Kids’ Almanac (7/6-13)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

“[Son] Henry, offering me some help in my attempt to play a video game with him: ‘Let me put this setting on. It’s basically for very young children and middle-aged Dads.’”
– Grady, Eddyville


Bannerman’s Island

Looking to add Hudson Valley castles to your bucket list? Interested in a historic local spot that’s accessible only by boat? After riding past Pollepel Island (better known locally as Bannerman’s Island) for years on the train, I had no idea of the many renovations, developments and events that have been underway! I experienced a fantastic visit and can’t wait to return for a Constellation Tour this summer.

After stepping on board the boat in Beacon (Newburgh is another choice), I enjoyed the pleasant ride over. When we landed, I took a deep breath and climbed up the many steps to the main part of the island. As the main path wound around, I marveled at the gorgeous river and mountain views, as well as the vestiges of daily life from families who inhabited the island over the years. Visiting Bannerman’s Island feels like a treasure known only to me (and now, also you). There’s something to draw in almost everyone, except full accessibility: no ramps or elevator or smooth passage for providing support or assisted mobility.


In the meantime, there are lots of opportunities for volunteering, such as gardening; choosing from a variety of tours; seeing varied performances such as the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s Romeo and Juliet; an original Whiskey Woman show; storyteller Jonathan Kruk; War of the Worlds; Constellation, a piece where points of light lead the eye around and about the Bannerman structure; a lecture by someone who actually lived on the island with her family; and last month’s performance of The American Soldier by Douglas Taurel. Tickets and reservations for tours and upcoming events are listed and priced on the website.

I very highly recommended getting over to Bannerman’s Island this summer. And I’ll keep practicing “Pollepel Island,” until it feels as solid as saying “Bannerman’s”! For tickets, reservations, volunteer opportunities or information, visit



Board the Niña in Newburgh

Tall Ship Niña is not one of my sk8tr tags, but actually a replica of Christopher Columbus’ ship, the Niña, and it’s docked in Newburgh from July 7 to 11 for self-guided tours! Afraid your kids will forget some of that good history learning over the summer? This is the perfect field trip to help make the past feel more real, because we can walk around the ship and try to imagine traversing thousands of miles of ocean before enslaving as many people as distance traveled. The kids benefit from seeing a slice of history recreated. I benefit from eating at Billy Joe’s Ribworks on the deck afterwards. Win/win!

Tall Ship Niña visits cost $8 for adults, $7 for seniors ages 60 and over, $6 for children ages 5 to 16 years; ages 4 and under get in free. Tall Ship Niña is docked at Riverside Marina, located at 40 Front Street in Newburgh, along the waterfront. For group reservations of 15 or more, or for additional questions, call (845) 661-4914 or visit



Community Free Day at Dia:Beacon

Amazing art. Fully accessible. All ages. Free. Yes, it’s Dia:Beacon’s Community Free Day, and that means residents of Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties can visit Dia for free this Saturday, July 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for free! Check this one off of your summer delights list, and let me know what you think!

Dia:Beacon is located at 3 Beekman Street in Beacon. For more information, visit


World War I centennial exhibit in Grahamsville

Many of us have a family connection to World War I, but over time, does it feel challenging for our kids to understand the importance of remembering this heroism? The Time and the Valleys Museum can help! Designed to highlight local history, Time & Valleys offers “A Weekend of Remembering World War I, 100 Years Later” this Saturday, July 8 at 2 p.m. through Sunday, July 9 at 4 p.m. The exhibit costs $3.

Saturday’s events include a lecture about the local inventor of the Connell Gas Mask and a historical talk about new weapons and other aspects of World War I. Sunday is all about music! Mark Rust performs and even invites us to sing along with his set of music from World War I, “Songs of the Soldier.”

The Time and the Valleys Museum is located at 332 Main Street in Grahamsville. For more information, call (845) 985-7700 or visit To learn more about the musician, visit


Fireworks & music at West Point

Wondering how to wow your family with fireworks this weekend? Missed out on the shows last weekend? Or just love the bright array and accompanying booms? Head over to the pinnacle of patriotism, West Point!

