Monday, August 25, 2008

The Catskills, Big Indian and the Bear that never was

Monday we left Bennington, headed for Big Indian in the Catskills. Our friends Gloria and Judy have a cabin there that we have been fortunate enough to stay at for the past few summers. It is sooo quiet there - they don't have a TV so it's REAL quiet! But the kids adjust, they love running around outside, looking for "treasures" and stuff to pick up. We had to go grocery shopping in VT before we left because there are no big grocery stores anywhere near the cabin. We couldn't even get cell service unless we were in the parking lot at the lake 10 minutes away. But that was OK, sometimes it's nice to be removed from the outside world. I did miss watching the Olympics though. Thankfully the little local deli/market had a nice selection of newspapers so I could snag the NY Post and NY Times every morning. We did have to watch out for the bears that may run wild around the area. We saw more than a few deer, but thankfully never a bear. Although Francesca (and me too I will admit) kept watch over our shoulder making sure there were none!

We spent most of our time at the Pine Hill Lake/Belleayre Beach. This is a state-run, manmade lake. They basically poured concrete on one side of the lake and dumped a whole lot of clean sand on top of it. $7 a car to get in and stay all day. Which we did. We had sandwiches, drinks, snacks and sand toys. Francesca and Scott tanned (naturally), Gav got a little pink and then tanned, and of course I still have a sunburn on my chest and legs even after using sunblock. One day we even rented paddleboats and paddled around the lake. Well Scott and I did most of the paddling, the kids sort-of helped. They insisted on having 2 seperate boats ("the boys and the girls") and kept telling us to try to bump the other one.

One morning we went to Sweet Sue's, which is this awesome place in the middle of nowhere (actually nowhere is Phoenicia, which could be considered urban nowhere because it has a main street, a gas station, a bank, a few restaurants and a library - BUT STILL NO CELL SERVICE). Sweet Sue's has fabulous breakfasts and strong coffee. This is what we had for breakfast -

Dineen - chocolate chip pancakes - yum yum yum
Scott - huevos rancheros - mucho bueno
Francesca - french toast
Gavin - fruit (naturally because that's Gav for you, but the fruit was fresh and sweet)

Our family did a few things this year that we had not done in the past. We drove up Belleayre Mountain, hoping to find the Belleayre Chair Lift ride open. It was not. Instead, we found the Catskill Mountain Nature Center. We were the only ones there that day. It was free and fun! The kids loved it! They explored the room, looking and touching all the exhibits. Which was OK because they were there to be touched. They put on a puppet show, pretended to be birds collecting worms, climbed inside a tent, and completed giant puzzles.

The other really fun thing we did was on our way home. We went to the World's Largest Kailadoscope (I know I spelled this wrong but you know what I mean) in Mount Tremper. It was in this hoity-toity complex of gift shops that was next to a hoity-toity spa and resort. IT WAS SO COOL. I can't even begin to tell you how cool it was. We were the first group of the day. The guide brought us into the windowless room and told us to either stand up against the back supports or lay on the floors with a pillow (provided and since we were the first people of the day I did not worry so much about lice - my brain runs wild sometimes, I admit). Francesca and I got down on the floor with our pillows while Scott and Gavin stood. The lights went out and the show began. The kailiedoscope (trying a different spelling this time, still wrong I think) is in an old silo. It is an electronic show that is beamed to the top and set to music. Our kids are still talking about the coolness of it all, days later. If you are ever in Mount Tremper or Ulster County you have to go to the Emerson Spa and see the World's Largest K (I won't bother botching the spelling this time).

We got home Friday afternoon. It was a fun vacation but all good things come to an end. Plus the cat really missed us. Even the kids noticed that Picky Picky was in an especially pleasant and meowy mood when we got home. She nuzzled us instead of trying to bite us! We unpacked, rested for a little bit, went through the mail and then went out to dinner since we had no food in the house! A great end to a fun vacation! Stay tuned for more LaDore adventures. Be sure to keep reading, because we are planning to return to Bennington in October, when the town plans to host a "Thriller Dance-a-thon" which purports to be a large gathering of people doing the Michael Jackson "Thriller" dance moves, along with other cities across the world, in order to try to break a Guinness Book of World Records record. I am not making this up, I swear. Scott and I decided that this is an event not to be missed!!!

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