Kids’ Almanac (Feb. 28-Mar. 7)

Maple sugaring events in Olivebridge and Cornwall

Our family is big on maple syrup, and we enjoy tapping some of the trees along our driveway, savoring the subtle promise of the sweetwater sap, inhaling the aromas while it boils down, and finally appreciating the full, thick maple flavor on our pancakes. If your family likes maple syrup like ours does, then you’ll be happy to know that maple season is in full swing –and this weekend, I have two recommendations for you:

On Saturday, March 2, it’s Ashokan’s Maple Fest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Not only does the pancake breakfast last all day, but the entertainment also includes music from Jay & Molly and Ratboy, Jr., storytelling by Story Laurie and square dancing. There will also be hands-on activities such as tapping a tree, blacksmithing, tinsmithing and broommaking, as well as walking trails to explore throughout the campus. Admission costs $10 for adults, $5 for kids and is free for children under age 5. The Ashokan Center is located at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge. For more information, call (845) 657-8333 or visit

One cool aspect about the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum maple tour is the way that it breaks down the information at each stop along the trail. For one hour, visitors walk outside and discover how to identify maple trees and learn about the history of sugaring, with a taste test at the end where you try to guess between maple and artificial syrup. I like the display of the ratio of sap to syrup; it made it so much easier for my family to understand what 40:1 actually looks like. I also delighted in seeing a few bluebirds flitting around us along the trail.


The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Maple Festival takes place on Saturday, March 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes special crafts, games and storytelling, in addition to the regular tour. Tours take place every half-hour from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at a cost of $12 for adults and $6 for children aged 3 to 11 years, with a discount for Museum members.

Since you’re outside for the tour, dress warmly, and wear warm socks and boots. The tour is open to all ages, but the trail is not stroller-friendly. This season’s tour dates are March 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24. The Outdoor Discovery Center is located at 100 Muser Drive in Cornwall. For more information, call (845) 534-5506 or visit


YA authors Laurie Crompton & Kimberly Sabatini in New Paltz

Jennifer Castle’s great book The Beginning of After was my gateway to enjoyment of Young Adult (YA) literature, and I’m in good company. Publishers’ Weekly says that 55 percent of YA buyers are age 18 or older, and 78 percent of the time they’re purchasing it for themselves.

I heard about a great YA event happening this weekend, so whether you are a tween, a teen or an adult, here are the details: On Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m., Laurie Crompton, author of Blaze, and Kimberly Sabatini, author of Touching the Surface, will host a book launch at Inquiring Minds. This is a terrific opportunity to meet the people behind the stories: to connect directly with the authors and for them to get to know their readers. I also consider these books a total gift to relating to youth, because they can be a fantastic way to connect with teens around tough subjects, in a neutral way.

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) is a young woman named after a comic book character who feels invisible at school, draws comics and has a crush on a guy who doesn’t know she exists. One sexy pic later, he notices her, they date, then he dumps her for no reason. She goes through ups and downs and learns from plenty of mistakes around sexting (sending provocative pictures), which could launch some good conversations about this tricky topic at home.

In Touching the Surface, Sabatini leads the reader through a story that crosses through different realms, from the physical to a form of the afterlife. The lead character, Elliott, discovers that she has died again and must summon the courage to face the past to move forward. The style of the writing and the topics that are explored can lead to discussions of Heaven, Hell and karma, which can be helpful common ground for talking to youth.

Inquiring Minds is located at 6 Church Street in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 255-8300 or visit To learn more about the authors, visit and