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Five on Friday {Back-to-School}

After a long, but fun summer, the kids are back in school!  I officially have a 4th and a 6th grader and I am fortunate that they both love school.  I am hopeful that we will have another great school year. The school year has barely started and our calendar is already filling up!  We don’t have anymore big trips coming up at the moment, but we plan on partaking in as much local family fun as we can.  After a summer filled with travel around New York State I am looking forward to blogging all about our travels.  This weekend’s plans include our monthly supper club and a food truck festival.  My son is starting a new soccer league which begins this weekend as well.  Here are five from this week:

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Reading – I am currently reading Ruth Ware’s newest book The Lying Game.  I enjoyed both of her previous books and I’m always up for a good suspense/thriller book.  I just started this one but hope it’s good!

Labor Day Weekend – We made our final trip of the summer up to Rhode Island last weekend.  The weather was chilly but we still made a beach trip.  I couldn’t enjoy myself more sitting on a beach chair with my book!  Plus, we had our requisite clam chowder, clam cakes and some fried calamari!

Collaboration – My husband attended his first event this week representing NY Foodie Family!  I was invited to an Angel’s Envy bourbon tasting in NYC.  I’m not a bourbon drinker but my husband is.  Plus, it’s much easier for him to get to the city on a weeknight.  So, he had a nice night out representing the blog.  He really does try to help out with the blog as much as he can, editing my posts, helping to take pictures and now, attending events solo!

Enjoying – being back on a schedule! With the kids back in school, it’s nice to have routines again. I’m not going to lie, I also enjoy having some quiet time! I can actually get some work done and run errands in peace.

Family Time – Last Monday we attended Cornucopia, a local historical event celebrating all things corn.  We like to watch cooking demonstrations and we enjoyed seeing local chef Renee Kashuba make a corn soup.  We were able to sample it and I liked it so much that I plan to make it soon! We also walked through a corn maze, visited a mill where corn is ground, and my husband and son partook in a corn husking competition.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about Farmstead Flatbread, a restaurant in the Lake George, NY region.

Currently 2017

Wednesday I shared my September Currently and joined the monthly linkup.

Thursday I wrote about our kayaking experience with Southern Tier Kayak Tours.

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

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Paddling the Palisades with Southern Tier Kayak Tours

(Thank you Southern Tier Kayak Tours (STKT), Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes and the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce for hosting us!  All opinions are my own.)

My kids have surprised me this summer with their adventurous spirit and have been all about trying new things. Although kayaking isn’t new to us (the kids love kayaking around the lake near our friends’ house) we had never taken a guided tour before.

On the day of our kayak tour we arrived at the Senator William Smith Launch in Big Flats, NY a little earlier than our expected 9:45 AM meeting time.  I wanted to make sure we had on proper foot attire (i.e. water sandals and old sneakers) and had time to apply suntan lotion.  There were eight of us on this tour, plus our professional guide, Aaron from Southern Tier Kayak Tours (STKT).

Prior to our kayak trip, we were asked heights and weights so we could be fitted with the appropriate size kayak.  We had the option of getting a tandem kayak so I could paddle with one of the kids, but they both wanted to paddle their own. STKT provides the kayaks, paddles and life jackets.  On this trip we used sit-on-top kayaks, but they also have sit-in kayaks.  Although most of us on the tour had previous kayak experience, Aaron gave us a quick paddling lesson and safety talk.  Like most outdoor and adventure excursions, a waiver must be signed before setting off.  We helped carry the kayaks down to the river and Aaron ensured everyone got into their kayak safely before our tour began.

The Chemung River was surprisingly calm and peaceful and our tour provided beautiful views of the palisades.  Aaron was a very knowledgeable guide and pointed out various killdeer, herons, ospreys and eagles.  On our journey we saw several eagles perched in trees and flying above us.  He also pointed out the invasive species of plants that are growing rampant along the river banks.

A couple miles into our paddle we stopped at a shallow area and took a stretch.  We spent a few minutes skipping stones (or in my case, attempting to).  Then Aaron showed us how you can tell the health of the river just by examining the wildlife growing under the rocks.  Picking up rocks he pointed out the variety of water pennies and snails that were thriving, indicators that the river is doing well.

