Spooky Halloween Tradition: The Headless Horseman

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

On the banks of the Hudson River, is a quaint little town called Sleepy Hollow, formerly known as North Tarrytown. Housed here is the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, one of the most historic cemeteries in New York. Maybe even in the Northeast. The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is a large property with rolling hills with a rushing Pocantico River racing through.

This is the final resting place of New York royalty such as Elizabeth Arden, Brooke Astor, Andrew Carnegie, Walter P. Chrysler, and the Hemsley’s. Leona Hemsley is famous for leaving millions of dollars to her pets when she passed away. While the rich and famous did not spare a penny on their lavish tombs – The Hemsleys have an impressive massive tomb with 4 stunning stained glass windows of the Manhattan skyline, our reason for visiting is the much more humble graves that surround the original Old Dutch Church.

Every year, since Lily was about 7, we have made it our annual tradition to go to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery for our spooky Halloween fix. I think it was in 1st grade that Lily was reading some of Washington Irving’s books and when we realized the wealth of secret – not so secret-history that lived… or had died... just a few miles away, we had to visit.

Washing Irving, author of some of our favorite books – Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – lived in Sleepy Hollow. This town was originally known as North Tarrytown and was only recently changed to Sleepy Hollow as an ode to the famous story.

But that’s not all. Did you know that Washington Irving himself is buried at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetary? And it gets even better… He found the names of his characters from the graves that surrounded the Old Dutch Church. Ichabod Crane… found his grave. Katherine… she’s there too.

The story of Rip Van Winkle was inspired by the Town of Irvington with its steep hill down to the train station and Hudson River.

The story goes that the Headless Horseman to this day roams the grounds of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery looking for his … head. There is also the legendary bridge that he can’t cross. (not the original).

Lily loves this tradition and while we have taken Thomas the past few years, he doesn’t quite remember.

This year was just like any, gorgeous fall weekend, stunning colorful firey leaves all over the grounds. We parked right in the cemetery. Insider tip: enter through the north entrance and park in the cemetery so you avoid the crowds through the south entrance. It’s a beautiful walk through the cemetery grounds with draping trees, stairs, hills and stunning views. We like reading the descriptions on the graves. Some of the graves were just stunning and ornate and others much more simple. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful.

We made our way down the hill to the Old Dutch Church to find Ichabod and Katherine and walk through the oldest graves on the property. On the way, we stopped by Washington Irving’s grave and collected leaves for our collection.

While I was nose deep in reading tombstones, Matt gave me a nudge… and there he was!!! THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN!

Of course, we had hyped this whole thing up with the kids. And talked to them about how the Headless Horseman roams the cemetery and that he is always looking for new souls to take and heads to attach onto his headless body and if any of us ever see him… the emergency plan is to RUN to the nearest body of water – the Pocantico river that flows through the cemetery – because the Headless Horseman can’t cross water.

So here we are… the Headless Horseman and there is Thomas… RUN!!!!!

It was all in good fun. He ended up petting the horse and wasn’t too afraid after all.

The cemetery also has a Beerfest and cider and baked goodies and food so we stayed and filled our bellies before heading off to the next fall adventure.

What a treat! The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery should be a MUST for your Haloween Spooky Fun. There are no jumpy castles or face painting… thank goodness… but just pure cultural references and amazing views and some old history about this country.

Happy Halloween everyone. And if you are ever in Sleepy Hollow… remember RUN for the water if you find yourself face to face with the Headless Horseman.

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TNYM Travels: A Day Trip to Cold Spring, New York

Are you all recovering from the long weekend. While I certainly enjoyed my weekend with the whole family, I am exhausted and desperately need a day off!

We kept our plans pretty relaxed over the long weekend and just mulled around the house, hung out with friends and went day trippin! Matt and I love to travel with the kids and sometimes a quick day trip is all we need to take care of the travel bug!

One of my most favorite places to spend a day is Cold Spring, New York. This is a quaint little town up the Hudson Valley, about 2 hours north of Manhattan,  with specialty stores that line the main street. But that’s not the main attraction.

Cold Spring has one of my favorite hikes – BreakNeck Ridge. Lily and I have climbed this mountain many many times and love it. Best to go on a weekday because it gets really busy on the weekends and takes the calmness of a hike, out of the experience.

