mcfam's Passport
 

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Member since:
27 May 2010

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14

Icon_pictureBeen to 710 Attractions
Icon_star624 Reviews
Icon_star1373 First to Review
Icon_camera22768 Photos
Icon_thumbsup267 Helpful Votes
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About Me & My Family

My husband and I have 4 kids... 3 boys and then our girl. We homeschool them all and travel when possible. We just started letterboxing and are finding ourselves a little obsessed with it.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, structured, relaxed, simple, independent, spontaneous, easy_going
We Just Got Back From
White Stallion Guest Ranch in Arizona
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Camping in Kings Canyon or Yosemite
A Place We'd Love To Visit
The Redwoods in Northern California
Favorite Vacation Memory
Walking the meadows of Yosemite with my family. The quiet, the sparkling water, the rustling grasses, and a dip in the river made for an amazing day.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Anytime throw up is involved. Especially when one kid triggers another. And when we are in the car. And when they choose to use the box that is holding all their library books and toys.
Websites I Like:
www.atlasquest.com

Reviews & Photos

624 Reviews


February 23 2015
0 families found this helpful
Jackson Family Farm Stay | kids travel, kids activities
Jackson Family Farm Stay
40200 Road 28,
Kingsburg, California
"Down home on the farm - great vacation!"
It was an unusually warm day in February when we drove down the main drive to the Jackson Family Farm. The blossoms were already out on the fruit trees and the roosters were crowing. The setting sun cast its warm glow on the family's large home surrounded by flowers and large oak trees. Peace seemed to descend on our family even as my kids eyes lit up seeing the pool, small playset, tennis court, and open spaces that they could explore. I knew a weekend of relaxing and new experiences were ours to enjoy but what I didn't know was how blessed we would be to spend time here.

We went "down home on the farm" for a weekend in February and loved having both a vacation and new experiences. All the relaxation of a vacation, plus fun activities for the kids, and learning about farming made for a perfect weekend. For the price of a good hotel, we stayed in wonderful accommodations, my kids got to explore and spread their wings, and we adults enjoyed the peace and quiet. We want to go back!

What we loved:
* Freedom to explore and enjoy being outdoors
* Many activities (pool, tennis, etc.)
* Very friendly and encouraging host family and staff
* New farm stay lodging with modern and beautiful accommodations
* Free breakfast with organic ingredients and fresh muffins
* Interesting farm tour and a new experience for the kids of gathering eggs
* The grounds, pool area, and buildings were clean and aesthetically pleasing

What we didn’t love:
* Sloped roof in second story - bumped my head a few times
* Window coverings were on the outside of the upper story and the light woke our kids in the morning
* Barely warm jacuzzi

QUIET ACCOMMODATIONS
There are only 2 lodging accommodations for guests at the farm stay and so any noise that would be found came from the roosters and our own children. The roosters were in an open field a ways away so we barely heard them - our children were another story (of course!) We sat on the upper story porch at night and looked at the stars and listened to the cricket sounds. It was so peaceful! Directly outside the lodging was a large pear orchard and then the Kings River to the side. Depending on the season and the work to be done, there could be lots of activity, but a weekend in February was very peaceful for us.

LODGING
We stayed in the Sunset Room which had 2 floors. Bedroom, sitting area with small table, mini kitchen, and a full bathroom on the first floor; a loft room and sitting room on the second floor. In the main room downstairs was a mini-kitchen with a sink, paper towels, 6 dishes, silverware, coffee maker, coffee, hot teas, cups, mugs, microwave, and mini fridge. The downstairs bedroom had a queen bed and dresser. The bathroom had double sinks, towels, toiletries, bath/shower, ironing board, iron, and pool towels. It was only missing a hair dryer. Up a narrow flight of stairs was a loft room with a double bed (under a sloping roof), a sitting room with 2 easy chairs, and 2 porches with chairs overlooking the pear orchard. The carpets in the loft were plush and beautiful and our 2 young ones slept on the floor in the small space of the sitting room. I bumped my head on the ceiling in both the sitting room and loft bedroom several times - I’m not always space conscious! The loft rooms had some very small windows overlooking the tennis courts that were opaque without window coverings. They were fine - but the light did come in in the morning. The windows and doors upstairs had coverings outdoors that had to be untied and rolled down - and then rolled up in the morning.

BREAKFAST and MEALS
Courtney, the very nice manager, brought us fresh and warm muffins for our whole family that were enough for the 2 mornings we stayed. There were organic yogurts, butter, half & half, and orange juice in the mini fridge that we enjoyed. Plus some incredibly delicious, home-made cinnamon apple jam. Fresh oranges from the family orchard were in our room along with some fresh picked daffodils. The first night, we drove into town and ate at Cosaro's Family Pizza. Yum! The second night, we took off the cover for the BBQ near the pool, figured out how to plug in the lights for the awning over the comfy sitting area, and enjoyed a good BBQ dinner with food we bought in town.

ACTIVITIES
The family pool sits right behind the house and is welcome for guests to enjoy. It was unheated and cold when we visited, but that didn't stop my kids from jumping in! The jacuzzi was large and beautifully clean but the heater element worked slowly, so the temp was 85. Just right for my kids to enjoy and splash around in, while I sat on the cozy furniture by the pool, soaking in the sun. I'm sure the temp will be fixed by the family who really seem to pay attention to all the details of their farm and farm stay and want things to be beautiful and excellent! My kids and hubby spent a lot of time on the tennis court which was fenced in and in great repair. A new cedar cabinet held sports equipment and bike helmets. We took several rides on the 2 available bikes, around the roads of the farm, down a side road of the orchard, and a bit onto the quiet roads of the town. We were welcomed to pick navel oranges from the 2 trees in the family orchard. As fruit is in season, guests are welcomed to enjoy. They were the best I've had in a long time and the kids had fun climbing the tall ladders to pick the fruit. When the water level in the river is higher, there are kayaks to borrow to cruise up and down it. We still explored the river which had large sandy areas to run and play on. The kids hunted for golf balls that come from the golf course across the river.

