2020 NYBG Orchid Show

Step into a colorful world of flowers at the New York Botanical Garden’s 18th annual Orchid Show. This year’s show is the masterpiece of floral designer to the stars, Jeff Leatham. Inspired by the kaleidoscope, Leatham transformed 30,000 square feet of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into a dazzling, colorful feast for the eyes.

Thousands of orchids are on display at the orchid show. From pinks and purples to whites, yellows and oranges, you’ll see orchids of all shapes and colors, from all over the world.

The exhibit begins with a show stopping 10-foot tall mirrored orchid sculpture that sits below hanging rows of purple and pink orchids.

In the opening gallery you will also find the Leatham vanda orchid, named after the designer. Each gallery has its own unique color scheme and vibe.

To get from the desert gallery to the rain forest gallery you will walk through a kaleidoscope tunnel of color. Teens will love the Instagrammable photo ops!

In the rain forest gallery, orchids decorate colorfully painted bamboo posts. There’s also a staircase where you can get an elevated view of the rain forest.

One of the last galleries, “Rise and Shine”, features arches of orchids in shades of orange, yellow and red. Below the arches sits a giant reflecting pool.

You can visit the NYBG Orchid Show now through April 19th!

The Details:
NYBG Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
(718) 817-8700

Dates: February 15 – April 19, 2020
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday and select holiday Mondays, 10 AM – 6 PM
Parking: $20

Tickets:
Weekdays: $23/adults, $20/seniors (65+), $20/students w/ID, $10 children (2-12), Free/children under 2
Weekends and Monday Holidays: $30/adults, $28/seniors (65+), $28/students w/ID, $15/children (2-12), Free/children under 2

Tips:
*Get there early! We arrived a little after the 10 AM opening and it was crowded.

*Dress in layers. Although we visited in February and it was cold out, the temperature inside the gardens was very warm!

*Strollers have to be parked outside the Conservatory.

*If you think you’ll be visiting the garden again during the year, it’s cheaper to purchase a membership.

*Food is available for purchase at the Pine Tree Cafe (casual eatery) and the Hudson Garden Grill (sit down restaurant).

*Enjoy a 25 minute tram ride around the gardens, included with your admission. Hold on to your admission ticket, as you will need it to board the tram.

*Because it is winter, there is not much blooming in the outdoor gardens. This was a quick trip for us and even with the tram ride, our visit was about 2 hours.

Snow Much Fun in the Hudson Valley! {A Life Well Lived}

New York has finally had its first snowstorm of 2020. Once it snows, there’s a very high chance that more snow will make an appearance……still waiting on that though! However, I am not a winter person. As beautiful as snow falls are, I honestly hate winter and the cold! I do like the family to participate in seasonable activities though – since we get to experience all four seasons, we might as well make the most of them! We will hopefully get to enjoy some of these ways to have “Snow Much Fun” in the Hudson Valley this winter!

Quick and Easy Ideas that you can do at your house or nearby:

1.Build a snowman – Buy a snowman making kit to have on hand for the next snow fall. Or collect and set aside a spare hat, scarf and gloves so you are all ready to decorate your snowman when the time comes.

2. Make snow angels – Don’t forget to take a pic of your creations!

3. Have a snowball fight – Make sure everyone has waterproof gloves for this activity! If you want to make perfectly sized snowballs super quickly, you can get a snowball maker kit.

4. Go sleigh riding – We have a big hill at our elementary school that kids love to sleigh ride down. My son has a new sled and can’t wait to try it out!

5. Build a snow fort – I’m not sure that my kids have ever made a snow fort! This Sno-Brick Maker can help construct snow forts!

6. Snow art – The snow is their canvas with these sno markers.

7. Make maple syrup candy – We tried making this many years ago and I burnt the syrup. We are due for another attempt and this recipe looks easy enough.

8. Make frozen bubbles – Take your bottles of bubbles outside and blow them to enjoy some bubble fun. The temperature has to be below freezing for the bubbles to freeze. If you don’t

Ideas that require a little planning and/or travel:

9. Skiing and/or snowboarding – There are many mountains within driving distance to enjoy skiing or snowboarding. Thunder Ridge Ski Area is located in Patterson, nearby in Putnam County.

10. Ice Skating – there are plenty of places in the Hudson Valley to ice skate – both indoors or outside. Check out our ice skating guide.

