Corn mazes, apple cider, and smiles a mile wide.

This blog entry’s intro comes to us courtesy of my eldest daughter:

When I look back on my childhood, some of my most vivid memories are of attending fall festivals and events with my family. I can still remember the edge of frost in the air, the tang of the hot apple cider, and running breathlessly through a seemingly endless corn maze. There’s something magical about Fall – when the leaves change, seemingly overnight, to a symphony of fire tones, before drifting down to coat the ground like a magic carpet.

Few things capture the magic of the season like fall festivals. You can find them across the country – in numerous small towns, and family owned farms. They’re a slice of American life, truly as American as apple pie (yes, even in Canada!). No where else can you find that certain delightful combination of corn mazes, apple treats, pumpkins and Halloween festivities that you do in North America.

So this year, take your kids along and make your own wonderful fall memories.

Make it Happen: 

Because hectic schedules sustain the daily rhythm of most households mini breaks make a world of difference and we know that pint-sized fun is better than no fun at all.

Whether it’s a  day trip or a weekend escape, enjoying time together and making family memories matters. Fun, quick, and easy is the magic phrase for families. A special thanks to those who took time to “Tell Mom” labout the best corn maze or fall festival  because we have included those suggestions on the list for this year.

Check out our best-rated fall festivals and corn mazes from all over the USA here.

We are thrilled with the feedback from Canadians who love their corn mazes and pumpkin patches and took time to “Tell Mom” where to find the best. Find out what they recommended by check out the roundup here!

Canada: Family Summer Vacation Adventures – Just Drive North.

Because I lived in Wisconsin as a child I thought a family vacations were taken in Canada – Manitoba or Ontario to be precise. Our family has carried on the “vacation in Canada tradition” having expanded our destinations to include PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC.

The obvious benefits, aside from the pure “fun” value, Canada offers parents a safe friendly way to introduce another culture. The exchange rate is favorable; there is no jet lag involved – well unless you need to cross the Atlantic.

Here’s the deal. It’s Canada (not the excited states) and while there are many similarities, there are plenty of differences worth sharing. For kids the differences will be obvious. The coins look different; the ice cream is better; bi- lingual means English/French; Canadians have a different view of the Revolutionary War. When pressed to name a favorite province we cannot agree. Our youngest stands by Saskatchewan; my husband names New Brunswick; our oldest daughter splits her vote between Quebec and PEI; I love British Columbia and Ontario – think wine. For us every vacation seemed better than the last. But as we look at years of great family vacations, really anywhere in Canada will be terrific.  My short “not-to-be-missed” list of family adventures includes truly awesome experiences meant to be shared with kids.

  1. Attend the Charlottetown Festival and enjoy the fun of being on the island that made Anne of Green Gables a legend. Make sure to have potato fries.
  2. Walk on the ocean floor – no kidding. The Bay of Fundy cannot be explained unless you go there and touch and feel. Spend a day (or a week) at Kings Landing where living history is not exactly like Williamsburg, VA.
  3. Even though it is a bit touristy Niagara Falls is a splendid spot for families. Ride the Maid of the Mist and checkout the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory.
  4. Walk the streets of Quebec City and practice your guidebook French.
  5. Enjoy Montreal’s museums and then ride VIARail from Montreal to the Maritimes.
  6. Walk the tunnels of Moose Jaw, and hear stories at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, or dig for old bones at Eastend in Saskatchewan.
  7. Eat cowboy pancakes and do the two-step at Calgary Stampede.
  8. Dig for old bones at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.
  9. Kayak God’s Pocket and go ziplining in Whistler.
  10. Spend a day in Vancouver’s Stanley Park – all the cool stuff in one place.

Canada: New Brunswick, Kings Landing, Daydreaming in History.

(Written by my youngest daughter, Jule Nelson-Duac)

Wagon rides > walking three miles in moccasins!

There I was, sitting in history class thinking, ” There’s a more fun way of learning this!” Why can’t school be more like my life at Kings Landing? The teacher’s voice droned on as I looked out the window. I recalled my summer days and the last time we were in New Brunswick, Canada. I was lucky enough to attend a living history camp at Kings Landing. They call it “Visiting Cousins” and that is what we all pretended to be for a week. I went with my two cousins, Scott and Jaime, and my big sister, Amanda. As it turned out it was really fun, even better than space camp. Continue reading