I hate to admit this, but my family and I have NEVER been to an amusement park together. Sadly, trips like that are never in our budget, but when I was given the opportunity to take my children to Story Land in Glen, NH for a review, I couldn't believe it. Talk about exciting! We decided instead of packing up 3 kids and driving the 7 hour round trip in a single day, we'd also go camping for two nights. The entire trip was made possible by US Family Guide, LightSpeed Outdoors, and Polar Bear Coolers - and I couldn't be more grateful.
We left our camp site in Maine around 9am, and would have been to the park by 10am, however we managed to run into some heavy traffic and needed to detour because of some Mud Fest. I have no idea what that is, but apparently it's way more important than getting my kids to Story Land. When we got there everyone was a bit grumpy due to the prolonged car ride. We were hungry, and still tired from unpacking and swimming the day before, so our first few photo opps did not go so well. Anybody else know what I'm talking about? You're SO excited to see your kids having fun and all they want to do is whine and cry and make faces at the camera.
After the mandatory restroom break, we stopped to see Curious George who was helping promote an Autism Awareness Campaign, and the Little Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe who gave all of the kids stickers. Then of course we had to do the obligatory Humpty Dumpty photo. Can you tell how NOT impressed my kids are at this point? (My daughter didn't like that his eyes moved and the sounds. She's a little bit of a weirdo.) We also stopped by the "For Little Dreamers" area which is a great place for infants and toddlers. They had a small ball pit for my son, and a bigger one for my daughter - which she refused to get out of until I had to dive in after her. She hadn't quite mastered the concept of an amusement park. But, once she realized that, "OMG THERE'S MORE STUFF TO DO!" she quickly caught on. Next we had to learn how to master the art of waiting in line. Go ahead. Laugh all you want. But let me just say I was never so happy to be surrounded by other parents whose children were also wanting to nap, eat, get up and run, and hate life at any given point their parents uttered the word "no".
One of the biggest reasons why I was super excited for the chance to go to Story Land is that they are VERY kid friendly. My two children are ages 1 and (almost) 3, and I have a 10 year old step-daughter. While I think Story Land is more for children ages 2-6, all of the rides (that I could tell) were great for children of all ages, with a few exclusions. Some of the rides had a 36 inch height minimum, and that worked out really well for my 2 year old who happens to be a 38" giant. Several of the rides were infant friendly, and "toddler" friendly which meant my 1 year old could go on either. My son could have even ridden the Turtle Twirl (aka the Tilt-A-Whirl), although as a slightly over-protective mother that made me a bit nervous and we decided to bypass that ride for him. My daughter and step-daughter went on it though, and had a blast!
The only ride that I went on that I found to be slightly disappointing was Cinderella's Pumpkin Carriage. It takes riders up to the castle but then drops you off. It's only one way. Which happened to work out fine for us because there wasn't a line to ride the carriage back down. The only problem I had was that we had to wait 20+ minutes just to ride up to the castle in the first place, and we had to leave our stroller and cooler down where we hopped on. We had planned to walk back down, but like I said we lucked out and there wasn't a line. The other bummer about that was that there is only one princess and she doesn't stay in the castle, but does Tea Parties and shows at different areas of the park. I wanted to get a picture of the kids sitting on the thrones in the castle, but I managed to bash my daughter in the head with my DSLR, and that lead to crying, and so we just rushed away to find something else to do. Like, eat. The ride that made up for the really long wait was the Bamboo Chutes log flume. The ride just doesn't stop. People are always getting on and off so the line goes by REALLY quickly. We were able to ride it twice within 15 minutes. We did also visit Story Land after Labor Day which is when their season really starts to wind down, so I'm sure we lucked out with wait times due timing our visit after the big Summer rush.
Story Land has a LOT of food places, and stores if you want to pick up some souvenirs. We decided not to go that route, just because we didn't really have the extra money to spend, but our kids had so much fun regardless. They had face painting (and boy did they do a nice job on the kids I saw walking around), and a cute little dress up/costume shop. There was plenty of shade, and bonus for my husband (and me shhhh) they had designated smoking areas. We were at Story Land 6 hours and we still didn't have enough time to do everything. We didn't even have time to see a single show. That place is HUGE, and well worth the $28 it costs per person to get in. Plus, children ages 2 and under get in FREE! The two small conveniences I really loved was all of the "stroller parking", and the mom designated bathrooms/changing rooms. And everything was CLEAN.
Story Land was a great experience for our entire family, and is definitely the perfect beginner theme park for small children. If we ever have the chance to go back again, we definitely will!
*My family and I were provided tickets free of charge thanks to US Family Guide and Story Land in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.
