The fall has so much going for it. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin… Oh, sorry, got carried away a bit there. But, in all seriousness, between the leaves changing color, the apple picking, and the pumpkin patches popping up everywhere, it’s hard to stay home on the weekend during the fall!
Join us Tuesday, October 18 at 11:30aPT/2:30pET for a new #FinderyChat on Twitter where we’ll discuss the ins and outs of fall road trips. Come share your secrets and dreams with us during this one hour chat being co-hosted by the StorySet Digital Marketing Agency!
See you Tuesday!
Looking for a European family adventure, but not sure where to go? Pop Amsterdam right to the top of your bucket list. With kids in tow you might not be able to frequent marijuana cafes or venture into the red light district, but you’ll find a plethora of options with great family appeal. The city of Amsterdam is breathtaking with a canal system that sweeps through the city, distinct architecture, bicycles, museums, boutiques, concert halls and outdoor cafes. You’ll also have the opportunity to introduce your children to famous artists, important dates in our history, and classical music.
Here are 10 reasons you need to visit Amsterdam now and what to see — from must-see attractions to lesser known things to do:
1) Canal rides with some of the most dazzling scenery in the world.
Often called the ‘Venice of the North’, Amsterdam features over one hundred kilometers of canals and over 1,500 bridges. They continue to define the city’s landscape and have literally been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Hit the canals first thing to orientate yourselves to the city. Blue Boat Company takes visitors on seventy-five -minute, kid-friendly rides that meander under picturesque bridges and past 17th-century buildings, all narrated by an audio tour through headphones in seventeen languages. It’s a great way to get plugged into the city’s history, and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a major event on the water like a classical concert or the annual Canal Parade, featuring decorated barges.
2) Family bike rides that give kids a sense of adventure and exploration.
The streets of Amsterdam were made for cycling, and if your kids are old enough, they’ll love riding through as much of the city as possible. It’s flat and has relatively little traffic…because everyone rides bikes. The downfall with that is that kids have to be really good bikers so that they can maneuver between other riders and be ready to make quick stops. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to get around, and bikes are rentable at relatively low cost. If you want a referral, pick up a bike at Mike’s Bikes. Their bikes are top quality and the staff gives good local direction on where to go with kids. Note: They don’t offer kid’s seats or tandem seats.
3) Museums: to visit masterpieces by the Dutch greats.
If your kids can sustain a museum experience, the museums in Amsterdam are really some of the best in the world. We suggest spreading out your visits over the course of your trip, with plenty of outdoor exercise and pancakes between. Most museums offer children’s tours and many are either free or discounted. The Rijksmuseum features Rembrandts, Vermeers, and 750 other masterpieces. Don’t miss the famous iAmsterdam sign outside the museum, which kids often enjoy posing in front of. The Van Gogh Museum offers another important lesson on a legendary artist. They feature a free treasure hunt for children between six and 12 years of age. Word to the wise: book tickets online well in advance as lines can be painfully long. Also be sure to get an audio tour at both museums– it helps keep kids engaged for longer periods and gives an in-depth history.
4) Educate your kids about Anne Frank and the Holocaust.
No matter how old your kids are or what religion you might be, take the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank House. If your children are old enough to understand her story, it will resonate quite deeply. If not, read basic books about Anne Frank in advance of your trip or have a chat to explain what happened. Together you will walk through the house where Anne Frank and her family and five others hid during the course of World War II before being sent to die in concentration camps (barring Otto Frank, who later published the book that became a world renowned tale of one person’s harrowing experience). You’ll also be able to see Anne Frank’s original diary. Be aware that there are very steep stairs… a lot of them. Here too, we suggest you book your tickets in advance as lines can be long and exhausting, especially for young children. There are many other sites of Jewish interest like the city’s Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, and the Holocaust Museum.
5) A classical concert at The Royal Concertgebouw (Royal Concert Hall)
If you haven’t taken your kids to a classical concert before, then the Royal Concertgebouw (Royal Concert Hall) is a great place to start. Located near Museumplein, the concert halls are exquisite with beautiful décor and names of famous composers on the walls. It’s home to the famous Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. You’ll also find chamber music performances like string quartets, piano recitals and piano trios, or jazz music on Friday nights. Saturday afternoons are dedicated to concerts for kids. Kids over 6 years old are welcome to attend the nighttime concerts. A great tip: They offer free lunchtime concerts every Wednesday (except in July and August).
6) Experience Dutch delicacies.
