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Mimi Slawoff Mendelson

Valencia, California

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I travel every month. When we travel as a family (five of us) we go everywhere from local getaways to the beach and mountains to Hawaii, Mexico and beyond. We love traveling together and experiencing new places, food and culture.

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Luckenbach Texas and Dance Hall

412 Luckenbach Town Loop, Fredericksburg, Texas

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: April 2014 | Submitted: Apr 17, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Whooping it up in Luckenbach, TX

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Bust out your western gear and mosey on over to this popular attraction just outside Fredericksburg. Locals and tourists come for the live music and to see the place that Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson made famous. Although touristy, there's a charm to it. The former post office houses a gift shop with fun stuff to look at. There's also a bar and dance hall. Buy a drink or snack and sit outside on benches under the trees and listen to live country music. Kids scamper around, either chasing after or dodging the many roosters.

Tips for Families

Bring a picnic and enjoy lunch or an early dinner. It gets more crowded and lively at night, so if it's a peaceful ambiance you seek, visit during the day.

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Wildseed Farm

Fredericksburg, Texas

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: April 2014 | Submitted: Apr 17, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Everything's coming up poppies!

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This is a laid-back outing where you can grab a bite to eat at the budget-friendly, onsite cafe and then take a stroll to see the colorful wildflowers. This is actually a nursery that showcases wildflowers in spring. We saw an abundance of blue bonnets and various poppies. People were taking photos with their young children and just relaxing.

Tips for Families

The walking paths are sandy, so wear closed-toe shoes.

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Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Park Rd 52, Stonewall, Texas

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: April 2014 | Submitted: Apr 17, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Visiting the Texas White Houe

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A visit to the Texas White House offers great insight into the 36th president of the US and his family. We visited Johnson's one-room schoolhouse (just from the outside), his family's cemetery and the home he shared with his wife and two daughters. We toured the 70s-style home, which includes his office. He kept three TVs (tuned to the three major networks) in his bedroom and living room. President Johnson conducted much of his business from this home, often outside on folding chairs under the trees. It was surprising to us that the house was fairly modest, nice nothing fancy. We also visited the state park, where we toured the Sauer-Beckman Farm. This is more interesting to kids because they can see pigs and cows, and learn about family life from 1900-1918.

Tips for Families

Bring a picnic to enjoy at the state park. Dress casually and wear good walking shoes.

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National Museum of the Pacific War

340 E Main St, Fredericksburg, Texas

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: April 2014 | Submitted: Apr 17, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

An engaging museum

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This museum's engaging exhibits, videos and artifacts will be of interest to kids who can peek inside a submarine, see the actual door from the sunken USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and listen to war stories. The well-designed museum has many side rooms with additional videos and artifacts to round out the history of World War II. For example, in one room you can hear a family member read the emotional letter from a mother who lost five sons in the war. Fueled by respect for Fredericksburg's native son -- Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces, Pacific Ocean Area -- the museum is designed to appeal to people of all ages. Be sure to visit the courtyard and Japanese Garden.

Tips for Families

Allow two hours to visit the museum. But take a break because there's so much to see. Three doors within the museum's exhibit halls enable you to exit for lunch or to rest before re-entering and picking up where you left off.

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Pioneer Museum

Fredericksburg, Texas

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: April 2014 | Submitted: Apr 17, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Exploring Pioneer Museum

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Since Fredericksburg is a German settlement, it makes sense to visit the Pioneer Museum square, which showcases 19th-century homes, a barn and a schoolhouse. Walking through the buildings brings history alive and friendly docents happily share information. You can walk through the Weber Sunday House, a typical home that German families used as a place to rest and eat when they made the seven-mile trip from their farms to Fredericksburg to attend church and/or to trade with other settlers.

Tips for Families

Visit the one-room schoolhouse. Relax on a bench outside and enjoy the quiet pioneer complex.

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Ryman Auditorium

116 5th Ave. N, Nashville, Tennessee

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: December 2013 | Submitted: Jan 1, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Behind-the-Scenes Tour

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A National Historic Landmark, the Ryman Auditorium is a must-see while in Nashville. All the country greats have performed at this venue, a former church and considered to be the birthplace of bluegrass. Today, country music as well as other music genres are performed here. Self-guided and backstage tours are available. We took the backstage tour, which enabled us to walk through dressing rooms and walk onstage, where of course we took tons of photos of each other. Our guide fed us country history as we toured the small, but impressive auditorium where the seats are still church pews. The tour brought us to the stage door where artists go in and out. We found some guitar picks on the ground. After the tour, we perused the museum, composed of photos and artifacts. That night, we returned for the Grand Ole Opry, the longest running radio show. What a treat! Great experience and highly recommended.