After our little respite, we got back into the kayaks and continued our tour.  As you can see, some parts of the river were very shallow that day.  Paddling the river several times a week, Aaron is very familiar with it and he directed us to paddle towards certain sides of the river to avoid the rocks.  In one part of the river, there was a very small rapid we needed to navigate to continue onward.  Aaron got out of his kayak and stood in the water, ensuring that everyone made it safely through the rapid and was headed in the correct direction.

I have to note that I did not realize how tiring a five mile kayak paddle is!  By the last mile, our arms were tired!  After my son complained about his arms, Aaron took pity on him.  He attached my son’s kayak to his and towed him the last mile or so.  Although they make exceptions, these kayak tours are recommended for children 9 and up.  While my son turned 9 over the summer, I see why they have the age recommendation. FYI, this tour is usually six miles, but our tour was shortened by a mile to keep us on schedule for horseback riding (review on its way soon).

We had a great time kayaking down the Chemung River with STKT.  It is a calm paddle with beautiful, scenic views. Most of our enjoyment can be attributed to Aaron, our amazing guide.  His passion for kayaking is evident through the tour, ensuring everyone is having a fun and enjoyable ride.  If you are in the Southern Tier region, I highly recommend taking a kayak tour with STKT!

The Details:

Southern Tier Kayak Tours (STKT)
P.O. Box 293
Lansing, NY 14882
(607) 220-3642

Tours and Prices:
Paddle the Palisades (6 mile tour down the Chemung River, $55/person)
Chenango Charm (7.5 mile tour down the Chenango River, $55/person)
Sample the Susquehanna (6 mile tour down the Susquehanna River, $50/person)

Tours run April through October.  Check the STKT calendar for exact dates and times of the tours.

Tips:

Wear water shoes or old sneakers.  You will be walking in the water and it’s rocky in some areas.

Bring a water bottle.  There is a place to store a water bottle or two.  You will get hot and thirsty, especially on a warm, summer day.

Remember to apply sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses.  You are out on the water with no shade.

Bring phones and cameras at your own risk!  I put my cell phone in a Ziploc bag and then stuck it in a waterproof, athletic waist bag belt.

If you had a great trip, tip your tour guide.  Tips are not required, but your tour guide will appreciate it!

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Currently September 2017

Currently 2017
I think I say this every month, but I can’t believe that it’s already September!  We had such an enjoyable summer traveling around New York state and the time just flew by!  The kids just started school again and I am looking forward to all things Fall. I am joining Anne and her co-host Lowanda for the monthly Currently linkup.  Here is what I am currently:

Celebrating – My birthday this month.  As I’ve gotten older, birthdays aren’t a big deal to me anymore.  Sometimes, I actually forget how old I am! But September 16, I will be turning another year older so there will be some celebrating going on around here.

Watching – For the first time this summer I started watching Bachelor in Paradise.  Since I watched the most recent seasons of the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, I’m familiar with most of the cast.  It’s been surprisingly enjoyable and a recent guilty pleasure.  I just wish I didn’t have to commit four hours a week!

Welcoming – The kids had their first day of school yesterday.  I’m going to miss the relaxed, care-free days of summer.  However, I’m welcoming being back into a routine.  I think it’s easier for the kids when they have a set bedtime and a regular morning wake-up time.  Plus, with homework and after-school activities, they will be much busier and have less time to be on electronics or be “bored.”

Preparing – Is it too early to start preparing for next summer’s vacation?!!  I’m not totally joking though.  Next summer we’d like to do a tour of the National Parks out West.  It will most likely be a two week trip and figuring out all the logistics will take lots of time and planning.  So, I’m hoping to get started on the research and planning of this trip soon.

Photographing – Summer is over and I will be home now to cook dinner every night.  I am going to restart my Monday weekly meal plan posts.  So, this means I will be back to photographing dinner each night! LOL!  While traveling this summer, I also started using and experimenting with the manual mode on my camera.  I’m hoping to get out more while the kids are in school to continue practicing my photography skills.

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Farmstead Flatbread {Queensbury}

We were hungry after a long, fun-filled day at Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury, NY.  In an attempt to avoid another amusement park meal, we stumbled upon Farmstead Flatbread.  The restaurant, located on Rt. 9, is only a few blocks south of Great Escape.  Originally known as Sutton’s Marketplace, after 40 years the restaurant re-branded and became Farmstead Flatbread.

When you enter the restaurant, you encounter a large bar and pool table.  It’s a great space for hanging out and grabbing a drink.  Outdoor seating is available and perfect for dining al fresco. The main dining area is spacious and has a casual vibe.  Strands of lights are strung across the ceiling and the deep gray walls are adorned with a mix of farm tools and wall hangings.

