Category Archives: TRAVEL

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Islamora-da!!!

From our contributor: Modern Boca Crunchy Mom

Islamorada Vacation


If you follow me on Instagram @essentiallyerika, then it’s no secret we just came back from our summer family Islamorada vacation!

Islamorada Vacation

As I’ve mentioned in the past (maybe only once or fifteen times), I’m a native New Yorker and my idea of a vacation is somewhat skewed.

Living in Boca Raton, I’ve felt like it’s a very laid-back lifestyle (Florida in general gives me that feeling). I’ve even referred to it as “country”. Whenever I speak to southerners, they always refer to Boca Raton as “busy” or “city life”. Well, now I understand.

It wasn’t until I ventured further south that I can fully appreciate “remote living”. My family and I were lucky enough to win a wonderful 3 day / 2 night stay at the wonderful Guy Harvey Resort in lovely Islamorada Key.

Islamorada Vacation

This. Place. Rocks.

We stayed in the Bayside Townhomes, 2 King Beds / 2 Bath units right on the Bay!

Islamorada Vacation

When I first told the boys we would be going on vacation, all they asked was “Are there trains there?”

Islamorada Vacation

Voila!

There is PLENTY to do here. Just footsteps from the pool /grill area– did I mention it was right on the Bay?

Islamorada Vacation

The hammocks were my favorite!

Islamorada Vacation
We kept ourselves busy basking in the Islamorada sun and lounging at the pool with great food and plenty of Bob Marley tunes to set the mood.

Islamorada Vacation

This quaint little property has some of the best sunsets in Islamorada, I was thoroughly impressed!

Islamorada Vacation

Staying at the Islander Bayside Townhomes allowed access to the “sister” resort less than a mile away, The Guy Harvey Islander Resort. There’s more fun to be had there!

Islamorada Vacation

Here you can park it under a shady tree on the beach, relax and enjoy the breeze.

Islamorada Vacation
There’s also a huge pool with bar and grill for your lunch and beverage needs

I couldn’t resist…

Islamorada Vacation

One of the best parts about the Islander is the versatility. There is enough to stay busy in that Islamorada sun all day! (Don’t forget your sunblock! That sun is brutal in the summertime…)

Islamorada Vacation

We were lucky enough to have enough wind to go sailing; what a cool experience in these crystal clear warm waters! We stood pretty shallow with the boys and all, so we were really able to just relax and “be”, we took in every moment…

Islamorada Vacation

“Don’t ask me big bro…”

 Islamorada Vacation

The WaterSorts shack offers all types of water activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, motor boat rentals and fishing!

We couldn’t pass this up, so off we went on another #naturetrackers adventure

Islamorada Vacation

This was a special moment for all of us. I know I remember the first time I went fishing with my dad. I’m sure they will remember this as the first of many fishing experiences with their father.

Islamorada Vacation

(Skipping stones with their dad, just love my guys!)

Islamorada Vacation

Islamorada is known for its fishing and music. There are tons of places to grab some food and drinks, or even to play pool! (Insert finger sprain here, don’t ask. Thanks for the good times Hog Heaven!)

It seemed wherever we went, we were met with kind faces and great food. I must say one of my favorites was Marker 88, hands down THE BEST key lime pie I’ve ever tasted, not to mention MORE beautiful views!

Islamorada Vacation
(I feel like all of these places have sunset competitions, to see who has the best view)

Islamorada Vacation

To sum it all up, I get it.. Islamorada was a win on every level and I can certainly see the allure. Driving back home to Boca Raton was bittersweet. And I thought to myself, it seems so crowded, like CITY LIFE?!?!! Could it be?? This self proclaimed city slicker has gone (dare I say it) FLORIDIAN??

There is something to be said for disconnecting and just taking in the moments slowly and savoring them. Sitting back relishing in life’s simple goodness, the beauty in the ordinary. Salty sea air on your lips, warm summer winds in your hair. Letting time skip away with the ones you love, dropping your inhibitions and losing yourself in “child’s play”.

Sometimes I feel we can get so wrapped up in keeping our children busy, or filling up their schedule so there is no idle time for them to get bored. Being bored as a child at times forced me to come up with some of the best or most creative thoughts, ideas and games. This serves as a reminder to just enjoy “organic” moments if you will.

Those moments where not much is going on and it doesn’t have to. Some of our best memories as kids were summertime with no plans, nowhere to be, nothing to do but to let your day manifest on its own. To just “be” with your kids in nature soaking up the Vitamin D (safely, of course) and letting the day just drift away in unstructured play. It’s good for the “crunchy” soul! I think it teaches us a bit about learning to lie back and enjoy the journey and teaches our children to include this sort of “freedom” in their lives.

