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A Summer Visit to the Olympic Sites at Lake Placid

{I received complimentary Olympics Sites Passports.  However, all opinions are my own.}

Lake Placid, a small village nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, was the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.  While the town may be small, there is so much to see and do regardless of what season you visit.  My family and I took a road trip up to Lake Placid this summer.  This was our family’s first time visiting the area, but will not be our last!  It’s approximately a four-hour drive from northern Westchester County and there’s enough to see and do in the area to make it a weekend visit.

{The Olympic Passport, comes with a lanyard to wear around your neck}

If you plan to visit the Olympic Sites, than the Olympic Sites Passport is your best bet.  For $35, you get one-time admission to the Lake Placid Museum, Whiteface, Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway, the Olympic Sports Complex and the Olympic Jumping Complex.  Plus, you get discounts on additional activities.  The passports are valid for one year, so if you don’t get to see everything in one trip, you can come back!

{Trying to keep pace with an Olympic speed skater}

Our first stop was the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.  The museum is located in the Olympic Center, where the famous 1980 “Miracle” ice hockey game took place.  The museum is small but packed with artifacts and information about the winter Olympics.  Some of our family’s favorite exhibits were the collection of torches and fashion from the various Opening Ceremonies and the mascot collection. We even got a peek at the 2018 Winter Olympic mascot!  We enjoyed several photo ops including a medal podium and sitting in a bobsled.  The museum has several hands-on exhibits, including speed skating and curling, which my kids enjoyed.

Olympic Jumping Complex

After a quick lunch which we ate by Mirror Lake, we headed to the Olympic Jumping Complex,  located two miles away.  We rushed to get there in time to watch the Summer Jumping series show, advertised on posters all over town, only to be disappointed to discover that it was not taking place.  We parked at the top parking lot and rode the chairlift down to the bottom of the hill.  For an additional fee, you can extreme tube down the hill on the left! We watched as several people tubed, and screamed, down the hill, but my husband and I were not brave enough to try!  Although the kids would have done this in a heartbeat, you must be at least 13 to ride the 90-meter jump.  The 20-meter hill available for children 12 and under to ride is closed until mid-August.

Although the Summer Jumping series show wasn’t taking place we did spend some time watching athletes practicing their jumps into the pool.  After seeing other athletes jumping off the traditional ski jumps we rode the chairlift back up to the top of the hill.  We took the elevator to the top of the observation deck where we watched athletes ski down the hill and got to see amazing scenic views.

We then drove to Whiteface Mountain base lodge, an approximately 15-minute drive from the Jumping Complex.  We rode the Cloudsplitter Gondola from the base to the top of Little Whiteface in the enclosed gondola.  We enjoyed the scenic views during the approximately 15 minute ride to the top.

The top of Little Whiteface is 3,678 feet above sea level.  From here you can see Whiteface Mountain in the distance. There is also an observation area that offers spectacular views of Lake Placid.  There’s an Adventure Zone that includes several different inflatables including a bounce house, slides and more.  Children can play for $10 an hour or $15 for the day.  After our gondola ride we left Whiteface.

At the last minute we decided to end our day with a drive to Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway.  The historic highway, opened in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, takes you to the top of Whiteface Mountain.  We are so glad that we made this decision!  After passing the Toll House it’s a five mile drive to the top of the summit.  There are nine scenic stops along the way, which we decided to pass, and instead headed straight up to the top.  Once we parked the car we first took a quick peek in the Castle, where there’s a small gift shop and a cafe.

We then opted to climb the Alpine Nature Trail, a fifth-of-a-mile-long trail with both steep steps and rocks.   I wish I was more prepared with my hiking boots, but luckily, we were all wearing sneakers!

Once at the top, we were 4,867 feet above sea level and literally in the clouds.  We were at the top of the fifth highest point in New York state!  Unfortunately, it was a pretty cloudy day.  Regardless, these were the most breath-taking, scenic views of our visit.  After spending some time up here admiring the views we opted to take the elevator down to the parking lot.

The Veteran’s Memorial Drive was our last site visit of the day.  We were able to visit four sites within the span of a day without feeling rushed.  Summer is a great time to visit the Olympic sites in Lake Placid with so much to see and do!

The Details:

*The Olympic sites are spread throughout Lake Placid and the surrounding area.  A car is necessary to get from one site to another.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum
2634 Main Street
Lake Placid, NY 12946
(518) 302-5326

Hours: Open daily 10 AM – 5 PM
Admission:  $7/adults, $5/seniors, students and children (6-12), Free/children 6 and under

Olympic Jumping Complex 
5486 Cascade Road
Lake Placid, NY 12946

Hours: Please check the site, as dates and times vary
Admission:  $11/adults, $8/seniors, juniors, Free/children 6 and under Event Days:  $16/adults, $10/seniors, juniors, Free/children 6 and under

Whiteface Mountain – Cloudsplitter Gondola Ride
5021 Rt. 86, Scenic
Wilmington, NY 12997

Hours:  Peak season (June 30 – September 4) 9:30 AM – 5 PM
Admission:  $22/adults, $15/seniors and children (7-12), Free/children 6 and under

Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway 
Memorial Highway
Wilmington, NY 12997

Hours:  Peak season (June 6 – October 9) 8:45 AM – 5:30 PM
Admission:  $15/vehicle/driver, $8/additional passenger, Free/children 6 and under, $8/bicycle

Tips:
Make sure to wear sneakers, even in the summer.  There is a lot of walking and if you visit Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway, rock climbing and steps (if you opt to take the Alpine Nature Trail).