Amsterdam has its fair share of culinary treats for adults and kids alike. From Dutch pancakes from a pancake house or street vendors (try Poffertjes, small pancakes covered in butter and powdered sugar) to stroopwafel with sweet syrup for breakfast to deep fried meatballs (Bitterballen) or french fries with mayo to a sampling of Dutch cheese in one of the city’s markets, everyone’s taste buds will be singing. Apple pie, licorice (drops), and chocoladeletter (chocolate candy) are also quite popular with kids. For more adventurous taste buds, head to an Indonesian restaurant where you’ll find food that is both local and authentic, and very inexpensive.
7) Stay in a converted conservatory of music.
Built in 1897, the Conservatorium Hotel is situated in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building that was originally the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music. It was transformed into a deluxe hotel brand a few years ago and is the first member of The Set, a collection of of hotels that welcomes sophisticated travelers. However, the hotel is also very family-friendly. The rooms are spacious and have all the modern technology kids love, like digital drapes. The hotel has a swimming pool in the spa/wellness area and lovely onsite dining. There is also a small shopping mall inside the hotel, with one shop dedicated solely to kids’ clothing.
8) Play and run around in Amsterdam’s version of Central Park: the Vondelpark.
Located right smack in the middle of the city, the Vondelpark attracts 10 million visitors per year and proudly displays English-style gardens, ponds, lawns, footbridges and walking paths for a good stroll (equipped for a stroller). It offers kids a chance to run around when the weather is nice. You can enjoy skating, walking, cycling and concerts and films in the summertime. When it’s warm, it’s a great destination for a picnic and is very close to canals, restaurants, and the city’s great museums.
9) See the spots filmed in the motion picture The Fault in Our Stars.
If you are traveling with older kids who loved the John Green book, The Fault in Our Stars, you’ll definitely want to tour around the city to see where key scenes were filmed for the cinematic adaptation. Easily found spots include the bench in the Canal District where the couple shared a famous embrace in Leidsegracht 2, the Anne Frank House where the main character struggled up the steps, the famous Rijksmuseum’s tunnel where the couple walked hand in hand, the American Hotel where they stayed, and the stand in for the Hotel De Filosoof and the home of Peter Van Houten, the famous author that brought them to Amsterdam in the first place.
10) Venture through the Nine Streets for a bit of Dutch-style shopping.
And last, but not least, just two minutes from the Royal Palace in the Dam Square sits Nine Little Streets, an area of designer boutiques and art galleries around 17th Century canals that divide the Central Canal, which makes for a great afternoon of exploration and moseying around. The area also boasts loads of Dutch cafes and restaurants, as well as bakeries and pastry shops. Street names allude to the artisans and craftsmen that once practiced their trade in the neighborhood. Kids will find treasures and adults will enjoy exploring the area, which is closer to the Anne Frank House.
Are you passionate about film and music? Then clear your schedule on August 9th at 11amPT/2pmET and join us as we spend an hour on Twitter chatting with the Sundance NEXT FEST team and Shira Lazar, Amanda Oleander, and Shelly Peiken about the upcoming film and musical lineup.
Sundance NEXT FEST is a summer festival celebrating film, music, and the renegade spirit of independent artists. This year, six bold new films fresh from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival make their Los Angeles premiere. Each is paired with either a special musical performance that embodies a shared artistic sensibility or a conversation with filmmakers and the luminaries that inspired them.
Sundance NEXT FEST will be lighting up downtown LA, August 12–14 at the historic Theatre at Ace Hotel with the headliner Big Freedia and other amazing acts. Join us for our #NEXTFESTChat Twitter Party on August 9th and win a Weekender Pass for you and a friend.
The Weekender for Two includes:
- 14 tickets—2 tickets to every event at The Theatre at Ace Hotel* (Short Film Master class not included)
- Membership Party access for two
- NEXT DOOR outdoor venue at Ace Hotel access
- 15% discount on lodging at Ace hotel
Don’t think you can make it to LA August 12-14? Come join the chat anyway! We’re also giving away some fun Sundance swag!
Take a look at the full event line-up and get ready to come chat about all the excitement with the Findery/StorySet team (@Findery), the Sundance NEXT FEST team (@sundancefest), Shira Lazar (@shiralazar), Amanda Oleander (@AmandaOleander), and Shelly Peiken (@Shelly_Peiken)!
To be entered to win you must RSVP and you must actively* participate in the #NEXTFESTChat chat on August 9th at 11amPT/2pmET.
*Active participation is defined as: A tweet by a participant who has RSVPd, in response to one of the official party questions asked by @Findery on behalf of StorySet, during the course of the hour long #NEXTFESTChat Twitter Party, containing BOTH the #NEXTFESTChat and the #Contest hashtags. Official party questions will start with Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, or Q6. See full rules and regulations.