11. Snow Shoeing – This activity is on my winter bucket list! I’ve never snow shoed before, but it looks like a good winter workout!

12. Tubing – Tubing is a fun activity for the entire family! We enjoyed tubing at Mount Peter, but several ski mountains offer tubing. Most places require you to reserve a time slot, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Activities that require more planning and require travel outside the Hudson Valley:

13. Ice Fishing – Ice fishing is a winter activity that requires a lot more planning and preparation. First, the ice needs to be four inches thick. Second, you need to get a fishing license. Then besides fishing poles, there is also special equipment like ice safety picks, ice cleats, a chisel, rescue rope and more. To find out more information and locations where ice fishing is allowed, check out the NYS DEC site.

14. Snowmobiling – Snowmobiling trails abound in upstate New York. The Adirondacks have several different companies that rent snowmobiles and give tours.

15. Ride a bob sled – In Lake Placid, NY you can enjoy a bobsled experience. At the Olympic Sports Complex, a professional driver helps guide riders down the track at exhilarating speeds of up to 50-55 miles per hour. The ride is only about 40 seconds down 800 meters of the 1,500 meter track. Reservations are highly recommended.

16. Take a dog sled ride – Lake Placid also seems to be the only place in NY state where you can enjoy a dog sled ride. Weather permitting, Adirondack Wilderness Adventures and Thunder Mountain Dogsleds operate dog sled rides on Mirror Lake.

17. Horse drawn sleigh ride – The Adirondacks is the place for winter fun! Country Dreams Farm operates its sleigh rides in Lake Placid. Belgian Draft horses pull you in a sleigh through the woods and fields.

Westchester Winter Wonderland

Hey locals! Have you been to Westchester Winter Wonderland yet? This Westchester County attraction is a holiday family must-do. Located at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla, this is Westchester Winter Wonderland’s 6th season of holiday family fun.

Bundle up and get ready to enjoy all that Winter Wonderland has to offer. When you first arrive, you will be amazed by all of the lights! The attraction is festive and brightly lit with all kinds of colorful lights.

The $20 admission price is all-inclusive. Entertainment, rides, ice skating and a visit with Santa are all included. This year, there are ten rides including a Fun Slide, Ferris wheel, Cyclone and more. Most of the rides are geared towards the younger kids. However, our family enjoyed a ride down the Fun Slide and on the Ferris wheel.

Make sure to enjoy some skating on the ice rink. As I mentioned, skate rentals and ice skating is included in the ticket price. Dana and my son enjoyed some time on the ice. Before skating, you are given a pink wrist band, which is basically a waiver acknowledging and accepting the dangers of the activity.

Do not miss the Winter Wonderland Circus performance during your visit. Even Dana and I were impressed with the juggling, acrobatics and other circus acts crammed into the tent.

If you are hungry, there is plenty to eat, including pizza, hot dogs, fries and more. Save room for the funnel cake, fries and popcorn too! Plus, there’s a heated dining tent where you can eat and warm up!

Families with young kids will want to make a stop at Santa’s Village at the North Pole. In this tent you get to meet Mrs. Claus and get your picture taken with Santa. Elmo was also inside available for hugs and pictures. This tent had the longest line of any attraction during our visit. Unfortunately, my 11 and 13-year-old would not go anywhere near this tent, even though it was heated!

Other attractions include Santa’s Reindeer, a hay ride that rides along the dam, and a train ride that travels around the Lights of Wonder display. There are a couple of game booths that have an additional cost.

The Lights of Wonder was my favorite attraction at Westchester Winter Wonderland. This is a large colored lights display that is choreographed set to holiday music. Each song has a different combination of lights. If it wasn’t so cold, I could have watched this all night long!

Make sure to visit Westchester Winter Wonderland before they close on January 4th! It’s a great way to enjoy some winter fun with the family!



(Thank you Westchester Winter Wonderland for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.)

The Details:
Westchester Winter Wonderland
Kensico Dam Plaza
1 Bronx River Parkway
Valhalla, NY 10595

Hours: Fridays (5 PM -9 PM) Saturdays (4 PM – 10 PM) and Sundays (4 PM – 9 PM) November 29 – December 22
Monday – Friday (5 PM – 10 PM) Saturday & Sunday (4 PM – 9 PM) December 23 2019 – January 4, 2020
Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Tickets:
$20/ticket, Free/children ages 3 and under
Tickets can be purchased online ahead of time and are good for any day that Westchester Winter Wonderland is open. You can also purchase tickets when you arrive.

