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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Edinburgh's Harry Potter Tour

While in Edinburgh a few months ago, I was super stoked to be steeped in Harry Potter awesomeness. This is where the books were written and a lot of inspiration was found, and walking around, it's not hard to understand why. Beyond all the gorgeous scenery and history, the city is full of oddly named buildings and people and little winding alleyways. I love it. It was the perfect way to start off the trip that lead into a second week in London, where we also visited the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour.

George Heriot School (possible inspiration for Hogwarts) as seen from Camera Obscura

Eric and I had plans to visit many of the Harry Potter locations on our own, but we also did a proper tour near the end of our week in Edinburgh. Here's what we did separately first, and then I'll run through our tour.

Victoria Street

If you've ever wanted to stroll down Diagon Alley, then Victoria Street should definitely be on your list. It's two stories of colorful shops and restaurants and has store fronts that you might find in the Wizarding World: A Ha Ha Joke Shop is like Zonko's, The Boy Wizard sells all sorts of Harry Potter Merchandise, Museum Context has 4 stories of wizarding gear, including a full-size basilisk head and other photo ops, John Kay which might have inspired Flourish & Blotts. I'm sure there were more, but it's just fun to wander up and down the street. There's even a great little ice cream hut at the bottom of the street that has cool flavors like Florean Fortescue's. 



Greyfriar's Kirkyard

Greyfriar Kirk and Kirkyard (you would know that as a church and cemetery) is in a small walled yard a little bit from Victoria Street full of tombstones for important historical people from Edinburgh. Many of the graves here belong to people who have the same name as those found in the Harry Potter series: Black, McGonnagall, Tom Riddle, Crookshanks, Moodie, etc. You can spend some time searching each stone for notable names, or you can head inside the cute little church and purchase a map to seek them out more quickly. It's only 50p or so. 



We took a quick tour and spoke to several people inside, where we learned that when the church needed to have its roof redone, they shipped over gorgeous California redwood for it. Even if you aren't religious at all (we're not), the small museum in the back is really worth a visit to see some artifacts and learn about the monastery, the history of the kirk, Greyfriar's Bobby, and the garden itself. Also, if you don't go inside the church, you'll miss the only way to properly view the amazing stained glass windows, since they are covered by mesh on the outside due to vandals. *sad face*


Elephant House

Anyone who is a fan of Harry Potter knows that Elephant House is basically the place where Rowling was able to start the series. This was before she became so famous that you had to wait in line for a table at any time of day. This coffee shop is a bit misleading, because it serves food and pastries all day in addition to coffee. In fact, the menu is fairly large. The cafe is called Elephant House, because it is full of Elephant statues, artwork and planters. We had a short wait, sat down at a table in the back, and ordered two coffees, a shortbread cookie, and a sweet potato cake. (I can't get that cake elsewhere and I was urged to try the Scottish shortbread while in town.) Everything was delicious, and I wish I hadn't just eaten lunch an hour before, because I would have ordered more.


Once the cafe started to gain popularity for being the home of Harry Potter, something odd started to happen. Fans began to fill all surfaces of the bathrooms with Harry Potter graffiti. This is a rite of passage now. This is just one of the doors inside the women's bathroom. The walls, the ceiling, and even the light were covered. I added my own as well. Eric went into the men's restroom, since I couldn't (or shouldn't) and took a few pics as well, one of which came directly from A Very Potter Musical: Hermione Can't Draw, which we both died laughing over. It just goes to show how deep and awesome this fanbase is.

Check-in photo

Spoon

Rowling often wrote in another cafe, which has since changed hands and names in the last 20 years. In fact, Spoon isn't even the cafe. It just occupies part of the original building. You'll see a plaque on the outside of the building if you just want to see it. We planned to have breakfast somewhere, and Spoon was as good as any. They have a lovely tea selection and a small food menu of affordable simple dishes. Somehow, all my photos of Spoon have disappeared, except this one from Swarm, which sucks, because this place was really cute.

At the end of our week in Edinburgh, we took a free tour from City Explorers Tours, which actually cost us £20 in the end, because tour guides work on tips and we felt we got more than we might on an actual paid tour, where we would also be expected to tip. It lasted 90 minutes and took us around to most of the places we'd already been on our own, including an overlook of Balmoral Hotel, where Rowling lived for 4 months, working on the last book. At this time, she was so famous, she couldn't really go anywhere else outside her house without being mobbed by people. 

