Reviews & Photos
September 15 2013
1 family found this helpful
32 Reeds Gap Road,
Lyman Orchards is a Central Connecticut Hot Spot for fall family fun. In operation by the Lyman family since 1741, Lyman Orchards has had the opportunity to create a business with something for everyone. We recently visited on a beautiful fall afternoon. Outside the sun was high, the grass was green and the apples were bright red and ready for picking. We were drawn indoors by the aroma of fresh apple cider donuts and hot coffee. We spent a few hours here drinking in the sites, aromas and activities of a fall day at Lyman Orchards.
Of course Lyman has pick your own apples. Call the hotline at 860-349-6015 to determine what is ripe and current prices. You might also consider picking other seasonal fruit including peaches, nectarines, berries or pumpkins.
To round out your apple picking fun you might enjoy another activity at the orchard. While we were visiting children could take part in pony rides, families climbed aboard a horse drawn wagon for a hayride or sat on the expansive lawn to watch the ducks on the pond and enjoy a picnic snack.
During the fall season the folks at Lyman Orchards create a splendid corn maze to challenge your inner farmer! Our family had a terrific time navigating the tall stalks and even decided to take part in a friendly family challenge to see if our family or our cousin’s family could make it out first to have the first handful of tasty Kettle corn as our reward! It started out tame enough, but as soon as my husband and I entered with our older 2 children, they raced out in front of us leaving us in a lurch and fending for ourselves. Needless to say, they of course beat us by a landslide!
Once you purchase tickets for the maze you are provided a map of the maze as well as trivia questions that will help you navigate along the way. There are different types of questions, from sport, to entertainment trivia, kid friendly to farmer intensive! We chose entertainment and took a second choice for backup. We had heard stories of people becoming lost in mazes and wanted to be sure we would not become a statistic! No worries though there are plenty of other trekkers and guides along the way here to create a true family friendly environment.
This year’s maze is fashioned after the statue of liberty and $1 from every admission ($10/adult, $5 ages 4-12, under 3 FREE) is donated to the American Cancer Society.
Upon completing the maze consisting of 2 and ½ miles of trails on over 4 acres we were ready for a snack. Lyman Orchards was ready for us as well!
There is something for everyone in terms of food at the orchards. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available in the Apple Barrel country store. Here you will also find gourmet items, pies, cakes, donuts and more. Of course on a beautiful day like ours even though you might have to wait in line for a while with many other leaf peepers, the reward of a sugar covered apple cider donut eaten on the deck outside overlooking the orchards and pond is well worth the wait.
Lyman Orchards offers family fun for any season. They have been entertaining families for generations and really have this down to a science. From car parking attendants, to line cues and friendly attendants; this will be a great family friendly day.
Disclosure: My family was provided complementary corn maze tickets in order to complete this review. I was not required to submit a particular review and all opinions are my own.
September 09 2013
0 families found this helpful
Thomas Cole National Historical Site
218 Spring St,
New York 12414
"American Art brought to life"
The Thomas Cole National Historical Site will provide your children a lesson in American art history, Naturalism and the Hudson River School which is a collection of artists that were led by Thomas Cole.
The Historical Site provides informative tours along the grounds of Cedar Grove, the farm that Cole never owned but made his home.
This famous resident of the Catskills haled from England via NYC before settling in the Catskills and honing his craft. He painted many famous, priceless works of art depicting the natural landscape of the storied Catskill Mountains and was a true environmentalist. However, his most famous works include: The Voyage of Life held by the New York Historical society and The Course of Empire at the National Gallery in Washington.
Our kids were somewhat familiar with the work of Thomas Cole having seen examples at our local Wadsworth museum, but it was the tour that most brought the works to life. Our guide told the story of Cole’s life after we watched an informative introductory video. We toured the grounds, saw the view that Thomas Cole would have seen, identified a painting that mimicked the grounds of the farm (including a zany species of thorny spiked locust tree…yikes!!!), saw where and how the family lived and even saw a painter on the porch of the home painting some of the very same scenery Thomas Cole would have painted many years ago. The grounds are set up to be similar to what Cole may have witnessed. The home itself has changed hands many times and now in the hands of the Historical Society it has been restored to much of what is may have been during Cole’s life. The porch and its view of the road and mountains beyond is fabulous. Inside artifacts have been discovered in the far reaches of the home and from donors to put on display for interested parties along with examples of Cole’s fine work.
Our last stop was a reproduction of the painter’s workshop. We were taken by the small size of the area, the lack of light and the variety of tools Thomas Cole used in creating his works. The tour was informative and allowed visual, almost tactile instruction on the live and work of this great American master.
