I've been wanting to take the kids to Monsanto for quite some time. I heard that the area had great bike paths and a park for children. So, today, without looking for maps on the internet, we plugged Monsanto into our GPS and headed out.
It took a little while to find the parks of Monsanto, as the parks, specifically, were not in our GPS. Just the town of Monsanto. We started out late and arrived around lunch time. Lila, our more timid child, has been having anxiety attacks when placed in the Chariot bike trailer. Today was no exception. As we biked around looking for the start of the trail, she screamed as if someone was torturing her. At first, we lovingly tried to sooth her. We took her out, gave her hugs and kisses, assured her it was okay, and put her back in. When the crying started up again, we tried our best to ignore it. However, we didn't have a map, had no idea where to find the right trail and couldn't take the crying any longer. The distant sounds of laughing children at the play park convinced us to change our plans and scope out the trails at a later date, when we are more prepared.
Entrace to the children's play park in Monsanto was free and Olivia could run around freely! We found a gem of a park. Water fountains, swings, slides, climbing ropes, bridges, picnic areas, scenic overlooks, a bouncy area/gym and a restaurant.
We enjoyed a late lunch of delicious Portuguese cusine. I enjoyed a stew that is much like a boiled dinner Americans make around St. Patty's Day. However, this was made with cabbage, potato, kidney beans, carrots, pork, chicken and different types of sausage. It was the first time I had the pleasure of tasting this dish. I'll add it, for sure, to my list of favorite Portuguese dishes.
The girls, exhausted, took naps on the ride home. What started out as a stressful, unprepared adventure, turned into a successful outing with a new "hot spot" in which to take our children.