0

A Day of Contemporary Art at Dia: Beacon

(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and Dia:Beacon for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Dia:Beacon opened in 2003, bringing a significant collection of contemporary art to the Hudson Valley.   Housed in a former Nabisco box-printing factory, this art museum has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a short walk from the Beacon train station, and on weekends it is filled with visitors traveling up from the city.    NY Foodie Family visited Dia:Beacon a couple of years ago.  However, our most recent trip was a day date, sans kids, and proved to be an entirely different experience! My husband and I were able to view the exhibits at a much more relaxed pace.

Artist Dan Flavin is well-known for his work with florescent lights.  He has several works on view at the museum, but untitled is one of my faves.

Another interesting display is On Kawara’s Today series.  The paintings were completed on the date depicted on the surface in the language and date format of the country where the artist was at the time.

The art at Dia:Beacon is not just paintings that you see on the wall.  There are exhibits on the ground like Robert Smithson’s Map of Broken Glass.

You can walk on a set path through Francois Morellet’s No End Neon on the bottom floor of the museum.  You can also walk inside Richard Serra’s series of Torqued Ellipses exhibition. On nice days, you can walk out to the gardens designed by artist Robert Irwin.

 

The museum is large and you can spend a couple of hours looking at the exhibits. I’m going to be honest, some of the exhibits perplexed me.  Strands of yarn, different shaped holes in the ground, a pile of rubber……please don’t ask me to explain or understand it.  But, it’s all definitely interesting to look at!  Many of the pieces are on long-term view at the museum.  However, they also continuously bring in new exhibits.

After visiting Dia:Beacon, I highly recommend traveling into the town of Beacon.  There are lots of great restaurants, shops and the Hudson Valley Brewery, which are all a short drive away.

The Details:
Dia: Beacon
3 Beekman  Street
Beacon, NY

Hours:  January – March, Friday – Monday 11 AM – 4 PM,  April – October, Thursday – Monday 11 AM – 6 PM, November-December, Thursday – Monday 11 AM – 4 PM

Parking:  Free parking

Admission: $15/adult, $12/students and seniors, Free/children 12 and under and members

Additional Info:

*There is a cafe and bookstore/gift shop onsite.

*Public tours are given on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30 PM and 2 PM, free with admission.

*The museum is a short walk from the Beacon train station.

*On the last Sundays of the month Hudson Valley residents receive free admission with proof of residence.  City of Beacon residents, as well as residents of the adjoining communities of Fishkill, Glenham and Chelsea receive free admission every Saturday and Sunday.

0

Summer Fun at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

(Thank you Dorney Park for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Every summer NY Foodie Family tries to visit at least one amusement park.  Living in Westchester County, we have many choices within a couple of hours drive.  It had been several years since we last visited Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania and decided to make a stop on our way home from Lancaster.

Dorney Park is both an amusement and water park.  We visited on a summer day at the end of June.  It was a sunny, but not hot day so we opted not to visit the water park.  When we visit an amusement park, we all get to choose a ride that we “must-do.”  As we walk through the park to one of the rides on our list, we will stop at other rides if the lines are short.

Well, we lucked out on our weekday visit.  The park was not crowded and there were very few lines for the rides.

We love visiting amusement parks now that the kids are older.  Having a 10 and 12-year-old means that they can go on all the spinny rides together, like The Kaleidoscope, while my husband and I watch.

Our family loves roller coasters and Dorney Park has seven of them.  This includes the mild Wild Mouse, which was my son’s ride of choice, and the Woodstock Express, the kiddie coaster in Planet Snoopy.  My ride of choice during our visit was the roller coaster Talon.  This is the tallest and longest inverted coaster in the Northeast and riders turn upside down four times.  This was our son’s first time riding an inverted coaster.  Although he was a bit nervous before riding this, he did enjoy it.

Another favorite ride was Steel Force, which was my husband’s must-ride list. This coaster has a 205-foot drop with speeds reaching 75 miles per hour.  I am not a fan of coasters with huge drops and sat this one out, while my husband and kids rode it.  Unfortunately, the day of our visit, Hydra, one of the other coasters we would have enjoyed was closed.  However, there were plenty of other rides to keep us busy.

