Family Vacation Template: New England Road Trip

The worst part of a family vacation, other than unexpected kid tantrums, is planning and research. So we want to try something new on The Dad… Family Vacation Templates. When someone on our staff or someone in our community goes on a cool vacation, we’ll have ’em lay out the itinerary (transportation, hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.) along with some very light commentary. Maybe you were wanting to visit the same spot? You can pick and choose from the template, do what you like and sub out what you don’t, and save a ton of time (and maybe money)!

They don’t have to be road trips, or busy vacations, or expensive. They can be super simple! In fact, it’s encouraged.

First up…. a New England road trip: Boston->Cape Cod->Portland Maine->Bar Harbor->White Mountain National Forest->Boston.

Have you been to these places? Anything I should’ve done but didn’t? Would you like to do a similar writeup for a trip you went on recently? Email us at [email protected]

Background

Not all vacations are the same, and not all families are the same. Helpful to know the folks on this trip. My wife and I have two kids: a 10-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. They’re relatively flexible travels, as far as kids go. They aren’t always into overly active stuff like hiking, but they love swimming and experiencing new places. Your mileage may vary.

Day 1: Boston, Massachusetts

  • Flew into Boston Logan International Airport
  • Rented a car from Hertz Gold. Not an ad but I love Hertz Gold. Walk out, see your name on the board, pick any car. We let the kids pick. They picked a minivan. ????
  • Drove to Harvard
  • Alexander W. Kemp Playground. Pretty basic. But kids got some travel energy out.
  • Walked around Harvard. Visited Civil War Monument, Harvard Yard, John Harvard Statue, Harvard Square, Harvard Book Store. Bought some candy at Cabot’s Candy.
  • Drove to Fenway. Ate pizza at Woody’s Grill and Tap. Good pizza. (Just outside the restaurant, a dude stopped me on the street to tell me he loves The Dad! Love when that happens. If you see me, say hi!)
  • Walked over to Fenway Park and checked it out
  • Ate at The Barking Crab. Cool outdoor seating next to the water, traditional Boston seafood.
  • Walked over to Fan Pier Park. Not a lot for kids to do but we walked around and took in the cool views.
  • Walked back down to Children’s Wharf Park (currently under construction). Got photos with Hood Milk building (large milk jug for some reason?).
  • Got ice cream at Taiyaki NYC. Cool fish-lookin’ cones. Unique flavors.
  • Stayed at Seaport Hotel. Good city hotel with an indoor pool and fitness center. Location was awesome. We paid $345/night.
Fan Pier Park

Day 2: Boston, Massachusetts

  • Ate lunch at Buco Trattoria. More of a lunch spot for office workers, but pretty good. Had a small attached art gallery.
  • Boston Children’s Museum. Three floors. Lots to do for all ages. We stayed for several hours.
  • Took an Uber to The Paul Revere House. At this point, I had ENOUGH of Boston traffic. Depends on day/time of course, but we would’ve been better off walking. The Paul Revere House was slightly interesting from a historical perspective, just in sheer age of the structure and some stuff in it. But the kids definitely didn’t fully appreciate it and we weren’t there for long.
  • Walked down to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, did some window shopping. Lots of trinkets and touristy stuff. But also lots of food offerings if you want to try lots of stuff in one spot.
  • Ate at MIJA Cantina and Tequila Bar. This is a Mexican place in the market. Was actually super good. I picked the three most unique taco options on the menu and loved ’em all. My picky kids even liked the “crispy duck” taco.
  • Walked back to Seaport Hotel. Decently long walk for the kids but soooo much better than sitting in traffic. Saw the Boston Tea Party museum in distance.

Day 3: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

  • Drove to Cape Cod
  • Went to Seagull Beach. Nice, clean, pretty empty. Hardly any waves.
  • Ate lunch at Keltic Kitchen. They are known for breakfast food. Three words: CORNED BEEF HASH. Top notch.
  • Went to Veteran’s Park Beach. Had a good playground near the beach. My kids went in the water even though it was very cold.
  • Putt putt at Wild Animal Lagoon. Pretty standard family vacation putt putt. When in Rome, go putt putting. They did have this cooler of Dip N Dots style coffee ice cream though? Amazing.
  • Ate at TUGBOATS. $30 is a little pricey for a seafood sampler that literally has “Ritz crackers” on it, but cool outdoor seating overlooking the sun setting on the water.
  • Stayed at Hampton Inn & Suites Cape Cod. I’m sure there are better places to stay in Cape Cod but we honestly had trouble finding a good one. This place had free breakfast and indoor pool and hot tub. Did the trick. We paid $235/night.

