Christmas in July

Only one Christmas a year can be hard on kids. The waiting, the anticipating…. Why not have a taste mid way through the year if you can. How can it hurt? Many campgrounds have themed weekends, whether it be Luau Weekend or Halloween Weekend, so it helps to look ahead when you book. This way you know to bring your Hawaiian Shirt, some spooky decorations for your camp site or maybe a string of Christmas lights. Our kids love Christmas in July almost as much as Halloween Weekend which occurs Columbus Day Weekend in the early Fall.

We arrived at Brook n Wood Friday night and swam in the pool until it closed at 9:00. My sister came up with her husband, Jeff and their two children and we had the most delightful weekend. We went on a “Zombie/Ninja Hike” later that night before turning in. In the morning we went on a squirt gun hayride and later the kids made gingerbread cookies. More swimming followed by the Santa Claus Hayride in which you can see my father in law on the ukulele next to Santa. He also provided the other music in this video so thanks are in order to Mario for the entire soundtrack.

The kids exhaust themselves up here. They hardly watch any TV and are outside playing constantly. On the hayride you can see Ryan just lose it and fall asleep in our fellow camping kid Brody’s lap.

After the hayride we went up to the Rec. Center where Santa had presents for all the girls and boys (hint, hint to parents) followed by an Ice Cream Social.

The next morning we all went on a hike and painted rocks followed by, you guessed it: more swimming. Ava and Ryan actually took naps in the afternoon and we went out later for ice cream at the Holy Cow in Red Hook, NY.

My sister and family checked out the next day and the children played in the brook and weswam a bit more in the pool to tire the kids out for the ride home. We’re so glad they could come up and join us for the weekend and it’s so nice to get the cousins together.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the video!

McAllister County Park Boat Trip

The kids have been begging to stay sleep over Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a couple of months now so this week worked out that I could bring them out and spend a few days. The weather was beautiful this past Wednesday so we decided to take a trip with Grandpa on his boat out to McAllister County Park in Port Jefferson, NY. This park is just a short trip across the harbor which is perfect for young attention spans. Sarah and Ava came here with us last year but this was Ryan’s first trip.

Pirate’s Cove is adjacent to McAllister Park and can be a very busy anchorage on the weekends. I’m sure you may be able to hike in but I’ve only been by boat. The reward is basically a whole beach to your self.

On this trip we anchored on the protected harbor side, collected shells and swam a bit. We eventually hiked around to the Long Island Sound side for some swimming as well. At high tide there are some great little shallow pools that form behind the breakwater. You can see Ava swimming in these in the video. Last year we must have been there at low tide as I don’t remember them, or it may be the agony my feet were in at the time that may have created pain induced tunnel vision- bring water shoes!  Tons of small rocks and broken shells are abound.

When we got back to the boat we had lunch and headed back as the kids were all tired. They napped in the car and later we all took a dip in the pool for a freshwater rinse. Thanks Grandpa for taking us out, it was a wonderful day.

Our Visit to Old Sturbridge Village

When booking the Sturbridge Jellystone in our previous post this was my number one attraction in the area to visit. It’s less than a mile away from the campground and is much like the Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Nassau County Long Island but much larger. In fact it’s rated as New England’s largest outdoor museum. The admission isn’t cheap but once you get inside it’s apparent what you’re paying for. There are so many actors around the grounds dressed in 1800’s garb and they farm and smith all their own products the old fashioned way. Linda and I could’ve stayed all day as it was so informative but we had to keep the attention span of our children in mind. That being said, we stayed nearly four hours on an oppressively hot morning. With a few minor hiccups, the children were engaged. In the video below I was able to catch Sarah a few times really paying attention. We moved quickly through the village just catching  a glimpse of what life was like back then as we had to to keep the kids interested. We saw a cow being milked, how farm animals are taken care of and used for farming, crops be picked and cultivated and wool being processed and dyed. We visited a blacksmith shop, a tinsmith, a grist mill, a carding mill (prepares wool), and church and general store. We realized just how much we take for granted each day. Life was work back then.

As I stated in the Jellystone post previous to this one, there’s so much to do here I feel we barely scraped the surface here at the village and also in the area as well. There’s a hike nearby at the Tantiusques in which you can hike to an old indian lead mine and cave and a nearby creamery that I wanted to visit but I had to leave them both on the table. Traveling with my children is very rewarding  and I want to show them the world but it’s very hard at the same time. They’re still so little so for now I’ll plan to the hilt and crank it down from there. There’s always next time. We’ll be back in a few years and they’ll get even more out of it when they’re a bit older. Thanks for stopping by.

Our Stay at Jellystone, Campground, Sturbridge Massachusetts

This was our first Jellystone experience as a family. Sarah and I had been to one a couple of years ago during a Father/Son-Daughter camping trip but for the rest of the family it was their first experience with Yogi.

I booked this trip as a shakedown for a longer trip we’re going on this August. Mechanical and emotional problems as they may be, I wanted to test everything out before going on a week long trip. I was looking for about a two hour drive from our campground and Old Sturbridge Village (see our next post) is less than a mile away. I’m happy to say it was a success. Traveling with kids isn’t easy, especially young children. Barring a few challenges along the way, we all came out of it alright.

The Sturbridge Jellystone has a lot of amenities for kids as most campgrounds do but these resorts tend to have more than the average campground. The activities list is chock full of crafts, parties and hayrides with characters making their way through the campground to say hello. Kind of like Walt Disney World crossed with a wooded camping experience. This particular Jellystone has two pools as well as lake swimming, two playgrounds, a petting zoo, miniature golf,  couple of snack bars and even a real bar. We didn’t get to do everything, but the kids really enjoyed the lake swimming and the pool with the waterslide.

