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

Chris Hemsworth Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Two “No-Names” Starring in Thor

Thor Anniversary Post
(Instagram/Chris Hemsworth)

It’s hard to believe that Chris Hemsworth was an “unknown actor” when he was cast as Thor a decade ago. He recently took to Instagram to celebrate the 10-year anniversary and throw a little shade at the poorly-aged article that questioned Marvel’s casting choices. Banking on two “no names” in Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Loki to carry the movie? What was Marvel thinking?!

“Thor” debuted in 2011 and Hemsworth shared a pic of him with Hiddleston at an early table read. He shared it saying “This year marks the 10th anniversary of THOR when two unknown lads were given the keys to the kingdom. It’s been a hell of a ride and we clearly haven’t aged a day.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth)

What’s funny is they both actually look *better* now (that’s what money and success can do to you), especially as Hemsworth gets ripped for the next Thor movie.

The second photo was the news report of their casting, calling them “no names” and questioning the move to hire “virtual unknowns” to carry the film, especially when people like Shia LaBoeuf and Josh Hartnett were interested.

Now that Hemsworth has been knocking it out of the park for a decade as Thor now, and with Hiddleston about to carry his own series on Disney+ (as well as stealing scenes throughout the Avengers movies as Loki) I think it’s safe to say Marvel made the right move by “rolling the dice.”

Unknown a decade ago, sure, but now they are two of the biggest stars in the MCU, and their stars are only getting brighter.

Bindi Irwin Shares Touching Artwork Depicting Late Dad Holding Her Daughter

Bindi Irwin shares family portrait which includes late dad
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

Though your very first Mother’s Day is an occasion for celebration, for many, it’s intensely bittersweet. Becoming a parent yourself completely reframes the way you see your own parents, allowing you to understand and bond over things that were previously complete and total mysteries. For Bindi Irwin, the road to parenthood is a journey she’s shared publicly, but with baby Grace finally here and her first Mother’s Day in the books, Bindi couldn’t help but think about the person she desperately wishes she could celebrate with – her late dad, Steve Irwin.

 

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A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

In addition to being Bindi’s dad, Steve Irwin was her hero and inspiration. Even today, her late dad’s legacy remains central to the way Bindi lives her life. Through their conservation work, both Bindi and her brother Robert pick up where their dad left off. During their biggest milestones, the family finds ways to make it feel as though Steve is there celebrating with them.

Without a doubt, Steve would be so incredibly proud of his growing family. They continue to prioritize both conservation and family, things that the late Crocodile Hunter held close to his heart. Though Steve wasn’t there to celebrate his daughter’s very first Mother’s day with her, Bindi found a way to share her special day with him in spirit.

Bindi commissioned a painting by Debb Oliver of The Monkey Brush, a touching work of art that she and her family will undoubtedly treasure. The photo Bindi shared on Instagram looks like a typical (albeit beautiful) family portrait, but with one special addition – a smiling Steve Irwin holding his very first granddaughter, tilting her slightly towards the viewer as if he’d just finished saying, “crikey, isn’t she a beauty?”

 

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A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

The happy family is dressed in matching Australia Zoo khakis, making the portrait feel even more real. Had Steve been there to celebrate baby Grace with his family, this exact photo would almost certainly exist organically.

“I wish we could all be together but sometimes life has other plans,” Bindi captioned the photo. “To my beautiful daughter, always know that you are loved beyond description.”

Mom Adopts Puppy Without Paw To Help Daughter Without Hands Embrace Uniqueness

2-year-old without hands adopts puppy without paw
(Instagram/vanessamcleod_)

When kids are young, they haven’t yet developed a framework of how things are “supposed to” be. They approach things with curiosity as opposed to judgment, learning as much as they can about the world around them. It takes time for kids to notice things that differentiate them from their peers, and unfortunately, many kids start to view the things that make them unique as negatives. To preemptively instill confidence in her 2-year-old daughter, one mom decided to call for backpup.

Vanessa McLeod from Vancouver B.C. learned that her daughter would be born without hands when she was just 19 weeks pregnant. Though her doctor urged her to consider the quality of life for someone born without hands, McLeod knew that whatever obstacles her daughter faced, they would face them together. Now 2 years old, Ivy is happy and thriving.

“Her favorite thing to do is color and she just uses her toes to hold the markers so she has just learned to do things differently,” McLeod told CTV News.

 

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A post shared by Vanessa McLeod (@vanessamcleod_)

As Ivy grows older, McLeod knows it’s only a matter of time before Ivy starts questioning why she was born different. It’s inevitable, unfortunately – kids make cruel comments, whether they’re intentionally cruel or not. Those comments penetrate our own self-image, and sometimes, they completely overtake the way we see ourselves.