Pack water!  Lots of walking makes you thirsty!

Food and beverages are sold at Whiteface Mountain, Veteran’s Memorial Highway and the Olympic Jumping Complex if you are hungry or thirsty.

You may want to bring a sweatshirt or jacket with you to Veteran’s Memorial Highway.  Remember, you are 4,867 feet above sea level!

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Ravenous Creperie {Saratoga Springs}

On a recent visit to Saratoga Springs the kids and I were wandering down Phila Street looking for lunch.  Many of the restaurants have menus posted outside with most offering the usual burgers, salads and sandwiches.  When we stopped to look at the Ravenous Creperie menu, the kids unanimously voted that we eat lunch here.

Ravenous Creperie is locally-owned and serves lunch, dinner and brunch.  We visited on a Tuesday afternoon and arrived at 12:15, prime lunchtime.  The restaurant space is small and cozy and it was packed!  There are several tables in the middle dining space that can be pushed together to seat a larger group.  There is also counter seating with a great view of the crepes being made and window counter seats with views of the street.  We had to wait a few minutes to be seated and were given three seats at the window counter.

This was our first time eating at a creperie and we were not disappointed!  I told the kids that we’d split a savory and a sweet crepe and either an order of pommes frites or poutine.  
The pommes frites are a popular starter.  As I looked around the restaurant, almost every table had a paper cone atop it filled with the frites.  But, the kids opted for poutine, and I wasn’t complaining about that!   We ordered the petite-sized poutine.  The ceramic dish was filled with crispy hand-cut pommes frites topped with locally-sourced cheddar curds and a house-made gravy.  We devoured this in no time!

The savory menu has a crepe for every palate including several vegetarian options.  They also offer a daily crepe special, which was a kale and white bean crepe the day of our visit.  If I was ordering a crepe, I would have chosen the Monterey Short Rib (braised black Angus short rib with caramelized onions, diced tomatoes and Monterey jack cheese) or the Upper West Sider (Smoked Atlantic salmon, cream cheese and a choice of scallions or capers).  However, the kids decided on the Mama Mia.  Although it’s difficult to see in the picture, this crepe was filled with Herb and Romano sausage, roasted peppers and onions, mozzarella and a tomato-garlic reduction. All savory crepes are served with a salad of mixed greens that is dressed with Saratoga Olive Oil & aged Balsamic Vinegar.  This is only half the crepe and salad, as my daughter had already started eating the other half!  The savory crepes are served in what looked and tasted like a wrap, versus a traditional crepe, which wouldn’t have been able to hold all of the tasty filling.  The Mama Mia crepe is kid-approved.  My two were very happy with their crepe pick!  There was plenty of filling and the sausage was flavorful but not spicy.

The sweet crepe menu has twelve different crepes to choose from which include everything from fresh strawberries, lemon curd, chocolate-hazelnut spread, fruit jam, Ghiradelli brownie and more!  Four of the crepes come in a petite size, for those looking for just a little something sweet to end their meal.  The kids opted for the Pommes & Caramel crepe (Maple glazed apples and house-made sea salt caramel).  This crepe was delicious!  Caramel and apples are a great combo and we could taste the sea salt pieces in the caramel.  While this dessert was sweet, it wasn’t overly-so.

I shared these three dishes with my two children, ages 9 and 11.  We left satisfied but not stuffed.

Ravenous Creperie has a prix fixe menu where you can get a small pommes frites with dipping sauce, a choice of one of three different classic crepes and a petite sweet all for $16.99/person.

For those local, they have a Rewards program, where you can earn points for every dollar spent.  Online ordering is also available (with pickup only, no delivery).

If you are in the Saratoga Springs area, I highly recommend stopping by Ravenous Creperie for some tasty eats!

The Details:
Ravenous Creperie
21 Phila Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 581-0560

Hours:  
Closed Mondays
Tuesday – Thursday:  11 AM – 8 PM
Friday:  11 AM – 9 PM
Saturday: 9 AM – 9 PM
Sunday:  9 AM – 8 PM

Prices:  Most savory crepes are priced between $12-$14, most sweet crepes are priced between $6.59 and $8.59. Petite sweets (mini sweet crepes) cost $2.99.   Pommes Frites come in small, medium and large sizes ($3.49-$6.99) and poutine comes in petite ($5.99) and regular ($7.99) sizes.