We booked a water/electric only campsite as sewer services are not available close to the lake. This was fine, our stay was only two nights and we could’ve stayed a third but the weather wasn’t looking so good the second and third day we were there. Heavy thunderstorms rolled in on our second day and it was cloudy the rest of our stay but our site was great. We were the first site off the lake, right on the beach. Lake swimming was a stones throw away and we could watch the little ones on the playground right from our site which was perfect for us as we sometimes have difficulty keeping all three children in the same place/activity. One always wants to wander off to do something else. They stayed near the site as the location was new to them. At our home campground they’re very familiar with the layout and have tried to wander off succeeding once.

We stayed mid week and checked out on a Friday. All the sites next to us were vacant but we think they book up on the weekend. It could be that these particular sites  don’t have sewer service or that transients for the most part only come out on weekends leaving the campground to the seasonal campers during the week. Nonetheless, I’m sure we’ll make it back here in a few years and as the kids will be older, they’ll get to discover it all over again.

Enjoy the video and thanks for stopping by.

Falling Waters Preserve Hike

We found this hike by Googling top things to do in Saugerties, NY. After the parade we were looking for an excuse to get back to the area and this hike in Glasco, NY was just the thing. The Falling Waters Preserve is located on the Hudson River and consists of three different hikes, the red, white and blue (kinda ties in with the last post, right?). The blue is a smaller loop and the white and red trails form a loop with the falling waters residing basically where they intersect at the end of the preserve.

We thankfully took the white trail first which is way more technical than the red trail which is basically the return trail and can be traversed by off road vehicles. By the time we were returning on the red trail, all three kids were tired and needed to be carried. I ended up carrying Ava on my shoulders, Sarah in the hiking backpack and dragging Ryan down the trail as he was clutching on to the “kickstand” of the pack. This could have never been done had we returned on the white trail as it was much harder than seemed to be described, I would’ve surely broke something( ankle, knee….head).

One of the first real hike my kids took was at Bash Bish Falls in which the largest waterfall in Massachusetts lies at the end. Now they think every hike ends with a waterfall. What a world they live in, huh? Even though the trail map at the trailhead spells out a couple waterfalls, rest assured they are more like falling waters as the name states. It had been a bit dry upstate this Spring so perhaps there are times that the waters are more impressive but this is still a beautiful hike nonetheless and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of nature and exercise.

Independence Day 2016

Happy Birthday America! Our Fourth of July Weekend started off when we got to Brook n Wood on Saturday around noon. The events in the video actually happened on three different days. We would never expect our children to participate in a marathon holiday celebration as it appears in the video. One event/place per day is about all they can handle.

Since the fourth occurred on a Monday this year, festivities actually started on Saturday and led all the way into the actual holiday itself. The events are out of order in the video but seemed to chronologically flow better the way I sequenced them.

We started out with the Germantown Fireworks Display on Saturday night. I’ve been to many fireworks displays and aside from the one in Lake George, this one takes the cake! For a small town, they actually give you a solid 18 to 20 minute show. It’s not too crowded and there are festivities beforehand but we just came for the show. What you see at the end of the film is just the finale.

Sunday morning was the annual Fourth of July bike parade at Brook n Wood Campground. The kids decorate their bikes with flags and our nation’s colors and parade around the campground after a short reading of an excerpt of the Declaration of Independence and the Pledge of Allegiance. Joe and Vanessa really do a great job with it every year. Ava’s doing great with the bicycle this year. She’s out riding for maybe a combined hour each day we’re up camping

. Her and Sarah get to enjoy a little freedom as the make their own way around the campground. I’m sure Ryan will be out there with them next summer.

Monday we want to Saugerties,NY for their annual parade and what a parade it is. Lasting nearly two hours, every fire company and business in the surrounding area gets involved. The kid’s favorite was the Headless Horseman at the end. Well, that and the silly string.

We liked Saugerties so much we went back there the next day checking out the town briefly and hiking in nearby Glasco, NY. Stay tuned for The Falling Waters Hike and more fun and exploration. Thanks for stopping by.

Hey Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone!

Graduation/Moving on time is here, and with a parents pride of their children’s accomplishments comes the realization that the scholarly shackles have been released and we now have the time necessary to go explore and make our own plan. Camping Season is finally upon us!  IMG_1849IMG_1762IMG_1787

Stay tuned as we’re headed to upstate to celebrate July Fourth and later visit Sturbridge, Massachusetts to camp at a Jellystone Campground and explore the area. Thanks for stopping by.

Father’s Day 2016

We went up to Brook n Wood for a very brief weekend for Father’s Day. I had to be back to work Sunday night and Sarah had a half day of school on Friday. We would have left earlier but they were having an ice cream social at her school and we didn’t want her to miss it. So we left Friday afternoon battling weekend traffic all the way up through Westchester but I don’t think we minded too much because of where we were going. The kids watched a video in the back of the van (yes, we caved- but so worth it) and it gave Linda and I a chance to talk.

When we arrived at Brook n Wood we had a nice dinner with Noni and Popi and settled down for a nice campfire. The next morning we wen in exploration of the Lakeview Hike around Lake Taghkanic. Worst hike to date. The children wanted to play at the playground near where we parked, summer heat is upon us and we might have left too late as anything with three very young kids takes three times as long. We also got lost, or rather never found the trailhead. Park employees were of little help in finding this specific trail among the many trails in this park. We wound up on a snowmobile trail and tempers were flaring. We had lunch right there and made our way back to the car/playground (again) and went back to the campground to soak our physical and emotional wounds in the pool. We don’t even have any pics to show but a day camping is still way much better than a day at work.

     The next day was Father’s Day and we rode our bikes one last time and got one last swim in before leaving. I will make this hike work, I just need better maps and maybe start from  the other end (playground there as well) but there’s plenty of time for that. Thanks for stopping by.

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