Reviews & Photos
May 29 2015
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260 Patriot Place,
"Outdoor Mall at Gillette Stadium"
Patriot Place is the outdoor shopping and entertainment complex located right beside Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. There are so many things to do here even if you aren't shopping. There is a Muse paint bar, move theater, bowling at Splitsville, 5 Wits interactive entertainment and places to grab a bite to eat. There is also access to viewing of the stadium which is fun for those that haven/t been to a football stadium before. Parking is free.
May 28 2015
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5 Wits Interactive Adventures
202 Patriot Place,
Our crew is full of mystery loving puzzle solvers. Those who have completed the HER versions of the Nancy Drew mysteries on the computer will understand our level of madness when it comes to solving puzzles. Mysteries and puzzles that come to life are our ‘thing’.
The 5 Wits Adventure in Foxboro Massachusetts brought mystery to life for us on a recent visit. This venue specializes in highly stylized, employee directed, interactive puzzle solving. They offer either an Espionage option where you and your group must save the world or a homage to Jules Verne and 20,000 Leagues version. Our ocean loving group chose the 20,000 Leagues option.
The 5 Wits Adventure is located in Foxboro at Patriot Place. (Home of the New England Patriots Football Stadium). Patriot Place is attached to the stadium and offers an outdoor shopping mall with stores, movie theater, bowling lanes, shops and restaurants. It is easy to drive to this location, but unless you are a football fan I would avoid game days. We parked in the lot all the way in the back of the stadium. We were able to check out the stadium, but it should be noted that there are MANY stairs to get up to the 5 Wits door front.
5 Wits is located nearby the stadium itself. Upon entering you can buy your tickets and wait for your scheduled adventure by walking around the shops, waiting indoors or perusing the shop area of 5 Wits which is loaded with puzzles, mysteries, games and spy gear. At your scheduled time you are called to report to the door which houses your adventure. An employee greets you at the door and sets the tone of the mystery by providing back ground information and gets everyone ready to go.
The 20,000 Leagues Adventure:
This adventure is based on the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Without giving away details suffice it to say that your group enters a Jules Verne museum. There are clues you will need to complete your adventure in the room and your guide will help along the way. We had to work together as a team to complete multi-level puzzles in order to move on to the next part of the adventure. Our groups of 5 was combined with 8 other adventurers. We were introduced to each other at the beginning of the adventure. The employee made sure each person got a turn in puzzle solving and hands on action. The employee is instrumental in guiding you through what can be some tough puzzles. Essentially the employee stays in character the entire time as he/she guides you though your adventure. In each room there are instructions given via recording so you know what you need to do. The start to the puzzle can sometimes be tricky so it is good to have a guide. I imagine it might be quite tough without one. We followed maps, played music, created a bilge pump and more all culminating in fending off a giant squid. We were exhausted!
When you have completed all of your challenges you leave the adventure. At that time you may start out on the other one for more puzzling challenges.
This was great fun with children over 10. Kids younger than that might be afraid of the dark and find the challenges to difficult. It is also a great teambuilding experience. I wish my kids would work together like that all of the time! I think the best age for the challenge is tween and up. The cost of $18 dollars is quite reasonable considering what a movie costs today and here you get to be part of the action. I’m not sure how repeat visits would be since the ‘newness’ would be lost, but you should at least go once for an interesting experience.
Disclosure: My family and I were provided tickets to complete the 20,000 Leagues Adventure. It in no way influenced by opinion and all opinions are my own.
April 01 2015
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Shaver Hill Farm
310 Shaver Rd,
New York 13786
The Shaver Hill family farm has been making maple syrup when the sap starts running every spring since 2004 when they converted from a dairy farm to a full time maple operation.
Since that time they have become experts in maple syrup production and make a festival out of the short maple sap running season at the farm.
We were lucky enough to be on site when the sap was running this spring. During the maple sugar weekends there is plenty of family fun to be had at Shaver Hill Farm.
We started our morning out at a delicious pancake breakfast served in the sugar housed where the sap is boiled into the syrupy sweetness. After we had our fill of pancakes and sausage and an introduction to the sugar science from the youngest of the Hill clan, we received a tour from the Hill family maple syrup expert. He showed us how and where the syrup comes into the sugar house. The reverse osmosis machine extracts excess water and then the sap is boiled to the syrup consistency in the boiler.
The Shaver Hill syrup is sent to destinations worldwide every day. There is also a store on site for all things maple. We got to sample so many of the products they have for sale during our breakfast, and we also tried some of their own recipes using maple syrup. My favorite was the maple punch and we did purchase some maple hot sauce to bring home to our dad as well. We also got to sample some Jack Wax, or sugar on snow and recreated it as soon as we got home. Jack wax is maple syrup boiled to a certain temperature and then poured on snow. The result is a toffee like candy swirled on a stick. We are all converts.
Following our tour we were taken outside to see how the trees were tapped and the sap collected from an employee expert. He made us aware how difficult it was to extract the sap from the trees given problems like the sun, animals and broken lines. It certainly makes you more appreciative of how that maple syrup gets to your table.
Our tour ended with a horse drawn carriage ride around the property. Although it was cold this was a terrific way to close out our morning.
Disclosure: My daughter and I were provided a complimentary breakfast and tour as part of a media trip. I was not required to provide a specific review and all opinions are my own.
