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4 Things To Do Down The Shore

 

Willow Creek Winery’s Firepit Fridays, West Cape May

winery field grapes wine

One of our favorite things, when we visit the shore, is sitting by the fire in the late evening twilight, enjoying a cocktail or a nice glass of wine with friends new and old.

For you Oenophiles who love to sample great new wines, check out Firepit Fridays at Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May, every Friday at 5:30pm.

You can sample their great wines and grab a glass of your favorite to enjoy by the fire on the patio of their farmhouse winery. It’s a beautiful place that is well worth the visit day or night.

168 Stevens St., West Cape May; 609-770-8782, willowcreekwinerycapemay.com

 

Yoga on the Beach, Sea Isle City

yoga beach peace symbol

 NJ Beach Yoga is celebrating it’s 12th year working with the Sea Isle City Recreation Department sharing Summer Yoga on the JFK Beach in Sea Isle City, NJ for just $10/Class. 

It’s a peaceful way to find your zen first thing in the morning while you build strength for the rest of your Shore adventures.

You’ll leave class with less stress, better health, and more joy.  Breathe, focus on balanced choices, learn proper alignment, and safely exercise under the guidance of a well-trained, experienced and Advanced Professional Yoga Teacher & ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Teri O’Connor

No need to sign up ahead, just show up with a towel or mat! Classes are open to all levels.

Check the Sea Isle City website for times and location njbeachyoga.com.

 

A New Surfside Park for the Whole Family, Avalon

park pavilion

Avalon’s Surfside Park is a brand new recreation complex constructed at 30th Street and the beach in Avalon at the site of the former playground. 

The Park features brand new playground equipment, a wide open green-space, and lawn play area, new bathrooms and changing station, and excellent photo opportunities for families and visitors. 

Opening June 22nd, Surfside Park will present fun activities for families and young children throughout the summer. 

Special events for children will be held on Monday evenings starting at 6:30 pm called “Surfside Live”, and Friday evenings through summer there will be a special “Surfside Jam”, also starting at 6:30 pm.

https://avalonboro.net/17559-2/

 

 

Cape May Music Festival

Cape May’s Music Festival is a June tradition for anyone who loves classical and big band music.

This multi-venue festival features the Atlantic Brass Band, New York Chamber Ensemble, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, Paula Johns, and the Bay Atlantic Symphony.

Venues include the Episcopal Church of the Advent, the Emlen Physick Estate’s Carriage House Café & Tearoom, and Willow Creek Winery (just one more reason to drink wine 😉

May 26 through June 14, various locations, Cape May, 609-884-5064

Stock the House was named as the #4 best thing for families at the Jersey Shore

Stock the House was named as the #4 best thing for families at the Jersey Shore

This one is for you, Moms and Dads! Ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? This is where Stock the House comes in – the newest addition to the Seven Mile Island hospitality scene, STH is a luxury concierge service that will book your dinner reservations (and your babysitter), stock your refrigerator, and even set you up with a personal chef! Think: make memories, not to-do lists.

Read more at Macaroni Kid.

Winter in Vermont – Our 7 Favorite Spots

Winter in Vermont – Our 7 Favorite Spots

Seven Secret, Special Spots Worth Visiting In Vermont  

Vermont is indisputably one of the hottest winter locations in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that every sight you visit on vacation needs to be accompanied by a flurry of fellow travelers.  Despite the state’s relatively small population, you’d be surprised at how crowded resort sites can get. These are some of Stock the House’s favorite secret spots in Vermont. You won’t necessarily find them at the top of every travel listing, but they’re bound to offer you and your family some unforgettable experiences.

Dog Mountain (St. Johnsbury)

It might sound like a fairytale or a Wes Anderson movie, but Dog Mountain is a very real location you and your family’s best friend can visit. The park is full of wilderness trails, fishing ponds, wildflowers, and potential adventures for humans and their canine companions.  Owners are both permitted and encouraged to allow their dogs to go without leashes at this doggy paradise. Be sure to take advantage of the seasonal offerings nature has in store for you.  In the winter, you and your dog can snowshoe over pristine white slopes and pretend you’re walking on a cloud. And for those who want to eulogize and memorialize dogs that have passed away, you’ll definitely need to pay homage at the Dog Chapel.

