The Cliffs of Insanity: Live Action Questing

Great Wolf Lodge, Fitchburg, Magiquest
Magiquest station at Great Wolf Lodge photo by Corrina Lawson

This week’s journeys climbing the cliffs of insanity had a happy ending, with some good news for a geek girl, a little celebration of my latest book, and a trip to a fairy-tale place that can keep my twins occupied for an entire day on their own. And it’s not even Disney.

But first, some fun announcements. My steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, made it to #11 on the Amazon steampunk list last month, which thrilled me. (Yes, there’s still a little of Sally Field’s “they like me, they really like me?” after something like that.)

Related to creative news, Erica Heflin, the editor for my comic stories at Grayhaven Comics, and the writer of Flesh of White, starts a new job this week as the writer for Zenescope Comic’s Wonderland series. Erica assures me it will be a great jumping on point for new readers and it’s set in the fictional Wonderland of Alice.

And speaking of fun fictional places…

Yes, I Do Believe in Magiquest

Fitchburg Mayor
Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong at the Grand Opening of Great Wolf Lodge photo by Corrina Lawson (Yes, they gave out a lot of wolf ears that day.)

Last week, I went to the media day for the grand opening of the Great Wolf Lodge, New England, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. If you’re asking, “where the heck is Fitchburg?”, you’re not alone. To outsiders, Massachusetts is divided into three places: Cape Cod, Boston and the Berkshires. But some of the most beautiful parts of New England are in middle Massachusetts, like Fitchburg, which is just off Route 2, and the gateway up to the Mohawk Trail, a drive that ends on a literal hairpin turn at the edge of a cliff.

Jobs are badly needed in this area, which makes me hope the Great Wolf Lodge leads to a real surge in tourism in this area. Fitchburg officials obviously hope so as well because Mayor Lisa A. Wong as well as several other local officials made a point to attend the grand opening.  I spoke to a number of staff members. Nearly all were local and glad to see the hotel open. Aside: how small a town is Fitchburg? As I was checking in, one of the staff realized that she’d gone to high school with the son of the other staff member. That small.

Economics aside, I haven’t had such a relaxing day with my twins in forever.

What led to this near-miracle?

Several factors:

Magiquest:

The role-playing game exclusive to Great Wolf Lodge in which you use an actual wand to interact with the computerized stations all throughout the hotel. Yes, it does make you feel like you’re a real wizard and it can be played by all ages. It’s sort of a computerized live-action role play and it’s great.

The indoor water park and water slides:

I’ve been recovering from surgery for a torn tendon in my ankle, so I let the twins loose in the water park and took a seat. For nearly three hours. They stopped back in when they became thirsty.

The staff:

The reason it can be so harrowing for me on vacation is that I’m dealing with special needs kids who need a lot of watching. It was with baited breath that I let them play Magiquest on their own, albeit with a phone so they or staff could contact me. They’re teenagers now and they need to do things on their own and it worked very well. But I also noticed several staff helping them through the experience, including a gentleman called Alex who had patience. Thank you.

There was another cool part of the park that my youngest son loved. It’s the Howlin’ Timbers Peak Ropes Course, which is a rope walk/climb up high enough that you must use a harness that hooks you to a safety belt. Because you will slip and fall.

Basically, this was a place where they could actively play and be engaged the entire day, with no lines. I imagine it’ll get more crowded as the school lets out but this would be a perfect place for a geeky family retreat, as everyone seems to love Magiquest.

The sad part is Magiquest isn’t included if you stay overnight. However, the Ropes Course and the indoor waterpark are included, as well as the indoor play area. There’s also an arcade but that struck me like all arcades: a money sink for parents. Right now, you can book a family one-room suite on their website for $153. For $63.75 each additionally, you can buy a pass that includes a Magiquest game, plus a wand, and a few other extras. Note: deals may change as the summer continues.

We’ll probably go back for a day trip, since we have the wands and they remain usable for the foreseeable future. Playing another round will cost about $14 each.

Onto further adventures!

I’m going with the youngest son to Special Edition New York Comic Con on Saturday and Sunday. He’s on a quest to go to the Archie Comics panel on Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m after one of Gail Simone’s scripts. We’re both looking to commission some artwork.

I’ll report back next week on the swag.

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.