Day Trip: Round Valley Recreation Area

BY  |  Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Round Valley Recreation Area

We’re past mid-August, and families have reached the time of summer desperation. All in the name of creating vacation memories, they either suddenly realize they haven’t taken enough trips, or because they have run out of new places to go. We are lucky in the Baristaville area in that we have countless choices for day trips to enjoy the best that summer has to offer. The Round Valley Recreation Area in Lebanon, NJ is a fantastic option for camping, grilling, swimming, and all around summer fun.

Just about an hour away, depending on traffic, the New Jersey State Park has extensive shady areas for picnicking and grilling. In a separate area, there is a sandy beach with lifeguards, changing rooms and restrooms, a snack bar, and two playgrounds. Families can also take a break from the beach by hiking one of the trails, knowing that cooling off in the lake is the reward of return. This is a carry in/carry out park, and you will receive a trash bag upon entry.

If you are lucky enough to be able to get away during the week, an almost empty beach will greet you and the family at Round Valley Recreation. Enjoy the sandy beach and not-too-cold water in quiet and relaxation. A favorite pastime for young people is wading around in the swimming area for net-fishing. Others just wait patiently for the tiny fish to nibble on toes. For families with children who have a low tolerance for an ick-factor, according to my son, the lake floor is walkable and not “gooey” at all.

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Day Trip: Franklin Mineral Museum

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Franklin Mineral Museum

It seems like children of all ages, boys and girls alike, love rocks. Throwing them, lining them up, collecting them, shoving them in their pockets so you can find them in the washer later, it doesn’t matter. Rocks are cool. As the parent of a little geologist and ever on the lookout for an exciting outing that might actually teach my kid something, we recently ventured out to the Franklin Mineral Museum in Franklin, NJ.

Less than an hour from Montclair in beautiful Sussex County, the Franklin Mineral Museum offers the perfect mix of things to see and do.

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Orange Reservoir at the South Mountain Recreation Complex is Overflowing With Fun

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

South Mountain Recreation ComplexFor a long time, the Orange Reservoir was just some water you saw on your way to the Turtle Back Zoo or Codey Arena. But one piece at a time, Essex County has transformed the reservoir area into the South Mountain Recreation Complex—and now it’s a place for a pretty full day of family fun.

In May of this year, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren cut the ribbon on the new 1.7-mile walkway around the reservoir. The freshly paved path has a pair of footbridges, nautically themed decorations and lighting, new landscaping, access to hiking trails, and lots of benches and Adirondack chairs for kicking back and enjoying the views across the water.

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Day Trip: Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

BY  |  Monday, Jul 14, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Flat Rock Brook Nature Center

Everyone knows that walking is great exercise and a fun way to get the family out in the fresh air together. But what do you do when you’re tired of walking around the neighborhood or your kids have declared the local stroll boring? You head to Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, that’s what!

Located in Englewood (about 20 miles from Montclair), Flat Rock Brook is a nature oasis in the midst of suburbia. The 150-acre area is the remains of the Palisades Forest, situated on the western slope of the Palisades. The lush greenery shields you from the brunt of the sun and the beautiful sounds of the birds and animals who live there create a symphony in their own right.

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Day Trip: Pier 25 in Hudson River Park

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

 Pier 25 in Hudson River Park

Sometimes, Mama is a genius. My two boys, ages 5 and 7, and I had a plan to meet up with their dad after work in Manhattan. Dad loves to share music with his boys, and he thought it would be a great idea for us to meet him in a parking lot in lower Manhattan to see the legendary John Doe (of the band X) perform a free concert.  I was skeptical of this plan, but for the sake of family harmony I agreed to it.  This is not the “Mama is a genius” part of the story — or maybe it is?

So what to do with the children before the concert? Given that we would be on the west side of town, I looked into Hudson River Park, the string of piers and bike paths along the river that I’ve often driven by. And there was my answer!  Pier 25 my Barista Kids friends, located in Tribeca at North Moore Street, just across the West Side Highway. And bonus points — there is a traffic light/crosswalk at the corner so you don’t have to dodge speeding taxis to get there.

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Day Trip: Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse

BY  |  Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse

When I got the invitation from my friend Alma Schneider to visit Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse over Memorial Day Weekend, I was not initially sold on the idea. I’m not a particularly ‘outdoorsy’ kind of gal, especially when the temperature pushes past a balmy seventy-nine degrees. As my husband reminded me, “You like the ‘farm to table experience.’ You just prefer the ‘table’ part, especially if it’s in cool and comfortable atmospheric setting… and if it ends with chocolate.”