ANIMALS
The friendly family dog, Chaney, followed us around on our first evening at the farm and was almost like a tour guide. 3-4 cats roamed freely and were friendly to our kids who just wanted to hold them! Bear and Avalanche are the 2 large, white dogs that live with the chickens and protect them from predators. They greeted each of our kids with wet noses and friendly approaches. Several cows and a goat live behind fences in the orchard or pasture and we could have greeted them but my kids were shy. When we walked through the orchard, chickens were everywhere, eating the grass and taking dust baths. The best part was meeting the sweet 9-week old puppy who lives with the chickens and is learning to make them his family. All the animals (besides Chaney, cats, and some turkeys) were behind fences in the orchards (good to know for my city kids.) But all that we met were friendly. We were welcomed to walk through the orchards and meet the cows/chickens/dogs but we just had to be careful to close the gates so none got out.

FAMILY
The Jackson family and their farm stay manager, Courtney, were really the reason that this farm stay was so wonderful. Each were truly welcoming and kind and we felt like we were friends right away. Rob Jackson took us on a tour of his farm in the morning. We got a great introduction to his organic farming methods and what made him decide to switch to that. We met the dogs and chickens and learned how to harvest eggs. The kids helped him gather a full basket of the brown, organic, free-range eggs and then I was imagining how good they would taste! We learned of his future plans for hosting woofers, college students, and families and were very impressed with his goals. His encouragement and prayers were welcomed and we were thankful for our time learning about his farm. We met his wife later in the day when we were picking oranges and enjoyed her company and friendliness.

BOTTOM LINE
The hospitality and love of the family and staff is what sets this place apart. Learning about organic farming and enjoying the fruits of that labor was delicious. The quiet and beauty is also nice! Honestly - the price can't be beat for a truly relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting where kids can be kids and have new experiences on the farm.

Disclosure: My family and I were given a hosted one night stay for experiencing this farm; we stayed a second night on our own dime and would gladly return. We were not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are our own.
 
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
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February 21 2015
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Sun-Maid Market | kids travel, kids activities
Sun-Maid Market
13525 S Bethel Ave,
Kingsburg,
California
"Just a store - wish it was more"
As a kid I took a tour of the raisin factory in Kingsburg and with fond memories - I thought it would be a good thing to revisit with my kids. Well, due to regulations and changes, the factory is not open to the public. But the guests can visit the store. Which is just a store filled with all kinds of raisin products.

The couple of things that made this somewhat good for my kids were 1) the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl cut out poster to take pictures behind 2) a very large grass field that we used to kick our soccer ball and stretch our legs after a long drive.

I truly wish the factory would re-open. I can imagine it drawing crowds like the Jelly-Belly Factory in Fairfield. When I asked, the cashier told me the cost of refurbishing the factory, plus all the regulations on hair coverings, and what not to wear would be cost prohibitive. I'll keep wishing for a new marketing manager in the mean time that can envision all the guests that would make the stop - right off the highway on their travels!
 
kids travel, kids activities
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February 21 2015
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Historical Kingsburg Jail | kids travel, kids activities
Historical Kingsburg Jail
Downtown Kingsburg,
Kingsburg,
California
"Small stop of history"
Just off the main street of Kingsburg, under the iconic teakettle water tower, we found the little historic jail. There was a sign leading us there- which helped us find it! We visited at night - it's closed after 5pm.

The jail was all lit up with some murals on the outside of "prisoners" breaking out of jail - and my kids wanted to get right "into the picture." We had a fun and quick visit - and I thought it would make for a good little pit stop off the 99 on a road trip through California. Plus the town of Kingsburg - with a Sweedish heritage - is a great place to check out!
 
kids travel, kids activities
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February 19 2015
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Memorial Park | kids travel, kids activities
Memorial Park
Memorial Park,
Kingsburg,
California
"Nice city park"
We stopped here for some play time on our trip to Kingsburg. It's a small park, and pretty clean, and the kids enjoyed it. The playground structures seem relatively new. Swings and picnic structures were nice too. The restrooms were closed - not sure if this is due to maintenance or what.

The large shade trees made this park very nice - and would be incredibly nice during the hot summer months. The grass was relatively maintained but was patchy in areas. Not bad for a park just off the freeway and in the middle of the small town of Kingsburg.
 
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
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February 19 2015
0 families found this helpful
Corsaros Family Pizza | kids travel, kids activities
Corsaros Family Pizza
1456 Draper Street,
Kingsburg,
California
"Amazing bread sticks"
We heard good things about the bread sticks here and I've learned the hard way not to take a suggestion - so I didn't make the same mistake. And boy was I glad we ordered the bread sticks! They were not the kind of bread sticks I was thinking of - plain, but maybe covered in some crunch salt. These were sliced open and filled with melted cheese and the bread and cheese just melted in our mouths. Delicious! They were served with ranch and jalapeños, but I guess we could have asked for marinara if we had wanted some.

The family size pizza was about $21 and could have fed our family of 6 with about 12 slices in the pie. But it came with a free small pizza or bread sticks. We ordered both (bread sticks and the small pizza) and it was plenty of food with a bit left over for our pizza-loving family.

There were quite a few families eating in this cozy pizza diner that doesn't have a lot of flair other than a TV with sports and photos of the local Kingsburg High School football team that won the National Championship several years in a row. It's cozy and comfortable and perfect for families!
 
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
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