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Mother Hoods: Gardiner, NY

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photographed by Julianna Blizzard

If you’re looking to step away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, why not travel north to the quiet and lush town of Gardiner? Only a short drive away from the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, and with close surrounding towns like New Paltz and Accord to keep you busy, you’re sure to find serenity, good company, and plenty of hiking trails in its green hills. Sound like your type of escape? Check out mama and Captain Blankenship founder, Jana Blankenship‘s, favorite spots to hit with and without kids in her short guide to Gardiner, below.

What are your favorite places in Gardiner to…
Eat with the kids? “The Mountain Brauhausin Gardiner. It has farm-to-table German food, great drinks, a stellar kids menu, and Wiki Stix for the kids. It is at the base of the mountains, so we love to go on the way back from a hike. There is an outdoor patio where you can get snacks and drinks that is dog friendly, too.”

Eat with just adults? Huckleberry in New Paltz, though their patio is also great for kids. They have delicious food and drinks, and a very mellow vibe. We also love Gaskins in Germantown and The Corner in Hotel Tivoli if we are feeling up for an adventure.”

Shop for kids? “New Baby New Paltz. It’s a great place to pick up a gift for a party, and they have a good assortment including wooden toys, handmade sweaters, and Winter Water Factory clothing.”

Shop for yourself? 
”Verde in New Paltz, nearby Lovefield Vintage in Kingston, and Tivoli Mercantile in Red Hook. And, I love the delicious chocolates at Lagusta’s Luscious in New Paltz.”

Play with your child? 
”The wooden playground at Hasbrouck Park in New Paltz. There is a huge sandbox full of communal trucks and sand toys that Caspian loves, and really cool jungle gyms for both kids.”

Play with your adult friends? Yard Owl Brewery or Gardiner Liquid Mercantile for drinks in Gardiner, or a day of waterfall swimming and hiking.”

Get out in nature? “We do the Peter’s Kill hike at Minnewaska State Park all the time, and waterfalls and swimming holes in the summer. It is my spot year-round, and I love to see the changes there with the seasons. It is also a good hike for kids with an easy swimming spot.”

Any good flea markets/thrift shops? “The Antiques Barn at the Water Street Market has some great finds. It is a good place to wander around on a rainy day. There is also an amazing weekly flea market in nearby High Falls, and a wonderful, reasonably priced shop of mid-century modern antiques there called Lost and Found.”

Any good museums/art installations? “The Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz has great exhibitions. There is also a wild installation on Clove Valley Road in Accord. In a field by the side of the road, you can find a sculpture garden of monumental pieces of Redwood Burl. The first time I saw them I had just moved to the area from California and thought I was hallucinating! There is also Storm King Art Center which is breathtaking, especially in the fall, and the Dia: Beacon, which is one of my favorite museums in the world.”

Where do you take out-of-town visitors? “Depending on the time of year, we will take them apple and raspberry picking and for delicious pizza at Westwind Orchard. Also, we’d go iceskating in the winter at the Mohonk Mountain House. I also always like to take people crystal hunting, hiking, and swimming in the Shawangunk Mountains.”

Any tourist-y places that are worth it to visit? “Lake Minnewaska is so beautiful and pretty. It is tourist-packed in the summer and fall, but it is worth it. And, it is full of blueberries in the summer!”

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