Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Slice of Americana, YMCA of The Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado

As I see it, Americana represents the fabric of our cultural heritage. Camping in the summer is one of those cherished slices of Americana, just as sweet as a homemade apple pie. I have very distinct memories of a camping trip I went on one summer as a child with my neighbors. There was bingo, camp fires, getting all sorts of dirty, exploring trails, and a tire swing over a lake.

In June I was invited to explore the YMCA of The Rockies in Estes Park for a few days with a fabulous group of local bloggers, which I luckily also consider to be some dear friends. There was no way we would pass up such an opportunity! Typically we camp a couple of times over the summer, but it's usually in camping areas with no amenities, just back country style. My husband has a degree in Wilderness Recreation Leadership so he really enjoys all the work that goes into planning and experiencing a more back country camping experience. 

We agreed it would be a fun and new experience to visit a place like the "Y", as we like to call it, with the girls. We pulled into the Y after a 45 minute easy commute from Boulder, it instantly felt like a great place to relax and getaway, I adored the buildings sharing a log cabin aesthetic. Our reservation was for a room in a lodge, but they also offer cabins for lodging which looked right up our alley. We were given the full experience, meals provided for us in a cafeteria style setting, group activities, a barbeque, campfire songs with the fabulous Cowboy Ron, drop off activities for the girls to participate in like how to be an animal detective or kick ball, live bluegrass, ziplining which was my favorite, the most amazing crafting center we have ever been to, archery, swimming, horseback riding, and there was even a playground for those in between times when the kids were still on the go. Here's a full program bulletin to get a better sense of all the opportunities the Y offers! 

Wow, right? 

All of my expectations were exceeded at the Y. We experienced full days packed with joy, not only through our girls, but with them! Sounds amazing, doesn't it? It was. The YMCA of The Rockies provided us with many special memories all set in one of the most picturesque and relaxing places, right in our backyard. I can't wait until we return, I think we need to check out the cabins on our next visit! 

The best day of my 8 year old's life! 
More posts about the Y experience can be found over at Write Mind Open Heart!
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Disclosure: My family was provided this wonderful opportunity (lodging and meals) in partnership with Mile High Mamas. Some of the activities, such as the horseback riding through Rocky Mountain National Park were not included, but way too exciting of an opportunity to pass up. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Adventure: 3 Weeks In New York...

I can clearly remember back to the moment when I was on the final purchase page for our tickets to New York, I pulled up the calendar at the same time and was double checking my days, I sensed a few moments of hesitation. I methodically clicked back and forth, wondering if I was really going to go through with it. Our trip would be three weeks long, with J joining us on the front end for the first 6 days, and I would be solo with the girls for the last two weeks.

I joked with my parents, I am really doing this, say the word if you think it's too long. No, no, of course not too long, we can't wait to have you and the girls! Just do it!

The reality is, we hadn't been back to my home town in two and a half years, and the girls were begging me to go. I started making a list of all the things I wanted to do with them and three weeks didn't seem like a stretch. Granted I knew there would be moments that wouldn't be all happy, happy, joy, joy, but I hit purchase anyway. G in particular didn't have many memories of being in New York and I wanted to change that. I wanted the girls to see all of their family members that never come to Colorado to visit. Boy were we accomplished!

Here's some of the adventures we had, which I am sure will inspire some posts of their own:

  • New York City with the girls, complete with a train ride to Albany
  • Visiting all of their Uncles at their houses (the girls have 5 uncles)
  • Soft serve ice cream tour
  • A trip to coastal New Hampshire, yeah Atlantic Ocean
  • Visiting their cousins
  • Swimming
  • Cruising on a boat 
  • Spending time with their 3 sets of grandparents and even a visit w/great grandma
  • Family dinners
  • Playing at the playground of my childhood elementary school
  • Seeing the NYC Ballet at my favorite outdoor performing arts venue
  • Going to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC as a family
  • Learning about humidity and heat indexes ;)
  • Hanging out having a boisterous good time
  • Trip to the New York State Museum in Albany

As I was packing our luggage to head home, G turned to me and said, "I sure am going to miss visiting with everyone." I feel grateful my girls are so social and travel well. I hope our trip is one they will always remember.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Room You Booked Isn't Available...

Finally after navigating the streets of New York City with 4 rolling suitcases, we arrived at our hotel. I faintly heard the hotel receptionist tell my husband that the room we had booked was no longer available. Then I heard the words, suite and 31st Floor...

This was the view from our room, on the top floor of the hotel, on the same block as the Empire State Building! We were so close, I couldn't even fit the entire building in my camera to get a shot. Wow! What a way to start our stay in New York.