We go toCold Spring so often that I just can’t fit everything you should do in one post.  There is so much to experience in this sweet town that one trip just won’t do it justice.

On Saturday we went for a hike and then settled into lunch at the ColdSpring Depot. A big burger seemed to do the trick for a post hike meal!

We wandered around main street and peeked into all the stores, picking up goodies here and there. We stopped by ColdSpring Apothecary for coffee, and treats. What’s with the new trend of barbershop/hair salon/bars and cafes! You can get your hair cut and have a snack!

One of the newest stores to arrive inCold Spring is Pink Olive – the cutest gift shop with something for kids and adults. I love this perfectly curated little shop with hand-made items and great inspiring decor.

Of course you can’t go to Cold Spring without getting ice cream at MOO MOO’s creamery! It’s right by the water and the views are stunning.

ColdSpring General Store is a must stop as well. Go to the back room for a whole secret stash of must have foods. That Bloody Mary Mix is delish! and they have tons of specialty beers and pickles! 

Where to EAT:

  • Hudson Hills – fresh farm food – simple and delish!
  • The Foundry is a great spot as well but the food takes FOREVER to come out and the server even said – it might not be best for the kids. But we have been to the foundry in the past and it’s good munching if you are not in a hurry.
  • Coldspring Depot – Pub fare. Something simple and delish for everyone.
  • For a quiet romantic meal or drinks and apps – sit outside at Brasserie Le Bouchon. This is french food with yummy small plates and a decent wine list. This place seems a little hit or miss for us, so we only do apps and drinks. The ambiance is great!

I hope you get to head up to Cold Spring this season. It’s a beautiful little town and there are lots of bed and breakfasts for an overnight trip.

 

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Yonkers Brewing Company – Westchester Restaurant Review

Matt and I were recently invited to a private beer tasting at the Yonkers Brewing Company. We jumped at the chance to go out on a rare date night! The city of Yonkers is on the Hudson River in lower Westchester County. Westchester County is sometimes considered the ” other borough” to NYC.

If you haven’t been to the Yonkers Brewing Company, you should go NOW! The restaurant has large exposed industrial ceilings, long communal tables, an even longer bar and some great food and drinks. The open relaxed communal vibe makes this restaurant perfect for couples, groups and kids!

We had a private tasting with the master brewer, Dave Hartman,  who gave us all the deets on all the new offerings at Yonkers Brewing Company. We had a flight of 6 beers and food that paired perfectly with each.

Matt , the snobby beer drinker that he is, loved the whole experience. He loved getting to talk beer-making with Dave Hartman and chatting with local leaders in Yonkers.

I’ve heard amazing things about the brunches at YBC… and can’t wait to go back. Kids in tow!

When you do make it over to Yonkers Brewing Company, make sure you take advantage of the location. Go for a walk along the water or visit the other restaurants in the area. The town boasts a wonderful waterfront location and perfect for warm spring days! The town of Yonkers has put a lot of effort into making this waterfront city a destination and it really doesn’t disappoint.

Stop by Yonkers Brewing Company to learn more and plan a visit!

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Weekend

Weekends are for wandering don’t you think? Summer has officially begun here in New York and the long weekend just confirmed the arrival of the season.

If you follow along on Instagram then you know we are travel bugs. The whole summer is spent traveling and eating and road tripping all over. Since moving up to Northern Westchester we are surrounded by endless travel possibilities all within a 5 hour drive of us. Montreal, Canada… Philly, Boston, Rhode Island, Vermont, Catskills, Lake George, and still the gorgeous beaches of Long Island that I miss so very much.

Last weekend we went up the Hudson Valley to Coldspring for our favorite hike. If you are looking for an amazing view, powerful climb up the mountain and just an escape… you need to go to BREAKNECK – the White Trail. This is not for beginner hikers since it’s more of a climb but so amazing. We saw a couple snakes that Lily was thrilled about and wanted to hug them and pet them and make them her own… ummm no… this jungle girl of mine has no fear. It’s a beautiful hike up Breakneck and takes about 30/45 minutes to get to the top. Thomas and Matt wandered the many shops in Coldspring, ate ice cream and counted all the choo choos at the train station while Lily and I were fighting off snakes on the hike!

