Passion Points: Family
Magazine veteran Tara Mandy (she was a longtime contributing editor at New York magazine) launched her Web site StrollerTraffic (www.strollertraffic.com) when she had her daughter, Greta, and found herself searching for an online source that offered a mix of insider advice, product reviews and newsy updates on life with a toddler. “I have this addiction to knowing about the next ‘it’ this or the next ‘big’ that,” admits Mandy who is based in New York. “After doing a ton of research online, I felt like there was a need for a smart voice dispensing breaking-news info on subjects moms care about: new baby gear, cool brands, product recalls, emerging trends.” StrollerTraffic is such a site, offering weekly edited updates on a variety of topics, from gifts and party ideas to health and safety advisories. It also includes downloadable checklists (to help you stock up for a new baby) and a Scoop column, in which Mandy documents new find for her ideal reader, the “plugged-in urban mom or expecting mom, with kids under the age of three.”
Indagare spoke to Mandy, who will contribute family finds regularly in the coming months, about her site and where she likes to travel with baby in tow.
What special features are included on StrollerTraffic that makes it such a fun tool for parents?
Besides our weekly email, which offers an expert’s advice on some topic relevant to city moms, whether it’s the best educational toys or the facts of the H1N1 vaccine), we have a page called Scoop, which is updated daily with cool new finds from our multi-city Scouts. That’s definitely our most popular page. We also offer promotions from great brands on our Swag page.
You’re based in New York City: what are some of your favorite family-friendly getaways from the city?
I love Stowe, Vermont, because it’s a one-hour flight and a one-hour car ride, and offers kids an awesome introduction to rural life any time of year (except during mud season). I also love Winvian, in Connecticut, which offers the shortest drive among the luxury retreat trifecta of Twin Farms, the Point and Winvian. Most of the time, it’s off-limits to kids but it’s worth seeking out the resort’s family weeks to grab an opportunity for your kids to sleep in a room built around a tree or a helicopter. Further afield, I like the Lanesborough in London, because it’s impossible to find anything classically British. Situated right on Hyde Park, it will give your children an immediate understanding of old-school European sensibilities. It’s a great launching pad for a lifetime of Europhelia. And for some beach time, I prefer Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda. Not only is it kid-friendly, but they have an entire program and facility (Children’s Grove) dedicated to entertaining your children while you kick back at a seriously sweet spa. Plus, it’s a Rosewood Resort so you know you’re getting cushy rooms and better-than-standard-Caribbean food.
What destinations do you feel are worth the airport hassle?
I can’t justify lugging a family to far-flung tropical islands (like Bora Bora or the Maldives) when the Caribbean is such a suitable substitute. But there are certain travel experiences—game drives in Africa, cloud forest hikes in Costa Rica —that are absolutely worth the hassle. Even ordering off a cheese cart at a top restaurant in Paris is something you can’t experience anywhere else—no, not even in Montreal.
What child-friendly gadgets do you never leave home without?
Triangle crayons (which don’t roll off airplane trays or restaurant tables), kids’ DVDs for the laptop, and lots and lots of stickers.
What are some of your favorite kid-friendly discoveries you have made since launching StrollerTraffic?
Now that I’ve made a full-time job out of uncovering the coolest stuff for moms and babies, I find something I love every day. But when it comes to travel, my favorite StrollerTraffic finds are the monogrammed seersucker car seat covers from Lexie Rose; Neo To Go, a travel-size, spray-on Neosporin; Lands End’s custom canvas totes, which can be screen-printed with your kid’s artwork; and the CARE system, which works with an ordinary airplane seatbelt to create a safety harness for babies and toddlers, so your child can sit in his or her own seat “big-kid” style, rather than being wedged into a car seat.
Read an article by Mandy about Parrot Cay and how the resort transformed into a child-friendly hideaway.
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