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.

Meacham Lake

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When I first ventured into the blogging world “Brunching with Babes” was a story of all the restaurants Dominique and I frequented with baby Flynn in tow. However, shortly after we moved to Philly and this space was sort of a round up of all the fun places in Philly with kids coupled with random nonsense.

Now that I am nearing almost 3 years up here (yea not sure how that happened) I figured I would share some fun kid places we end up and my kids take on the event.

Last summer when I was very very VERY pregnant with Navi and had a 1 year old Quince bulldozing his way through life, I knew that the next few months were going to be a bit of “hibernating”. And while I am not usually a fan of being trapped inside, I knew that it would be a bit of a challenge for the first few months. However, the hibernation has ended and getting out and about is a lot less stressful – or shall I say worth the stress.

Today the kids were off from school so we headed about 30 minutes from Saranac Lake towards Malone to a the Meacham Lake Campgrounds. While the day pass is $8, I am a fan of hitting up Meacham because the access to bathrooms, the really nice playground, easy parking/access to my car and of course the beautiful lake is worth it in the end. We have been here a number of times, especially back when we were living on campus, and my kids often fixate on the lake and beach or get wrapped up in some game in the playground. Either way we usually can last a really long time here and I never have to worry about taking all the kids off the beach to run another kid to the bathroom.

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In the Boone kiddo opinions, this place is worth the bit of the drive and we will continue to dream that Saranac Lake (or Brighton Park) add a Bears Playground to the area.

Couple of notes:

Cost: $8 per car

Playground: Listed as 2-12 – some parts are higher or require climbing, but this is where Nola learned to the lower monkey bars last summer. There are also swings, but they are off the side so never have to worry a kid is going to run into swings.

Lake Area is a fine size, nothing huge, but plenty of space.

Also, has covered pavilion and bathrooms near by.

Typical to up here in the spring/early summer, the bugs can be annoying, but not the worst I have seen (May 2018).