WanderMom has Moved!

by admin
( December 29th, 2009 )

WanderMom has left the nest and moved to her own site! Please visit Michelle at WanderMom.com.

UHaul Truck

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Things To Do In Sydney With Children

by wandermom
( November 15th, 2009 )


What do you think folks? This is the Wondermap for my upcoming trip to Sydney. The pink icons are the Sydney attractions we’re currently planning to visit. If you follow the link, you can enter your suggestions for places to visit and things to do. I can associate blog posts, photos and vidoes with locations on the map. I’m very grateful for my friends at Travellious for allowing me to be an alpha-tester for this application.

There are many, many things to do in Sydney – with or without children. I’ll be traveling on my own with my boys and we’ll be spending most of our time with my sister and her three-month-old so as I’ve been planning this trip, I’m assuming that long sightseeing days will really be out of the question – and that’s OK, those are the trade-offs you make when you travel with children.

So, with that in mind, here’s everything on my “Sydney attractions must see” list. If there’s something you think we should try to include, please do leave a comment.

Sydney Beaches

Spending time at the beach is top of my list because being outdoors is a great way to knock jet-lag on the head and, well, because it’s Sydney. There are many good ones to choose from:

Manly Beach, Bondi Beach (well, duh!), Watsons Bay – although this is partically an excuse to eat at Doyles, Freshwater Beach and the family-friendly Dee Why Beach.

Sydney City Attractions

We’ll be trying to spend at least a couple of days doing ‘city sightseeing’ visiting the Opera House (the 1-hour tour), the Australia Museum, the Botanical Gardens (yes, Victorian as it is, I love walking around Botanical Gardens) but I suspect we may end up spending even more time at the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool that day. The Aquarium, the Taronga Zoo and the Powerhouse Museum are also on our list – although at this stage I know we’ve got way too much on our list and my money is on my geek-boys ditching the nature stuff and indulging their inner geeks at the Cyberworlds exhibit at the Powerhouse.

Day trips:

If we can, we’ll be heading out of the city for at least a day or two. Currently we’re targeting Ku Ring Gai Chase National Park and Kangaroo Valley.

We’re staying at a condo in Balmain (with a killer view of the harbor and the river, I might add) so I haven’t even thought about restaurants. That said, I think a grownup-style “date night with mom” may be possible with my boys; my sister and I are certainly planning to have a girl’s night out (baby permitting, and hey, if he comes too, it won’t be the end of the world); and I’ll be insisting on playing generous auntie at least once while I’m in Sydney and sending my sister and her husband out while I watch all three boys. So, folks, I’ve heard Sydney has some great restaurants. Which one do you think is worth checking out? Leave a comment or (even better) add it to the Wondermap.

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Family Weekend Getaways: Walla Walla

by wandermom
( October 22nd, 2009 )


When the school schedules for my children’s schools synchronize so that they’re both out of school on a Friday, it’s an invitation for us to squeeze in a short break. I love these mini-vacations during the school year. Yes, it’s a pain to close the door on a pile of chores and have them waiting for me (and then some) when I get home, but it’s a great feeling to hit the open road and leave our normal routine behind even for just a few days.

Walla Walla Washington

This time we’re going to Walla Walla. A non-trivial four-hour drive from Seattle, it’s absolutely worth the effort. With our bikes strapped to the back of the car, a fun-filled but fairly low-cost weekend is pretty easy to organize.

Walla Walla Accommodation

As home to Whitman College and a host of excellent wineries and vineyards, Walla Walla has plenty of accommodation choices. From Bed-and-Breakfasts to luxury vineyard lodges to chain hotels, there’s something to suit every budget. On our cheap-and-cheerful weekend, we usually opt for a bare bones motel. If you’re planning a romantic weekend away, the Inn at the Abeja Winery is a perfect choice.

Family Activities in Walla Walla

There’s no question but that we’re drawn to Walla Walla because of the wine. This will be our fourth time to go wine tasting on bikes with children. For me, it’s a perfect family day out. We stop at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning to pick up picnic supplies, fill our backpacks and hit the long, fairly flat, quiet road. We’ve cycled around wineries with a toddler in a trailer, one child using a ‘big kid bike’ which didn’t have gears and with a trail-a-bike. This will be our first trip where everyone will be on regular bikes. We might just all get to each stopping point at the same time. But if we don’t, that’ll be OK too because wineries are about so much more than just tasting the wine. There’s rows of vines to walk along, machinery to examine and cool storerooms with oak barrels stacked high to explore (if the vintner allows, of course).


Walla Walla Wineries

There are way too many wineries in Walla Walla to list here and far too many to visit in one day. We’ll plan on a 15-mile (or so) cycle and try to plan our route to hit 3-5 wineries along the way. Planning to finish at the Walla Walla Regional Airport is always a good idea since there are a cluster of tasting rooms in refurbished WWII buildings in that area. If you think that sounds a little crazy well remember that this is where you’ll find Dunham Cellars, Tamarack Cellars and Buty.

Other wineries in the area include K Vintners, Seven Hills, L’Ecole No. 41 and Woodward Canyon – name just a few.

Walla Walla Fine Dining

Now that our boys are a little older, WanderDad and I will be able to feed them early in the evening (kid-friendly food in a kid-friendly environment) and leave them watching a movie in our hotel room when we treat ourselves to a sumptuous dinner at Whitehouse Crawford.

After an active day’s cycling, great wine and great food, there’s usually a satisfied bunch in our car on the drive home to Seattle.

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Photo credit: vitruvius, fabrico.

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