A great New England family ski destination – 2.5 hour drive from New York

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An easy 2.5 hours drive from the city, Hunter is a great ski destination for the entire family. You have the option to make it a day trip or stay overnight at the wonderful Kaatskill Mountain Club. I would give it an A+ for skiing, an B for overnight stay, B+ for rental gear and a C for food.

I would suggest you pre-rent ski’s, pre purchase your ski pass prior to arrival at Hunter. It is fast to get your rentals if you contracts are printed and ready. If traveling with a tot I suggest you start skiing early in the morning and then take a breakfast break at 10:00AM at the Main Lodge. I would even recommend bringing your entire days food rather than eating here. While there are plenty of food options they are somewhat unhealthy and food courts get very busy at lunch time. Get back on the slopes and enjoy till 2:00PM. Grab a quick snack and hit the mountains till 4.00PM. If you can stay till 6:00pm, you can enjoy snow tubing outside the Kaatskill Mountain Club. They have long runs, fast runs, fun runs and runs for toddlers. After all the fun drive out to the town center – enjoy a somewhat healthy dinner and head back to NYC.

Happy New Year to all TitterTot readers!

As 2013 comes to an end I wish to change the tone of this blog site based on my experience in the last year. 2013 has been a busy year for all of us. It has been a year of uncertainty and surprises. We have all worked hard to figure out the best course for the upcoming years.

This holiday season we choose to stay home, we choose to not pack our bags but rather take a break in our own comforts. When tots turn 4 years old – there is an amazing transformation. They desire social interactions with kids their age and with other families. This is the start of their life journey, they need a sense of belonging and they are building a small world of their own. Their immediate family and the other families that they often meet and see are becoming their world. It is so amazing to see them relate to others in their own simple and small ways.

Our holiday break itinerary:
Play date with a new friend and visit a museum
One day sports camp
Christmas with our close friends
Visit the
Pajama party with friends and movie night
Day at the office with daddy
Day trip to a ski destination (still to take please in the upcoming 3 days)
Spent a lot of time with daddy – making up for lost time in 2013

We will be spending the rest of our 3 days planning our one special vacation for the year, the books we would like to read, the day trips we would like to make in and around NYC and the few changes we would like to make to our lives to make 2014 a special year.

Sometimes it might be worth enjoying what you have around you. As our tots continues to grow older I feel like we all need time to explore our immediate world and the people that make our world so special. Take our time to appreciate, to internalize and to thank our close and dear ones for making this life journey so pleasant.

We wish you all a Happy New Year and don’t forget to plan a special vacation for the coming year. Do share your plans with us so we can blog about it.

Confidence on the go

IMG_1974This year we decided to not travel, to stay back home to relax and take it easy. I am thus going to write on a topic that is not about traveling. It is about everyday life.

It is so easy to tell a tot that he / she is wrong but are we able to equally appreciate everything they are doing right? My recent experience with my four year old has taught me a very important lesson on building confidence. As most Asian moms I started teaching my son to read this past summer. We do 5 pages of reading and some writing everyday. It is a bit taxing for him and like most four year old boys he would get easily distracted, loose patience and want to do be doing something else instead. About two days ago I started to tell him that we need not do this work as he has become a reading expert. I told him that he had gained super reading powers. Given his obsession with Super Heroes currently he surely made a note of this. It is day 3 and he asked me if he could do some reading today. It was the first day I did not probe him and he finished reading 5 pages in 3 minutes without any help at all.

Tots teach you important lessons everyday. Instill a bit of confidence in a person and he will soar. Its almost like filling air in a balloon. Though be careful to not fill too much to create a sense of overconfidence.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year

Apple picking 2013

I am not sure if it is quiet unusual that my tot loves being out in nature. He loves visiting farms and gains immense pleasure participating in related activities. We try to make it out to farms at least three times a year. He enjoyed apple picking last year, so I had to take him out again this year. Last year we enjoyed apple picking at Whitman’s farm in NJ. This year we decided to visit orchards in upstate New York. The plan was to visit “The Wright Family Farm” located Warwick, NY. The online reviews were fantastic, but instead we stopped at Dressler Farms in New Platz, NY.

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The views of the mountains from the farm were stunning, a floral welcome at the facade and the sight of apples from the parking lot made it a tempting stop. Right where we parked, we picked up a bucket and boarded a wagon that took us to the heart of the orchard. My tot enjoyed picking Fuji apples, Red Delicious apples and Golden Delicious apples. The orchard grew several different types of apples besides the three we picked. After picking about 30 apples, we went by the shop to enjoy freshly baked donuts and chilled apple cider. We also bought two different varieties of pears, corn and pumpkin. My tot could not resist climbing on top of a tractor and jumping up on haystacks. While there were not many activities for children at the farm, the loaded apple trees and a fantastic view of the mountains made this a wonderful trip for the entire family.

The only thing to watch out for when visiting Dressler or Wright Farm, it is at least two hours away from the city. On Google it maps out to be much closer but it was a long drive, but during this time of the year a beautiful drive through the fall foliage.

While we were done apple picking in less than an hour, we enjoyed the experience for days. We counted the apples, we arranged them in different shapes and my tot took the three different varieties of apples for show and tell to school.

We can’t wait to get back out on the farms to pick our pumpkins before Halloween. Our recommended farms near New York city based on the past three years of experience are as follows:

New Jersey farms:

1) Alstede Farms – Chester, NJ (1 hour from New York City)
This continues to remain our favorite farm. We have picked pumpkins, strawberries and blue berries here. My son has enjoyed climbing haystacks, riding ponies and kiddie wagons. There is easy access to farms and all the activities from the parking lot, making it a great destination to visit with young children.

2) Wightman’s Farms – Morristown, NJ (45 minutes from New York City)
A easy to reach farm is great for picking apples. The orchard is small but easily accessible with little tots.

New York State Farms

1) Dressler Farms – New Platz, NY (1 hour 35 minutes from New York City)
A great apple orchard with a wide variety of apples to pick. Enjoy wine tasting and freshly baked donuts.