Alma (who, by the way, is one fabulous Montclair lady and if you don’t know her – you should), sent the invite to all the members of our weekly group for parents of children who have special needs. There, nestled in Alma’s comfortable, temperature-controlled kitchen, we partake of her delicious eats, share resources, commiserate in each other’s stories and bask in the company of other parents in similar special needs situations. Though I don’t get to go as often as I’d like, I always breathe easier after I leave.

The invite, though, promised a tour of a working farm (she almost lost me right there) where all of our kids could meet and we could taste the farm’s fresh cheeses and homemade breads. A chance to gorge myself on (I mean sample) farm-fresh foods and introduce my older daughter to new friends? Sounds good. And I knew my youngest, who is still awed by her own ability to walk, would love seeing the animals that we read about at home. Despite the threat of spending a day in the hot sun, I replied with an enthusiastic, “We’re in!”

And I’m glad I did. Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse is located in the very beautiful and scenic setting of Milford, NJ. And the farm, I learned, has an interesting back-story.

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Day Trip: World of Wings

BY  |  Sunday, May 25, 2014 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

World of WingsI’d like to imagine that after laying out the initial plan for World of Wings, the founder sat down and thought, “What would round out a perfectly nice butterfly and reptile museum? I know — everything kids like!”

Which is what makes World of Wings worth a day trip up the Garden State Parkway to Teaneck. The museum has the kinds of exhibits you’d expect: a large butterfly atrium where kids can watch the insects flapping their colorful wings and feeding in a natural-ish habitat; snakes, frogs, lizards and such in displays that let little ones get close without feeling scared; and plenty of educational information and exhibits.

If that was all you got for the admission price ($16 per adult/$11 per child), it wouldn’t fill the day. But see, there’s also: coloring and craft areas; a bubble room next to a space filled with optical illusions; reading areas and 3D videos; indoor climbing walls and a princess dress-up room; a small video arcade and a cafeteria; and a large area for 5-and-under children (socks required!) that has a ball pit, several climbing structures, a train table, soft building blocks, a let’s-play-house space and a toddler scooter track.

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Weekend Highlights: Your Guide to a Fun Memorial Day Weekend

BY  |  Friday, May 23, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is here and there’s so much to do with the family.

Check our Upcoming Events to find out all the local happenings. Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter to get some great deals and find out about more great events and subscribe to our daily newsletter so you don’t miss a thing on Barista Kids. While you’re at it, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our new Pinterest page. We post a lot of important information over there, so you don’t want to miss out.

Here are your weekend highlights:

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Day Trips & Mini Geteways To Take Over Memorial Day Weekend

BY  |  Wednesday, May 21, 2014 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Day Trips

Monday is Memorial Day and you’ll have three day weekend with the family — just enough time for a mini getaway or to take a Day Trip or two. Grab your keys, pack the kids into the car and arrive at your destination in less than two hours!

Here is a list of Day Trips we’ve reviewed that offer fun for the entire family:

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Day Trip: New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands

BY  |  Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands

Spring has sprung in the Garden State! All our local parks, The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens and lush grounds at wonderful estates like Duke Farms are blooming in vivid color. Gardening enthusiasts flock to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx but did you know there is a New Jersey State Botanical Garden less than an hour away? Skylands in Ringwood, NJ offers both a historic home, Skylands Manor, and gorgeous cultivated gardens and walks to enjoy.

Located in the Ramapo mountains on the border of NJ and NY, Skylands Farms was a working farm estate created by Francis Lynde Stetson (1846-1920.) He hired Samuel Parsons, an esteemed landscape designer who trained under Frederick Law Olmsted, to design the grounds, drainage system and roads on the estate. In 1922, Clarence McKenzie Lewis purchased the estate intent on creating a botanical showplace. He tore down the original stone home and built Skylands Manor, a Tudor mansion made from native granite. He collected plants from all over the world and had 60 gardeners working on the estate during peak seasons. Manor tours guided by docents are available on Sunday afternoons – see website for schedule www.njbg.org. The “Castle at Skylands Manor” is available for catered events and weddings and has rooms for guests but was closed to tours the day I visited.

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