I remember the day I got pregnant with my second child. I wasn’t ready. How could I adjust as the mother of two, when I was faring so poorly as the mother of one? How would I give her the attention she needs?
Over the years, I’ve discovered that one way to make my now thirteen year-old feel important is by taking trips alone, just the two of us. Very recently we spent a week in Southern California exploring every amusement park under the sun. The trip had her name written all over it, as you can imagine, and I’ll admit that we did take a week off from seventh grade to make it happen. From Disneyland to SeaWorld to Universal Studios to LEGOLAND, we covered the area’s attractions in five days. Here’s how it went:
One Day at Universal Studios Hollywood
My tween is a huge fan of Harry Potter, so it was a natural choice to first hit Universal Studio Hollywood’s new “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” theme park, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s popular stories and characters. From walking down Hogsmeade Village, to taking a trip on the park’s signature ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” to drinking Butterbeer, we immersed ourselves in the Harry Potter experience. Once we were done exploring the fictional English village, we went on the Studio Tour to see where production on all our favorite TV shows and movies takes place, rode the Simpson’s ride, amongst others, and played carnival games at Krustyland. We stayed a short distance from the park at The Garland which offers renovated, spacious guestrooms, a revamped lobby and lobby bar, and the addition of The Front Yard, a trendy restaurant with dazzling food fit for all ages, made with healthy, organic ingredients.
Two Days in Disneyland
Needless to say, Disneyland was the highlight of my tween’s trip. In California Adventure Park, she took delight in the California Screamin’ coaster and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. At Disneyland Park, we rode our favorites, from It’s a Small World to Snow White to the Jungle Cruise together, and she went on fast rides like Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
We were lucky to be at Disneyland during the park’s 60th anniversary to witness their spectacular evening performances, such as the “Paint the Night” parade and the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks display. We indulged in food at Wine Country Trattoria, River Belle Terrace, Goofy’s Kitchen and the Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel (where we stayed), had a churro ice-cream sandwich in Downtown Disney and sat by the pool at our hotel. It was 2-1/2 days of pure bliss for the tween.
There were tricks to easing the stress of going to a Disney theme park. Firstly, we were thrilled to find that our CityPASS allowed us to get FastPass tickets so we were able to jump several lines. Secondly, since we were staying at a Disneyland resort, the Disneyland Hotel, we were allowed early morning access to both parks when the lines were relatively short and fast.
One Day in LEGOLAND
At LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, a suburb of San Diego, we explored the new NINJAGO® World, which includes five new interactive attractions with NINJAGO The Ride being the main feature, designed to train guests to become a ninja.
While the majority of LEGOLAND was designed for younger kids (ages 3-12), we enjoyed walking through MiniLand, LEGO replicas of from landmarks around the world (the Freedom Tower is being built to join the rest of the NYC structures) and my tween rode Project X in the Technic section numerous times. We lunched at California’s Pizza & Pasta Buffet and stayed at LEGOLAND Hotel, a LEGO lover’s dream, complete with a disco-themed elevator, LEGO-themed rooms and onsite restaurants. The hotel sits at the entrance to the park, simplifying the experience for any parent.
One Day at SeaWorld
We kicked off our day in SeaWorld with a Dolphin Encounter where we came up close and personal with bottlenose dolphins. Afterwards, we went on a tour of their Animal Rescue Center. SeaWorld saves 100-200 animals a year, often more. Working with local, state and federal agencies, they help animals that are orphaned, ill, injured or in need of expert care. It was heartening to see their work and the animals being helped. We went to shows, went on a few rides, but our favorite experience without question was lunch with Shamu, the famous killer whale.
To sum up our five days in Southern California, my tween would describe it as pretty perfect. Not only were we able to spend quality time together, but she certainly got her amusement park fix.
Summer is very often synonymous with packing a bag and jetting off to far flung exotic locations. But, really, there’s no need to travel far to get away. If you look around and do a bit of research, adventure awaits in your very own backyard or just a short car or train ride away.
Join us on Tuesday, June 21st 10am PT/1am ET as we come together with some of our favorite travel bloggers and adventurers for #FinderyChat on Twitter where we’ll be discussing tips for planning and making the most of your next Staycation Adventure!
From exploring local parks and museums to discovering nearby eateries and day spas, we’ll show you that there are always new experiences to find and fun to be had!
Come join us to share your favorite ways to get away without jetting away! We can’t wait to hear your tips on Tuesday.
How to participate in #FinderyChat
Follow Findery on Twitter
To see the chat:
Log into Twitter and, in the search box, type in #FinderyChat
To chat with us:
Jump into the conversation and be sure to tag your tweets with #FinderyChat.
