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Sherrie Nachman Headshot

Keeping Kids Active While on Vacation

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A typical cold winter weekend at our house can feel claustrophobic and undoubtedly involves several hours of TV watching and computer games. But just an hour and a half away from New York City lies Mohonk Mountain Lodge, a retreat surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness, and the chance to get away from it all. We decided to try it for part of winter break. The obvious takeaway is that one way to get everyone up and moving is to have all activities nearby and not charge extra for any of them. At Mohonk, everything is within trudging distance, and all activities and equipment are included with the price of a room. Meals and snacks are also included.

On our first morning there, my kids and I strapped on cross-country skis and hit the resort's trails. My 9-year old twins were novices and despite a few off-track excursions, slowly got the hang of it. With 85 miles of trails, it is possible to spend hours exploring. We took a break for a hearty buffet lunch.

Next on our agenda was ice skating. That was another new activity for my kids. They each took a lesson and then spent the afternoon practicing. The adjacent outdoor fireplace was the perfect place for a hot chocolate break. Unbelievably, no one requested a turn on my iPhone. As it started to get dark, we went inside for cookies and board games. Not surprisingly, we were pretty tired after dinner, but instead of zoning out in front of the TV, we watched the fire in our room die down then come to life with added kindling. (All hotel rooms are TV-free).

On our second morning, we once again went ice skating, which was turning into a new favorite activity. At least, it was until we went snowshoeing. This time, I asked the friendly guy who fitted us for snow shoes for a recommended route. He sent us to a spot behind the mountain house where we did not see another person, but did spot a deer. The cold did eventually get the better of us. My boys spent their last few hours in the old-fashioned game room -- think foosball -- with a couple of other cheerful kids. Other wholesome late afternoon options included bingo.

Now we just need to figure out how to keep the activity level going while at home. I have already checked out all the local ice rink options, but will not be as motivated unless someone is cooking all my family's meals.