Unfortunately, there were a lot of barriers out, due to the filming of the newest Fast & Furious movie

We started on the Royal Mile, where we explored the gold handprints at City Chambers, walked past Elephant House, walked down Victoria Street, strolled through Greyfriar's Kirkyard to see specific stones and also George Heriot's School behind it, saw Balmoral Hotel in the distance, and saw Potterow Port, the underpass they used for filming the Dementor scene in Order of the Phoenix. 

Yes, we spent a lot of time retracing our footsteps from the previous week, but our guide Roisin (ro-shawn) was very knowledgeable and gave us cool facts and anecdotes that we didn't know and wouldn't have learned outside of the tour. It was fun to go back and actually be able to spend time listening to the tour and not have to worry about also taking photos at the same time. I, honestly, think this might be a way for me to more thoroughly enjoy other tours in the future. There's quite a lot of info packed into an hour and a half, and I highly recommend taking one of their tours, even if you don't like Harry Potter. They have a handful of free tours that happen everyday. Just make sure you have cash on hand to tip your guide at the end. It's how they pay their bills.

The awesome part about making a day of all this is that it is practically free. If you want to visit Elephant House without eating anything, it's £1 to go in and visit the restroom, which is all the way in the back, so you can take a quick tour, hit to loo to emblazon the wall with your Harry Potter memory or favorite quote and then head back out.

I'll be writing more Harry Potter info on London, so if you are a fan, stay tuned. Next time we visit Scotland, we'll definitely make time to take the train used for the Hogwarts Express long shots. 


What's your favorite memory from Harry Potter, either the films or the books? I love all the little details of the Hogwarts grounds when the seasons change, but I also love Harry's first trip to Diagon Alley and want to shop all those stores. This trip got me a tiny bit closer to that.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

All the Delicious Food from Edinburgh

Remember when I posted about how a majority of travelers go out of their way to not eat local food? Well, I was so upset about that, that when I went on vacation, I made the deal with myself to eat all the food I couldn't get at home and not worry if it was going to be gross or not. The worst thing that would happen is I'd not like it and order something else. Believe it or not, I did this, and it went so well that I'm just sad that I am at home eating regular boring food.


Everything I tried was so good, which was crazy. Everything in Edinburgh is locally-sourced when possible and all the places you go have maps to tell you where everything came from. They take their local food very seriously in Scotland, but you can taste it in every dish. In fact, you can go see how all the animals on the farms just roam free and have a great life (you know, until they get eaten). 

This was the haggis cannonballs and tomato salad from Cannonball Restaurant on the Royal Mile

What haggis cannonballs look like inside

Everyone will hear the word haggis and make a cringe-y face. Not me! I would have eaten it at every meal if I could. Eric's cousin's boyfriend and I had a great conversation about how people aren't appreciating all the amazing food we were surrounded by, especially when it came to haggis.

Full Scottish breakfast from Scran Bistro

I also ordered a full Scottish Breakfast on my first full day there. I've never had black pudding before, but I. AM. In. Love. I'm still looking into making it myself at home, though the main ingredients are pig's blood and lard. There's also oats in there. You'd think it was really iron-y tasting, but it isn't. In fact, I didn't even realize it had blood as an ingredient until I was almost at the end of my trip and I looked it up to see if I could make it at home. Apparently, it's very fatty though, so I guess me eating it every day for a week was probably more than enough.

Avocado toast with salmon - The wild-caught salmon in Scotland is to die for

I had been following some restaurants in Edinburgh on Instagram for a wish list of what and where I wanted to eat on my trip. Scran Bistro had such lovely photos that I knew it was on the top of my list for breakfast and they did not disappoint. This is where I discovered that British sausage is so much different than sausage at home, where I don't eat it. I was surprised, but pleasantly, and I ate everything on that plate up there, and also half of my brother-in-law's black pudding. 

lamb sweetbreads
veggie haggis
So, the lamb from Scotland is incomparable. You will see them running wild through giant open farmland, literally, only a few miles from the city. I ate as much as possible, because I love lamb. I had scoped out a place called Under the Stairs near Victoria Street that I 90% picked based on the name, and then decided the menu sounded so good that it was worth the short walk. All 5 of us (me, Eric, Eric's sister, her husband, and Eric's brother) ordered something different. I ordered from the specials menu: lamb sweetbreads (made with lamb pancreas) and veggie haggis (which I was told not to order when I talked to someone elsewhere, but I loved it). 


