"Dads aren't into a day of beauty--but a day of adventure? Yes!" was the reaction I got from the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau's Larry Meehan in response to my request of regional travel professionals for Dad-friendly Destination ideas in time for Father's Day. They've come to your rescue in providing a wealth of ideas that are sure to shake up Dad's Day and delight him with your ingenuity. So--before June 21, and before you've looked at one more tie or golf ball monogramming kit--start here to make plans to take Dad on a New England outing that'll be a gift he'll truly treasure.
A Bevy of Ideas for Dad in Boston and the Rest of Massachusetts
Meehan's list for dads hones in on some sure Boston winners: sports, music, and feasts!
Although the Red Sox aren't playing at home over Father's Day weekend, Dad will love a gift of tickets and a special trip to historic Fenway Park. A complete season schedule and online ticket purchasing information are available at the official Red Sox web site.
Treat Dad to some cool jazz during the 1998 Boston Globe Jazz & Blues Festival, which begins June 19 and runs through June 28 at various Boston venues. As part of the Festival, Grover Washington, Jr. plays at Harborlights, an architecturally fascinating seasonal waterfront venue, Thursday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. If jazz isn't Dad's genre, check the complete summer schedule for Harborlights and you're sure to find an event that will tickle his fancy.
Boston is famous for its pubs and cafes. Why not rent a limo for a night out on the town and take Dad for a "progressive feast?" Cambridge Limo, Inc. offers Night on the Town packages starting at $150 for up to six people for a three-hour tour. Call them toll free at 800 707-8306 to make arrangements.
Meehan also recommends the new Old Town Trolley Seafood Tour which will take Dad and the family to visit three seafood restaurants -- Anthony's Pier 4, Legal Seafoods, and America's oldest restaurant, the Union Oyster House -- in one never-to-be-forgotten evening. Tours are available Thursday and Friday evenings. Call (617) 269-7150 to find out more.
Michele Ellicks and Christine Zanchi of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism suggest Boston Duck Tours as another adventure that Dad will adore. What's a Duck Tour? Good question! As the tour company's web site explains: "It's not just a tour. It's an 80-minute adventure!" At the Prudential Center in Boston, you'll board your "duck," a renovated, World War II-era amphibious vehicle, which will take you on a tour through the streets of Boston and then plunge right into the Charles River for the watery part of your expedition. Tours begin every half hour starting at 9 a.m., seven days a week. Cost is $19 for Dad and other adults, $10 for children 12 and under, and 25 cents for children under three. For more information, call toll free: 800 226-7442.
Outside of Boston, the state of Massachusetts offers an assortment of other Dad-Friendly Destinations. Ellicks and Zanchi point visitors to The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, where Dad and the whole family can meet the Pittsfield Mets when they visit the museum for a free baseball extravaganza on Saturday, June 20 from noon until 2 p.m. For details, call (413) 443-7171, extension 21. Or, book Dad passage on Essex River Cruises' special cruise on Father's Day. The cruise will circumnavigate Hogg Island and other remote islands and includes complimentary muffins, juice, coffee, and cider. The two-hour venture begins at 10:30 on Father's Day and costs $18 for adults and $9 for children. For directions to Essex Marina and more information, call toll free: 800 748-3706.
The Yankee Candle Car Museum in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, is also a great place to take Dad for the day. Admission for ages 12 through adult is $5.00, age 4 through 11 are admitted for $2.00, and admission is free for children under four. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Check out the list of cars currently on display -- starting with a 1910 Stanley Steamer. For more information, call (413) 665-2020.
Think Connecticut for Gourmet Outings and Fast Cars
When I think of Father's Day, I inevitably think of strawberry shortcake. Mid-June is the perfect time of year to take Dad to the berry patch, let him supervise while the kids uncover the reddest and juiciest strawberries in the field, and then prepare for him a delicious Dad's Day dessert that's sure to become an annual tradition. Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut, not only offers pick-your-own strawberries, but also 36 holes of championship golf! What a great spot to spend Father's Day.
Rent an Exotic Car for Dad, and you'll be in his good graces for the rest of the year! With seven New England locations, including the five Connecticut towns of Newington, Stamford, Waterbury, Westbrook, and Windsor Locks (Bradley Airport), you'll have plenty of opportunities to scout for Dad's dream car and hook him up for the day with a cool set of wheels. Explore Exotic Car Rental's online showroom and choose from the selection of Porsches, Mustangs, Corvettes, and more (even the new Volkswagen Beetle for nostalgic dads), then reserve your pick online, or call toll free: 800 722-6928.