“When someone goes on a trip, he has something to tell about,” goes the German saying, and people imagine the storyteller as someone who has come from afar. But they enjoy no less listening to the man who has stayed at home, making an honest living, and who knows the local tales and traditions.
I was rereading Walter Benjamin’s famous essay The Storyteller, and came across this passage, which summarized, in a lovely way, how travelers are always storytellers, how moving through the world inevitably gives one something to tell. It even explained the thinking behind the Near and Far screen on the Findery app!
There’s nothing quite as amazing as booking a trip, packing your bags, and slamming your front door shut as you head out to your next adventure. But as you’re off experiencing new sites, new foods, and new cultures, your door is staying right where you left it and it might be getting more visitors than you think.
Installing a Ring doorbell before you jet off, ensures that you always know who’s coming around and knocking, or rather, ringing. Wouldn’t you love to gift that kind of peace of mind to the dad in your life this Father’s Day?
Join us on Twitter, Tuesday, June 7th at 10amPT/1pmET as we join together with the Ring team and some incredible influencers for a Twitter Party during which we’ll discuss all the ways having a Ring doorbell can bring the dad in your life peace of mind and make you all feel #AlwaysHome even when you’re away.
To participate, simply join us on Twitter at 10amPT/1pmET on June 7, 2016 and search for #AlwaysHome.
Be sure to follow Findery and Ring to make sure you don’t miss any of the fun! Our co-hosts, Leticia Barr, Kris McDonald, Ciaran Blumenfeld, and Drew Bennet will be there answering questions about their experience trying out the Ring doorbell system.
If you’d like to be entered to win a Ring doorbell system, comprised of Ring Video Doorbell, a Stick Up Cam, and a Solar Panel, valued at $450, please RSVP below, and tweet responses to the questions asked during the event with both the #AlwaysHome and #Contest hashtags. A winner will be selected from the active event participants. For full sweepstakes rules, please click here.
We’re beyond proud to be the place that Chris Mann chooses to share his tour travel stories and photos with his fans. Chris has been chronicling his travels on Findery since 2012 and has shared almost 200 notes written in over 60 places. We are some of his biggest fans, and not just because he loves us too!
This week we had a chance to have a little sit down with Chris to ask him a few questions about his new album (squee!) and his biggest fans. Ready to see what he had to say? Read on!
What is it that drew you to use Findery?
I have had an incredibly loyal fan base who have followed me since I toured with Idina Menzel and India.Arie, through the ups the downs with labels, my time on #TeamXtina on The Voice and now as I play The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera U.S. Tour! What drew me to Findery was the ability to quickly create Notes on the fly using my phone.
My fans know that I have a quirky sense of humour, so it’s fun to share these places with them as well. And there are so many cool things to share behind the curtain at these theaters I am so lucky to perform in every night and I love to share these with my fans.
We know you love connecting with your fans, what do you like best about using Findery as a communication tool?
I’ve always tried to share as much behind-the-scenes insider scoop with my fans. As I crisscross the country with Phantom, and on my tours, I often run into lots of funny or cool landmarks, local oddities, donut shops, and coffee houses.
It’s fun to be able to share my experiences with the fans who have supported me since the beginning and continue to make this amazing ride possible. It’s only fair that I share as much of this experience with them and Findery makes that easy and fun.
How have you found that Findery helps you stay connected with your fans and friends while you are on the road?
It can be tough to be on the road so much, but social tools like Findery help me stay connected with fans, family and friends. It’s also cool to see my pins laid out on the map, reminding me of where I’ve been and some of the cool fans and celebrities I’ve been able to meet.
It’s been fun to give, both MANNfans and PhantomPham, a peek behind the scenes of the biggest touring Broadway productions in the country! But I also think of Findery as my scrapbook, where I can organize and share my life on the road with my fans, family and friends. Findery makes it easier to feel like we are all in this adventure together.
Of all the notemaps (or notes) you’ve created, which is your absolute favorite?
Touring with Phantom, has been a dream come true. So, I’d have to say my Phantom Tour notemap is my favorite. That notemap also includes one of my favorite notes —a Phantom battle with the hilarious, James Corden.
And I love meeting fans on my own tours, as well as the Phantom tour, so the Selfies With Chris Mann notemap is another favorite! I especially love meeting my Mini MANNfans—it’s great to see so many kids at Phantom wearing their masks!
Tell us about your new album, Constellation.
I’m incredibly proud of this new album. “Constellation” features twelve original songs co-written by myself and some of the best songwriters in the business. Each song is a special piece of me written over the past 10 years. To me, they are all shining stars–my constellation.
