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  1. #1
    twowhat? is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default Portland and Boston peeps!

    We have a couple of vacations planned in these cities!

    Portland: will be staying in the city for a few days and then going out into the "country" (Skamania resort area) for a couple of days. We will have a rental car, prefer to keep drives 2 hours or less. What are must sees in both in the city and surrounding areas? Bonus if it's a National Park since we can get in free Do we need to bring rain gear for a July visit? Assume we'll need a hoodie for evenings. We are going to skip Seattle this round, and save that for a different trip.

    Boston: Will be staying in the Copley Square area. No car, so will be relying on public transportation. Must sees? We will be seeing a show at the Huntington Theatre and on top of that will have about 2 whole days to explore.

    Kids are 10 and are mildly interested in history now (Paul Revere's house?). They're not big fans of hiking (one of them has some physical limitations) but shorter easy hikes are good and we will make her do those since she is otherwise pretty inactive. They enjoy museums, shopping, cool parks, worthy zoos, etc. I don't know if it's worth walking around the Boston area college campuses but maybe? It looks to me like July/August weather is mild with highs in the low 80s...that sounds lovely to me but is it humid? If it's humid and 80s that will be "hot" to me so we'll pack dri-fit stuff.

    DH and I are also both interested in exploring places that locals would frequent. Both of these areas are contenders for "where to move when we retire that won't be dead hot in 20 years".

  2. #2
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    Boston info : expect humidity and 80-90s in July and August. We have had a very wet spring and June, i think it is suppose to continue to be a wet summer. Do you want to just stay in the city / stuff accessible by the T?

    The zoos are not worth it.

    A duck tour would show you lots of stuff quickly. We often take relatives visiting on one. The USS constitution is a cool tour. My kids loved it, and DD who is 13 asked to go back this year. You can get harbor cruise next to the aquarium and visit some of the harbor islands. My family likes the one to Georges Island - it has an old fort on it. We always pack lunch when we go.

    If it is raining, the museum of science and the aquarium are great. Whale watchers can be booked through the aquarium too,

  3. #3
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    Boston:

    Freedom Trail. There is a National Park Station downtown. Itís a great walking tour of city. https://www.thefreedomtrail.org/

    Boston Harbor Islands. Take a ferry down near the Aquarium. St Georgeís island has nice tours (former fort/prison. Has a ghost story. Great fun to explore). You can hit more than one island if you start early.

    The new greenway between the city and North End is nice with sprinkles on hot days.

    The Esplanade has free movies on Friday if you are there then and has an awesome playground nearby.

    Easy walk from Copley to the Public Gardens and the Common. Did they read Make Way for Ducklings when they were young.

    Museum of Find Arts is huge. Science museum probably better fit for that age.

  4. #4
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    the new martin playground is supposed to be great - right outside the Children's museum. 10 is on the older side for the BCM but not awful. If you're there on a Fri night, its discounted admission. Also right there is the tea party museum. Its kind of a long walk across the bridge from the t station though.

    MOS is fantastic. BCM & MOS are also good about reciprocity with other museums.

    Faneuil Hall is an outdoor market across from the aquarium. Its fun to hang out, have a bite to eat etc. During the summer there are street vendors/performers and its fun. You could walk there from Copley though it would be a long walk. its on the T. Faneuil Hall is also more or less right at the beginning of the North End. Great food.
    dd1 10/05
    dd2 11/09
    and 2 cocker spaniels

  5. #5
    Mommy_Mea is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    We went to the Martin playground earlier this week, it was really awesome. DS1 is 10 and still loves the children's museum, but it really is the upper end of the age.

    Museum of Science is perfect for that age.
    DS1 June 2009
    DS2 June 2011

  6. #6
    California is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Jumping on this post to add a question for Boston people: Any family-friendly restaurant suggestions? Especially around the Freedom Trail and Harvard.

    Regarding Portland- I'm not from there but we've spent several summers in Oregon with family and friends.

    Portland's OMSI museum is fantastic. My kids and their cousins can spend hours immersed in the hands-on exhibits. It's also part of the ASTC exchange- https://www.astc.org/wp-content/uplo...ay-Oct2019.pdf.

    I love the Japanese garden, but for a family admission adds up fast. The International Rose Test Garden is free (or at least it was when we went!) It's a good spot to get outdoors without it being a full-on hike. A few years back we had family from Utah meet us in Portland, and we went to Powell's (the big bookstore), picked up lunch and VooDoo donuts, picnicked in the rose garden, and roamed around the grounds with all our kids. Such a lovely day. It's a bit of an adventure driving to it as you'll be taking one way narrow roads.

    I'm sure you've heard of Multnomah Falls if you are researching Portland, and it really is worth a visit if you've never been before. You'll see a couple of waterfalls on your way to it, too. It's been a few years since we've gone (since we went like three times in a row and were ready to see other things!) When we went, the walk up to the top viewing spot was fairly slick with mist from the waterfall and might not be a good fit for your DD. She would still be able to visit the lower viewing area.

    Gilbert House Children's Museum in Salem is right by the riverfront park and is another spot that is a big hit with kids. There is a huge play structure in the back that would be hard to navigate with mobility issues. But the majority of the museum would be fine. It's also part of the ASTC exchange. We usually combine the Gilbert House with a much shorter visit to the state capitol. The state capitol is free to visit, gets you inside out of the sun, and the kids learn some history.

    I personally look forward to Cafe Yumm whenever we're in Oregon, and try to visit at least one McMenamins (not sure if that's spelled correctly.) All their locations are quirky. If you go to one, explore it a bit to check out the artwork and architecture. That's part of the fun!

