Erica’s Cancer Journey: “It’s still summer” checklist

Young artist at work at FiberFlame drop-in craft studio in West Saugerties (photo by Dion Ogust)

“Summer’s lease hath
all too short a date.”
– William Shakespeare 

Me: “I want to travel more.”

The bank account: “Like, to the park?”

Mid-August. Camps wind down. Marketers sell the “wrong” notebooks, at least according to the School Supply List. My son will outgrow his new pants in three months. But it’s still summer! So, I have compiled a list of terrific local family-friendly and budget-friendly destinations throughout the Hudson Valley, most of which I have taken my own kids to over the years. No passports or packing required!

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As a mom, I am committed to raising my kids to know where they come from by offering experiences in, on and around the Hudson River.

As a mom with cancer, I am restricted from driving and operate with limited energy. My kids are impossibly older than my mind tricks me into believing, and exploring as a family feels increasingly precious because they are starting to honor personal responsibilities outside of our home. It’s hard to match schedules. I also don’t anticipate being here during their impending adulthood. This list is my answer to, “What can we do together before this moment in time passes?” Get to know our Hudson Valley, or go even deeper and revisit some favorites, and ground your family in local history and incredible experiences right here. And of course, please add your own ideas to the list!

As Susan Sontag said, “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” I invite you to look through this collection of special Hudson Valley spots and note the places you have been to already, and I challenge you to take in as many as you can before Labor Day (also not the end of summer, but psychologically has the “RealFeel” of fall). I’d love to hear about it; feel free to share your summer adventures with me at kidsalmanac@ulsterpublishing.com.

Kids’ Almanac Hudson Valley summer checklist

“Kilometers are shorter than miles.
Save gas: Take your next trip in kilometers.”

– George Carlin

Animals

Forsyth Nature Center (free) in Kingston, http://forsythnaturecenter.org 

Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, www.millbrook.org/page/trevor-zoo-home 

Art

Dia: Beacon in Beacon, www.diaart.org/visit/visit/diabeacon-beacon-united-states 

FiberFlame Crafting in Saugerties, www.fiberflamestudio.com 

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (free) at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, https://fllac.vassar.edu 

Storm King Art Center (free on 8/30) in New Windsor, https://stormking.org 

Drive-in movies

Four Brothers Drive-in Theater in Amenia, http://playeatdrink.com 

Hi-Way Drive-in Theatre in Coxsackie, seven miles north of Catskill, www.hiwaydrivein.com 

Overlook Drive-in Theatre in Poughkeepsie, http://overlookdrivein.com 

Hyde Park Drive-in Theatre in Hyde Park, http://hydeparkdrivein.com  

Hikes

Awosting Falls at Minnewaska State Park Preserve, https://parks.ny.gov/parks/127/details.aspx 

Black Creek Preserve (free) in Esopus, www.scenichudson.org/parks/blackcreek 

Esopus Meadows Preserve (free) in Ulster Park, www.scenichudson.org/parks/esopusmeadows  

Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, www.innisfreegarden.org 

John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary and Slabsides (free) in West Park, www.johnburroughsassociation.org 

Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park (free) in Highland and Poughkeepsie, https://parks.ny.gov/parks/178/details.aspx 

History

Bannerman Island, departures from Beacon and Newburgh, www.bannermancastle.org 

Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield (free) in Hyde Park, www.beatrixfarrandgardenhydepark.org 

Boscobel in Garrison, www.boscobel.org 

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill in Hyde Park, www.nps.gov/elro/index.htm  

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Presidential Library (mix of free/fee) in Hyde Park, www.nps.gov/hofr/index.htm 

Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, www.hrmm.org 

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in Kingston and Poughkeepsie, www.clearwater.org 

Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, https://maverickconcerts.org 

Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, www.olana.org 

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Red Hook, https://oldrhinebeck.org 

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/17/details.aspx

Widow Jane Mine (free) in Rosendale, www.centuryhouse.org

Ice cream

Nancy’s Artisanal Creamery in Woodstock, https://nancysartisanal.com

Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn in Lagrangeville, www.zoesicecreambarn.com 

Sports

Hudson Valley Renegades baseball in Wappingers Falls, www.milb.com/hudson-valley

Volunteer

The Lunch Box Community Meal Program in Poughkeepsie, http://dutchessoutreach.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer 

Saturday Night Street Outreach in Poughkeepsie, www.facebook.com/events/180414712700942 

Water worlds

Bowdoin Park Splash Pad (free) in Wappingers Falls, www.co.dutchess.ny.us/countygov/departments/dpw-parks/ppbowdoin.htm

Kingston Point Beach (free) in Kingston, www.kingston-ny.gov/content/8401/10588/10622/default.aspx

River Pool (free) in Beacon, www.riverpool.org 

Splashdown Beach Water Park in Fishkill, https://splashdownbeach.com 

Zoom Flume in East Durham, www.zoomflume.com

Head On and Heart Strong!

Love, Erica

Kids’ Almanac columnist Erica Chase-Salerno was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the Summer of 2015. To read more about her experience, visit https://hudsonvalleyone.com/tag/ericas-cancer-journey.

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