Parking:
Free – plenty of parking

Tips:
*Get there early to beat the crowds

*Dress warmly! All attractions are outside, except for Santa and the Winter Wonderland Circus. It was very cold the night we visited and we wished we had worn warmer socks and winter boots!

*Food is available for purchase. For price reference, funnel cake costs $6, fries cost $4 and a small cotton candy costs $6. Most food vendors accept both cash and credit cards, but there is an ATM if needed.

*Beer and wine is available for purchase.

*Strollers are not allowed in the circus tent and there is a stroller parking area.

Advent Calendars for Everyone in the Family!

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The day after Halloween seems to unofficially begin the start of the holiday season. While that may be a little early for us, there is something special about the December holidays. Advent calendars are a fun way to count the days until Christmas. Although you don’t start opening Advent calendars until December 1st, now is a great time to start shopping for them. We have rounded up Advent calendars for everyone in your family to help you enjoy counting down the days until Christmas!

Toy Advent Calendars for Kids

L.O.L Surprise OOTD Winter Disco – This set contains one L.O.L. doll with 24 fashion pieces including outfits, shoes and accessories. There’s also a regular L.O.L. Surprise OOTD set.

Paw Patrol Advent Calendar – This calendar contains 24 presents including collectible figures, a sleigh, snowman and more.

Disney Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar – Tsum Tsum fans will love this Disney advent calendar. It includes 18 tsum tsum figures, 6 large, 6 medium and 6 small. It also comes with 6 holiday themed accessories.

Hot Wheels Advent Calendar – The Hot Wheels advent calendar includes eight decorated Hot Wheels vehicles and sixteen accessories.

Hatchimals ColleGGtible Calendar – This advent calendar comes with 50 + surprises including paper craft decorations, small presents and stickers. The calendar box also doubles as a winter backdrop.

Thomas & Friends Fisher Price Minis – This calendar comes with 24 MINIS engines, including 6 special edition Christmas-themed designed MINIS.

Advent Calendars for Pop Culture Fans

Funko Pop Harry Potter – This calendar contains 24 mini Harry Potter figures. The box then folds out as a playset for the figures.

Funko Pop Marvel – This calendar contains 24 mini Marvel figures including both villains and heroes.

Lego Star Wars – The Lego Star Wars calendar comes with 24 figures or Lego also has a a Lego City and Lego Harry Potter advent calendar for 2019 as well.

Haribo – Maybe stretching this in the Pop Culture category, but Haribo gummies are super popular. This calendar comes with 24 individually wrapped gummy candies in a mixture of fruit and cola flavors, marshmallow, licorice and gums.

Super Mario Brothers – This calendar has 24 days of surprises. Each numbered door has either a figure or accessory behind it.

Funko Pop Fortnite – This calendar has 24, 1.5 inch Fortnite figures.

Advent Calendars for Foodies

Bonne Maman – We love Bonne Maman! This calendar has 24 1 oz. jars of fruit spreads and honey. This set includes holiday exclusive flavors like rhubarb & strawberry, purple fig with cinnamon and more. This set is sold out on their site, but is currently available at World Market.

Jerky Advent Calendar – This calendar includes 12 days of jerky. There are a variety of different brands and types of jerky, which totals to almost 2 pounds worth.

David’s Tea – This David’s Tea calendar has 2 servings of tea per day and includes 24 loose leaf teas like Candy Cane Crush, Gingerbread, Let It Snow and more. There are many other tea advent calendars available

Joe & Sephs Popcorn – This popcorn calendar has 24 days of snack size popcorn. There are 12 unique flavors, including Strawberries and Cream, Chocolate Orange and Banoffee Pie, so there must be two of each flavor. However, the popcorn ships from England.

BYOB Hot Sauce – This set contains 25, 2 oz. Christmas-themed hot sauces. Each has a different Christmas label and are made from peppers including Scorpion, Ghost Pepper, Banana, Habanero and more. Perfect for the hot sauce lovers in your life!

YAWN Coffee – This YAWN coffee advent calendar has 24 sachets of specialty coffee and comes in either ground or whole bean. This is the only 24 day coffee advent calendar. Unfortunately, the company is based out of and ships from England. However, there are many 12 Days of Christmas coffee sets including this Christmas Sampler, this K-cup Christmas sampler and more.

