One Big Family Heads to Sleepaway Camp in Catskills Mountains
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Post-Lunch: Activities and the Kids Camp resume right after lunch. I used this time to take the baby back for a nap while my older kids would participate in an activity of their choosing. Usually they ended up hiking around the lake or going boating with my husband and in-laws. My oldest child has a lot of energy, so hiking was a great option for him. My middle child is 4½ and can’t walk as much as her big brother, so my husband carried her on his shoulders. They always came back happy after their afternoon hikes.
Pre-Dinner: We usually hit the Toddler Room, located in the Wellness Center (which is always open) before heading to the dining room for dinner. Filled with two activity tables, toys, a computer, and blocks, it was great for my kids to let off steam and unwind from the day’s activities.
Dinner, 5:30-6:30pm: We noticed there was always a vegan option. There was always a kid-friendly option, like noodles, chicken nuggets, hot dogs (with chili to top it with), etc. Peanut butter and jelly was also always offered. There are no soda machines or vending machines on site. If you want snacks for your cabin, bring your own (and make sure you keep it secured so no critters get to it!). While a dessert was served at lunch and dinner, everything was healthy and fresh (and local if possible).
If you need something off campgrounds, expect to drive 20 minutes to reach the nearest deli or around 35-40 minutes to the nearest supermarket. The nearest Wal-Mart is in Monticello around 45-50 minutes away.
Post Dinner: Frost Valley had various programming at night like the popular World Service Auction and square dancing, but we didn’t end up doing any activities after dinner because my kids were tired from the very full day and normally go to bed at 7:30 anyway. The one time we went out after dinner was the Hay Ride, which wasn’t as pleasant as we thought it would be. There were too many people stuffed into the wagon and the teenagers next to us were annoyed by my squirmy children. It also lasted much too long for my kids.
Nancy takes her youngest to see and pet the horses.
“If I could do something different I would have liked to go horseback riding!
The kids got to do it, but I was busy watching my 2-year-old.”
What to Bring: Warm clothes are a must, as it gets chilly at night, but don't forget a raingear, bathing suits, water shoes or flip-flops, extra socks, cotton T-shirts, and shorts. Bring at least one or two sweatshirts and sweatpants/jeans per person. You'll also need to bring a flashlight, shampoos, body washes, sunscreen, bug spray (a must), sneakers that you won't mind getting dirty, hiking boots (if you plan on hiking a lot), beach towels for swimming, sunglasses, and goggles (if you or your child use them).
There's no television in the cabins, so you may want to bring a laptop or iPad with movies loaded and plenty of books. Don't be surprised if you don't actually watch too much—there's plenty to do, even at night. One family in our lodge brought long wooden sticks for s'mores and built a fire one of the nights, which was pretty cool. Bikes are welcome and it's common to see kids riding all over the campgrounds (kids younger than 14 are required to wear helmets).
Cost:? For a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids 6-17) prices begin at $963 for Sunday lunch through Friday breakfast. Practically everything is included in the fee - all meals, lodging, and events. The only charges we found were per pony ride ($10 a child) and Japanese Garden making (another small fee). For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy Johnson-Horn lives in Queens County with her husband and three children. She is the founder of TheMamaMaven.com and TrumpetingMedia.com. You can also find her on Twitter at @NancyJHorn.