It’s been three years since our first trip to Santa’s Village in the mountainous winter wonderland that is upstate New Hampshire, and when Ellie asked to go for her birthday this year, the timing was right. The theme park caters to the younger set, and both kids are in the target age range, so we headed for the hills.
The first time, Gwen was just shy of four months old, and spent most of the trip sleeping in her stroller. Ellie was the hyperactive-yet-still-cautious three-year-old, who didn’t quite get what was going on, but still had fun running around in a sugar-fueled, Christmas-themed nirvana. Also, what I remember of the trip to and from the park (about 3-5 hours from our old house) was that it was mis-er-a-ble, with multiple stops for diaper changes, feedings, lots of screaming, and restless whining (and that was just the kids.)
I notice I didn’t write about that part in my first entry…
This time the roles were different. Gwen was more tentative and too impatient to wait in lines, so one of us wandered with her, while the other joined Ellie for rides and activities. The trip was longer (7 hours, including potty breaks) but much less frantic thanks to the joy of iPads and Kindles and the increased attention span that comes with age. There was a fair amount of frustrated juggling, nagging, whining, and overstimulation on all our parts, but hey, that’s inevitable.
It snowed the night we arrived, which left a picture-perfect dusting of clean white on everything the next morning. It made winter look charming and beautiful, rather than something to be shoveled through and griped about, and that’s saying something, considering our winter started a month early this year.
We stayed at a little motel that’s directly across from the park, and that made for a good experience; not fancy, but the owners were sweet and the place itself was kid-friendly and clean. We also found an adorable old-country-diner-style restaurant that serves breakfast all day; seriously good eats that all of us enjoyed, even the five-year-old aka Miss Picky.
And the park itself was just as fun as we remembered. Ellie especially enjoyed meeting Santa (“He knew it was my birthday, Mama!”) and getting her birthday present of choice from the gift shop (a Frozen-themed friendship jewelry set and tin).
Gwen, well…Gwen just enjoyed the change of scenery. This is the same child who walked into a rest area restroom we stopped at on the way and exclaimed, “Wow, dis is amazing!” She was equally excited about the many different gas stations we encountered, the motel room, and the cheapo toy in her McDonald’s Happy Meal. Three year olds!