For those with young children, Planet Snoopy has a collection of fifteen Peanuts themed rides that are perfect for them.

For thrill seekers, there are many “aggressive” thrill rides that will sure to please.  The kids weren’t quite up to riding The Meteor, pictured above.

During the summer, Dorney Park offers a variety of entertainment, including meet and greets, music and dance parties and more.  They have a separate entertainment guide with all of the show listings, locations and times.  Since we visited so early in the summer, the only show was Cirque Imagine.  Many compare this show to Cirque du Soleil, as it’s a 30-minute live show of acrobatics and artistry.

The park has a variety of food options where you can get burgers, pizza, chicken, hotdogs and more.  New this year is Burrito Cantina and the Tidal Wave Cafe in the Wildwater Kingdom.  Although there are plenty of food options, we didn’t find any really unique or interesting choices.  We had a late, big breakfast before we arrived at the park and weren’t super hungry during our visit.  At our daughter’s request, we ended up stopping at Chicke’s & Pete’s for some Crabfries.  There are plenty of amusement park treats including cotton candy, fried dough and ice cream.  For those that plan on spending a full day at the park, the park offers dining plans that may be worth considering.

Visitors can see life-sized animatronic dinosaurs in the park’s Dinosaurs Alive attraction. This walk-through experience costs an additional $5 and visitors can travel back in time to learn more about these prehistoric creatures.  The park also has lots of games and an arcade as well, for those looking for some non-ride fun.

Dorney Park is a fun amusement park that kids of all ages can enjoy.  The park is large enough that you can make a full day of it.  You can even spend a couple of days if you want to enjoy the water park as well.

The Details:

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
4000 Dorney Park Road
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18104

Hours:  Hours vary by day and month.  Check the website for specific dates.

Admission:  Ticket prices vary but are cheaper when purchased online in advance.  Daily tickets start at $42.  Check the website for additional info.

Parking:  $20 (credit card accepted)

Tips:

*Buy a refillable souvenir bottle when you enter the park (or purchase online for an additional $2 off).  You get to enjoy free refills on your first visit.

*The park may be crowded the day of your visit and you may not be able to enjoy all the rides and attractions that you want.  Have everyone choose a “must-do” ride to ensure the whole family has fun.

0

Fun in the Trees at Boundless Adventures

(Thank you to Boundless Adventures for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

I’m always on the lookout for fun, new experiences for our family.  When I heard that Boundless Adventures recently opened in Purchase, this sounded like something we would enjoy. My kids, especially my daughter, love to try new things and are pretty adventurous.  Boundless Adventures was a perfect family day out!

So, what exactly is Boundless Adventures?

Boundless Adventures is a treetop adventure park.  It consists of 4 different types of courses that are all developed to  “test your boundaries.”  Local owners Brian and Lorrie Funtleyder’s mission is, “to empower and inspire people to challenge themselves both mentally and physically.  With challenge comes greater self-confidence and achievement.”

What should I expect when I visit Boundless Adventures?

When you arrive on the Purchase College campus, follow the signs to Boundless Adventures.  You will arrive at the parking lot and registration building.  Although reservations are not required, they are recommended.  The park can get busy and a reservation ensures that you have a harness ready for your arrival.  At the registration building you will check-in and sign waivers, if you haven’t already done so prior to your arrival.  I didn’t realize that you can pre-sign your waiver online.  All climbers also get a wrist band.  Since there are age requirements for the different courses, they write the age of each child on their wrist band.  There are bathrooms at the registration area, which I recommend using before you head to the courses as you’ll be harnessed for up to 3 1/2 hours.  They also sell snacks, beverages, and branded apparel here.  Once your wrist band is on, you’re ready to head to the course.

The park is located across the street from the parking lot.  When you arrive, you will first get harnessed up with the assistance of a staff member and get a pair of protective gloves to wear.  The harness is full-body with a special carabiner safety system.

