Weekend Retreat: Kid-Friendly Version

A kid can’t learn everything sitting behind a desk. To celebrate the conclusion of the back to school week, we’ve planned a kid-friendly weekend to Central Massachusetts that includes one of the biggest fairs in New England, a visit to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial, and maybe even a little jaunt to Deerfield Academy to get the little ones thinking about their future.

The Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, rightfully named the Big E, opens its gates Friday with the sweet smell of cotton candy and tons of country fun. Now through September 28, fair goers can attend concerts with top name entertainment, including Sugarland, Fergie, LeAnn Rimes, Jordin Sparks, Natasha Bedingfield, and more. There will also be major exhibits, a Super Circus, animals, rides, shopping, crafts, a daily Mardi Gras parade (we swear it’s clean), and food from around the world. Ride the Crazy Mouse, and be sure to chow down on the Big E Cream Puffs.

After you’ve had enough of the fair frenzy, drive 15 minutes north to the cozy town of Northhampton, where you can immerse yourself in history at the majestic Northampton Hotel. Filled with antiques dating back to its founding, and boasting a 200-year-old tavern that has been reassembled piece by piece, the place is a museum within itself. The family can also enjoy a meal at the very same oaken tables that were once graced by presidents Kennedy, Eisenhower, Hoover, Coolidge, and Nixon.

While you’re sharing political history with the kids, the next morning,  take a ride to Deerfield, home of Deerfield Academy, where many congressmen and political candidates once roamed. Wander around town with the Gossip Girl-esque prepsters, then stop by the largest candle store in the world. At the Yankee Candle Village and Flagship, you can create your own candle, sniff more than 160 scents, or hit the brand new Wax Works. Set to open on September 26, the Wax Works shop invites guests to create wax handprints, discover your “Fragrance Perscentality,” and create your own scent at the “Fragrance Mixology” station.

If you want to spend the night in town, check into the Deerfield Inn, located just beyond the gates of the prestigious academy. The quaint 23-room Colonial style hotel supports the green revolution, by offering all organic toiletries and delectable fare created with locally produced ingredients. Teach the kids that Kermit was right, “It’s not easy being green.”

While you’re at it, how about some green eggs and ham? You’ve been reading Dr. Seuss books since you were a kid, and now you can visit the Dr. Seuss National Memorial in Springfield. Pay tribute to the beloved children’s book author and wander through the sculpture garden, where Yertle, the Lorax, Horton and the rest of the gang reside. You can even snap photos with a life-size Grinch. One look at him, and the kids will be eating out of your hands all the way through the holidays.