Kids’ Almanac (Aug. 31-Sept. 7)

Here’s the scoop

Summer isn’t summer until you get to Nancy’s of Woodstock Artisanal Creamery. I am using words to describe this ice cream miracle, but don’t take my word for it; taste for yourself. Then let me know which flavor you just got hooked on.

I found Nancy’s, located in the heart of Woodstock, very accessible: easy to park and walk to the shop. Literally everything is made on-site. From the chocolate sauce to the ice creams themselves to the temptations like Key lime pie, I have never experienced anything else like it. They don’t just make the ice cream; the ingredients are all locally sourced, such as milk and eggs. Owners Kathryn and Sam Spata live here, and every bite is like a celebration of Catskill country.

I picked up a Key lime pie at my first visit to the Creamery, and a few hours later, my family had eaten the entire thing. My daughter said, “We’re out of Key lime pie, we need to get some more!” like it was suddenly a pantry staple.


I asked a bunch of questions while I ate my way through the menu. Nancy’s of Woodstock Artisanal Creamery is located at 105 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For more information or special orders, call (845) 684-5329 or visit See you there!

What are some of most popular flavors among customers, as well as your own preferences?

Customer favorites are vanilla, chocolate, and banana. Sam: “I love our milkshakes – thick and flavorful.” Kathryn: “I love our strawberry ice cream!”

What inspires the flavor choices?

We’ve traveled around the world, lived and worked in London and New York City; we’re drawing on a lifetime’s memories of delicious treats from many places.

Are you planning to do business seasonally or year-round?

We are a year-round business; it’s always a good time for ice cream! Plus, our custom ice cream cakes help celebrate every occasion on the calendar.

What makes your product different from other local homemade frozen confections?

We really don’t think about ourselves in comparison with others. We think about our ice cream and treats as desserts we’d want to serve our friends and family at home. We make products that are: delightful, with unique and unexpected flavors, like strawberry balsamic ice cream and blackberry basil sorbet; authentic, where everything we serve – sauces, cones, cookies, cakes and ice cream – is made fresh in the shop every day and features local dairy, produce and artisanal favorites like Fruition chocolate; three dozen fresh bananas go into each batch of our caramelized banana ice cream; and healthy, using fresh eggs, heavy cream and cane sugar in small batches, and no artificial flavorings, colorings, stabilizers or preservatives.

The “Outrageous Sundaes” sound amazing – who designs those?

Kathryn is our “visionary-in-chief.” She keeps a “flavor bible” by her side at all times, to be ready whenever inspiration strikes!

What are your plans moving forward? More menu items? Hold things where they are? Expand retail space or create a new shop?

We are always adding seasonal items; we’re thinking about what we can make with a local maple syrup and apples in the fall. We are working hard to make our shop a success in Woodstock, then expand offerings to restaurants (several have approached us) and eventually open a new shop, elsewhere in the Hudson Valley.

Tell me why should families and children come to your establishment.

When we see children tasting each other’s treat and exclaiming “Wow!” you can’t help but feel the happiness. We are fanatic about cleanliness. Our shop is airy, bright and kid-friendly. Our sunlit patio is a quiet place for friends and families to sit, enjoy and relax. Parking is easy at our end of Tinker Street; plus, we have our own off-street parking in the back. We love our customers as much as they love our ice cream!



Iroquois Festival in Howes Cave

I have heard rave reviews of the annual Iroquois Festival over the past few years, and while I haven’t yet made it to this particular event, I highly recommend the Iroquois Museum itself, where the festival takes place. Here’s why I love the museum: It’s about Iroquois history and contemporary culture. And it’s created by Native Americans themselves, not interpreted for them by others.

The Festival brings together so many tribes and has fun, engaging hands-on activities for all ages; plus, you can hike the trails, view the exhibits and, of course, fantastic storytelling and dancing. I also heard that live animals will be on hand as part of presentations about wildlife conservation.

You could even combine your visit with a stop at rustic, old-school Secret Caverns (or more modern Howe Caverns is nearby, too).

The annual Iroquois Indian Festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday, September 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular museum admission costs $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors 62 and older as well as students 13 to 17, $5 for ages 5 to 12 and is free for children 4 and under. The Iroquois Indian Museum is located at 324 Caverns Road in Howes Cave. For more information, call (518) 296-8949 or visit To learn more about the area caverns available to visit, head to and


Fall Family Day at Catskill Interpretive Center

How does this lineup of outdoor fun sound to you and your kids? Making animal tracks, painting rocks, beginner birdwatching, scavenger hunts, storytime and more – and plenty of afternoon left to do other area activities, afterwards! This Saturday, September 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., join the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center’s Fall Family Day for engaging and educational nature experiences for all ages.

