How to make your family holiday an outstanding success

Chaplain's House, Tyntesfield

Imagine a family holiday in a 19th C English country setting with 21st C amenities. You’re settled in a comfy, period cottage on the grounds of an exquisite  Victorian Gothic mansion, endowed with a history Downtown Abbey’s fictional Grantham family would envy. Add a couple of sophisticated gastro-pubs, an easy drive through the bucolic countryside.  Toss in berry picking, farm visits and an enchanted forest to charm the youngsters. Some interesting stuff for older kids. Perhaps a quick visit to Bristol,  a thriving destination with a pretty impressive history of its own.

The holiday venue is Chaplain’s House at Tyntesfield, a gem of Britain’s National Trust rental cottages. Here’s why it’s a recipe for success, and worth the travel from North America.

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3 reasons why intergenerational travel is the best gift

Intergenerational travel is a bonding experience, the stuff of family lore.  It’s an opportunity to pass along core values, skills, and interests, embedding them in the context of experiential travel. Whether a grandparent-grandchild experience or inclusive of parents as well, it is something unique.  It has never been done exactly as you will do it and it will never be exactly replicated.  You own it along with your children, grandchildren or whoever makes up the family tribe on this adventure.  Intergenerational travel is about gifting an experience, not a physical, shiny thing.  If you are not yet convinced it is the best gift you can offer your family, read on…  Continue reading “3 reasons why intergenerational travel is the best gift”

Intergenerational ski getaway – 5 tips for success

One blessing of being the “older” generation is the delight of organizing and hosting an intergenerational ski getaway.  To my mind, and for our family,  it outweighed any holiday or birthday gift “thing” one could bestow; the experience itself was priceless for all.

A recent ski weekend honored 2 birthdays,  but it could be anything/activity wherein all shared a new adventure and the sense of discovery.

Here are some tips on making an intergenerational weekend – of any kind – a success.

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Outdoor ice skating in Manhattan – 3 top spots

Surprisingly, the heart of New York City – midtown Manhattan – holds a treasure trove of outdoor ice skating each winter. Three top spots offer the simple pleasure of skating in the fresh air amid stunning surroundings. Forgot your skates? Each venue includes rental of all you need to tap into your inner Sonja Heine. So take a turn around the rink, or a lesson to get you started….. Continue reading “Outdoor ice skating in Manhattan – 3 top spots”

Holiday Delight in Pittsburgh at the Phipps Conservatory

The annual Winter Garden at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh is a delight for young and old, from game playing bears in a makeshift den to holiday inspired tableaus.

I’ve written about the value of intergenerational travel and this is a ‘day trip’ – or even just an afternoon, that proves the point.
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Stratford Hall: A Historic Getaway in Virginia’s Northern Neck


A mid-October weekend found me at Stratford Hall, a historic house museum on the coastal plain of central Virginia known as the Northern Neck. It’s nestled between the Potomac and the Rappahannock rivers, about an hour from Fredericksburg, VA.  It was a weekend of discovery, and I wished I lived closer to visit more often.

The region was the cradle of the American revolutionary movement, an outcome of a wealthy, sophisticated, and learned society that honed a uniquely American philosophy honoring civic duty and informed by the values of the Enlightenment.

In this context, I learned that Thomas Lee, patriarch of the Lee family, acquired land along the Potomac in 1713, built a successful tobacco and shipping enterprise.  Over the next century, the Lees contributed much to the formation of our  fledgling nation – 2 Lee brothers signed the Declaration of Independence – and their influence extended for decades afterward.

Robert E. Lee, who ably led the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, was born at Stratford Hall in 1807.

Nearly three hundred years later, the Lee family’s iconic home, Stratford Hall, is a touchstone to our nation’s agrarian past and start as a Republic. Here’s why you should go….

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