By Heather Skolnick
It’s December break and time for the exodus out of New Castle for various locations! This year, as the break spans THREE weekends, there’s even more pressure to plan something.
If you’re like me, you approach this time of year with a mixture of dread and excitement. My husband and I still haven’t gotten over the traumatic experience of traveling internationally with three kids under three years of age–two suffering from colds and teething simultaneously. Suffice it to say, we were not popular on the plane. There aren’t enough lollipops in the world to muffle the 4.5 hours of wailing. Each way. We were ready to go home before we even got there.
This year, we’re determined to try again, albeit without the plane flight. As a family with two full time working parents, this is our rare opportunity to spend quality time together. We need to get away from the distractions of everyday life; the rushing from Target to a birthday party and then to A&P. We need to use the time to bond with our children, and my husband and I need some “kid-free” time to reconnect too. This vacation is a must.
We will do a combination “staycation” and local vacation. First, we are planning an indoor campout. We’ll “travel” to the basement with blankets, pillows and our PJs, but sans iPhones, iPads, etc. We’ll “picnic” on pancakes and play family games. Then we will hunker down inside a princess tent for storytelling and sleeping.
Phase two of our plane-free vacation will be at Rocking Horse Ranch, “America’s Favorite Family Resort.” They offer a water park, snow tubing and everything in between. There’s child friendly entertainment in the evenings, all inclusive food and a spa and fitness center to help parents stay stress-free. We’re cautiously optimistic about this trip that offers activities for the children along with things that we will enjoy doing with them.
Another popular option is to travel to Florida, visiting family or with family. This is a relatively easy way to get out of town. Often grandparents are only too happy to provide lodging and babysitting. Making it even easier are flights from Westchester to many parts of Florida. For the last three years, Mount Kisco resident Amanda Goldberg has gone on a Florida vacation to Disney and a cruise with her family and sister and says, “You will not find another vacation that is more appropriate for young children…Disney has thought of everything a parent could want!” For those that love the thrill of skiing and don’t mind the bone-chilling temps, there are options near and far. Chappaqua resident Roberta Offenhutter Lasky and her family travel to different skiing destinations each year. She says, “Skiing is a wonderful family activity. You get to enjoy the ‘Great Outdoors’ together…There’s a little something for everyone and it’s especially important to break up your time away so your family members do not get bored.” With her 13- and 10-year-old children, that’s key to a successful vacation!
For those staying local, options include taking advantage of all the interesting things nearby. Why not visit the city’s amazing museums? The Children’s Museum is a great activity for the younger set, the Intrepid Sea and Air Museum is a fun option for older kids. There are even sports camps that your child can attend by day! Chappaqua mom Lisa McGowan said that she always stays home with her family during December break. She plans fun city excursions including spending a night in the city and seeing a show with her two children. As it’s a vacation, there is no cooking–either they order in or they go to restaurants. She also points out that it’s great to do nothing at all–just spending time with her family is special!
No matter where you go or if you go, use this time to smell the metaphoric roses–whether your “roses” are wailing infants, angst ridden teenagers or a know-it-all parent. Take time to be truly present without the distractions of everyday life. Although my vacation last year was far from ideal, I know that one day, I will look back and wish I’d taken more time to do things like that with my family.
Heather Skolnick and her husband have lived in New Castle for six years. They are parents to daughter Lila and twin boys Andrew and Ryan. She works for Macy’s in their corporate office as part of their Omnichannel business process team. She is cautiously optimistic about her next family vacation.