We are very grateful to the people of Islamorada and The Guy Harvey Resort, but most of all to Sunflower Creative Arts. (This is where we won this awesome trip!)

Essentially Yours,

Modern Boca Crunchy Mom


Have you set some unstructured time together with your family this summer? Tell us where! We’d love to hear all about your experiences in the comments section below.

 

KIDS are the New VIP’s at the Boca Resort

SponsoredBoca Resort Activities


As if I didn’t hear it enough from #dailybabyavery’s doting grandparents, the Boca Raton Resort & Club officially confirmed the following last week:  

Kids are the NEW South Florida VIPs when it comes to Boca Raton Resort Activities.
Boca Resort Activities
VIP Exhibit A: my Goddaughter Allison

Yes, it’s true.  And it’s one of the reasons why I am extremely excited to bring you the Modern Boca Resort Mom (#modernbocaresortmom) series during the coming weeks (this is only post 1 of 3!), giving you an inside look into the latest and greatest VIP activities and amenities for both kids AND parents at The Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.  

I must admit that I’m a bit of a ‘fan girl’ when it comes to the Resort, as I imagine many Boca residents are.  The Resort anchors our town and has been here pretty much since the beginning.  Yes, it’s exclusive.  Yes, it’s impressive.  And, the good news is that I’m here to tell you that it’s also an amazing (and pretty reasonable) staycation option for you and your family this August & September!

Hotel rooms start at only $149 per night and the complimentary amenities available for the kids alone make this new family-friendly Boca Raton Resort and Club an ideal option for MBMoms and beyond.

In the #modernbocaresortmom posts to come, I’ll give you the inside scoop on all of the fab dining options at the Resort AND how to take advantage of your valuable MBMom relaxation time at the Waldorf Astoria Spa on property, formerly known as Spa Palazzo.

In the meantime, let’s go on a little tour of the Boca Beach Club, shall we?

Boca Resort Activities

You are here.


My Modern Boca Resort Mom experience started out with a day spent at the Boca Beach Club.  Here, the Resort has launched Surf Boca (#surfboca) which offers private lessons, clinics and events for all ages and skill levels, which includes the kiddos!

Boca Resort Activities

My Goddaughter Allison, 4,  lovingly agreed to be my MBMom reviewer for the day.  Her parents are both surfers, so I figured she’d be the ideal girl for the job!

There were small(ish) waves on the day we signed her up for a private lesson at Surf Boca, one of the Boca Raton Resort activities, with Colin, which actually worked out perfectly for showing Allison the ropes.

First, instructions on how to stand up on your surfboard.

Boca Resort Activities

Boca Resort Activities

Boca Resort Activities

Next, getting in the water. Colin guided Allison into the perfect surfboard position, so she had the best chance of catching a wave and standing up.  I figured she’d get one or two.

No.  Not only did Allison catch a minimum of 10 waves (before exhaustion set in), she stood up on her FIRST TRY.

Boca Resort Activities Boca Resort Activities Boca Resort Activities Boca Resort Activities Boca Resort Activities

Boy, was I was a proud Godmother!  I even thought ahead to bring our GoPro, so we got a great video of her as well:

Colin’s instruction was easy enough for a 4-year-old to “get” right away and older kids will love that he outwardly portrays a “cool surfer dude” image.

Boca Resort Activities

And, as Allison’s Mom said: “I would have really liked him when I was a teenage girl.”  Take it or leave it MBMoms!  🙂

Boca Resort Activities

Boca Raton Resort Activities: Surf School Schedule (weather permitting)
  • Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm.
  • Private lessons 7 days a week from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Clinics 7 days a week from 10 am to 11 am

The Surf School includes Billabong rash guard, customized video to view online, emailed photo and 1-hour rental use of a surfboard.  

For more information or surf school events and reservations, call 561-447-3385 (Beach Club Water Sports).


After the Surf Boca lesson, we were all starved.  So, we rinsed off and walked over to Beaches, the poolside restaurant at the Boca Beach Club.

Boca Resort Activities

Because of the restaurant’s speedy and friendly service, Allison’s Mom and I immediately got what we wanted:

Boca Resort Activities Boca Resort Activities Boca Resort Activities

And so did Allison!  Her lunch was served in an adorable beach pail with shovel.

Boca Resort Activities

But, in typical South Florida summer fashion, the skies decided to open up after lunch, so we stuffed ourselves (hello Maine lobster and crab wrap) and had Allison take advantage of the Boca Beach Club’s INDOOR kids’ amenities during the afternoon.


Quest Clubhouse

Welcome to Quest Clubhouse, part of the Boca Resort’s Quest Club for Kids.