I, generally, don't order dessert out for lunch, but we had been walking a ton, much of it uphill, so I wasn't overly concerned about a bunch of extra calories. I also saw the special dessert for the day was a salted oat chocolate cake. I've never seen such a thing and had to order it. The 5 of us split it, but I almost wished I had my own slice. This was probably one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever had out. 


This is what it looks like when 7 people who love food go out together and have already eaten half of the meal :)


Do you like Indian food? I do! We had a family night out where a bunch of the cousins met up for dinner (we were in town for a wedding) and we went to Dishoom. This is a British small chain and the first location outside of London. There are three levels and they feature upscale Indian cuisine. We pretty much tried everything on the menu and it was all wonderful. My standout was the lamp chop though, and also the chai latte is awesome if you want something warm and you like spicy. I wouldn't say this was cheap, as we ordered all the food and much it was tapas style, but you could probably do two large dishes and share and make it more affordable.

A perfect breakfast sandwich

On Saturday morning, Eric and I woke up and headed for the Edinburgh farmers' market. Though it's small, it had a lot to offer, plus it was situated at the bottom of the hill of Edinburgh Castle, so the backdrop was amazing. The morning was nice and I had the chance to talk to some lovely locals, including a woman who made me a breakfast sandwich with pigeon (we would call is squab, if we can even find it anywhere), bacon, black pudding, and caramelized onions.

I wanted to eat ALL of this meat.

I then hit up a stand where a lady who owned a nearby farm was selling all manner of meats I'd never tried before. It all looked amazing, but I decided on smoked goose breast strips that looked like bacon. She said I could eat it straight out of the package. I took it back to our Airbnb and ate it later that evening and aside from being super greasy (goose is really fatty), it had a unique and lovely flavor that I loved. I'd eat it all the time if I found a place near home to sell it to me. This was a universally loved flavor in our travel party, since I made everyone try it. 


Before leaving home, I had a small list of foods I wanted to try if I found them. I never found blood sausage or jellied eel, but I did find fish pie at a few places and ordered at a place called Scran and Scallie. This was a highly recommended restaurant and I wasn't disappointed. I was surprised though, because I assumed it would be a cod pie, but when I began eating it, I found several different kinds of fish. The wait staff informed me it contained cod, haddock, shrimp, and salmon. Unless you're starving, this can easily be split between two people.


The other pies and entrees are just as large. I also tried their haggis appetizer, and I loved that as well. This is a splurge restaurant if you plan to visit and not split dishes, but you can also get two meals out of it, so don't be afraid to take leftovers with you if you can.

The House Grazing Board with garlic maple chicken wings, venison chipolatas, fried brie,
black pudding haggis (so yum) and house pickles

I had a list of places to dine even before I left home, which I chose based on what I wanted to do, Google Maps, and reviews. When I look for places to eat at home, I plug in where I'm going into Google Maps and then search for restaurants nearby. Once I find ones that look promising, based on Google reviews, then look at the restaurant website for menus, and finally 
I look up more reviews on TripAdvisor. If that all checks out, I add a pin to my Google map for later. This is how I found Devil's Advocate in a close off the Royal Mile. It had a ton of steps to get to it, but it was worth the exercise. (See photo #9


We chose to order a starter and a main (then also had a dessert for good measure). The main was one of their grazing boards that featured chipolatas (a small sausage) and black pudding haggis, which was the best of both worlds to me, as well as some really yummy chicken wings. We ordered the small, and it was still huge.


For our main, we chose the lamb neck. We both love lamb and neither of us had ever had neck before. It was super tender and done really well, and also on this big pile of veggies that were amazing, so everything about this meal was a win. We finished off the meal with a butterscotch panna cota that I somehow don't have a picture of, but it was light and a perfect end to a pretty perfect meal.

So, if you're headed to the UK, some of my favorites that I suggest you eat are haggis and black pudding if you're an adventurous eater, any salmon, Scotch beef or lamb dish if you only want to branch out a little bit. Stuff your face with mountains of fresh veggies, too. You won't be sad. 

Cheese scone and tea at the Tea Room on the Royal Yacht Brittania

If you like tea, you are going to be really happy. And if you like coffee, skip Costas, Starbucks, and Cafe Nero to go to better local places for amazing brews. I enjoy both, which meant it was often a struggle to choose, though I was always pleased with what I ordered. I, honestly, can't wait to get back to the UK, and Scotland in particular, so I can try all the other wonderful food I didn't get to on this trip.