Makeup and Beauty Advent Calendars

Body Shop Dream Big This Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar – This calendar includes 24 bath and beauty products from the Body Shop. Priced at $70, it has a $120 value. They also have a Deluxe ($110) and Ultimate ($170) set as well.

OPI Hello Kitty – This set contains 25, 3.75 ml mini nail polishes in colors like All About the Bows, Hello Pretty and more.

Target 12 Days of Beauty Box – This box contains 12 sample sized beauty and personal care items.

Sephora Frosted Party Advent Calendar – This set contains a combination of 24 beauty, skincare, body and accessories products, 11 of which are limited-edition.

NYX Sugar Trip – This Advent calendar comes with *** NYX also has a Love Lust Disco Greatest Hits Lip Advent Calendar as well.

Macy’s 25 Days of Beauty – This calendar has 25 beauty products including masks, makeup, creams and more from brands like Clinique, Origins and Sunday Riley.

Alcohol Themed Calendars

Hard Seltzer Advent Calendar – This calendar contains 12 curated hard seltzers from brands like Truly, White Claw, Henry’s and small-batch hard seltzer brands.

Aldi Wine Calendar – This calendar contains 24, 187 mL bottles of wine. The wines come from all over the world (Italy, France, South Africa, USA, Chile, Argentia and more) and include a variety of red and white wines. They are only being sold in store though and customers are limited to 2.

Heritage Distilling Spirits Calendar – This calendar has 24, 50 mL bottles of spirits. It includes vodka, bourbon, gin, rye and whiskey. Due to shipping restrictions, this calendar can only be shipped to a few select states.

Beer Advent Calendar – This calendar contains 12 top rated craft beers.

Other Fun Advent Calendars

Bic Advent Calendar – For the stationary lovers, the Bic Advent Calendar comes with 24 writing products, including pens, pencils and more.

Mr. Holmes’ Advent Calendar: 24 Solve-it-Yourself Christmas Crimes

Hasbro Classic Games Twelve Days of Socks – Fans of Nickelodeon will love getting socks with SpongeBob, CatDog, Rugrats and more. If Nickelodeon isn’t their thing, there are many other Twelve Day of Socks sets including Marvel, The Office and more.

Bark the Halls with 24 Days of Cookies – Don’t forget about your pets! This calendar comes with 24 cookies for your dog. Trader Joe’s also has a dog and cat treat calendar this year.

Voluspa 12 Days of Gifting Candle Set – This 12 scented votive candles set includes scents like Prosecco Rose and Violet & Honey. The candles are made from coconut wax and come in pretty glass votives. Each candle has a 15 hour burn time.

Kurt Adler Wooden Snowman Advent Calendar – This is a reusable wooden advent calendar from Kurt Adler. Each day open a drawer and take out a mini ornament and hang it on the tree.

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October Favorites {2019}

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I’m ending the month with a wrap up of some of our October Favorites! We are talking food, entertainment, family fun and more. I even quizzed the kids about their favorites this month to share with you!

Food:

Is it fall without eating cider donuts?!

Dana’s favorite, besides the donuts, were the pierogies we enjoyed for lunch from Helena’s Specialty Foods. Homemade, with different fillings, like jalapeno bacon and Farmer’s cheese.

Earlier this month we had gone to lunch down in the city with Dana’s family. We went to a Vietnamese restaurant and I got to enjoy this Chicken Vermicelli, which is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes.

And I can’t forget about this chicken sandwich I had from the Phoenicia Diner. I love a good crispy chicken sandwich and this one didn’t disappoint. It was topped with spinach, Swiss cheese, smoked tomato jam and a chipotle aioli.

Travel/Family Fun:


We didn’t go apple picking this fall, but we finally did not one corn maze, but two at Kelder’s Farm!

We also visited the Catskills. We were hosted by the Emerson Resort & Spa and had such a nice fall weekend away.

We tried the Catskills Rail Explorers for the first time too, which was a lot of fun. I am all about new experiences for the family.

We hiked Giant Ledge, which I believe is the tallest hike that we’ve done so far. And we got to enjoy this amazing view! Fall foliage wasn’t at its peak, but we still felt like we were on top of the world!

Date Night:

Date nights are few and far between…..something we need to work on. However, this month, we enjoyed seeing An American in Paris at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. Before kids, we used to see Broadway shows in NYC all the time. Now, we don’t get down to the city very often. Neither of us had seen this show before, so it was a fun night out.

