We love to travel. By age two our oldest son had been to Norway once, Iceland twice and to Virginia, Washington D.C., Florida, Vermont, Seattle and Portland amongst other trips.Naturally, while we are on vacation we love to take advantage of the outdoors- hiking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, going to the beach and scenic car rides.The fact that we are now toting two little ones (two and four years old) with us has not really slowed us down, but it has just changed the focus of our trips.
Austin-Lehman Adventures is a tour operator that specializes in adult and family outdoor, active vacations. Take a look at the locations and itineraries that they offer- amazing!
Family adventures: http://www.austinlehman.com/family-adventures-pages-190.php
Active vacations: http://www.austinlehman.com/active-vacations-pages-516.php
Europe bike tours: http://www.austinlehman.com/europe-bike-tours-trips-75.php
We were invited by them to take the Austin-Lehman Family challenge- which means they sponsored us to have an active day with our family- what could be better?
Our original plan was to go kayaking to a nearby island to explore and place a letterbox (see my last post: http://www.activekidsclub.com/blog/letterboxing-101.html). However, our plans were thwarted by predicted thunderstorms preceding hurricane Irene. It would have been the first time out on the water with all four of us together and we didn’t want to take a chance- always make sure to check the tides and weather before you go out on the water for safety reasons.
So we headed out early to World’s End which is a beautiful park run by the Trustees of Reservations. Admission is $5 for adults and children are free. It's a peninsula that juts out into Boston Harbor. In the 1880’s it was slated to be a large subdivision, so four miles of carriage roads were made which are lined by beautiful large trees. The houses were never built (I would have loved to live there!), but now it remains as a park to be enjoyed by the public.
We set off into the park, crossing the newly rebuilt bridge and heading up the first drumlin. This is a great place to go with little ones because the trails are so wide- just watch out for the poison ivy because it’s everywhere.We usually end up spending a lot of time here because we enjoy it so much we hike a long way in and then it’s an even longer way out with a 2 and 4 year old, but our kids can handle it. Sometimes they hitch a ride…
Along the way my son can’t resist making his usual nature art projects- this one being a sword made out of sticks and grass.
World’s End has a truly unique shape. It is four drumlins (hills) that are connected by a tiny isthmus called “The Bar”. My husband likes to kayak to The Bar from a local beach and then carry his kayak over land and continue on the other side! You can kind of see this in the picture at the very top of this post, but it's hard to get a good view of it in spring and summer when there are leaves on the trees. After the first two drumlins we arrived at The Bar.The kids wanted to play amongst the rocks and water- one of their favorite things to do- and do a bit of swimming. It was a hazy day due to the weather, but if you look closely in the first picture you can see the Boston skyline.
Another art project- rock snake!
In preparation for the trip we bought letterboxing supplies and created this box:
We also found clues for a letterbox hidden on World’s End in a tree on some sandy cliffs. I think it was hidden several years ago and unfortunately the land had eroded so much that there was no way we could reach it with the kids, so we sent dad to go find it! He made the treacherous climb and looked into the hollow tree, but, alas, no letterbox was to be found. I didn’t get a picture of him out there- I think I was too nervous at the time! That’s okay- we’ll hide our own.And we’ll find a better tree for it.
We hid our box in a tree along the carriage path that leads up from The Bar. It had a nice, big hole in it that was begging for a letterbox to be put inside. I had to put it in because the area was covered in poison ivy and I didn’t want two itching little boys.
After we planted the letterbox it was time to get these tired, hungry boys back for some lunch. The little guy fell asleep before we could get to our destination, so we just picked up lunch and had it at home…it’s all about flexibility with these guys! A 2.5 mile hike will tire them out in no time. The rain started shortly thereafter so we had to batten down the hatches for Irene.
As they get older I dream of taking them on more challenging adventures (white water rafting, anyone?). Looking at the Austin-Lehman website I would love to go on every one of their trips! However, my husband and I have always talked about going to Yellowstone. We’ve never been there and we’d love for the kids to experience it as well. After our experiences with geothermal activity in Iceland I’m especially curious about it. When we do go, we want to try everything the park has to offer and an Austin Lehman trip would definitely do that for us. I like the idea of having everything planned and having a guide to help along the way- I’d want to make the most of our time out there!
We will make it there, and when we do I will tell you all about it!
Check out Austin-Lehman Adventures at http://www.austinlehman.com/
And World’s End at http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/greater-boston/worlds-end.html
And if you'd like to find our letterbox, I will be posting clues on www.letterboxing.org.