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On the Road with Busy Mama

Anastasia Fusillo is known as Busy Mama in Ontario, Canada. She started her blogging journey when she felt isolated after moving to a new town. When her daughter was two years old and her son was five, Anastasia started sharing ways they got out of the house on her personal Instagram page. Other parents began expressing interest and asking questions about her adventures: the various hiking trails, outdoor events, museums, and more in Canada, and so Anastasia’s newfound popularity led her to create an Instagram page dedicated to her family’s adventures!

During the pandemic, Anastasia’s page especially blew up. With families desperate to find safe activities outdoors, she began providing important details about places her family visited. She shared details such as which trails and facilities have restrooms, free parking, stroller accessibility, and more. As Anastasia’s blog grew, she received inquiries from businesses to review and recommend their products and services to her followers. Now, Anastasia visits two to three new places a week to review and create blog content for!

Rochester Museum & Science Center

Weekend Getaways: Family Road Trips from Tobermory, Canada to Rochester, New York

Tobermory, Canada

About 5 hours away from Buffalo but worth the trip!

This very small town on the Bruce Peninsula known for its turquoise waters and starry night skies is a well-known destination for shipwrecks that attract scuba divers and kayakers. Tobermory has few hotels, so be sure to book in advance, but the town offers shopping, ice cream, grocery stores, and Airbnbs. Check out Crowsnest Pub for good food.

Must-See Places

The Grotto: A short hike from the parking lot will take you to the top of The Grotto. This unique rocky space surrounded by turquoise blue waters is the perfect spot to swim. If you walk further you can find a cave in which many people swim, though you will need advance reservations.

Flowerpot Island: Take a boat over to the island known for two flowerpot-shaped rock pillars on the shores and hike down to the pillars for a photo op if water levels are safe. This is a great location for a short hike, a fun cave and the Flowerpot Island Lighthouse to explore.

Milton, Canada

1.5 hours from Buffalo

A perfect tourist destination with many attractions, breathtaking views of the skylines and mountains, local art and culture experiences, and a vibrant nightlife. Some of Anastasia’s favorites in Milton include:

Halton County Radial Railway Museum: The first and largest electric Railway Museum of Ontario and a place of major historical significance, the Halton County Radial Railway Museum has collected, restored, and preserved various Railway-related objects over the years. Exploring the train interiors here is sure to delight train enthusiasts of all ages. Admission includes unlimited historic streetcar rides on the scenic track, including a stop at the

famous ice cream shop (approximately a 20-minute ride).

Lochland Botanicals: This is the most beautiful space, with fields and fields of different wildflowers and millions of smiling sunflowers. Visitors may pay-to-pick and receive a mason jar and a pair of scissors and start exploring on your own. Or take a wagon ride and hear stories of the farm. With so much to see and do here, Lochland includes many beautiful photo ops. Be sure to check out the Gnome homes!

Crawford Lake Conservation Area: A gorgeous location to stretch your legs and explore! There aren’t many other places you can walk a boardwalk around a lake, and it’s flat without being a long walk. The lake is so clear and blue you can see fish and turtles swimming about. When you finish your hike, visit the Longhouse Village and learn more about First Nations history.

Lavender Farms: A must-see are the lavender fields in Milton. Kelso Lavender is the ultimate hidden gem (especially for a beautiful photography backdrop) with fields of endless rolling purple hills. Walk around the fields and enjoy the ambiance or grab some lavender to bring home. Terre-Bleu is another lavender field just north of Milton with a picturesque view not to be missed. Visit their infamous ‘yellow door’ and take some memorable pictures. You can also join an essential oil or bee tour! Visit in mid-June to late July to see them in bloom.

Niagara Falls, Canada

Clifton Hill: This side of the historic area is only an hour from Halton, where Anastasia’s family resides, and there are plenty of kid-friendly activities. Families can explore streets of arcades and unique houses, check out a beautiful butterfly conservatory, choose between three water parks, and enjoy a view of the city via the Niagara SkyWheel, a huge ferris wheel! Families can enjoy lunch or dinner at the popular Rainforest Cafe, where animals come to life! Parents will love the “mini-Vegas” vibe this side of the Falls provides with the assortment of casinos. Visit The Bird Kingdom which consists of a big room full of various birds soaring the enclosed space. It’s a unique experience to see birds so closely.

Niagara Glen Nature Centre: Enjoy less crowds and more nature? Hiking the Niagara Escarpment in Niagara Falls is an absolute must. Check out the Niagara Glen Nature Centre for gorge-top views and great hiking trails.

Niagara Falls, New York

On the state side of Niagara Falls, tour Old Fort Niagara, explore The Panic Room, or enjoy a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. In the winter, lace up those ice skates. Enjoy a leisurely day exploring Old Falls Street, the three-block cobblestone street connecting Niagara Falls State Park with the Convention Center that serves as an entertainment district with food vending, festivals, concerts, and family-friendly activities along the dynamic space. The kids will love the Aquarium of Niagara with more than 200 aquatic animal species!

Old Fort Niagara and Aquarium of Niagara

Rochester, New York

The Strong National Museum of Play had been recommended to the Fusillo family to check out for years, so they finally decided to plan a road trip. With the drive being only about 2.5 hours, it was very doable for Anastasia, her husband, and their two young children. Anastasia planned a four-day adventure to Rochester by first booking an Airbnb in Downtown. The Fusillos checked out the famous Strong National Museum of Play, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Upper and Lower Falls, Seneca Park Zoo, and several bridges across the city! Next, Anastasia plans to check out the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium, Dinosaur BBQ, and hiking trails they learned about during the first trip.

Strong National Museum of Play

Tips for Traveling with Kids and Across the Border

  • Find cheap activities for the car. You can find small games, Play-Doh, and coloring books at a dollar store!

  • Pack snacks. Be sure you have an assortment of healthy snacks like applesauce, juice pouches, crackers, and granola bars. Individual servings are easiest. And be sure to keep water bottles between the kids in the car.

  • Dress light. It’s easier to leave the winter coats and boots in the trunk so your kids don’t feel bulky during the car ride. Have your children pick out a blanket and a stuffed animal for maximum comfort!

  • Charge up. Be sure all iPads and other electronics your kids may use in the car are charged for your trip!

  • Line up driving with nap time. Try to schedule your driving time around your little ones’ nap time so the car ride is smooth and quiet.

  • Consider busy border times. While the border’s pretty simple to get through these days, it’s still best to travel across with children during quieter times. During the week is ideal, but if you must travel during the weekend, try leaving as early as possible!

  • Always plan ahead. There’s nothing more important than simply planning ahead when you’re bringing children on a road trip!

  • Airbnbs over hotels. They are the most kid-friendly option. Families can enjoy more space, eat meals around a dinner table, and even rent baby items, like strollers, for added convenience. The kids can come home to relax and unwind after a long day out with plenty of space.

Niagara SkyWheel in Niagara Falls, Canada

Find More Adventures

Check out Anastasia and her family's adventures on Instagram @busymamaco and take a look at their adventure map!