Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, tree, outdoor and nature169e98d0-4a2e-409d-adce-e76fe93346dfWe spent our Catskills Trip trying to do as many outdoor activities as we could and spent time in Saugerties and Woodstock. We ha plans to explore the Platte Cove Property, Saugerties Lighthouse, Village Beach, Falling Waters Preserve and OPUS 40, but the weather didn’t exactly cooperate with us. We will be back for sure, another time, to visit the places we missed. We did however get to visit the Catskills Animal Sanctuary, Big Deep Swimming Hole, visited Kaaterskills Falls at their viewing platform and attempted the hike down. We had the best pizza crust and one of the best pizzas ever at Slices and the best chocolate sorbet ice cream, ever at Alleyway Ice-cream. Sun frost Market was filled with goodies we’ve never seen, like the vegan Paleo Puffs that are just as good as the usual saltier cheese puffs we’ve had, except after eating them all, you don’t feel guilty! They are grain free and made from cassava, which is great for Olivia because it has none of that many things she’s allergic to.  The soups and smoothies were so good, we would not hesitate to stop by even if we didn’t need to do groceries at Sunfrost Market, just to grab a quick and satisfying bite. We also got to do several indoor activities including a visit the see the Largest Kaleidoscope and had a craft day at Fiberflame Art Studio.

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Woodstock Waterfall Park on Tannery Brook

We made a quick stop to Woodstock Village and they had a few nice toy stores to explore and several souvenir shops selling tie dye shirts and other touristy stuff. There were other not as touristy stores too, that sold nice chic clothing and great quality shoes. There were restaurants scattered everywhere and a place to buy ice cream or smoothies almost on every block. The streets were not the easiest to cross, so be sure you hold on to the kiddies crossing. It was more like a yield or slow down sign, rather than traffic lights on some parts of the narrow sidewalks. The village was quaint and small enough to explore in one afternoon.  The weather was really hot and humid, so we didn’t spend much time there., plus, we didn’t really need to shop for anything. We were happy to be able to catch a glimpse of the Woodstock waterfall there. There are a few benches alongside, so it’s a perfect place to take a walking break.

Lots of photos and insights below for the places we stopped by and the full itinerary  (with hours, time between locations and basic info included) with places we visited (and those we missed as well) below! Just PRINT AND GO!

Catskills Animal Sanctuary

This was our first stop. The grounds were beautiful and we enjoyed the kid friendly tour they offer at 11:45am on weekends ( see my itinerary below to get more details on the times they are open). The tour was informative and interesting and our guide was clearly passionate about caring of the animals. We learned about some of the animals and the backgrounds in which they came from. The children loved getting to see and got to pet several of the animals! At the end of the tour, we were delighted to learn there was a food tasting. We had fresh cashew milk (so yummy, light and mildly sweet) and the best vegan Mac and Cheese! Everyone in the room was raving about it and all the children (ours included) even asked for seconds! All the cheese lovers in the room was impressed. I was so happy I got to take home several other recipes from the Compassionate Chef, Sara Boan of Catskills Animal Sanctuary, who was a sweetheart! I will be posting them , as I try them out!

Cooling off in the mud!
Baby Goats!

The goat crew made quite the dramatic entrance, greeting us at the start of our tour! Imagine seeing a herd of goats walking towards you down the road!

Mommy Hen with her growing chicks.

Can you spy the cows from afar? Mooo!
Horses roaming! We even got to see them rolling over.
We were able to touch the turkey’s feathers. It was quite soft!
The very talented and lovely, Compassionate Chef Sara Boan.

BEST Vegan Mac and Cheese! Loaded with veggies too (but you wouldn’t even know its there- definitely testing this recipe out first for Olivia, who’s allergic to dairy).