Tips for Families

Kids interested in music will appreciate a backstage tour and a chance to stand on stage. Be sure to stop at the gift shop for unique souvenirs.

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General Jackson Showboat

2812 Opryland Dr., Nashville, Tennessee

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: December 2013 | Submitted: Jan 1, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Rolling on the Cumberland River

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A bit touristy and apparently popular with senior citizens, but a meal and cruise on board the showboat is a classic family-friendly attraction. It’s a great way to introduce kids to country music while enjoying a relaxing cruise along the Cumberland River. The mid-day program includes music and a comedy puppet show. We went on the mid-day cruise, but there’s also a dinner cruise. While dining on southern cuisine we sailed to downtown Nashville. The servers were very accommodating when two of us requested a vegetarian meal instead of the turkey dish. Kids will enjoy exploring the riverboat while sailing. Outdoor decks offer great views of the passing scenery.

Tips for Families

Opt for the mid-day cruise featuring a comedy puppet show. Bring a jacket and be sure to stroll the outside decks for river and city views.

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The Hermitage Hotel Nashville (Tennessee)

231 Sixth Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee

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KID-FRIENDLY AMENITIES

  • Rollaway beds available
  • Pet friendly
  • Babysitting
  • On-site restaurant(s)
  • Cribs (infant beds) available


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Visited: December 2013 | Submitted: Jan 1, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Laid-back 5-star luxury hotel

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The moment we stepped into the grand foyer I knew we would love this hotel. Elegant and posh yet there’s nothing stuffy about the Hermitage, built in 1910. The rooms are spacious and we had a flat screen TV above the large tub in the bathroom. There was also a flat screen TV in the main room. We had a city view from our room. The hotel was decorated for Christmas during our December stay. In the lobby and sitting area were a huge brightly lit Christmas tree, a roaring fire and holiday decorations. The onsite restaurant-- the Capitol Grille -- serves amazing meals. Kids will especially love the mac n’ cheese (the best we tasted in Nashville). Every morning little muffins and coffee are placed on a table by the concierge across from the elevators. In the afternoons, amazing cookies and apple cider are served in the same place. The hotel’s location is easy walking distance to the Ryman Auditorium and Broadway, famous for its honky tonk bars. Kids are allowed to walk through the bars to listen to the different bands playing.

Tips for Families

Don't miss the morning muffins and tasty afternoon cookies by concierge! While at the concierge desk, ask for the self-guided walking map.

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Cheekwood Botanical Garden

1200 Forrest Park Dr, Nashville, Tennessee

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  • Teens (13+)
Visited: December 2013 | Submitted: Jan 1, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

Beautiful mansion and landscaped grounds

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We visited in December when this beautiful mansion was all decked out for Christmas with a dozen themed trees in various rooms. But any time of year would be nice to tour the private estate of the Cheek family (of Maxwell House coffee fame), which attracts families for its 55 acres of themed botanical gardens, a sculpture trail and art galleries. To get to the Japanese Garden we walked through a little bamboo forest. Meandering trails throughout the property are suitable for all ages. One of the trails has a tree house for kids to climb. The day we visited we saw many families enjoying the property. Since it was the Christmas season, kids could visit with Santa, feed reindeer and decorate cookies. Visitors are welcome to bring a packed lunch to enjoy anywhere on the grounds or at the picnic area with tables in the Water Garden.

Tips for Families

Wear good walking shoes to explore the landscaped gardens and trails. Bring a picnic and find a cozy spot to sit and enjoy lunch together.

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Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum

222 5th Ave S, Nashville, Tennessee

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Visited: December 2013 | Submitted: Jan 1, 2014 | I traveled with teens (13+)

One-stop shop for everything country

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Since it was our first visit to Nashville we made sure to visit this state-of-the-art facility featuring more than 40,000-square-feet of country music artifacts, archives, theater space and exhibits. Before our visit, we didn’t know much about country music, but after our self-guided tour we felt we had a much better understanding and appreciation for this music genre. Our tour began upstairs, where displays include photos, videos, recording clips, stage costumes, musical instruments and even cars, such as Elvis Presley’s gold Cadillac. The displays are very engaging, so even kids find them interesting. The walls are filled with Hall of Fame plaques. Downstairs are listening stations allowing you to choose the songs you want to hear and interactive computer programs that help kids (and adults) learn about the history of country music. We spent about two hours walking at a leisurely pace and then had lunch at the main floor. The museum gift shop has a wide assortment of music, souvenirs, clothing and more.

Tips for Families

Pick up the activity booklets designed to help kids navigate and find things in the museum. The lunch menu is really good. The BLT with fried tomato and pimento cheese is incredible.

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