Hestheimar Guesthouse & Icelandic Horses

Surrounded by glaciers and beautiful wonders of nature such as Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull, the views surrounding the Hestheimar Guesthouse will leave you in awe.  When we approached the guesthouses we all kept saying how pretty the area around it was and that we felt like we were in a postcard.  The Icelandic horses peering at you from the fences, the mountains in the distance, and the sun starting to turn the sky a lovely shade of pink, made the experience seem surreal.  Read on to hear about our experience at the Hestheimar Guesthouse…


What I’ve Packed for Iceland

The land of ice and fire…talk about a packing nightmare.  Since we were hopping from six hotels this week my husband told me packing light was a must.  How in the world can I pack light when Iceland can have all four seasons in one hour?  As a chronic over-packer, this was going to be a challenge.  In addition to all the usual travel items, these were some extras I needed to bring:

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Blue Man Group, Boston

I never win anything, so I’m not sure why I ever entered this drawing, but a few months later I got the news that we won four tickets to Blue Man Group in Boston!  I was so excited to bring my girls and mother-in-law because we had a blast! The most interesting thing about Blue Man Group is that so many people are so confused at what exactly it is.  I thought I’d try to shed some answers to those questions…

 

What is Blue Man Group?  Is it a play? A musical? An instrumental show?

Great question, but I’m really not sure how to answer it.  It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen on stage.  It combines technology, music, comedy, audience participation, and mind-blowing effects.  Just when you think you’ve seen the best part, they will do something that will make you scream or laugh out loud.  There is no category for this show, it has to be experienced to understand. The members of Blue Man Group never speak, but through facial expression and gestures you understand them.  There is also a live band that adds to the excitement of the show.

 

For what age is the show appropriate for?

The show is meant to be multi-generational experience and we were three generations that all had a great time. 

 

What the heck is the poncho section?

The first four or five rows closest to the stage are given ponchos because there is a chance they may get splashed.  We were upgraded to the poncho section and it was a bit of a letdown because no one got wet or splattered throughout the whole show.  So we wore the poncho through the whole thing and it was pretty anticlimactic. If I had paid extra to be in this zone, I would have been disappointed.

What is the running time?

The show was about an hour and a half long and there was no intermission.  Make sure everyone uses the restrooms because they discourage you from leaving the theater during the show. 

 

Are there strobe lights?  Is it loud? Scary?

There are strobe lights but I heard that if you tell them you have a sensitivity to them that a member of the house staff will let you know when it is about to occur.  It is very loud in the theater and there is so much going on that it might overwhelm some kids.  It’s not scary, but the Blue Man Group come right out in the audience several times throughout the show and these bald, blue, non-smiling men may make some kids nervous.

 

What is the theater like?  Is it huge?  Are there many bad seats?

The Boston show is held at the Charles Playhouse.  I love this theater because it is small and there are very few bad seats.  I sat in the mezzanine when I was here 10 years ago and this time we sat in the front row in the side section.  The theater has a modern, industrial feel. 

 

Who in the world thought of this show?

Three friends named Chris Wink, Phil Stanton, and Matt Goldman thought of the concept but they had a hard time getting anyone to come on board with their project.  They finally decided to invest their resources and time into a small theater in NYC and it exploded into a world-wide theatrical success!

 

Where can you see it?

It has been performed in over 20 countries and has been seen by over 35 million people since 1991.  It has permanent theatrical productions in NYC, Boston, Las Vegas, Chicago, Orlando, and Berlin.

 

Tips for Planning a Trip to the Boston Show

-We went down to the lounge after the show and we were so excited when the Blue Man Group cast came down to take pictures with the audience that was there.  They were so funny and took the time to take pictures with every single person there.

-Food and water can be bought at the concession stands and can be brought into the theater.

-Use restrooms before the show starts.

-Do NOT show up late…someone always does and you don’t want to be that person…you’ll see why.

-Don’t bother buying the light-up drumsticks because you can’t use them during the show.  (So glad we didn’t!)

-Like most shows, you can not take pictures or video during the show.