Although our guide was very knowledgeable and easy to understand, I would recommend this tour only for families that have art lovers or older children (10and up). Younger children may not appreciate the history, art or lack of hands on exhibits. However, in the tour office there are some great art activities aimed for children as well as computers programmed for Cole discoveries.
Disclosure: My family and I were provided a complementary tour of the Thomas Cole Historical site. I was not asked to provide any specific information and all opinions are my own.
September 09 2013
1 family found this helpful
Shady Glen Road; off Route 145,
2 miles north of East Durham,
Zoom Flume is located in a pretty rural area in the Catskills north of NYC and south of Albany. We visited in late August and had a terrific time.
The park comes into view as you are driving up a country road. We could see the slides and pools as we drove in. There is ample parking across the street from the park in a dirt lot. The weekend day we visited was quite cool and therefore the park was not very crowded. I imagine it can get pretty crowded on a hot summer day.
We immediately spied the spraying Totem that presides over the park as soon as we entered and the kids were off! I quickly went to the gift shop to rent a locker for the day. I thought it was strange that the gift shop was in charge of this option and thought that might be an issue on busier days. The lockers cost $4 day with a $5 refundable deposit. I made a mental note to myself to return 20 minutes prior to closing to make sure I could avoid the deposit refund crowd.
Near the Totem we spent some time in the large zero entry pool and the surrounding waterslides as the weather warmed. There were plenty of chairs surrounding the pool for adults requiring some relaxation time. Other more adventurous rides were beckoning and we were on our way. We headed over to the Wild Water West just to make sure everyone was wet enough. As a family we had a blast squirting each other with the water features and I think we may have been getting some action from non-family members as well! Big Fun!
One of our favorite attractions was the family tube ride. It was also the longest line in which we waited. Luckily it was worth the wait. This is not one of those easy moving rides. We were flipped and flopped down the steep sluice; belly laughed and loved every minute of it. To slow it down a bit we went floating aimlessly down the nearby lazy river. My daughter loved the newer wave pool, Riptide Cove. She felt like she could really body surf here. There was also a bunch of lounges at this pool providing me a terrific place to count some sheep!
Something for everyone
What I loved about this water park is the retro-feeling it provided. Everything was up to date, clean and modern, but it was a bit edgy. The mat-slides were super-fast. The racing slides seemed extra steep. The dark tube rides spun us around as we careened through the blackness. This was the waterpark of my childhood! This was perfect for our 11 year old dare devils. While it was safe, it was also a bit scary. If your family finds this a bit daunting, no worries, there are plenty of attractions for the more timid!
We spent the day at Zoom Flume. There are plenty of food vendors to fend off hunger and the bathrooms were relatively clean by water park standards. The staff members were friendly and playful. They squirted people waiting in line with water, told silly jokes and kept everyone safe.
We would definitely return again.
Disclosure: My family was provided passes to Zoom Flume in order to write this review. I was not required to write a specific opinion and all opinions are my own.
September 09 2013
Winter Clove Inn
0 families found this helpful
2965 Winter Clove Rd,
Round Top, New York
"Lots of Family Activity"
We wound down our summer travels with a weekend away in the Catskills at the Winter Clove Inn. I had not been to the Catskills in years and I was curious what the weekend would bring.
We live only a couple of hours from the Catskills, but as soon as we got off the Taconic Parkway in New York State we felt as if we had gone back in time. I remarked to my husband that it was a bit like the movie Pleasantville. There were acres of farmland, tidy homes and what seemed to be a main thoroughfare as we bounded through the homeland of Washington Irving, the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and Sleepy Hollow.
Winter Clove Grounds
Winter Clove was about ½ hour from the highway located on a route that takes you away from the main artery. We drove through farms (the road cut the farm in half), past many hotels and took Winter Clove Road right to its terminus at the Winter Clove Inn. We were presented with a grand white building with a LARGE front porch when we reached the end. The Inn is surrounded by a couple of out buildings, an executive golf course, many hiking trails, a brook, an outdoor pool, playground and a large expanse of rolling lawn.
We immediately saw a large group of about 20 gathered on the Southern style porch dotted with rocking chairs and tables. They were all having a great time as they waited for dinner service. The Winter Clove provides guests 3 meals a day in their colonial style dining room.