April 01 2015
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The Andes Restaurant
110 Main St,
New York 13731
The Andes Hotel is a hotel and also a popular local restaurant. We ate the restaurant on a bustling Saturday evening. The place was packed, but not overwhelmingly so. All of the tables were full and everyone seemed to be getting an early dinner in preparation for the upcoming comedy show held in another room off of the dining room.
The restaurant and food
The restaurant is approached through a pretty porch just off of the main thoroughfare for the town. Upon entering we gave our name to the hostess to find our reservation and were immediately seated.
It was clear that this was a hometown favorite restaurant. Everyone seemed to know each other and it was rather homey.
We were quickly provided our menus and a bread basket. The service was efficient but not overly friendly.
After placing our orders the food came quickly, which was important seeing as though we had four hungry children with us. The kids all sat at one end of the large table and the server did not have any problem dealing with our ‘motley crew’.
We adults all picked a fish or meat entrée. I stuck with the jerk chicken meatballs and a bowl of the corn chowder. It was all very good. My daughter played it safe with the pasta and a chocolate sundae for dessert. I followed suite with the key lime tort. I loved every bite, but I was not too fond of the coffee which tasted a bit off.
Overall this is a family friendly spot. They provided kids a separate menu and had tasty treats for dessert. The server was accustomed to dealing with children learning to order on their own and was patient with them.
After dinner the kids took off for the tavern to shoot a game a pool under the watchful eye of one adult from our party while the rest of us enjoyed after dinner conversation.
We would try this establishment again when in the Catskills
Disclosure: My daughter and I were provided a complimentary meal at the Andes while on a press trip. I was not required to write a specific review and all opinions are my own..
April 01 2015
1 family found this helpful
469 Plattekill Mountain Road,
Plattekill is a family style, family owned ski mountain situated in the rural Catskills. We recently spent a brisk early spring day at the mountain skiing and snow tubing.
Getting to the mountain was a good part of the fun of day. An early spring snowfall covered the dirt roads with a light layer of snow, just enough to make for some slippery spots. By the time we reached the mountain; 30 miles from our start, the roads were clear and the parking lot muddy. Just right for the Beach Party day they had planned at Plattekill.
The mountain looked steep as we pulled into the attended parking lot. Plattekill boasts 38 trails and 4 lifts. It never seemed very busy at all while waiting for a lift on a Beach party Saturday. There are a variety of trails for different abailities. As I am a green circle skier I was keenly interested in those trails. We discovered there were 2 main green trails. Powder Puff is the most popular and Overlook the only other green mountain trail. These 2 trails run the perimeter of the mountain and I can attest that powder puff is DEFINITELY the easier of the 2. With permission my daughter easily skied away from me while we were on Overlook, but I eventually made it down without her after about 2 falls! Had we had enough time I would have defintiely made my way back to Powder Puff, but she was clamoring for blue trails. A friend took her on Shredded Mozzarella. Expert skiers will revel in the double black diamond Blockbuster at 1,100 feet of continuous vertical! I doubt I will ever get there…maybe my 10 year old daughter though!
For non-skiers or those that want a break Plattekill offers tubing with a lift. We had an opportunity to try the tubing out and it was great fun. The tubing hill is located at the far left end of the mountain. We were provided a tube to sit on as we held a strap connected to the lift. At the top we were instructed to roll off the tube as the operator disconnected it from the lift and we took it to the top of the hill. They were operating 2 separate lanes for a fun and fast ride down. The line moved quickly and we were able to get in three runs in 10 minutes! It was a great way to end our ski day!
The staff at this mountain was some of the friendliest and most attentive I have seen. We got our first taste at the parking lot where attendants were on hand to make sure there is room for everyone and that cars are appropriately parked.
On the mountain, the ski patrol was out in full force to monitor for safety and proper use. Although I spent much of my time skiing alone I never felt nervous as I always saw ski patrol around.
The staff at the ski rental area were also friendly, accommodating and patient. Our group of newbies definitely took a bit of time but this did not seem to irritate the rental staff in the least. I know I have been to some other big mountains where this would not be the case.
We also had the opportunity to experience first aid from the ski patrol after my daughter had a run in with a falling snowboard while in the rental area. (I know….who gets hurt from a snowboard indoors?). They were kind and took the issue very seriously even though it was a minor injury. It was reassuring knowing they were so concerned. She left with a bump and an ice pack to start her say skiing on the mountain.
Planning your day.
The rental and ticket desk is a short walk from the parking lot. Once ticketed you pick up your gear in the next room and head upstairs through he cafeteria to begin your adventure.
Those unfamiliar with walking is ski boots may have some difficulty with this so you can always exit on the bottom floor, but then you must walk up a mid-range incline to get to the lifts.
The learning hill is located to the left of the lift. Lessons are available as is childcare for children 6 months and over.
Beach music filled the air as we got on our first lift. The cafeteria is located inside the main lodge. The café serves up typical fare like salads, soups, burgers and nuggets. After our fill we started listening to Jimmy Buffet again while we skied until our legs grew tired and it was time to go.
There are no accommodations directly on the mountain. The management does partner with several inns and hotels to accommodate a longer than 1 day stay.
We would definitely ski at Plattekill again; the terrain was challenging enough for some in our group, but mild enough for me. The staff were warm and friendly and it seemed like a very safe environment.
Disclosure: My daughter and I were provided complimentary lift tickets, ski rentals and tubing passes as members of a media trip. I was not required to provide any specific review and all opinions are my own.