What are some of your favorite foods from your travels?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

How To Travel On A Budget To The USA

Going to the USA is exciting because it’s one of those places that you can keep coming back to. There’s simply so much to see and do that it can’t all be done in one go. It just shows how big the country is when you have to get a plane and spend hours on there to get from one part of the country to the other. Here are some tips when traveling on a budget to the USA.


Choose The Destination Wisely

When going to the US, it’s so big, and there are so many locations to visit. So you first need to pick what area of the country you want to go to because all of them are likely to be different. The cost of each place will vary, too, so that’s something you need to have in mind. For example, places like Vegas and New York are going to be expensive because they rely on the tourism of food, drink, and in Vegas - gambling. That means you’re going to have to spend a lot of money in these places to have a really good time. So if you’re on a budget, you may want to think of other places you can go where you can a great experience and feel of the US but without having to spend a lot of money.


Opt For Trains And Buses

Trains and buses are very handy when it comes to traveling from place to place. If you’re planning on doing multiple destinations, then it’s certainly worth investing in trains and buses for your trips from city to city. There are a lot of places in America where you can make the journey in a few hours by train, and that might be much more affordable than having to fly. You also need to remember that jetlag might be something that you experience while you’re out there, and therefore, you want to be wary of how much you’re doing and not exhausting yourself out so that you can’t enjoy your trip as much.


Look For The Freebies

There will be lots to see and lots to do when you’re in the US, but just like anywhere, there are likely to be a few freebies that you can get your hands on. Like this legendary nightclub as an example, if you and your party are up for seeing the sights at night and experiencing the party lifestyle of Americans. There will probably be plenty of free museums and excursions that you can go on and still enjoy everything that the US and it’s many states have to offer.


Have Plenty Of Currency For Tips

Remember that the US is known for tipping, and as tourists, it’s good to respect this unwritten rule that’s in place. It’s nice to reward the staff that serves you, so give what you can when you can.


Traveling on a budget is possible when visiting the US, so use these tips to take full advantage of what’s available.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

How To Deal With Dirty Bathrooms with FannyPac

It's inevitable. When you travel, you're going to have to visit a bathroom or two, and often, those bathrooms can be less than ideal when it comes to cleanliness. As a lady, I was brought up to use the hover method, but as an adult, I want to feel like a person who doesn't think they're going to get some scrungy disease from a toilet seat. Fanny Pac knows the feeling.


Fanny Pac knows about those questionable bathrooms that you don't have a choice but to use, and the way we feel when we try to figure out if we can make it elsewhere. For the most part, we can't just nope right out of there, even though we see that there aren't any toilet seat covers and we don't want to touch anything at all. Fanny Pac has you covered (literally) with a tiny pack of emergency disposable seat covers. 


Though they come in a little pack that slips easily into your purse or pocket for just when you need them, each seat cover unfolds to a large size to cover any seat you need to use. I also love that instead of ovular, like a lot are, these are rectangular, so you have more coverage and much less chance of them slipping into the bowl before you get to sit down (you know what I mean, because it has happened to us all). The four corners flap over the outside of the seat, meaning more stability. 

Yikes!
When you travel, or go to a lot of festivals, or both, you see a lot of public bathrooms. I have quite a few requirements in what I think constitutes a good restroom, and even though sufficient lighting and convenience is near the top, cleanliness is always top priority. You aren't going to get this when faced with long lines of portable restrooms, places that have way more customers/guests than stalls, a lot of bars, parks, buses, and sometimes even airplanes. In fact, I was at a national chain store the other day and, though the bathroom was sparkling clean, there weren't any seat covers in the stalls. Whaaaaaat?


If you're someone who likes to be prepared for all sorts of situations or is even slightly germophobic, you're going to want to order a pack (or 10) of Fanny Pacs for your day bag, travel bag, purse, car, and coat. You don't want to be caught in the situation where you end up having to line the toilet seat with toilet paper, which does not keep germs out, especially when it's one of those places that you just have to pull out a hundred tiny squares to even have enough coverage for your business. 


Fanny Pac are eco-friendly, flushable, biodegradable, and unscented, so even those who have sensitivie skin and allergies can use them, plus they're not harmful to the environment, so your solution to yucky bathroom nightmares don't turn into any other sort of nightmare. Each pack comes with 10 seat covers, giving you (hopefully) enough for a regular vacation, but you can also buy a 5-package of packs. 


Not only are these great for travel and just normal home situations, but they are can be a lifesaver for those with mobility issues and other people who can't squat/hover, like little kids who are too short to even sit on the toilet without help. Get a bunch for your whole crew. Stuff them in their stockings this Christmas. 

