we heart nola

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Last month we made a last minute decision to tag along with my husband on a business trip to one of my favorite U.S. cities, and I’m so glad we did. I fell in love with New Orleans during a series of visits in my mid-twenties, and have been anxious to get back ever since. I was taken aback when a few people reacted negatively when I told them we were taking the kids, because apparently the only NOLA they know is the inebriated, late-night party version. While that can be fun (I recommend experiencing Mardi Gras once when you’re young, like I did), it is only a small piece of the picture. There is so much to love about the historic city: the people, the food, the music…distinctly American but often French-infused. In fact, I feel it’s the closest to France you can get in the states. New Orleans is celebrating it’s tricentennial (wow) this year, and has conveniently been named the #1 place to visit by The New York Times. I’m sharing our whirlwind 72 hour trip in it’s entirety – my favorite family-friendly spots, itinerary ideas, and tips…plan a visit, and bring the kids!

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dia:beacon with kids

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The Dia:Beacon was one destination that was set in stone during our Hudson Valley itinerary. It’s an uber cool gallery housed in an old Nabisco box-printing factory. An extension of the original Dia in Chelsea founded in 1974, the Beacon was opened in 2003 and houses many large scale installations. I had been wanting to see Richard Serra’s work in particular, and figured the kids would appreciate the scale of the art at the very least. Admittedly, I hadn’t read much about the artist or his inspiration before our visit – which was actually a benefit, in my opinion. I was able to experience the art without any bias and come to my own conclusions. One thing was for sure: it was extremely photogenic.

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our hudson valley getaway

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I had never heard of Copake Falls, New York before this trip. A modern Airbnb farmhouse is what brought us there – it was close enough to everything and aesthetically our vibe. The town itself is incredibly quaint and charming (I mean, just look at that church – it now serves as their historical society). With direct access to the Taconic State Park, it’s perfectly situated for nature lovers. While I wouldn’t describe us quite like that, we do love to bike as a family, and had every intention of doing so. However, after some issues with the house (long story) that robbed us all of sleep, we ended up lounging around, walking around town, and baking. Regardless, the quality time as a family was priceless.

 

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The home is incredibly photogenic (part of why I chose it), and I enjoyed capturing it. When I’m not feeling required to create content, my creative juices flow freely. Unfortunately we had mostly dreary weather while there, and the home was a bit darker than portrayed on it’s listing. I had to get extra creative with my photography, and thankfully had my tripod with me to play around with long exposures. I don’t normally do that, so it was a great learning opportunity – I’m proud of what I shot and edited! The kids are almost always eager to be “models”, and are showing a lot of interest in photography themselves. I think it’s time to get them (kid-friendly) cameras for Christmas – thinking Polaroid, but recs are welcome!

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storm king with kids

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My birthday (October 1st), happens during my favorite season – autumn. When presented with a road trip opportunity this year, the destination was an easy choice for me. I chose the Hudson Valley, as I’ve been dreaming of a fall visit for many years. For some reason I’ve never made it there, despite seeing (and swooning over) New England in peak season. My desire to visit the region strengthened after seeing so many friends on Instagram share gorgeous images from the Storm King Art Center. Founded in 1960, it’s the home of incredible sculptures from some of the most prominent 20th century artists. While the foliage wasn’t quite what we had hoped for (this unseasonably warm weather is infuriating), the art didn’t disappoint. Henry and Marie were very engaged throughout our entire visit, and retained quite a bit of information. I’m sharing some tips for visiting with young children…click through for that and more from our visit!

 

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summer in the poconos

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We spent our summer vacation at our favorite local lake (and house)…it was our fourth year at Lake Naomi! I get emotional looking back at previous years – I seriously cannot believe Henry + Marie are five. I unplugged as much as possible, and rarely checked social media. That ‘s a tall order for most of us these days, but for me especially since it’s partly what I do for a living. The time off was so refreshing, and our days were filled with fun and memory making. Things I don’t want to forget about this year include (but are not limited to): watching the kids as they bravely navigated the pool during swim lessons, eating fresh blueberries on the beach, family kayaking, rainy day monopoly + movie night, sandy showers, bunny spotting, long lazy afternoons, and a lantern-lit date night. It was family quality time at it’s seasonal best.

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