Hudson Valley

Celebrate Christmas in New York Old School with Sinterklaas

Before New York was New York, it was New Amsterdam and before Santa Claus was Santa Claus, he was Sinterklaas. In the Netherlands, children leave their shoes out on the night of December 5th for Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) who comes to their houses and fills the shoes with chocolates and candies (or bundles of sticks for the naughty) in celebration of St. Nicholas’s Day on December 6th.

Celebrate Christmas in New York the old school way by adding a little Sinterklaas to your Holiday mix.

5 Labor Day Weekend Getaways from New York City via Bus or Train

If you want to get out of the city for Labor Day weekend but you don't have a car, don't fret. You don't have to feel left out of the weekend getaway crowd, just because you don't have a car and loads of cash. There are several fun places you can go for the day or weekend using public transportation. These inexpensive getaways are fun for the whole family. Just hop on the bus or train and you're on your way to a world of fun.

The Best Places to Go Stargazing in New York City

On any given night, it can be hard to find a visible star, let alone a constellation, here in the City. With all of the ambient light, you might think it's near impossible to do any star gazing at all. But even with the neon signs and lights, there are amateur astronomy clubs that gather weekly and find wonders in the nighttime skies, not to mention the university observatories that are open to the public.

5 Reasons to Vacation in the Suburbs

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Lake house near Jefferson Valley in Northern Westchester

For parents, summer planning can get tricky, especially when you find yourself trying to negotiate the different needs of children and spouses. One spouse may have more flexibility in the summer and the other may not. Or maybe you have one child who is ready for camp, but another who is not. One secret solution is to vacation in a nearby suburb. "Ah, vacationing in the suburbs" you say, "how divine...I mean pathetic." If you are imagining postage stamp lawns and ranch houses, then you are missing out. You can find everything you expect from a vacation in the country, plus the convenience of being closer to the city in Northern Westchester and Putnam Counties.

Here are 5 reasons you should consider taking your summer vacation in the suburbs:

Family Friendly Day Trips from NYC Without a Car

In my post about the farms you can visit in Westchester, I mentioned that it is easy to get to Philipsburg Manor and Stone Barn Farms without a car, using public transportation. I thought it would be cool to write about some of the other day tips you can take from NYC using public transportation. There's really no reason to be stuck in the city just because you're car-less (or want to save your gas money on, say, the down payment on an apartment). There are plenty of fun family day trips that can be easily accessed using Metro-North trains or busses.

The MTA actually has an entire section of their website dedicated to what they so romantically dub MTA Getaways . You've probably seen this advertised in the subway, but I know I never really looked into it before. Many of the trips you could do any time, but the MTA has also worked with local tours and groups to create specific event packages.

Here are some car-free day trips that are definitely worth a try:

Free Demo Classes For Kids Throughout NYC

This is first in a series of posts listing free demo classes for NYC kids. Find more free demo classes and exclusive discounts in our second Free Demo Class Post.

I admit, I have a fear of Mommy and Me classes. I'm not sure how it started but every time the idea was batted around in my house I came up with a million excuses why it wouldn't work. But, now that my daughter is two and we are both sufficiently bored of the playground, I've come to realize it's time to take the plunge. Even better, I've realized that she is now old enough to take classes without me having to participate!

If you are anything like me, here is the perfect baby step - FREE demo classes. Before you shell out the money for a weekly class, why not try it out? We have compiled a super long list of FREE demo classes, most of which are held in August and September. From pottery to gymnastics to music to miming so you can see how you and your kid like the class before committing to an entire semester. Plus, a lot of these places have offered amazing discounts to Mommy Poppins readers if you do choose to sign up for the class.  Keep reading to check out our list.

Day Trippin' - get more out of getting out of NYC

We love NYC in the summer, there is so much to do and it's less crowded. But, its also great to get out of town to spend some time in nature, swim in the ocean and check out new places. For all of July and August, in addition to our regular posts, we will be posting suggestions for fun day and weekend trips that you can take with kids. Here are a few quick suggestions to get you started. Any of these ideas would be great for something to do with the kids this Fourth of July Weekend.

The Best Grown-Up Outdoor Music Festivals for Families

The great thing about New York City's outdoor festivals is that everyone can enjoy them. If it's kids music, at least the grown ups can enjoy being outdoors on a lovely day or evening, relaxing. And, generally kids will put up with an outdoor concert or performance if they can run around, dance, play and picnic while you enjoy a little grown up entertainment for once.

The following (mostly) free outdoor festivals are not specifically children's festivals, but they, for the most part, each have at least one kids performance and otherwise offer great performances in great outdoor environments around NYC, making a fun day or evening out with the kids either way.

French Woods Performing Arts Camp

French Woods is located on a private lake in the western Catskill mountains of New York State near the Delaware river and the Pennsylvania Border, approximately two and a half hours from New York City between Monticello and Binghamton.

We offer summer camp programs in dance, theater, music, circus, magic, visual arts, sports, and horseback riding. Each child, works with our staff to design his or her own unique summer experience. Campers are able to focus on one particular area of interest, or they may choose to select a variety of activities. We are at the same time, a theater camp, an art camp, a dance camp, a circus camp, a horseback riding camp, a sports camp, a magic camp, and a traditional camp, with world class programs that each child can choose a-la-cart.

For more great camp ideas, check out our Summer Camp Guide!

Frost Valley YMCA Camp

The Frost Valley YMCA tradition is an engaging, affordable summer camp experience for children ages 7-16 at our 6,000-acre camp in the heart of the forever wild Catskill Forest Preserve.

Lodges nestled near mountain trails and wide green spaces create a special world where kids journey on every scale, from spending first nights away from home and bonding with new friends to mountain hikes, waterfront fun and all-camp traditions and games. Non-competitive activities in a safe, nurturing environment model our values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and emphasize environmental awareness. Children learn confidence in a supportive atmosphere that fosters skill development and memories that last a lifetime.

Our roots reach back to 1901 as one of the nation's first overnight camps and over a century later, we remain true to the Y mission and our commitment to bring children of all backgrounds and abilities together in an enriching, life-changing summer community.

Frost Valley offers age-based sleepaway camp for children ages 7-15 in (4) two-week camp sessions from June-August; two and three-week Adventure Trips for kids ages 11-16. Special offerings: Horse Programs; Farm Camp; Sleepaway camp for children with kidney disease; and Mainstreaming At Camp for children with development disabilities. (845) 985-2291 ext 203.

For more great camp ideas, check out our Summer Camp Guide!

 

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