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Saturday, July 23, 2022

Three Days in Lisbon, Portugal (with a toddler)


If you are just checking in, we spent a week in Portugal and split up our time between 3ish days in the Algarve and 3ish days in Lisbon. On Friday morning, we checked out of our AirBnb in the Algarve and made the drive back north to Portugal's capital of Lisbon. We had three(ish) days to explore the city before flying out of Portugal to spend a week in the Azores. After a few days on the southern coast, we were excited to be in the city within walking distance to just about everything. We stayed at an AirBnb north of Alfama and Bairro Alto which was walking distance to a great park and a lot of restaurants and a great bakery.

Here is how we spent our three days exploring the city (and Sintra). 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Three Days in the Algarve (with a toddler)


Welcome to the first (of several) posts in my Portugal series. To recap, we took off two weeks in mid-June for a European summer holiday. We spent one week on the mainland of Portugal, and one week on the Portuguese island of Sao Miguel in the Azores (roughly 1,000 miles from the Portuguese mainland).  Why Portugal? My parents were born in the Azores and find themselves traveling back to Portugal and the Azores time and time again. It's also a safe and affordable place to travel. I planned this two-week trip abroad with my husband, our 16-month-old son, my parents, and my inlaws. It was our first serious trip with our son and his first time on a plane so we planned our travels when the adult-to-child ratio was in our favor. 

The streets of Ferragudo

This was my second time back to Portugal, but my first time as an adult and my first time with a toddler old in tow. You may be wondering why we chose to drag a toddler on a red-eye flight and all this way when he is too young to ever remember any of it. The truth is I wanted the memories here with him and the confidence to travel with him. I wanted him to learn to be a baby who travels and to be able to adapt to a different culture, different food, and a different way of life. I wanted to raise a child who had been abroad before he had been to Disney and from a young age, could see the world through a lens that wasn't always clouded with our American Exceptionalism. 

It's not that I mean to sound pretentious and if you break it down dollar for dollar, a European vacation is likely cheaper than a week at the parks after you factor in overpriced meals, expensive lodging, and the high cost of park admission. It's that I don't enjoy crowds, the culture at the parks, and Disney World just has little appeal to the way I like to travel. Now more than ever, it's important to expose our children and ourselves to different cultures and experiences. I'll take him once when he's older for his American right of passage but for now, I wanted to experience a family summer vacation the way Europeans do. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Hammonasset Beach State Park Walk - Paved Recreation Path in Madison, CT


 I always appreciated a good rec path and this summer I started thinking about including a rec path section on KW. Why do I love a good recreation path? They are often flat, in a super scenic area, and provide a safe place for you to walk, bike, run, walk your dog, rollerblade, or whatever you want to do outside (without a motor). Once I had Whitney, I learned to appreciate these dedicated pedestrian lanes even more as a safe place to run. Exercise is a priority for my physical and mental health and finding the time to fit it into my busy day usually involves bringing Whitney along for the ride. I run around our neighborhood a lot out of pure convenience (right out the door) and safety (quiet roads with cul-de-sacs). The only problem is it's very hilly and sometimes you just need some flat roads and a change of scenery. 

I started upping my mileage to include some long runs and knew I was bringing Whitney. It had been a while since I visited Hammonasset State Park a few towns over in Madison, Connecticut. It's known for its paved rec path through the park, beach access, campground, and nature center. It's all in the details like the rentable pavilions here families host birthday parties, the playground along the path, water stations along the trail (attached dog water stations included), boardwalks, a nature center, and some trails through the park. It's a great family-friendly place and truth be told, it's a great spot for a longer run. Safe, restricted paved path, bathrooms, a snack shack, a view, and flat terrain.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Farmington Polo Summer Saturdays


It's polo season here in Connecticut. It sounds pretentious but the thing about heading to Farmington for a polo match is it can be anything you want. Bring the kids and the dogs and hang out with the family. Dress up and bring your girlfriends for a picnic. Bring your friends and some wine for cocktail hour before dinner. Bring nothing and grab food and drinks there and relax. I've been a few times and every time we go we plan it picnic style. We bring the dogs, pack a few chairs, bring a picnic-style dinner, and enjoy a sunny summer Saturday here in New England. It's relaxing, social, and a fun way for the kids to blow off some energy and the adults to mingle. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Road Trip with a Toddler

If you read my last post, you already know that we went to Maryland as a trial run for traveling with a toddler. Just when you think you have it all figured out, they are out of one stage and into the other and you have to pivot or even completely change your strategy. Traveling with a newborn vs a 6-month-old vs a 1-year-old is all very different. Gone are the days of sleepy babies happy to nap in the car or at a restaurant. Here are the days of a mobile toddler who hates to be restrained in any type of way and demands all sorts of food at all sorts of times. If you are nervous about traveling with a toddler, I can't stress a trial run enough. This road trip gave me confidence that we can travel with him as he moves through his toddler stages and we had the chance to test out some new gear and new strategies. Today's post is all about some tips and tricks that worked well for us.