Okay well, I’ve now learned that uploading a photo in WordPress can actually remove everything you’ve already written and the quick-save function is really a great way to make sure it’s gone forever.
Anyway, I, as I think everyone who lives in Upstate NY (which I define as above Kingston, but below Lake George – the geography and regional names can be a whole separate post) goes through a really crazy period when they’re growing up where we hate all things about Upstate, Hudson Valley, etc. I hit mine around age 17 and didn’t outgrow it until after college, I think. Now mind you, for some context – I grew up here, went to small private school, didn’t know what The North Face or Coach or anything like that was (seriously) until I went to college in Westchester. Sheltered, if you will. At that time in my life, I was baffled why anyone would want to live so sequestered from NYC ie/civilization.
Fast forward 10 years and I think Upstate is PERFECT. Why? Because I can have days like the one I had this past Saturday. Babies (okay, little people, they’re not really babies anymore) wake up, we get ready and just as they start the “okay I’ve finally woken up now antsy” phase we load up and head out to Lee. It’s about a 75 minute drive, perfect for the tiny one to take a quick post-breakfast nap and long enough for the older one to get out the sensory anxiety of mornings being morning. We get to the outlets – which opened early that day – by 9 am and I actually accomplish my goal – boots for mama! x2! No tax! Sales! Icing on the cake is shoes x4 for the kids….although that also involved buying
one two bouncy balls (13.99 each, mind you. But they were buy one get one half off….the price of silence and cooperation). My son, who normally doesn’t do well with such shopping outings, did incredibly well thanks to my advance planning *high fives myself* and that chocolate milk I picked up in the food court. He walked around with me happily for a while then took a seat to drink up and chow down on a pop tart. By the time we got the kids shoes done I was READY to cough up quarters into a silly little Garfield ride along and celebrate the successful morning.
It got even better, though. Kids were still in a pretty good mood, everyone was pretty well fed, so we made the drive from Lee to Whitney’s Farm Stand, about a half hour drive the way my GPS took us. We went back through Pittsfield (which is starting to look familiar since I drive this way quite often!) and the kids got out to play. They went down some slides, climbed a bit – my son had a HUGE smile (which is amazing and a sign I did something right!) when he was climbing through a wooden thingy shaped like a tractor. Mom. Win. The little lady cautiously approached and ran away from all the farm animals and my son fell in love with a pumpkin, so we spent some money in the farm stand and set the GPS for home.
The drive back was about 90 minutes, and the kids slept for almost all of it. I was driving, windows down a bit, smell of livestock and nature coming into the car – and I reflected on what a little jerk I was to hate this area as a kid. Seriously? We have so much “civilization” (you don’t realize what a luxury a teaching hospital, a university with a research facility, and a sizable airport are until you meet people who have to drive 3 hours for any or all of them) right here and then so much more within day-tripping distance. Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, the incredibly diverse regions of NY – hell, Canada could even be a day trip if you were so inclined – everything from whales to mansions and good old-fashioned apple orchards. I LOVE this state and this area…and our great neighbor Massachusetts.