Items tagged with 'Dawn Padfield'

Hikes for tykes

Hikes for Tykes 1.jpg

Danger- cuteness ahead!

By Dawn Padfield

Way back in 1997, Elizabeth Meer was looking for a way to continue her weekly wildflower walks, but with her kids. So she, and a group of about five other families, started a weekly group focused on finding kid friendly nature walks in the area.

Skip ahead 13 years later and these hikes are still going strong.

While the faces of the families have changed as children have gotten older, the group is still scheduling walks and introducing preschoolers to the beauty of the great outdoors.

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Baby animals at Hancock Shaker Village

hancock shaker round barn

This way to the cuteness...

By Dawn Padfield

Growing up in Pennsylvania, every couple of years we took a compulsory school field trip to Amish Country, where we were transported back in time to find out how these traditional, religious communities lived. I get the sense the equivalent of that trip in this neck of the woods is a visit to the Hancock Shaker Village in Western Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, I didn't get chance to delve into too much of the history on my most recent visit because the real reason we were at the village was the baby animals.

And what's cuter than baby animals, you ask? Nothing, I say. And I have children.

(Yes, there are baby animals after the jump.)

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The Balloon Room

balloon room

How could you not smile in a room full of balloons?

By Dawn Padfield

When Burnt Hills' Cindy Gotobed wants a party, she doesn't mess around.

For the past five years she and her family have hosted a Balloon Room party in their living room for her kids and their friends. What's a balloon room party, you ask? Only 1000 inflated balloons packed into your living room.

Why? It's 1000 inflated balloons packed into your living room.

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Colonial Car Wash / Salad Bar

colonial carwash

A rinse for cars and leafy greens?

By Dawn Padfield

I don't know how many times I have driven by the Colonial Car Wash on Western Avenue, only to scratch my head in confusion. Under the Colonial sign, there is another sign advertising...wait for it... a free "Salad Bar."

A salad bar at a car wash? Kind of makes you go hmmm, right?

Yeah, me too. So last week, when I was craving some veggies and an express wash, I decided to check it out.

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The Herkimer Diamond Mines

herkimer mine

There's double-terminated quartz in them thar hills.

By Dawn Padfield

About an hour and a half from here, there's a resort and campground that charges you to play in the dirt. Crazy, right?

But, what if I told you that the very dirt I speak of held the glittering promise of diamonds (er, "diamonds").

Well, then... you might just be willing to dig a little deeper.

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I Love Books in Delmar

i love books exterior

So, it's... books?

By Dawn Padfield

When a shop has a name like "I Love Books" it's not hard to guess what's inside. Books... bookstore... got it.

But what if it was called something like "I Love Books, funky gifts, and toys I haven't seen since I was a kid?"

Well then, you might just want to take a closer look.

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Where to take foreign language classes

paris eiffel tower

They'll still make fun of you, but at least you'll know you tried.

By Dawn Padfield

Have you ever wished you would have kept up with the four years of Spanish you took in high school? Have you ever wanted to impress your significant other by ordering a crepe in French? Have you ever wondered what that cute foreign guy was really saying about you?

Well, wonder no more.

Here are some local language schools to get you started on your way to impressing everyone with your worldly sophistication.

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The Yellow Brick Road

yellow brick road bridge

The way to the Emerald City?

By Dawn Padfield

Nestled in a quiet spot between Albany and Delmar lies the Normanskill Farm and Hiking Trail. How do you get there, you ask?

Why, just follow the Yellow Brick Road.

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Hammering away at Home Depot

home depot kids
By Dawn Padfield

What better way to bond (hopefully not literally) with your kids on a Saturday morning than with a hammer, some nails and wood glue?

On the first Saturday of every month Home Depot offers free "Kids Workshops" where you can channel your inner carpenter and relive your shop class glory days.

Your kids will probably have fun, too.

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Davey Jones Locker

Fish 1.jpg

Something fishy.

By Dawn Padfield

Since my husband is allergic to every animal that walks on earth, fish have become the pet of choice at our house. But the over bred and sad little fishies sold at the big box pet stores weren't cutting it. I needed to find fish with gumption. I needed to find fish with the will to live.

My search led me to a flipping good fish store (I know, but it's really tough to resist a good fish pun).

Davey Jones Locker is like a funky little aquarium on Delaware Avenue in Albany.


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Consignment shops for kids

fifis interior.jpg

Consignment for kids, Fifi's and Polkadots

By Dawn Padfield

Parents are always looking for a bargain. Especially on clothes. I mean, no sooner do you get them into a new pair of jeans or shoes then it's time to go shopping again.

Sure it's great to pass clothes and shoes back and forth between family and friends, but that's never enough. So I thought I'd check out a couple of the kids consignment shops in the area.

Umm... and the kids aren't the only ones I found things for.

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Hoffman's Playland

hoffman's playland.jpg

WARNING: Seeing this sign makes kids go a little nuts.

By Dawn Padfield

Remember the little amusement parks you went to as a kid? Not the giant, spend the whole day, super roller coaster, Great Escape variety. The little places with the kind of strange carney-like atmosphere where you could drop into for an hour or two, buy a roll of tickets and ride the Ferris wheel, or the choo-choo.

Well -- welcome to Hoffman's Playland.

Where the clowns are slightly creepy, the rides a little dated, but the kids are happy.

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Camping at Thompson's Lake State Park

Thompsons Lake Sign.jpg

It's a little like camping in the backyard. But cooler.

By Dawn Padfield

In my experience, camping with young children can go one of two ways: relatively well -- or really, really badly.

Thankfully, Thompson's Lake State Park, only about 20 minutes away from Albany, is a great place to take the kids camping. And if the kids (or you, for that matter) decide they've had enough of camping, you can all be back home and in time for bed.

So, Thompson's Lake has location going for it -- but there are plenty of others reasons to check it out.

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L.L. Bean walk-on adventures

LL bean adventure 1.jpg

Kayaks lined up for an L.L. Bean walk-on adventure

By Dawn Padfield

If you're not really the outdoorsy type, walking through the L.L. Bean store can make you feel like a bit of a hypocrite -- bypassing the kayaks and fishing rods in favor of the ice cream balls and monogrammed totes.

If any of this sounds a little too familiar to you, here's a way to get some real 'trail-cred' without committing yourself to the weekend warrior lifestyle.

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The carousel at the NYS Museum

NYS Museum Carousel.jpg

Say hi to Ann when you visit.

By Dawn Padfield

What's the most fascinating exhibit at the New York State Museum?

The giant woolly mastodon? The Iroquois longhouse? The set of Sesame Street?

Ask my kids and they'll tell you it's the merry-go-round on the fourth floor. Ask me-- or other adults that have seen it-- and you might actually get the same answer.

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