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!


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

Kids’ Almanac Hudson Valley summer checklist

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

– George Carlin


Forsyth Nature Center (free) in Kingston, 

Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, 


Dia: Beacon in Beacon, 

FiberFlame Crafting in Saugerties, 

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (free) at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, 

Storm King Art Center (free on 8/30) in New Windsor, 

Drive-in movies

Four Brothers Drive-in Theater in Amenia, 

Hi-Way Drive-in Theatre in Coxsackie, seven miles north of Catskill, 

Overlook Drive-in Theatre in Poughkeepsie, 

Hyde Park Drive-in Theatre in Hyde Park,  


Awosting Falls at Minnewaska State Park Preserve, 

Black Creek Preserve (free) in Esopus, 

Esopus Meadows Preserve (free) in Ulster Park,  

Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, 

John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary and Slabsides (free) in West Park, 

Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park (free) in Highland and Poughkeepsie, 


Bannerman Island, departures from Beacon and Newburgh, 

Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield (free) in Hyde Park, 

Boscobel in Garrison, 

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill in Hyde Park,  

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Presidential Library (mix of free/fee) in Hyde Park, 

Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, 

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in Kingston and Poughkeepsie, 

Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, 

Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, 

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Red Hook, 

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh,

Widow Jane Mine (free) in Rosendale,

Ice cream

Nancy’s Artisanal Creamery in Woodstock,

Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn in Lagrangeville, 


Hudson Valley Renegades baseball in Wappingers Falls,


The Lunch Box Community Meal Program in Poughkeepsie, 

Saturday Night Street Outreach in Poughkeepsie, 

Water worlds

Bowdoin Park Splash Pad (free) in Wappingers Falls,

Kingston Point Beach (free) in Kingston,

River Pool (free) in Beacon, 

Splashdown Beach Water Park in Fishkill, 

Zoom Flume in East Durham,

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