The Trapp Family Lodge (Stowe)

Everybody’s heard of the famous von Trapp Family, whose lives as singers in World War II era Austria were dramatized in the classic musical, The Sound of Music. What a lot fewer people know is that they eventually moved to Stowe, Vermont, and opened up a four and a half star ski lodge.  For the winter sport enthusiasts, there are 100 kilometers of cross-country, snowshoe and back-country skiing trails. The Trapp lodge also has its own home brewery for kraft beer  aficionados and a Bavarian pastry filed café among other luxuries. There’s even a graveyard where the famous stepmother and matriarch of the family, Maria is buried for fans of the movie. Whether you’re just stopping by for tea or planning to ski all season, the Trapp family, (many of whom still reside and work at the lodge), will give you something to sing about.

The Old Bennington First Church and Cemetery (Bennington)

A house of worship and its graveyard might not seem like the liveliest place to visit, but Old Bennington’s First Church is a particular historic gem. The Protestant commissioned building, built in the European style and carved from local pine trees, was the first of its kind in Vermont to signify the separation of Church and State. Today, its doors and congregation remain open to the public. Legendary poet and writer Robert Frost spoke at the Church’s rededication, and while he and his family were not members, they were buried in the First Cemetery after they passed. The graveyard, which always kept in pristine condition, presents a glimpse into history going back to the 1700’s and a beautiful arrangement of weeping willows, stone cherubs, and some of Frost’s most poignant pieces. It’s sure to be a quiet and less traveled, yet worthwhile spot on your trip.

The Islands of Lake Champlain

 Lake Champlain presents some of the best sunset views by the water in a state known for them, but you won’t want to blink and miss the archipelago within the lake. The ferry schedule can sometimes be fickle in the wintertime because of strong winds and a chance of the lake freezing over. However, the Lake Champlain Transportation Company prides itself on literally breaking a small sliver of water into the ice to give you the journey of your dreams. For $10 a vehicle, you can even have them ferry your car. During the winter, the area offers special opportunities for ice fishing and bird watching, and of course, the obligatory selfies amidst the silver and white waters. Each tiny island in the family of 80 from Bell to Juniper to North Hero has its own unique history, legends, and culture, and they are guaranteed to be peaceful and secluded anytime of the year.

Peacham

There are plenty of adorable, sleepy little towns dotted throughout the state, but the roughly 700-person Peacham is especially beloved. The exact origin of the town’s rustic, southern sounding name remains a mystery to this day. Still, there is ample photographic evidence that Peacham is a place of quaint and quiet majesty. Originally primarily a farming town (make sure to visit the local farmer’s market or we’ll gladly pick something up for you), tourism became and continues to be one of the most important industries in Peacham. For nature-lovers there are a smattering of hills, ponds, the 750-acre Peacham bog, and enough foliage in the fall to break Instagram. Stargazers will love to know that the town has two observatories. Throughout the year, Peacham enjoys a fair amount of cultural programming in the form of such events as The Peacham Acoustic Music Festival in the summer and the Peacham Winter Carnival.

Seyon Lodge State Park

Located in the sprawling Groton State Forest, Seyon Lodge State Park has a special distinction: it’s the only state park in Vermont to be open all year round for your hiking and cross-country skiing needs.  Guests of the lodge and any other visitors can also rent a rowboat and enjoy the beautiful waterside sights of Noyes Pond. Noyes is an impeccable breeding habitat for the squaretail brook trout and is also recognized as the only public fly-fishing only pond in the state. The lodge itself offers living quarters to stay in, spaces for weddings, and conference rooms for business meeting. Entry to one park in the forest allows access to the other six, including the swimming waters of nearby Boulder Beach State Park, but Seyon Lodge is the only one guaranteed to be open from 6 AM to sunset if you just want to drop by.

The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet (Burlington)

People might usually leave their offices and home states behind for rest and relaxation in Vermont, but you’ll definitely want a quick photo of this wacky Burlington sculpture. Technically, it’s a bunch of smaller filing cabinets stacked and attached to one another, but together, they form a might structure that stands 38 feet tall. The handiwork of Burlington-based artist Bren Alvarez, the sculpture was built in 2002 as a kind of protest to proposed road construction and city-planning, though the lack of exposition at the actual site has generated heaps of speculation and urban legends.  It may be pushed out by exactly what it stood against, but for now, it’s a proud monument on a deserted lot, and a nesting complex for local birds.