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Five on Friday {Already August}

Happy Friday!  I cannot believe we are already in the second week of August.  We’ve been having fun traveling around New York and I’ve missed several weeks of Five on Friday posts.  But I’m here today and happy to be able to linkup again and share what’s been going with us.  Here are five from this week:

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1.Reading – So, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and joined NetGalley.  I’m not a huge fan of reading on my kindle but the appeal of reading upcoming releases before they are published was just too strong.  Plus, with all of our traveling, carrying around a kindle is much easier than a bag full of books!  So, my first finished NetGalley read this week was Something Like Family.  This is a heartwarming family drama that will be published in September.  I’ll have a more detailed review in my monthly book review post September 12 (the next Show Us Your Books linkup). The next kindle read I started is Emma In the Night, a suspense/thriller, which is my favorite genre to read.

2. Bachelorette Finale– Of course Monday night I watched The Bachelorette finale.  I admit I was totally team Bryan in the beginning. He’s cute, has a good job and the chemistry between him and Rachel!  But after the hometown and seeing his mom I knew he was a total Mama’s boy and Rachel was always going to be second.  By the finale I was all about Peter and was hoping there’d be a surprise ending at the live finale.  Nope……and it’s obvious Peter isn’t the next Bachelor…..but I wonder who is!  Possibly Dean after Bachelor in Paradise?!

3. Eating – Traveling around the state we’ve been eating all kinds of deliciousness.  One of our recent favorite dishes was this Beef on Weck poutine that we had in Buffalo.  Beef on Weck is a regional dish of roast beef on a kummelweck roll.  Well, this dish combined the flavors of beef on weck with the french fries, gravy and cheese curds of poutine.  Yes, it was as good as it looks!

4. Movies – So this week we’ve been watching a lot of movies.  I watched The Space Between Us with the kids.  Then Wednesday I took my son to the Regal Summer Movie Express.  For $1 a ticket we saw The Spongebob Movie:  Sponge Out of Water.  I have never been a fan of Spongebob and my son chose to see this movie over The Adventures of Tintin.  After about 10 minutes of watching the movie, I just couldn’t anymore.  I have never been so happy to have had my kindle in my purse.  Luckily, the theater was pretty empty and I was able to read for the remaining hour and twenty minutes!  This week I also watched Table 19.  I’m a huge Anna Kendrick fan so I had to give it a try.  I’m not going to recommend the movie but I will say it’s not as bad as I expected.  My husband sat and watched it with me and agrees with my opinion.

5. #NYSummer2017 – Last weekend we traveled a long 6 1/2 hours to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great for most of the trip and we had a lot of rain.  However, we tried to make the most of it, since this was the kids’ first time seeing the Falls.  They really are a beautiful sight, especially lit up at night.  Besides taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist and getting up close to the Falls, we also enjoyed seeing the Friday night fireworks show.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I shared our experience cabin camping at Moreau Lake State Park.

Tuesday I shared my July reads and joined the Show Us Your Books linkup.

Wednesday I wrote about our recent trip to Six Flags Great Escape.

Linking up with Katie and Andrea!  Have a great weekend!

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Family Fun at Six Flags Great Escape

{We received complimentary tickets to the park.  All opinions are my own.}

Summer isn’t complete for me without a visit to an amusement park!  On our recent trip upstate, we surprised the kids with a visit to Six Flags Great Escape. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is the largest amusement park company in the world and Six Flags Great Escape is their only New York theme park.  The park is an approximately 2 1/2 to three hour drive from my house in northern Westchester County.

It was a beautiful day for us to visit the park.  When we arrived near the 10:30 AM opening,  I was surprised to discover that it would cost us $20 to park, which I found to be a bit on the expensive side.  From the parking lot, it’s a short walk over a street overpass to get to the amusement park.

There are eight different areas in the park, including water park Splashwater Kingdom and International Village, the main shopping area.  Great Escape was formerly Storytown USA, and many of the historic icons are still in the park, including Cinderella’s Castle and the Pink Whale.

Even on a hot summer day, the park was crowded but didn’t feel especially so.  None of the ride lines were exceptionally long.  Great Escape is truly a family-friendly amusement park.  There are rides for everyone with Timbertown and Kidzopolis geared towards little kids and more than five roller coasters for thrill seekers.

My son loved riding all of the roller coasters and Flashback, a forward and backward looping coaster, was his favorite ride of the day.  My daughter, a fellow coaster lover, chose Steamin’ Demon, a multi-loop coaster pictured in the title photo of this post, as her favorite ride.

I have to say that Great Escape has some of the most fun ride operators that I’ve seen at an amusement park.  One of  my favorite rides was Marshal’s Stampede, the bumper car ride. Sassy, the ride operator, cheered the riders on: “Great bump #10!” and helping those who were “stuck”, directing them to turn their steering wheel.  Her upbeat attitude really helped “make” the ride.