Entertainment:

Books: I didn’t read as many books as I usually do this month. But, out of the four books that I did finish, three of them were four star reads! This month, I recommend, After The End, Three Amazing Things About You and Someone We Know. I’ll be writing full book reviews in my October Reads post on November 12. Dana’s been listening to ALL the audio books on his commute to work. His favorite this month was The Science of Motivation by Brian Tracy.

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Movies: We didn’t watch too many movies this month but both my husband and I really enjoyed Rocketman.

Television: I have been watching the second season of Working Moms (Netflix). I’ve also started watching for the first time, Fleabag (Amazon Prime) and Schitt’s Creek (Netflix). My husband and I have watched two of the four episodes of David Chang’s new show on Netflix Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Beauty: For the past four months or so, Dana’s been sporting a mustache and beard. It took awhile for me to get used to it, since I’ve never been a fan of facial hair on him. But it really suits him and it’s grown on me. His favorite this month has been Bedhead For Men Fuel Around beard oil. He uses it every morning after getting out of the shower.

The Kids October Favorites:

Abby (13):

TV – She’s been binge watching Friends and Breaking Bad (Netflix). This was the first I’ve heard of her watching Breaking Bad! #Badparent

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Book – Her favorite book this month was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It’s been sitting on my to read bookshelf for years. She’s beaten me to reading it.

Food – One of her favorite meals this month was Egg Roll in a Bowl, which I have posted on the blog.

Clothing – She’s been living in her hoodie sweatshirts. She doesn’t have a particular favorite. She just likes them oversized.

Makeup – My daughter wears more makeup than I do….basically because I wear none. Even though she’s been blessed with long, beautiful eye lashes, she makes them stand out even more with L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Makeup Lash Paradise Mascara, which is her favorite.

Connor (11):

Video Games – He’s been playing Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 on the Xbox nonstop. He also recently started playing Overwatch again because of the special Halloween event.

TV – When he’s not playing video games, he’s watching Naruto on Netflix.

Book – His favorite book this month is actually the manga series One Piece. Do you see the theme here? (He’s obsessed with all things Japanese.)

Clothing – Not sure if it qualifies as “clothing” but he’s been loving his Halloween costume. He’s been wearing his Akatsuki cloak and headband ALL the time.

Food – His favorite dinner was blueberry pancakes. If this kid could eat breakfast for every meal he would!

Family Fun – The top on his list was the corn maze!

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

We have not been hiking or doing many outdoor activities with the recent heat waves. But we know that fall will be here before we know it, bringing some cooler weather. Therefore, we want to post about our recent hikes so you can start to plan some outdoor family activities for when the weather gets a little more comfortable. A great family hike can be found at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located in Kerhonkson, New York (Ulster County) and is about an hour and fifteen minute drive from northern Westchester County. Warning, this is a very popular state park! On a beautiful day in mid June, we had to wait about fifteen minutes just to enter the park, since the parking lots were full.

The Preserve is over 22,000 acres with over 50 miles of hiking trails. You will not be able to see it all in a day! I am a waterfall lover and I wanted to visit Minnewaska State Park Preserve after hearing about Awosting Falls.

From the parking lot it’s a short walk to get to the trail heads. We first started on the Awosting Falls red-blazed trail which lies adjacent to the Peter Kill stream. There are a series of smaller waterfalls, that of course we had to photograph! As you walk further down the trail there’s even a spot where you can stand above Awosting Falls.

The trail heads downhill into the woods before you arrive at the bottom of Awosting Falls. The falls are 60 feet tall and plunge into a large, clear pool. The amount and strength of the falls depends on the rainfall. Fortunately, the day of our visit there was a rewarding waterfall.

After spending some time taking in the beauty of the falls we continued our hike. We returned back up the way we came to the beginning of the red trail. We then switched to the orange-blazed Sunset Carriageway Trail towards Lake Minnewaska. This was about a 20 minute uphill hike to the lake.

But the views are amazing! And if you really want to, you can drive to the upper parking lot, skipping this hike altogether. Lake Minnewaska is less than one-half mile long and is surrounded by white cliffs. If you’re feeling really ambitious you can hike around the lake. We weren’t feeling very ambitious…..or more like our children weren’t feeling it.