Some of the amazing co-writers I was able to co-write with include Justin Tranter, dubbed “the hottest songwriter in pop music” by the New York Times for his string of chart-topping smashes (“Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Good For You” by Selena Gomez).
Together, Justin, myself and Felix Snow wrote the lead single, “Echo”–an epic, energetic anthem declaring that “in the end we are mirrors searching for a reflection…you are my voice, I am your echo.”
We love the track, “Comeback.” What does it mean to you?
Thank you! For me, “Comeback,” is what I call the feel-good track of the album. I just released the video and it has quickly garnered buzz on social media. Basically it tells the story of underdog determination and perseverance straight from the pages of my life.
I’ve had so many ups and downs in the music business–doubters, naysayers, in and out of labels. But this album and this song are my way of fighting on and taking life, and my music, by the horns.
“Comeback” was co-written with Amy Foster (“Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble) and Who Is Fancy? (“Boys Like You feat. Meghan Trainor & Ariana Grande”)–it’s an infectious torch song that will have listeners singing with the choir, “don’t you know what a comeback looks like?!”
When did you have time to record an album while on tour with Phantom of the Opera?
This album was a labor of love. It was a lot to take on, especially while still performing as The Phantom every night, but so worth it. I recorded the album during the Phantom of the Opera run at the beautiful Pantages Theater in Hollywood. I would record during the day, then head to the Pantages to perform as Phantom at night.
But the payoff has been seeing such a positive reception for the album from fans, who helped fund the making of the album, and to see it debut at #15 on iTunes, #1 on Amazon Vocalist chart and appear on 10 Billboard Charts after its first week! The response to the album has been so humbling and the chart exposure has really amazing as an indie artist. My army of MANNfans continue to amaze me!
Want to chat with Chris Mann?
Join us on Twitter Tuesday, May 24th at 11am PST / 2pm EST, to chat about his new album “Constellation.” Now that it has launched Chris is excited to spend some time with his fans and he could think of no better way than in a LIVE Twitter chat moderated by the Findery team!
Want to ask Chris question about Constellation, his new music video for Comeback or anything Phantom? Of course you do! Post your question in the comment section of this note. We will be moderating the discussion with questions from the fans — so get your questions in!
No need to RSVP or do anything special, just be sure to follow @Findery and @IamChrisMann on Twitter jump on Twitter on May 24th at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern and do a search for #FinderyMannChat. Then, simply join the conversation, being careful to include the hashtag #FinderyMannChat in all of your tweets!
Chris Mann is currently starring as The Phantom, in Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success new production of The Phantom of the Opera through October 2016. His current album, Constellation, is now available on iTunes, Amazon Music and ChrisMannMusic.com.
Calling All #MannFans!
We are thrilled to announce that we will be hanging out with Chris Mann on Twitter Tuesday, May 24th at 11am PST/ 2pm EST, to chat about his new album “Constellation.” Now that the album has launched, Chris is excited to spend some time with his fans and he could think of no better way than in a LIVE Twitter chat moderated by the Findery team!
Want to ask Chris questions about Constellation, his new music video for Comeback, or anything Phantom? Of course you do! Post any burning questions you might have for Chris in the comment section of this note. Chris will be answering as many of the questions as possible during the Live Twitter chat.
No need to RSVP or do anything special, just be sure to follow @Findery and @IamChrisMann on Twitter, jump on Twitter on May 24th at 11am PST / 2pm EST and search for #FinderyMannChat. Then, simply join the conversation, being careful to include the hashtag #FinderyMannChat in all of your tweets!
We are looking forward to chatting with all of you on Tuesday!
Yes, adventure travel is fun and culture travel is good for the brain, but sometimes you need to travel to take care of your soul. Everyday lives are fraught with teeny-tiny, and not so small, hassles that slowly wear away at our resistance until we’re completely drained.
Ideally we’d all be living the kinds of lives that allow us to recharge our batteries on a regular basis. Realistically, life all too often gets in the way of the little things that allow us to take care of ourselves. The solution? A little TLC in the form of wellness & self-care travel.
That’s right. We’re talking about jetting off to do nothing more than sit by an idyllic pool or be pampered at a five star spa. And we’re going to be talking about it for a whole hour on Tuesday, May 17 at 10PST/1EST during our next #FinderyChat on Twitter.
We hope you’ll join us to share your stories on why you love the idea of a relaxing and healing spa getaway or where you’d most like to take one.
No need to RSVP or do anything special, just log into Twitter on that day and at that time and do a search for #FinderyChat. Then, simply jump into the conversation, being careful to include the hashtag #FinderyChat in all of your tweets!
Looking forward to hearing how you take care of yourselves!