Meet Vermont Concierge, Emma Griffith.

Meet Vermont Concierge, Emma Griffith.

Emma Griffith has a lot going on, especially for a freshman at Southern Vermont College. The 18-year-old has already declared a double major in business and psychology, competes as a Division III softball player, works several jobs, and splits her remaining time between community service for both a Sunday school and a soccer team.

Stock the House was a natural pick for her when it came to employment options, and of the three jobs she works, Emma admits it’s by far her favorite.

Emma’s father was the one who forwarded her the job listing, and the premise quickly piqued her interest.

In her words:

“Stock the House appealed to me as someone who would like to own her own business with a unique concept someday.  And to be honest, the opportunity for the commissions was a huge draw for me, too.  18-year-olds don’t typically make that kind of money unless they have technical training in some field (which I do not) and the minimum wage jobs that I worked this summer had burned me out.”

In a sense, Emma’s ambassador and concierge duties at Stock the House combine her two majors as she is both enacting the growing company’s vision AND performing services that make individual clients and their families happy.

Finding the perfect vegan organic gummy candy for the Catrambone family’s grocery bags or facilitating transactions with local businesses are tasks that speak to her strengths as a go-getter and communicator.

Perhaps most appropriate is Emma’s close relationship to the state of Vermont. Emma recalls that her family did not travel frequently, but the trips they did make stayed with her.

She reminisces “On the occasions my family and I did travel, we usually went camping in our small, vintage 1960’s hard-sided camper and drove up to New England.  We went to Vermont a few times, which I loved.”

Without even realizing it at first, Emma had a special bond to the area. She admits: “I actually go to school about ten miles from one of our old Vermont vacation spots, Woodford State Park. When I first moved to Vermont, I would get weird, but welcoming Déjà vu whenever I drove by.”

As someone who enjoys helping others that also has a deep connection to the region she’s operating in, Emma is one of Stock the House’s star team members.

 

**You can catch her story and more about Stock the House on NPR here: https://www.marketplace.org/2018/04/02/business/short-term-rentals-spur-businesses-around-new-services-visitors

My Inspiration For Stock The House.

My Inspiration For Stock The House.

There are many reasons why I started Stock the House. But, the main inspiration comes from my deeply rooted philosophy around living a life full of experiences instead of things. That’s how I want to raise my kids. And that’s how I built the framework for Stock the House. Time is precious. If Stock the House can give a busy vacationer more time to recharge, reconnect, and rejuvenate while traveling away from home, then we have achieved our mission.

As I watch my kids grow, I often reminisce on my own childhood. It’s pretty clear that I have always valued experiences over material possessions. As a young girl, I learned to cherish the family vacations we went on.

Every summer, for a single week, my family would take a trip to Myrtle Beach, and they truly strived to make each visit perfect. My parents would buckle us up into the family station wagon at 9 PM and drive for 13 hours straight from West Virginia to South Carolina through the whole night. They wanted the first thing we laid our eyes on in the morning to be that beautiful stretch of shore.

And we never lacked for company either. One of six siblings, my mother and her entire extended family would congregate with us in paradise. They’d rent a house close to the water (long before AirBnB) and miraculously fit six families into it. My cousins, my siblings, and I forged some of our deepest friendships during those summer weeks filled with joy and play, but also lessons for adulthood.

My family would save and plan for an entire year to make that trip. I’m thankful that they did that. Those experiences have stayed with me, shaping who I became.

There’s science that backs up what I went through. One study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University found that because of how the human brain adapts to change, it continually seeks out new experiences. A purchase can be fun for a time, but it will inevitably collect dust as it becomes an all too ordinary part of one’s every day life. One’s experiences–especially with others who shared them, become an ingrained part of their identity.

Today, I have two children of my own, and I understand more than ever that what we buy or bring home matters much less than those wondrous experiences that leave an impression on our hearts as a family. I try to offer my kids as many travel opportunities as possible—especially opportunities for them to bond with their cousins.

I still don’t know how my parents mustered such an endeavor with so little time and coffee, but it is a legacy worth upholding and encouraging in others. At Stock the House, we hope to connect you and your family with everything and everyone you need for unforgettable experiences.