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.


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.

Day trip from NYC: Liberty Science Center, NJ

Liberty Science center, just a boat ride away from New York city is a fantastic destination for kids 2 years old to teenagers. We took a ferry ride from World Financial Center to Paulus Hook station in Jersey City. We walked about 5 minutes to NJ transit station hopped on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail toward 22nd Street or West Side Avenue and exited at Liberty State Park Station.

I have to admit that I loved visiting the museum myself. I had visited this museum last year and this museum has undergone a major change in regards to the number of exciting exhibits, interactivity and its staff. Last year the museum felt empty, major sections of the museum were unused. This year every square inch of the museum was filled with exhibits and interactive stations for kids of all ages. Starting from pixology lab, the block exhibit, simulator ride, dinosaur dig, energy quest, grossology, iExplore, outdoor park and the iMax theatre made for an amazing visit for my 4 year tot and his friend. The staff was extremely helpful in guiding us and providing information to the tots about the exhibits.

Upon some research I realized what had drastically changed at the museum – ofcourse it was its leadership. On Nov 1, 2011 Paul Hoffman began his tenure as CEO of the Liberty Science Center. Mr. Hoffman is a prolific author, chess master, restaurateur, former editor-in-chief of Encyclopedia Britannica as well as Scientific American, television interviewer and paper-game tricks expert, he is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University. I have vitnessed the change he has brought about and the life he has breathed into this amazing facility.

General admission for an adult and child adds to $35 which is a bit high, but you can truly spend an exciting full day at this amazing museum.

Can your smart device disconnect your tot?

When the iPhone, iPad and other smart devices were introduced with their app rich platforms they made life easy for parents worldwide. If your child is not eating, show him a video on the smart phone, if he is bored at a party let him play a game, if you are taking a long ride there couldn’t be a more compact and entertaining toy. Smart phone device companies have provided a magical wand in the parents hands to control just about any tantrum, any melt down or eliminating boredom for their tots. Also it’s form factor helps us carry it with us just about anywhere in a pocket, in a purse, in a bag. A perfect on the go device.

But as my tot turned 4 years old this year I am starting to feel that the smart devices are likely to disconnected my tot from everything around him. Especially during our travels I want him to be looking around, experiencing a different world and immersing himself in his own little ways. This time around I am trying to hide these devices, remove apps that are not enriching and providing a specific time of access vs. providing access on demand. Setting a certain amount of time and a schedule to access the device could surely prove enriching. But using these devices in other uncalled situations – we might be robbing our children from opportunities to learn, socialize and immerse.

So everyday when I need to prepare dinner and my tot is on the verge of hunger we spend about 20 minutes on our smart device. I did leave a story on the IPad besides the 3 other apps I would like him to explore.

Don’t let your smart device disconnect your tot, let him grow, get bored at times and find his own creative ways of entertainment.

These 2011-2012 statistics gathered by MDG Advertising might not surprise you:
Kid Tech, According To Apple [Infographic]
by MDG Advertising

Updated: London To Go

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