We had the chance to visit some beautiful spots upstate this summer, which would also make ideal daytrips or weekend excursions in the fall as well. We have just begun our upstate exploration (we love Beacon, NY ), and plan to venture up a few more times this fall; but in the meantime here are some highlights from this summer.
Indian Ladder Trail, Vorheesville, NY
Every summer, we visit Curious G’s uncle and aunt in Albany and take a few daytrips to the neighboring towns. This year, we took a hike in Indian Ladder Trail and got to see Albany from above. The terrain was diverse, yet easy enough to manage with a toddler (if you’ve ever shepherded a child down subway stairs while clinging onto a foldable stroller, this hike would be a walk in the park…literally and figuratively), and we even cooled off in a limestone cave!
Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery, Altamont, NY
After taking a hike in 90 degree heat, we needed a break. Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery was only about a 20 minute drive from the Trail (perfect distance for a tired tot to take a disco nap in her carseat). The picturesque farm and mountains in the distance serve as a stunning backdrop for weddings, and there was a rambunctious wedding reception brewing in the barn when we got there. Inside of the main dining area, there is a bar where you can sample their house made hard ciders and beers. A lively crowd was enjoying a live band playing 90’s covers when we arrived. We sat outside to enjoy our beers, ciders, juice, cheese plate, and pretzel with bier cheese. There was a play kitchen, ride on toys and an old tractor to keep Curious G entertained; but the best part for her was the store. I was tempted to buy everything for future birthday gifts because everything was so cute! But then I convinced myself that it was the beer talking and reeled myself back in. We left with just a talking stuffed Audubon bird and a jar of blueberry preserves. There was a little menagerie of farm animals behind the store where kids were invited to interact with the animals, but we skipped that part.
The Cuckoo’s Nest, Albany, NY
We had dinner at The Cuckoo’s Nest that night and the food was delicious. I would return for the fried chicken. I don't have many photos from that meal because the lighting in the restaurant was more conducive to chowing down in a relaxing atmosphere and less conducive to getting good pictures. I also didn't think that I would be writing this post as I was savoring each bite of country fried yumminess.
The Olde English Pub, Albany, NY
We love this spot for brunch. The portions are generous and the patio in the back is oozing with charm.
Emack and Bolio’s Albany, NY
We have made it a tradition to come here every summer when we visit Uncle Michael and Aunt Mary. While we know that we can get the massive cones decked in rice crispy or froot loop treats filled with creamy cold ice cream at home in the city, we love the live music in the garden in the Albany outpost. They also carry an assortment of cute toys and gifts of the Melissa and Doug variety.
Hudson Hil’s Cafe and Market, Cold Spring, NY
Hudson Hil’s was recommended by more than one mom from a mom’s group on Facebook, and these moms know what they're talking about so we went with their recs. Located on Main Street, it serves up scrumptious breakfast and lunch menus featuring fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. I had one of the best plates of biscuits and gravy ever.
Split Rock Books, Cold Spring, NY
Main Street is lined with many cute shops for housewares, toys, bath and beauty items, and gourmet products. However, Split Rock Books stole our hearts with its outstanding selection of children’s books. And by outstanding, I mean thoughtfully curated and artfully selected. Curious G selected Coppernickel Goes Mondrian for herself, but I would have been hard pressed to select just one children's book to purchase.
We walked down Main Street to the train station (Where you can take Metro North from Grand Central), underneath and through a fun little tunnel and reached the Hudson River bank, where we stopped to watch a few boats sail by. After getting our dessert from Moo Moo's we parked ourselves on a bench right by the river’s edge and savored each sweet spoonful while enjoying the scenery.
Boscobel House and Gardens Garrison, NY
Boscobel was actually our plan C. We attempted to walk to West Point Foundry upon the recommendation of Heidi from Split Rock Books, but surrendered to the heat and wound up getting into the car to drive to Little Stony Point (also upon the recommendation of Heidi who said it has a cute little beach). However, Curious G fell asleep on the drive there, and stayed asleep when we got there; so we took that as a sign to head to Boscobel.
It was probably above 90 degrees when got there in the late afternoon, but it was still an enjoyable experience. The crown jewel is the Hudson River vista; and the gardens and orchards are lovely bonuses. We skipped the House portion because we prefer to skip air conditioned interiors on oppressively hot days. (I kid, of course)
Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
So this is technically Massachusetts, but it's only about a 20 minute drive from our friends’ house in Stephentown, NY, where we stayed one weekend in July. Three toddlers and their parents spent a lovely morning here exploring the grounds, playing in the children’s garden, hanging out with some cute farm animals, studying the fine art sculptures peppered in amongst the colorful blooms, jumping off large rocks, and enjoying a variety of sausages hot off the grill.
Lickety Split, Williamstown, MA
Our plan to ride the Berkshire Carousel after visiting the Botanical Garden was thwarted by sleepy toddlers who tapped out in the car ride there. So, we continued on to Lickety Split instead and let them nap. I am including this ice cream shop in this post because we eat A LOT of ice cream and this was a standout. In fact, I still crave both Lickety Split and SoCo Creamery, which I also discovered on this trip. Luckily, Morton Williams carries SoCo, but I have yet to hunt down a pint of their salted caramel which is HEAVENLY.
Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
Tangelwood is an open air music venue in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. During the summer, it is the “home” of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. We purchased tickets for the lawn seats, packed a picnic and headed over for a memorable evening of hauntingly beautiful music, a casual dinner with friends on the lawn, and a view that will live in our memories forever.
*This post was somewhat limited by my lack of descriptive photos. Please feel free to email me with any questions. I can also offer more recommendations in the Hudson Valley and Berkshires areas. Curiousgandme@gmail.com is my email address.