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from trekaroo family travelers

October 09 2015
1 family found this helpful
"Wine Country Family Fun"

You have to be agile, creative, and flexible to change with the times.  The Flamingo Resort is all of those things.  Opened in the 1950's, it was a favorite weekend escape for Hollywood celebrities like Jayne Mansfield.  From time to time it has even been used for as the headquarters of a few production crews. Now it is a great headquarters for families looking to savor the Sonoma Wine Country.  Yes, FAMILIES looking to savor the Sonoma Wine Country.

Here is just a sampling of  the family-friendly attractions just minutes from the Flamingo:
- The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center : a museum dedicated to the works of Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip.
- Howarth Park:  a lovely community park with attractions that include a train ride, carousel, pony rides and so much more.
- Coppola Winery:  Take the kids swimming in the winery's amazing pool, sample fine wine and food, flex your Bocce Ball skills, and enjoy a great collection of memorabilia from Coppola's movies, this winery has something for every member of the family to enjoy!
- Paradise Ridge Winery: Take a walk through the winery's sculpture garden and art exhibits.  There is plenty here to ignite a great family conversation about art.    

The hotel has several "family suites."  These are standard rooms where extra space in the architecture has been maximized to include sleeping space for kids.  In our room, that space was a narrow room that fit two twin beds in it positioned end-to-end.  Our kids found this area to be pretty cool and dubbed it, "The Secret Room," like one you would find behind a secret panel, although it was behind a standard door.

The kids also loved the huge hotel pool.  There is also a hot tub nearby and plenty of seating around the patio. The grounds are neat and manicured.  There are also statues of the Peanuts Gang scattered throughout the buildings. The kids loved trying to find all of them. Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip called the area home until his death in 2000.  

My husband immediately had his eye on the state-of-the-art gym.  The lap pool had him ready to practice his masters swim routines and the treadmill was beckoning him to jump on for a run.  My daughter was very drawn to the tennis courts.

For those athletes and health nuts coming to the area with younger children, there is a childcare area for the tykes while you work out.

We enjoyed a continental breakfast of fruit, pastries, bagels, yogurt, and oatmeal during our stay.  On the night we arrived, there was a fun band playing in the bar with a crowd of dancers in full swing.  

The Flamingo may have a history but it has a longevity and families are embracing it and fully enjoying this bucolic part of Northern California.

Disclosure: Thank you to the Flamingo Resort for hosting my family. Although my family received a complimentary accommodations o facilitate this review, I was not asked to express any particular opinion. My thoughts are my own.

Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa
2777 4th St,
Santa Rosa, California
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October 09 2015
0 families found this helpful
"Terrific fun!"

Our family of five (kids 15, 12 and 8) took two of the tours last weekend after being in Apple Hill.
Wonderful storyteller and worked for all ages.
We also took their post tour-tour and was a bit more spooked on a neighborhood street.
Very budget-friendly 10,00 for the adults, 5,00 for the kids and post tour only 3,00 each.
We contacted them thru Facebook. Glad we did!

Ghost Tours of Placerville
Main Street,
California 95667
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October 09 2015
0 families found this helpful
"I Want to Visit in Every Season"

So, I admit that my daughter and I had little time to do much more than drive through the park snapping pictures of the beautiful trees. I really do hope that we have the opportunity to come back someday. There are lots of state parks and forests in Pennsylvania - but this truly is one of the hidden gems.

Despite the fact that it was a rainy 45 degree day that we visited, I felt inspired to hop in a canoe and head down the Clarion River. Definitely something to add to my Northeastern States bucket list.

We did get the opportunity to take a trail ride once the weather warmed up and dried out a bit. Seeing the forest on horseback was very nice - a memory I hope that my daughter will have for years or even decades to come.