I was really looking forward to trying out Acrophobia VR, the park’s newest ride.  It was scheduled to open in July, but wasn’t yet running during our visit.

Around 2 PM we started to get hungry and decided to eat lunch.  Since we were in Fest Area, we chose to eat at the Alpine Fest Haus. Even at a later time, this place was pretty crowded.  We opted to share a Pulled Pork Sandwich with fries ($11.99) and a German Burger ($12.99) with fries.  This burger, served on a pretzel bun and topped with Swiss cheese, bacon and mushrooms (canned) was surprisingly good.

There are many different places to eat throughout the park that serve the usual burgers, chicken tenders, pizza hot dogs and salads.  One of the more interesting eateries we saw was the Skillet Market where fajitas, quesadillas and other food was cooked in gigantic cast iron skillets!  You can also find all kinds of treats from funnel cake and ice cream to cotton candy and popcorn being sold throughout the park.

We visited Splashwater Kingdom after lunch.  The water park area has a number of slides, a wave pool (Lumberjack Splash), a lazy river (Captain Hook’s Adventure River) and two water play areas (Buccaneer Beach and Paul Bunyan’s Bucket Brigade. Since I’m not the biggest fan of water parks, I luckily found a chair and camped out with our bag and towels while my husband and kids partook in the water fun.

The trio really enjoyed Bonzai Pipelines, the newest water park attraction.  They raced each other down the colorful, twisting water slides many times.  In fact, these slides were my husband’s favorite ride in all of the park.  After a couple of rides around the lazy river, the rest of their time was spent in the large wave pool.  Many of the other water slides had fairly long lines that they didn’t want to wait on.

There are a few cons to Splashwater Kingdom. It’s not easy, unfortunately, to move between the various sections of the water park.  The walkway to the Comet cuts right through the middle. Also, empty chairs are hard to come by anywhere in this area.  While there are lots of chairs, most were claimed by towels but never actually occupied by people.  And finally, Paul Bunyan’s Bucket Brigade, pictured above, has seen better (and wetter) days.  The kids made a quick visit here, since most of the water fun aspects of the attraction (the large tipping water bucket and water guns) weren’t working.

Besides all of the rides included with admission, you can try Dare Devil Dive (Free Fall attraction) and Olympiad Grand Prix (Go-Kart ride, $8/person, $18/ride all day) at an additional cost.  Plus, there are also dance parties and live entertainment shows at the three different theater venues around the park as well as several arcades and game stands.  There is something for everyone at the park.

We spent the entire day at Six Flags Great Escape, staying until the 7 PM park closing.  We had a fun-filled day and I highly recommend a visit!

The Details:
Six Flags Great Escape
1172 State Route 9
Queensbury, NY 12804

Parking:  $20 (credit cards accepted)
Hours:  Check the site for specific dates/times
Admission:  Ticket Prices when purchased at the park – $59.99/general admission, $46.99/children under 48″, kids 2 and under/free
Lockers:  $16/Small, $17/Medium,  $18/Jumbo

Tips:  
*Purchase tickets online prior to your visit for cheaper prices.

*Parking costs $20.  Establishments outside the park offer parking at cheaper prices.  You may have to walk a bit more and I have no information on the reliability/safety/security of these places.

*Outside food and drinks are not allowed and food is generally expensive in the park.  I recommend eating a big breakfast before arriving, have a late lunch on site and then eat dinner outside the park.

*Purchase a refillable season drink bottle when you first get to the park.  It costs $15.99 but you receive a wristband for free refills on the day of purchase.

*Make sure to pick up a couple of park maps when you enter.  I found the park a bit difficult to navigate since it doesn’t all connect and you have to backtrack to get to certain areas of the park.  Refer to the map to make sure you get to all the rides you are interested in riding.

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July 2017 Reads

It is time once again for Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup!  With summer upon us, I would have thought that I’d have a lot more books read.  However, we did a lot of traveling and I just didn’t get in a lot of reading time.  Here are my five July 2017 reads.  I’m happy that two of them are books from my own bookshelf that I’ve had forever!  Looking forward to checking out everyone’s posts and adding to my to read list!

3 Stars

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Independence Hall (I.Q. #1) by Roland Smith – I found this book when researching books for my Visit Philadelphia Through Children’s Books post.  Based on the title, you’d think this book would be more focused on Independence Hall…..but it’s not.  However, it’s a decent spy/thriller book (and series) for middle grade readers.  I wasn’t a fan of the terrorist theme, especially for the targeted age group and it was just so unrealistic for my liking.  My 11-year-old daughter read the book too though and enjoyed it enough to want to continue the series.
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The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky – This book takes place in Big Sawyer Island, Maine, a small island where lobstering is the main source of income for many of the families.  Julia is traveling on a boat with several others from the mainland to the island when it gets in an accident.  As one of three survivors, the accident makes her evaluate the life she was living.  She and Noah, a lobsterman and one of the other survivors who lost his father in the accident, end up forming a close friendship as he also makes life-changing decisions.  I’ve read several other of Delinsky’s books and have enjoyed them more than this one.   This was a book off my own shelf that I’ve had for years, which I can now give away (……and make room for a new book!).

