Kids’ Almanac (July 31-August 7)

(Storm King Art Center)

(Storm King Art Center)

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt


Swim across the Hudson to benefit Beacon’s River Pool

The River Pool at Beacon is open for the season, which means that you might want to keep a swimsuit and towel in the car for you and your crew for spontaneous dips. Singer and environmentalist Pete Seeger spearheaded the idea for this River Pool to enable people a unique way to swim safely and easily in the Hudson River, which might then ignite a desire to protect the waterway.

My kids enjoy the River Pool because it’s so peaceful and scenic. They like the built-in seating along the side, and they think that the mesh bottom is cool to walk on. The depth is always between 24 and 30 inches. I think that it’s great because it’s so close to the playground. It’s easy for me to relax in the enclosed 20-foot space because, between the lifeguard on duty and the single access point to get in and out, my family can play without the stress of one of them wandering off. Plus, it’s free!


The River Pool is located at Riverfront Park in Beacon, along the same road as the train station and the tennis courts. The River Pool is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 12 noon to 6 p.m.

And calling all experienced swimmers! On Saturday, August 2, you can join in the annual river-cross fundraiser for the River Pool, the Swim. Registration requires a $100 donation per swimmer, so start raising those funds! For more information about the River Pool or the Swim or to make a donation, visit


Teen Revelers club offers discounts at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

Let’s say that you’re a teen between 16 and 19, and you love outdoor performances of Shakespeare during the summer. Or maybe you and your friends are just looking for an alternative to (another) movie night. Then you’ll want to check out this new Teen Revelers incentive at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF). It’s a free program that gives you excellent discounts at the festival.

Teens from ages 16 to 19 can sign up online, and a membership card will be mailed to you. Simply present your card to receive these benefits: $10 tickets to select performances; a ten percent discount at the HVSF café and on HVSF merchandise; 10 percent discount tickets to Friday Night tastings; and priority access and discounts to HVSF special events including Teen Night. And as I said, it’s free!

This season’s plays are Othello, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Liar and a kid-friendly production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival takes place on the gorgeous estate grounds and gardens of Boscobel, located at 1601 Route 9D in Garrison. For more information or to register, call (845) 265-9575 or visit


Check out pizza at Umberto’s in Poughkeepsie

We just needed one more strikeout by the K-man for some free Umberto’s pizza at a recent Hudson Valley Renegades game, and the crowd roared as he approached the plate. The K-man is a designated player on the opposing team who will win a prize for spectators if he strikes out three times during the game. On his final miss, the crowd jumped to their feet, ecstatic to win the promised pizza! And I concur: Pizza at Umberto’s definitely deserves a standing ovation.

Our family’s K-man coupon outing was our first visit to Umberto’s of Mamma Marisa Restaurant, and I can’t wait to go back. I felt comfortable the moment I walked in: We were seated right away, and our kids were warmly welcomed. Fellow patrons included families with all ages of children, as well as couples and singleton tables. Somehow this venue feels right for any type of clientele. How do you do that?

Our waitstaff was friendly and attentive and service was prompt. Christina, the pastry chef married into the Annunziata family who own the establishment, stopped by all of the tables, just to check in and say “Hi” – that special touch some restaurants do, especially when you know the owners, except we were new and didn’t know anybody. Still, she made me feel like we did. At the end, I still didn’t want to leave. I even hugged my new friend Christina goodbye.

As far as the food, my Umberto’s Lemonade mixed drink was excellent, and we liked our salads and all of the homemade desserts. I heard that they’ve got a new takeout menu, too. But I am still obsessed with the pizza. It’s old-school pizza, like the kind that my friend’s Mom used to cut with her scissors.

Umberto’s has been at this location since the 1970s, when it was the only game in town: a pizza joint surrounded by farmland. It has now expanded into dining rooms, as well as a separate banquet area for events, but the original sign hanging in the back of the building reminds one of its roots. For a bite after Bounce! or a quick lunch on your way to the movies, definitely try Umberto’s.

Thanks to Umberto’s and the Hudson Valley Renegades for partnering on the K-man! What a perfect example of local businesses working together and building community. Umberto’s of Mamma Marisa Restaurant is located at 2245 South Road in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 462-5117 or visit See you there!


Walk & picnic in Eleanor’s footsteps at Val-Kill in Hyde Park

Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” How about the chance to walk in Roosevelt’s own footsteps? She loved taking walks around her Val-Kill Cottage property, now a national historic site. And the Val-Kill trails are part of the Hyde Park Trails network: Walk any five of the designated trails, and earn a patch!

My daughter and I took the Eleanor’s Walk Loop trail, which begins past the bridge and cottage area. This lovely wooded walk is less than a mile, 1.6 kilometers, and seems suitable for all abilities. Bring a picnic to enjoy before you start or after you’ve finished hiking; there are tables near the house, or sit by the stream. And the bathrooms are located right next to the gift shop. Access to the trails and grounds is free.

The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is located at 56 Valkill Park Road in Hyde Park – just down the road from Rita’s Ice, which helped to refresh us after the hike. For more information, call (845) 229-9422 or visit