Boca Resort Activities
Too cool for Q.

Part arcade, part library, part children’s entertainment mecca, the Quest Clubhouse has tons of fun, indoor activity options for kids of all ages.  

The Quest Clubhouse has token-based arcade games, an air hockey table– even games where you can win prizes!  Kids can play anytime between 10AM-5PM and you can leave them there (supervised) for a low, hourly rate.  

Boca Resort Activities

I even hear that the Quest Clubhouse turns into Q, a teen nightclub (ages 10-17) every Saturday night from 6-10PM!  How cool!  

Boca Resort Activities

Boca Resort Activities

Boca Resort Activities

On the other side of the Clubhouse lives the Quest Club library and for lack of a better word, “room o’ toys.”  This area is targeted to younger kids, who might not be ready for neon lights and arcade games.

They even have a Build-a-Bear workshop in the space…trust me, I was tempted to make a monkey.

Boca Raton Resort activities

Boca Raton Resort activities

Boca Raton Resort activities
We couldn’t leave without playing dress-up!

It was a great day.  I’m pretty sure Allison conked out in the car on the way home to Palm Beach. 🙂


The thing I noticed most about the kids’ amenities at the Boca Beach Club during our visit was OPTIONS.

And, I’m not necessarily talking about variety; I’m talking about the choice to either let your kids do their own thing (safely supervised) while you head to the pool or get a spa treatment with #modernbocadad or simply observe while they are happily occupied for a few hours.


The option and choice is yours as a Boca Resort guest this summer!  Check room availability HERE.

Disclaimer: Services and compensation were provided for this review. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

The Top 5 Things Every Mom Looks Forward to When Taking a Plane Ride SOLO!

It’s not easy flying with a child, especially if you’re alone. Be it a baby, toddler or pre-schooler, your mind is always focused on 1. your child’s entertainment (a screaming baby for 3 hours among childless adults trapped in a metal tube is not cute) and 2. whether or not you’ll be able to “hold it” until you land (have you ever tried to go to the bathroom when you’re the only one responsible for that baby on your lap??). Traveling alone on an airplane with a baby is no joke. So even if you are really liking the idea of going to Manhattan for example, and then staying in hotels in manhattan, remember that if you are bringing your child, it might not be as relaxing as you might have hoped.

Traveling alone on an airplane with a baby
Throwback to Avery’s 1st plane ride (6/13)! Notice the ‘Hooter Hider’ tucked into the seat back.

On Friday, I will be taking my FIRST EVER solo cross-country plane ride since I had #dailybabyavery. Before taking any trip it is always good to check out guides on the travel company you are going with. Travelfoot is really useful for anyone going to the Phillipines. My NYC girlfriends and I are skipping off to Napa Valley for the long weekend (yippee! Thanks #modernbocadad for staying behind this time) to celebrate a dear friend’s 30th birthday.

Yes, I’m looking forward to the wine. Yes, I’m looking forward to the girl talk. Yes, I’m looking forward to the many rounds of Cards Against Humanity we’ll be playing (of course I purchased the new 90’s Nostalgia Pack). But, what am I looking forward to most?

THE PLANE RIDE.

5+ blissful hours of Nothing. To. Do.


And what kind of Mommy Blogger would I be without listing the: Top 5 things I am Looking Forward to During Traveling Alone on and airplane with a baby
  1. Reading magazines. No joke, I am about 5-7 issues behind on Entertainment Weekly and New York Magazine. Don’t even get me started on the fashion glossies…
  2. Thank you notes. OK, perhaps I am not looking forward to the actual writing of thank you notes, but being able to bang 28 out while I’m flying across the country sounds good to me. Done and done.
  3. Cocktails. Hey- I got that Delta American Express card for a reason! 20% off in-flight beverages and no little hands to spill them? Yes, please.
  4. Silence. I don’t have to talk to anyone but the flight attendant if I don’t want to. Sorry fellow seatmate. No chit chat unless I need to get up to go to the ladies room.
  5. Sleep. I doubt I need to explain this one to any MBMom with a child under the age of 2, yes?

I’m off to go pack to get ready to fly the friendly skies…ALONE. Here I go, traveling alone on an airplane with a baby.

Traveling alone on an airplane with a baby

Or maybe I’ll bring her with me after all!


Am I right MBMoms or am I right? Did I leave anything off the list? If so, comment below and best of luck traveling alone on an airplane with a baby!

P.S. If you want to read some really hilarious posts about traveling with kids, be sure visit my FAVORITE Mommy Blog/Humor website: Mommy Shorts. The “traveling on a plane category” can be found HERE.

Mommy Shorts Button B/W