Tara had a 3-day weekend this past weekend thanks to a colleague who needed to trade an ER shift. Plans for Mom and Keith to come visit fell through, but we still wanted to take advantage of this rare gift of extended time off. We thought this would be a great opportunity to explore some of what New England has to offer. Unfortunately, Scott had fallen victim to one of the usual plagues that Audrey brings home from daycare, so he wasn't of much use in the planning process. As Tara wracked her brain and the internet for ideas, she remembered a place that some friends had mentioned, a must-see place for toddlers ... Storyland!
We drove up on Saturday early afternoon. We arrived at our B&B at about 5pm, after what was in theory a little over a 3 hr drive became almost 5 hrs with traffic and the lunch stop. The place we stayed was called the Cranmore Mountain Lodge. It was a charming little inn run by a French Canadian couple. There was a pool, which we took advantage of a couple of times, and a family room with lots of toys and kid videos. Our last-minute booking got us a room on the 3rd floor with no air conditioning, but we survived with the help of a couple of fans.
Storyland is an amusement park designed for children ages 2-12. It is hidden in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The rides and other attractions are based on a nursery rhyme/fairy tale theme. For instance, Humpty Dumpty is kind of the main guy, the engineer of Storyland if you will. They have Cinderella's castle (along with the glass slipper and the fairy godmother's wand), teacups ala Alice in Wonderland, and live animals representing such rhymes as Baa Baa Black Sheep, and the Three Little Pigs. There were also smaller things to explore and play with, like a visual representation of 1, 2, buckle my shoe, and the old woman who lived in shoe (complete with actual old woman handing out stickers).
Audrey had an amazing time! Perhaps the highlight for her was seeing Humpty Dumpty in a live show. Included in the admission fee are several different little 15 or 20 minute shows. While you wait in line for the rides, there is a TV playing clips from each show, and Audrey caught a glimpse of one with Humpty Dumpty. From then on, all she could talk about was Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately, the next show was not for another 3 1/2 hours or so. We filled the time with lunch, other rides, and a nap in her stroller (praise God!), until finally it was time to go see “Humpty Dumpty in a show.” The show was the kind of thing that I'm sure other parents can relate to as being a little painful to sit through for those of us over 5 years old. But Audrey was in heaven as she watched Humpty dance and sing and help out his friends Little Bo Peep and Jack and Jill!
Another highlight was Cinderella's castle, and meeting the real Cinderella! As soon as we got to the castle, she wanted to know where was the fairy godmother. We decided to defer that question to Cinderella, who simply said “she's not here right now, but she left her wand for you to see.” With that one settled, she then asked where the Prince was, and the best that Mommy could come up with was that he was at work, or perhaps at a battle. What do princes do all day anyway?
After a long day at Storyland, we a nice dinner of Wiener schnitzel at a German hotel/restaurant. Upon arriving home soon afterward, we all crashed. After we got Audrey down at about 8:30, Scott and I laid on the bed, only to wake up about midnight to realize we had fallen asleep still fully dressed! The next day we spent some time at the outlet malls, and drove home through the White Mountains National Forest on the scenic Kancamagus highway. Along the way we also stopped for a short “hike,” which I put in quotes because we have learned that you are lucky if you make it more than 100yards down the trail hiking with a 2 year-old. There are so many interesting things to see and an endless supply of rocks, sticks, and “cones” (pinecones) to pick up. It was nice nonetheless, and tired her out for a nice nap on the drive home.