Kids’ Almanac (October 2-9)

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“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”
– John Burroughs


Check out the view from Rhinebeck’s Ferncliff Forest!

I drove by Ferncliff Forest for years without ever venturing in. Well, I finally made it, took the short hike to the fire tower (under 30 minutes), climbed up just over 100 steps to the top, and I am telling you: This is one of the best views in the Hudson Valley, especially during foliage season! Entry to the forest is free, and a trailhead kiosk provides maps and brochures.

Ferncliff Forest is located at 68 Mount Rutsen Road in Rhinebeck. For more information, call (845) 876-1559 or visit


Spark Media Project filmmaking classes for youth in Beacon

Congratulations to the Children’s Media Project on your 20th anniversary, and on your new name: Spark Media Project! What an apt way to describe what you do every single day for youth in our community and beyond: sparking ideas, plans, projects and messaging into something larger. My daughter and I had a great time at last weekend’s second annual Reel Expressions International Youth Film Festival, and we’re so happy to see this wonderful organization begin its next chapter.

In collaboration with Beacon Independent Film Festival, Spark Media Project has some upcoming classes and events geared for youth. On Wednesdays from October 8 to 19th from 4 to 6 p.m., the After School Animation Lab takes place at the Howland Public Library for ages 10 to 13 years, for $80. On Saturday, October 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Weekend Whirlwind Filmmaking Intensive takes place at the Howland Public Library for ages 10 to 13 years, for $50.

The Howland Public Library is located at 313 Main Street in Beacon. To register or for more information about additional Spark Media Project workshops and classes, call (845) 485-4480 or visit To learn more about the Beacon Independent Film Festival, visit


Collect stickers at Rondout Valley farms

Perhaps you enjoy relaxing drives through the country, but you’d like to organize your stops in some way. And perhaps you know a child who loves to collect things – anything. Let me introduce you to Stick to Local Farms, a delightful campaign of collecting stickers from each local Rondout Valley farm that you visit to place onto a specially designed map. When you’ve completed the map, you receive a Stick to Local Food finishing sticker.

For more information, visit




Rhyme Time by the Hudson at Boscobel

Countless families know Lisa DiMarzo from her years at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. Now you can find this favorite local educator of mine at Boscobel, where she has created a lovely activity there for the youngest set: Rhyme Time by the Hudson. Children ages 1 through 5 years will gather with caregivers in the pavilion tent for interactive songs, storytelling and games, while learning about history and hidden messages in nursery rhymes such as “Humpty Dumpty” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and connecting with the lore of the Hudson River.

Rhyme Time by the Hudson takes place weekly on Fridays from 10 to 10:45 a.m. from October 3 to October 24. The cost is $60 for not-yet-members plus one child, $40 for Boscobel members plus one child and $15 for each additional child.

Boscobel is located at 1601 Route 9D in Garrison. To register or for more information, call (845) 265-3638, extension 140, e-mail [email protected] or visit




Open House at John Burroughs’ Slabsides

If you’ve been scoping out trails for the Esopus Explorers’ Badge, I highly recommend spending time at Slabsides. And in addition to walking through the beautiful woods, you can see the inside of John Burroughs’ little cabin if you stop by during this weekend’s Open House. On Saturday, October 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy a guided tour of this celebrated naturalist’s dwelling, as well as a lecture and other activities. The event is free and open to the public.          Slabsides is located at 261 Floyd Ackert Road in West Park. For more information, visit


Halloween-season events at Sleepy Hollow

Nothing sets the scene for Halloween quite like Sleepy Hollow, and you’d be hard-pressed to find something bigger than the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, with its more than 5,000 carved and illuminated pumpkins. Additional Halloween-themed events in the area include Horseman’s Hollow at Philipsburg Manor, with a high fear factor, recommended for ages 10 and up; Irving’s Legend at the Old Dutch Church, where master storyteller Jonathan Kruk performs a dramatic retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, accompanied by live organ music, recommended for ages 10 and up; and The Legend behind the “Legend,” a daytime experience at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside residence in Tarrytown.

To me, these are special opportunities to tie in historical local lore with the next generation. For more information about each event, including ticket pricing, dates and times, visit


Tivoli Street Painting Festival

One hundred fifty squares, size eight feet by eight feet, lining Broadway in Tivoli, transformed from a block of nothingness to a world of color, open to all ages, with live folk, fiddle and bluegrass music performed throughout the day: It’s the Tivoli Street Painting Festival, and it takes place this Saturday, October 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. And registration is free. For more information or to preregister for a box, visit


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