Savoring the Remains of Summer (Or: How Not to Strangle Your Kids Before School)
The telltale morning fog has begun to nestle into our valley, and ensures us of one thing… Autumn is on its way. But by mid-morning it breaks and gives way to 90-degree days, reminding us that summer is not quite over.
If you’re anything like me, that seasonal phenomenon holds you in a weird transient state, hovering somewhere between the mourning of summertime and the excitement of the back-to-school ritual and routine.
And if you’re anything else like me, you’re also caught between wanting to cram in the remains of your Summer Bucket List with your kiddos, and trying not to strangle them before school starts.
With just a handful of days left until you can give them back to their teachers, here’s a list of some of my favorite ways to enjoy summer with my kids…
Taughannock Falls State Park
The falls trail north of Ithaca is awesome in the summer. Pack a picnic lunch and a low lounge chair. The water from the falls trickles for a mile or so into the creek bed that lets out into Cayuga Lake. Spend the morning wading in the shallow water. The water temperature is pleasant enough to splash into, although swimming is not allowed. Definitely wear a bathing suit and protective water shoes. The creek bed can get quite slippery with moss, but recently that’s not been a problem. Leashed dogs are allowed. After a picnic on the dry bed, pack up and head across the road to the lake front. There’s a great playground, a snack shack and a pretty nice lifeguarded swimming area with canoe and kayak rentals.
Corning Museum of Glass
Okay… duh. The museum is so… there. But, we forget about it a lot. When is the last time you went to the museum, not for one of the special free events but just to look at art? I heard a segment on NPR recently about how American museums do so much special programming to get people in the doors, but that visitors don’t actually stay to look around. With admission for kids free and residents discounted, the museum can be an easy day trip. Be sure to see a show on the new hot glass stage, grab lunch in the café and doodle around to see if your drawing is selected for You Design It We Make It. The Studio also offers fun glass projects for an additional fee.
Ithaca Weekend Day Trip
Start your morning early at Purity Ice Cream for a delicious, dessert-like breakfast and then head up to the Cornell University campus. I discovered some places this year that are sure to go on the annual Summer Bucket List. The Botanical Gardens are beautiful and free to roam around in. There’s a parking lot and a welcome center where you can get your bearings. Stroll off on the wooded trails around Beebee Lake. When you’ve had your fill of nature, head back into the city to the Ithaca Farmers Market for the amazing local veggies and meats. Lots of food vendors and live music make it a great place to relax near the lakefront. Sight-seeing boat tours leave from the market dock, too. If you are really committed to the Ithaca Day Trip, you’ll finish up with dinner at Sangam Indian restaurant on Eddy Street. Get the coconut soup, vegetable samosas and plenty of nan.
Genessee Country Village and Museum
Oh my gosh, if you haven’t been, get thee to there now. Between Batavia and Rochester is the little town of Mumford, where dozens of 18th and 19th-century original buildings have been moved to create a historic village. There are a few churches, a lot of homes, a tavern, a brewery, a tin shop, a schoolhouse, a pharmacy, a newsprint shop… basically any type of service and business that was necessary throughout our American history. You can dine there, or picnic, and spend the whole day. If you go during weekends or special events, the place is just teaming with reenactors who may demonstrate how to make a pair of shoes or serve you some fire-cooked jam.