Winter Clove has a few types of rooms, but the fees are all based on the MAP (modern American plan) regardless of room section/assignment. Rooms are located in the main building, the Oaks which is an outbuilding near the stream and pool, or the Carriage House. We had an opportunity to view each type of room. The rooms in the main house are the most current in terms of décor. They are reminiscent of a colonial bed and breakfast with ensuite bath, air conditioning and lots of natural light. The Oaks also has Colonial décor with larger rooms, lots of light and a great location near the pool and away from the commotion of the main house. The rooms were a bit dated. We stayed in the Carriage House. The rooms at the Carriage House would be great for a large family and in fact many families hold their family reunions at the Winter Clove. There are 3 large rooms with tables and chairs, 2 shared baths and a small TV common area. This is the most private of accommodations, but also the most dated in terms of décor and difficult to use due to the stair climb involved, but you rarely spend time in your room here because there is so much to do. None of the rooms has its own television. At each room type the television is located in the common area and DVD’s are available to borrow. Wi-Fi is available. Cribs and cots are available on request. Room rates on based on a flat per person per night fee and children over 3 pay based on age.
Winter Clove Inn may be the oldest continually operating Inn owned by a single family. Since the 1800’s the Whitcombs have been entertaining families in the Catskills and they have got it down to a science. Families love the low key atmosphere where kids can run free and meet up with other kids to enjoy the great outdoors. We never worried about our kids as they played outside with the other children. In addition to indoor and outdoor pools, there is a tennis court, basketball court, and indoor bowling at the carriage house. There are also scheduled activities such as tennis lessons for the kids, bonfires for the guests, hayrides and more. The daily schedule of activities is posted in the main house outside the grand room where many nights there may be a kid’s movie on the community TV with popcorn for everyone! Everyone feels very at home and at ease and we know firsthand how quickly the kids all make friends. It is almost like being at camp!
Winter Clove is an all-inclusive resort for the most part. (Some activities such as bowling have a nominal fee) The food is all included at scheduled meal times at reserved tables with a dedicated service person. You get to know your server and they you. The morning breakfast always included a muffin or sweetbread along with a choice of egg or pancake/French toast and drink. We were ready for the day. Lunch is also served, however you can request that it be packed for you if your family would like to go out exploring. Pre-dinner, guests gather on the porch and wait for the doors to open. There are a couple of choices for entrees (think ham, beef, and fish) and always a kid friendly choice as well. Dessert is served after the meal. The food is tasty and homey. You don’t have to worry about bringing the children. This is not a fancy place and families are part of the fabric of the Inn.
There is plenty to do at the Inn, but should you decide to venture out the Catskills has a fair share of family activities. The Inn and its incredibly friendly staff will be there when you return; ready for some old-fashioned hospitality, your next meal and some fun activities. Families return year after year to remenisce and create some new memories.
Low key atmosphere
All meals included
On site hiking trails
Families would like:
More attention to detail with housekeeping/maintainence
Key cards instead of keys
More explanation of amenities around the reosrt.
Disclosure: My family and I were provided a complementary 3 night stay at Winter Clove in order to complete this review. I was not asked to provide a specific review and all opinions are my own.
September 09 2013
0 families found this helpful
Windham Mountain Adventure Park
33 Clarence D. Lane Road,
New York 12496
Windham Mountain Adventure Park
Windham Mountain Adventure Park is located in the Catskills near the Windham Ski Resort. We visited the park on a hot August day to take advantage of the adventure attractions.
The parking area was immense and check in was easy. To take part you must have tickets for the individual rides or a season pass. Ticket prices are steep at $5/ticket and most attractions requiring at least one ticket. If you live nearby and expect to visit more than once a season pass at $99 would be a great investment. We were required to sign injury waivers and we were on our way.
We started with the Zip Line. The friendly staff member got us suited up with equipment and helmets and we stood in a short line. We were then provided quick safety lesson. The ride itself was short, but fun. To come back to the line you must either climb the hill or do a small challenge course. Next to the head of the zip line is a Euro Bungee which my family always enjoys. Unfortunately they only had one side open so the wait was a bit long, but fun just the same. The kids jumped until they were each able to flip and of course wanted to do it again.
After some time on the Euro-Bungee we went to the Go-Karts. These carts looked nothing like the Go-Karts of my day. They were more like souped up ATV’s. My 8 year old loved this the most. She had never driven anything other than the Barbie car by herself. Driving the cart on the long dirt track gave her a sense of freedom and a grin from ear to ear. My other 2 kids enjoyed this attraction as well. Unfortunately only 1 of the kid sized carts was functioning. This made the wait longer than it should have been, but the ride itself was still fun. They also have adult sized carts for the young at heart!
The final fun of the day was the Big Air Bag jump. I was amazed of the bravery of my kids climbing stories into the air and free falling into the large inflated pillow. They wanted to do this over and over again. Each time they got more and more brave and loved it.
We really like the Windham Adventure Park. There was also a skateboarding area which we did not take advantage of. It really would have been better if everything was better functioning, but the day was still enjoyable.
Disclosure: I was provided complementary use of the park attractions in order to evaluate Windham Adventure Park. I was not expected to provide a specific evaluation dally opinions are my own.