Lou Reed said it best:
Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on
When I opened the blinds this morning, gray light poured into my bedroom with no tinge of a golden orange. In other words, it was a cloudy day. Regardless, temperatures were slated to reach about 50º F which was well within the range of taking my little girl out for the day. The question poised was, what do I do with her? I scoured the web for ‘things to do in the Hudson Valley with kids.’ There are a few things; there’s Chuck E. Cheese, The Mid Hudson Children’s Museum and Poughkidsie, all of which are located in Dutchess County, NY in the Hudson Valley. Although I’m on the other side of the river in Orange County, NY my plan was two-fold: First, take my daughter out, show her a good time and, second, try to hit up a vinyl record shop along the way for a “few minutes” and see what I can ‘dig’ up. Chuck E. Cheese was out – we’ve been there more times than I can count (3 times?) and end up spending way too much money there. We’ve gone to the Mid Children’s Museum before so I kind of wanted to take her somewhere new. Poughkidsie was it, then!
The plan was set. We got up, got dressed and the day stated with some pancakes and eggs for breakfast. Then, as we were getting ready to head out she says to me, “Daddy, I want to see Star Wars!” I mean, come on, how can I can say no to that? (Note: at the time of writing this would be her third time watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I adore her! I put on the Bluray and the film commenced. Two hours later, I went online to get the directions to Poughkidsie and find out that it’s closed today! Why, I shout to the heavens! What an absolute bummer. Plan B, time to look for a Plan B. Then, it came to me like a vision sent forth from up above. A place where I can do an array of things in one place without going all over the Hudson Valley. Photos don’t do this place justice, but, I opted to go back to my old stomping grounds, New Paltz, NY. It was here where my wife and I first met, actually! We lived there for about six years and it is still considered home to us.
I take I-87 north to the New Paltz exit, stop and pick up some chicken nuggets (bad daddy!) and we head on over to our first stop Barner Books, which is a personal favorite of mine. They carry an assortment of books, used, new and rare! It’s always good to walk in and peruse the shelves and shelves of books! All of which are, wait for it, categorized and organized! There is a children’s book section where I sat with my daughter and tried, as hard as I could, to convince her not to get the oversized, bright pink princess book. Guess who won that argument? Me! that’s right, I’m the guy with the wallet.
I ended up picking up two books, however. First one was Heidi, based on a children’s fiction published in 1881 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri. This I got for both my daughter and my wife. My wife used to watch the cartoon version when she was a child back in the motherland. And now, there is a brand new spanking cartoon available as streaming content which my daughter absolutely adores. So, being the charming and awesome dad that I am, I thought it would make sweet gesture to my wife (and daughter) to make the purchase. The other book, for me, was entitled Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz. I’ve got the love part. I want/need the learn part so I can further appreciate the jazz medium.
We scurried across the street to Inquiring Minds Bookstore – another fantastic bookstore right across the street! There’s an actual playroom for kids where they can hang out and play with an assortment of toys while parents go around and shop for books, not that I would ever condone leaving your child unattended. Still, the option is there! By this point, my daughter was wearing thin and her faced showed it. That’s what happens when you opt to watch Star Wars instead of a much needed nap! She was like a bat out of hell and wanted out! But, before leaving, I simply had to buy something for her. She picked whatever she wanted and just threw it at me. Buy this! I was not going to argue with her this time – she won.
Next door is Krause’s Chocolates, home of some of the finest chocolates the Hudson Valley has to offer! It’s a personal favorite of my wife and I, plus the little rugrat, of course. My all-time personal favorite has to be the milk (or dark) chocolate-covered almonds! I bought about 2 lbs worth, just enough to give me a heart attack! If death came in the form of chocolate-covered almonds, then so be it! (not really) Afterwards, there was some ice cream and my trip to Jack’s Rhythms, one of two vinyl records shops in New Paltz. Dig some brief, one-handed digging (daughter was being carried at this point) through the soundtracks crate, found a copy of the Teen Wolf Too and Jaws 3-D soundtracks on vinyl. Score!
My baby girl’s tank was on empty. We headed back to the car and made our merry ways back to the highway where she completely passed out by the time we got home. A perfect end to the perfect day!
Update: She woke up after a brief nap and wanted to watch Star Wars again! Her fourth time. I certainly created a monster.