Do you have an outdoorsy family on your holiday list this year? Check out our Gear List for those active families! From Luci blow up solar lantern to Bar Mitts to an ENO Picnic Blanket, this list has it all!
What have been your go-to gear items this past year? Anything you are excited about in 2016? We have used all the items above and LOVE them! We recommend this gear for all families!
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We are a family of awesome non-traditional traditions. We love traditions but not in the sense that most people think of tradition.
For example, we had two weddings. The first one was just the two of us, our two dogs and an officiant at a cabin on the hillside at sunrise. Our little ones first birthday was a big “todo”, but instead of pony rides and marry-go-rounds, we opted for an open tab at our favorite local brewery and celebrated with all our closest friends.
This Thanksgiving we decided since we are currently living in the south and only a few hours from the coast, we would ride our bikes along the Gulf of Mexico over the holiday.
Nearly every Thanksgiving, that we have been in the states, has been celebrated with family and friends. Lots of food, overstuffed bellies, naps and games. This year the Adventure Van was calling our name! We spent 2 nights and 3 days on the road in Florida.
Our first stop was Pensacola, FL. With no agenda but to ride our bikes and enjoy the weather, we didn’t make any reservations. Upon arriving at camp after dark, we set up shop and had the van ready for sleeping in no time.
The morning came a little early. We woke to the sound of waves and a bright sun shining on the van. While the hubby took the little one to the beach, I organized the van and had a glorious morning coffee out of my favorite silipint. (NOTE: we love these glasses. Its great for cold beer and does NOT get hot with hot coffee! Stay tuned for Adventure Family In Motion Sili-Pints coming soon!)
We strolled the beach and collected seashells, enjoyed the morning breeze and then set out for a quick ride around camp. Come to find out that Thanksgiving is a big camping holiday in the south. We thought a round of disc golf was in order but we don’t own discs so we were going to rent them…but the place was closed. The next option, pack up and head east!
We explored historic Pensacola on bike! Neat area with a quaint main street that offered a overabundance of restaurants, bars, and shops. The street ends at the water where many marinas house huge yachts. We let the toddler do her thing while we enjoyed the beautiful day. The pigeons were out in masses and would crowd around all the kids looking for a handout.
We had lunch at an awesome build-your-own burger joint that features spiked milkshakes and craft beer called the Tin Cow! (Just what the mommy needed!)
After lunch it was time to head to Pensacola Beach (over a mile long bridge). It was time for some beach roaming. The little princess LOVES the beach and would spend all day there if she could. The weather was in the low 60s with a brisk wind, but that didn’t stop her! She was elbows deep in the Gulf of Mexico! We spent an hour running in the water, collecting seashells and burying her feet in the sand. When she finally walked back to the van she was a little sugar cookie.
On the west end of the island is Fort Pickens Gulf Island National Seashore. Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay, Florida. Ten concrete gun batteries were built between 1890 and 1940s, each in a response to a particular threat. Now open to the public, visitors can explore the fort at their leisure. Most areas in the fort are open to wander.
We drove around the camp ground at Fort Pickens and found a great spot near the restrooms & bike path with plenty of shade! It was also essential not to have a clear view of the beach, since I am certain we would have lost the little one to her own beach roaming.
With the evenings coming quicker and quicker lately, we had a campfire up and going in no time. Hotdogs and smores’ while curled up next to a fire pit is ideal camping and a perfect Thanksgiving eve!
The next morning was good ol’ Thanksgiving Day! The weather was great and we all slept till 8! First thing was first…a bike ride! We took the bike path to the Fort and explored the old bunkers.
By the time we retired to camp it was time to clean up and move out. A few laps around running camp with the toddler is always essential; one parent preps the van for departure the other runs laps around the camp ground wearing out the toddler.
Our Thanksgiving feast was a beautiful brunch at Jimmy Buffets hotel Margaritaville. A beautiful buffet spread of two types of cooked turkey, lamb and roast beef along with 2 types of dressing and a plethora of desserts!
With full bellies and grateful hearts we loaded up in the Adventure Van and headed home.
According tot the National Geographic book Four Seasons of Travel these top 10 places are the spot to be on St Patricks day!
Where will you be?
New York City, New York
The six-hour long parade attracts nearly 2million people annually. Led by a military unit, a foot-power only procession (no cars or floats allowed) starts at 44th Street and ends at Fifth Ave.
South Boston is St. Patrick’s Day central! Since 1901, “Southie” has hosted the parade, which is held on the Sunday closest to March 17th.
Chicago has a tradition of turning the Chicago River Green with 18kg of EPA-approved dye; the perfect kelly green. the St. Patrick’s parade begins at noon (always on a Saturday) full of bagpipers, horses and high-stepping colleens leading the way.
The first city in Georgia has been hosting St Patrick’s Day festivities since 1813. This 3 hour rolling street party is held on March 17, unless the 17th falls on a Sunday, then it is held on Saturday.
Montserrat, West Indies
The first Irish on this “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” were former indentured servants fleeing religious persecution from neighboring islands in the 1600s.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Neither rain nor snow has ever canceled the Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade. Run consecutively since 1824, the three-hour processional of floats, bands, and costumed characters is traditionally held on the Sunday closest to March 17.
Half a million spectators line the 1.6 mile route of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival. This is a four-day celebration of Irish culture and craic (good fun). The signature March 17 parade kicks off at noon from Parnell Square, continuing past Trinity College to the end point near St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
On the Sunday closest to St. Patrick’s Day, the UK’s largest St. Patrick’s parade roars through Digbeth, Birmingham’s postindustrial Irish Quarter. Packed pubs line the route and the dress code trends emerald green, but the passing floats, dancers, and drum corps increasingly reflect the city’s cultural diversity.
Cabo Roig, Spain
Spain’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade is hosted at Cabo Roig. The parade is filled with marching bands, motorbikes, and irish dignitaries.
Auckland, New Zealand
The worlds first St. Patrick’s Day celebrations each year is hosted by New Zealands largest city. The cities heritage is Irish and the celebration includes a parade, afleadh (dance and music fest), and lighting the 1,076 foot Sky Tower Kelly Green.
Where are you going for St. Patricks Day? Any big plans?
Now that the craziness has pasted from the holidays, we have been discussing how blessed we are and how loved our child is by the outpouring of amazing gifts from family and friends. Now that she is getting a little older and enjoying the process of unwrapping gifts it makes Christmas so exciting just to watch her!
We have been discussing our traditions as a family. With the baby only 21 months old, we can start establishing our own family traditions. One of those traditions we would like to implement is a holiday experience.
We have talked for years about going on a volunteer vacation. Giving back with a to service to others. We are very excited to make this a priority in our little family.
“Materialism is taking a backseat to experiences, ” says Darren Humphreys, ownerTravel Sommelier, a safari and gastronomic travel company.
We have one year to start making a change in how we celebrate the holidays. We have 365 days to ingest this idea into our immediate families. How do we tell them to only send minimal gifts and if they would like they can help contribute to our holiday experience instead? It sounds greedy. It sounds ungrateful. But we would rather show our little girl that its not about opening 15 million presents at 5:00am on Christmas morning.
Its our job as parents to show her empathy, raise her to be respectful and show her how to be humble. In 2014 we would like to enjoy a new tradition, a Holiday Experience.