Tag: traveling with toddlers

Just three days ago I was sitting under a 300-year old nispero tree in a former Carmelite monastery on a hot and starry night. Dreaming. The former monastery is now a beautiful hotel saved from the wrecking ball in the nick of time and thoughtfully restored with antiques sourced from Spain. This was our ground base for a week as we toured Puerto Rico over Sophia’s spring break.

This was our second time in Puerto Rico and we were so very enchanted by the first, albeit brief, visit that we vowed to come back as soon as possible. In this case, as soon as possible meant three and a half years (and another baby) later. For many, Puerto Rico is a springboard for more exotic destinations or cruises. However, the island, which happens to be a U.S. territory, deserves quite a bit of attention. Besides having glorious weather, it is also architecturally striking and has just about the friendliest locals. I am forever impressed how much of its own language, culture, and customs this sizable island has retained.

Although San Juan was our base, we spent a bit of time exploring the rest of the island including Arecibo and Luquillo.

The girls, much to the delight of my sister and brother-in-law, are huge history enthusiasts; Sophia and Eliza couldn’t get enough of El MorroSan Cristobal, all the scenery, and kite flying.

The local cuisine was delicious and, I am happy to admit, sampled by everyone in our family. Mofongo was a surprising favorite and the local guava flavors are going to be difficult to get out of my mind.

… and this …

Here is some nitty gritty about our trip: Flights by this and this hotel, here for a day at the beach, a little lighthouse, and delicious eats here, here, here, here, and here.

Life Travel

We kicked off our summer with a trip to Washington D.C., Both D.C., and New York are an easy ~2 hour ride from Philadelphia presenting themselves as natural contenders for a weekend getaway.

I wouldn’t say that traveling with the girls proved easy mostly because Eliza, who is just about to turn two, has decided to become a highly selective eater. We made the most of our trip despite Eliza’s refusal to nap, a newly acquired penchant for french fries, and the belief that she has a right to declare an end to our meal whenever.

IMG_5964The journey is just as important as the destination. We took the girls on the train which was an exciting experience for them and a more or less relaxing one for us.

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Did you know that you could ride the train in this arrangement, too?

Once in D.C., we spent our time visiting the Postal Museum, the National Building Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. The girls loved the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery; Eliza couldn’t get enough of the “feet-in/hands-on” water features and Sophia spent her time coloring and drawing. She must have been inspired by what she saw at in the exhibits.

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The building museum was new to us and we loved their hands-on building exhibits for children. They had a child-sized home complete with a kitchen and a living room. Sophia donned on an apron and started to cook.

IMG_6019Eliza was fascinated by all things building blocks and trains.

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IMG_1261One of the exhibits at the building exhibit was called “Small Stories” and featured doll houses from as early as the 18th century. The detail and craftsmanship was extraordinary as were the stories of the families who owned these works of art. There was one doll house, built in 1740, which was passed down from mother to oldest daughter. Each daughter added and embellished the house until the early 20th century when it was sold to the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

At the postal museum, the girls started their very own stamp collections and … IMG_5987

even made a custom stamp. IMG_5992

They learned how mail used to be hand-sorted by hand-keying the first three numbers of the zip. Sophia and Eliza also tried sorting packages into special bins organized by state/city/region.
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IMG_6005As usual with getaways and vacations, our visit was far too short. Everyone got back thoroughly tired and hungry but enriched from all the new things that we saw, experienced, and learned. Until next time, Washington, D.C., We will definitely back—later for longer.

Life Travel