Kids’ Almanac (9/27-10/4)

A family paradise

What if you could go to a bakery and spend time without getting the hairy eyeball from other people waiting for a seat? Do you avoid public spaces because you have active (read: loud) little ones? Curious where the heck the hamlet of Milton is?  Then go to Frida’s Bakery & Cafe. 

I wish I could have taken my cafe mocha and breakfast sandwich on gluten-free bread and my kids to a place like this back in the day, when they were construction workers building huge block towers, or royalty decked out in crowns skipping around. There is a bathroom right there, and the playroom upstairs has doors! There’s free, easy, on-site parking. The elevator can be a huge help to a parent with a stroller or just laden with kids and the paraphernalia of parenting.

The rest of the upstairs is large, filled with tables inviting everyone to sit for a while. The WiFi works well so weekdays it’s an easy place to do some work, take a break and pick out another drink or temptation that’s sweet, savory, fresh, delicious and reasonably priced. I go upstairs and pretend to start typing something, and the vibrating buzzer tells me when my food is ready. Frida’s menu is online, so you can start to make your selections before you even step in the door. 


Do you know what else Frida’s offers? Cooking classes for kids! Those are listed on They’ll be offering a kid’ pumpkin pie-making class this Saturday, September 29 at 10:30 a.m.  Preregistration is required. 

Mentally, Milton used to feel far away from me, but in reality, it’s a relatively short, easy ride from my home in New Paltz. Each time I go, I bring home cupcakes for the kids, a magic bar for my husband, and maybe I splurge on a rainbow cookie for myself on my way out. Go, and let me know what you think! 

Frida’s Bakery & Cafe is located at 26 Main Street in Milton and open every day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, to inquire about hosting an event, or to check out the daily specials and full menu, call (845) 795-5550 or visit       

Catch Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera on Bannerman’s Island this weekend

Bannerman’s Island is that mysterious castle-like structure in the Hudson River between Newburgh and Beacon, and it has a weird, fascinating history. The only way to reach Bannerman’s is a 10- to 15-minute boat ride from Newburgh or Beacon, which is a highlight for my family. Constant improvements are made to the site which have resulted in more opportunities to visit and admire the beauty of the gardens, the river views and the recently remodeled house on the top. 

The castle itself is scaffolded with metal rods and supports, but my eyes are drawn to the interesting and unusual building features. Since the castle was built without an architect, some of the engineering that normally happens in construction projects is absent, increasing the urgency to sure it up before more parts crumble into the river. Bannerman’s Island (Pollopel Island, technically) is uninhabited, but the renovations, including building trails and recreating and cultivating the gardens, are done by staff and volunteers. 

I strongly encourage you to visit this one-of-a-kind spot with your family and friends. I love the feeling of being “somewhere else” but still in familiar territory. My kids really enjoy being in the presence of a castle and the voyage to it. 

How can people like us get there? The boat ride is part of the many events hosted at Bannerman’s, such as the public tours held on weekends through October, and a horror film series, including a movie showing of Lon Chaney in the 1925 classic, Phantom of the Opera taking place this weekend, September 28 and 29. (Bannerman’s feels extra spooky after sunset this time of year!) Phantom event tickets cost $40, or buy three for $35 each. To learn more about this wonderful treasure right in our waterway, visit

Take the kids

Family events hand-picked by Erica Chase-Salerno,

Skywalk Festival
The Skywalk Festival is the perfect way to visit Olana and Thomas Cole’s home in the same day – the artists’ homes are just a bridge-walk away from each other, you just need to decide which one to visit first! Great for all ages, and free.
The Skywalk Festival celebrates the art of the Hudson River Valley and the upcoming completion of the Hudson River Skywalk, which will provide a pedestrian pathway connecting the Rip Van Winkle Bridge – with its new viewing platforms – to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site, on either side of the river. The experience will weave together the historic homes and studios of Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and Frederic Church (1826-1900) with the Hudson River Valley views that inspired them.
The new pedestrian walkway on the bridge is complete; the pathway to Olana is under construction and scheduled to be finished at the end of October; the pathway to the Thomas Cole Site will be virtually completed in October as well. Come to the park next to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge’s toll plaza in Catskill to see larger-than-life puppets, observe plein air painters, hear a performance by classical guitarist David Temple, and participate in hands-on art lessons with instructor Stasia Fernandez – all in a beautiful setting overlooking the Hudson River. Activities at the bridge will take place between noon and 4 p.m. Parking is available at the toll plaza parking lot. The Festival includes special events at both historic sites as well. Temporary signs will direct guests between the bridge and the Thomas Cole Site, which is within walking distance. Due to construction of the roundabout on the East approach to the bridge, the public is encouraged to drive to Olana.