You will then stop at the Briefing Station for a 15-20 minute tutorial on how to use the safety system. Then you use the Practice Lines to ensure you can use the system properly.  I highly recommend paying close attention to the briefing session.  We found that the two-carabiner system with the tweezle safety measure does have a bit of a learning curve.  Your instructor will also teach you how to properly use the zip line attachment and how to slow it down, if needed.  Although you may be anxious to get out on the course and climb, this is the time to ask all your questions and make sure that you can properly use a tweezle to unlock your carabiner.

Once you have completed your briefing session you are ready to climb.  You are given 3 hours, starting at the end of your briefing session, to enjoy the courses.  Although there are plenty of staff on the ground to assist you, you complete the courses on your own.  There are 9 courses in four levels of difficulty: 3 Exploration courses (Beginner-Yellow), 3 Motivation Courses (Intermediate-Green),  2 Strength Courses (Advanced-Blue) and 1 Conqueror Course (Expert-Black).  Each course is made up of multiple elements including bridges, beams and zip lines.  Only one person is allowed to be on an element at a time, while up to three people can stand on the waiting platforms between elements.  All courses begin at the main starting platform but end up in various places throughout the park.  You must follow walking trails back to the beginning to start a new course.

My husband and kids started out on a yellow course while I took some photos. The yellow courses are 10 feet above the ground and feature low-speed zip lines and easier bridges.  I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to try the courses.  I’m not afraid of heights, but psychologically, standing so many feet above the ground, trying to transverse moving logs is a bit scary.

My son and I completed all three yellow courses together and then moved on to complete two of the green courses.  The green courses are 15 feet above the ground and include longer zip lines and more challenging, rolling elements.

My daughter, the adventure-seeker, quickly moved from yellow to green to the blue courses with my husband.  These are 22-26 feet above the ground and really test your strength with harder elements.  My husband noted that she wasn’t afraid of any of the elements and was even excited to do the ending “leap of faith.”  Yes, on one of the blue courses, you need to literally  jump off a platform (while you are attached to a safety belay system) to get to the ground .

My son quickly learned how to properly use his zip line attachment (make sure both carabiners are resting in notches of the zip line attachment) after getting stuck in the middle of the first zip line.  What happens if you get stuck?  Well, you can either use your muscles and monkey pull yourself backwards to the platform like my son did.  Or, staff members can come assist you, like this girl I saw who needed rescuing.

What was the experience like? 

Our family had such a great time at Boundless Adventures.  Before my husband and daughter went off on their own, I saw the kids working together, helping each other with their carabiners.  I also found such a camaraderie among guests.  When a woman was having trouble with her carabiner, my daughter jumped right in to assist her.  When I was having difficulty with one of the elements, another guest stepped in to help.  And, of course, the staff members also came to the rescue, like when I got stuck on the zipline!

It was a great bonding experience as well for us.  My husband and daughter went off together and my son and I teamed up.  He enjoyed not being rushed by his sister.  I loved that, when I was having a bit of difficulty, my 10-year-old would yell words of encouragement.  Leaving the park, we were all commenting on how accomplished we felt and how proud we were of ourselves for completing the various courses.

Enjoy an adventurous day of family fun at Boundless Adventures! 

The Details:
Boundless Adventures
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 893-4550

Hours:  Dates and times vary by season.  Check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Parking: Free parking in lot E2.

Admission: Adults (ages 12+)/$59, Youth (7-11)/$54  (Ticket includes 30 minute orientation and 3 hours of climbing)

Tips:

*You must wear close-toed shoes on the course.  I recommend wearing comfortable clothing as you will be climbing and crawling.

*The courses are strenuous and will tire you out!  There are water dispensers and a supply of paper drinking cones in the park but you may want to bring your own water.

*Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park for family members who are not climbing and want to watch.  You can also bring snacks and food into the park and enjoy them at these tables.

*If you have a 10-11 year-old child who is adventurous and will likely want to try the blue courses, make sure you have an adult with them that is climbing.  Children this age cannot climb the blue courses without an adult with them.  Similarly, children ages 12-13 who may want to try the black course needs an adult as well.

