Navigating the Paul Smiths VIC

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Before moving to the Adirondacks, I always had my “go-to” activities to entertain Flynn and Nola. I knew how to navigate the situation with two under two from bathrooms, to length of time, to what to pack and when to eat. When we were first living in Lake Placid, Flynn, Nola and I created a few places to hang and set about a new rhythm that matched the (at times limited) offerings of our new town. (read about our new normal here) Fast forward two years and two more kids, we have a list of places that I know I can either navigate alone with all the kids or where we can get a good number of hours and keep everyone happy on the rare chance we are all together. I will admit winter is a hard one for us because the bulk of fun active activities often require a second adult to keep everyone engaged, but winter is when Dominique is least available. I have high hopes for this upcoming winter now that I am not pregnant and won’t have an infant in tow, plus the big two are getting a tad more self-sufficient. We shall see.

Today (the other day because never post on day I actually start writing) the whole crew headed out after Navi’s nap to the VIC. When we lived on campus, we often could just walk over there to kill a few hours on the weekend or before dinner. Having moved off campus this past year, I often forget about the VIC as an option and figured today we would head back to our old stomping grounds.

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The VIC is a place I can navigate on my own – even with all four kids. Parking is easy, there are clean bathrooms to use before/after we hit the trails, plus a small indoor area with books, coloring and a few hands-on activities that add a complete extra minutes of entertainment for my kiddos. Additionally, there is a small playground which often is where we start while we apply bug spray, use the bathroom and fill up any water bottles at the water fountain. Inside there are a couple of tables setup where you can enjoy lunch and take a break from the sun/bugs etc if needed.

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As for the trails themselves, there are a variety of trails to pick from ranging from an easy terrain mile and upwards. Today we hiked Heron Marsh trail, which was about 3 miles and while at points a tiny bit muddy, we were able to navigate with our Thule stroller with relative ease. Pre-Navi we often would just head out with Quince in the carrier and the big kids on their own, however, when I go alone or if I am uncertain of the kids stamina, the stroller was nice to have – even if a bit shaky at the muddy parts. We did someone walking with a non jogger style stroller and while I am sure they survived, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a few adults who want to lift the stroller at points.

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If you are looking for something to do the VIC is always a great, kid-friendly option to get outside for as long or as short as needed and with the bathrooms and added playground I can also adjust based on the kid’s moods.

Pros: Well-maintained kid friendly trails at a variety of lengths, clean bathrooms and indoor facility, small playground area and deck or indoor tables to eat lunch.

Cons: Kids on hikes are unpredictable :), if you don’t plan food/eating or time things wrong there really isn’t much around and so you could potentially endure a 15-20 minute drive of kids whining they are hungry. Not that has happened or anything.