Where We Stayed

We loved that we were surrounded by the forest! The grounds were gorgeous with a large space for the kids to roam (though we didn’t take advantage of it because there were lots of mosquitos due to the rain that week); a hammock to chill out in, a garden with fresh herbs and a fire pit and pond. The interior was pretty much our Dream House! I would imagine if we had our own Home one day, we would design it similar to that! The Airbnb host is a chef so we had an abundance of spices to chose from in her kitchen. Needless to say, we were able to cook many of our meals at the house! The home was modern and rustic with gorgeous artsy touches in every room. I found a poem I loved, but had trouble finding the whole poem googling it, but only succeeded in finding the top half of it. Anyone know it?


We so need this fox door knocker! Olivia’s favorite, FOXES!

It was nice to be greeted with these lovely flowers upon arrival. As we continued to explore the garden on site, I realized they were all picked from her garden.

Watching daddy put the fire on in the fire pit.


These Biobags were handy to store leftovers, snack throughout the day, without having to rely on plastic wrap!

Big Deep Swimming Hole

This swimming hole was great for families; very close to the parking lot (but was pretty full when we got there just before 10:00am). For families with young children or non-swimmers, it does seem to get much deeper as you reach the other side of the swimming hole (we didn’t go in that deep). We saw other adults going there and telling us it reached their necks. We put on Puddlers on the kids, but be careful because it made them float, which served its purpose, but we were told by others who have been there before, that the water was the highest they’ve ever seen and the current was stronger than usual. We had to hold on to the kids to make sure they didn’t float away that day. The kids had so much fun and probably wouldn’t have minded (in fact they even asked) to stay there the whole day! It was MUD Play Wonderland for kids who love to get their hands muddy; dig with their new found sticks, shovels and trucks; and finding  large stones that would be perfect to paint. I recommend wearing watershoes because it was pretty rocky! See here on a post I did on our family’s favorite all purpose water shoes.

We had to leave because it rained the night before (hence the muddy appearance of water), and there were mosquitos everywhere; plus it was lunch time and we didn’t get to bring lunch because it was a last minute decision to visit the swimming hole that day, after the hike we planned at Platte Cove was even more covered in mosquitoes! It was a shame we didn’t get to pack a lunch to eat there this time because we had even brought along our Trekology’s foldable and lightweight (less than 5 pounds!) aluminum table (in the car) and was eager to eat our lunch there! How magical would it have been to have our first family of five picnic by a swimming hole (Esme, our youngest wasn’t even born yet when we had our first swimming hole experience in New Paltz)? We had taken it to the beach with us last month and it was simple to set up. None of the sand got into our food! I will be doing a post on their tables later on because we love how practical they are for families who love the beach and having impromptu picnics wherever the opportunity arises; it would’ve worked perfectly for lunch by the swimming hole!  You can see a few photos  (before my full review) of the table when we took it this year to our Fourth of July outing.img_5427.jpg

We had to leave because it rained the night before (hence the muddy appearance of water), and there were mosquitos everywhere; plus it was lunch time and we didn’t get to bring lunch because it was a last minute decision to visit the swimming hole that day, after the hike we planned at Platte Cove was even more covered in mosquitoes! It was a shame we didn’t get to pack a lunch to eat there this time because we had even brought along our Trekology’s foldable and lightweight (less than 5 pounds!) aluminum table (in the car) and was eager to eat our lunch there! How magical would it have been to have our first family of five picnic by a swimming hole (Esme, our youngest wasn’t even born yet when we had our first swimming hole experience in New Paltz)? We had taken it to the beach with us last month and it was simple to set up. None of the sand got into our food! I will be doing a post on their tables later on because we love how practical they are for families who love the beach and having impromptu picnics wherever the opportunity arises; it would’ve worked perfectly for lunch by the swimming hole!  You can see a few photos  (before my full review) of the table when we took it this year to our Fourth of July outing.img_5427.jpg

We didn’t get to bring these stones with us, but the girls found all these buried in the mud and cleaned them off to bring home. They would’ve been perfect for painting kindnes rocks, like the ones I’ve seen painted by Rainbow Rock Project. You can check them out here ! The little girl, Alia, that runs the program has the sweetest and most thoughtful initiative.

World’s Largest Kaleidoscope at Emerson County

If you’re wondering if the almost 30 minute drive would be worth it from Saugerties, I’d say yes! Great kaleidoscope show, but short. I wish the $5 paid for all 3 since they are only about 10 minutes long, but that’s just me as an adult. The kids couldn’t wait to leave to explore the toys and goodies they had caught a glimpse of on the way in (me too hah!).

You can chose Nature, Space or History Theme. We chose Space this time. It was filled with beautiful images of space related things in that kaleidoscope- I think during a few parts, I saw parts of Nature infused into the show too. Think of the kaleidoscope you had as a kid thrown into goody bags, magnified immensely!

There were several other stores in this center- great for shopping- chic clothing, quality children toys, things for the baby, fancy kaleidoscopes, magnets, glitter wands, jewelry and things for the home and garden. I could’ve spent half the day there! The toy store had a pretend play center with kitchen, ice cream and hot dog cart that the kids had a ton of fun with.

I highly recommend this place to pick up souvenirs for anyone, any age. I wanted to bring everyone thing home with me! Didn’t stick around to explore the prices of most of the things long enough, but the items in these stores, I loved!

The kids LOVEEED this contraption! You see each other on the other side via kaleidoscope style, giggling and changing form with every moment you make. It was hilarious!

Kaaterskills Fall Viewing Deck 

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The trees when we got out of the parking lot were so tall, beautiful and storm. It was as if the trees were there just waiting for us to go on in there and explore!

After lots and lots of convincing from the husband and a call by me to the Kaaterskills Interpretive Center and speaking to someone familiar to the falls, they confirmed the Viewing Platforms are safe for everyone. I’ve read too many blogs and posts on the many deaths and falls that occurr at Kaaterskill Falls and wasn’t just going to go, without first speaking to someone experienced with the falls.

Look at this amazing stone with all the smaller stones that are all different imbedded to it!
This was one of the many rocks there that looked large and sturdy, but was in reality very unstable and shaky. Be careful, especially with young children who are following route.
View during our attempt to hike down the waterfall.

Why, hello there little fluffy caterpillar! Does anyone know what type of butterfly this turns into?
The beginning of the hike down to the falls.

My little loves <3

Well, I’m happy we got to go because the view was stunning; the feeling of peace and joy you get when you are surrounded by such beauty and nature is humbling.

Taking in the view and listening to the water running and splashing; gently, yet fiercely is just a reminder of how amazing life is, with all its ups and downs, frights and joys. Life can be be calm and static at times, but growth is always in the works, even when you feel like you are just stalling at certain points in your life.

We spoke to a family right by the beginning of the hike trail down to the falls. They had a young child (probably around 7 years old) who said they have been there before and assured us it would be safe for the kids to hike (he mentioned however, that Esme may need to be carried). We thought that if that little kid could do it, we may be able to as well! So we gave it a go.

We made it more than halfway (far as I believe since people who have been there and walked by us told us that we were sort of almost there), but had to go back from where we started because it was muddy and slippery. There was a set of friends (2 adults) who were before us that had to turn back and go back because they said it was too muddy and narrow. Moments before that, a toddler and her mom also told us it would’ve been difficult for her younger child to go, though her older child and husband went ahead to continue the trek to the bottom of the falls . I personally would recommend the hike for kids 10 and up. There were no fences and it was slippery with the rain the other night and some rocks were loose (even though it appeared to look sturdy – but wasn’t ). The park ranger we saw earlier before the hike told us there would still be about 150 steps left after the rocky and muddy hike.

Our favorite all purpose Keen Watershoes! The kids loved that we were all match match and covered in mud! You can read more about why they are our one shoe for all our travels here.

I wonder if my children will remember this experience for years to come and I’ll be curious to hear their thoughts on the waterfall and attempted hike (if they remember).

Mamas Burgers

This was just what we needed after that somewhat long hike. A great burger, fries, ice-cream and fried pickles! This place was comparable Shake Shack. Their sauce has the similar flavor profile, except theirs was more tart, pickle-y and oniony. Their burger patties were meaty and not overly greasy, nicely salted. Everything on there was well proportioned, tomatoes, lettuce, sauce and patty. 