    Not sure where you live. For my city kids, they really enjoy going to u-pick blueberry farms while we are in Oregon. (Strawberries if it's early summer.) If there's one along the way for you it could be a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

  7. #7
    azzeps is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    You ought to take your time on your way out to Skamania Lodge. On the Oregon side of the Columbia, there are many beautiful waterfalls. Multnomah Falls is the tallest, but there are so many others that are lovely... Oneonta, Bridal Veil, Wahkeena, Horsetail Falls, etc. Some you have to hike to, and others you don't. A view of a waterfall is a pretty good way to motivate a reluctant hiker! Be aware that we were hit pretty hard in this area (Eagle Creek) with a fire, so I'm not sure if some places may still be closed... trails, that is. Crown Point is a nice view point along the way, too. Eat at the Char Burger and then go across the Bridge of the Gods, and you're at Skamania Lodge.

    From Portland, I'd say a "must see" is the Oregon Coast. You could totally do a day trip to Cannon Beach. I love it there. Or sometimes we drive to Tillamook in time for lunch/ice cream at the creamery, and then up the coast to maybe Rockaway Beach ("goonies rocks") or Cannon Beach (low tide at Haystack rock has nice tide pools). Also, Hug Point is a nice place to stop. The drive along the coast is scenic. Stop at Mo's for clam chowder. Pick up 26 back to Portland just North of Cannon Beach. If you have more time for the coast, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is great, but that is a bit further South than maybe you have time for.

    In Portland, I like Powell's. There's lots of shopping in that neighborhood, too. If you can visit a neighborhood, that's nice, too, like Alberta Arts district or Division St. Both have shops and places to eat. If you do OMSI, which is fun, consider also a Jet Boat tour on the Willamette river. We did that once, and it was pretty fun. Nice view of all the bridges along the river and they tell you some about the city too.

    If you can fit in a McMenamin's, my favorite is the Kennedy School, in NE PDX.

    Happy trip planning!
    DD - 3/2008
    DS - 7/2011

  8. #8
    WatchingThemGrow is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    From Portland, if you can head to the coast, I HIGHLY recommend the jr. ranger program at Lewis and Clark - Ft. Clatsop. We went there and to Astoria (awesome little village borne of the salmon industry) and LOVED the Columbia River Maritime Museum. SO many times in 5th grade, my DS1 was able to connect something he learned from our day at Fort Clatsop. The little demonstrations they do there were fun.

  9. #9
    twowhat? is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    So we ended up with one very sick kid and even once she was fever-free we had to go pretty slowly during our Portland vacay but we still had a fabulous time and did a lot of what was recommended here. We spent hours inside Powell's which was a big hit for our book lovers. We walked around the Pearl District, shopped a little (our kids discovered Athleta Girl and now they're fans, haha!), visited the Chinese gardens (very peaceful, if not a bit pricey), hit up Voodoo Doughnut which I was afraid was just a tourist trap but I found the donuts pretty good and now they take credit cards! Picked up bubble tea from a permanent food cart near our hotel, and shaved ice (SO GOOD). Strolled on the boardwalk (the kids were pretty fascinated by the weirdness of Portland peeps!) visited the OMSI. Drove to Mount St. Helens - it was beautiful (and also all covered up with clouds!) The highlights were probably the drive to the coast and to Cannon Beach which was probably one of their favorite things - north of Haystack Rock felt almost deserted and it was so peaceful. The kids discovered squeaky sand! They spent hours at the beach. Then we drove a little further to Short Sands beach which was also very pretty, and Tillamook for cheese and ice cream. Unfortunately since it was a Sunday, there wasn't a lot going on behind the glass at the Creamery but the cheese was still tasty and the ice cream still delicious

    Then drove east towards Skamania, going the roundabout way to hit Mount Hood. Hiked to Mirror Lake (kids did NOT enjoy hahaha...it was a vigorous hike but DD2 managed to do it with her hiking poles). We decided to skip the waterfalls after that, as DD1 was exhausted from recovering from her illness and DD2 was exhausted from the hike. Did ziplining at the Skamania Lodge which I highly recommend, especially if you're a first-time zipliner. The guides were so great! The kids didn't want to go but we forced them to and with the help of the guides they overcame their nervousness and now they say the ziplining was their favorite part of the trip. Tried out the aerial park which was honestly kind of amazing and terrifying. DD2 had several panic/tears/hysteria moments but the guide there was a really amazing ex-inmate who helped coach her through breathing and got her through her fear by making her focus on just one tiny step at a time. In the end it wasn't an activity the kids say they enjoyed BUT they made it through several of the challenges and I'm sure they came out of it with important life lessons LOL. This was definitely not what I would call an easy "first-timer" experience of an aerial park but it was pretty amazing - all up in the trees and beautiful. But yes, even I was terrified. If you have kids who are risk-takers and thrive on scary challenges and want to be on American Ninja Warriors, they would LOVE this. And then on our way back to the airport we stopped at Bridal Veils for the short/easy-ish hike to finally see a waterfall.

    All in all, a great vacation! Boston next!
    Last edited by twowhat?; 07-12-2019 at 06:02 PM.

  10. #10
    azzeps is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Nice! You did great, especially with one child ill! Glad it was fun. Sounds like I need to be a tourist in my own town and go to Skamania Lodge! I didn't know about the zip lining and the aerial course. Sounds like fun! Scary good fun!
    DD - 3/2008
    DS - 7/2011

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