Now, if someone can just think of a solution to finding no toilet paper in the bathroom, we'd be set. (tip: I also carry tissues and napkins at all times.)


More details
Where to buy them: On the Fanny Pac website
Cost: $5.99CAD/10pk


Learn more about Fanny Pac by following them on social media: Facebook | Instagram 


Disclaimer: I was provided with a Fanny Pac for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% mine. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Review: Arcopedico's Vegas Mary Jane Travel Shoes

It can be difficult to find a good pair of travel shoes, and I often end up buying a new pair (or two) of shoes for travel each year, because they don't last long enough to make it through more than a few trips with constant wear or they didn't look as good with things as I thought. Earlier this year I received pair of Arcopedico boots for review and they are awesome. I have worn them at home, for work, and almost every day of my trip to Edinburgh and London and my feet never hurt. So, when I was offered a pair called Vegas, I immediately said yes.

The Vegas is a slight wedge shoe with cute criss-cross elastic straps that allow you to slip them on and off (perfect for the airport and the rest of your trip), but keep them secure on your feet. If you like a Mary Jane shoe, then this is a fun twist for your shoe collection. 


As with the boots I received, these have excellent dual arch support, meaning you stand the way you should, taking pressure off your back and distributing your weight evenly. Your soles and the balls of your feet feel much better too. 


These shoes go with just about everything. As you can see from my next photos, I wore them with dress pants, jeans, and even my witch costume that I wore to a Halloween themed brunch. I've already gotten so many compliments on them, because they're super cute, which you can't say about most orthopedic shoes. I'll be wearing them a lot more.


One of my favorite features of these are the wide toe box, so you don't find your toes cramped, even at the end of the day. If you have wide feet like I do, this is hard to come by in shoes that aren't specifically wide-width.  The top is non-binding, giving you a feeling of being barefoot. I saw elsewhere that customers thought this shoe ran a bit small, but I wear a true 6.5 and the 37 fit me very well. 

Another favorite is the grip that you get on the bottom. There are so many shoes like this that have no traction at all, and I have slipped more than once and almost hurt myself. My boots held up even over wet cobblestones, and I have no doubt that these would be the same.

The backs of these go slightly up your ankle. On most shoes, this would automatically spell blisters for me, but the Vegas doesn't rub at all for me, so it looks nice and gives a little extra support in the back. I also found that my pants didn't get caught in it. If you have other shoes like this, then you'll know what I mean. 


I wore these with bare feet, but also with tights and they fit well both ways. If you wanted to keep your feet warmer, you could wear these with a nice trouser sock when it's colder out. I took my tights off so you could see the straps and how they would look with a summertime or spring look. Please ignore my ghostly skin, though I think it works with this costume. 

The Vegas has a nice flexibility, so your feet are able to move normally, instead of being cramped while walking all day. I don't know about you, but this can be a problem for me, and contributes to foot pain if you're walking all day. Nobody wants that on vacation.

I'm already excited to pack these for my Spring trip to New Orleans. In fact, I'll probably wear them on the plane, especially since they'll be great for running through the airport. They'll also help me navigate the broken and hilly sidewalks of the city.

If you're traveling at all this year, or have a traveler on your holiday gift list, this is a must-have shoe. Take a look at some of the other styles Arcopedico makes as well, because if this one doesn't call to you, others certainly might, and will keep your feet happy, even if they are the only shoe you take on vacation. The cost is certainly worth the comfort you get in return.

More details
Where to buy them: On Arcopedico's website and on sites like Amazon
Cost: $145
Colors they come in:  Black lined leather (shown) | Pewter lined leather
More info: Non-metal dual arch support, made in Portugal since 1966, non-removable polyurethane insole, lining contains the antimicrobial Sansmell™ deodorizing system for a fresher foot environment.

Learn more about Arcopedico by following them on social media: Facebook | Instagram 



Disclaimer: I was provided with the Vegas for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% mine. This post contains an affiliate link, and if you make a purchase through it, I'll be monetarily compensated (and eternally grateful). 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Your New England Halloween Vacation

Halloween is possibly my favorite day of the year. I love to decorate and dress up and it’s exciting when other people share my love of the day. This year we aren't throwing our usual party, but instead going to a Witching Hour fundraiser with witches, magic, a 20's vibe, and absinthe. (You can see pics if you follow me on Instagram.) Should be a good time, especially since I get to dress up. It's gonna be a pretty laid-back holiday, where everyone else does the work and I focus on having fun and planning my birthday party instead.