I didn’t realize that visitors can swim in Lake Minnewaska, or I would have had the kids wear their bathing suits. The swimming area is roped off and staffed by lifeguards. Luckily, it wasn’t super hot the day that we visited, so we sat on the dock and enjoyed a snack and water break. There’s also a bathroom across from the lake if you need a rest stop. After our snack break we continued on the red trail until we reached the start of the blue trail, Castle Point Carriageway. At this point we decided it was a good time to turn around and make our way back to the car.

Like I mentioned, Minnewaska is very popular and was very crowded the day we went. Trails were filled with hikers, dogs, (SO many dogs! We felt a little left out that we didn’t have a dog to hike with) and mountain bikers. Although horseback riding is allowed on the trails, that is one thing we didn’t see on our hike.

The Preserve is located on the Shawangunk (“Gunks” to the locals) Mountain ridge, which is more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Altogether we hiked about four miles and saw some beautiful views. However, we never made it to the peaks of any mountains. For more serious hiking and trail tips, I highly recommend checking out Hike the Hudson Valley’s write up on the park. Mike writes super informative hiking guides for trails throughout the Hudson Valley, which we have referenced many times!

We didn’t get a chance to visit the Nature Center or to see Lake Awosting, another lake in the Preserve, where swimming is also allowed. Plus, with all of the hiking trails available, there are plenty of reasons for us to make a return trip.

The Details:
Minnewaska State Park
5281 Rt. 44-55
Kerhonkson, NY 12446

Hours: Park hours vary by season. Please check out the website for the most up-to-date information.

Parking: $10 per vehicle or free with the Empire Pass

Notes:
*There is a Nature Center that is open on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Hours are 10 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM – 4 PM.

*If you are visiting the park to go swimming, park in the upper parking lot, or you will have a decent hike ahead of you to get to the lake.

*Again, check out Hike the Hudson Valley’s guide to Minnewaska State Park Preserve for information on hiking the trails!

*Minnewaska State Park Preserve has a carry in, carry out policy. Make sure if you are bringing food in to also bring a bag to store your garbage.

Family Fun at Playland Park {Westchester County}

Playland Amusement Park has been a Westchester County icon since 1928 and is a National Historic Landmark.  There are even seven original rides that pre-date 1930 that are still running!  For those not from the area, you may have seen parts of the park if you’ve watched the movie Big or Mariah Carey’s 1995 “Fantasy” music video.

Located in Westchester County, Playland is conveniently located off of I-95 and offers a full day of family fun. With 50 rides, it is great for families, as  there’s something for everyone. Kiddyland has over 20 rides and is geared towards toddlers and younger children.  Most Kiddyland rides have a minimum height requirement of 36″ but will allow smaller children to ride with an adult. Katy the Kat makes daily appearances and has a comedy show that takes place in Kiddyland.

For older children and adults, there are plenty of thrill rides.  Double Shot, Super Flight, Wipeout, the Yo-Yo, Skyflyer and the Thunderbolt are some of the attractions that adventure seekers will enjoy.

On the Derby Racer the horses imitate the motion of a steeple chase horse.  Only two known original rides of this type are still in existence, one of them being here.  Don’t let the horse fool you into thinking this isn’t a thrill ride.  From personal experience, this was my least favorite ride, due to the speed and fear of falling off the horse.  Did I mention that there’s not safety belt?  It’s hold on for dear life! This ride, as well as the Carousel, are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Just last week, the county Board of Legislators approved financing for restoration of these two rides.  I can’t wait to see what the restored Derby Racer will look like!

And of course, riding the Dragon Coaster is a must!  This wooden roller coaster has been running since 1929 and is a Playland original! For hard-core coaster enthusiasts, this is not a super fast, thrill ride.  However, it’s an historical one.

For the first time since 2008, Playland has a new ride.  Part roller coaster, part spinning ride, it is currently called Disk’O 24 by the manufacturer.  However, Westchester County residents have been asked to submit names for the new ride and a Westchester Camp group will be choosing the winning name from the submissions.

There is plenty of food to be found at Playland.  Louisiana Kitchen has fried chicken, chicken tenders and fried seafood.  There’s a Nathan’s that sells hot dogs and fries, a Smash n’ Shake Express that has burgers shakes and Pizza Village.

There’s also lots of treats available including funnel cake, cotton candy and ice cream.  You will not go hungry during your visit!

There are lots of games to play and an arcade if you are looking to take a break from the rides.  This is an old school arcade with 25 cent skee ball machines!