Day 4: Drive up the coast to Bar Harbor, Maine

  • Drove up the coast
  • Stopped in Portland Maine at East End Beach on the Eastern Promenade trail. Loved this little town. Would’ve liked to spend more time there. Scenic and quaint. Saw a couple breweries and coffee shops. We just passed through. But this park had great views. We hiked around a bit.
  • Stayed at Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor – Acadia Natl Park. This hotel (or *ahem* resort, rather) was in a good location. The outside of the hotel was gorgeous. The outdoor pool overlooked the water in an almost infinity pool-esque way. Amazing. The staff was great. The rooms, however, were kind of stuffy and outdated. I’m not picky, but they didn’t give off a very clean feeling if you know what I mean. We paid $219/night.

Day 5: Bar Harbor, Maine

  • This was Father’s Day! I woke up and my entire family surprised me by wearing The Dad shirt. Hilarious and adorable.
  • Miss Samantha Lobster Fishing & Seal Watch Cruises. This was fantastic. We debated doing a 4 hour whale watching trip or this. We’re glad we picked this. The guides were great and it was very kid friendly and engaging. We saw a “pregnant lobster,” which even fascinated the naturalist (she hadn’t seen one before!).
  • Ate at Stewman’s Lobster Pound for lunch. This is a classic Maine thing. They had a “full lobster experience.” I did that. If you like lobster, pretty good! But for me, lobster is just so-so, and after seeing the “pregnant lobster”, it kinda grossed me out a bit tbh. But that’s just me. And I got a couple Thunder Hole Ales from Mid Atlantic Brewing and it was 100 emoji.
  • Drove up Cadillac Mountain and hiked a bit. As the highest point in Maine, this is the spot where the sun rises first on the United States each day. Pretty cool, and very accessible for families.
  • Went down to Sand Beach. Was overcast but still cool. Can’t say enough great things about Acadia National Park. So many great sights, especially if you like hiking, but even if you don’t.
  • Ate at Atlantic Brewing Midtown. Chill atmosphere and great food and beer flights. Plus rooftop dining!

Day 6: Bar Harbor, Maine

  • Next day hiked Jordan Pond from Trailhead to Bubble Rock Overlook and back. There’s a trail that goes up the east side of the pond. Maybe all the way around? Either way, hours of lovely hiking.
  • Ate at Jordan Pond House. Apparently, this is a must-do Acadia thing that we just stumbled upon. Glad we did. Good food. They’re known for “popovers“, which are spherical hollow pastry-like things that you put butter and jam on/in. Not bad.
  • Went to Wild Acadia. Kids were sick of hiking so we let them pick what we did in the afternoon. They chose this place they saw on the drive in that had a waterslide. They also had some ziplines and go-karts. It was… exactly what you would expect.
  • Walked across the Bar Island Land Bridge to Bar Island. During low tide, there is a sand bar bridge that becomes exposed. You can then walk across where the water used to be like Moses parting the Red Sea. It’s worth checking out! Make sure to time it right. My wife went for a jog and was out at Bar Island when the tide came back in and she had to wade through the water back to shore haha.
  • Ate dinner at Paddy’s Irish Pub. Actually a hotel restaurant. I got lobster bisque and it was ON POINT. But when is it ever not?
  • Walked to Mount Desert Island Ice Cream. Worth the .3 mile walk. Great flavors. I got “The Dude”, a white Russian flavored milkshake, with alcohol in it! We ate at the Village Green just outside the ice cream joint. A guy was playing violin and the weather was perfect. Quite nice.