Address: 74 Warrenton Street, Boston MA 02116

Box Office: (800) BLUEMAN

Website: http://blueman.com

 

 


GullWing Beach Resort

There are some resorts that we will never forget, and the GullWing Beach Resort on Fort Myers Beach, Florida is one of them.  When staying at a hotel, I don’t often know much about the accommodations I will be given, so I usually prepare for the worst but keep fingers crossed for a room that has some space for my family to spread out.  I had no idea what to expect and I can honestly say I was absolutely shocked when we walked into the suite.  It was breathtaking and I couldn’t believe we were lucky enough to be spending the entire week here!  The most nerve-wracking moment is when you place your key in the door and give it a turn.  You never know what to expect.  Well…this is what welcomed us as we walked in…

Click here to read all about our experience


Naples Botanical Garden

We continued our day trip to Naples, Florida with a trip to the Naples Botanical Garden.  The easy 45-minute drive from Fort Myers Beach made it a good destination and we had such a fun time that we can’t wait to go back.  This large garden consists of 170 acres open to the public daily.  Often on vacation we spend too much time running around from attraction to attraction that we don’t stop to take a breath, looks around at the beauty in nature, and just enjoy being in the moment.  The Naples Botanical Garden makes you literally ‘stop and smell the roses.’  At first I wondered if my kids might lose interest quickly, but they loved it and could have stayed longer if we had the time.  There is something for everyone here and it would be a great trip to take with multi-generations.  Here are a few of our favorite spots in the garden:

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Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

 Since we are staying in Fort Myers Beach for the week, we decided to make a day trip to beautiful Naples, Florida and explore some fun options for families.  My girls are animal lovers so they really enjoy going to zoos.  We decided to spend the morning at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.  The zoo is immaculately clean and easy to navigate.  The staff is knowledgeable and welcoming to guests.  The exhibits encourage you to ask questions and give you tips on how you can help save the environment.  It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon.  Here are a few of our favorite moments from our day:

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Beach Fever

It’s official…I’ve got chronic beach fever.  Symptoms include irritability towards snow piles, sadness brought on by having to wear a coat, and anxiety brought on by looking at my flip-flops just sitting in my closet. It’s a miserable condition brought on by a long winter and spring snowstorms.  Luckily, this condition can be cured through putting your toes in the sand, swimming in salt water, and drinking a cocktail before noon.  Our next trip cannot come soon enough.  For now, I’m daydreaming about our top 10 family beach trips.

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Great Wolf Lodge New England

When we chose our dates for our stay at Great Wolf Lodge New England, I was disappointed that I chose a day during spring because I love being at an indoor water park while it’s snowing outside.  Well thank you Mother Nature because on the day we arrived we had a huge snowstorm brewing outside.  After a white-knuckle ride to the hotel we were greeted by a warm roaring fireplace in the main lobby and that’s when the fun began.  And see that tornado waterslide?  Yep…we rode it!

Read all about our adventures HERE!


10 Ways to Survive a Layover with Kids

The days of long layovers where you sit back, enjoy a latte, and lose yourself in a good book seem to disappear after you have kids.  Layovers are a lot more work when you now have to entertain little ones.  In fact, after having kids I try to avoid layovers as much as possible, but sometimes they can’t be avoided.  Here are 10 tips for how I survive a layover:

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Maple Express at Charmingfare Farms

 

When you think of March in New Hampshire, the first thing that comes to mind is maple syrup!!  In fact, the New Hampshire maple industry produces close to 90,000 gallons of maple syrup annually.  However, this phenomenon of Mother Nature is dictated by weather, not calendar.  It is the freezing nights and warm days that make sap flow, so it can begin in late February and run into early April.  The magic is that no one can predict what the season will bring.  Charmingfare Farms, in Candia, NH, offers a fun way for your family to experience sugaring on a working farm.  This farm has been a favorite spot for my family since our kids were young, but we had never done the Maple Express.  It was such a pleasant way to spend the afternoon and I would strongly recommend taking this tour.  Let me show you how we spent our day.

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