After our 2 hour hike, we headed to nearby Beacon, NY for some grub. There are lots of changes up the Hudson Valley and it’s all still charming but losing that old vintage, farm feel. The Hipsters have taken over the towns and while they still have the charm, they now are cleaner, a lot more expensive, and kinda sterile. But still worth a trip… for now.

I hope you get a chance to explore and roam this season. Whether it’s a quick day trip to a neighboring town, or on a jet plane across the world… go travel and explore!

happy weekend.

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A day at the Bronx Zoo

One of our most favorite things to do is go to the Bronx Zoo. When Lily was little, i used to spend many many MANY days there with our group of friends just wandering around and chatting with the animals and playing in their amazing Childrens Zoo or Butterfly Garden. Now that the weather has finally warmed up, Thomas and I have a standing date on Tuesday at the Bronx Zoo.

The Bronx Zoo always has something exciting happening, but last week it was particularly busy!

As in the animals were getting busy! It is that time of the year and all the animals were busy doing their natural mating dances.

The goats, giraffes, geese and the peacocks. The peacocks were by far the most frisky. And even tried to come after my sweet moto. Who was scared away by the pomp and circumstance of this ritual.

We love the zoo and take full advantage of it while the kids are young. When Lily started kindergarten and was in school full time, we hardly went. So i’m taking full advantage of the zoo pass – gifted to us by grandma- and it’s our weekly stop!

Thomas has his rounds while at the zoo –

  • The monorail
  • The bug carousel
  • The butterfly garden
  • The 4D RIO experience

and … we have to roar at the lions!

Hope you make it to the Bronx Zoo this season. It’s really such a blast

*this post is not sponsored. we just love the zoo.*

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An Easter Brunch Cruise Around Manhattan

Hornblower The New York Mom

We did something a bit out of the box for easter this year and it was the best thing ever! We went on a cruise around New York City. No matter what time of the year this is a great activity for kids in New York City or just a bucket list item for anyone visiting New York City.

Hornblower The New York Mom

Our family is spread out throughout the country with the main fort being in Florida where our parents and grandparents live. My sister-in-law lives in Brooklyn which can feel like a different state sometimes! Matt usually cooks a great big feast for Easter brunch and we spend the whole day flying kites and riding bikes and planting flowers. This year we didn’t have any family visit us for Easter so Matt and I decided to take an Easter brunch cruise around New York City. Let me just start by saying, this was the BEST IDEA EVER! If you have young kids, an easter cruise with Hornblower Cruises is pretty perfect.

Hornblower The New York Mom
The obvious… no cleaning, cooking, wrangling of children nothing… just show up, have a great time, dance, eat and take in the most incredible views. After church we headed over for our Brunch. It was a quick drive down the west side highway and on Sunday’s there is hardly any traffic.

Hornblower The New York Mom

Upon arriving we were greeted by the Easter Bunny… this was a dancing, skipping, very happy Easter Bunny. Thomas was over the moon. He could not believe that we were about to get on  big boat with THE Easter Bunny.

Our table was set with everything we needed including a chilled bottle of champagne!

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower The New York Mom

The food buffet was great – with a variety of food for everyone. Meats, fish, veggies, pasta, carving station, kid friendly food. A massive dessert table with a chocolate fountain seemed to be the hit. After eating, we headed up to the top of the boat to take in the views. Stunning. If you have never been on a cruise around Manhattan you are missing out. It’s romantic, it’s beautiful and you’ll never have access to these views unless you are in the water.

Hornblower The New York Mom

 

Hornblower The New York Mom

New York CityNew York CityBut wait there is so much more… a live jazz band was playing the entire 2 hours and the floor was packed with little kids and adults dancing! And then…

and then…

Hornblower The New York Mom
The EASTER BUNNY! After the cutest easter egg hunt – on the boat – the Easter Bunny came around and said hi to all the kids and adults and danced and took pictures and had the best time.

Hornblower The New York Mom
The Hornblower stops right in front of the Statue of Liberty for about 15 minutes and the views of this and the photo opps are amazing we didn’t make it out in time because the EggHunt had just ended and the kids were busy counting the loot. Priorities ya know!