Day 7: Drive through White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

  • Next day drove to New Hampshire. The drive itself was scenic. I took it all in while the kids watched a movie on the iPad. Ha.
  • Drove up Mt. Washington. This drive is no joke. It’s very tight, with no guardrails and very scary/steep ledges. I imagine if you are afraid of heights and/or not a great driver, you may panic a bit on the way up. On the way down, you CAN’T ride the brakes or they will overheat and fail. So take breaks. The peak was incredible though. Highest winds ever recorded were recorded at the top! They also have a cog railway that goes up it, but takes awhile.
  • Ate dinner at little pizza place called Pub 32. Great beer selection. Don’t know for sure but I feel we picked the best pizza place in town.
  • Stayed at RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain. This place was very nice. Huuuuge outdoor pool. Arcade. Winery. We hit up the winery for a tasting. I got the feeling the hotel was part of some sort of timeshare-style real estate investing salesy kinda thing. And I was scared we’d be solicited for some type of sales pitch while we were there, but thankfully it never came. We paid $250/night.

Day 8: White Mountain National Forest and drive back to Boston, Massachusetts

  • Hiked Flume Gorge. This was about 2 miles. But there was enough interesting stuff to see that the kids enjoyed it too.
  • Drove back to Boston airport

Father Figures: With His Whole Heart

“This is my fiance josh holding our second daughter, Sophia.

He’s an exceptionally wonderful person, and an incredible father.

Aside from being an incredible dad, he also helps with my father who suffered a traumatic brain injury, making him suffer pretty severe paranoid delusions. He loves my dad with his whole heart, no matter how difficult he may be to love. He helps me cope with all of the responsibilities that come with having a family member with severe mental health issues.

He has taken on far more than I could have ever asked for, or expected, without complaints. Even dealing with all of this, and working a 9-to-5 job, he still makes time for his babies. He’s always making them laugh and smile and taking care of stuff most dads would deem mom work.

He’s truly amazing and I’m so lucky to call him mine.”

– Katie Ann Sennett

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

NASA Dads Killed Time After SpaceX Splashdown by Making Prank Calls

NASA Dads Kill Time After SpaceX Splashdown by Making Prank Calls
(YouTube/AmericaSpace Twitter/Enterprise_Flt)

Imagine you’ve spent the last two months in space. You made history by being the first astronaut to travel to the International Space Station in a commercially-built spacecraft, and you’re finally back on Earth counting down the seconds until you can see your family. You’re bobbing up and down in the Gulf of Mexico after a successful splashdown, and the only thing left for you to do is kill time while the crew inspects your capsule. What do you do with that time? This was a question astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley faced on Sunday as they became the first astronauts to travel to the International Space Station and back on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule. The choice was pretty easy for these dads – may as well make some prank calls.

During a Houston welcome-home ceremony, Hurley recalled, “Five hours ago, we were in a spaceship, bobbing around, making prank satellite phone calls to whoever we could get ahold of. Which was kind of fun, by the way,”

You don’t have to take Hurley’s word for it. Several people who were on the receiving end of the pair’s prank calls stepped forward to back his story. One of those people was Anthony Vareha, NASA’s 91st flight director. He stated on Twitter, “I received one of these calls at the flight director console. It started with an opening line like ‘Hi it’s Doug and Bob and we’re in the ocean.’ I think my response was ‘Yeah, I can see that.’”

Megan McArthur, a NASA astronaut, and Behnken’s wife was another recipient of the unexpected phone call. She stated, “On my phone it said ‘Spam Risk’. Glad I answered anyway!” which is pretty unfair, considering how many times I’ve answered a “spam risk” call and never once has it been from an astronaut.

After nine weeks in space, these NASA dads fully deserved to blow off some steam. Apparently, prank calls truly are the universal time-wasters. Next time you’re about to send a “spam risk” call to voicemail, maybe do a quick check to see what the people at NASA are up to that day.

Teens Losing it Over Phil Collins is The Wholesome Content we Need

Teens Losing it Over Phil Collins is The Wholesome Content we Need
(YouTube/TwinsthenewTrend)

There is something so pure about watching kids discover things for the first time. Whether it’s a type of food, an activity, or a song, seeing a kid learn something new and wonderful about the world is unparalleled. Without the reserved and often jaded filter that comes with adulthood, we’re left with the wide-eyed innocence of a child experiencing pure, uninhibited joy. Twins Tim and Fred Williams from Gary, Indiana recently filmed a video that gave us a much-needed dose of that pure, wide-eyed excitement.