Annual Skywalk Festival at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, Sun., Sept. 30, noon-4 p.m,

• Esopus Bend Nature Preserve: Family Friendly Walk gives families of all ages a chance to check out the new pavilion and enjoy walking an easy one mile trail together. No pets.
Sat., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Esopus Bend Nature Preserve
4 Shady Lane, Saugerties

• Family Day at the Dorsky explores Native American art through engaging, hands-on activities for families inspired by the exhibit, “Community and Continuity: Native American Art of NY.” Registration required.
Sun., Sept. 30, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Dorsky Museum
SUNY New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz
(845) 257-3844

• Colonial Medicine and Militia gives an up-close glimpse of health care back in Hamilton’s day, as members of the 1st Ulster Militia come through with ailments seeking “treatments” and a local professor shares about social roles of doctors, healing techniques and equipment that were used long ago.
Sat., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Matthewis Persen House
74 John Street, Kingston
(845) 340-3040

• Minnewaska Preserve: Nature Journals enables kids from ages 6 to 10 to make their own books to preserve their nature finds when they’re outside. Drop-in, no registration required, and entry into the park costs $10 per vehicle.
Sun., Sept. 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Minnewaska Nature Center
5281 Rt. 44/55, Kerhonkson
(845) 255-0752

• Family Day at Vassar’s art museum is tailored to kids ages 5 to 10, including mini-gallery tours and fun, hands-on activities. Free.
Sun., Sept. 30, 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m.
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie
(845) 437-5237

• Small Group Yoga Class Series for Children with Special Needs gives children 7 years and up relaxation, connection with self and others and healing support with singing bowls and essential oils at each of 8 weekly classes. Note: not wheelchair accessible. $120.
Wed., Sept. 26 to Wed., Nov. 14 plus Nov. 21 Bonus Family Class
35 N. Front St., Fl. 2, Kingston
(845) 418-2481

• Open to the Sky: The Beacon Sukkah Project is a non-denominational celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot by Beacon Hebrew Alliance with daily events and discussions for all ages under the theme, “Shelter.” Free and all are welcome.
Daily through Oct. 1
Polhill Park
Corner of 9D/Main Street, Beacon
(845) 831-2012

• Citizen Science: Phenology Monitoring is a chance to be a real scientist by hiking a (mild) local trail while learning how to collect data about 8 specific plants year-round. Free and open to all ages, please RSVP.
Sat., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Esopus Meadows Preserve
269 River Road, Ulster Park
(845) 473-4440 ext. 265,

• Disc Golf Course Cleanup brings our community another step closer to setting up this fun sport in Kingston: can you and your crew come help pick up branches, brush and debris to make room for this cool activity? Disc Golf is basically like golf, but players win by successfully throwing frisbees into each metal basket in as few attempts as possible.
Sat., Sept. 29, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Kingston Point Park
Delaware Avenue, Kingston
(845) 331-1682
• Hudson River Valley Ramble: National Public Lands Day – Pulling Invasive Plants is a chance for adults and young people ages 8 and up to give back to these special spots in nature we enjoy so freely. Pre-registration required, and entry into the park costs $10 per vehicle.
Sat., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sam’s Point Visitor Center
400 Sam’s Point Road, Cragsmoor
(845) 647-7989


• Minnewaska Preserve: Walking Stick Art encourages hikes and walks for all ages by offering walking sticks to personally decorate and then try out on Minnewaska’s trails! Drop-in, no registration required, and entry into the park costs $10 per vehicle.
Sat., Sept. 29, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Minnewaska Nature Center
5281 Rt. 44/55, Kerhonkson
(845) 255-0752

• Viva Kultura promises to be a vibrant, energized, international experience with 35 artists from 15 countries performing live music, dance, spoken word, martial arts and more! Perfect for kids and adults of all ages, and it’s free!
Sat., Sept. 29, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Newburgh Armory
321 South William Street, Newburgh
(845) 728-8745

• Simchat Torah Story Time is perfect for young children, including crafts, song and, of course, a story! Free and open to all.
Mon., Oct. 1, 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
Temple Beth-El
118 S. Grand Ave., Poughkeepsie
(845) 454-0570

• Traumatic Stress: The Responder and The Family covers causes and effects of traumatic stress, coping with it individually as well as a family and what to do about it. The whole family is encouraged to attend.
Wed., Oct. 3, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Columbia-Greene Community College
4400 State Rt. 23, Hudson