Monica Virga Alborno has always had the travel bug. The Sussex County native grew up on a dairy farm in Newton but left New Jersey in 2011 for a career abroad. She lives with her husband and daughter in Norway and has visited nearly 80 countries and lived on four continents. Monica’s experience as a new mom and her love of travel led her to launch Wanderlust Family Retreats for moms and their little ones. We asked what sets these getaways apart from other trips.
New Jersey Family: What inspired Wanderlust Family Retreats?
Monica Virga Alborno: As I became a first-time mom, I experienced that beautiful bond and unconditional love that you cannot quite describe until you feel it yourself. I also experienced the isolation and exhaustion that comes with the territory. This led me to create Wanderlust Family Retreats, a four-day getaway for mothers and children where mothers can have some time to reset and breathe while the children take part in camp-style activities exploring nature.
NJF: How do you go about choosing your destinations?
MVA: The destinations (Catskills, NY and Cape Cod, MA) were chosen to be in driving distance for moms located in the Northeastern part of the US.
NJF: What’s the cost of a retreat and what distinguishes it from others?
MVA: Our four-day retreats cost $2,850 all-inclusive of fitness and group activities, farm-to-table meals, childcare and accommodations. We offer the unique ability to not only bring your child with you, but have curated experiences for mothers, children and both together. We host a boho chic brunch for moms while children do activities in nature crafted by a Montessori mom. We also offer bespoke experiences like a complimentary birth chart synastry reading for mother and child that gives insight on how their personalities and paths in life intertwine. Our childcare program also has a caregiver ratio of one caregiver to every three children.
NJF: What do you miss most about living in New Jersey?
MVA: My grandfather and his brother operated a dairy farm in Sussex County, and once the farm was no longer operational, they split the land between the children to build their homes on. I grew up with so many family members living in walking distance from each other with frequent gatherings like pet birthday parties and meeting up with the cousins to run around in the cornfield. Now, raising my family abroad we no longer have the family around every day, but when we are together it’s quality time we cherish. Also, I can’t forget New Jersey diners: Hampton Diner and Jefferson Diner are our favorites!