As soon as we saw the regional beer and locally-sourced dinner menus, my husband commented that this was “our kind of restaurant!”  Their extensive beer menu has 20 craft beers on tap that change regularly.

The real star of the restaurant is the hearth oven located in the dining area of the restaurant.  Guests can watch, either up close or from their table, as the chefs assemble and cook their flatbreads.  The menu features nine different flatbreads to choose from.  Or, you can create your own.  The restaurant uses organic and locally-sourced ingredients on the flatbreads including Lake George Olive Oil Company olive oil, organic tomato sauce, house made nitrate free sausage, and Nettle Meadow goat cheese.

Between the four of us, we shared the seasonal salad, and two small flatbreads. The seasonal salad at the time was a Greek Salad with romaine, Greek-style feta cheese, peppercinis, red onions and local cucumbers tossed in a house-made Greek dressing.  The salad tasted really fresh and the crumbled Greek-style feta was amazing!  If you aren’t in the mood for a salad, Farmstead Flatbread also serves wings.  They are lightly fried and made with a house rub.  You only have to choose the number of wings you want and the type of sauce (mild, medium, hot, BBQ or the flavor of the day).

The flatbreads come in two sizes, small and large.  It was difficult deciding which ones to get, but we finally agreed on a small “Cultivator” and a small “Grazer” flatbread.  The “Cultivator” (pictured at the top of the above picture) included organic tomato sauce, Italian cheeses, house-made meatballs, basil pesto and spinach.  The “Grazer” included organic tomato sauce, Italian cheese, peppers, red onions and nitrate free sausage.  Let me tell you, we were not disappointed with our decisions.  Both flatbreads were delicious with great combinations of flavors!  Unfortunately, when traveling, we can’t take leftovers with us.  So we might have finished both flatbreads.  It was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

We were too full after dinner to even think about dessert and just requested the check.  The staff were friendly and attentive throughout the meal, checking in and refilling water glasses. On Sundays, they have an amazing looking brunch menu that is served from 10 AM to 3 PM.  I wish I lived closer so I could try it out!  If you’re dining between the hours of 11:15 AM – 5:30 PM you can head upstairs and check out Starla’s Shoppe for gifts, jewelry, unique toys and more.

If you are looking for a family-friendly, delicious dining experience in the Queensbury/Lake George area, I highly recommend Farmstead Flatbread.

The Details:

Farmstead Flatbread
1066 State Route 9
Queensbury, NY 12804
(518) 741-6911

Hours:  11:30 AM – 9:00 PM, Monday – Thursday
11:30 AM – 10:00 PM, Friday – Saturday
10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday

Parking:  Free parking in lot adjacent to restaurant

Cost:  Small flatbreads range from $9.25 – $13.75, large flatbreads range from $15.00 – $22.75.  Beers range in price from $5-$7 per 16 oz. draft. (Credit cards are accepted)

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6 Reasons Why The Rockwell Museum is Perfect for Families

(We were hosted by the Rockwell Museum and Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.  All opinions are my own.)

The Rockwell Museum sits on Cedar Street in Corning’s Old City Hall.  The brick building looks similar to many of the structures surrounding it….except for the buffalo head protruding from the front façade!  This is fitting, since the museum’s diverse collection of paintings, artifacts, sculptures and photographs tells the story of the American experience from the perspectives of American artists. The core of the Rockwell Museum’s art collection was gifted by Bob and Hertha Rockwell.  (no relation to the artist Norman Rockwell). In November 2015, the Rockwell Museum became a Smithsonian affiliate, one of only 200 affiliates nationwide and the only one in upstate New York.

My kids are big animal lovers and especially enjoyed seeing buffalo, horses, moose and other animals in various forms. Although I have visited many museums during my travels, I was sadly unfamiliar with many early American artists.  I enjoyed becoming familiar with some of the works of famous artists like John James Audobon, Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Remington.  One of my favorite paintings was Judith Lowry’s Family: Love’s Unbreakable Heaven (pictured above). Hanging on the red wall, the colors in the piece seem even more vibrant.  Besides its incredible collection of art, here are 6 reasons why the Rockwell Museum is perfect for families.