4 Stars
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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I know many of us are big TJR fans.  I found her newest book to be a bit different than her other books that I’ve read.  I found this one enjoyable, but it wasn’t my fave.

5 Stars
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Beartown by Fredrik Backman – After hearing so many good things about this book, I finally decided to give it a try.  Ice hockey isn’t really my thing, so I went in thinking I wasn’t going to like it.  Boy was I surprised.  Backman’s writing drew me right in and he took me on quite an emotional ride.  Although this was my first book of his, I will be reading his other books ASAP!  A Man Called Ove will be my next read of his.

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Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult – Picoult is one of my favorite authors.  I’ve had this book for years on my bookshelf and am so glad that I finally read it.  This book is about Willow, a 5-year-old born with Osteogenisis Imperfecta (OI), a collagen defect that causes her bones to be brittle.  At such a young age, she’s already broken almost every bone in her body, at least once.  Of course it wouldn’t be a Picoult book without moral and ethical issues being brought up.  I had never heard of OI before reading this and as a parent, I’m lucky that I’ve never had to think about  some of the questions Charlotte and Sean face. I have now read all of Picoult’s novels, except for the YA books she co-wrote with her daughter (which I own).

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Cabin Camping at Moreau Lake State Park

When I was planning the first leg of our #NYSummer2017 road trip, deciding on lodging was a big concern.  Convenient location and a reasonable price were my two top criteria.  Although we were visiting several different towns, I didn’t want to have to pack up and move every couple of days.  Plus, with over 21 nights on the road throughout the summer, I couldn’t afford to spend $150+ a night for a hotel room.

I was happy to discover that Moreau Lake State Park is pretty centrally located to Lake George, Saratoga Springs and Lake Placid.  Located in Gansevoort, the New York State Park recently added six cabins as a camping option. Three of the cabins sleep four people, while the other three cabins sleep six. I grew up camping all throughout my childhood.  However, since I was going to be alone with the kids for most of the trip, I wasn’t quite up to roughing it in a tent for a week.  The cabins can only be reserved weekly, from Thursday to Thursday during the summer at a rate of $550 for the four person cabins and $575 for the six person cabins.  Reservations are made online through reserve america.  You can see what cabins, or campsites, are available during the time period you want to stay and choose your specific site or cabin.

I booked Cabin 2, Pinetree, a four-person cabin.  Check-in is 3 PM or later and I arrived close to 5 PM. Before I arrived, I pre-registered online which helped speed up the check-in process.  Only one key is given out to the cabin, with a warning that there is a $50 lost key fee.  I was also told to keep the key on me at all times, as many people have been accidentally locked out of their cabins.

It is an approximately five minute drive from the park office to the cabin loop with a 15 m.p.h. speed limit around the park.  Unfortunately, you cannot park right at the cabin.  Instead, I was directed to park in the small parking lot outside the shower house.

The women’s shower house has five showers and one toilet.  At the time of our visit, one of the shower doors was broken, as in not there at all, and only two out of the three sinks were working.  Plus, two out of the three overhead lights were out, leaving the shower area a bit dark.  There’s an outdoor sink attached to the side of the shower building as well as an eco-friendly, compostable bathroom.  The bathroom and shower appeared to be cleaned daily.  However, the room filled up with all kinds of insects, both alive and recently alive, at night.

From the parking lot there’s a hill that leads down to the cabins.  After a short walk, imagine my surprise when I saw this walk to our cabin!  For reference, out of all of the cabins, Pinetree Cabin has the longest distance from the main pathway.  I wasn’t too happy about this when making my middle-of-the-night bathroom trips!  Nor, did this make unpacking and packing up the car easy!

The cabin was cozy with both a queen-size bed and a bunk bed.  Although the cabins are only a few months old, the mattress covers were quite stained and gross.  Luckily, we had our own sheets.  There was also a small table with four chairs.  As you can see in the picture, the table has a built in checker board.  Hanging on a hook in the cabin is a small bag with checker pieces.  The cabin also has a bench to sit on, a wood-burning stove and a small refrigerator (think college dorm size).   It was small, but cozy inside and definitely beat being in a tent!  The lights had a dimmer, which I thought was a nice feature, and the windows had curtains, which helped give privacy.

How cute is this stove?! Although I didn’t use it, I definitely thought about using it a couple of nights when we were freezing cold!  I can see this being used a lot in the fall when the temps get much cooler.

We were using the cabin only as a place to sleep.  However, outside the cabin is a picnic table and fire ring.  Our neighbors had a canopy set up outside their cabin with a camp stove.  They had a fire going every night in their fire pit and were having a real camping experience.

The park has a carry-in, carry-out policy and does not do a garbage pick-up.  Instead, garbage must be taken to the garbage/recycling area near the entrance of the park.

