Thursday, January 30, 2014

Red Robin Restaurant in Millbury, Massachusetts ~ Going the Extra Mile for Food Allergies

Given the difficulties we have encountered with the boys' food allergies, it is an absolute thrill when we find a place that can feed our sons.   On our drive home from the Higgins Museum in Worcester, my husband made what was supposed to be a short pitstop at the Red Robin restaurant in Millbury, Massachusetts.  A quick restroom break, a snack for us and we’d be on our way home.  As usual, the boys had eaten sandwiches and snacks that I had packed for the day due to their food allergy issues. 

When I informed the hostess we didn’t need kids menus because of the food allergies, she asked what specific allergies and handed me several ‘food allergy menus’.  I was shocked.  While I know some restaurants do accommodate gluten free customers and can generally deal with a seafood or nut allergy, the combination of dairy, egg and nuts has been almost impossible to deal with.  Many times when we go out and mention the allergies, the servers and managers don’t even attempt to try and accommodate, they just let the kids eat the food I bring with us. 

After a lengthy conversation with Jim, the manager on duty, we ordered salads, burgers and fries for the boys.  They couldn't eat the buns as there were eggs in them, however, next time we eat here, Jim said we were welcome to bring our own buns.  The boys ate two hamburger plates each and a nice big garden salad with Italian dressing.  Jim was in the kitchen to make sure the proper precautions were taken to avoid any cross-contamination risk. 

Food allergies have become so much more common and it is reasonable to assume that restaurants would want to be able to serve this clientele, but many don't.  Given the risks, I don't really blame them.  But Red Robin in Millbury certainly goes the extra mile.  Our waitress told us she had several families that come in on  a regular basis and they have mentioned that no other restaurants in that area make the accommodations that Red Robin makes. 
It is such a joy to be able to go out and be able to grab a bite to eat with the boys. We all love burgers and the menu at Red Robin is quite extensive.  We are looking forward to visiting Red Robin again in the very near future.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester, MA

Before 2013 ended, we had the opportunity to visit the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, which closed its doors permanently on December 31, 2013 after 83 years.  Until 2004, this museum was the only museum in the Western Hemisphere dedicated solely to the collection of arms, armor and art.  The Higgins collection is only second in size to the collection exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

The Higgins Armory building is believed to be the first, or one of the first buildings in the United States to be built out of steel and glass alone.  John Higgins opened the museum, called 'The Museum of Steel and Armor' on January 12, 1931 after his years of collecting armor resulted in a collection he could no longer fit in his home.

Knowing the museum was closing, we assumed it was because of low attendance and high overhead.  On the day we arrived we found a long line wrapped around the building, which took almost an hour for admission and was getting longer as we waited.  I remarked to the guy at the door that there were such a large number of people and he told me attendance was never a problem here.  Their endowments were down and many of the pieces were going to be displayed at the Worcester Art Museum.  

Once we entered the museum, we leisurely wandered through the several floors of exhibits.  There were interactive children's exhibits where you could try on a glove, play chess with giant chess pieces and stop for photos.  The little kids could go to a room and create their own shields.  There was an informative film covering the history of the John Higgins and the Higgins Armory.  The impressive great hall had life size knights on horses jousting and housed 24 full suits of armor.  

Highlights of the Higgins Armory museum will be on exhibit at the Worcester Art Museum in 2014 while their library is being renovated to house the collection permanently.  The new exhibit is slated to open in 2015.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside...


Yes it's been really cold, below freezing with ridiculously colder wind chills.  But I love a cold, snowy New England Christmas season and dare Mother Nature for some substantial snowfall so we can go sledding!   She gave us one storm with about six inches of snow, then 50 degree days were the snow melted, then back down to single digit temperatures.  

I wouldn't mind some more snow, but also am looking forward to warmer weather and will leave with these photos to warm us all up from last summer.

Just close your eyes, tap your heels together three times and say, "There's no place like the beach, there's no place like the beach..."

Well, did it work?

Stay warm!!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Batman in Times Square

Before our recent weekends in Manhattan this holiday season, it had been years since we visited The Big Apple.  Some things have changed, some have not.  The characters wandering around Times Square were new to us.  There were Spiderman, Cookie Monster, Elmo and Woody from Toy Story all offering to pose for pictures with the tourists.  David and Mikey were not overly interested until we ran into Batman.  He was very animated, met our gazes and seeing me holding my camera, he offered to set up a couple of poses with the boys.  And of course, they willingly obliged.  

So here's some of what we got!