The Mompreneur Guide To Globe-trotting With A Toddler

When my husband and I planned our trip, we were so excited to go. We both needed a vacation and had been pushing hard for more than a year without a break. But, when we told anybody we were planning to hop around Europe with a one year old, we got some worried looks and fearful warnings. As it turns out, travelling with a one year old can indeed be difficult, but certainly not impossible. In retrospect I don't think our tour of the mediterranean could be considered a vacation exactly, but it certainly was a trip! Overall I am so happy we went for it. I am glad my little family got to explore new places together and have such an amazing experience. Today, I’m sharing some of the places we went, a few of our highlights, and some tips for traveling with a toddler.

Our first stop was Venice. I don’t think I need to convince anyone to go to Venice, but just in case, it was amazing and totally worth it. Because of the jet lag we were all wide awake at midnight local time and wandered up and down the canals under the starlight - Romantic even with a toddler in tow.

Tips

  • A red-eye flight was not the best choice; none of us ended up sleeping.

  • Umbrella strollers are terrible on cobblestone.

  • A good hiking backpack/baby carrier is a solid investment.

  • Airbnbs are great with toddlers.

Rome was busy and exciting. Our Airbnb was in a great location and the hosts were so warm and helpful. We really packed a lot of sightseeing into just a few days. Along with all of the usual tourist spots, I would highly recommend the Orto Botanico (botanical gardens) at the University of Rome. Pepper also found very friendly cats to play with around every corner.

Tips

  • Gelato is life. (We maybe had it everyday.)

  • Don’t be afraid of public transit.

  • Buy your tickets for the museums ahead of time. (Long lines with or without a toddler are no fun!)

  • Order wine by the bottle.

Next we flew into Santorini, a small Greek Island. We stayed in an incredible hotel called Athermi Suites perched on a shear volcanic cliff in the village of Megalochori. The village was nice and quiet and a short ride from Fira, the main village. Our favorite activity was hiking up the volcano (Thira) and swimming in the hot springs after!  We hiked up a part of the volcano with huge plumes of sulfur gasses coming up from dark cracked basalt rocks. Next we stopped at a hot spring. The look on the captain's face was priceless when I put Pepper on my back and swam the couple hundred meters to the hot springs. Pepper was so excited she couldn't stop giggling. Next we rode donkey’s up 600 stairs from the dock to the town center and enjoyed mojitos and fresh veggies.

Tips

  • Google maps doesn’t work in Greece.

  • Salt water heals all.

  • Take your time!

  • Make sure you have more diapers than you think you will ever need for the plane ride.

To read more about our trip, and follow our next adventure (Scotland in September), visit us at pepperscloset.com.

Add A Dash Of 'Pepper' To Your Life:

5 Local Eateries You're Probably Missing Out On

Gravitating to the same spots for lunch or dinner over and over. We've all been there - in a restaurant rut - at one point or another. You thought things were going so well and then, suddenly, your life seems like a real snooze fest. Yawnsville if you will. But there is hope. (Always!) So, turn off that foodie autopilot you've been cruising on and tune in (or scroll down) to these local eateries from around the Ocean State that these savvy contributors to the blog have gushed about. Are you already in the know about them? Or are you missing out? Find out here and now:

  1. "We like to have dinner at Quito's, a tiny little place, known for its delicious seafood, and sometimes we'll sit and have a cocktail at Thames Waterside and watch the sailboats, always topping it all off with ice cream from Gray's. There are lots of cute shops to pop in to or meander about while eating your ice cream." (Jenny Dionne DiMuccci, talking about Bristol)
  2. "I like River Falls in Woonsocket. It's a hidden gem - Restaurant by day, city side bar at night. The best part is sitting by the water for some drinks and seafood." (Shanna Molina, on one of her Rhody favs) 
  3. "They have the best Pad Thai. I order it with shrimp...I love this place! Small, intimate, and family owned. Lovely people. Great food. BYOB." (Mary Colburn, talking about Thai Orchid in Cranston)
  4. "All the ingredients are locally sourced and the food is amazing...Insider Tip: Order the Celestial Cosm and the Citrus Pesto Calamari and make sure to get some bread to mop up the extra pesto sauce." (Amy Levesque Fields, talking about The Celestial Cafe in Exeter)
  5. "The best gyro outside of Greece. The second best part is they are BYOB. Order yourself an appetizer sampler to start and you will not be sorry. I usually order the gyro/falafel combo because...why not? It's delicious." (Giana Rosa Giarrusso, on Markos in Narragansett)

 

*For more like this, be on the lookout for My RI Life posts here on PattyJ.com, a series we kicked off in April 2015 to introduce you to fascinating local peeps and their favorite places & things in Rhode Island and beyond.

A Daycation To Remember In 4 Sun-sational Steps

In need of a daycation right about now, but not feeling especially beach-y yet? Someone just told me that one of the big trends in Gansett this summer is the mismatched bikini. Not sure I'm feeling bikini brave enough for that myself, thought you might wanna know tho. Anyway, don't stress over bathing suits, but do check out this 4 step plan for daycation nirvana by way of Bristol, RI.

1. The Coffeesesh (aka Coffee Session)

Start off at either Angelina's (We would've had so many great photos from Angie's had we not gone on an Art Of DeCluttering/Mary Kondo purge of our phones a while back and deleted a ton.) or The Beehive Cafe for coffee and breakfast, al fresco or not. Angelina's is bright, kitschy, and 21st century hipster, with outdoor seating out front to boot. The Hive has a more low-key crunchy granola meets college English professor vibe, all with a delightful patio and deck space. Love 'em both! 

2. The Manse

Next, it's on to Blithewold Mansion & Gardens. After stopping at the gift shop/cottage where you buy tix (for around $12 each) for admission, make your way over to the 45 room manse and prepare to be wow'ed by the artifacts, history, and absolute grandeur of it all. We've ooh'ed and aah'ed our way thru the first 2 floors. (Pretty sure the third floor is viewable by appointment only btw.) A must visit for any antique, design or history (Rhody and beyond) buffs. And if you're a native and you've never been, add to your list asap.

3. The Summer Cottage 

Now the grounds: Can you say stunning? You don't have to walk the entire 33 acres, but def venture over to the summer cottage in the woods, a rustic one room with a fireplace that the original owners of the property built for their daughter's wedding. (And you thought you were under wedding planning pressure?) One look at the porch, the rocking chairs, and the peaceful surroundings, and you'll be trying to book a stay there on Airbnb.

4. Best Of RI

End your afternoon with a walk down the gravel path (Wear flats!) to the water, aka, Narragansett Bay. The payoff? Views straight out of a postcard or something. (Do people still send postcards?) There's also a tiny beach area, pristine but rocky and not really all that accessible. No matter - We recommend hanging out on the deck and taking some video for Insta Stories or Facebook Live or just soaking up the Vitamin D. Throw your sunnies and sunblock on and enjoy!

 

Team Patty J

 

Photo Credits: Photos of The Beehive exterior and menu board/counter are courtesy of Ashley Farney. All other photos courtesy of PattyJ.com.