Duckpin Bowling {Family Fun}

I’m sure many families have been bowling before.  But have you tried Duckpin bowling?!  Duckpin bowling is similar to the bowling that most of us are familiar with.  However, there are some differences. First, although there are ten pins, they are smaller and lighter than  those used in 10-pin bowling, making it more difficult to roll a strike.  Second, the balls are smaller in size and do not have finger holes.

Our family recently visited the only local Duckpin bowling alley that we are aware of, Danbury Duckpin Lanes, in Danbury, Connecticut.

This is an old school bowling alley. There are no televisions or streaming LCD screens.  The lanes don’t have automatic scoring or pin clearing.  But there is lots of memorabilia and look at that clock!

When you check-in at the main desk you are assigned a lane and given a scoring paper and pencil.  The time is recorded, as you pay by the amount of time spent bowling, not per game.  Scoring is calculated the same way as regular bowling.  Except in duckpin bowling, you roll three balls per frame. 

 

After each roll you hit the floor pedal to clear the fallen pins.

 

Then once you roll your third ball, you hit the reset button to load the pins for the next player.

There is a bit of a learning curve to Duckpin bowling, mostly in getting comfortable holding and throwing the ball. The smaller balls were a bit hard to hold, especially for the kids.  Although the bowling alley has bumpers available,  we opted not to use them.  They are the kind that have to be put in and everyone has to use them.  My son wasn’t very happy about this, since many of his balls ended up in the gutter.

We spent an hour and twenty minutes bowling two games, with my husband winning both.  Although there is a small snack bar at the lanes, we didn’t eat while we were there, as we had gone out to lunch right before bowling.

Duckpin bowling is a fun variation of ten-pin bowling.  We had a great time at Danbury Duckpin Lanes and plan on visiting again soon!

The Details:
Danbury Duckpin Lanes
7 East Hayestown Road
Danbury, CT 06811
(203) 744-4505

Hours:  Closed Monday & Tuesday
Wednesday & Thursday 3:30 PM – 6 PM
Friday 3:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Saturday 12 PM – 9:30 PM
Sunday 11 AM – 6 PM

Price:  3o minute minimum, price starts at $16 for 30 minutes
Shoes:  $1.50/pair

*Credit cards are accepted.

*The snack bar sells food at a reasonable price:  pizza $2.00, french fries $2.00, hot dog $1.75 plus snacks, beverages, ice cream and more.

 

Westchester Weekend {May 5 & 6}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

As always, please check with the website/venue for the most up-to-date information. 

Saturday, May 5:

I Love My Park Day 
Organized by Parks & Trails NY in a partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, this statewide celebration has volunteers helping to clean up and beautify state parks, public lands and historic sites throughout New York.

Pre-register for specific locations through the website.

K104’s 7th Annual Cupcake Festival
Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508

Enjoy sampling cupcakes (for a cost) from local bakeries throughout the Hudson Valley.  There are also family activities and local vendors selling goods.

1 PM – 5 PM

Free Admission
Rain Date –  Sunday, May 6

May 5 & 6:
Hudson Valley Wine and Chocolate Festival 
Patterson Recreation Center
65 Front Street
Patterson, NY 12563
(845) 878-7200

**This event is for adults only, 21+.  This year’s festival has a Kentucky Derby theme! Sip wine, spirits and cider, sample chocolates

11 AM – 4 PM

Tickets:  $30
Designated Driver Ticket:  $10

Valley Con
Jefferson Valley Mall
Hill Blvd.
Jefferson, Valley, NY

The first Valley Con will include video game tournaments, meet and greet and panel discussions with celebrity guests, free movie screenings and more.

Saturday: 12 PM – 9 PM
Sunday:  11 AM – 6 PM

Free

2

Cirque du Soleil: Volta

(Thank you to Cirque du Soleil for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As usual, all opinions are our own.)

 

I have been a fan of Cirque du Soleil, ever since I saw my first show, Varekai, many years ago.  For those unfamiliar, Cirque du Soleil literally means Circus of the Sun. However, this is no ordinary circus.  The Canadian company is the largest theatrical producer in the world, and Volta, their newest show, is their 41st production.

