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Family Fun Weekend: Woodstock, NY (it's only 2.5 hours away!)

March 30, 2011

How does a weekend of swimming, great food, parks and shopping sound to you? If you answered, “sounds great!” then perhaps it’s time for you and your family to venture to the historic Hudson Valley town of Woodstock, NY. My family and I often make the 2.5 hour trip (by car) any chance we get. Of course, Woodstock also happens to be the home of the in-laws, but even so, it is a welcome refuge from our typical weekends in Brooklyn. We can step back a bit, take in some fresh air and enjoy the gorgeous sights of the Hudson Valley. Woodstock isn’t only great for a summer weekend, it’s worth a trip year-round: activities range from apple picking, checking out the Woodstock Film Festival and the town’s annual Christmas parade. Here are some of my favorite places in Woodstock.

  1. Food Choices: Before you start your busy day, load up with a hearty breakfast. Oriole 9 is a lovely little organic spot that features a unique kids menu (aka no standard grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly) with green eggs and ham (pesto scrambled eggs) or the panini: mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms and chorizo 7. There is also a kids corner where your children can draw and read books. Sweet Sues in Phoenicia (about 30 minutes from Woodstock) is another hot breakfast spot where you and your family can enjoy some of the best pancakes in the Hudson Valley. Be forewarned: many people know this as well, so it’s best to call ahead to score a reservation.
  2. The Big Deep: This secluded lake is a recent favorite of ours. An unassuming spot that can be easily missed it you don’t have directions (click here for Google map), but once you find it, you and your family will have a hard time leaving. This swimming hole is an ideal spot for swimming, collecting rocks or having a picnic. Older kids will love rope jumping or doing a cannonball without worrying about touching the bottom. The best part? It’s free!
  3. A Little Shopping: No visit to Woodstock would be complete without venturing to Tinker Street. The kids will love Tinker Toys Too, a specialty toy store whether you are browse or just playing with giant bubbles outside of the store. The Golden Notebook is another great store for kids where they can look through their favorite books or maybe find a new favorite.  On the summer weekends you and your family should also check out Mower’s Flea Market (behind Bread Alone) where you can find odds and ends for your Brooklyn home. We scored an easel with about 50 paintbrushes for $10 bucks! After a busy and most likely hot day, you and your little ones will love a scoop (or two) of Jane’s homemade ice cream at Taco Juan’s. Other points of interest on Tinker Street:  Pegasus Footwear, Chez Grand’ Mére and Candlestock, a specialty candle and gift shop.

Rubbing a Pig at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

  1. Woodstock Animal Sanctuary: An refuge for animals rescued from factories or farming, Woodstock Animal Sanctuary is an educational destination for you and an exciting up close petting arena for your kids.  Your kids will love being able to be up close to cows, pigs, ducks, turkeys and goats as the roam around freely. During the tour, we were literally standing next to sheep, goats and my personally favorite – the pigs. where my daughter and I were able to give them a belly rub.
  2. Area Parks: Yes, we have them in Brooklyn but there is something about testing out a new park with its different set of slides, swings and bars to climb that makes the daily park outings less-daunting. In Woodstock, check out Andy Lee Fields or the wooden playground at the Woodstock Elementary School. Other area attractions: Beacon River Pool and the HITS Horse Show.

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Serena Norr is a real-live Brooklynite who was raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She is now the managing editor of Relocation.com, which has perfected her juggling skills as she tackles a full-time job, freelancing and the best part of her day spending time with her energetic toddler. When free time strikes (insert laughing), she loves exploring Brooklyn with her daughter, checking out restaurants, writing plays, taking pictures, creating collages, and making soups – which she chronicles on her blog-http://seriouslysoupy.blogspot.com.