Strawberries? Raspberries? Blueberries? Our family debate over which is the best berry may never be resolved, but that just may be because each time one of these berries is in season, it’s hard not to declare it the best. Our favorite this time of year? It’s the blueberry, by far. Blueberries just may be the easiest fruit to pick, prepare and serve. No peeling, no pitting, no coring, no cutting. Plus, they have few natural pests other than birds, so much is grown pesticide-free.
The pick-your-own blueberry season begins early July and continues through late August or early September. We’ve rounded up some farms in the Boston area which are beginning to open up for blueberry picking, plus we've included a few helpful tips. At the end of the post, you'll find a recipe for our favorite blueberry treat: the classic blueberry buckle.
Sure, taking the kids to a fireworks show for July 4th seems like a good idea—until you’re there. The little one (who refuses to wear earplugs) has his hands over his ears and a terrified look on his face, everyone is getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, and you know you'll be getting home well past the kids’ (and your) bedtimes.
Luckily, the city of Boston and the surrounding towns also mark Independence Day with parades, fairs, festivals, carnival rides, live music and food—no fireworks needed. There’s no better place to show the great ol’ U.S. of A. some love than right here in Boston, the cradle of the American Revolution. Do it in style at these kid-centric Independence Day celebrations, from the city's annual Harborfest to small-town festivities all around the Boston area.
The Inn at East Hill Farm is a special place. It combines hands-on learning at a working farm with all the fun of sleepaway camp and the blissful convenience of an all-inclusive resort.
Nestled in the Mount Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, the resort has views that go on forever, and a relaxed, when-you're-here-you're-family vibe. There are activities galore and all meals are included, so you won’t need to go anywhere else during your stay—and I’m guessing you’ll be happy to leave the car parked, let someone else do the cooking, and focus your energy on having a ball with your kids.
There was a time when the release of any Pixar movie seemed like a major event. Even before I became a mom, I ran to the theater on opening weekend to see Toy Story 1 and 2, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. After my daughter was born, we enjoyed WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3 together. But I admit, our Pixar fever waned a bit over the past few years, perhaps due to increased animation competition, or maybe it was just those awful Planes movies (technically not Pixar flicks, but spun off from Cars). So my 9-year-old kid and I were thrilled to discover that Pixar's brand-new adventure, Inside Out, harks back to the studio's best work. It's got Toy Story's perfectly balanced blend of wistfulness and whimsy, mixed with a surreal, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-style take on the complex emotions and memories that make us tick.
At the advance screening we attended, kids and grown-ups were enthralled—even the group of rowdy teens in front of us stopped texting, they were so into it. At times, each group laughed out loud (or cried) at different scenes, proof that the movie works on multiple levels. And yet, even though this is the first must-see family film of the summer, is it good for all ages? It's rated PG for a reason, so here's what you need to know before taking young children to see Inside Out.
You know it's summertime in Boston when kids are running through fountains and splashing in shallow pools of water on the Greenway and Boston Common. There is plenty of water fun to be had in neighborhoods all around the city, and we've rounded up some of our favorite spots. Most locations are open on weekends after Memorial Day, and then daily from the end of June through Labor Day. Bonus: they're all free!
Hikers from all over the world flock to Mount Monadnock for a relatively easy climb that’s rewarded by breathtaking views and bragging rights. But you don’t have to be a mountain climber to enjoy the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. Tucked in the southwestern corner of the state, the area offers activities for every age and interest—toddlers to great-grandparents, nature lovers to shopaholics—making it the perfect place for a multigenerational family getaway.
Even if trekking mountains is what draws your adventurous family to the Monadnock Region, you’ll want to take a break to explore the quaint towns that dot the magnificent landscape. Stroll the idyllic New England main streets of Peterborough and Keene, stop in a restaurant with a view for a bite to eat, and explore the arts, culture, and unique shops. Then you’ll be ready to scale another of the region's mountains.
One of the things I'm truly loving about living in the 'burbs now that the weather's nice is the opportunity to be close to nature. The South Shore is known for its beautiful forests and marshes, and is home to a wide variety of birds, seals, and other forest friends. Mass Audubon's South Shore Sanctuaries—North River, Daniel Webster, and North Hill Marsh—are ideal places to discover the area's natural treasures.
North River serves as the indoor base for the three sanctuaries, with a nature center featuring a discovery room for kids, turtles, fish, an archeological station, bathrooms, and a gift shop. As we drove up the winding road to the North River Sanctuary's main building, we felt transported into a different world. Everything was so vibrant and bright, lush and crisp. Once inside, my son had a blast playing with the toys and exploring, while I learned about the variety of programs and things to do at the three sanctuaries.
Summertime is jam time, whether your genre of choice is kindie rock, roots, jazz, blues, world or classical music. Boston neighborhoods and surrounding towns feature lots of popular local musicians in their summer outdoor music series, and some concerts are aimed specifically at kids. With our roundup of summer music series as your guide, you could take your kids to a community concert almost every day this season. Best of all, the performances are all free!
The Highland Street Foundation's 2015 Free Fun Fridays schedule is out, which means it’s time to start planning your family’s summer adventures!
The organization offers families the opportunity to visit Massachusetts attractions for free every Friday from the end of June through August. There are 70 museums and cultural venues on the schedule, and with so many wonderful choices, it can be difficult to decide which ones to pick. We're highlighting five, taking into consideration whether free admission or library museum passes are available at other times, how much money is saved on entry, proximity to Boston and, most importantly, kid-friendliness and cool factor.
Father’s Day is more toned down than Mother’s Day, and most dads I know would say that’s a good thing. There’s no pressure to have a perfect day, just license to take some time off, relax, enjoy a hearty breakfast, and goof off a little with the kids.
When you ask the dads in your life what they want to do to celebrate, they often draw a blank. So last year we rounded up 10 things dads actually want to do for Father's Day for inspiration. This year, we're sharing 10 more ideas to help you plan a fun outing for the whole family—but especially for the man of honor.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara