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Winter Family Outings

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Avoid cabin fever this season with these fun recreational options

Good morning! Today is Tuesday, December 28, and you are reading today’s section of Examiner+, a digital newsmagazine serving Westchester, Putnam, and the surrounding Hudson Valley.

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It’s hard to believe it is already winter! I always approach this season with mixed emotions; I love any excuse to bundle up and go hiking, exploring, skating, skiing—and I love to warm up by the fire either indoors or at the fire pit. But I also live in the country and that means snow shoveling, power outages, and my husband reminding me regularly that he wished we lived in a southern state.

But I am not deterred. I also still have a 9-year-old at home, and I love going out, as a family, day, or night. So, while there are innumerable free hiking, biking, running, and walking opportunities here in the Hudson Valley, I have found some great seasonal spots for fun family outings. Several of my favorites require a little planning and some snow so bear that in mind when making your plans but rest assured, they are worth the wait. 

Treasury Cidery at Fishkill Farms (with free sledding)

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Treasury Cider Bar at Fishkill Farms is one of my favorite haunts. It is rustic and casual, overlooking the fields, the orchard, and the Catskill Mountains in the distance, and the vibe is easy, friendly, and never rushed. Here you can order a cider flight and a charcuterie tray and sit by the oversized windows and watch your kids go sledding. There is a covered outdoor space for overflow and for those who like to drink outdoors at the top of the sledding hill. There is a charming shop featuring local and regional provisions, gifts, and my essential, candles. The farm market features seasonal produce and dairy products and when my kids come, they pick a sweet treat and hot cocoa when they come in from the cold. Reservations should be made online for indoor tables and the porch, walk-ins are welcome at the outdoor picnic tables, and of course, for the sledding.

Fishkill Farms
9 Fishkill Farms Rd
Hopewell Junction

Thunder Ridge Ski Area

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This is Putnam County’s quintessential (and only ski area) family venue in winter. Seasoned skiers can make haste and get onto the slopes quickly if you purchase tickets online. Otherwise, lesson packages for all ages are available by reservation. Weekend nights are the perfect time to either pack a picnic/cooler and sit overlooking the lighted slopes, or purchase your meal from the full-service cafeteria. If the adults take a break there is a rustic windowed bar with a perfect view of the skiers gliding by. On a clear night, there is a large outdoor deck where you can sit under the stars while enjoying hot cocoa or coffee. During the season (when the snow falls and when they make snow), the ski area is open 7 days a week.  Before heading home take a ride up Route 22 North to Pawling for a walk around the charming village, window-shopping, or for dinner or dessert at one of several local hotspots.

Thunder Ridge Ski Area
137 Birch Hill Rd

Today’s supporting sponsors are the Town of Yorktown

…and the Peekskill Business Improvement District.

Paint & Sip at Muse Paint Bar

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Muse Paint Bar is the ideal spot for a family outing with the kids. Paint themes are pre-scheduled on their website so if you have a preference for what you would like to paint, check out their list and the dates and times ahead of booking your appointment. Once there you will not be disappointed. The vibe is warm, fun, and creative, there is of course a bar and a great small bites menu. Located conveniently on Mamaroneck Avenue where there are many places to continue your evening at just a walk away. They have couples’ art, family art, paint-your-pet art classes, and more.

Muse Paint Bar
84 Mamaroneck Ave
White Plains

Candle Making at Jar Worthy

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I am totally biased in this selection. I have a well-documented candle addiction. I know my candles and Jar Worthy has been a favorite since I discovered them in Carmel when they first opened. It may not seem like a typical date night activity, but it totally is. Jar Worthy is a natural soy hand-poured candle brand made right here in Putnam County. The candles are clean-burning, long-lasting, and well scented and you can schedule a time with a small group to pour your own in the cozy charming shop and studio. This experience is a great outing with kids.  Jar Worthy is now located at Tilly Foster Farm, adjacent to Tilly’s Table where you can visit afterward for dinner and cocktails. Reservations for pour-your-own for 4 or more are strongly encouraged as this is a popular activity. The mixologists at Jar Worthy will guide you every step of the way and you can even bring your own vessel to pour your candle into. (This is especially fun for kids who have a special jar or container that they’d like to build another memory around. Wander the grounds of the farm to see the animals between candle-making and dining.

Jar Worthy
100 Route NY-312

Dinner & A Movie, Alamo Drafthouse

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An outing with the kids would be incomplete without a movie option and my pick is always Alamo Drafthouse because it checks all the boxes. There is always a family-friendly movie, and the addition of dinner and drinks rounds out the date night experience.  Alamo is known for its beer selection for those who appreciate the over 30 choices, along with craft cocktails and a great menu served right at your seat. Located on bustling Central Avenue in Yonkers, there are plenty of ways to continue the evening creatively and conveniently. Admittedly for me, it is hard to watch a movie any other way now.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
2548 Central Park Ave

Born and raised in Westchester, Nancy Sorbella’s lifestyle stories have been featured in several local and regional publications where she has also been a style and community columnist. She is the resident wordsmith for the Arthritis Foundation of NY and the Community Engagement Director by day, spending her free time exploring and experiencing the Hudson Valley. Follow Nancy for more of her adventures on Instagram @DetoursColumnist, Twitter @jsorbella, or on Facebook at Nancy Niskin Sorbella.

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