The great pumpkin pie – grandma style

The pumpkin patch was covered with a large black tarp protecting the grand gourds from the fall frost on our first morning in New York’s Catskill Mountains. We almost missed it in the morning mists we were so dazzled by the golden and red fruits dangling off the apple trees which line the dirt road leading to my parents’ home. Heading straight down the mountain side to pick and taste our favorite fruit my father called us over then lifted the vine covering asking, “Does anybody like pumpkins?” Continue reading “The great pumpkin pie – grandma style”

Hey travelers, where’s your bar?


I’m packing for my first solo trip in a while.

No kids. No cats. No Chris.

Yeah, I’m excited. It’s probably the whole traveling-without-the-tribe thing. They’re more than just the entourage; they’re my back-up, my support network. And they’re my therapists when I need them.

So here’s my problem: I don’t know what to expect. I don’t even know where to set the bar for this trip. Continue reading “Hey travelers, where’s your bar?”

Our 10 favorite fall photography tips

Fall Farmers Museum

Each year I head out to the mountains to try and capture autumn’s delicate blush but after taking about two million pictures I have only three that I would keep.


Because if you’re not careful you end up with lovely fall pictures that all look the same. I worked the Catskill Mountain range with my son Aren and we’ve put together some tips to help you take fresh pictures this fall. Continue reading “Our 10 favorite fall photography tips”

What’s your vacation exit strategy?

What’s your vacation exit strategy?

“Let’s just go home.”

If you’ve ever said it — or yelled it — to your family in exasperation, then you should join us sometime. Not a trip seems to go by for us when one of us, or all of us, at least mutter it under our breath.

We’re done! Let’s get outta here.

For us, there’s a bright line between “go” and “stay.” When our accommodations fall through, which has only happened on one or two occasions, we take it as a sign to move on.

Oh, yes! Once, because I miscounted and made the rather common mistake of booking one night too few, we found ourselves homeless in Saugatuck, Mich. Continue reading “What’s your vacation exit strategy?”

We ate our way through Seattle and we still fit in our clothes — here’s how we pulled it off

Space Needle At Night

If you visit Seattle, bring a healthy appetite. You’ll need it, because excellent food, wine and desserts are not the Emerald City’s problem.

But — and not to sound too ominous about this — if you’re not careful, they could become your problem.

Whether we were sampling exotic foods at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, or sipping coffee in one of its world-famous coffee houses, or tasting desserts or artisanal cheeses, we now realize that we spent an entire week of our lives eating all the time.

Oh, and if you have young kids (we have three) then you’ll also find yourself consuming enormous chocolate chip cookies, dark fudge brownies or donuts as big as your kindergartner’s hand.

The real question is: How did we do it without gaining any weight? You’ll have to keep reading to find out. Continue reading “We ate our way through Seattle and we still fit in our clothes — here’s how we pulled it off”

Exploring Oregon’s coast, one dune at a time

OC Kids on dunes

Oregon’s rough-and-tumble coast is all about exploration.

It’s learning about life on the edge of the American experience, in a place that features desolate beaches, famous cows and sea fairies. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, maybe it’s time for a visit.

I admit I didn’t know much about the Oregon coast before we started our drive north from California. We’d seen Bend and visited the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Crater Lake National Parks last summer for our family travel blog, so when we had the opportunity to tour the Beaver State’s coast, we jumped at it. Continue reading “Exploring Oregon’s coast, one dune at a time”