My husband completely surprised me last weekend on our 3rd wedding anniversary. I had gone out to run errands earlier that morning thinking we'd just have a normal Saturday of nothing. When I came home he handed me a card that said we had some place to be by 3pm. We usually don't have a lot of money to do anything really fun, however I guess he heard me say I'd like to visit a winery some day. Silly me had assumed that wineries don't exist in Maine. I mean, com'on, we're known for snow, black flies, and our numerous lakes and rivers. Oh, and I can't forget our moose. I never in a million years would have thought we have an actual winery in our state.
Guess what? They DO exist in Maine! And, we happened to have a gorgeous one only 20 miles or so away from where we live. I can't begin to explain my excitement when we pulled up to this beautiful yellow house with a sign that read "Dragonfly Winery" on it. "Are you serious?! You're taking me to a winery? Wait. We have wineries in Maine?!"He just looked at me and smiled knowing full well he nit the nail on the head with this little outing.
The Dragonfly Farm & Winery LLC is located in Stetson, Maine 100% owned and run by the Nadeau family - way out in the middle of nowhere. When you pull up to their small driveway it really doesn't look like much; a few buildings, a few grape vines, some bushes, and a lot of land. I think "quaint" may be the best word to describe it. It certainly wasn't the ginormous California vineyards I had always imagined any winery would look like. My husband thought the "Gift Shop" sign was pointing down a little winding trail so we explored there first. We ended up at a building that was definitely not the gift shop we were looking for. So, back up the trail we went. We were warmly greeted by Todd. Nadeau who promptly took us on a tour of their vineyard/farm.
The Nadeau vineyard boasted several varieties of grapes, including a variety only THEY had. And yes, I mean they are the only ones in the entire world that have this particular variety of grape. I wish I could remember what it was called. I guess I was slacking on my journalism skills because I didn't bring anything to write with! I suppose that's what happens when something like this is completely sprung on you. ;) I did happen to have my camera though! They also grow several fruits too that they use to make their fruit wines with. I really enjoyed getting to taste the wine right out of the fermenting barrels. I had never had the opportunity to taste wine that wasn't quite done yet. Todd Nadeau asked if I'd be able to finish the little bit he gave me, and I said, "Of course! I'll finish anything you throw my way!"
The Dragonfly Farm & Winery started out as a small dream his family had, and they grew it into what it is today; a vibrant, successful winery that produces some of the most delicious sweet wines I have ever tasted. You may know that I'm a huge fan of sweet wine so this was the perfect winery to visit! They have a total of 7 varieties of white wine, 6 varieties of red wine, and 8 varieties of fruit wine. However, what is in stock depends on the season. After the tour I had the amazing opportunity to taste 9 of their wines ranging from whites, and reds, to blueberry, strawberry, and cranberry. Yumm! The names included: Clarity, Serendipity, Candle Waster, Blueberry Bliss, Blue Lightening, Raspberry Riot, St. Pepin, and Jelly Juice... now that I count I guess I'm missing one.
Of course I had some favorites and boy did I stock up! I came home with 2 bottles of "Clarity", 2 bottles of "Serendipity", and 2 bottles of their "Candle Waster" Cranberry wine. Jelly Juice was another favorite however I didn't purchase that one. Todd & Treena Nadeau are both members of the United States Air Force, so they consider their winery as a part time hobby. I can't believe it. It seems like so much work, and even more waiting, but WOW do they do a fabulous job with it! When it came time to ring up our (I mean MY) purchase, they were beyond generous and threw in an extra bottle as an anniversary gift, and they gave us the "anniversary discount" of $1 off each bottle. In addition, if you have ANY military affiliate (yourself, cousins, aunts, uncles, employees) they give a "military discount" of $1 off each bottle you purchase. Their wines are VERY affordable too. Every bottle is only $13. I walked out of this beautiful place happier knowing I had a wonderful opportunity to meet the Nadeau family, uplifted by the beauty of their farm, and completely satisfied that I purchased some of the best wine I have ever had while simultaneously supporting a local business.
Dragonfly Farm & Winery isn't just all about wine. They also make Maple Syrups. Have you ever had REAL Maple Syrup? You don't know what you're missing by choosing Aunt Jemima over the real stuff. The Nadeau's make their maple syrup in the traditional French Canadian way. I'm not 100% sure what that means exactly since I wasn't there for the syrup, but homemade natural syrup is always a winner.
If you're ever in Maine, make sure you check out the Dragonfly Farm & Winery in Stetson, Maine. You won't be disappointed, and you'll truly get to see one of Maine's Hidden Treasures, and you'll meet some of the friendliest people! It's a win win all around.
*This post is not sponsored. I do want to thank my wonderful husband for taking me on the best little outing I could have dreamed of!