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Monday, November 6, 2017

The Hills Are Alive: Exploring Trapp Family Lodge on Mountain Bike

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 8:46 AM

Dillon (left) and Harper play on parallel bars in the woods of Trapp Family Lodge - COURTESY OF SARAH TUFF DUNN
  • Courtesy of Sarah Tuff Dunn
  • Dillon (left) and Harper play on parallel bars in the woods of Trapp Family Lodge

After 15 years in Vermont, my husband, Carlton, and I are moving to Colorado this fall, just in time for Thanksgiving. (And yes, we’ve decided to take the children — Dillon, 10, and Harper, 9 — with us.) On a recent Saturday evening, moving boxes strewn about the house, we realized that we had one more chance for a daylong family adventure in the Green Mountain State.

Would we ride the Burlington bike path? Canoe Lake Champlain? Hike Camel’s Hump? It had to be outdoors, we told the kids, and we all put our ideas in a hat at the dinner table. Tada! Trapp Family Lodge was the winner. We’d go mountain biking, Carlton told the kids, then eat lunch at the new Bierhall.

Sunday morning dawned bright and balmy, and our spirits were high as we drove to Trapps’, stopping at Cold Hollow Cider Mill for a paper sack of donuts, then winding up through the hamlet of Moscow to the Tyrolean property. We bought a family trail pass for $30 and wheeled along Sugar Road into the kaleidoscope of trees, stopping for a photo op.

As I, the caboose, tucked my phone back into my pocket, Harper stopped suddenly in the middle of the trail, triggering me to hit my front brake in panic and then head hiney-over-teakeattle across the handlebars. Shaken, I scanned my body. Nothing broken, but a scrape on my right knee and a couple of bumps. Humbled, I resolved to focus only on the mountain biking and not the potential Instagramming. We had one more distraction — the kids playing on a set of parallel bars in the woods — before we were rolling again. Carlton had decided we would go all the way to Slayton Pasture Cabin, with the promise of donuts when we arrived.

We wheeled through the trees happily, listening to the crunch of leaves, until the sounds turned to whining. And more whining, as Dillon’s legs grew tired on the uphill parts. Harper joined in, as did I, internally, as we began walking our steeds up the steep hills. A sign told us we had 1.5 kilometers to go. We pressed on, and I reached the cabin first, watching the sparrows in silence until Harper showed up, followed by Dillon and Carlton. We gobbled up the cider donuts contentedly, then biked back down toward the Bierhall, where we'd fuel up with burgers, bratwurst and Brussels sprouts.

But first, there were the delights of the Trapp trails on a quiet Sunday — the hushed secret cemetery, the handful of hikers lost momentarily, and the magic of cementing this day in our memories after 15 remarkable years in Vermont.

Mountain biking trails at Trapp Family Lodge close in early November, but the property offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Visit trappfamily.com for more information.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Congratulations to our November Coloring Contest Winners!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 8:08 AM

Magic and mystery inspired this month’s marvelous, Halloween-themed artwork. A laughing witch whizzed through the air on a broomstick over a sea of pumpkins in 9-year-old Gwendolyn’s masterpiece. Colin, 4, jazzed up his kitty with a sparkly gold and green robot costume. Six-year-old Alexander surrounded his feline with an airborne coterie of ghosts and bats, and stuffed his jack-o-lantern bucket with tasty treats. Great job, junior artists. Mail us your masterpieces again this month!

The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

“No Halloween Costume”
Olivia Storm Challenger, 5, Stowe
"No Halloween Costume"
  • "No Halloween Costume"

“Halloween Hullabaloo”
Otis Taylor, 7, Montpelier
"Halloween Hullabaloo"
  • "Halloween Hullabaloo"

“Trick or Treating”
Aidia Hunter, 9, Bolton
"Trick or Treating"
  • "Trick or Treating"

Find our latest coloring contest in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is November 15.

