A Weekend Away

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This past weekend, our family went camping at Baker Park Reserve.  Pretty sweet place – it had everything a family could want:  a swimming beach, unlimited bike trails, awesome facilities, and a great price point.  Above all of those reasons for listing it as a favorite camping place is that between home and that place are the Albertville Outlet Mall and Cabela’s!  So schwing!  We have a new place we like to camp!!

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Good bathrooms are not always abundant at campgrounds.  I have used the push-button variety where you have to push the button to get water to come out so often that you pretty much take a one-handed shower.  I have taken showers in places where I am pretty sure one of the bazillion spiders I am sharing the stall with are going to eat me alive.  I have taken the freezing cold and the boiling hot showers.  But not here…nope.  This place has it all figured out.  A+  for bathrooms.

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And then right outside the bathrooms, this place has dishwashing sinks.  DISHWASHING SINKS, people!!  With running water!  YES!  Although this camping trip, I set a record for least amount of washing of dishes needed – like a knife and a tong.  The end.  But A++ for thinking of the people who are a little more dishwashing-ish.

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We have searched high and low for a good quality fire ring.  Bingo Daddio.  This is the MacDaddy of them all.  Some day when we have to replace ours, we just might look into a Pilot Rock.

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This place had a great playground – JP even said that if he was 8, he’d think this playground was great!  Well, at 14, he even played a little because the place has zip lines!!  Well, the zip lines aren’t exactly for adults, but I had to give it a try…

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Basically, if you are looking for a place on the north side of the Twin Cities, I recommend this place a million times over.

To the whole reason we went this weekend:  Bill has an itch to compete in a triathlon.  We wanted to watch one.  He now is talking about the road bike he needs to buy.

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We are jumping for joy about that.

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Big Hotel Rooms

After the emotional roller-coaster our family has been on, we decided to treat the kids to a weekend away to the Twin Cities area.

Our search for a hotel that sleeps us all is always one of the joys of traveling.  Do we lie and book as if we have 2 kids just so we can avoid having to pay for two rooms?  Do we make kids sleep on the floor?  Do we pay through the nose for two rooms and then split up on our “family” vacation?  Some hotels allow for 6, such as the wonderfully accommodating Comfort Suites Maingate East we stayed in when we vacationed at Disney World.  The room fit us all, we didn’t have to hide any kids in big suitcases as we hauled our stuff up to our room, and the breakfasts were great.  However, hotels like this are hard to find.

I stumbled across a wonderful new website and blogging community called sixsuitcasetravel.com.   If you have more than 2 kiddos, check it out!!  Through their site, we found our hotel, TownPlace Suites in Eden Prairie.

Our suite had two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a living area with a full kitchen.

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The kitchen has everything you might need, and table settings for only 4.  Figure that one out.

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The great things about this hotel were many: the space, the three TV’s (which did NOT carry Disney or Nick  – so family friendly)and the kids loved the pool water temperature.  Of course they did, it has been flippidity hot around here.   Here are the 3 that held still long enough for a picture.

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Look at this picture – do you see anything that sticks out to you?

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How do you think the water feels in oh, let’s pick February?  If you visit this hotel in December, bring your fur wrap and ice skates.  And, no, no hot tub to warm yourself up after skating.

The breakfast was a grab-n-go thing.  I sent the kids over on food recon missions.  They also took the pictures – I didn’t want to look like a dork.  HAHA

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Over all, it was a good place for our big family.  It wasn’t the nicest place I have slept nor was it the worst (gummy bears melted into sheets is a great greeting when hopping into a hotel bed near Yellowstone.)     It provided us a great place to crash between Como Zoo, Mall of America, and Valleyfair.

Does anyone know of other great places for big families to stay near where you live?