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February 2010

For Fun Family Travel, Step off the Beaten Path

One of the best things about family travel is the way you can venture off your normally beaten path, joyfully stumbling into something new and different. It is a great opportunity to expand your family horizons.

Great Blue Heron We've been doing a bit of exploration during our trip to Florida. We've discovered a couple spots we'd never been to before, tried some new foods and pushed the boundaries of our comfort zone just a bit.

It's been fun, sometimes a wee bit scary and mostly delicious.

For example, the cat fish was yummy... the frog legs, not so much. 

Yesterday, we took a boat ride up the Loxahatchee River. We saw an alligator sunning on the bank, a manatee hiding in the warm, shallow waters and lots of birds. Osprey, Cormorants and Great Blue Herons.

Alligator We visited the camp of "Trapper Nelson", also known as "Wild Man of the Loxahatchee", who lived in the jungle along the banks of the river for over thirty years. A trapper cum entrepreneur, Nelson built a wilderness compound that included a zoo, picnic grounds and boat house. Wealthy tourists from Palm Beach used to boat up the river for an afternoon of authentic rustication. And alligator wrestling.

I am happy to report that the camp site, while preserved for historic purposes, no longer hosts bobcats, rattlesnakes and alligators. At least, none that we saw while hiking around.

There was apparently a Mrs. Trapper Nelson, but she didn't last long. I guess it was all a bit too far out of her comfort zone.

Loxahatchee As we prepare to wind up our time here, I am grateful for our adventures. The time we've spent together -- as a family and with friends -- has been wonderful.

I will miss the sunshine, the warmth and the relaxed interactions with my children.

The alligators, not so much.

Related Posts

Read more about family travel in, "The Importance of Family Vacations."

If you are planning your own family trip, you might need "My Top 12 Tips for Traveling with Kids on Planes."

Recommended Reading

Trapper Nelson spent most of his adult life off the beaten path. Read about his real-life adventures (and controversy) in Life and Death on the Loxahatchee: The Story of Trapper Nelson, by James D. Snyder. 

Gone Fishin'

On the benefits of getting away from it all... and keeping in touch in the process.


Greetings from the tropics... or at least, Florida. We’re still here, now spending a few days on the east coast, visiting friends of the family. We drove over with my mother yesterday. My parents’ house is about a hundred and fifty miles from here, but she hasn’t made the trip in over ten years.


Which is a lesson for us all. Time passes quickly. Fortunately, these are the best type of friends: The kind where you feel like you just saw them yesterday, no matter how long it’s been. (And we’ve seen them in other places, so it’s not as bad as it sounds.)


101_3519 My sons think we have discovered the coolest place ever. There is a freshwater pond in the back yard, complete with fishing dock. They haven’t caught anything yet, but that’s probably not really important. They are loving the process.


Conscious parenting is all about living in the moment... but sometimes, we parents need a reminder.


I am sitting in the lanai (Florida-speak for screened-in porch), listening to the rustle of palm trees. There is bamboo growing at the edge of the deck. It is about fifteen feet tall. We don’t have bamboo in New England, except for the little pot of “lucky bamboo” on my kitchen windowsill, which is sadly not thriving.

Continue reading "Gone Fishin'" »

A Valentine of a Different Color


Valentine: a written or other artistic work, message, token, etc., expressing affection for something or someone.”


Greetings from Florida. We are here visiting Grandma and Grandpa, who celebrated their fifty-first wedding anniversary on Super Bowl Sunday. I guess they qualify as sweethearts. Over the years, they’ve gotten understandably good at the whole Valentine’s Day thing. They went out to dinner on Friday (to avoid the crowds and craziness) and loaded up on their favorite chocolates.


Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom and Dad!


While the origins of Valentine’s Day are rather murky – and not at all about romance – it has become something of a big deal in a handful of countries, including the United States, Canada and Mexico.


The most popular expression of love and affection? The valentine card, of course! Be they romantic or humorous; addressed to a sweetheart, family member, friend or school teacher; the Greeting Card Association estimates that one billion valentine cards will be exchanged in the US this year.

Continue reading "A Valentine of a Different Color" »

Organic Food 101: What Every Parent Should Know

My eleven-year-old son was recently tasked with writing a “How-to” essay for his fifth grade language arts class. The topic he chose? “How to Live an Organic Lifestyle.” He asked me a few questions, wrote a draft or two, then typed it all up and stapled it into a beautiful cardboard cover. His teacher was happy, although she did make a couple structural suggestions, which we’ve incorporated here.  I asked for permission to share it with my readers and he said, “Uh, sure.” In case you wanted to know:


How to Live an Organic Lifestyle by my fifth-grade blogging partner

“To live a successful organic life, you need to know what organic means and where to find organic foods. Being organic is a lifestyle choice. It also means eating healthier and not eating processed foods.

First, you need to know why you are eating organic. My reason is my mom. She was having stomach pains so she went to a doctor, a nutritionist and a naturopath. Finally she found out she was allergic to bananas, wheat and sugar cane.

Continue reading "Organic Food 101: What Every Parent Should Know" »