Jan 19th
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Ask the Travel Agent

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Ask the Travel Agent

Q.     We’d like to plan a vacation this February in New England or Pennsylvania with  our three kids 6, 3, and 20 months.  Sledding, tobogganing, sleigh rides and skating would be fun.
A.     In Pennsylvania, the Poconos offer such properties as The Split Rock Resort and Mount Air Lodge. In New York, Rocking Horse Ranch in Highland or The Mohawk Mountain House in New Paltz are good choices.  If you travel north you’ll find Sagamore Resort on Boltons Landing in the Lake George area.  Condo type accommodations are available too.  Also nearby is the Lake Placid Hilton.  If you are thinking about Vermont, I would suggest Smugglers’ Notch which offers condominiums, a wide range of activities (sledding, bonfires, etc), and child care.  Also, in Warren, Vermont, Sugarbush Resort caters to families.  The kids will love the horse drawn sleigh ride through Lareau Farm country.  The resort complex at  Killington, VT also offers a wide variety of accommodations and activities.
Q.     What do you suggest seeing in San Francisco? We have 3 children under the age of 10.
A.     Here are a few ideas to get you started:  Exploratorium is in the Palace of Fine Arts Building and will provide hours of fun for all ages! On a clear day stroll through Golden Gate Park; walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to Bay Area Discovery Museum. Lombard Street, "crookedest street in the world" is always fun.  Pier 39 offers a variety of shopping and the aquarium, Underwater World. Also, watch for the seals on nearby docks.  You can ride a trolley car to Fisherman's Wharf and while snacking on a shrimp cocktail, watch the fishing trawlers. There's also Steinhart Aquarium; S.F. Zoo; California Marine Mammal Center, in the Marin Headlands; Chinatown; Cliff House which overlooks Seal Rock and offers tasty omelets; and don't forget the Alcatraz tour!

Q.     I'm looking for family lodging information in London. Our family of five would like a single suite or apartment in London or the suburbs and along a rail line.
A.     InterHome of Fairfield, NJ rents apartments and holiday homes in Great Britain and all over Europe. They can be reached at 973-882-6864. Also Global Home Network ( rents home and apartments in London.  Some hotels in London offer family suite accommodations.

Q.     We are trying to plan a vacation to the Caribbean. We'd like to rent a house or villa and do our own cooking.  Which islands are better for young kids? (They're all under six.)
A.     Villas International rents villas with or without pools on most major Caribbean islands.  Rates are based on time of year and number of people and run from $2500 to $6500 a week.
     Cayman Islands has a large choice of condominiums to choose from on 7-mile beach.
     The La Cabana in Aruba has an all suite property with kitchenette and children’s activities.
     In St. Thomas, Bolongo Beach Villas and Sapphire Beach Resort feature kitchen, LR/DR, bedrooms, and also offer kids’ programs. Most  islands are extremely receptive to families and young kids.

Q.     My son wants to get away during spring break with the other kids.  Where are these popular spring gatherings?
A.     Cancun, Mexico has become very popular and is inexpensive.  Many tour operators offer charters to Cancun during spring break as well as regular air/land packages.
    The Bahamas, both Freeport and Nassau, are popular with the kids.  Tour operators offer charters to the Bahamas, as well as regular air/land packages.   
     South Padre Island, Texas is a hopping spot for Spring Break, and is easily accessible from Harlingen's Valley International Airport and Brownsville/SPI Airport. Southwest, American, and Continental airlines service this area.
     Panama City Beach, located on the Florida Panhandle is another popular place. Many cultural as well as beach activities are offered.
     The island of Jamaica is also becoming a popular place for Spring Break. Jamaica, however, would be of most concern for safety. To explore the island alone could be dangerous. I suggest going with
a tour and staying within the bounds of the resort.

Q.     Our family (kids’ ages 10 & 13) is looking for a backcountry skiing adventure.    
A.     At Yellowstone National Park Lodge (307-344-7311) you can rent a cabin and enjoy cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and scenic wildlife touring. Yellowstone Expeditions (800-728-9333) offers backcountry adventures.
    The 10th Mountain Hut System (970-925-5775) in Colorado has a 22 hut system that connects Aspen to Leadville and Vail.  The Braun Hut System and Friends Hut System connect Aspen and Crested Butte.

--Debbie Gioquindo is a Certified Travel Counselor, experienced in family travel.


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Traveling with our Children

"I’ve been traveling with my son since he was 13 weeks old and I love it!  Actually, I discovered that traveling with my child was easy for I was already committed to including him.  I find it a challenge to plan ahead and anticipate his needs... and well rewarded with fun, family adventures." -- Publisher/Editor Deb Cornick 

    So, what do we parents who travel with our children know that others don’t?


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