Independence Day Celebration 2017 takes place at Trophy Point in West Point this Saturday, July 8 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. And it’s free! So bring chairs and a blanket, pack a picnic and take in the variety of tunes by the Army band, and enjoy a fireworks finale! Trophy Point is located at 117 Washington Road in West Point. For more information, visit


Stone House Day in Hurley

This is it! Just like we practiced! It’s Hurley Stone House Day, which means that cool sign on Route 209 in Hurley with the old-fashioned long S that looks like an “f” is telling us that it’s happening right now! On Saturday, July 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., we get to go inside of the over-300-year-old houses that we drive by the rest of the year. These are homes that were constructed during the era of Handel’s Water Music, a horrible term renaming slaves as “real estate” in the Virginia Black Code of 1705 and state mash-ups: New Jersey was combined from East and West Jersey, while Carolina was separated into North and South Click (nickname for Carolina).

Stone House Day also has a 1777 Ulster Militia Encampment, costumed guides, crafts and demonstrations and a library sale! Tickets are available at the event in the Hurley Reformed Church. Admission costs $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors (which also includes a $2 cafeteria coupon!), $2 for children ages 6 through 12 and free for children 5 and under. Hurley Stone House Day is located at 17 Main Street in Hurley. For information, visit


Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome spotlights veterans, tractors this weekend

To me, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome (ORA) means history, local pride and breathless fun! My favorite part of the day is the biplane ride, an experience that I find absolutely thrilling and unique: in the open air, wind rushing by, with gorgeous views of our valley as we loop to the Hudson River and back. Some people enjoy checking out the airplanes in the different display barns, but personally, I prefer to spend that time in the museum, where the plane exhibits are shown chronologically, along with descriptions of their significance. I delighted in learning about renowned female pilots of the era, too!

But the biggest draw is the air shows, which run on weekends all summer long, and that’s what gets families hooked on ORA (the most sensitive ears in your household would benefit from bringing noise-reduction headphones). Back in the day, ORA founder Cole Palen was actually responsible for helping to legitimize and create value around antique airplanes. His restoration, sales and trades of vintage aircraft led to the establishment of a museum for them at ORA, and organizations from around the country followed suit.

The Aerodrome is a great place to take your own crew, as well as visiting “framily” (friends+family) or even strangers – bring everyone! There’s nothing else like it, it’s fiercely local…and biplane rides! (Remember to tip your pilot.)


This weekend is a special time to check out the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, as they celebrate Veterans’ Appreciation Weekend, Tractor Weekend and the History of Flight Air Show on Saturday and Veterans’ Appreciation Weekend, Tractor Weekend and the World War I Air Show on Sunday. Shows begin about 2 p.m. and finish around 4 p.m. Did I mention that Sunday’s show is a dogfight, including a hero, heroine and a villain, along with pyrotechnics and a World War I tank!

While you’re there, keep your eye out for ORA president Mike DiGiacomio, who is so knowledgeable about aircraft and has a terrific sense of humor, including insisting to any new guest that he’s the janitor.

Admission this weekend is free for veterans and active or retired military personnel, $20 for seniors, $25 for adults, $12 for youth ages 6 to 17 and free for children 5 and under. The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is located at 9 Norton Road in Red Hook. For more information, call (845) 752-3200 or visit


Fairy Garden Day at Mountain Top Arboretum

Are fairies a big deal in your household? Like, are we talking more than the traditional nighttime tooth-trader? Because here’s the fairyest activity you could ask for this weekend: On Saturday, July 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Mountain Top Arboretum, families with children ages 3 to 12 are invited to Fairy Garden Day! Kids get to sculpt fairy creatures for the fairy garden, along with the support of local sculptors Susie Brown and Chip Gallagher. The cost is $10, and free for members.

The Mountain Top Arboretum is located at 4 Maude Adams Road in Tannersville. To register or for more information, call (518) 589-3903 or visit



Maritime Signals workshop at Hudson River Maritime Museum

Is semaphore flagging your passion? No problem, because Maritime Signals is the theme of this weekend’s family program at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. On Sunday, July 9 at 1 p.m., families with children of all ages are invited to learn more about this sailor language, using real flags and practicing by making a nametag spelled using international maritime signal flags. The Maritime Signals workshop is free with museum admission: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children, $20 family rate and free for active-duty military families and all children aged 4 and under. Reservations are strongly suggested.

