Annette is the city editor and writer for Red Tricycle . Her photography appears along with her articles in the following pieces.
TASTE AND LEARN!: CREO CHOCOLATE FACTORY OFFERS SWEETS AND TOURS
By Annette Benedetti on 2016/10/26
Much like Willy Wonka, there’s a chocolate factory in North Portland that offers tours your family won’t soon forget. Creo Chocolate makes irresistible candy and gives eager customers a behind-the-scenes peek at how all of their chocolatey magic happens. So for a real-life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory experience, book it over to Creo Chocolates to learn how chocolate is made. There’s even a surprise at the end of the tour…let’s just say: it’s sweet.
From brewed cacao and hot chocolate to small batches and bars, Creo offers something for every chocolate lover in the family. A bean-to-bar shop that boasts roasting, cracking, grinding, tempering, molding and packaging their own product, Creo gets its beans from a hand-picked family owned farm in the tropics that works directly with them to create unique flavors that bring back customers again and again. [Read more…]
NIAGARA TO BUFFALO: NEW YORK LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE
By Annette Benedetti on 2016/11/14
When most people think of taking the family to New York on vacation, the Big Apple is the first thing that comes to mind. But if your family isn’t keen on the hustle and bustle of the big city, the state has so much more to offer. From getting drenched in the waters of monstrous falls and battle reenactments to art-infused afternoons at the museums and creeping through dark caves, our guide takes your tribe from Niagara to Buffalo on the best New York family getaway you could imagine.
The city of Niagara is located at the international boundary between the United States and Canada and offers wide array of activities geared toward families throughout the year. Stunning parks with walking and biking trails that that wind throughout the Niagara Gorge provide hours of leisurely enjoyment and plenty of space for children of all ages to run and play. And if you are looking to plan some unforgettable activities for the family to enjoy, there’s plenty to consider including the Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, and Fort Niagara. [Read more…]
THE ART OF THE BRICK COMES TO OMSI
By Annette Benedetti on 2016/03/13
LEGOS. They provide your little builders with hours of entertainment while you sneak in some down time. They are also responsible for one of the funniest animated family movies of all time. And now, until May 29 your family will have the opportunity to be inspired by them as appear on display in the form of fantastical sculptures at OMSI’s new The Art of the Brick exhibit. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this must-see, magical display.
The LEGO Master
Once a Lawyer living and working in New York, Nathan Sawaya is now an acclaimed artist who spends his time creating large-scale sculptures and works of art. His medium of choice? LEGO bricks. After realizing his passion for creating art out of the small colorful toys, Sawaya took an artistic risk and left his life in the world of law to build jaw-dropping works of art—brick by brick. The result has been nothing short of amazing. Now an award-winning contemporary artist, Sawaya travels around the world with his touring exhibit, The Art of the Brick, amazing and inspiring kids of all ages with his creations. [Read more…]
SOAR, EXPLORE AND LEARN: DISCOVER ASTORIA
By Annette Benedetti on 2016/05/01
If a week or weekend filled with exploration, adventure and learning about Oregon history sounds like a great way to spend a family vacation, then it’s time to make your way to Astoria! Whether you fill your days scaling the Astoria Column, perusing the Columbia River Maritime Museum or soaring through the trees on zip lines, every member of your crew is guaranteed to go home with memories that last a lifetime and a renewed love for the state they call home. Scroll down to find out all about the fun we dug up on our Astoria getaway.
Just a quick two-hour drive from Portland, Astoria is located near the coast at the mouth of the Columbia River. A port city that was once a thriving boomtown during the late-19th century when large immigrant populations primarily made up of Scandinavians and the Chinese flocked to the area to work in the canning and fishing industries, Astoria is now a mecca for both outdoor and Oregon history buffs. With easy access to the Columbia River and Oregon Coast beaches; a multitude of museum and heritage sites; and an endless number of hiking trails and outdoor activities—your clan will have a hard time fitting in everything there is to do.
Overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River from its stone base on the top of Coxcomb Hill in Astoria, the Astoria Column is a 91 year old tower that was built in 1926 as part of a 30-acre city park. Reaching 600 feet above sea level, the platform at the top of the column offers visitors breathtaking views of Young’s Bay, the Coast Range, the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. [Read more…]
EXPLORE & STAY: THE OLYMPIC COASTLINE & KALALOCH LODGE
By Annette Benedetti on 2016/05/02
ust a short drive away from both Portland and Seattle, the Olympic National Coastline and Kalaloch Lodge lies waiting for outdoor-loving families ready to explore, adventure and relax. If whale watching, tide pooling, witnessing a living tree hover above the earth and watching the sun set on the ocean while enjoying delectable meals prepared by a professional chef sounds like the ideal getaway for your clan, read on to find out more about this stunning Washington coast destination.
photo: Annette Benedetti
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK & COASTLINE AT KALALOCH
Located in the Olympic National Park on Washington’s scenic west coast, Kalaloch beach is approximately 3.5 hours from both Seattle and Portland by car making it a reasonable trek for families with young ones. Unsurprisingly, with immediate access to both the coastline and the nearby Hoh Rainforest, it is one of the most visited areas of the Olympic National Park. Weather you and your little explorers enjoy animal spotting, treks on trails through trees or playing in the sand and exploring sea life, there are plenty of activities to fill a weekend or week-long travel itinerary with. By the time you return home you are guaranteed to feel equal parts inspired, relaxed and rejuvenated.
photo: Annette Benedetti
ALLURE OF THE SEAS: A CARIBBEAN DREAM COME TRUE
By Annette Benedetti on 2016/04/19
You’ve been fantasizing about sailing the Caribbean since long before your tots arrived, and now that you are a parent it’s hard to imagine how you can make your dreams of romantic dinners on deck and long strolls on foreign beaches come true. Royal Caribbean has the answer for you. Grab your first mate and your little crewmen and prepare to board the Allure of the Seas for a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise that will take your family to Jamaica, Mexico and Haiti for a vacation of a lifetime that includes adventure, entertainment and even a little (or a lot of) alone time for mom and dad. Read on to find out more.
The Allure of the Seas departs from Port Everglades (the cruise ship terminal) in Ft. Lauderdale. If you are traveling by plane from out of state, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International is the closest airport to the dock and boarding area. The fastest way to get to Port Everglades, from the airport is by taxi, which will cost approximately $10.
Royal Caribbean also offers Transfers, bus service of its own that transports passengers arriving from both Fort Lauderdale Airport and Miami International Airport. A Royal Caribbean Guest Transfer costs approximately $29/person. Transfers can be scheduled through a travel agent, if you are using one or by calling Royal Caribbean reservations department. [Read more…]
MOTHER’S DAY WINE TOURS SHE’LL THANK YOU FOR
By Annette Benedetti on 2016/04/03
Mom works around the clock, why not help her wind down this Mother’s Day with an afternoon of touring waterfalls or the Willamette valley while sipping on Oregon wines? Several local companies offer unique touring and tasting experiences that allow guests to “getaway” without going far. And if your special mom isn’t the outdoorsy sort, there are plenty of wineries just waiting to treat her to an afternoon of sipping and relaxing. Read on to find out which tours and tastings we think make great gifts for Mother’s Day.
Give mom the gift of an all-inclusive day-long tour that takes her to see some of Oregon’s most majestic waterfalls and then on to sip on some of the finest wines our area has to offer. Choose from the Columbia Gorge Waterfalls & Wine Day Tour or the Willamette Valley Wine & Waterfalls Tour. Both experiences are led by expert naturalist guides who have deep knowledge of the area and are ready to educate, entertain and meet their customer’s needs.
While on her tour, mom will either have the opportunity to learn the history of the Columbia River Gorge while exploring its waterfalls or tour the stunning waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park. Either way, both experiences are followed by and relaxing and luxurious afternoon spent sipping on a variety of wines at boutique wineries. Don’t worry about mom getting enough to eat, Evergreen Escapes provides coffee, snacks and a tasty lunch to munch on throughout the day and afternoon.
Both Wine & Waterfall tours are conducted by Limo Vans and Luxury Coaches, ensuring plenty of room and that attendees’ are comfortable the whole way. Tour groups are limited 10 individuals and Evergreen Escapes promises that a 1 to 10 ratio will be maintained. Mom will be picked up from a designated location at one of Portland’s luxury hotels where she will be dropped of at the end of the day.
Columbia Gorge Waterfalls & Wine Tour
When: May 15-Oct. 31;Mon., Tue., Thurs., Fri. and Sun. 1-7 p.m.
Willamette Valley Wine & Waterfalls Tour
When:Year-round, Wed. and Sat. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Mother’s Day Tip: Evergreen Escapes makes gifting a tour easy with the option to purchase gift certificates online.