Photo Credit – Benoit Z. Leroux, courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

Volta is now performing at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, New Jersey until May 6.  My family and I saw the show this past weekend and we had an amazing time!  Although my kids have seen a couple Cirque du Soleil shows on DVD and television, this was their first live show.  It was definitely an experience that they will not forget!

As soon as Volta starts you are in for a treat.  The colorful costumes, the rhythmic sounds and the amazing acrobatic feats combine for an awe-inspiring performance.  Volta, tells the story of WAZ, a guy who looks a little different than others, with his blue feathered hair.  He hopes that the fame of performing on a popular game show will bring him love and acceptance.  He is led on a journey with the Elites, the Greys and the Free Spirits as he comes to accept who he is.

Photo Credit – Michael Kass courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

The show’s acrobatics focus strongly on street sports, with BMX, rope skipping, parkour, shape diving and more.  There are also some comedic bits as well. My kids found WAZ’s story to be a bit vague and difficult to follow.  However, they loved the acrobatic displays!  During the shape diving act (pictured above), a couple of the performers knocked down the shapes during their dives.  At the intermission, my kids asked, “Did they do that on purpose?”  I told them that I didn’t think that they did it on purpose.  But, we noted how the crowd was super excited for them when they landed their next dive.  These minor mistakes showed my kids that these performers are human and we all make mistakes.  As my daughter noted, “They were super brave to even get up there.  I could never do that!”  So, there were teachable moments during the show as well.

Photo Credit – Patrice Lamoureux courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

The music for Volta was written and composed by Anthony Gonzalez, from the French music band, M83.  As the musical director for Volta, he brings a variety of music styles to the stage.  A band and singers perform live for each show.

Photo Credit – Michael Kass courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

As I mentioned, Cirque du Soleil shows are productions.  This is not a short “circus” show.  The show is broken up into two acts and was approximately two hours, with a 25-minute intermission. This is a show for everyone.  The night we attended there were families with children of all ages as well as couples, young and old.  Tickets start at $55 and are similarly priced to what you’d pay to see a Broadway show.  There are two tiers of seating, with all seats having a decent view of the stage.

 

Get your tickets soon, as Volta is only playing in East Rutherford until May 6th.  Then it will move on to Uniondale, Long Island with performances from May 17 through June 10.  This is a fun experience that your family will LOVE!

The Details:

Cirque du Soleil’s Volta
Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment
1 Racetrack Drive
East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Parking:  $20

Available Shows:
Wednesday May 2:  8 PM
Thursday May 3:  8 PM
Friday May 4:  4:30 PM
Sunday May 6:  1:30 PM and 5 PM

Tickets:
Start at $55, varies depending on the show and seat choice – can be purchased online or by calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783).

Tips:
*Doors open for the 8 PM show at 7:15 PM.  There was a lot of traffic getting into the parking lot of the Meadowlands Race Track.  You then have to take a shuttle bus to the circus tent.

*I recommend either leaving the show as the cast are taking bows or hanging out after the show for a little bit.  The crowds after the show ended were crazy, as everyone had to wait to get a shuttle bus back to the parking lot.  It just so happened that the night we attended it was raining and we didn’t have an umbrella, so we got a tad bit wet!

*Food and drinks are available for purchase. However, be prepared to pay a hefty price.  A bottle of water costs $5 and a bag of popcorn (approximately the size of a medium movie theater popcorn) costs $12.  Alcohol, including beer, wine and spirits, are available as well.  We had an early dinner before we went to see the show and stopped on the way home for a treat.

*Flash photography is not allowed.  If you are in an aisle seat in front of the stage, have your camera ready during the bows.  The cast comes down off the stage and walks into the aisles – you may be able to get a close-up pic!

Westchester Weekend {April 28 & 29}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

As always, please check with the website/venue for the most up-to-date information. 

