Summer Vacation 101 - aka How to Beat the Boredom Blues

Monday, June 22, 2015
Three, two one.....we have lift off.  It's almost that know what day I'm referring to....the last day of school in these parts of NY.  It's the day the kids have been waiting for, the day when alarm clocks take a hiatus, homework becomes a memory, and summer begins in all its glory.  You remember being a kid don't you..... how much you looked forward to those last days of school knowing summer vacation was just around the corner.  We couldn't wait to sleep in, play with our friends, go to the pool or the beach......anything really.  The important thing was that we didn't have to go to school.  It was a glorious feeling.   And then a week or so later it came......"I'm bored".

Today that is probably less likely to be heard with the invention of electronic devices, video games and day camps.  But sooner or later all mom's hear it.  Those words are perhaps two of the most dreaded words to fall on a mom's ears. When was the last time any mom uttered those words?  Ummm..... never?!?!  So when our kids utter them our (my) first reaction was to hand over a list of chores but let's face it, that doesn't fly.  It only creates crankier kids and adds frustration to the mix.  As a stay-at-home mom, I didn't want to send my kids to day camp.  I wanted to enjoy them and have fun with them, but I also knew that I, alone, couldn't provide the kind of entertainment kids long for all summer.  Kids need some adventure.  Summers are for making memories, for going to special places, discovering new things.  When our kids were young, our budget was tight.  We couldn't afford Disney or weeks at the cape so we figured out that there were plenty of neat places accessible on day trips that didn't cost a lot of money.  Today I'm going to share places I've recently discovered - places I wish I knew about back then, (some of which I've already blogged about), places most kids would enjoy.   I can't guarantee this will eliminate all of the whines, but it's a start.  So when those dreaded sighs of boredom's your life saving list.

I'm beginning my Summer Vacation series with local venues, ones that moms can get to while dad is at work and still be home in time for dinner.  Some of these might be places you've been to hundreds of times, but all of them are places I just discovered in the past two years - long after my kids are grown and married.  I wish I discovered them years ago because my kids would have LOVED any of them.

If your kids are nature lovers, a great place to explore and use up some energy is the Vischer's Ferry Nature Preserve. Located in the southern end of Clifton Park, Vischer's Ferry Nature Preserve offers over 600 acres of well maintained, flat walking trails along the early canal system.  It's a great place to take in nature.  You can even listen to an audio tour on your cell phone for an added educational bonus.  Bring your lunch and after your walk, you can use the picnic table by the Whipple Bridge to refuel your hungry kiddos.  For more photos and information about Vischer's Ferry, check out my earlier blog:

The next great option for beating the boredom blues would be any one of the local state parks.  Growing up on Saratoga Lake, it's obvious why my parents never took me to these, so when John and I started traveling in search of blog subjects....I was astounded by places like Grafton Lakes State Park.....

These are both Grafton Lake State Park.  Just outside of Troy, Grafton has several lakes within the park (only one for swimming though).  It's a beautiful park and I can't imagine any kid not loving it.  To see more photos and read my previous blog all about Grafton....

For another exciting adventure... how about visiting one of the local canal locks. Again this is one I just experienced for the first time last year. I know, I lived under a rock.  But trust me, growing up on Saratoga Lake was pretty awesome, even if I didn't get to see anything but that!  Whether you visit the Locks in Waterford or Niskayuna, or any of them, kids will be in awe as they watch the locks close and the water fill up to allow boats to pass through. 
Call me crazy, but even as an adult I love to witness this process.  My first experience witnessing this was in Herkimer, NY when we took a boat ride down the river on the Lil Diamond where you'll even pass through the lock. That's a real 'up close and personal' view of the process.  This is an experience even mom and dad can enjoy! 
What kid doesn't love a boat ride?  On this trip, kids even get to help pilot the boat!  Even grandparents will love to come along on this one!  This 90 minute narrated cruise will even provide a little history of the early days on the Erie Canal.  Check it out! To read more about it and arrange for your Erie Canal adventure, check out this post: 

For the animal lovers out there, how about a visit to one of my favorite places, Dakota Ridge Farm!  Dakota Ridge is located on East Line Road in Ballston Spa.  Katrina and Gary Capasso own and operate this beautiful llama farm where they lovingly raise over 40 (maybe 50?) llamas.  At Dakota Ridge Farm, you can schedule a farm tour and learn all about llamas, and even walk a llama.

Visiting Dakota Ridge never gets old.  And contrary to what you may have heard, llamas rarely spit at people.  They spit at each other - mostly when competing over food.  Llamas are sweet and gentle animals and followers of my blog know how much I've grown to love them.  Interested in learning more?  Check out my blogs about Dakota Ridge:

So, there's a start.  I'll be back soon for more fun places to visit, some close-by and some a little drive away.  Links to each of the places I've talked about today are included in the blog posts I've provided links to.  If every day of summer is as delightful as today is, we're in for a treat.  Fingers crossed.
So, enjoy these last couple days of quiet and then learn to overlook the mess and dirty dishes and enjoy this magical time kids refer to as Summer Vacation!   Thanks for reading and come back soon to Life As I See It!  
 Please share this blog with all your mommy friends who might need some ideas.

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