While I was thinking about the cool ways to spend Halloween in the future, I decided to check out what there was to do in New England, because when I think spooky, it conjures up witches and Stephen King, both of which hail from the Northeastern states. Did you know there are crazy amounts of things to do the whole month of October? It’s true! Whether you want to be scared witless or just learn the history behind this fun holiday.

Photos of Lake Compounce, Bristol
This photo of Lake Compounce is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Connecticut

The Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce is Southern New England’s largest Halloween attraction. It has evolved from Ernie and Carol Romegialli’s creative yard decorations 22 years ago. The decorations grew more elaborate and eventually outgrew their yard and they have been occupying a larger area ever since. Donations go towards their upkeep and diabetes research, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. They are open Friday through Sunday, October 4-27.

Witch’s Dungeon Halloween Classic Movies Museum - For just a $6 donation per person, you can visit the longest-running Halloween attraction in the country. Opened in 1966, you can view memorabilia from your favorite classic horror and sci-fi films and also watch them on the silver screen. Open Friday through Sunday until November 2.

photo credit

New Hampshire

Nightmare New England is 40 acres of non-stop scary-thrills, located in Litchfield, NH. Along the Merrimack River, the landscape plays its part in making the six themed areas even spookier. There’s so much to do in this “scream park” including zombie paintball, five haunted attractions, tarot card readings and even a restaurant. I wouldn’t expect normal fare, but this is a place that tries to scare you the moment you step out of your car. Nightmare New England wants to make Halloween a destination. Open selected days and weekends from September 19 - November 9.

Keene Pumpkin Festival - Laconia townsfolk plan all year to break the record for the most jack-o-lanterns in their downtown square. They have done it, too! 8 times! Enjoy food, fun and music during this one-night family-friendly celebration on October 19. The food and craft court sounds like a place I would be happy to lose myself in. Candy apples and handmade Halloween decorations are pretty high on my list of things that make me go “Yes please!”.

photo credit

Massachusetts

Salem – Where better to celebrate Halloween than witch-central? All October long you’ll find themed festivities and attractions including a carnival, haunted house, spooky tours and more.  Every day of the month you’ll find something going on. This is my kind of town.  Where else can you hit the farmers’ market during the day and then see the Crucibal at night and get your palm read and shop witchcraft shop in between? There might be some places, but I doubt many. And there are even fewer places where you can visit the actual places where witch trials took place. This is definitely on my list of must-see places.

Six Flags New England Fright Fest is fun for the whole family, with daytime and nighttime activities to please everyone. During the day, families will be able to fill their bags on the trick or treat trail and then get up close and personal with creepy crawlies like snakes and lizards. Once the sun goes down, the scares come out with a haunted house and scare zones. All rides stay open during Fright Fest, but beware, you might find yourself sitting next to a ghoul. Fright fest runs on weekends from September 21-November 3.


photo credit

Vermont

The Haunted Forest - A more family-friendly Halloween activity, the Haunted Forest takes visitors down a jack-o-lantern-lighted path to view a dozen different scenes presented by community theater performers. It’s just spooky enough for older ones and tame enough for little ones. The “performance” runs on various times October 24 - 26.

Looking for deals to get to and stay in the area? Check out these travel merchants:

  • Airbnb - For a great deal on an apartment/condo/house, browse what's available from private renters through Airbnb. I've used them to book my lodgings in London and Paris this fall and I feel like I'm going to be really happy, and not just because I save a bunch of money.
  • HomeAway - Not quite brave enough to deal directly with a homeowner? Then go bigger with HomeAway. They also have competitive pricing on private rentals and a really big selection anywhere you want to go.
  • Hotels.com - If you want someone to clean up after you and overall feel a bit pampered, then you might be interested in the rebate deal going on at Hotels.com. Earn up to $100 cash back on stays from 3 to 12 nights.
  • Expedia - Save big with a package deal where you bundle your airfare and lodging together. Using Expedia, you can save up to $525 when you book this way.
  • CheapOair - Save more over their lowest rates with promo code FALL15, which will knock an extra $15 off on hotel and airfare rates.
If New England doesn’t sound in the (tarot) cards for you this year, FareCompare has some ideas for trips to scare you. You can also look back at my post on trips to theme parks that have special celebrations as well as other places around the world you might want to visit (including the Paris catacombs, which I will be venturing into in November). 

What are your favorite fall/Halloween activities?
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