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Congratulations to our November Writing Contest Winners!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 8:07 AM

In our October issue, we asked kids to write about their favorite Halloween costume. Below, find the winning entries. Cassidy and Riley each receive a $25 gift certificate to Crow Bookshop in Burlington.

Cassidy S. Bouchard, 11
Hinesburg
Last year for Halloween, I was Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton from the Broadway musical Hamilton. I remember talking to my friends about my costume in August. It wasn’t my best costume just because it was pretty. It was more about the experience. Between matching with my friends, costume fittings and all that sass, that was my favorite costume.

Riley Barrett, 6
writing_contest_nov.jpg

Danville

When I was 3 years old, I was a skeleton for Halloween. I liked to dance to Skeleton Bones. I love Halloween.








Find our latest writing prompt in the "Just for Kids" section of our November issue! Deadline to enter is November 15.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Children in the Corn: An Outing to Fort Ticonderoga's Heroic Maze

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 2:40 PM

An aerial view of Fort Ticonderoga's corn maze - CARL HEILMAN, II COPYRIGHT FORT TICONDEROGA.
  • Carl Heilman, II Copyright Fort Ticonderoga.
  • An aerial view of Fort Ticonderoga's corn maze
Late last October, a lazy fall Sunday awaited my family. But who wanted to laze when we could do something truly autumnal, like get lost in a corn maze?

I’d heard good things about Fort Ticonderoga, and their Heroic Maze that challenges visitors to find sets of clues in order to unlock a puzzle — and find their way out of the corn. So we piled Dillon and Harper, then ages 9 and 8, into the 4Runner and drove an hour and 20 minutes from our home in Shelburne to the historic New York site that was captured by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys on May 10, 1775.

During our trip, however, what captured our attention were the tall stalks of corn, just north of the King’s Garden and an apple’s throw from the southern end of Lake Champlain, rustling slightly in the breeze. We heard laughter and shouts from somewhere inside as we received our Quest Cards from a small shack near the entrance (the fee is covered by general Fort admission — $21 for adults, $9 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for kids 4 and under) and looked at the rules. The main one? Stay on the paths; no cutting through the corn. We were game.

Dillon, Harper, my husband, Carlton, and I entered the maze with optimism. How hard could it be to find our way through? Lunchtime was approaching, but, no problem — we’d be done in 30 minutes or so. But reality crept in as we turned corner after corner, becoming increasingly lost in the corn. Still, the Quest Cards kept the kids occupied as they gleefully stamped a box each time they found a station with a stamp showing a component of an 18th century fort.

“Do we really have to get all eight stamps?” I asked, my stomach starting to grumble.

“Yes!” said Harper defiantly, stamping his foot on a trampled corncob. “I want to see what we'll win!” His sister agreed. So we forged forward through the maze, and then backward, until we were lost again. Lunch? We’d be lucky if we got out of there by dinnertime.

Then there was hope, as I spied the roof of the entrance shack. Surely we were near the end. One or two more turns and... Whoops! Back into the thick of the corn. Forget it. I defiantly turned my back on my family and cut through the corn to find myself facing the parking lot, relieved to be back in civilization. Ten minutes later, the other, much more honest, three quarters of my family found me, and chastised Mommy for breaking the rules. We didn’t get all eight stamps on our Quest Card. Later, though, as we laughed at our silly escapades, we all felt like winners.

Fort Ticonderoga's Heroic Maze: A Corn Maze Adventure! is open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., through Sunday, October 15. There is a kiddie maze for young visitors in addition to the larger maze. On Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28, a Maze by Moonlight event gives visitors the opportunity to explore the maze after dark. Visit Fort Ticonderoga's website for more information.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Congratulations to our October Writing Contest Winners!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 3:56 PM

writing.jpg
In last month’s issue, we asked kids to write about their favorite teacher. Below, find the winning entries. Adela and Annika each receive a $25 gift certificate to Crow Bookshop in Burlington.

