The blog for inspired travel with children

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Herb Lester Maps and Guides

Herb Lester, I think I love you.  At least, I am head over heels for your fabulous maps and guides.  While not strictly for parents or children, these charming little guides highlight particular shades of each city that can work for all ages - for example, the Los Angeles guide is titled "How to Find Old LA"and directs you to "glittering 1920s movie palaces, down-and-dirty bars, ballrooms, diners and pizza joints." Now, you really should avoid taking your child to a "down-and-dirty bar" - but a 1920s movie palace and old-school diner might be just the ticket.

Another guide - "It's Nice to Be Alone in Paris" - is certainly directed at the solo traveler rather than the traveller with offspring in tow.  But don't despair - there is also "Paris for Pleasure Seekers" - this one sounds rather adult but includes spots like "belle epoque restaurants, opulent cinemas, and beatnik bookshops", as well as where to find macaroons.  All useful information for the imaginative parent.

With the Madrid map as our guide, "from the relative safety of cable car we gaze down at the vast expanse of the Casa de Campo, explore shops selling gloves, campling gear, old postcards and espadrilles, visit an abandoned station and one with its own forest." I'm not sure whether it's a station or a shop with it's own forest; either one sounds intriguing.

There is an emphasis on London and New York City maps, but there are maps for Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Austin. You can even subscribe to the series - Herb Lester will mail you each new map as it is published.  I can't think of a more perfect gift for the sophisticated traveller in your life (perhaps this person is you!).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chicago: Travelling with Baby

"Cloud Gate" (aka the Bean) by Anish Kapoor in Chicago's Millennium Park

To the new parent, traveling with a new baby can seem like a huge challenge, but it is more than doable, as evidenced by Leah's experience in the interview below.  I know from experience than in many ways traveling with  baby is easier than with a toddler - a baby is more willing to go where YOU want to go, and is easier to carry around.  There's no real reason to postpone that trip you want to take - it is very much worth getting out there with your baby!  Leah traveled with her family (including about-9-month-old Arlo) from Boston to Chicago and it sounds like a terrific trip.  

You recently spent a few days in Chicago - was this your first vacation with Arlo? 

Yes, it was our first family vacation on a plane! He slept almost the whole way during both trips!
Any special preparations you make for air travel with a baby? 
I read a bunch of blogs about what to bring and about how to travel with the baby, i.e., rent a car vs subway vs taxi cab and the required or suggested accoutrements. After a lot of back and forth, we decided that we didn't feel comfortable riding in cabs without a car seat so we bit the bullet and rented a car. It was a bit expensive but well worth the anxiety and stress we may have experienced had we just decided to chance it in taxi cabs. It also made it easier to get around the city because it was fast and we didn't have to depend on public transportation or anyone else. We also brought our BOB Stroller and our Ergo. They both worked out beautifully.
Tell us about some of the fun things you did on this trip! 
We did a lot of great things. We came to Chicago for a good friend's wedding so we attended that. It was great to show off Arlo to all of our good friends. We also went to the Renegade Craft Fair, explored Wicker Park and downtown Chicago by the Magnificent Mile (where we stayed), went to the Shedd Aquarium, explored Grant Park and the walked along the lake shore, ate a lot of good food and shopped! We also went to Hyde Park to see Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio. I ended up going on the tour alone because we realized how difficult it was going to be for Arlo to be patient for an hour. Jesse walked around the neighborhood and looked at the beautiful houses while Arlo slept in the Ergo. I was the lucky one and got to see that magnificent house!
How did you accommodate the baby’s needs (naps, feeding, things like that)? 
When we were out on the town, he would sleep in the Bob a lot. We also made an effort to bring him back to the hotel after breakfast and let him take a nap. He napped a lot in the car seat in the car. We also were almost always at the hotel by 7 or 8 so he could go to bed at his normal time. Our first night, we walked for about 2 hours and didn't get home until 10pm and he slept in the Ergo. He was fantastic. I nursed him in the Ergo as needed or in the hotel. He enjoyed food at the restaurants as well. I have to say, the Bob Stroller was a life saver and really kept us organized.
Was there anything you tried to do that didn’t turn out so well? 
Not really. Although we left the wedding at 8:30pm because he was getting cranky. Other than that, he was a total champ.
Where would you love to take Arlo next? 
Our next trip will be to Marquette, MI to visit my mom, stepfather and father. I can't wait!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Help

Breezy Point, Queens (photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images, from

New York City is one of our favorite places on the planet - a beautiful, astonishing capital of world culture...  Our heart is breaking for the people of New Jersey, New York, and other many places affected by the storm.  Please consider (as we have done) making a donation to help those in need, either to the Red Cross, or another organization.

One worthy alternative is Henry Street Settlement, which provides a range of services to needful New Yorkers of all ages (according to their news page, they provided 19,000 meals yesterday!).