Category Archives: Massachusetts

New England Fall Foliage

After 5 and a half days without power, we are up and running again!  Now to think about the upcoming Fall season.

I can’t think of a better place to view fall foliage than New England – picturesque towns, winding country roads, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and hayrides.  I absolutely love Fall.  It’s one of the reasons I couldn’t think of moving somewhere else in the country.  I love when the temperatures dip to sweater weather, the changing colors on the trees, going apple picking, sipping apple cider and going on a hayride to pick pumpkins with the kids.  When I lived in Puerto Rico for a year and a half, I remember coming back up to the mainland in October.  I was so depressed when I had to go back down to Puerto Rico.  If you’ve never experienced Fall in New England, you are really missing out.  Put it on your vacation to-do list.  The best month to visit is October.  Which time in October will depend on the state you’re visiting, so check out their sites below.

Here’s a list of leaf peeping routes in each of the New England states:

Maine - Many people visit Maine only over the summer.  That’s a shame because it is fabulous every season of the year.  We’ve even visited in the winter months to enjoy some clam chowder in Portland at Gilbert’s Chowder House, but I digress.  Here’s the link to Maine’s Official Fall Foliage site.

New Hampshire - I regret to say that I haven’t visited New Hampshire extensively.  Since my husband’s family lives in VT, we tend to go there instead of New Hampshire.  It is a unique state in that the southern part is very close to Boston and more populated, but as you more north it becomes less and less populated.  Here’s the link to New Hampshire’s Official Fall Foliage site.

Vermont - I am so sad to hear about the destruction that Hurricane Irene brought to Vermont.  It really is one of the most beautiful states you’ll ever visit.  That is one of the reasons that my husband and I decide to get married there instead of my own hometown.  Most of the state is very rural.  There are so many idyllic small towns, covered bridges and maple sugar houses.  Because Vermont isn’t overpopulated, you will see tons of trees changing colors.  You don’t need specific scenic routes because most roads in the state are scenic.  If you want to go leaf peeping, but still want to have conveniences of a larger city, visit Burlington.  It is located right on Lake Champlain and within about 30 minutes of ski resorts like Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch.  Here’s a link to the Vermont’s Official Fall Foliage site.

Massachusetts – Eastern and Western Massachusetts are a world apart.  You have Boston and the Cape in the east and the Berkshire’s in the west.  So you can have many different kids of vacations in Massachusetts.  If you visit western Massachusetts, make sure you visit the Yankee Candle Flagship Store in South Deerfield.  Here’s a link the Massachusetts Fall Foliage site.

Rhode Island - It may be our smallest state, but it’s surely not one to miss.  I love the beaches and the Newport Mansions.  As a side note, Newport Mansions are an incredible place to visit around Christmastime.  Here’s a link to a Rhode Island Fall Foliage site.

Connecticut - Okay, I’m a little biased, but Connecticut is a fabulous state.  You have beautiful beaches, wealthy Fairfield County, scenic Litchfield County, wonderful historic sites, wineries, casinos and the Quiet Corner (northeastern CT).  Don’t be scared away based on damage from Hurricane Irene.  We are resilient people and are quickly rebuilding.  And because of the rain we received this year, I’m guessing that the Fall foliage will be vibrant.  Here’s a link to Connecticut Fall Foliage site.  Here’s another site you might like to check out.

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Basketball Hall of Fame

My sister and her family were visiting us from North Carolina last weekend.  Her husband and her older son are huge basketball fans.  So going to the Basketball Hall of Fame was a must-do activity for their visit.  I had only been to the Basketball Hall of Fame one time before.  It was shortly after it moved to its new location in 2002.  They have made a lot of improvements in the last 9 years.

The Hall of Fame has several interactive exhibits.  One of them has a blue screen that you stand in front of and you play a virtual basketball game.  Another one tests to see how high you can jump to get a ball (like at tip-off).  And there’s another that allows you to be a sportscaster reading from a teleprompter.

And of course, there is a lot of memorabilia.  There are sections for coaches, college, professional and women’s basketball.  One of my favorite areas was the one dedicated to Michael Jordan.  They have a room where they play a video about his career.  They also have a wall of Air Jordans.

The main floor of the Hall of Fame is a basketball court.  One side has a bunch of hoops that show the progression of the hoop, starting with the peach basket.  On another side, they have a Slam Dunk area – there are 4 hoops set at different heights.

Overall, it was a really fun visit, even for someone who really isn’t into basketball like me.  And I know it was a blast for those who are big basketball fans!

Virtual Basketball

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Jump for the Ball

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Michael Jordan

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Main Floor

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Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

We were so fortunate to have my sister and her family visit this past week.  So we got to play tourists in our own area.  There is so much to see in New England.  You can visit historic sites, beaches, major cities, many museums and so much more.  There were 2 places that they really wanted to visit – The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and The Basketball Hall of Fame.  I had visited the Basketball Hall of Fame shortly after they opened in their new building (shaped like a basketball) and I had never been to the Eric Carle Museum.

Now being a frugal traveler, I didn’t want to pay full price to visit the museums.  So before we went, I stopped by our local library and picked up museum passes for the 2 sites.  That allowed 6 of us (2 adults and 4 kids) to get in free to the Eric Carle Museum.  That saved us $40.  And we got reduced admission to the Basketball Hall of Fame, saving us $30.  When you have people visiting you, check out your library to see if they have museum passes.  Ours has passes for most of the major tourist attractions.

Today I’ll talk about the Eric Carle Museum and tomorrow I’ll talk about the Basketball Hall of Fame.

We started our day at the Eric Carle Museum.  It is a fairly new museum.  It’s very clean and bright in the foyer.  They have an auditorium where they show videos of some of Eric Carle’s work.  They also have a studio where kids can make art work.  Then there are a few galleries of picture book art.  One of them is focused on Eric Carle’s work.  The other galleries showcase picture book art.  Our kids loved a scavenger hunt that they have in the Eric Carle gallery.  There is a list of items that they have to find in gallery (items in the pictures or showcases).  They check off the items as they find them.  After they find all of the items, they take their sheet to the front desk where they are given a Very Hungry Caterpillar tattoo.

While I liked the museum, I’m not sure I would worth the “list” admission price unless you’re really into children’s books.  If your kids like art work, the studio would be a really fun outing.  For some reason, our kids all got really shy when we went into the studio so we didn’t get the full benefit of the museum.

I was really surprised how much our kids liked the museum considering they are out of the age for picture books.  Their favorite part was the scavenger hunt.  And the museum has a great gift shop.  You can buy limited print lithographs of Eric Carle’s work along with many kids books, decorating items for kids rooms and other kids items.

You are not allowed to take pictures in the galleries so I don’t have many pictures.  I only have one that my sister took in the art studio.

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