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Jan 30, 2017

Family Road Trip Getaway To Snowy Hudson Valley

Family Getaway To Snowy Hudson Valley

My wife's birthday was earlier this week. For birthdays we do not give things, but instead, we have decided awhile ago to give each other experiences. Tangible gifts are for other times of the year. For this celebration, and since we have not taken a long vacation in awhile, we took off three days during the week to go up North to the Hudson Valley, specifically New Paltz and the grandiose resort Mohonk Mountain House. Below is our experience and travel and gadgets tips.

Getting There

We started our travel on Monday morning and as such the traffic was light. As we were getting up to get ready to leave, we found out that there was no water in the house. The entire system had to be shut down because of a leak. We were very glad that we would not be sticking around throughout the day to deal with this. Colgate Wisps came in very handy that day. These are tiny toothbrushes that are prefilled with a paste that you can use anywhere without water. We were able to brush our teeth and have a fresh clean feel in the early morning.
The road trip was a good drive for the most part. We were able to get to our destination in a couple of hours. Though ran into a bridge that was closed and had to take a long detour. It is nice to have built in GPS in the car, but having maps on the phone is even better. Ended up using the Google Maps to guide us through the streets to a different bridge. After that, it was smooth sailing.

On Location
The resort looked big in the pictures and it is even bigger when looking up at it driving up a mountain. To get to the actual hotel, we drove several miles on winding roads which were clear and fun to drive. The staff was cordial and accommodating. We got a great room only a few steps from the elevator and close to most amenities.

We wanted to make the most out of the short stay. So after arriving and dropping off our bags, we went to grab some lunch. While breakfast and dinner are included as part of the package, lunch was à la carte. The food was delicious throughout our stay. Right after lunch we grabbed our skates and went to find the ice skating rink.

Ice Skating
My wife and I have our own skates and brought those along. For the little one, we had to rent a pair. The skates for toddlers were terrible. The ones they had in her size were very old style soft rubber/leather boot with double blades. While she put them on and tried them out, she didn't like them. They also didn't keep her foot snuggly in there. We find out that if we go up a couple of sizes, we would be able to get the figure skates that have a harder boot and one blade. Those fit much better with some extra socks. So if a child is old enough or close enough in size, try to get a kid size 1 or so. Those are much better and sturdier.
On the ice, there was no one else. We had the entire rink all to ourselves. It was awesome. We skated around holding onto the kid for a couple of circles, after which she got tired as she is not used to having blades on her feet, just cushy shoes. They have metal chairs that a little one can sit on or hold onto from behind to roll around the rink. The rest of the time we switched off pushing her around the rink while the other free skated. More people showed up with about 45 minutes left in skate time. Which is not much, but I guess for some enough to get on and try it out and get off.

Similar to the ice skating rink, there was almost no one at the pool. The first time we went there, there were a few people doing laps, by the third day we were in the water all by ourselves. It was an exhilarating feeling to be in your swimsuit and flip flops looking outside into a snow covered landscape.
While we were going north, we packed our swimsuits with us. Ice skating and swimming were going to be our activities for the duration of the stay. The kiddo was well prepared for enjoying the pool with her swimming gear.

Kids swimming gear:
Puddle Jumper
Waterproof camera - we have the Olympus Tough camera that is water and shock proof so she was able to grab some shots with it herself without too much worry.

The food at the resort was great. Dinners had pretty good selections. It was a mix of Italian and French cuisine. Everyone was able to select something for their liking. We were able to order off of the menu for the bambino as we try to avoid sauces and nuts.
Had a bit of a slow service, though, during the meal. By the time we got our entree the kiddo was almost done with her meal and was getting tired and restless. She did eat an entire order of pasta with some grilled chicken. After all of the activities looks like she needed a full refuel.

The second day we woke up to a whole lot of snow on the ground. While the forecast was for rain, the resort is located so high up the mountain that we got snow instead. We were thrilled to have the winter wonderland for us to enjoy and take pictures.
After breakfast, we went out to play in the snow for a bit. The wind was quite blustery. So we made our way to the ice rink where it is partially covered and was warmer. There we built a small snowman and then went out to the rink with the kiddo wearing the better skates. While the skates were better, all of the activities got to her early. She was ready for a nap even on the ice.

Mommy enjoyed some spa time during kid and dad nap time. Birthday celebration in full swing.

Griffin wall charger, that I keep in the car, came in very handy as the charging adapter that we took with us didn't connect well and didn't charge our phones. This small gadget became quite important on the trip. Especially since in all the hectic packing we took the wrong wire for charging the Ankers. So we wanted to make sure to save the juice in the chargers for when we are out on the go. While those hold a charge for awhile and can charge an iPhone two or three times depending on how much power is needed, they would still need to be recharged eventually.

Also, Anker Astro Candy Bar phone charger was essential on the trip due to my continued woes with the battery in my iPhone. It kept depleting very quickly. Even more so in the cold temperatures. I had to charge my phone just about every hour to make sure we have a fully operational communication device. Anker kept its charge the entire three days through multiple charge-ups of the iPhone.

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