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She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).

She’ll be coming ’round the mountain, she’ll be coming ’round the mountain, She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, (when she comes).

Sing it! Sister and Brothers! The Catskill Mountain Railroad is coming round the mountain even after Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on part of its track along the Esopus Creek–All thanks to a cadre of dedicated volunteers who keep this vital piece of transportation history alive for us and our children.

Children are train enthusiasts: My son loves steamies, roundhouses, chanting “I think I can,” and singing the opening song for the PBS Kid’s show Dinosaur Train:

We’re huffing and we’re puffing like a hurricane…

Take a ride on the Dinosaur Train….

Well, maybe I’m the one who likes that song…it really loops around and around in your head…but ANYWAY!

Recently, we tripped the light “traintastic” on the Catskill Mountain Railroad.

And here is what stands out…
Classic not Plastic

The train is worth exploring. You can feel the wind sweep through your hair in an open-aired gondola car or bask in the antique lighting and seating of one of the 1920s-era commuter cars. Just make sure you watch your kids – the windows open wide unlike kid-proof windows of today.

The Volunteers

Many Catskill Mountain Railroad volunteers loved trains as kids and just never grew out of it, so they love meeting their former selves– our train-loving kids! If you get chatty with the volunteers, you can learn a lot.

The train station’s ticket agent Peter Fluchere bubbled over with enthusiasm explaining the history of the railroad to us. Years ago, there were two ways to travel to the mountains, you could take a dirt road or the railroad. He asked us to look around at the tree-covered mountains and imagine them bare, as they once were due to the logging and tanning industries. We had no idea the landscape was once so different.
The conductor was, also, happy to give us some details about the train. He told us volunteers pitched in to buy the train’s cars and spent thousands of hours restoring them.

Sidenote- Even though it is an all volunteer operation, the Federal Railway Association monitors the line, so it is just as safe as any other train.

The Views

 The views of the Esopus and the mountains are one of a kind (if you depart from the Mt. Tremper station- didn’t ride Kingston’s). It’s a unique experience viewing the scenery from the vantage point of the train.
So take a ride on the Esopus Scenic Train from Mt. Tremper (operates weekends May-Oct -& operates Fridays as well starting Jun 29.)

The trip is abbreviated as a result of the storm damage and takes about 30 minutes. They have lowered the ticket prices because of this.
All trains depart Mt. Tremper Station 
Adult — $12.00 :: Children (ages 4-11) — $7.00Children under 4 ride free with paid adult fare



or

Board Kingston Shuttle at Kingston Plaza and ride through the historic city of Kingston.
The train runs only on Saturdays but offers special events throughout the season.
That’s it folks!
Have fun exploring the Hudson Valley with your kids and visit us at wheresmommyat.com or on Facebook!
-Hudson Valley Kim
Opening gates to the Millbrook Tribute Gardens

Sometimes it’s nice to experience the finer things in life.

Sometimes you just want to take a trip to where the rich and famous live.

Where we live is great.

I love the creeks, the daisies, and the rough country view of the Gunks, but sometimes I crave grey poupon instead of spicy deli mustard. Sometimes instead of rockclimbers, bicyclists, and hippies, I like to see men in plaid cardigans swinging golfclubs, meticulously pruned hedges lining wimbledonesque tennis courts, sprawling mansions with gate and guesthouses, and let’s not forget old women with surgically altered necks and giant sunglasses walking show poodles. When you have a child that screams at you, “I’m a monster!” It’s nice to visit a place where wild things are tamed. You can sit back and relax, observe and reflect a bit, learn maybe.

I grew up on Long Island, where you drive out to the Hamptons to see these sights, but now our replacement “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” destination is Millbrook, a town that has been coined the Hudson Valley’s lowkey version of the Hamptons.

In Millbrook, there are polo fields, country clubs and there is even a Sotheby’s. The men hanging outside the local deli are dressed in very good taste. The entire town is in very good taste, charming, very gentle, genteel, and loaded.

So it makes sense that Millbrook has the most impeccable park I have ever visited. We’re talking sand that literally sparkles below the swingset, two waterfalls cascading into a Koi pond, tall beautiful shading trees honoring fallen soldiers from WWI, and most impressive of all –pristine public bathrooms with teak side tables and artwork on the walls. Millbrook Tribute Gardens is a great park for any family to visit with its beautifully landscaped grounds and upscale playground equipment.

Just make sure you tell your husband not to change your kid’s diaper in plain sight in the parking lot. Mine started doing this when I wasn’t paying attention, and while the man walking by in the purple polo shirt and white shorts didn’t say anything, he must have thought we were unrefined, ill-mannered, let’s shout it out to the rafters “poor” out-of-towners. But who really cares? It’s a public green space. All can go and enjoy no matter your socioeconomic bracket. Is that spicy enough for you, white shorts?

Anyway, I shouldn’t really be angry at white shorts because he is the one paying what must be astronomical taxes for a place like the Millbrook Tribute Gardens. Let’s face it, most playgrounds are pretty boring for adults. Millbrook Tribute Gardens stands out as being a nice destination for the whole family.

