Tag Archives: ice skating

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Our weekend trip to Edinburgh brought us to our very first European Christmas Market.  It was like a fairy tale.

Stall at edinburgh Christmas Market

Gorgeously decorated stalls stretched in every direction offering lovely handcrafted gifts, delicious food, and plenty of holiday kitsch. 


It was glorious, Christmas-carol-filled, pine-scented perfection.  And in the center of the market, a lovely little skating rink. 


I think they had fun.

IMG_6306Outdoor skating rinks seem to have become sort of an unintentional Christmas tradition for our family.  We’ve now skated in D.C., NY, and Edinburgh.  London will be added to the list soon. 


We skated, shopped, drank Nutella hot chocolate and hot, mulled wine, ate hand-twisted German pretzels and bratwurst and fresh, warm donuts, and soaked it all in.


I’d always wanted to see the Christmas markets in Europe, and this one lived up to every single bit of hype.  It was everything you’d want it to be.  (Matt says it was better than the ones he went to last year in Brussels and Brugge.)  The perfect way to start our Christmas season.

IMG_6269Edinburgh itself was just a fantastic city — I can’t wait to post all about it.  And if you ever have the chance to be there at Christmas — TAKE IT.  It was just amazing.

Also, our skating trips to DC and NYC!




There’s something about an open-air ice skating rink that’s just more exciting than an indoor rink.

We took the kids skating in Central Park just before Thanksgiving and had so much fun.  They’ve been asking to go skating again every week since then, so over winter break we drove into DC to check out the outdoor rink at the National Sculpture Garden.

Who am I to deny them?  Plus, I love skating.  And field trips into the city.


Downtown, we met my cousin and her family, who were visiting for Christmas.  They have two little girls the same age as B and G.  We see them twice a year—once at Christmas and once in the summer—and each time B gets together with her cousins, it’s like they never missed a day.  I love these little peas in a pod.


No trip to the National Mall would be complete for my kids without lunch at their #1 favorite restaurant in the whole world: The Atrium Cafe in the Museum of Natural History.  Seriously, you would think this was a 5-star restaurant rather than a cafeteria-style cafe the way my kids talk about it.  But it does have good food—much of which is organic and locally sourced—so we went there for lunch before our skating adventure.


We also spent some time strolling the Sculpture Gardens and getting coffees and hot chocolates.  Then at 4PM, we took to the ice.

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The skating passes we bought were good for two hours, and we used every minute of our time.  As the sun set and the lights came up around the rink, it just got better.  Walking back to the car, B asked why we don’t go into the city more often, and I didn’t have a good answer.  I think we’ll have to put it on our adventure list for this year.

As I’m looking through these pics, I realize that Matt isn’t in any of them because he was manning the camera the whole time.  We need to do a better job of getting him in these shots to prove he was really there!

Taking Manhattan

Waaaaay back in November, on the way to Boston for Thanksgiving, we made a stop for two nights in NYC.  Breaking up the ten hour drive from DC to Boston with a layover in New York just makes everything about the trip better.

We are so lucky to have wonderful friends who live right in the city and let us crash with them in their gorgeous home with their AMAZING roof deck where my kids would like to just live forever. Or at the very least, camp out there occasionally.


roof deck

My kids love—LOVE—going to New York, but I think what they love most of all is staying with friends who are more like family.


This time we took the kids on a touristy adventure and went to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx for the holiday train show.  I thought it looked really cool when I checked it out online, but I was amazed at how much I loved it, and the kids did too. (It’s still running for another week–you should totally go check it out if you’re in New York.)


Plus, we had to ride the subway to get there.  The adventure is in the little things.

subway boys

subway selfie

At the train show, tiny scale replicas of historic and famous landmarks are placed throughout the Botanical Gardens, and each one is handmade entirely from natural materials.  Every window pane, Roman numeral on a clock face, shingle on the roof—they are all made of bark and twigs and acorns and leaves and moss.  The attention to detail is remarkable.  Each one is a little work of art.

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And some are not so little.



The trains run in and around the buildings and the whole thing was pretty gorgeous.


After the train show, we got lunch and then took an Uber car to Central Park.  My kids are far too impressed by taxis and Ubers—it makes me a little sad that they’re such country mice—but at least they’re easy to keep happy when stuff like that is so exciting.

And then, Central Park.  I keep trying to tell Matt we could live in the city, if only we lived near the park (he disagrees)—there was not a rock in the place that our kids did not try to climb.  And Central Park has some impressive climbing rocks.

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And then—the piece de resistance: Wollman Ice Skating Rink, right at the edge of the park.

I tell you, my children loved it.  I loved it.  We skated for over an hour, but I think my kids would have stayed all day.  Skating outside, surrounded by this huge park, surrounded by this amazing city—it was magical, truly.


We ended the weekend with pizza, yummy treats from Baked, and a Frozen movie-watching party.  frozen partyI don’t care if you’re an adult or a kid, it doesn’t get much better than that.

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