Yeah, we still did our two-week camping thing in Lake George. But a far-flung family vacation--that included dad--wasn't in the cards this summer. Neither was a work-friendly home environment for me, since we can't seem to convince either of our sons that sleepaway summer camp is a nifty idea.
All of this meant that--at various times when various day camps were in and out of session--I had kids lurking around AND the perfect excuse to declare it was IMPOSSIBLE (!) for me to work during the weekdays. My mission: To keep the kids off of electronics and on the hunt with me for close-to-home adventures that would spare my wallet undue stress and make us feel okay about hanging out in the Garden State this summer.
What I hope to post over the next couple of weeks are quick takes on some of our best discoveries (full disclosure: some are new to us this summer, some are favorites I've been doing since I was a girl.) Here's the need-to-know info: My older son, Ben, declared several years ago that he "categorically Hates Nature" and has stood his ground ever since. My younger son, Noah, would rather be chasing frogs and toads than just about anything and is practically allergic to anything cultural. My dog Ringo is really cool and I prefer any activity that can include him. And I am officially terrified of ice-cream-eating crowds and any tourist mecca that comes close to having a theme. Taking all of this into account, I tackled the city stuff with Ben, the woodsy stuff with Noah, and--when I had both of them plus Paul and Ringo (George and John didn't attend)--I tore my hair out trying to come up with something that would make us all happy.
And ya' know, we did pretty darned well--from the Methodist camps down at Ocean Grove to the pristine, Carribean-clear waters of Round Valley Reservoir to the 4H kids preening their pigs at the State Fair in Augusta, Jersey can really be quite exotic and wild and beautiful. I know, it's still Jersey. And I sure would like to get to Idaho next summer. But we had some great times...and I heartily recommend that you try a couple of these trips before this summer takes its last gasp. Or any time you've got a dead day and the mall starts beckoning.... Stay Tuned.