Cook Forest State Park
Exit 8, 9, or 13 off Interstate 80 (P.O. Box 120),
Pennsylvania 16217
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October 09 2015
0 families found this helpful
"Lovely Getaway in Cook Forest"

My daughter and I stayed at Clarion River Suites on a Saturday night in early October. We arrived just around sunset and had to leave first thing in the morning. So, sadly, we did not have much of an opportunity to relax an enjoy the amazing views overlooking the Clarion River.

Clarion River Suites is remote in the best possible way; it's peaceful and offers sweeping views of the Clarion River below. It is simply lovely!

I highly recommend bringing food and using the small in suite kitchen for breakfast and/or dinner - especially if your stay is relatively short. You don't want to waste your time driving around for food when you have a view as amazing as this one just out the window.

The drive along the Clarion River through the Cook Forest to the hotel is absolutely gorgeous too!

The dirt driveway up to the building from the main road is a bit steep and rough. I was happy that I had a vehicle with high clearance and all wheel drive. (Though I'm sure you average car could make it up the road.)

As we walked in the door to the suite using the provided key code, we walked into the bedroom with a queen bed. It was a simple room; the bed was comfortable. Passing through the bedroom, the small kitchen was on one side of the hallway and the bathroom is on the other. Everything was easily accessible and clean. Finally, there was a large living space with a sliding glass door out to the balcony. There was a pull-out sofa bed in the living room.

This suite could accommodate a family with the queen/king bed in the bedroom and the pull out sofa bed in the living room.

The kitchen has an oven/stove, full-size fridge, microwave, and various dishes. There's plenty of space to cook a simple meal.

A fake fireplace in the living room was a bit sad; it would have been amazing to have a gas fireplace.

Outdoor Areas
Each suite has its own balcony with a couple of chairs. The suites on the far end of the building have a view of the river.

There is a large community patio, fire pit and gazebo. It would be the perfect place to relax if you stayed at Clarion River Suites with a group of friends in multiple suites.

Bottom Line
While we drove past lots of cabins in the Cook Forest, I'm not sure that any of them had a view as amazing as the one from the Clarion River Suites. These aren't luxury suites, but they are a bit nicer than the average state park cabin. Clarion River Suites are a great place for a getaway - with the kids or without.

Disclosure: I was hosted by PA Great Outdoors for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Clarion River Suites
185 Coleman Run Road,
Cooksburg, Pennsylvania
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October 09 2015
0 families found this helpful
"Can't think of a better way to experience fall in PA"

My six year old daughter and I went on a 2-2.5 hour trail ride with PA Trail Ride located just outside Pennsylvania's Cook Forest near the town of Clarion.

Upon arriving at PA Trail Ride (which was easy) to find, I didn't quite know where to park or check-in for our ride. This is not the most organized place; but what they lack in organization, they make up for in friendliness. Once we found who to talk to about our trail ride, we were told everything we needed to know. This is simply a very laidback, country establishment.

My six year old daughter rode on her own horse for the first time. The guide held onto a guide rope connected to her horse, April. My horse, Bunny, was mellow and slow-moving -- which was perfectly fine with me.

There was a lot of mud on the trail from rain the previous day. The horses navigated it quite well. I think the guide changed up our route to avoid some of the worst spots.

The guide spent the entire two hours up front with my six year old as my horse lagged behind. He listened to my six year old girl's chatter about how cute horses are for two hours; the man deserves a gold medal.

The Forest
There were some clear-cut areas where logging was evident along our route. However, we also spent a lot of time in the forest under a canopy of golden yellow leaves.

This really was a trail ride. The path  that we took for over half of the trail ride was a rocky trail through the forest; it was very scenic. Sometimes we took a fire road to avoid the mud -there was more of a view from the fire road.

Bottom Line
My horse-loving little girl talked about this trail ride for days. She has told everyone that she knows about her horse and the trail ride through the forest.

Honestly, I was more than a little bit sore after 2.5 hours on a horse. But, I would gladly do it again for two reasons. The fall leaves were quite beautiful, and my daughter enjoyed herself so much.

Disclosure: I was hosted by PA Great Outdoors for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

PA Trail Ride
1661 Scott Drive,