The Hudson River Maritime Museum is located at 50 Rondout Landing in Kingston. To register or for more information, call (845) 338-0071 or visit



Theater Arts & Playwriting Workshops at Chatham’s PS21

Leslie Odom, Jr. played Aaron Burr in Hamilton: An American Musical, and he describes his experience of the “Story of Tonight song”: “That’s the one that made me a puddle, because it was four men of color onstage singing a song about friendship and brotherhood and love, and I had never seen that in a musical. I had seen white guys do it – in Jersey Boys, in Les Miz; never seen a black guy. So I was a mess, and from that point, I was along for the ride.”

What if your child’s own playwriting could impact the world like Hamilton? PS21 offers a variety of summer youth programs, including Theater Arts & Playwriting Workshops, which take place on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. from July 10 to August 11. This class is open to youth ages 5 to 12 years, and the cost is $180 ($150 for PS21 members).

PS21 is located at 2980 Route 66 in Chatham. For more information or to register, call (518) 392-9848 or visit



Catskill Interpretive Center presents Trail Tales

Your kid’s storytime just got a sweet infusion of news, nature and fun into the roundup! Trail Tales at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center takes place every Thursday in July and August, beginning Thursday, July 6, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kids ages 3 to 7 are invited to hear stories, sing and create hands-on nature activities under unique weekly themes inspired by the natural world – and it all takes place outside on the Center’s fully accessible nature trail. Trail Tales is free and open to the public of all ages.

The Catskill Interpretive Center is located at 43355 Route 28 in Arkville. Remember rugged footwear, a water bottle, snacks and sunscreen. For more information, call (845) 586-2611 or visit



Keep an eye out for the Panorama youth camp at the Olana State Historic Site, starting on Monday, July 10:

Looking for Young Writers’ Summer Camp? Check out the Clermont State Historic Site’s Making Art & History on the Riverfront, beginning Monday, July 10:

Congratulations to the Watershed Detectives at Bennett Intermediate School in Boiceville, who produced a 22-minute education video about protecting and conserving water! You can view the piece here:

We’re cheering for you and your phenomenal season, Kingston Stockade FC!

As a reminder, Activist Story Hour is on hiatus until fall:

Ladybugs brought us good luck, because the creators behind the Ladybug Girl series have a treat for us: a brand-new title! Jacky Davis appears at Millbrook Farmers’ Market at 3263 Franklin Avenue in Millbrook with her latest book, Black Belt Bunny on Sunday, July 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon; (845) 677-5857,



Here’s a roundup of family-friendly live music this weekend, whether you create it yourself or you just like to go listen:

Dog on Fleas: eclectic family music. Thursday, July 6, 6:30 p.m. Free. Elting Memorial Library, 93 Main Street, New Paltz; (845) 255-5030;

Youth Open Mic for performers ages 18 and under. Thursday, July 6, 7 p.m. No cover. Towne Crier Café, 379 Main Street, Beacon; (845) 401-4062;

The Ladles: three-part harmony. Friday, July 7, 8 p.m. Admission is free for youth under 16 years; full-time students pay $5; adults pay $10 at the door. Maverick Concerts, 120 Maverick Road, Woodstock; (845) 679-8217;

Hudson Valley Kindie Rock Summit: Khusi Hona fundraiser with Ratboy, Jr., Dog on Fleas, Uncle Rock and Story Laurie. Sunday, July 9, 12 noon to 3 p.m. $8 adults, $5 kids, babies under 1 get in free. Colony, 22 Rock City Road, Woodstock;, www.facebook/colonywoodstockny,



Here are two family-pleasing musical classics to consider attending this weekend with your favorite theater companions:

Mary Poppins: July 7 to 23, Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. Tickets cost $32 to $40. Woodstock Playhouse, 103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock; (845) 679-6900,

Saturday Night Fever: July 6 to 23 on varied days. Tickets cost $10 to $36. Mac-Haydn Theatre, 1925 Route 203, Chatham; (518) 392-9292,

Erica Chase-Salerno wants to hear about your sizzling summer! Tell me about your family’s favorite places to go! E-mail