There’s daily entertainment and concerts throughout the season.  During the summer, there is a fireworks display every Friday night.   On select nights there is also a laser light show set to music.  For some close-to-home summer family fun, a trip to Playland is a must!

The Details:

Playland Amusement Park
1 Playland Parkway
Rye, New York 10580

Parking:  $10/car ($15/car holidays and special events)

Admission:  $30/adult ($25 for Westchester County residents with proof of residency) wristbands
$20/junior (under 48″) ($15 for Westchester County residents with proof of residency) wristbands
Free/children 2 years old and under
Spectator (no rides)/$10 (Free for Westchester County residents with proof of residency)

**In 2019 every Westchester County town, city and village gets its own Town Day.  With proof of ID, each resident receives a special coupon booklet that offers special discounts.

**On select nights, admission is $20 from 5-10 PM.

Fun Cards can be purchased with a spectator admission to go on rides.  It costs $1 per point, with rides costing 5-6 points each.

Open now through September 8, 2019
Hours:  (please check the site for specific dates and hours.  The park opens earlier and stays open later on selected dates throughout the summer)
Closed Mondays
Tuesday – Thursday: 11 AM – 10 PM
Friday: 12 PM – 11 PM
Saturday:  12 PM – 11 PM
Sunday:  12 PM – 10 PM

*No outside food or drinks are allowed in the park.
*There’s a fireworks show on Friday nights in the summer at 9:20 PM (July 12 – August 30).
*Check the entertainment schedule for concerts.
*Lockers are available for rent.

20 Fun Things to Do in Putnam County

Living in northern Westchester County, Putnam County is so close and accessible.  Both my husband and I grew up in Putnam County and are very familiar with the sites and attractions.  However, creating this list we realize that there’s still a LOT that we still need to do!  Here’s our list of some of the fun things to do in Putnam County. Please let me know if there is anything that I should add to my list!

1.Play a round of miniature golf at Red Rooster in Brewster and then grab a burger and shake.

2. Visit the Putnam County 4-H Fair.

3. Have breakfast at Countryside Kitchen in Mahopac (home of the famous cannoli pancake).

4. Visit Putnam County’s Veterans Memorial Park and go for a hike or a  swim. This is also where the Putnam County 4-H Fair is held as well as the Daniel Ninham Pow-Wow.

5. Ski or snowboard at Thunder Ridge in Patterson.

6. Go antiquing in Cold Spring.

7. Enjoy tea at Florrie Kaye’s Tea Room.

8. Visit Fahnestock State Park.  Hike part of the Appalachin Trail, swim in Canopus Lake or even camp.

9. Visit the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel.

10.  Visit Green Chimney’s Farm & Wildlife Center in Brewster.

11. Visit the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center in Garrison. Visit the nature center, take a walk out to the marsh and/or join one of their guided public canoe trips (see their program page for details).

12. Walk or ride the Putnam County Trailway.  This 12 mile path has trailheads in Baldwin Place and Brewster.

13. Have an ice cream cone from Moo Moo’s Creamery in Cold Spring.

14. Visit Boscobel in Garrison.  Tours are available of the house, gardens and grounds April through December.  In the summer you can see the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival perform and in December you can see Sparkle.

15. Take a picture with the Sybil Ludington statue in Carmel.

16. Enjoy dinner at Clocktower Grill in Brewster.

17. Visit the Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring.

18.  Visit a Farmer’s Market in Brewster, Cold Spring or Putnam Valley

19. Take a kayak or canoe tour on the Hudson River with Hudson River Expeditions (in Cold Spring).

20.  Enjoy some delicious Indian food at Jaipore in Brewster. We love their lunch buffet.

Fun June Holidays to Celebrate with the Family

Although my teen would love to spend all of her time snapchatting, watching YouTube videos, binge watching Netflix shows and hanging out with her friends……my husband and I are big proponents of family time. As the kids get older it’s harder to find events and attractions that they are interested in going to. But, that doesn’t stop us from trying….even if we have to put up with some eye rolls and attitude! In just a couple of weeks, June will be here. Here are ideas to help your family celebrate some fun June Holidays!

June is Aquarium Month. Celebrate by taking a trip to your local aquarium.

June is also Candy Month. Surprise your kids with some of their favorite candy. Or, try MunchPak, a subscription box that includes candy and snacks from all over the world, for a monthly treat!

The first full week in June is National Gardening Week. Visit your local botanical garden. Plant some flowers. Or start planning your own garden.

Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month by taking a trip to your local farm, farmer’s market or grocery store. Have the family pick out a new fruit and/or vegetable to try. It’s also a great time to join a CSA.

Here are some other fun holidays to celebrate with the family in June:

June 1National Trails Day: It’s a Saturday this year, which means that it’s a perfect day to celebrate by taking a hike! For locals, Rockefeller State Park has some easy hikes. It’s also fun to do some geocaching while you’re out hiking.

June 4 – National Cheese Day – If you have cheese lovers in your family, pick up some new cheeses to try. Or, go out for some fondue at The Melting Pot!

June 6 – National Yo-Yo Day – Have your kids ever tried to yo-yo? If not, today is a good day to try! Have a contest to see who can do it the longest.

June 7 – National Chocolate Ice Cream Day – Visit your local ice cream shop or pick up a pint of chocolate ice cream. If you want to have even more fun, pick up a couple of different brands of chocolate ice cream and have a family taste test to see which is everyone’s favorite.

June 7 – National Doughnut Day – If you don’t have chocolate ice cream lovers, celebrate National Doughnut Day instead. Pick up a doughnut from your favorite shop, or try making some doughnuts.

June 12 – National Peanut Butter Cookie Day – It’s a good day to finish up those Girl Scout Do-Si-Dos. Or bake a a batch of cookies to celebrate.

June 16 – Father’s Day – Today is all about dad! Find out what dad wants to do today. Make sure the kids have a card made. If you aren’t going to see your dad, make sure to call or send a card.

June 18 – Go Fishing Day – You may have to wait until the weekend to celebrate this day. But if you or your kids have never gone fishing, now is a great time to start!

June 21 – International Yoga Day – Celebrate by doing some yoga together.

June 21 – Summer Solstice – Today is the first day of summer. Make your family summer bucket list, if you haven’t already!

Snow Tubing at Mt. Peter

New York has finally gotten a substantial amount of snow! For those families, like ours, who don’t ski, snow tubing is a fun winter family activity. We enjoyed our first snow tubing experience last year at Mt. Peter in Warwick, NY. Mt. Peter is a perfect for a day trip and only about an hour’s drive from northern Westchester County.

Neither my husband nor I had been snow tubing before, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We had made reservations for a 3-5 PM Saturday tubing session. (Reservations are highly recommended, as they have limited two hour sessions.) We arrived at Mt. Peter a little early to make sure we had time to get our snow gear on. The 1 -3 PM session was still taking place when we got to the snow tubing area so we got to watch others snow tube down the hill for a little bit.

Mt. Peter has six snow tube lanes that are 600 feet long. Once our time slot began we walked over to the attendant to get a tube. You can choose between a single or tandem (double) tube. You must be 42″ to ride in a single tube. If under 42″ you MUST ride in a tandem tube with an adult. Fortunately, both our kids were over 42″ so we got to enjoy both single and double rides.


You carry your tube onto the carpet lift that takes you up to the top of the hill. There are attendants at both the top and bottom of the hill. They let you know when it is safe to start tubing. The speed of the runs vary, depending on the size of the person, as well as the snow conditions. I found that my tube kept slowing down and stopping near the bottom of the hill. I ended up trying my daughter’s tube and went speeding down the hill, almost too fast for my liking! Over our two hour session we went down the hill at least 8 times, maybe even more. The lines at the top of the runs get backed up, but move fairly quickly.

We had such a fun time snow tubing! This was a great way for us to enjoy some outdoor winter family fun. Food is available for purchase in the onsite cafeteria. However, the town of Warwick is a short drive away and has lots of restaurants where you can grab a late lunch or dinner after your snow tubing adventure!

The Details:
Mt. Peter
51 Old Mt. Peter Rd.
Warwick, NY 10990
(845) 986-4940

Sessions:
Wednesday – Sunday: 11 AM – 1 PM, 1 PM – 3 PM, or 3 PM – 5 PM
Friday and Saturday: additional 5-7 PM session

Rates:
$30 weekends/holidays
$24 non-holiday weekday

Tips:
*Make reservations to guarantee you get the date and time that you want.
*Dress warmly! Snow pants and waterproof gloves are highly recommended!
*Bring a signed and printed waiver with you to help speed up the checking in process.

*There is a Little Tikes tubing play area for children under 42″. As my children are older, we did not experience this area. For additional information, please check out the Mt. Peter site.