From Mount Tremper to Maine, these five eco-friendly, car-free getaways in the Northeast promise fun for kids and parents while respecting that most important parent, Mother Earth.
Rockport, ME | samosetresort.com
Why Find Family Time Here: If you’ve never experienced summer camp in Maine, this is your chance. At least the breathtaking views of Penobscot Bay alone will feel like a vacation at this classic New England resort. It is steeped in long-established traditions that are sure to delight the entire family. There is swimming, tennis, nature walks, arts and crafts, science projects, cooking and other activities to keep kids entertained and happy.
If the brisk ocean water is a mite frosty for your constitution, the new infinity pool is heated, and the indoor pool is perfect for rainy day fun. In the afternoon, enjoy lunch and gorgeous vistas from your table at the casual Breakwater Café. The seafood couldn’t be any fresher, with steamed Maine mussels, New England clam chowder and a lobster club sandwich highlighting the menu. For our money, the Samoset is the perfect blend of adult-only and family time. Don’t miss the opportunity to dine at the old-world, elegant yet understated Marcel’s, where the menu is a throwback to an earlier era, with choices like Steak Diane and Chateaubriand, presented tableside, of course. Kids are warmly welcomed at each of Samoset’s four dining options.
How to get there: Now that Megabus goes to South Station, connecting on to the far reaches of New England is a lot easier. From Boston’s South Station transfer to Concord Trailways to Rockland’s Maine State Ferry Terminal stop. It is a scenic, four-hour ride up the coast. Concord Trailways provides you with free kid-approved snacks and water on board, so you should be able to satiate the kids. The Samoset will be happy to pick you up at the bus stop, just give them a few days advance notice (220 Warrenton Street, 207.594.2511)
Emerson Resort and Spa
Mount Tremper, NY | emersonresort.com
Why Find Family Time Here: Hello, tranquility. From Buddhas to mountain biking, this is the perfect place to relax en famille. There are no organized activities here, but with the majestic Catskills as your playground, you and the kids will never be bored. Surrounded by tall pines is the family-friendly, Adirondack-style Lodge. The Lodge has a variety of room configurations that balance the importance of both family togetherness and privacy.
When the sound of the rushing river (or the 32-inch flat-screen TV) has lulled junior to sleep, your moonlit private porch is a lovely place to enjoy a glass of wine. With your choice of two restaurants on-premises as well as the Spa Café and Country Store, you won’t go hungry. The Catamount Restaurant has a bargain-priced kid’s menu and good, simple fare. Splurge on a sitter that the hotel will provide with advance notice ($15 per hour) and spend a few adult-only hours in the spa. Treat the lucky tween in your life to a mini-mani-pedi at the salon, and you may be showered with gratitude.
The Emerson is home to the world’s largest kaleidoscope, and as hotel guests, you can all step inside, lie down, and enjoy the Woodstock-like vibe of the show free of charge. It is a sure-fire hit with kids, and it may take you back to the laser rock days of your youth, in a weirdly wholesome way.
How to get there: Adirondack Trailways from Port Authority to Kingston, is a two-hour ride. Not all Kingston-bound buses continue on to Mount Tremper, so check when you purchase your ticket. The driver will drop you off at Emerson upon request. (5340 Route 28, Mount Tremper, NY, 877.688.2828)
Great Wolf Lodge
Pocono Mountains, PA | greatwolf.com
Why Find Family Time Here: A visit to Great Wolf Lodge is for the kids, or the kid in you. This is not the place to come and sit on the sidelines with a good novel. The centerpiece of this hotel is a massive indoor Water Park, offering thrills for every age group. Get with the program, which is wet, noisy and fun. Daredevils measuring in at over 48 inches in height will want to give the new Double Barrel Drop waterslide, with its six-story descent, a try. Younger children and less adventurous parents can splash in the wave pool or meander down the lazy river ride in an inner tube.
The Lodge has a variety of kid-friendly, fast food-type dining options, but parents will find palatable choices, including a well-stocked salad bar. The 401 rooms are created with families in mind, with 12 different whimsical configurations that sleep four to eight guests. If your kids do accept drying-off, the hotel offers an arcade, a Kid Spa, a Saturday night DJ Dance Party, and nightly bedtime stories in the lobby. Great Wolf Lodge strives to be environmentally friendly and is Green Seal Certified. Kids can learn practical ways to conserve energy through an Energy Exploration display.
How to get there: Martz Trailways from Port Authority to Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania gets you there in two hours. The bus station is approximately six miles from Great Wolf Lodge. Mountain Taxi is a reliable service and will get you to the Lodge in under 10 minutes for around $12; 570.839.2222. (100 Scotrun Ave., Scotrun, PA.866.958.9653)
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