Kids’ Almanac (Family adventures, August 23-30)

Fly a kite at Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh this Saturday (Photo by Bob Jagendorf)

Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves, without any insistence that they satisfy you.

– Wayne Dyer


Carmen program this Thursday at Starr Library in Rhinebeck


“Toreador, oh, don’t spit on the floor/Please use the cuspidor/That’s what it’s for.” While Bart Simpson didn’t have the words quite right, the “Toreador’s Song” is a famous aria from the opera Carmen, and audiences have enjoyed this melody for more than 100 years. Unfortunately, composer Georges Bizet died before his work became popular.

Treat yourself and your family to the “Opera Afternoons at Starr” program. This week’s program features an interactive video presentation and vocal selection from Carmen, presented by Jamielee Page. This event is free and open to the public, and intended for all ages.

Carmen takes place on Thursday, August 23 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Starr Library. The Starr Library is located at 68 West Market Street in Rhinebeck. For more information, call (845) 876-4030 or visit


Arm-of-the-Sea Puppet Suite in Saugerties, superhero music at West Point this weekend


Sam Keen had the right idea: Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. One aspect that I enjoy about this last week in August is the chance to savor some final summer evening outdoor performances, just sitting back, relaxing, watching, listening and enjoying. Here are two to consider.

Go check out Arm-of-the-Sea’s 11th annual Esopus Creek Puppet Suite, Under Mill-Wheels: A Mythic History of Saugerties as Recollected by the Ghosts of Cornelius and Madeline Lynch. This large-scale storytelling production is accompanied by live music and appeals to audiences of all ages. This 2012 suite takes place on Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. at Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park on East Bridge Street in the village of Saugerties. Admission costs $10 for adults, $5 for children and $25 for a family of four. Tickets are available at the park entrance on the evening of the event. Audience members are encouraged to arrive early and bring lawn seating. For more information, call (845) 246-7873 or visit


Sometimes it can feel daunting for families to bring children to live concert performances, but not at the West Point Band’s “Music under the Stars” concert series, which takes place every summer Sunday through September 2 at West Point’s Trophy Point Amphitheater. This series is always family-friendly, free and open to the public, but I think that this week’s concert is especially appealing to kids since the theme is superheroes. The Band will be playing some of the rousing music featured in many of today’s superhero films such as Superman and Batman, and other exciting films like Star Wars.

The superhero-themed concert takes place this Sunday, August 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Trophy Point Amphitheater overlooking the Hudson River. Bring a blanket, some lawn chairs and a picnic, and enjoy. Remember to allow extra travel time for the security inspection for your entry at the Stony Lonesome and Thayer gates. For more information, call (845) 938-2617 or visit


Fly a kite at Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh this Saturday


According to Kari, Grant and Tory of the legend-testing television show Mythbusters, Ben Franklin did not conduct that lightning/kite/key experiment. But here’s the takeaway for me: Generations of us have an indelible image of this grown man flying a kite anyway. Recapture this vestige of childhood and give your kids a chance to fly one more kite before their summer vacation ends at Ben’s buddy George Washington’s Headquarters.

On Saturday, August 25 from 2 to 4 p.m., the whole family can enjoy a day of fun, relaxation and learning. There will be free kites given to the first 150 kids ages 15 and under, as well as free balloon twisting, refreshments, prizes and tours of this historic site. Bring lawn chairs and a blanket.

Washington’s Headquarters is located at 84 Liberty Street in Newburgh. For more information, call (845) 562-1195 or visit


Free one-month Mohonk Preserve membership passes for Ulster County residents


Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions was to exercise more. Maybe you feel like you don’t get outdoors enough with the kids. It could be that you are looking for creative cost-cutting ideas. Well, here’s a solution that helps to accomplish all three! It’s “Healthy Ulster Autumn” at the Mohonk Preserve, which means that the Preserve is offering a free one-month membership for residents of Ulster County. Visitors with proof of residency can obtain passes at the Preserve Visitor Center or the Spring Farm Trailhead from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on either August 25 or 26, good through September 26, 2012.

I started exploring these trails when our kids were babies, pushing them in the stroller along the carriage roads, and now they enjoy hiking with me and exploring these familiar spots. The Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center is located at 3197 State Route 55 in Gardiner. The Spring Farm Trailhead is located on Upper 27 Knolls Road. For more information, call (845) 255-0919 or visit


“Dear Mother Nature” curator talk this Saturday at SUNY-New Paltz’s Dorsky Museum


Here’s writer, curator, educator and artist Linda Weintraub’s advice to aspiring artists: “Inspire. Uplift. Warn. Soothe. Guide. Correct. Oppose. Criticize. Forge new value systems. Humans and the Earth are stressed. They need all the help they can get.” On Saturday, August 25 at 2 p.m., bring your own budding artists to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art’s free gallery talk with Weintraub, who curated the “Dear Mother Nature: Hudson Valley Artists 2012” show.