After reading USA Weekend's featured "Yankee Shores Eating Road Trip," a seafood eating binge through Connecticut and Rhode Island, my family has decided to take my Dad out for lobster at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, which the article says "just might be the best place on the seaboard for lobster." When we read the USA Weekend description of Abbott's -- "With picnic tables spread out on a lawn overlooking Noank Harbor, the air perfumed by the sweet smell of pink lobster meat plucked in big pieces from its shell, it can be summer paradise" -- we were sold! For directions and more information, call the restaurant at (860) 536-7719.
Take Your Main Man to Maine
The Mining Co.'s Portland, Maine, Guide Debby Fowles has collected an impressive collection of recreational ideas in Portland and the great state of Maine, many of which are sure to appeal to Dad, especially if you plan a surprise outing.
Why not take Dad golfing at one of Maine's scenic golf courses? Start by reading Gannett writer Will Bartlett's article about Maine's lesser known courses that Dad will appreciate for their character and history at the destination: Maine website. If challenge is more up Dad's alley than charm, pop over to Maine Business Online's list of Maine's Ten Toughest Golf Courses.
If you're lucky, you might still be able to get Dad in on the special Sugarloaf Golf & Stay Packages which are available through July 10. Sugarloaf, a well-known winter haven in Maine renowned for skiing, is promoting its summer transformation into a vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts -- especially golfers! Golf & Stay packages are $94.95 per person double occupancy until July 10. After July 10, Golf & Stay packages are $136.95 per person double occupancy--a gift certificate will give Dad something to look forward to this summer. Packages include lodging at the Sugarloaf Inn or the Grand Summit Resort Hotel, golf and cart, health club, swimming pool, and tennis courts. The golf course at Sugarloaf has been ranked the best course in Maine for 13 consecutive years by Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine has named it the number one course in New England. Call 800 THE-LOAF toll free for information and reservations.
Father's Day Fun in New Hampshire
"Don't make Dad fish for compliments on Father's Day, join the Littleton Trout Tournament instead," was one of the fun suggestions provided by Laura Simoes, Publicity Director for New Hampshire's Office of Travel and Tourism Development. From June 19 to June 21, you can cast upon the waters at Moore Dam Lake and compete for prizes of up to $1,000. For more information, call the Littleton Chamber of Commerce: (603) 444-6561.
Simoes also recommends boosting Dad's spirits by whisking him away to the High Hopes Hot Air Balloon Festival in Milford, New Hampshire, which begins Friday, June 19, and runs through Father's Day on Sunday. This free family event features hot air balloon and helicopter rides, a crafts fair, car show, food booths, and live entertainment. For details and directions, call (603) 673-7005.
Who says there's no such thing as a free ride? For Dad there is on his special day when you take the family on board the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway. Dad rides free when accompanied by one or more children on Sunday, June 21. Enjoy the scenery of Mount Washington Valley or take the "Notch Train" for a trip through Crawford Notch aboard a diesel electric locomotive which stops at vintage railroad-era depots along the way. For more information on this special Dad's Day adventure, call toll free: 800 232-5251.
New Hampshire's state parks offer a variety of opportunities for you to "take your old man to see the Old Man of the Mountain," said Simoes. Try kayaking at Mount Sunapee State Park, wildlife watching in Nash Stream State Forest, or hiking at Cardigan Mountain. Plan a weekend away for Dad by making camping reservations for tent or RV sites by calling (603) 271-3628.
Or, go nutty and take Dad for a free tour of Nutfield's Derry Brewery on Saturday, June 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. For tour information, call toll free: 1 888 GO-NUTTY!
Rhode Island Has Adventures Galore for Dad to Enjoy
Ellen Van Royan, Tourism Communications Coordinator with the Rhode Island Tourism Division, unearthed some great events happening in Rhode Island on and around Father's Day.
Why not take Dad out to the ballgame? The Pawtucket Red Sox, a AAA International League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, play the Norfolk Tides Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, June 20-23, at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Saturday's game is at 6 p.m. The Father's Day game is at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday evening games begin at 7 p.m. Order tickets online, or for more information, call (401) 724-7300.