Millbrook Tribute Gardens
3257 Franklin Ave
Millbrook, NY 12545
Open Dawn to Dusk

When you’re in Millbrook, make sure you check out the Trevor Zoo too. Read my blog about the zoo‘s newish parking lot. What’s with me writing about bathrooms and parking lots…?

Goodnight. I love you “M” & “R”. Big Kiss.

– Hudson Valley Kim

Waterfalls and koi pond.
Millrook Tribute Garden honors fallen soldiers. This plaque lists these soldiers’ names and shows where each soldier was honored with a tree in the park’s Court of Honor. Visitors to the park benefit from these trees’ shade and beauty. Take a moment and reflect.

Upscale playground equipment

See my family in the center. See upperclass yuppie parents to the left. My husband would NEVER EVER wear lime green shorts – but you have to respect how a buck gives some men the
confidence to experiment. You go Millbrook men!
Just look at this sink!
See the immaculate well-appointed and here is the real shocker MEN’s bathroom.
Swinging good fun.
Sand that sparkles
Poetry
Shady areas for picnicking.
I’d never seen this playground digger before our trip to Millbrook. My husband had them growing up and said that was because he was from Port Washington and I was from Ronkonkoma. Ahh the class wars continue!
A little sad when you think that all of these trees are symbolic of fallen soldiers….
Good inexpensive local deli. Their competition offered a pint of fruit salad for $15. I bought a meal for the family here for the same price.
Kids love spinning around and around, so why wouldn’t they love spin art ?
Who doesn’t have a fun childhood memory of squeezing paint onto a spinning disc and the dizzy feeling of pride from their splatter on a platter?
I remember making spin art on giant twisters at school fairs, but I recently came across a product, Crayola’s Color Twister, that enables you to homespin.
One person pushes on the twister’s hand pump, which spins paper in the device, while the other squeezes a drop of paint onto the spinning paper. Colors explode, implode, swirl and whirl. See mommy’s hand on pump and toddler hand squeezing tube of paint in pic below.
Crayola’s Color Twister –kid-or mommy-powered fun one drop at a time. No batteries needed. 
The paints are non-toxic and washable but also pretty smelly, so I wouldn’t drink the stuff. However, a trace amount in the belly should be ok…phew!
The kit comes with the color twister, three tubes of paint and 10 paper discs. The paint goes far: the paper not so much. Luckily, it’s easy enough to trace more discs on either construction paper or paper plates.

It’s a nice activity for a party, playdate, or a rainy day at home. When our playgroup met at our house recently, I was thankful to have this fun activity for our guests. Everyone took home their art. What a great party favor!

It is an activity recommended for children 6 years of age and older; however, my almost three year old and I easily made some refrigerator-worthy spin art.Here’s another little tip – grocery stores usually have great sales on toys. I always check out their arts and crafts and toy aisles for sales and was able to buy Crayola’s Color Twister half off this way. Nonetheless, if you don’t have the time or energy to go to the store, you can buy Crayola Color Twister on Amazon for about $13.
Look what the kids made!
Twist and shout, “Hooray!”

Have fun in the Hudson Valley with your kids!

– Hudson Valley Kim

———————

Would you like your children to have fun growing flowers and food? If you answered yes, you must check out the “gardening with children,” program at Abundant Life Farm in Walker Valley.
We attended their Open House on Sunday and enjoyed the farm’s empowering and kid-friendly atmosphere. It’s a farm with a mission: to teach families how to grow their own food.
Here, kids pick sweet peas in teepees and blow bubbles while they sow seeds. Little bridges and streams crisscross the landscape, terraced plantings rise up high, and frogs and tadpoles leap and lap in ponds. There is a chicken coop, a swingset with a teetering tractor and two tool areas: a shed for the adults and a bright purple bus stocked with kid-sized shovels and rakes. Abundant Life Farm was built to form community and all are welcome.
Sweetpea Teepees and compost maker.
We learned many lessons during our time at the farm, but most memorably, our almost three-year-old son learned how to plant seeds in soil for the first time.
Planting flower seeds

The woman who heads Abundant Life Farm, biodynamic spin farmer and educator, Linda Borghi told us, “What you sweep off your kitchen floor is dirt, but what we have here is soil.”



In a time when everybody needs to do their part, this little farm teaches us how we can.

Abundant Life Farm is a half-acre biodynamic spin farm. Spin farming is an economic model that makes farming on small plots of land profitable, and according to the farm’s website, “Biodynamics grows food with a strong connection to a healthy, living soil. “




Abundant Life Farm offers 90-minute classes six days a week to children 2 years of age and up.  Caregivers attend classes with their child/children. 

All children receive their first class free and if their parents can’t afford the tuition, Abundant Life Farm will give scholarships to as many as possible.

Pricing for the Program is as follows:

1 class: $15
5 classes: $65
10 classes: $110
20 Classes: $200
Email Linda Borghi at Lborghi@abundantlifefarm.com to find out more information or to register for a first free class. We are!

In addition, if you would like to register for a class, go to http://www.abundantlifefarm.com/index.php/Site/GardeningWithChildren to download the registration form, emergency medical form and the lesson reservation form.