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower The New York Mom

Overall, this was a great experience. We would absolutely do this again… even with family visiting. The kids loved it, Matt and I didn’t have to worry about anything and the kids both napped on our  45 minute drive back home.

The staff on the Hornblower was the sweetest and catered to the kids and played along with the Bunny. The Bunny by the way was the real deal… and we snapped the best picture for easter!

Hornblower The New York Mom

Hornblower Cruises operate all year-long and I HIGHLY recommend their cruises for visitors this summer. What an amazing way to end your trip to New York – a dinner or brunch cruise around the greatest city in the world with dancing and champs and great food. It’s such a great time! They also have private charters and all sorts of bundles. Swing by HORNBLOWER CRUISE for more.

*This post is sponsored by Hornblower Cruises. All opinions are mine, we really had a great time* 

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Family Travel – Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island

The New York MomMatt has been out-of-town for work so much lately that we feel we never get to see him. So instead of staying home and tackling some of our home reno projects, we decided to pack up the kids, grabbed an overnight bag and headed north to Newport Rhode Island for the weekend. It’s a quick 2.5 hour drive from our house and we pass through quaint New England towns and outlets stores… it was a win. Anyone with kids will tell you that you MUST find a hotel with a pool and so we did. Seems like everyone else had the same idea because the hotel was PACKED with kids and the pool was super busy every time we went.

Our family loves to travel and weekend trips are our favorite sort of traveling. They are quick, hardly any packing needed but the trip is the perfect amount of “getaway” for us. Newport is cold in the winter and the night we arrived they were hit with a bit of a snow storm. It was beautiful and we walked in the snow to dinner which the kids thought was the coolest thing ever.

We dined at the Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant which was OK. I would not recommend going there. ( keeping it real people because it has great marks on Yelp and we fell for it)

The service was awful, food was mediocre, my Lobster roll while overflowing with lobster was drowning in mayo so you barely tasted the lobster.  We were in a pinch and it was ok. The kids didn’t catch on to any of this and had a fun time. So it wasn’t a total loss!

The next morning we braved the freezing winds to take a short… very short walk on the cliffs to enjoy the mansions. These homes are spectacular. The sheer size and detail to even the gates and stonework is noteworthy.

For lunch we stopped by the Midtown Oyster Bar.

Highly recommend this restaurant! Service was super friendly, food was fresh and stylized. We had the smoked fish platter, fried oyster burger with Gruyère cheese, a soup and the Bermuda Fish Chowder. The funky scene with the modern feel was perfect for a cold winter day. The raw bar looked amazing and there is a deck upstairs which i’m sure offer some pretty gorgeous views of the harbor. definitely revisiting this spot in the summer.

That’s basically what we did. The kids spent a lot of time swimming in the hotel pool, Matt and I took turns relaxing, we ate great seafood and explored the town and had a leisurely drive back home including a stop at the Williams Sonoma outlet store to pick up kitchen gadgets that we didn’t need but are so cool!

I hope you get to escape sometimes. It’s so important. We didn’t spend a lot of money. We booked our hotel through Expedia and got a great rate at a hotel located near the shops and restaurants and just winged it from there. A little yelp, a little getting lost on the scenic drive and lots of seafood! We have to go back when the weather warms up because I am a cold weather wimp!

Have a great weekend everyone… here’s to wanderlust!

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Travel Guide: 5 Things to Do in The Catskills

These cold days of winter don’t have to freeze your wanderlust kids! Being in the New York City metro area, there is no shortage of day trips, weekend jaunts, and self guided retreat getaways. Our family loves to explore. We are adventurers and even though we don’t always have the time to head off to far off exotic locations, we have discovered lots to do within a 5 hour radius of NYC.

This post is sponsored by the Catskill Mountain Foundation. Thanks for stopping by and keeping up with our adventures and also hearing about our sponsors. 