Rhode Island's scenic waterways are the setting for a number of other adventures that are happening just in time to treat Dad to an out-of-the-ordinary day. Kidnap Dad on Father's Day and take him to the Father's Day Breakfast Paddle at The Kayak Centre at Wickford Cove in Wickford -- it'll be a great opportunity for him to learn the basics of sea kayaking. According to Van Royan, you can "start with coffee and juice and then head off to Wickford Cove for a guided trip in double kayaks." The cost is $35 per person, and the trip runs from 9 a.m. until noon. For details on planning your outing, call (401) 295-4400. There's also a Sakonnet River Sea Kayaking event going on both Father's Day and each day through Saturday, June 27. The trip leaves from the Sakonnet Boathouse, 169 Riverside Drive, Tiverton, Rhode Island. Sunday's expedition starts at noon, and the Monday through Saturday trips start at 9:30 a.m. Explore the coastline down the Nannaquaket Neck and cruise to Gould Island on an adventure Dad will boast of to his buddies. Call (401) 624-1440 to make arrangements, or use Sakonnet Boathouse's online form to request more information on kayak tours or lessons for Dad.
Water-loving Dads will enjoy two other Rhode Island events. Sign Dad up for the 9th Annual Fluke Frenzy Fishing Tournament in Charlestown and fish for prizes. The event began in May and lasts through September 5. There are weekly winners and hidden weight prizes in three divisions: male, female, and junior, so the whole family can compete. Weigh in is at the Ocean House Marina, Town Dock Road, Charlestown. For more information call (401) 364-6040. Or, take Dad to Block Island for Premiere Racing's Block Island Race Week, which begins on Father's Day and runs through Saturday, June 26. Van Royan said that "an estimated 120 boats will be docked in New Harbor and racing throughout the week." Family activities and social events are also planned in conjunction with the racing events. Van Royan advises that Block Island is "a great place to visit for the day or for an extended trip. The easiest way to reach the Island," she said, "is by ferry from Point Judith." More information on getting there is available from the online Block Island Visitor's Guide. Block Island, an 11-square-mile seaside resort which is 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast has been called, "One of the Last Twelve Great Places in the Western Hemisphere," said Van Royan. Sounds like a perfect spot to watch the largest sailing event on the East Coast and to spoil Dad on his special day.
Variety of Dad-Friendly Spots in Vermont
Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing Information Specialist John Taylor has a number of suggestions that are sure to please dad, starting with...
...a Ben & Jerry's outing. "Plant tours, cows, and ice cream samples -- what more can dad, or his kids, ask for?" said Taylor. U.S. News and World Report has named the Ben & Jerry's guided tour one of the ten best tour experiences in the country. The Waterbury, Vermont, home of this dynamic ice cream duo is open seven days a week for plant tours and tastings. However, there's no ice cream production on Sundays, so you may want to schedule a pre-Father's Day visit with Dad on Saturday, or wrap up his favorite pint with a certificate promising to take him at a later date. During June, tours are offered every twenty minutes between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. During the long summer days and peak ice cream eating season of July and August, tours run every 10 minutes from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tours are a half hour long, cost $2.00 ($1.75 for seniors and free for children 12 and under), and include a free sample of the day. Yum! For more information, call the Ice Cream Factory Tour Information Hotline at: (802) 244-TOUR.
Is Dad a history buff? He'll love the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, which has been nicknamed "New England's Smithsonian." Taylor said that families are sure to enjoy "a full day of walking around and seeing how people lived and worked 'back then.' Plus, there's a train, a lighthouse and a sidewheel steamer." The museum's 37 exhibition buildings on 45 acres house an 80,000-item collection of Americana, including decoys, weather vanes, tools, quilts, carriages, circus memorabilia, American paintings and prints, and Impressionist works. Among its exhibit buildings, Shelburne also maintains seven historic houses; an 1890 railroad station; blacksmith, printing, and weaving shops; a one-room schoolhouse; a stagecoach inn; a jail; and a general store; all dating from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call toll free: 800 253-0191.
Other Vermont museums that make great destinations for a day's outing with Dad include: The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor in Vergennes, Vermont, where artifacts and replicas tell the story of Vermont's maritime heritage; The Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury, where the whole family can enjoy a planetarium show or explore the museum's collection of more than 160,000 objects; or journey to Woodstock to the Billings Farm and Museum, where you can spend a day on a working dairy farm and see a variety of farm demonstrations and agricultural exhibits. Call (802) 457-2355 for information.
Taylor also recommends the KidsVT website hosted by Disney's family.com for information on events and "other great locations for kids and their parents."
Happy travel planning! And, to my Dad and all of the dads out there who picked us up when we were wobbly toddlers and are still there to pick us up when we're wobbly twentysomethings and beyond, thanks! And happy Father's Day!
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