The teens post YouTube videos where they react to songs as they hear them for the first time. Want to feel old? Head on over to their channel and watch them discover songs you’ve heard no fewer than 1,000 times. We (mostly) forgive them for making us feel like ancient beings because their videos are just so dang wholesome.

Last week, the twins filmed their reactions as they listened to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” for the very first time, and let me tell you, they were into it. The second Collins started to sing, Tim threw his hand over his heart so quickly it seemed involuntary. The video continues as the twins bop their heads to the beat, and we all waited breathlessly for the iconic drum fill. The boys’ reactions did not disappoint – Tim gasps, both teens’ mouths drop and their eyes go wide as they soak it all in. After taking a few seconds to collect himself, Fred says, “I’ve never seen nobody drop the beat three minutes in the song!”

It’s easy to see why the internet has fallen so hard for this video. With over two million views in just a week, watching the teens listen to songs we love for the first time feels almost like we’re discovering them all over again. It’s reassuring that a generation who laughs at special effects in movies that were cutting-edge when we first saw them can still appreciate non-new (I’m not saying old. It’s not old. We’re not old) music that totally slaps.

The 10 Best Comments of the Month: July 2020

Best Comments of the Month

Every month we pan for comedy gold in the comments section of our Facebook posts. If your comment cracks us up (or warms our hearts) we’ll showcase it here!

Here’s last month’s roundup of the 10 Best Comments:

1. Trippin’

2. Lying Gosling

3. Game Hair

4. Lettuce Laugh

5. Sneeze Power

6. Watts Up

7. Turn it Down

8. Guilt Trippin’

9. Mac Daddy

10. Twisted

Check out the previous edition of the best comments of the month here.

How to Throw a Baseball Harder Without Throwing Your Arm out

how to throw a baseball harder
Universal Pictures

Let’s take a guess at what’s happening in your life right now. Did you get suckered into joining your company’s softball team? Or maybe you inadvertently signed up to coach your kid’s little league? Either way, in the era of dad, you’re suddenly remembering you’re not 20 years old anymore.

So, you’re asking yourself (read: The internet) how to throw a baseball harder. You know, as you did in the good ol’ days…whilst not immediately landing yourself on the injured reserve list. First, we’d like to leave you with one seriously important note: Accuracy is far more important than speed. Think of all the famous first pitches you’ve seen over the years. The ones that stick out the most are the ones that were lobbed twelve feet to the right of the pitcher. Not the ones that simply fell short.

However, if strength and speed are what you’re looking for, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you ace your triumphant return to throwing a baseball.

Always Warm-Up

Starting your pre-game with a laid back, steadily increasing game of catch is the key here. You need to warm up your arm before you go balls to the wall during the game.

We get it. The last thing you want to do when you hit the gym is to spend 15 minutes doing a brisk walk on the treadmill. In that same light, the last thing you want to be seen doing is lackadaisical tossing around the ball pre-game. But, my dude, you’re going to have to do it. You’ve seen plenty of shots of million-dollar pitchers warming up in the bullpen.

Work On Your Form

Wanna end up in the hospital with a strained or torn rotator cuff? Nope. Just like when you’re playing golf with the boys, tossing a baseball is all about form, too. From where you place your feet to how you hold your shoulders, everything matters. Having the best posture and form will make a ton of difference in what kind of velocity you put into that pitch.

Pay Attention To The Release

There’s a ton of things to think about as you rock back and then push forward with your pitch. Once you perfect your posture, though, think about how you’re standing and when you’re releasing the ball. As the coach mentioned above, you pitch with your whole body and not just your arm. Moving your body behind the ball will give it more push forward. Furthermore, noting where you’re letting go of the ball is also important. If you release the ball too far back, you’re not giving the full push behind it and if you release it too late, you’re pushing the ball downward.