Overall, we had a good experience cabin camping at Moreau Lake State Park.  It’s a beautiful park and I would definitely go back.  However, next time I’d pick the Bear Cabin (01), which is closest to the bathroom as well as pack heavy blankets for sleeping at night.

OUR CABIN CAMPING PACKING LIST: (some things we found useful to pack for a cabin camping trip)
*sheets and heavy blankets (queen size and (2) twins) – even in July we found it very cold at night and wish we had more/heavier blankets for sleeping
*bath towels (extra if you shower daily and are camping in the summer – we laid our towels over the chairs in the cabin to dry, but they never fully dried between uses)
*hand towels – the bathroom in the shower house only had a hand drier.  A towel was handy when washing my face, brushing my teeth, etc.
*plastic basket/shower caddy – to hold and transport all of your toiletries
*flip flops to wear in the shower
*garbage bags – size depends on how much garbage you have, we used plastic grocery bags
*disinfectant wipes – we brought a container of Lysol wipes which we used to wipe down the table before/after eating
*camp chairs (great for sitting outside your cabin or for sitting at the lake)
*flashlight(s) – although the cabin has electricity, the paths are dark at night
*bug spray – there are lots of bugs and mosquitoes in the woods
*antibacterial hand wipes – to use before eating or after applying suntan lotion when we didn’t want to make the walk up to the sink
*plastic tub for carrying and washing dishes in – if you plan on cooking/eating at the cabin
*sponge & dishwashing soap to wash the dishes
*sand toys & goggles for the beach (FYI snorkel masks with a covered nose piece are not permitted – as we discovered)

 

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Currently August 2017

The summer is flying by and I cannot believe that it’s already August!  I am joining Anne and her guest host Shea for this month’s Currently linkup.  Here is what I am currently:

Snacking (on) – leftover dessert!  Sunday we had a belated birthday party celebration for our son with our extended family.  For the past couple of years he’s requested a carrot cake for his birthday cake.  What the birthday boy wants, he gets! Since, not everyone enjoys carrot cake, I also picked up a blueberry pie to have as well, with ice cream.  One of our guests also brought a selection of cookies from a local NYC bakery.  So, we have lots of leftover treats and we leave for vacation tomorrow.  It’s a hard job to eat these these treats up, but I’m helping out as much as I can! LOL!

Anticipating – Tomorrow we leave for our next #NYSummer2017 road trip to Niagara Falls.  Although my husband and I have already been there, this will be the kids’ first trip to the Falls.  I’m hoping we have nice weather since we plan on camping at a nearby state park.

Borrowing – Books from the library of course!  We borrowed two audio books for our most recent road trip and were switching between Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and School of Fear (my daughter’s pick).  We haven’t finished either but will hopefully finish one or both on this upcoming trip.

Admiring – The beauty of New York state.  As we’ve been traveling around New York this summer, I’ve just been in awe of the amazing sights that I’ve seen.  This picture was taken on Whiteface Mountain, 4,867 feet above sea level.  We were literally in the clouds.  It was a very cloudy day but the views were still breath-taking!

Purchasing – Back-to-school supplies.  My son found this lunch box at Children’s Place that he had to have.  It’s a little early for us since school doesn’t start until after Labor Day, but lunch boxes seem to sell out very quickly, so we picked it up.  Soon enough we will have supply lists and be buying all the school things.

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A Visit to The Adirondack Experience

*I received complimentary admission tickets.  However, all opinions are my own.

Recently, our family visited the Adirondack region of New York. Spanning more than 6 million acres, seeing all of the region in one visit is impossible.  When researching our trip, one of the places that I wanted to visit was Adirondack Experience (formerly known as the Adirondack Museum), located in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. Encompassing over 121 acres, it includes  24 galleries and historic buildings with tons of hands-on learning and fun. An “experience” it is!

We arrived at Adirondack Experience at the 10 AM opening.  We made sure to take the activity book they offered, since the kids (and I) are big fans of these.  This gave the kids some focus as we wandered around and they were motivated by the small prize they’d receive if they completed it.

The first building we entered was The Great Outdoors. This is a play and adventure exhibition geared specifically towards children.  Here the kids did some fishing, climbed a rock wall, walked in a pair of snow shoes and so much more.  We spent a lot of time in here as the kids explored.

Next, we visited the Work in the Woods building.  We learned all about logging in the Adirondacks, from past to present.  Outside the building there is a climbable fire tower, relocated here from Whiteface Mountain, New York’s fifth tallest peak.  From the top of the tower, you can see great views of the mountains.

The highlight of the visit was the new “Life in the Adirondacks” exhibition which opened in the beginning of July.   The exhibit includes 19,000 square feet of interactive fun.  When we first entered the exhibit, we saw a short film about the Adirondacks.  There are hundreds of artifacts housed here, including a canoe, stage coach, snow mobiles, a totem pole and many objects used in everyday life.  We walked through the Oriental, a private railroad car, and the kids dressed up in time period clothing, blasted a rock in the mine, cleared a virtual log jam and rowed a guide boat.