Adela Grimm, 8
Charlotte

Mrs. Brady in first grade is my favorite teacher.
She is really nice and thoughtful.
The most fun thing she did was make tissue paper flowers with us.
When someone gets hurt inside, she hurts in the inside. I love her so much.
She made me less scared by how she comforted me.

Annika Vogl, 10
Rochester, N.Y.


The best teacher I’ve had is Mr. Conway because he loves to read books to my class.
He is also a great teacher because he lets us help him sell popcorn to the school and he lets us have
extra recess or “end of the day” recess.
And most of all because he is cool and he is nice.
That is why Mr. Conway is the best teacher I’ve ever had.

Find the October writing prompt in the "Just for Kids" section of our October issue. The deadline to enter is October 15. Happy writing!

Congratulations to our October Coloring Contest Winners!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 3:42 PM

Brilliant bunnies skated under the stars and maneuvered among skyscrapers in this month’s stellar submissions. Eleven-year-old Eddie’s hare, dressed in a black suit and red tie, whizzed by a brick house under a bright blue sky. Colored circles jazzed up 7-year-old Josephine’s green background. Her stylish rabbit sported a rose-colored dress and ruby pendant. Hadley, 4, used watercolors to decorate her critter with vibrant rainbows. Phenomenal work, young artists. Send us your most inspired creations again this month!

The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

“Skateboarding in the Stars”
Asher Weissberger, 5, Winooski
"SKATEBOARDING IN THE STARS"
  • "Skateboarding in the Stars"


“Lucky Skillz”
Sophia Horton, 6, South Burlington

"Lucky Skillz"
  • "Lucky Skillz"


“Skateboarding with Aliens”
Haley Heath, 9, Underhill
"SKATEBOARDING WITH ALIENS"
  • "Skateboarding with Aliens"
Find our latest coloring contest in the "Just for Kids" section of our October issue! Deadline to enter is October 15.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Congratulations to our September Coloring Contest Winners!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 2:58 PM

Summer sure is sweet! This month’s competitors sent us dozens of colorful bears roasting marshmallows over a campfire. Twelve-year-old Mackenzie gave her teddy the tie-dye treatment, topping off her entry with a golden crescent moon. Rylee, 6, embellished her masterpiece with shining silver bear eyes and a sparkling red fire. Five-year-old Max’s cute creature sports a button-up vest with lime-green pockets and a brilliant red, blue, orange and yellow blaze. Enjoy the start of a brand-new school year, kids, and be sure to send us your awesome artwork in September.

The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

“Solar Eclipse Marshmallows”
Finn Nunery, 4, Hyde Park
Solar Eclipse Marshmallows
  • Solar Eclipse Marshmallows

“Watermelon Land”

Whitney Butnor, 8, Charlotte
Watermelon Land
  • Watermelon Land

“S’mores in Space”

Gretchen Diem, 9, Essex Junction
S'mores in Space
  • S'mores in Space

Find our latest coloring contest in the "Just for Kids" section of our September issue! Deadline to enter is September 15.


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Congratulations to our September Writing Contest Winners!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 2:50 PM

In last month’s issue, we asked kids to write a poem or paragraph about their favorite sweet treat in the summertime. Below, find the winning entries. Eden and Emily each receive a $25 gift certificate to Crow Bookshop in Burlington.

Eden Leckey, 6
Hinesburg

Slurp! It is cold on my tongue.
Crunch! It is crunchy in my teeth.
Drip! It is sticky on my hand.
Ouch! It hurts my brain.
Can you guess?
It is my favorite sweet treat —
A maple and black raspberry twist
cremee with rainbow sprinkles!


Emily Bandy, 9
Cambridge

Ice cream, frozen foods
smooth as a nickel,
None is as good as a
chocolate fudgsicle!
Sometimes, I want to go and nick a fudgsicle
so I can give it a lick!
As, now, like that,
like a candle with no wick,
too late, it’s gone and
you’re left with the stick.