Gracie’s Luncheonette

0e4ca2dd-2763-4c61-b1bf-9b9206ab0a77This was our last meal before we drive back home. It was astoundingly good- it was perfection.

One of the best meals I had in my life! Their chicken and waffles were phenomenal. Their waffles are more light and pancake like, than crispy on the exterior; but surprisingly, it wasn’t really a set back at all. You get a pancake that tasted like a waffle! Next time we visit (and we will for sure), I will request for ours to be crispy if possible!

The chicken was so tasty, juicy and crispy. I don’t know how they do it. Just the right amount of salt was infused throughout every single bite. Have you ever heard of silky, almost melt in your mouth chicken? I’ve had excellent juicy, flavorful chicken before, but this was just on a different level on all aspects! That batter was almost as delicate as Pringles chips, but it didn’t fall apart until you bit into it. It was pure perfection. I only wished it was larger because we all were tempted to order more! Perhaps, it could’ve been the size of the chicken, that made it the juicy, tender masterpiece it was.

img_6798Their homemade ketchup is pretty great too, a perfect balance of tart and just a tad sweet; it kind of reminded me of the Polish brand ketchup I usually buy in my neighborhood- tomato-ey and fresh! Their French fries were better than any French Fry Specialty Place I’ve been to; the right amount of crispy, crunchy with a touch of salt. It didn’t even need ketchup, but their ketchup was so good, so the kids (and us, adults) gobbled it up!

img_6800We had the aged steak with collard greens and that pairing was remarkable too, I felt like we were at a specialty steak house. The steak had great flavor and was seasoned simply with just salt (I think).

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Their spicy chicken sandwich was layered well with the right proportions of pickles, lettuce, tomato, mayo/sauce, without being soggy and the fried spicy chicken was just as good as the ones that came with the chicken and waffles.

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We had the lemon poppy donut to go and it was also a winner. Wish we had purchased more! It was the freshest, fluffiest donut we’ve ever had— my husband said it was like biting into a cloud! The sweet and slightly tart glaze was on point and one of the only and many donuts we’ve had, that wasn’t actually overpowering with the glaze- it was simple, clean and good. We had it with their hot Farm Brew Organic Coffee-it was so well rounded! They told me they brew it super fresh in the mornings. I looked up their coffee beans of course and I took this description of their website (they described the flavor to a tee):

THE STORY BEHIND FARM BREW

We created this delicious blend so that proponents of sustainable agriculture could enjoy a balanced coffee to drink year round. We combine the fresh, clean, and snappy character of brighter coffees with the full, brooding, herbal notes characteristic of earthier origins, tempered with a sweetness that brings it all together

We roast each of this blend’s component coffees, all of which are organic, separately to highlight their best characteristics, and then blend them in equal parts to create this classic profile. The final product is a cup that is full-bodied and robust, yet balanced with sweetness, and without roast-driven flavors like smoke. We find most people enjoy this coffee when they appreciate a rich full cup of coffee without the sultrier overtones a dark roast can impart.

My husband also told me they use all local products (as per their website), so if you are trying to experience a region, and for us, it was the Catskills this time around, this place is it! We cannot recommend Gracie’s Luncheonette enough. Their waterviews were also a plus. This place deserves a rating higher than the highest! Okay, enough of my rambling! Just be sure to stop by and experience this for yourself!

Coffee Fizz-a float, but with coffee! It was good, but I much preferred the hot coffee we had to go.

Story Farms

We went to a different farm instead of the original farm we planned and I’m not sure if it’s the time of day or the lighting at that farmstand, but I’ve never seen fruit and veggies so beautiful and loaded up on some fruits and veggies on the way home. However, I must say I was disappointed, as none of the many fruits we bought were sweet, as they had told us. They did mention this season of crops were tougher this year due to the rain, but they assured us they were sweet. The plums and melons were juicy, but bland. The donut peaches were firm and crunchy and a bit sweeter than the latter. The zucchini was great, firm and with good flavor. The corn was pretty sweet and crunchy too- the sweeetest of everything we bought there. The frying peppers were really, really good! I’m used to buying red, yellow and green peppers and use it all the time, but not frying peppers. They tasted like shisito peppers, but without the spicy part. I found the flavor to be quite similar to shisito peppers and now I’ll be looking out for them every chance I get. The kids also loved it. In short, go here for the vegetables and baked goodies! Their zucchini bread was pretty good, and has inspired me to find a good zucchini bread recipe to try. It was perfectly moist and not too sweet with great flavor. There was a section here that showcased bottles of honey, pretty rustic plates and bowls, as well as maple syrup that are great for gifting too. 

