I’ve referred to it before as “the itch.” That feeling you get that just keeps nagging you, and Benadryl cream can’t help. Maybe it’s just my country roots, but there just comes a time in every New Yorker’s life when they have to escape the damn city. I have been here six years now, and I love the concrete jungle and all it’s less than perfect moments (such as someone stealing Maximo’s stroller last week!), but it’s still my (second) favorite city in the entire world. Come on, you know Pittsburgh is always in my heart!
Anyways, I have always been meaning to get up to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. So, the weekend before Halloween Maximo and I decided to take a mom and son trip – just the two of us for once – upstate to get back to the country. We walked for miles in lush rolling hills, climbed mountain and ate organic and natural food – farm-to-table. It was one of the best weekends we’ve had all year – and here’s why you want to grab a Ford and attempt it, too!
Note: The Ford Escape easily let us do all of the traveling below on ONE tank of gas. Don’t let small SUVs deter you – their mileage isn’t as bad as you think, and with gas prices low right now, it’s a great and comfortable trip.
A farm only 30 miles outside the city? This place is like right out of a movie as you’re driving up – fields rolling in the distance, beautiful structures, friendly farmers….fresh eggs and produce to eat. During the week, it’s FREE to visit, and they even offer free farm tours in the afternoons. On weekends, since it gets busier, there is a small fee, but it’s worth every penny to spend your entire day here. They have mapped out the farm and activities giving you a chance to take full advantage of the grounds from open to close.
The chickens were by far my favorite, but not so much for Max. They let you go right in to walk among the Rhode Island Reds and even collect warm, freshly laid eggs. The hens however, can think your shoelaces are worms! This leads them to peck at your feet which might be a little scary for kids at first, but the more you go, the more kids will warm up to them. This city kid obviously needs more time away from the city.
All animals are free-range here and you might catch them moving them from field to field, like these turkeys. They were moved from the barn (kept in at night to protect from predators) to the field by only a farm dog, a farmer and a couple flags. Impressive.
If you didn’t know, this is also the location of Blue Hill. You might recognize some of their delicious yogurts in your local grocery stores around the city. They also have one of the finest farm to table original dining experiences in the world in my opinion. This might not be the best for children (and you need to book reservations far in advance!), but they also have a cute cafe on site with tons of outdoor seating with incredible views that is great to share with the kids. From using cheese, vegetables and eggs to create fresh frittatas, to warm cookies and of course, fresh apple cider it’s the perfect place to grab a small bite to eat. Just know, it offers a limited selection, so if you have picky eaters you might want to pack a lunch.
Right across the water from Stone Barns is Bear Mountain. It’s one of the quickest and most beautiful destinations outside of New York for those who want to experience the outdoors. With numerous hiking trails, incredible views of mountain estuaries and of course top notch leaf peeping in the fall, this has to be one of my favorite pit stops when we head upstate. It’s also on my bucket list to go biking up and down the mountain – all these spinning classes need to pay off somewhere! I see others taking the hills and it’s my next accomplishment.
Bear Mountain is full of tons of outdoor activities beyond the hiking trails. They have a cute museum and visitor center, little places to grab bites to eat scattered throughout with picnic tables and even an ice skating rink come winter. They even have inns and bed and breakfast locations (our favorite!!!) which leads me to…..
Mountain living is so serene. At first you think F***! No cell service??? No restaurants??? NO STARBUCKS?!!!!? And then you realize that people have been living this way for centuries. Seriously, life isn’t going to end because you can’t call someone. I mean really, when is the last time you actually CALLED someone anyways?? (PS – they have wifi and a house phone – it’s just like international travel only in your own backyard of NY!).
The best part about a bed and breakfast is that it makes you put down the technology and be a family. You get to enjoy the outdoors, the quiet, the fireplace, read a book or even play a real life board game. Ok ok, so we DID bring the iPAD, but that just shows you how attached we are to it all. Letting go is always harder than holding on…but you just might want to give it a shot. Even if you do have an iPad tucked away for an emergency.
Did we mention you get to wake up to this? And the smell of (someone else!) cooking bacon and eggs? And…. fresh coffee. Life really doesn’t get better.
Since the Ford Escape is able to tackle city streets AND dirty mountain paths, we had a lot of fun taking an adventure off the grid – even if it was only for one day. Where did we stay you ask? Well, that’s another story and another blog post……
Ford Escape for Families
Being an automotive girl, I am one to love my American vehicles – and especially those that are born right in Detroit (shout out to my beloved Hummer – miss you!). Growing up on the farm and country, I have also always preferred big trucks and SUVs to cars, even though they seem to get a bad rep. A few years ago, a law was passed stating all vehicles had to become more fuel-efficient – and well, it’s to your advantage. These modernized SUVs are not what you think they are – sleek, comfortable, spacey and not hard on the environment (or your wallet).
- By far, the blue tooth for my phone. This allows you to play music from your phone, Pandora, navigate with GPS (I am a Waze user), so the voices and volume come directly through the speakers. It also takes your calls. Hands-free driving is the ONLY way to go these days.
- Blind spot markers. Newer vehicles come with these handy lights on your side mirrors that tell you when a vehicle is next to you, in case you can’t see them in your blind spots. This can really come in handy when driving in New York City and you need to cut over quickly.
- Gas! Omg – I am not kidding when I went to fill up this Escape, it cost me $26. TWENTY SIX DOLLARS. That is not what I would pay for my Hummer. Gas mileage has come a long way, and owning and driving vehicles isn’t as daunting as it used to be.
So, what’s your next adventure going to be?
Ford provided a complimentary Ford Escape for the weekend to write this post. Thank you Ford for supporting Football Food and Motherhood.