Run Some Drills

You’re already telling your kids how important it is to practice, practice, practice, right? Same goes for you, Pops. Drills are the absolute best way to perfect your form, keep your muscles warm, loose and, of course, increase the strength and speed of your pitch.

You Go Pro Baseball has ten easy, popular pitching drills to try. Our suggestion: Do several sets of 2 to 3 of these each night of the week. It shouldn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes but over time will greatly improve your pitch and reduce your chance of having do visit Dr. James Andrews.

 

 

Big-Hearted 8-Yr-Old Mows Lawns for First Responders and Single Moms

Big-Hearted 8-Year-Old Mows Lawns for Single Moms First Responders
(Facebook/Helping Footprint)

While some kids spend their days training to be Twitch streamers or hope to be record-breaking YouTubers, 8-year-old Greyson Winfield is working on a very different kind of dream. Instead of spending his days playing video games and watching TV like many kids his age, this young hero has a far more productive hobby. Greyson dreams of one day being a Navy SEAL, and to prepare, he spends his days making the world a better place. Greyson feeds the hungry in his spare time and mows the lawns of single moms and first responders so they have one less thing to take care of during their already packed days.

Greyson told CNN that aside from his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, there are several other motivating forces in his life. Both of his parents are former firefighters, so Greyson grew up knowing the importance of helping others in his community. A slightly more unexpected role model for someone his age is none other than former president John F. Kennedy. Greyson explained, “helping others is the right thing to do. Also, JFK was in the Navy before becoming president and I want to follow his lead.”

Greyson and Garrett
Greyson (left) and his brother Garrett (right) doing what they do best, helping out. (Facebook/Helping Footprint)

Helping those in need is so important to Greyson that with his parents’ support and assistance, he started his own charity called Helping Footprint. The website explains, “Helping Footprint consists of two brothers on a mission to help the community. Founder, Greyson Winfield leads the way, with collecting gift cards to help those in need of food. He also saw the need to ensure seniors, differently-abled persons, single moms, veterans, and our busy first responders have their lawns cut for free.”

Though Greyson’s effort to help others is undoubtedly impressive, perhaps more incredible is his mindset. Greyson states, “I want to help people. There are other people who have nobody to help them and it’s the right thing to do.” Logically, we all know that helping people is the right thing to do, but the sad reality is that many of us don’t act on it as much as we should. Fortunately, the next generation seems to be in good hands with Greyson’s Helpful Footprint leading the way.

Knowing Is Half the Battle: G.I. Joe Returns as a Retro Collection

G.I. Joe Retro Collection
(Hasbro)

Like many kids who grew up in the 80s, I loved G.I. Joe.

I loved watching the cartoon and playing with the figures, most of whom were at my best friend’s house next door because his parents bought him every single toy in the world. I remember seething with jealousy when he got the massive G.I. Joe aircraft carrier for one of his birthdays.

Eventually, I grew up and forgot about all of this angst over Eric Pepe’s luck, and my parents’ refusal to go broke buying me action figures, but recently it all came rushing back when I heard the news: Hasbro was bringing their classic GI Joe figures back.

The news actually broke in June, when the toy company announced their G.I. Joe: Classified Series as part of their relaunch of the iconic GI Joe brand.

Their awesome new website has all the details, including the 50-year history of G.I. Joe and a list of all the characters that have been reimagined for this relaunch of 6-inch figures. The first six to be released are Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Destro, and Cobra Commander.

Hasbro

On top of the website and these new versions is Hasbro’s launch of G.I. Joe’s Retro Collection, which means I can go snatch up all action figures my next-door neighbor had in his playroom, complete with old school packaging. (Hasbro did the same thing with their Star Wars vintage line.) The first three being released are Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Baroness.

You’ll be able to snatch them up at Walmart in October, provided Eric Pepe doesn’t get their first!

Bindi Irwin Shares Moving Photo of Wedding Artwork Featuring Her Dad

Bindi Irwin Shares Moving Photo of Wedding Artwork Featuring Her Dad
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

It’s impossible to imagine celebrating life’s most exciting milestones without those you love the most, but it’s something many of us have to face. Bindi Irwin, daughter of the world’s favorite Crocodile Hunter, has had to face this difficult reality time and time again after losing her dad at just 8 years old. Though Steve’s absence is undoubtedly felt by his family on a daily basis, they have done an amazing job over the years making sure to honor and commemorate him at every turn. Bindi was extremely close to her dad and has posted touching tributes to him on occasions like Father’s Day, her birthday, and even her engagement.