1. Size – Compared to many other art museums that we have been to, the Rockwell Museum is comparatively small. This is not a bad thing, especially for families! Encompassing only three floors, you can tour the museum in a couple of hours.

2. Art Hunts – Children can pick up an Art Hunt board at the admissions desk, located in the gift shop, upon arrival.  During your visit, they try to find the images on the board that match actual museum pieces.  Once the board is completed, they receive a small prize.  My kids enjoyed participating in the Art Hunt and were able to complete their boards without difficulty.  I like that they were getting exposed to and having to closely examine the pieces of art.  Plus, it gives them some focus as we walked around the museum.  The Art Hunt has two sides, one each for the 2nd and 3rd floors of the museum.

3. The Balcony – The third floor of the museum leads to an outdoor balcony.  If your child is getting restless, you can bring them outside on a nice day and let them burn off some of their energy!  Added bonus, you get to take in some spectacular views of Corning!

4. The Family Exploration Studio – Located on the second floor of the museum, you can literally spend hours in the Family Exploration Studio!  The space is made specifically for kids to explore and enrich their museum experience. The space includes a book nook with art-related books, a magnetic wall puzzle of one of the museum paintings, a landscape drawing game and more.  The activities change seasonally, so there’s always something new to do.


My kids spent the majority of their time working on their Paper Blanket Stories, which connects to the current, temporary exhibit Blanket Stories.

5. Alley Art – After touring the inside of the museum, be sure to take a walk down the alleyways around it.  In a partnership with the High School Learning Center of the Corning-Painted Post Area School District, students work with Rockwell Museum educators and create a mural.  I’m a big fan of street art and was super impressed with the Alley Art projects that we saw walking around the village.

6. New York State Social Studies Curriculum Connections – The former teacher in me is coming out now! The NY state 4th grade social studies curriculum focuses on the state of New York.  Units of study including Native American Groups, the geography of NY state and the Westward Movement are depicted in various art forms throughout the museum.  Children can make connections with the museum exhibits and what they are studying in school.

If you visit the museum in late November through the end of December you will be treated to the special Gingerbread Invitational exhibit.  13 artists are featured in this special exhibit, where they create historic landmarks and architecture from the Corning region out of gingerbread!  Museum visitors get to vote on their favorites.

Children 17 and under are admitted free to both the Rockwell Museum and the Corning Museum of Glass. Admission tickets are valid for two consecutive days.  You can also purchase a combo ticket at a discounted price to both museums. A sample one-day itinerary might include starting your morning at the Rockwell Museum.  Then, have lunch and walk around the Gaffer District, adjacent to the museum.  Finally, take the free shuttle to the Corning Museum of Glass!

The Details:

The Rockwell Museum
111 Cedar Street
Corning, NY 14830

Parking:  Free parking is available in the rear of the building

Hours:  9 AM – 5 PM Daily, 9 AM – 8 PM (summer hours), seven days a week

Admission:  $11/adult, $10/55+, $10/AAA and military, $5.50/local residents and students with I.D.,Free/kids 17 and under.  Admission is valid for two consecutive days.

**Combination tickets are available for the Rockwell Museum and the Corning Museum of Glass.  A free shuttle bus travels between the two museums, allowing you to park once. Combination tickets are valid for two consecutive days.   Combo ticket prices:  $27.25/adult, $26.25/55+, $25.25/AAA and military, $21.25/college students, $14.25/local residents, Free/kids 17 and under

Sharing this post with The Weekly  Postcard linkup!

California Globetrotter
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Back-to-School Snacks From Hain Celestial

{Sponsored post – all opinions are my own}

September is fast approaching and for those of us in New York state, that means the new school year will soon begin. This also means it’s back to packing school lunches. My kids hate when I give them the same thing to eat every day, so I’m always on the lookout for new snack options.  Hain Celestial kindly sent me a sample of some of their products which will make great back-to-school snacks for the kids!

Hain Celestial is headquartered in Lake Success, New York.  Celestial Seasonings, alba Botanica, Earth’s Best Organic, Garden of Eatin, Ella’s Kitchen, Soy Dream and Terra are only a sample of the companies that Hain Celestial markets, manufactures and sells. The company, founded in 1993, aims to, “make it easier for people around the world to adopt healthier lifestyles through foods they eat and the personal care products they use.” They use responsibly sourced ingredients and are mindful of their environmental footprint.  Basically, you can feel good about using their products.