McLeod decided that she needed to give Ivy something solid to point to if she begins to question her own beauty and value, something to remind her that those who look different are just as beautiful as their peers. The determined mom settled on finding a dog for the family, one with a limb difference just like Ivy.

“You know you were born that way but different is beautiful,” she imagined telling her daughter, “and this puppy was also born that way and that is also a beautiful thing.”

Beginning what she anticipated would be a long and difficult search, McLeod set out to find the perfect pup for Ivy. In what felt like a magical turn of events, the search was over just as quickly as it started.

“But on April 6th, the day I initially posted… that very same day, a tiny little puppy was born IN OUR CITY with a little lucky fin,” McLeod wrote on Instagram. “If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is. It’s so very clear to us that she is meant to be part of our family.”

 

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A post shared by Vanessa McLeod (@vanessamcleod_)

As soon as Lucky is old enough to be adopted, she’ll begin her life with her new family. Lucky and Ivy have already formed an incredible bond, one that will only grow stronger once they’re together full time. Though the adorable pup bears the name, everyone involved is likely feeling pretty dang lucky themselves.

Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf Get What’s Coming To Them On SNL

SNL Security Muppets Sketch
(YouTube/SNL)

Most of the Muppets are really lovable. My opinions on Miss Piggy notwithstanding, most of Jim Henson’s puppets are not only funny, but they’re also endearing. The put-upon frog, the inept comic bear, the lovelorn pig, the manic drummer, the indecipherable chef, all have endearing qualities.

Except for two. Statler and Waldorf are just plain jerks. The two curmudgeons who sit on a balcony and mock the rest of the Muppets are hilarious, but they’re not exactly lovable. And if they existed in any universe outside of the Muppets, they’d probably be less celebrated.

Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live explored exactly what would happen if the two elderly hecklers ran into the wrong people.

Keegan-Michael Key, from Key and Peele, hosted the show, and in one memorable sketch, he and Kenan Thompson played a pair of security guys working the venue at the Muppets latest gig. When Statler and Waldorf started doing their thing, they were NOT here for it, and they let the hecklers know.

And then the hecklers messed around and found out. Hilariously.

Ashley Cain Posts Moving Tribute to Late Daughter

Cain Daughter Tribute
(Instagram/mrashleycain)

Former soccer star Ashley Cain took to Instagram to post a moving tribute to his late daughter. Cain’s daughter Azaylia passed away this spring from a rare form of leukemia at the young age of eight months. The 30-year-old MTV “The Challenge” star said he was finding it hard to look through her photos and videos, so he scrolled and posted the first one he landed on to honor what would’ve been her 9-month-birthday.

“What a beautiful video it was!” he wrote. “What a strong, clever, brave and beautiful little girl you were. My champion, my hero….MY INSPIRATION!”

The video is truly heartbreaking, as it’s a baby and her dad playing together. A baby and dad that should’ve had more time together.

A parent should never have to lose a child. It’s truly one of the most devastating things a person can ever experience. Cain has been vocal in his daughter’s diagnosis and passing and looks to keep her memory alive. Cain and Azaylia’s mother have said they are going to use the remaining money raised for her treatment to start a charity in her name.

“What we saw during our time fighting this monster has changed us forever and we will spend the rest of our lives spreading Azaylia’s message of hope and strength to all those who need it,” Cain and Safiyya Vorajee wrote on the GoFundMe pageGoFundMe page. “We will ensure she lives on until the day we are able to hold her again in paradise.”

Pediatric cancer is one of the cruelest diseases we have in this world, and hopefully, with advances in science and research, it can be one that’s ended in our lifetime. And Cain will be joining that fight in honor of his late daughter.

Loki Sneak Peek Gives Us More Owen Wilson

Loki Sneak Peek
(YouTube/Marvel)

Apparently, the MTV Movie Awards are still a thing, and they happened last night!

I couldn’t tell you who most of the presenters were, but I know Scarlett Johansson won a career award, Chadwick Boseman got the posthumous award the Oscars denied him, and WandaVision won for Best Show. There’s another MCU show coming soon – Loki arriving in early June – and in between awards, viewers were treated to a sneak peek.

In the short, one-minute clip, Owen Wilson introduces himself as Mobius and explains that time works differently at the TVA, the Time Variance Authority, where Loki is now a prisoner.

Check it out:

Tom Hiddleston recently gave an interview in which he spoke a bit about the show, and the character he is best known for portraying.

“I want to preserve the freshness of the show for when it emerges, but something to think about is the [show’s] logo, which seems to refresh and restore,” Hiddleston explained in a recent interview with Empire. “The font of how ‘Loki’ is spelled out seems to keep changing shape. Loki is the quintessential shapeshifter. His mercurial nature is that you don’t know whether, across the MCU, he’s a hero or a villain or an anti-hero. You don’t know whether you can trust him. He literally and physically changes shape into an Asgardian guard, or into Captain America repeatedly. Thor talks about how he could change into a snake.