So beautiful, but unfortunately it was bland.

The rainbow mushroom I just managed to grab a basket of on the way home, just as the farmer was just bringing them to load for their fridge. I wish I had seen those before I bought all those plums. They were the prettiest and tasted good.

Platte Grove Attempt

We had plans to initially check out Platte Cove, yet again, but it didn’t work out there this time around, as it ended up pouring on our way there. The drive up was beautiful and serene. I got to snap a few photos of our scenery on the way there. Our host had highly recommended Platte Cove in the recommendations list she left us, so we were eager to make a visit during our week stay there. Next time, hopefully, we will have better luck with that.

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Fiberflame Art Studio

Fiber flame Art Studio, I had listed on my itinerary as a rainy day backup, and I’m so glad I did. It is an art lovers dream! CREATIVE CENTRAL! It has any art supply you could possibly fathom! You can probably make anything here you find on Pinterest and more! It was perfect for our last afternoon there, and we spent about two hours there out of the rainy day. Ayla opted to do a papermache unicorn, Esme chose a papemache dinosaur and Olivia picked out a travel suitcase to decorate. There were options to spray paint an umbrella, create an animal habitat, create jewelry, paint a bowl, cup or plate, paint a birdhouse and countless more! I recommend this place for adults and children alike! I was contemplating on doing a craft there even. I’ve been always drawn to embroidery hoops that I see on Etsy and Instagram, but having to watch over 3 kids doing crafts, I knew I would have to wait until they were older (maybe in a few years) to go with them and work on my own craft. I am pretty much obsessed with anything creativity related. Keep scrolling for photos! It was a perfect and very productive rainy day.

Sunfrost Market

This place was our go to place for most of our grocery shopping. We loved going there because there was a part of the market designated for food, soups and smoothies, all spectacular. The other part was the market was the supermarket part, which we purchased most of our fruit, vegetables, snacks and produce. We were happy to find many snacks we have never seen or tried before. The Lesser Evil Organic Vegan Paleo Puffs were a true favorite. We ended up buying 2 packs of the salt and vinegar and cheese puffs and finishing them all during our trip and even purchased another pack to buy for the way home! Yoyo Fruit Rolls were another item we found, which was like a healthier version of fruit roll up which were made from simple, easy to understand ingredients and no weird stuff. We highly recommend exploring this market! Its worth a trip alone to eat, relax and pick up a great few items to go.

Image may contain: one or more people, plant, tree, sky, grass and outdoorGreat outdoor seating for the kids to run around and the parents relax for a bit.

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Rainbow colored balls for the kids to find and play! I think they found them all.
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Great Fruit Parfait

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Amazing Vegan Chili! Loaded with flavor, peppers, beans and squash

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Mango and Pineapple Smoothie
Biobags, an item from our earlier giveaway spotted! Love them!

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Such pretty flower from their parking lot.

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Slices

Craving pizza? GO HERE! As I mentioned the beginning of this blog post, the pizza is one the very best we ever had, thanks to the best crust we ever had! We live in New York, so to say their pizza was one of the best, we mean it! Crispy, thin, but not too thin. It had  just the right thickness with each chewy, yet light and crispy bite. Look at all those fresh tomatoes on there, along with the freshly melted cheese, right out of the oven. The basil was perfectly spread out throughout. I could always use more basil, because I love basil; but it was pretty perfect. It was so good we even contemplated bringing a pie home. The tomato sauce was so good on there, and not overly herby or salty. It would be so good piled on top of a pile of spaghetti!