Here is a review of some of the snacks that we sampled:

Garden of Eatin’ Organic Tortilla Chips – These tortilla chips are made from organic corn.  I find them to be thicker and denser than other tortilla chips on the market.  We tried both the nacho and ranch flavors of these chips. The nacho chips have a light cheese flavor.  We found the ranch chips to be more flavorful, but beware, they had a strong garlic flavor.  Be sure to have some mints ready after eating these!

Sensible Portions Stacked Veggie Chips – While our family is familiar with veggie straws (see below), we had never seen veggie chips before! These are stackable chips made with a combination of potatoes and vegetables.  We tried the sour cream & onion variety and liked them.  The chips are crispy with a light, sour cream flavor.  Other flavors available include BBQ, Sea Salt, Cheddar Cheese and Sea Salt & Vinegar.

Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws – My children are no stranger to veggie straws.  However, we had never seen flavored ones before.  They were excited to try these cheddar cheese flavored straws as well as ranch and sea salt.  We have found new flavors to incorporate into our veggie straw snack rotation!

Terra Plantain Chips –  I was already familiar with Terra and love the brand’s vegetable chips.   My kids are familiar with plantains and have had tostones and sweet plantains.  Although I’ve had plantain chips in the past, I had never tried the Terra brand.  After trying these, my daughter’s exact words were, “I’m addicted to these!”  These chips are small and bite-sized.  They are thinner than other plantain chips that I’ve tried but still tasty.

Thank you Hain Celestial for introducing our family to so many new items to add to our back-to-school snack rotation!

What are some of your favorite school snacks?

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Food Truck Mash-Up At Empire City Casino

Sponsored Post

Where are all my fellow food truck fans?  On Sunday, September 10, come join me and fellow foodies at Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York.  The Journal News Media Group is pitting the best food trucks from New York against the best of New Jersey in a Food Truck Mash-Up.  Your vote will help determine who wins bragging rights!

The current food truck line-up includes Carnivale Donut Bar (“over the top”shakes, ice cream donut sandwiches and stuffed mini donuts), Dough Nation (pizza), Farmers and Chefs (Hudson Valley, farm fresh, local, in-season dishes), Frites of NY (different kinds of street fries), Glazed and Confused Donuts (mini donuts), HAPA Truck (Asian Fusion- tacos, burgers, sides), Kona Ice (shaved ice), Los Viajeros (tacos, burritos, quesadillas),  Meatoss Food Truck (Brazilian churrasco),  Bacon Me Crazy (“hand wrap, roll & sprinkle your favorite foods with mmmm…..bacon!”), Empanada Guy (empanadas and traditional Latin dishes), Callahan’s Hot Dogs (hot dogs, burgers, fries), Walter’s Hot Dogs (hot dogs and fries), Three Little Pigs BBQ (BBQ meat, sandwiches, chicken), The Souvlaki Truck (Greek), Stuf’d Truck (gourmet sandwiches and sweet bites), Luke’s Lobster (seafood), Waffle de Lys (Belgian and savory waffles), CheezeN (gourmet grilled cheese), The Guac Spot (avocado-inspired eats), Jimmy Dawn’s Cheesesteaks (cheesesteaks and fries), Angry Archie’s (seafood) and Aroy’d Thai Elephant (Thai food)!

(Carnivale Donut Bar’s “Over the Top” shakes – photo courtesy of T.H. Waldman)

I’ve perused the menus and the hardest decision you’ll have to make is which trucks to try!  These are not your average food trucks, with most of them having accumulated multiple awards in the food truck circuit. The trucks will be offering their regular event menus at the Mash-Up.  Prices for food items vary with each food truck.  After taking a quick look at some of the menus online, many of the burgers, sandwiches, tacos, “mains” etc. average $6-$12 per item.  The trucks take both credit cards and cash. If needed, ATMs are available inside the casino.  After you’ve eaten your fill, don’t forget to vote for your favorite truck! At the end of the event, a winner will be crowned.

(Callahan’s Hot Dogs – photo courtesy of T.H. Waldman)

Are you ready to get your tickets to the Food Truck Mash-Up?  Tickets are available on lohud.com for pre-purchase.  Early admission tickets are available for $20 (online only).  This enables you to access the event at 12 PM and get $5 in Food Truck Mash-Up Cash.  Plus, there will be drink specials during these two hours.