“I think that shapeshifting logo might give you an idea that Loki, the show, is about identity, and about integrating the disparate fragments of the many selves that he can be, and perhaps the many selves that we are. I thought it was very exciting because I’ve always found Loki a very complex construct. Who is this character who can wear so many masks, and changes shape, and seems to change his external feeling on a sixpence?”

Sony Reveals New Midnight Black & Cosmic Red PS5 Controllers

PS5 Midnight Black Cosmic Red Controller Reveal Trailer
(YouTube/Playstation)

In a Playstation Blog announcement, Sony unveiled their brand new PS5 controllers and I have to say, I’m loving that classic black color scheme.

“Our goal is to always find designs that will surprise and entice our fans, and these new colors are the result of an extensive selection process,” says Leo Cardoso from PlayStation’s design team. “We wanted the new controller colors to complement each other, as well as the original DualSense wireless controller and PS5 console, so we designed the colors around the theme of ‘galaxy’ as it felt like a natural progression from the original PS5 and accessories designs.”

I don’t mind the white color scheme of the current PS5 controller, but I always feel like I’m staring at one of the Avengers time travel suits from Endgame.  It will be nice to change things up a bit.  If you were lucky enough to snag a PS5 console and need some extra controllers for the family, the Midnight Black DualSense will cost $69.99 US, and the Cosmic Red DualSense will be a bit more at $74.99 US.

The current release date for each of these controllers is set for June 11th, 2021 and you can pre-order from the Playstation website right now.  My birthday is on June 11th, so hopefully, my wife reads this article and takes a hint.

Father Figures: Believe It

“I had to share how amazing my husband has been becoming a first time dad. He keeps saying how he wishes he could’ve done more. But I need him to know he DID DO everything and more.

Our son Zac was born at 37 weeks on March 24th.

My husband (Alex) and I decided to induce that day, due to my diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum (ongoing for 8months), as well as hydronephrosis which we had been spending the past week in the hospital for.

This pregnancy was a living hell for both of us. We spent a total of about 30 days in the hospital during the pregnancy.

Alex spent the first 7 months of the pregnancy holding my hair with one hand and my sick bucket with the other. I became physically and mentally dependent on him to get through each day. He’s the one I wouldn’t have survived without.

Soon after our son, was born he was rushed to the NICU and I saw the life get sucked out of my husband’s face. He started blaming himself for not being able to take care of his family.

He dropped everything to be with Zac and me for the 13 days we were in the NICU. He has showed up everyday, every hour, for every feed, and we finally went home with our preemie baby who still has a lot of growing to do.

We never thought our life would come crashing down like this, but Zac and I wouldn’t have survived without Alex, and I just want my husband to know that and believe that.

He did everything right. He did everything in his power to keep us safe even though he thinks he failed to do it. There is nothing he could’ve done differently because he has been perfect and now our family is complete, something I am truly, truly grateful for. ”

– Aisha Dow

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

The Rock Stops to Duet Maui’s Song With Father of Moana Fans

The Rock duets song from Moana with father of two young fans
(Facebook/Dwayne The Rock Johnson)

It’s no secret that wrestler, actor, and absolute tank of a human Dwayne Johnson loves every second of being a girl dad. The father of three revels in spending time with his daughters, sharing touching posts on social media, and frequently discussing the joys of fatherhood. It’s impossible to fully understand what it means to be a parent until you become one, and as a nod to the bond of parenthood, The Rock regularly takes the time to help out his fellow fathers.

As if his plate wasn’t full enough, The Rock made yet another one of his dreams come true in 2020 when he founded Teremana Tequila. The brand focuses on sustainability and responsible sourcing, and since The Rock puts 100% into everything he does, the Tequila was an immediate and astounding success.

While promoting his new brand in early 2020, The Rock met a dad who really struck a chord. In the video Johnson shared on Facebook, he’s approached by a man with a small but mighty message from his 4-year-old daughter.

“She wanted me to tell you that she is 4, her name is Hannah, she has a little brother named Lucas, and they love your song.”

“Hannah and Lucas – wow. Where’s your phone?” Johnson asks, his Dad signal activated.

The father of two explains that every night he sings “You’re Welcome,” Maui’s song from Moana, to his kids. Some people can’t stop ordering things they don’t need online, others may gamble too much, but Dwayne Johnson simply cannot resist taking time out of his busy days to make his fans smile – especially when those fans happen to be kids.

After a brief introduction to his new friend’s kids, The Rock begins to sing Maui’s song before pulling the overjoyed dad in to sing with him.

“There’s always ‘an understanding’ between fathers who will do anything to make their daughters happy,” The Rock wrote on Facebook.