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Time to make your vacation escape plan

Jim Block

Sometime today, maybe during the day’s first fight over the iPad, it’ll hit you. It’s school vacation time. But don’t push the panic button. We’ve got your next family adventure here, Mom and Dad. Pack the bags, load the car, and dodge the cabin fever.


Can’t make it to PyeongChang? Try Vermont. In the small town of Fairlee, on Vermont-in-a-postcard Lake Morey, Lake Morey Resort hosts a school vacation week loaded with winter sports and fun. Try Nordic skating (or tour skating) the 4.5-mile loop, cross-country skiing, hockey, figure skating, snowshoeing, and sledding. This week’s special activities include a sugar-on-snow party, crafts, face-painting, snow fort-building, hot dog and marshmallow-roasting, and ice-fishing demonstrations. Afterward, warm up in the pool or Jacuzzi, or cozy up for a movie in the on-site theater. Events through Feb. 22. From $179 per night. 1 Clubhouse Road, Fairlee, Vt. 802-333-4311.



Newport, R.I., springs alive with family fun this week with its 30th annual town-wide Winter Festival. There are a boatload of events happening daily through Feb. 25; check online before you go to find times, dates, prices, and details for dozens of events. Most offer discounts, others are free, with fest bracelet. $10. 401-847-7666

Here’s a sampling: Kids can take part in Winter Carnival Games. (23 America’s Cup Ave.) Sail away on a one-hour Save The Bay Seal Tour cruise into Narragansett Bay to see seals in their natural habitat. (18 Market Square. Must pre-register. 401-272-3540) Listen to story time at the historic Breakers mansion grounds. (53 Coggeshall Ave. Reservations required 401-847-1851) Explore some 40 exhibits and meet creatures at the Save The Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium. (175 Memorial Blvd. 401-324-6020) Check out the Newport Car Museum. (1847 West Main Road, Portsmouth. 401-848-2277) And Newport restaurants compete to see who has the gooiest goodness at the Mac & Cheese Smackdown. Kids under 4 are free. (Feb. 24, 1 Goat Island.) Disney princess fans can wear their crowns and gowns for a Princess Party featuring Disney’s Moana and Ariel. (Feb. 21. Will likely sell out; purchase on fest website. $12, or $7 with bracelet, 401-847-7666.)


Fest highlights for Mom and Dad over the next week include helicopter tours; wine tastings, watching beach polo, tasting craft beer and grilled pizza pairings, and riding horseback along Newport beaches. With so much to take in, you might want to make it an overnight. Historic Hotel Viking serves as a hub of fest happening from ice cream sundae bars and fire pits to movie nights. Room rates vary. 1 Bellevue Ave., 800-556-7126.


When muggle school is out, Hogwarts is in. Harry Potter fans, spend a spellbinding few days on Cape Cod for “Wizarding Week” at the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club. The week’s schedule is jam-packed, so check online before you go. Little wizards might make their own magic wands, cloaks, snitches, and dragon eggs; hunt for horcruxes; play Quidditch on the mansion grounds; and watch Harry movies, among other activities. Rates vary. 2907 Main St., Brewster. 508-896-9000.


Not the football kind — the Revolutionary kind. You might spend a day this Presidents’ Day week in historical Lexington, where the luxury Inn at Hastings Park Relais & Châteaux offers a “Pint-Sized Patriots” package for kids 12 and under. The family overnight package includes a historical Revolutionary-era book for each kiddo to keep, cookies and milk, complimentary breakfast for a family of four, and free use of snow shoes and sleds to enjoy at nearby Hastings Park. Dine on-site at Artistry on the Green, where kids’ menu includes grilled cheese with Vermont cheddar, pasta with butter, “pint-sized” steak, and fresh fruit. Parents might go for the squash risotto with brown butter, bruleed scallops, or lamb and bacon bolognese. Rates vary. 2027 Massachusetts Ave. Lexington. 781-301-6660.



For a far out staycation, try Royal Sonesta Boston, where the “Little Scientists” package includes an overnight stay for four and four tickets to nearby Boston Museum of Science. Explore some 700 interactive permanent exhibits and take in IMAX films, 4-D movies, planetarium shows, dinosaurs, a butterfly garden and more. (1 Science Park, Boston. 617-723-2500. Return to the hotel for a dip in the atrium-style pool overlooking the Charles River. You might lunch at onsite ArtBar, which boasts a kid-approved lunch menu: starters include Goldfish crackers, entrees include peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich and plain pasta with cheese, both of which would pair nicely with the house chocolate milk. Room rates vary. 617-806-4200. 40 Edwin Land Blvd., Cambridge.

Lauren Daley can be reached at