When leaving the “Life in the Adirondacks” exhibition, we made sure to pause and take in the beautiful view of Blue Mountain Lake!

The only scheduled activity on the day of our visit was the trout feeding at 12:30 PM.  The kids really enjoyed throwing the food pellets into the pond and watching the fish pop up and eat them.

After feeding the trout, we were getting hungry ourselves.  Adirondack Experience has a great eatery right on property, the Lake View Cafe.   David, owner of The Well Dressed Food Company and his culinary team provide a great dining experience.  They have an espresso bar and serve bagels and breakfast sandwiches for those eating earlier in the day.  We arrived at lunchtime and had difficulty choosing from the selection of flatbread pizzas, burgers, salads, sandwiches and more.  My daughter ordered the White Garlic Basil, Chicken and Broccoli Flatbread pizza ($9.95/individual pizza), my son had the Fried Cod Sandwich ($9.95) and I opted for the Gyro Wrap ($9.95).  Portions were generous and everything was delicious.  They have a children’s menu for kids 12 and under with choices of a hot dog, chicken nuggets or grilled cheese served with chips and pickle ($6).  They also serve a selection of wine, domestic and imported beer and craft beer and cider.

After lunch we headed to the Reising Schoolhouse and Kids’ Cabin.  Here the kids played old-fashioned games, like top spinning, Jacob’s ladder and ring toss.  Then they helped with Wash Day, scrubbing pieces of cloth and hanging it to dry.  Afterwards, they played in the cabin kitchen. Before wrapping up our visit, we did a quick walk-through of the Boats & Boating exhibit and the recent art acquisitions in the Lynn H. Boillot Art Gallery.

If you have the time, I highly recommend taking advantage of the second day free admission.  There was plenty more that we didn’t see and time-wise I focused on kid-friendly exhibits and activities. There is really not enough time in one day to fully see and do everything that Adirondack Experience has to offer. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to spend another day visiting and we had to rush through the end of our visit to make sure we got to see everything before our target 4 PM departure.  After six hours of walking around, the kids were pretty tired.  I would have loved to have done the self-guided hike to Minnow Pond if we had more time and energy.  Fortunately, this gives us a reason to go back for another visit!

The Details:

The Adirondack Experience
9097-NY 30
Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812
(518) 352-7311

Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM, seven days a week (May 26-October 9, 2017) 10 AM – 7:30 PM Mondays in July and August
Parking:  Free, large parking lot
Admission:  $20/adults, $18/seniors, $12/students (with ID and children 6-17), Free/children 5 and under Active Military Personnel are free
*Free second visit with paid admission within a one-week period
Food:  Available for purchase at the Lake View Cafe or you can bring your own food and drinks.

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Visit Philadelphia Through Children’s Books! {Family Armchair Travel}

Check out these children's books all about Philadelphia, the city of "Brotherly Love"

Philadelphia, nicknamed the “City of Brotherly Love” is the largest city in Pennsylvania.  This city should be on every family’s must-visit list!  Filled with historical sites as well as many museums and lots of great food, there is something for everyone in Philadelphia!  Whether you read some of these books before a trip or just armchair travel, visit Philadelphia through children’s books!

 Picture Books:

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Journey Around Philadelphia from A to Z by Martha Day Zschock
Published:  2006, Commonwealth Editions
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Learn all about the city of Philadelphia in this A to Z book.  This book is targeted towards older elementary students and is chock full of information and facts.  Each letter page includes a short, alliterative sentence and three different illustrations. This was our first time reading one of Zschock’s Journey books.  However, she has several other books in the Journey series including New York, Cape Cod and Washington D.C.

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Larry Gets Lots in Philadelphia by Michael Mullin and John Skewes
Illustrated by:  John Skewes
Published:  2013, Sasquatch Books
Price:  $16.99
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Pete and his family take a trip to Philadelphia and bring along their dog, Larry.  Larry gets separated from Pete and the book follows the two as they go searching for each other.  On their search they visit many of Philadelphia’s famous landmarks, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Square, the Besty Ross House, Pat and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The book is told in rhyme, but provides a small informational description for each landmark.  This book is a nice introduction to Philadelphia for young readers.

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Mrs. Millie Goes to Philly! by Judy Cox
Published:  2008 by Two Lions
Price:  $9.99 (paperback)
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

Mrs. Millie is a very silly teacher!  She takes her kindergarten class to Philadelphia and uses animal words in place of other words, which her students have to decipher.  They wear name badgers (badges), ride the platypus (bus) and see the Liberty Bull (bell).  Each page is accompanied by a humorous illustration illustrating the silly sentence.  Readers will have fun trying to figure out Mrs. Millie’s “mistakes” and they will also learn about some of the sights of Philadelphia including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House.