About 2.5 hours north of Manhattan you will find the glorious Catskills. The Catskill region of New York State boasts hiking trails for days, views where the heavens meet the earth, sunsets, art, handmade goods and food. The culinary selection alone warrants a trip up to the mountains. There is plenty to do in this region and kids will love exploring the untouched nature while adults will just enjoy the quiet and coziness of the towns. With winding roads, charming quaint towns, waterfalls, and the stillness of nightfall… a weekend in the Catskills is a must any time of the year.

5 Things to do in the Catskills:

  1. New York Zipline Adventures–  An afternoon zip lining through the treetops high above the catskills sounds like the best adventure and whether you are a seasoned zipliner  or beginner there is something for everyone here. We had a great 2 hours zipping from treetops and down the mountain.

 2. Right in the heart of Tannersville among the colorful Victorian lined shop fronts is the Orpheum Film & Performing Arts Center. This state of the art performance center has a performance season to rival that in NYC. From modern dance to theatre and even the first ever Nutcracker with area students, this arts center is the root of this bustling charming town.

3. The town of Woodstock, NY has artists making their one of a kind wares, toy stores, restaurants and a picturesque downtown. Great for restaurants and lazy strolls, Woodstock is a must on your weekend adventure.

 

The New York Mom

4. Deer Mountain Inn – Nothing is missing in the Catskills and that includes a luxurious retreat. The Deer Mountain Inn is a 6 room lodge with 2 additional cottages on the grounds. This gorgeous Inn doesn’t miss a beat. As you walk in the door to the Inn you are immediately transported by the decor and scents that welcome you. The staff and grounds are all perfectly maintained to give guests a true sense of escape. Dinner at the Inn is a must, from cozy fireplaces to the decadent menu, this is a true foodie spot when in the Catskills.

5. We can’t mention the Catskills without the Hiking. There are waterfalls, climbs, flat trails, and something for every level. My favorite is the Kaaterskill Falls. Simply stunning!

I hope you found this travel guide to the Catskills helpful and hopefully it inspired you to explore the New York Region!

Thanks to the Catskill Mountain Foundation for sponsoring this trip. 

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6 Fool-Proof Parenting Hacks – or How to Parent Like a Ninja.

Ninjas are awesome. They are fast and nimble and think on their toes; they’ll do flips in the air and cut ya (I think you can already see the parallels with parenting).

Ninja Parent

While you have been basking in your instagram parenting fantasies, or your grandmas’ apron nostalgia… it’s time to snap out of it. Once you have kids, it’s survival time. Your ninja skills have to come out if you are going to emerge from this whole journey in one piece. Trust me, with two kids to keep me sharp, I’ve got a few parenting hacks to share. Just like that ninja throwing star you keep in your pocket… here are 6 sharp points to get you through the baby and toddler years.

Parenting Hacks

  1. LAYER THE CRIB SHEETS. Your child is going to be sick. It’s going to happen more than once and usually in the middle of the night. This brilliant idea will save you time and most importantly sanity. Line the sheets of your kids bed with waterproof liner, fitted sheet and layer – waterproof liner, fitted sheet, waterproof liner, fitted sheet. This way at 3AM when your child is sick, all you have to do is pull off the first layer of fitted sheet and liner and you are good to go. Your sick kid doesn’t have to wait for sheets to be changed and you can all go back to sleep… until the next round.
  2. PAINT BATH. To give you a few moments of sanity when you have a toddler ruling you life. Pour some washable paint into your bathtub and let your child have at it! Kids will love the novelty of taking a paint bath and you will have a moment to breathe! When you are ready to clean them off, simply turn the water on and rinse off. Arts education and parenting hack! Who said Jackson Pollock never painted nudes!
  3. PREEMPTIVE PAJAMAS. Kids fall asleep in the car. So next time you are out for a late dinner, change the diaper and put the kids into their PJ’s before they get in the car. This way they can go straight up to bed without any disruptions when you get home.
  4. BACKPACK I. Use a backpack as a diaper bag. This is the most convenient hands free way to tote all your baby essentials without having to fumble around with a large tote.
  5. BACKPACK II. Once your babe can walk around let him carry his own gear. Give him a kiddie backpack with one diaper, wipes, snack and a toy. This gives him some independence and gives you free hands to wrangle your toddler.
  6. TEETHING TREATS. To help with teething pain, small frozen mango or pineapple bits are the perfect antidotes. Kids will love the sweet tasty treat while also numbing the teething pain.