General admission tickets can be purchased online for $5 or at the event for $8, with admission beginning at 2 PM. Kids under 5 are admitted free.  All pre-purchased admissions include $10 of free play at the casino.

Plenty of free parking is available at Empire City Casino.  The Casino also provides free shuttle service from the Mount Vernon West Metro-North train station. During the event, Rockland Nissan, sponsor of the Food Truck Mash-Up, will be giving away a 2 year lease on a new Nissan Sentra.


(photo courtesy of T.H. Waldman)

This is going to be a fun-filled family event! Daddy Pop and DJ Lax will be playing live music throughout the day and their will be carnival games and activities for the kids.  Bring a blanket or foldable chair so you can sit back, relax and enjoy a day of foodie family fun.

For tickets, directions, and additional info, check out the lohud.com site.

Touring the New York State Capitol

I’ve been a life-long resident of New York state and somehow made it to my late 30’s without ever visiting our state Capitol.  Located in Albany, it is just a two hour drive from northern Westchester County. As the mother of soon-to-be 4th and 6th graders, I wanted to visit with the kids this summer.

After parking in the visitor lot, we took the elevator up to the main concourse and entered the Capitol.  Whether you enter the Capitol through the main entrance or the concourse, you must pass through a metal detector and all bags will be scanned. We arrived at 9:30 AM and went to the tour desk to sign up for the free 10 AM guided tour.  I was surprised that we were the only family from New York in our tour group.  Only one other family had children, but my 9 and 11-year-old were the youngest on the tour.

Our tour guide was very informative and we learned a lot.   Photography is allowed and encouraged throughout the tour.  Since our group was small, our guide even volunteered to take family photos at both the elevator and the Million Dollar Staircase.


The first stop on the tour is the Senate Staircase. This staircase went through a major renovation and the final results were unveiled by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013.  The brightened space showcases the detailed stone carvings that decorate the staircase.

 

Construction on the Capitol began in 1867 and wasn’t completed until 1899, with a final cost of $25 million dollars. This made it the most expensive government building at the time.  Although a dome was planned, one was never constructed due to financial reasons.  This leaves the New York State Capitol as one of only a few state capitols without a dome.

The tour visits both the Assembly and Senate Chambers.  The Assembly Chamber, pictured above, is the largest room in the Capitol.  The 150 members of the Assembly vote on approximately 2,000 bills and resolutions a year using an electronic voting system.

My favorite part of the tour was seeing the staircases.  The Capitol has three major staircases that are the most beautiful that I think I’ve ever seen in-person.  This staircase is the Great Western Staircase, also known as the Million Dollar Staircase.  After fourteen years, construction of the staircase was completed in 1897. The staircase cost over $1 million dollars to build and employed over 500 stone cutters and carvers.  Carved into the staircases are the faces of 77 famous people including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Susan B. Anthony.

Near the end of the tour we visited the War Room.  The ceiling murals depict important events in the state’s military history.  Located next to the War Room is the Hall of Governors, where portraits of New York’s 56 governors are displayed.  Our tour ended here with the option of independently touring the hall.

The Capitol also has a haunted history.  Nightwatchman, Samuel Abbot, died in the 1911 Capitol fire, but his spirit allegedly remains in the building.  We saw the demon that a disgruntled worker carved into stone.  In October, special Capitol Hauntings Tours take place, where those interested can learn more about the spooky legends of the building.

While I enjoyed the tour of the Capitol, the 60 minute tour was a bit much for my kids although they admired the beauty of the building. The information correlates so well with what they have been learning in school. However, I think the tour would be better appreciated if they were older.

The Details:

New York State Capitol 
State Street and Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12224

Parking:
 Metered street parking is available or there are several parking garages located throughout the surrounding area.  The V-Lot is located underneath the Empire State Plaza with a $10 fee before 11 AM or $5 fee after.

Weekday Walk-in Tours:  Free tours are given at 10 AM, 12 PM, 2 PM and 3 PM, sign-up at the Lobby.  Reservations are not required unless you have a party of 10 or more.  Visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours during building hours.

 

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Five on Friday {Weekend at Home}

And it’s Friday again!  The summer is flying by and we are going to be enjoying a rare summer weekend at home! Our daughter is spending the weekend at Hershey Park with a friend and we have our monthly supper club this weekend.  So, we will hopefully have a pretty relaxing weekend.  Here are five from this week:

1. Memorable Moment –  Were any of you constantly watching and awaiting for April the Giraffe to give birth like we were?!!  Last weekend we surprised the kids with a visit to Animal Adventure Park.  We got to pet and feed April and her baby Tajiri (“Taj”).  We also got to feed and pet many other animals including camels, llamas, goats, yaks and more.  There will be an post about our experience at Animal Adventure Park coming soon to the blog!