Saturday, April 28:

Hudson Valley Mac and Cheese Fest
Brotherhood Winery
100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive
Washingtonville, NY 10992

Enjoy sampling over 15 different mac and cheese creations.  All tickets include a self-guided tour of the winery. Soft drinks, wine and beer are available for purchase.

1 PM – 5 PM

General Admission: $30
VIP Big Cheese Ticket (admission at 12 PM): $50
4 PK General Admission Early Bird Special:  $99
Kids 12 and under:  FREE

Sunday, April 29:

White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival
Turnure Park
26 Lake Street
White Plains, NY

Experience Japanese culture while celebrating the cherry blossoms.  Performances throughout the day include dance, taiko drumming, kendo, singing, traditional dance and more.  Food is available for purchase.

11:30 AM – 5 PM

Free Admission

April 28 & 29:
Hudson Valley KidVenture
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
14 Civic Center Plaza
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

This is a two-day event that allows children of all ages to explore, discover and have fun.  There are performances, demonstrations, hands-on activities, Touch A Truck and more.

11 AM – 4 PM

Tickets:
$8 in advance
$10 at door
Weekend Pass:  $12 in advance
Children under 3 are FREE

Westchester Weekend {April 21 & 22}

Every weekend there’s always a ton of events going on in Westchester County and the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, there are too many events to write about and I’m lucky if our family can attend even one event.  However, I’m hoping to showcase some highlight events that you may want to try to attend.  Here’s a quick look at some of the family fun and food events taking place in Westchester County and the surrounding area this weekend.

April 21:

The Barley House’s 1st Annual Crawfish Boil
The Barley House
665 Commerce Street
Hawthorne, NY 10594
(914) 495-3333

2-5 PM rain or shine
$35/pp all you can eat

April 22:

A Cup of the Valley Coffee and Tea Festival
Culinary Institute of America – Marriott Pavilion
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538

11 AM – 5 PM
$17/pp in advance, $20/pp day of event

Sample a variety of coffees and teas from

Earth Day Celebration
Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 723-3470

12 PM – 4 PM
Free

Celebrate Earth Day at the Greenburgh Nature Center with volunteer projects and workshops that will help make a difference and teach you about caring for the Earth.  A grounding yoga class will take place at 10:30 AM.

NY Metro Reptile Show
Westchester County Center
198 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

9 AM – 4 PM
Adults – $10
Kids (7 – 12) – $5
Kids (under 7) – free

This is the Northeast’s largest reptile expo.  There will be thousands of live reptiles, amphibians and arachnids on display and for sale.

April 21 & 22:

Historic Hudson Valley’s Sheep-to-Shawl Festival
Philipsburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

10 AM – 5 PM
Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Celebrate spring and learn about the process of turning wool into cloth, 18th-century style!  Read our review of this fun family event!

Hudson Valley Comic Con
Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center
258 Titusville Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Saturday:  10 AM – 7 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Free Parking

2-Day Adult Pass: $35
2-Day Child Pass (ages 5-12): $20
Saturday Adult Pass: $25
Saturday Child Pass: $15
Sunday Adult Pass: $20
Sunday Child Pass: $10

The 3rd annual Hudson Valley Comic Con is taking place at Gold’s Gym and Exhibition Center in Poughkeepsie.  Meet comic book artists, play video games in the Gamer’s Lounge, enjoy stories and crafts in the Kids Zone, enjoy live shows and panels.  There’s also a costume contest.

 

Sheep-to-Shawl Festival at Philipsburg Manor

This weekend is the Historic Hudson Valley’s annual Sheep-to-Shawl Festival.  This two-day event is held on the historic grounds of Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow.  It’s a spring festival celebrating all things sheep and visitors get to experience the steps of turning wool into cloth…..18th-century style! Our family visited this festival last year and had a great time.

When you arrive at the site, you will walk along a fenced path and step back into time.  Be sure to take a guide that has a map and list of the different attractions, as well as a schedule of timed events.  Interpreters are stationed throughout the grounds to provide information and answer any questions visitors may have.  They work on various tasks, and when appropriate, encourage guests to try as well.

The kids first teased a piece of wool, loosening and spreading it out.  Then they got a chance to card the wool, the process which cleans and separates wool in preparation for spinning.