The Catskill Interpretive Center is located at 5096 Route 28 in Mount Tremper. For more information, call (845) 688-3369 or visit



Music under the Stars & fireworks at West Point

Come on now, did you happen to leave up your flag decorations from July 4? ::raises hand:: Well, then you’re all prepared for this weekend! This Sunday, September 3 at 6 p.m., bring your lawn chairs, beer, dog, picnic and patriotism to the Trophy Point Amphitheater for the Music under the Stars Labor Day Celebration with Fireworks Display with the West Point Band! This free event is open to all, but bring identification for anyone 16 and older, because you’ll need it to get into the gate. In addition to traditional favorites, you’ll hear Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannon. The spectacular view is free, just like the event itself.

Trophy Point is located at West Point, with additional information and directions here: For more information, call (845) 938-2617.



Saugerties Historical Society screens Mary Poppins

Any Guardians of the Galaxy fans here? Perhaps you recognize this quote from Yondu, in Volume 2: “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all.”

Well, here’s a chance to catch your family up on classic movie culture! On Monday, September 4 at 6 p.m., squeeze out the last bit of summer for all it’s worth, and take your crew to see Mary Poppins: the final screening of the Movies in the Barn series presented by the Saugerties Historical Society. The film will be shown at 119 Main Street in Saugerties, behind the Kiersted House, and you’ll need to bring your own blankets and chairs. All ages are welcome.

For information, call (845) 246-0784 or visit


Coming up…

The Hudson Valley Renegades’ final game of the season takes place against the Aberdeen IronBirds this Thursday, September 7 at 6:35 p.m. I encourage you to cheer loudly and proudly for pitcher Hector Lopez, because he stayed with my friends this summer (most players are hosted by local families each season), so he’s obviously my automatic favorite. I don’t need stats for that!

During the game, the Renegades shop traditionally holds a season-end sale on HVR merch; and afterwards, stay for the awesome fireworks. Ticket prices are so budget-friendly, starting at $6. For tickets or more information, call (845) 838-0094 or visit

Understanding Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders is precisely what many parents, family members, special education administrators and instructors need; and honestly, I think everyone could benefit from attending this workshop. The session takes place on Thursday, September 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Center for Spectrum Services at 4 Yankee Place in Ellenville, and features topics such as a review of diagnostic practices, how autism develops, support strategies, evidence-based teaching methodologies and more. The cost is $55. For more information or to register, call (845) 647-6464 or visit


Music Class and Singalong presented by Music Together is a free family melodic and movement experience for children ages 0 to 4 years and their adults. Part of a series of free musical family offerings by Music Together, this event takes place on Saturday, September 9 at 10 a.m. at Woodland Pond, located at 100 Woodland Pond Circle in New Paltz. Just head to the Health Center Building, second floor, to the Community Room. All you need to do is register at To learn more about the instructors and programming, visit


Erica’s cancer journey: 

“You’re doing it wrong!”

The fervor in some people’s cancer conversations with me over these past two years reminds me of the intensity some folks approached me with during my first pregnancy, from waxing philosophic about a particular OB-GYN or midwife to long diatribes about why it’s better for the Earth to use cloth or disposable diapers – all without my having posed a question, and well before the baby had even arrived!

Some people are absolutely convinced that I should follow their lifestyle tips, adjust to their miracle diets or receive care at their preferred cancer facilities; but they don’t know my situation, or even the specific type of my breast cancer (there are many different kinds, just like tickborne diseases). The energy behind their words can feel like, “Erica, you’re doing it wrong!”

Now that I’m expecting to pass away within a matter of months, the current static is more about my preparation for death and end-of-life choices, because it means less time for getting together. I am racing against the clock to complete my preparations.

I’ve been the zealot countless times. I wish I could take back the moments I may have created these feelings of inadequacy and confusion in another person.

I have traveled the world; I have seen, done, eaten and experienced a tremendous amount in my lifetime. My entire focus right now is fully living, and fully dying; so the kids still get their mac & cheese, and I am cleaning out my basement.

It’s not everyone’s way, not everyone’s choice. And I resist offering advice now, more than ever. What might be a throwaway conversation to me could be a real curveball to you. My goal is simply to See You and to Hear You before sharing myself.

Erica Chase-Salerno could stop eating heirloom tomato sandwiches, but why do that? She can be reached at