Weintraub shared with Alm@nac’s Paul Smart, “Visitors to ‘Dear Mother Nature’ will encounter many offerings to Mother Nature: a compelling metaphor that visualizes the critical condition of the environment today. This metaphor inspired 42 accomplished Hudson Valley artists to create artworks expressing heartfelt apologies, gratitude, prayers, sympathy, consolation, honor and assistance to Mother Nature, who even receives a reprimand from one artist for being so willful…Such richly diversified artistic offerings provide opportunities to smile and to weep.”

Following the talk there will be a ceremonial meal with artist Mary Anne Davis, “Mala Meal.” Local foods will be shared to honor Mother Nature’s bounty and inspire spiritual connections. All ages are welcome.

The Dorsky Museum is located on the campus of SUNY-New Paltz at 1 Hawk Drive in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 257-3844 or visit


Beauty and the Beast at Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck this Saturday


Beauty and the Beast is a “tale as old as time,” and the fresh ways in which directors and actors present it keep us coming back for more. For example, Linda Woolverton, Disney’s first female screenwriter for an animated film, scripted Beauty and the Beast and shaped much of Belle’s character after Katharine Hepburn in Little Women.

Come see a local take on this classic at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck on Saturday, August 25 at 11 a.m. when the Kids on Stage participants perform it. Tickets cost $9 for adults and seniors, $7 for children. The Center is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. For more information or reservations, call (845) 876-3080 or visit


“Great Train Robbery” aboard Delaware & Ulster Railroad


Trains are just part of Hudson Valley culture. We sing the songs with our kids, we cross their tracks or wait for them to pass while driving through Kingston, we ride the rails to New York City and we delight in the repurposed Rail Trails and Walkway over the Hudson. How about changing things up a bit and bringing your brave, adventure-loving cowgirls and cowboys to a fun, exciting, scripted railway heist? The Delaware & Ulster Railroad presents “The Great Train Robbery,” which will attack the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. train rides, followed by a swift response by lawmen who will restore order. What a hoot!

The 24-mile round-trip ride between Arkville and Roxbury lasts approximately two hours, with boarding requested ten minutes before departure. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for children ages 3 to 12 years or $26 for the tour-inclusive weekend special. The Delaware & Ulster Railroad is located at 43510 State Highway 28 in Arkville. For more information, call (800) 225-4132 or (845) 586-DURR, or visit To learn more about the exciting heist, visit


Forsyth Nature Center leads beachcombing expedition at Kingston Point Beach


About this time every summer, our family’s household chores feel a lot like beachcombing. As we walk around the kitchen or living room, we find all kinds of stuff that gets buried or moved around from all of our various activities during the past few months.

If your crew wants to look for treasure outside of your four walls and your tootsies seek one more chance to hit some summer sand, head over to Kingston Point Beach on Tuesday, August 28, and go beachcombing with the folks from the Forsyth Nature Center. “The beachcombing program allows participants to learn about what washes up along the banks of the Hudson River. Folks can find natural items along with man-made debris. While collecting, we will also be picking up trash that we may find,” describes environmental educator Steve Noble. Noble says that previously found items include local bricks, fish skeletons, shells, beach glass and much more.

Participants should expect to get sandy, and any necessary equipment will be provided on-site. This beachcombing event is free and open to the public, and suitable for all ages. Kingston Point Beach is located at 53 Delaware Avenue in Kingston. For more information or to register, call (845) 481-7336 or visit


Letters to Daddy next Thursday at Bethel Woods addresses youth bullying


Author Zack W. Van says about bullying, “I’m most disturbed by the theory of rubber resilience in children, as if it’s much easier to bounce back with youth. I see them more like steel. When heated, they can be bent either which way. But if it’s not corrected by the time things cool down, they can be forever changed.” So what can we do? How can we help our kids be who they really are, their best, innermost selves, whether they are bullies or targets? How can we empower them to navigate dynamics with negative, hurtful and potentially harmful people?

If you are looking for an opportunity to open up a discussion about bullying with your kids in a connected, heartfelt way, consider taking them to see the peer-to-peer, original musical production Letters to Daddy. The cast is composed entirely of youth ages 10 to 14 years, and almost all of them have personal experiences with bullying. The production explores how children interact with each other, showing the audience how our actions can affect other people.

Emily Rahl, a 13-year-old Korean-American, plays an adopted Korean girl who was bullied for being different. “In real life, I was adopted when I was seven months old and have been judged for looking different, just like my character experiences in the show,” said Rahl. “Being part of this musical has taught me how to respond to offensive comments and help other people realize that our differences are what make us special.”

Letters to Daddy takes place at the Bethel Woods Event Gallery on 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 30. Tickets cost $10, which includes a pass to the Museum at Bethel Woods. The Event Gallery is located at 200 Hurd Road in Bethel. For more information, call (800) 745-3000 or visit To learn more about the production, visit



Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at [email protected].





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  1. Wonderfully written!

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