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2. Reading – I am finishing up Emma In the Night on my kindle.  I’m over half-way through and feeling “eh” about it.  I’m hoping for some big jaw-dropping moment at the end.  Once I finish this one I will be starting A Man Called Ove, which I’m very excited about after loving Fredrik Backman’s Beartown.

3. Eating –  Constantly being on the road in vacation mode we have not been eating the healthiest.  However, we have been eating some tasty food!  This past weekend on our last trip we enjoyed these square “sheet pizza” slices from Nirchi’s in Binghamton.  I of course had to go with the regional specialty, and get a Chicken Spiedie slice as well as a Buffalo Chicken Ranch slice.  And if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter than you already saw the Buttermilk Chicken Sammy I ate this weekend as well! When we are home, I am cooking healthy meals.

4. Alumni College Visits – This past weekend was centered around showing our kids our college alma maters.  We first stopped at SUNY Binghamton, to show the kids my husband’s college campus.  The next day we visited Cornell University where I graduated.  Yes, at 9 and 11, the kids are a little young, but I think that it’s never too early to get them thinking about their future.  Plus, Cornell is just a beautiful campus to visit!  This is Beebe Lake, located on the campus.  We walked a little bit of the trail around the lake and even did some geocaching during our visit.

5.  Another Memorable Moment – I wanted to visit Ithaca during the summer because several state parks are located in the city and have waterfalls that visitors can swim in.  We visited Robert H. Treman State Park where there is a waterfall that you can sit under and dive and swim in a stream-fed pool.  The water was a freezing 66 degrees so I didn’t go anywhere near it.  My kids braved the water for a bit and my daughter needed to get close enough to the falls so she could say that she touched them!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about the Saratoga Springs restaurant Ravenous Creperie.

Tuesday I wrote about our summer visit to the Olympic sites at Lake Placid.

Thursday I shared a peek inside our geocaching bag.

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

 

A Peek Inside Our Geocaching Bag

Our family has been enjoying geocaching for over a year now.  It’s easy to use the geocaching app on my phone and there are caches hidden everywhere from local parks to hiking trails deep in the woods.  It’s a lot of fun to go on an outdoor scavenger hunt and we never know when or where we might be in the mood to find some caches!  That is why we keep a bag packed in my car with our geocaching necessities.  With the bag easily accessible, we are always ready to geocache whenever the mood strikes. Today I’m giving you guys a peek inside our geocaching bag. Hopefully, this can help you pack your own bag so you are always ready to geocache!  We store all of our supplies in a small book bag.  Any bag or tote will do, but we like having the zippers so things do not fall out.  Here are the items we keep in our geocaching bag:

Bag of trinkets – When you find a geocache, many times there are trinkets in the cache.  We always follow the rule of take one, leave one.  So, what kinds of things do you leave?  We have a large Ziploc bag that we keep in our geocaching bag filled with lots of goody bag favors including bouncy balls and small toys, stickers and temporary tattoos.  Some of the kids’ favorite treasures to find in a cache include pretty rocks or shells.

Pen and paper – Not all caches include a writing instrument, so we keep a pen in the bag to sign logs.  We also keep paper in the bag in case a log has run out, or we want to jot down notes.

Hand Sanitizer – I’m not going to lie.  Sometimes, caches are hidden under piles of wet leaves or wedged into a crevice in a tree trunk.  I like to have hand sanitizer at the ready, especially when the kids get hungry and want to have a snack.

Bug spray –  Most of our geocaching has been done in parks and wooded areas.  Some of these caches take us off a marked trail and into wooded areas.  Our kids are mosquito magnets and the bugs are out in full force come spring and summer.  It’s always good to have some bug spray on hand.

Suntan lotion –  Especially in the warmer months, we don’t do any outdoor activities without putting suntan lotion on.  It’s also good to have on hand in the bag in case you are out longer than expected and need to reapply.

Water and Snacks – Prior to going out geocaching we also pack some snacks and water bottles.  There is nothing like hungry or thirsty kids to ruin a good hike!

Are there any other items that you find helpful when geocaching?