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Garlic knots were pretty good too-super garlicky with fresh minced garlic throughout.

Alleyway

Image may contain: foodWe stopped by here after Slices. It was walking distance. It was a great way to end the afternoon with the pizza and the ice cream. We really wanted to try their strawberry, but they ran out. We had the vanilla ice cream and Vegan Chocolate Sorbet. The Vegan Chocolate Sorbet was EVERYTHING! As a huge ice cream fan, I was surprised that this sorbet didn’t have any dairy in them. One of my favorite moments in parenthood is when I come across something this good, that I could feed Olivia guilt-free and happily (who I sometimes feel misses out on non-dairy food items or I feel guilty feeding it to her because I know technically, she shouldn’t be having it). The ice cream chocolate sorbet was like eating really good dark chocolate, creamy, cold hot cocoa; the flavor was like a good dark chocolate fudge, but the texture was almost brownie like. Its like having your brownie and chocolate ice cream in one scoop. We highly, highly recommend the Vegan Chocolate Sorbet. We had a sample taste of their regular chocolate ice-cream after we finished the sorbet because I was curious and found it hard to believe how their regular chocolate ice cream could top their vegan version. Their regular chocolate ice cream was very good too, with a hint of coffee/ cookie butter flavor in it; but if you are looking for a true and pure chocolate flavor, you must get the Vegan. We had their corn flavored ice cream, which was creative and great for a summer day. We liked ever flavor we tried that day and will look forward for the next time we stop by to try their others. I follow them on Instagram and if you love ice-cream, you should follow them too. Such creative and innovative flavors almost daily, there seems to be something new!

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Food we Cooked! 

This kitchen as I mentioned earlier in my post has anything spice you can possibly imagine to cook up whatever you were craving. Since Sunfrost Market had such a great selection of veggies and produce, we were inspired to use those fresh ingredients to cook several of our meals.

Burrata on Sourdough with Tomatoes and Basil

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Panfried Chicken with Lemon, Olive Oil Arugula Salad and Tater Tots
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Simply, Broccoli Pasta
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Yogurt, Granola and Fresh Blueberries

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Pork Ragu Pasta with Green Peppers
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Catskills Smoked Salmon with Tofutti Cream Cheese on Sourdough
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Simple Broccoli Pasta
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Yogurt with granola and blueberries.
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Filipino Adobo Chicken with Steamed Broccoli and White Rice
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Pork Ragu Pasta with Green Peppers

Wikki Stix Break Before Heading Home

An easy morning before heading home with our favorite Wikki Stix and the travel book they gifted us (and added on to our lucky winner) for our first Blog launch giveaway, back in March. This travel book was great fun and was handy keeping them busy, while we finished cleaning up and packing! You can see why I always have Wikki Stix in bulk at home in an article I wrote here. The kids got to explore several places in the United States with the pages and see different bridges and locations. I love that the pages were glossy and board book style, great for young children and strong enough to withstand traveling.  It was great for them to connect it to their trip on where they traveled in the United States and be more aware of their surroundings and the bridges or lakes they passed along the drive there and on their drive home. We even left several packs for the host of the Airbnb to enjoy with her young son to try out and explore.

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We brought home pie from the Story Farm we visited. It was a mixed berry pie. The crust was good and flaky, the filling was fresh and not overly sweet; though a little on the tart side. It reminded me of the trip. Perfect in its own way, and where there may be a little sour spot, you make it work. We added whip cream to make it the best we can with what we have.

Full Detailed Itinerary Below for our Catskills Trip below! I made a screenshot of my PDF off my google doc.  I hope you found the outline helpful in your planning! Feel free to Pin, share and follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram or Subscribe to my blog here for all the latest adventures we have in and out of our house.

Have you ever visited the Catskills in New York? What are some places to eat or explore you would recommend that are kid friendly I could add on for next time we visit? 

**Note: I’ve since changed the name of the Itinerary from Saurgeries to Catskills because my husband read over my post and mentioned we also explored Woodstock, so my title was not the best.

SAURGERTIES, NY FULL ITINERARY 

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