkles and coconut flakes. And then some 🙂
Conveniently, the icing was already in piping bags for us. Although the kids needed a hand with that part, it was easy to let them help.
Then it was just candy, candy and MORE candy!
They even had these crates for the little ones to stand on so they could reach the table better.
In addition to the houses, each child also had three giant cookies to decorate!
Now, of course the candy really isn’t meant to be eaten during this decorating workshop, but if your little one can’t resist, no one is going to mind. Just look at this guy. Every time we turned around he was stuffing something else in his mouth 🙂
Oh well. At least most of it ended up on the houses. How great are these?!
Seriously, this one was trying to eat his house even before it was finished 🙂
There were plenty of boxes available for transporting the houses and the cookies.
As if we didn’t just have enough sweets, we thought we’d end the visit with some of those famous Lyman Orchards doughnuts.
A delicious lunch, a creative and festive holiday activity and even a little gift-shopping. All in a laid-back and friendly atmosphere that is a far cry from the hectic hustle and bustle of most shopping locations this time of year. By golly, I think I’ve found myself a new holiday tradition 🙂
I hope you get a chance to enjoy this unique activity too!
The Gingerbread House Workshop for Children runs four weekends in November/December. Remaining dates for the 2016 season are 12/17 & 12/18. See here for details.
The Apple Barrel is Open Daily from 9am-6pm and food is served at the deli counter at all open hours.
Gingerbread House Workshop pricing: $19.95+tax per person
Don’t forget to register online ahead of time!
Stroller Friendly: YES
Coffee Mug Friendly: YES; and they serve coffee!
Baby Changing Station: YES; in both the men’s and women’s rooms.
Parking: YES, convenient parking right out front.
Food for Sale: YES
Outside Food Allowed: Snacks or food for the kids would probably be fine, but since they have a deli counter serving food, you probably wouldn’t want to bring your whole lunch with you.
Cash Required: NO
Dress Code: For the gingerbread house workshop they do give the kids plastic aprons, and this isn’t a particularly messy activity, but I would still dress the kids (and yourself) in clothes that you won’t mind getting some frosting on 🙂
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Discounts: None that we know of.
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