In the 14 years since Steve Irwin’s death, his memory hasn’t faded. To us, he will always be the Crocodile Hunter – a man with a big personality and an even bigger heart. To Bindi and Robert, he will always be their beloved dad. During Bindi’s wedding at the Australia Zoo, Steve’s blown-up picture was displayed right next to where the couple exchanged their vows giving the appearance that he was standing right next to Bindi’s brother and mom.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Our wedding day. ❤️ Reflecting on these beautiful moments with the love of my life.

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Although Bindi’s wedding was several months ago, she recently received an extremely meaningful gift which she shared on her Instagram page. Artist Debb Oliver created a piece based on a picture taken on Bindi’s wedding day – but this talented artist gave the picture an incredibly special addition. Between Bindi and her mom Terri, Oliver added a beaming Steve. His arms appear to embrace his wife and daughter, and on his face is a look of pride and joy any dad would have on their daughter’s wedding day.

In Bindi’s Instagram post, her family holds the beautiful gift, looking down fondly as if they’re reminiscing over a fond memory – it’s extremely fitting, because to the Irwin family, it’s as if Steve was right there with them celebrating Bindi’s wedding. The photo is captioned, “‘To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.’ ― Thomas Campbell. Thank you @the_monkey_brush for creating this spectacular piece.” The quote Bindi chose is the perfect embodiment of how the entire Irwin family has lived their lives since losing Steve. Although he is no longer here physically, to the Irwin family, he will never really be gone.

Heroic Father of 7 Dies Saving His Kids From a Riptide

Heroic Father of 7 Dies Saving His Kids From a Riptide
(YouTube/Newstoday.)

Some of the best movies of all time revolve around superheroes who put their own well-being aside to help others. They risk everything, time and time again, to make sure the world is safe for the rest of us. We find reassurance in those stories, because though they are extreme, those heroes remind us that there is so much good in the world. There are real-life dad heroes, and they deserve to be recognized as such. Last Sunday, 36-year-old Jonathan Stevens died a hero while saving the lives of his children.

In a story so heartbreaking it’s truly hard to swallow, we see a real-life example of the infinite depths of a father’s love. Jonathan Stevens was visiting Barmouth beach in Wales with his family on Sunday when he noticed three of his children struggling in the water. As any dad would do, he rushed to save them. Thinking only about the well-being of his children, Stevens worked frantically to pull them to safety and out of the grips of the riptide. Even in the direst of situations, Jonathan Stevens didn’t forget for a single second that his goal was to protect his children, to make sure they were unharmed at all costs.

Jonathan did it – he did his job as a dad, making sure no harm came to his children. In a devastating twist that nobody could have anticipated, Jonathan himself was caught in the current. He was pulled from the water by a rescue team and airlifted to a nearby hospital in serious condition. Tragically, Jonathan passed away at the hospital.

34-Year-old Laura Burford, Jonathan’s partner, was home when this unimaginable situation unfolded. A relative provided North Wales Live with the heartbroken woman’s statement. “All seven of his beautiful kids have lost their dad. He died saving his kids’ lives in the sea,” Burford said. “There are no words to describe the pain. I will always be grateful to (him) for bringing our babies back. I love him, always have, and always will.”

A friend set up a GoFundMe to help support Jonathan’s family during this incredibly difficult time. The page states, “I’m Mel, a family friend, from Telford who set up this fund page to help this poor family who sadly lost Jonathan (Joff) whilst he was saving his children in the sea at Barmouth beach. The funds raised will go towards any funeral costs, to each of his 7 children to support and to have a memory gift from their Hero Father and to Laura to help along the way with any costs that may occur.”

Jonathan Stevens’ very last act was being a dad. He protected his children at all costs, bravely and selflessly putting their safety before his own. Jonathan Stevens died a hero.