Find the current writing prompt in the "Just for Kids" section of the September issue. The deadline is September 15.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Home on the Range: A Parent-Kid Outing to the Kwiniaska Driving Range

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 3:57 PM

Dillon gets ready to swing - COURTESY OF SARAH TUFF DUNN
  • Courtesy of Sarah Tuff Dunn
  • Dillon gets ready to swing
Since 2008, my family and I have lived within a golf ball’s lob from the Kwiniaska golf club in Shelburne — but have always whiffed at actually playing there. It’s partially the plethora of other outdoor activities at our disposal, partially a lack of patience in our genes for chasing a little white sphere around nine holes, and partially prudence: do we really need to spend all our money on this sport?

Well, it turns out, we don’t. At the Kwini Club, next door to the rambling course, the practice facilities are free. I discovered this after driving by for the umpteenth time and reminiscing about how much I really did like whacking the heck out of the ball when playing with my dad and brothers in Atlanta in my 20s — and then finding a couple of used 7-woods at Play It Again Sports in South Burlington.

On a sunny Sunday in late July, I coaxed my husband, Carlton, and 10-year-old-daughter, Dillon, to join me in an outing to the Kwini Club. “Love in an Elevator” by Aerosmith played from the Caddyshack clubhouse as we claimed our spots on the driving range. The only charge here is for a bucket of balls — $5 for a small, $7 for a medium and $10 for a large. We splurged on the large, scavenged for tees, and eyed the brightly colored flags marking various yardages on the range.

Gripping my club, I focused on the dimpled ball teed up at my feet. Swish, thwack, soar! I lost sight of it until it finally plunked down near the 200-yard marker. Triumph. Not so for Dillon, who was wildly swinging her club like Goofy being chased by a pack of bumblebees.

“What do you think about when you’re swinging?” I asked Dillon.

“The ball,” she said.

“What about the ball?” I asked.

“If I’m going to hit it,” she said matter-of-factly, and then whiffed again. I coaxed her to keep her eyes on the ball, not on the club, not on Carlton and not on the flags fluttering in the breeze. And then I went back to my own practice balls, knowing that it would put too much pressure on her if I watched.

The approach worked. Soon, Dillon was making contact with the ball, and all three of us were obsessively swinging, pausing and peering at the soaring white spheres. (That is, when we weren’t hitting worm burners.) Before we knew it, our large bucket of balls had dwindled down to nothing, and it was time to return home for lunch. But we tucked our tees into our pockets, vowing to come back later. It was fun. It was cheap. And it was a great addition to the plethora of outdoor activities in Vermont.

Find more information about the Kwini Club here.

Congratulations to our August Writing Contest Winners!

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 9:59 AM

In last month’s issue, we asked kids to write a poem or paragraph conveying what they like about swimming. Below, find the winning entries. India and Julia each receive a $25 gift certificate to Crow Bookshop in Burlington.

India Choudhury, 12
St. Johnsbury
I feel the flood of adrenaline jumping off the board,
the cool water over my head, the rush for air,
the long swim toward the ladder,
stroke after stroke, kick after kick…
as I’m climbing up the ladder,
I hear the splash of the next jumper,
and as I stand there dripping from head to toe,
the process repeats.

Julia Wulff, 8
Waterbury

Swimming
I splash and dive,
I do breast stroke and front crawl,
In my grandmother’s pool or the reservoir,
I swim patterns and flip,
Feeling so free,
Loving swimming.

Find the latest writing prompt in the "Just For Kids" section of our August issue. The deadline to enter is August 15. Happy writing!


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WND&WVS Windsurfing Camps

Burlington, VT

Looking for something fun, outdoor and active for your kid this summer? Check out our half-day windsurfing camps starting up on June 19th and running through August 25th. The camp runs weekly from 8:45am to 1:45pm Monday through Friday followed by a free lunch at Spot on the Dock, (how…(more)

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