They were then able to use a spinning wheel to hand spin a piece of wool.  It was a lot of fun for them to have such hands-on experiences.

We got to see yarn being dyed using items like onion skins and berries to get the different colors.

There was an activity station nearby where the kids got to dye their own piece of yarn.

We got to see some very cute alpacas.

And some duck- and sheep-herding.

Of course the big highlight of the day was watching a sheep get sheared, using hand-held shears, as it was done back in the 18th-century.

As you walk the grounds you will see different hand-held tools that were used to weave the yarn, as well as some of the larger looms.

As you can see, there is a lot to see and do during the Sheep-to-Shawl Festival (and I didn’t show all there is!).  Expect to spend at least two hours wandering the grounds of Philipsburg Manor and enjoying the activities.  This year there will be a fashion show and live music as well.  This is a great way to enjoy an educational, hands-on family day of fun right here in Westchester County!

The Details:

Sheep-to-Shawl Festival at Philisburg Manor
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Dates & Times:  Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 – 10 AM – 5 PM.

Cost: Online tickets – Free for members, $16/adults, $12/seniors, $8/children 3-17  Onsite tickets – Free for members, $18/adults, $14/seniors, $10/children 3-17.

Parking:  Free parking is available in the small lot at 381 N. Broadway as well in an overflow lot (make a right at the traffic light and signs will direct you to the lot).

Food:  Food is available for purchase onsite or you can bring in your own food.   Picnic tables are available to sit and eat.

Check out the 2018 Program!

2

Westchester County Staycation Fun {For Tweens}

With all of the recent snow storms we’ve had, for many Westchester County families, this upcoming Spring break has been significantly shortened.  Some of you may have booked your vacations weeks ago.  However, for those of you who have not, here are some ideas to make the most of those few days off.  There is lots of fun to be had close to home.  Enjoy some Westchester County staycation fun with some of these great ideas, especially useful to entertain the tweens!

A Maze in Pottery – Spend some time painting pottery!  With over 300 different items to paint, everyone in the family will be able to find something!

Bounce & Trampoline Fun – Sit and watch your kids tire themselves out as they bounce and jump.  Local venues include Bounce (Poughkeepsie), Bounce U (Elmsford) Rockin’ Jump (Yonkers), Rockin’ Jump (Mount Kisco), and Sky Zone (New Rochelle).

Bowling –  Westchester County has several bowling alleys including Bowlmor (White Plains), Cortlandt Lanes (Cortlandt Manor), Homefield Bowl (Yonkers), Jefferson Valley Lanes (Jefferson Valley), Roc ‘n’ Bowl (New Rochelle) and Spins Bowl (Mount Kisco).

Escape the Mystery Room – With nearby locations in Yorktown Heights at the Jefferson Valley Mall and in West Nyack at the Palisades Center, this is a fun family outing for older children.  You can get more info and read about our family’s experience.

Hudson River Museum – Enjoy a trip to the Hudson River Museum.  April 2 through April 6 students on break are welcome to enjoy a FREE planetarium show when accompanied by an adult.

Ice Skating – If you haven’t had enough cold weather fun, Westchester County is home to several ice skating rinks. Check out our guide to ice skating in Westchester County for all the info.

iFLY –  Do you have adventurous kids?  They might enjoy indoor skydiving!  iFLY Westchester is located in the Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers.

Muse Paintbar – With locations in White Plains and Yonkers, at Ridge Hill), enjoy an afternoon of painting.

Palisades Climb – Inside the Palisades Mall, your kids will enjoy exploring the 75 elements that make up the world’s tallest indoor ropes challenge course.  Read all about the fun that our family had!

Spins Hudson – Recently opened in Peekskill, Spins Hudson has laser tag, a ropes course, arcade and bocce and shuffleboard.

Sporttime USA – Although a little dated, there is a lot of fun to be had at Sporttime USA.  There are lots of video games, batting cages, lazer tag, and even a couple of rides (Bumper Cars, Himalaya Roller Coaster and Mini Twister).