Parenting Hacks 2

Alright Ninjas… we’ve got this parenting thing down!

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Family Travel – Woodloch Pines Resort

The-new-york-mom*This is a sponsored post*

The-new-york-mom

The kids have been pretty stir crazy these past few weeks. Snow days are great and all, but when it’s solid sheets of ice outside… that’s not as much fun. It’s been too cold to do anything outside. So I packed everyone up and we headed up to the Poconos for a weekend getaway. We were invited by the MOMs and Vaseline for a weekend at Woodloch Pines Resort.  Woodloch is a quick 2 hour drive from New York City. Lily and Thomas slept the whole way there and back… i enjoyed some time listening to NPR while driving. A luxury I can’t seem to find time for most days.

The-new-york-mom

Woodloch was everything we needed to get our winter sillies out. After an extravagant welcome lunch, we suited up for a day of outdoor snow activities. Lily immediately hit the ‘Extreme” snowtube hill. Thomas and I stayed at the bottom of the hill and cheered everyone along.

The-new-york-mom

The-new-york-momThe-new-york-mom

The-new-york-momNext we went over to the frozen pond for some ice skating. Again, Thomas couldn’t skate but walked on the ice, fell lots of times, tried to catch fish under the frozen ice, screamed out SHARK a few times… you know 2-year-old shenanigans. The pond was large so there was plenty of room for the kids to skate around and play ice hockey.

The-new-york-mom

Dinner was a lot of fun because a whole parade of legendary characters greeted us and roamed through the dining rooms. I mean Elvis and Batman were in the same building folks! The evening was full of resort type entertainment, a concert hall had a magician who made a bird disappear, a show-tunes filled show followed complete with sequins ball gowns and step touch dance choreography. The kids and I went to the arcade and tree forest to go climbing and ride bumper cars.

The-new-york-momOnce we got back to the room, which overlooked the lake, Lily and I stayed up, chatted and sat on our balcony to take in the moonlight reflecting off the frozen lake. We talked and laughed like we were both old souls. A family of deer walked through the snow leaving small footprints and we watched them … silent.

The-new-york-momThis was probably my most memorable moment of the entire trip. This magical relaxed time with my tween who most days wants nothing to do with me.

The-new-york-momThe next day was just as busy with pony rides, arts and crafts, more snow tubing and ice skating, bumper cars… etc.

There is a lot for kids to do at Woodloch. Archery, shooting, ice hockey, race cars, bumper cars, tubing and lots of indoor activities as well. No shortage of activities.

The-new-york-momThe rooms were clean and large. Our room had 2 large rooms – a living room with 2 pull out couches, bedroom with 2 queen beds, 2 bathrooms, deep bathtub, a large closet for storing all your goods and a balcony. A small kitchen area was also included.

The-new-york-mom
It takes a bit of time to get his big bellie into this snow suit… so picture this.. we are out on the frozen lake. bit a walk to anything indoors and he says… ‘ i make a poo poo, it coming out’ !

The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly and I felt that everywhere we went the kids were safe. The staff seemed to remember everyone and was always looking out for the kids. Woodloch is the quintessential family travel destination for family reunions and getaways . I made it a point to give Lily a bit of freedom, so I let her go tubing without me and meet me back at the craft room where Thomas was busy schmoozing on the ladies. Lily did really well with her new-found independence and honestly… it was the vibe of the resort that let me set her free.Of course now she thinks I’m going to set her free on the streets of NYC… so no that’s not going to happen!

The cold 19 degree weather definitely plays a number on your skin… and barreling down those snow tubing hills gave Lily’s face a bit of a Winter Burn. But thankfully this trip was sponsored by Vaseline Brand and we had plenty of goodies to try out during our stay. I’ve been using Vaseline petroleum jelly on my hands but had never used their Intensive Skin Care line. This company has been around for 140 years… and their products certainly helped our wind burned faces.

If you are looking for a quick little getaway this winter, I highly recommend Woodloch Pines Resort. Dreaming of a summer time trip!

The-new-york-mom*This post was sponsored by The Moms Network and Vaseline Brand. We had a fab weekend! All opinions are my own*

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