Chapter Books:

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Philadelphia! (Recipe for Adventure #8) by Giada De Laurentiis
Published: 2016 by Grosset & Dunlap (imprint of Penguin Random House)
Price: $16.99 (hardcover)
Pages:  160
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Source: borrowed from the library

This is the eighth book in the Recipe for Adventure series.  The series is targeted towards readers ages 7-9 (2nd-4th grade).  In the series, siblings Emilia and Alfie are transported to different cities around the world.  They get to taste all kinds of new foods as they help someone in the city solve a problem.  In Philadelphia! the whole Bertolizzi family is transported to the city.  They sample all kinds of Philadelphia food staples like cheesesteaks, pretzels, Italian hoagies and more and visit historic sites like the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell, the Italian Market, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more.  They also work together to try to help their tour guide Emma and her family save their hotel.  Two recipe cards are included in each book of this series.  This book’s recipes are for Zia’s Steak Sandwiches and Emma’s Italian Pizzelles.  While we didn’t make these recipes, knowing that they are from Giada, I’m sure they are delicious!

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The Philly Fake (Ballpark Mysteries #9) by David A. Kelly
Published:  2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Price:  $4.99 (paperback)
Pages:  112
Rating:   3 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

This is the ninth book in the Ballpark mysteries series, a baseball-themed mystery series targeted towards readers on a 2.6 reading level (approximately 1st through 4th grade, depending on reading ability).  In this book Mike and Kate are spending the Fourth of July in Philadelphia.  Kate’s mom is a sportswriter and her friend had gotten them tickets to the three game Phillies v. Mets series.  During the first game the players’ bats keep breaking and the team loses.  The team mascot the Phillie Phanatic is blamed and could possibly lose his job.  Mike and Kate try to help find out who’s really at fault and save the Phanatic’s job. The end of the book includes some fun and interesting notes about the Phillie’s ballpark.   This book was interesting and gave the reader information about some of the other famous sites in Philadelphia, not just the stadium.  This was the first book in the Ballpark Mysteries series that we read but won’t be the last. We are interested in reading #2, The Pinstripe Ghost since we are familiar with and have been to Yankee Stadium!

Books set in Philadelphia that don’t really tell much about the city:

Chapter Books:

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Independence Hall (I, Q #1) by Roland Smith
Published: 2008 by Sleeping Bear
Price: $8.95
Pages: 312
Rating:  3 out 5 stars
Source: borrowed from the library

This is the first book in the I,Q series.  Quest, (Q for short) and his new stepsister Angela are traveling around the country in a luxury motor coach, while their newly married musician parents go on tour.  The book is told over a series of 6 days as the family travels to Philadelphia for the first stop.  While there, they discover that they are in a real-life spy adventure.  This spy/adventure series is aimed toward middle grade readers.

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When Freedom Comes (Hope’s Revolutionary War Diary #3) by Kristiana Gregory
Published:  2004 by Scholastic
Price: $12.95
Pages: 112
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source:  borrowed from the library

This is book number 3 in the Revolutionary War Diary series.  Told in diary format, the book details Hope’s experience with the Revolutionary War in full swing.  British soldiers are living in her house, she is cut off from her best friend, whose family are Loyalists and her family learns that her father is weak and sick in Valley Forge, fighting in the war.  Hope’s family lives in Philadelphia, however not much reference is made to the actual city.

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Conveyor Belt Sushi at east Japanese Restaurant {Updated}

Conveyor belt sushi used to be a rare dining experience that I only saw on television.  Luckily, it’s becoming more popular and now, even us suburbanites can partake in the conveyor belt sushi experience.  If you are shopping at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack, New York and are looking for a family-friendly, non-chain, unique dining experience, east Japanese Restaurant is the place to go.

Guests are seated in booths around the sushi chefs, who have their prep stations located in the center of the dining space. As they prepare different rolls and sushi, they cover and place them on the conveyor belt.  The labeled plates travel around the restaurant, and diners take the items they want.

The different patterned and colored plates are priced differently.  White plates cost $1.75 each while the gold plates cost $8.00 each.  Most plates include two pieces of sushi or three pieces of roll.  There are many types of sushi available from the California roll to the specialty Big Thunder Mountain roll. Non-sushi dishes like seaweed salad and fried chicken are also offered.  If you do not see what you want or prefer not to go the sushi route, the restaurant offers a full Japanese menu including teriyaki and tempura dishes.  At the end of your meal, your plates are collected and you are charged accordingly.

What we love about this restaurant is that we are able to try new dishes without a huge commitment.  For a couple of dollars a plate, if we like it, we’ll take another plate of it.  If we didn’t like it we at least tried something new!  This is a great way to introduce your kids to different types of sushi.  Plus, like our kids, they will most likely enjoy grabbing the dishes off the conveyor belt.  It definitely makes for a unique and fun dining experience, which we highly recommend! Unfortunately, the only conveyor belt sushi restaurants that we are aware of that are not located in the city are this one and YO! Sushi at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.

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