Lastly, there is a mushroom workshop coming up on Saturday, May 12th 
from 1 – 4pm


@ the farm 

$35.00 per family
everyone takes a log home

Have fun exploring the Hudson Valley with the kids!

Take a look at the fun we had at Abundant Life Farm this weekend! It’s hard to believe that you can do so much with only a half acre of land. It’s something to experience.


Bubbles paraphernalia
Frogs
Kids’ Cool Purple Tool  Trailer
Tractor Swing
Bees and Bee Tea
Linda holds a refractometer, a tool that measures nutrients in foods. She said you can buy it on the web for about $50.
Hens being raised for Eggs
Gnome praying over hastas

Adult farm tools
Kids’ Farm Tools

The Flats
Angling to see a bald eagle dangle from above?  Or a real life screecher owl squint his yellow eyes at an Edgar Allen Crow to say “hello?”  Make your way to Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s (HHNM) Wildlife Education Center in Cornwall- home of many rescued animals – and just a few stuffed ones too. It was a great indoor place to take my family on a rainy day.
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Edgar Allen Crow

My son loved riding the saddled barrel and exploring touch tables covered with pinecones and bones. It’s the sort of place that moms and dads of toddlers need. The kids can move around without much chance of hurting anything or anyone (themselves included).

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Fun touch tables for kiddies!


Of course, my son did manage to drop a chestnut into a turtle tank in a matter of seconds while we were there, but thankfully, a very helpful volunteer, Joan, fished it out before the swarming turtles ate the nut my nut threw.

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The turtle tank sans chestnut

Joan told us that two teachers started the museum so local children could learn about regional wildlife. Conclusion: What started out small is now a beautiful little museum where families learn about wildlife through exhibits, meet-the-animal talks, and walks.

Find out about scheduled programming at the Wildlife Education Center by clicking on the link  below:

If you have older children, you will probably also want to check out HHNM’s Outdoor Discovery Center. It’s a preserve with more walks and talks and there’s a preschool on site too!
  • The Wildlife Education Center is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-4pm with Meet the Animals on Saturdays and Sundays only at 1pm (January, February and March) and 2:30pm (year round.)

Admission is $3. Museum Members are free.

 Wildlife Education Center

25 Boulevard, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY

845-534-7781

Have fun exploring The Hudson Valley!

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Hanging Hives and Flowers

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Peace out!

 

For great events in the Hudson Valley visit our online calendar!

I was feeling the JetBlues yesterday. It just so happens that my family has plans to fly JetBlue, and have you heard the news? A two-year-old had such a fit on one of their flights right before takeoff, the plane’s pilot removed her and her family from the plane.

My two-year-old often has mini tantrums and the occasional full-blown booger-spewing tear tornado too. If one of these seismic events occurs on the flight, will we have to land prematurely on a grassfield in Kentucky? Chances are all will be spared. Nonetheless, life is a mixed bag these days, and, now, it is possible we will alter a plane’s trajectory and be kicked off a flight.

So, is this all my fault?

Yes, according to Kimberly – 2068293 on the discussion board following an MSN-video about the incident . She writes, “This is nothing more than a lazy parent who has no better sense. And a child that’s use(d) to getting their way through the practice of tantrums,” and let’s not forget how “Parents are so permissive with their children that they do not listen and do not know how to behave in public. I understand that a two-year-old is very young, but even at two the child should have been taught how to behave and to listen to her parents,” writes JS in SD in the same discussion.

In fact, seventy-one percent of people side with JetBlue for its decision to remove the parents from the plane, according to a poll on MSN.
Personally, I liked DrainBramages comment:

If you have a two-year-old that can actually process your demands to calm down and oblige – you should either be extremely rich from selling/teaching your methods –    or just got damn lucky.

But really, the story has shaken me up, presenting me with a worst-case scenario for our upcoming flight and the realization that people really are judging me when my child is having a tantrum.

I’ve been asking questions like “Why won’t he listen to me? Do I need to set firmer limits and am I too soft on him? I know underneath it all, he is supersweet, so what am I doing wrong?” I have asked all of these questions before, but, hey, why not ask them again?

Who am I angry at? JetBlue? The 71%? Myself? How angry can I really be at people who just want to sit quietly on an airplane? I happen to be one of those people too! Truly, mostly I am angry at my two-year-old for having tantrums. I wish I were a better, more loving parent, but he is just so demanding sometimes. Will anything be different from now on? I will try to be firmer in the coming weeks before our upcoming flight, but he can be tough, and I don’t know if it will work…

I spend a lot of time with two-year-olds these days. We frequent sandboxes, jumping emporiums, and playspaces, and I have witnessed pretty much every two-year-old in our circle crash and burn at some point. The fury of toddlers varies but every one I know well has been unreasonable and completely self-centered at some point.

For our flight, we will bring the requisite toys, snacks, distractions, etc, but there still remains the superslight-hopefully infinitesimal chance that he will go ballistic. If he does, we will do our best to calm him down, hope we are not escorted off the plane, and have to chalk it off to one of those moments he is supposed to be having. I wish we wouldn’t have them, but when you have a two-year-old, life will sometimes throw you a tantrum.

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