Falls Best Bets

It is my favorite season of the year (well not technically but considering the mild summer we had I am going to fast forward a few weeks). Welcome to Fall in the Hudson Valley. This is the land of the “leaf peepers”. As someone who grew up on Long Island in a more nautical landscape I had no idea what was meant by that term until I moved here and witnessed it myself. The best view for leaf peeping (the color changes in the fall leaves) can be found by taking a hike up Mohonk Mountain of by taking a stroll across the Walkway on the Hudson. The views are breathtaking and if you can time it correctly the vision of colors is perfection. Log on to http://www.nyfallfoliage.com/ for a listing of approximate times to check out the changes. There are a number of activities to experience as well in the upcoming weeks Here are a few of my best bets.

Octoberfest at Bear Mountain State Park- It may only be September but Octoberfest has already started. Each Sunday from Noon until 6p you can enjoy German food, beer, craft vendors and live entertainment along the water at Bear Mountain State Park. It is a great event and the beauty and spacious nature of the park allows you to make it a full family day for picnics, throwing around the football or just hiking. The on site zoo is another option for the day. I have attended this event many times and have loved the environment each and every experience. One warning to heed is allow extra time for traffic. The roads are tight, narrow and don’t allow for a lot of cars at once near the traffic circle. Things get bunched up as the day goes on. Knowing a nice cold German beer awaits you makes it worth it. More info at www.visitbearmountain.com

Hyde Park Food Truck Festival- Some activities you wander upon by accident. Such is the case of the Hyde Park Food Truck festival. I was going to another event in Rhinebeck last weekend when i passed a parking lot full of people as well as colorful food trucks. I am used to seeing a food truck here or there or on a block in Manhattan but never a whole bunch at once in one place. It was a truck to truck paradise. I have come to learn the food truck festival (which also has children’s inflatable activities) happens the first Sunday of the month from June to October. That means there is only one Sunday left to sample this smorgasbord of food options. There was BBQ, Mexican tacos, crepes, sandwiches, seafood rolls oh my! Bring your appetite and check out more info at www.hydeparkchamber.org

 

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FOOTBALL WIDOWS

Ahhhh it’s here. The weather outside may feel like summer but the sport that screams colder weather has returned..FOOTBALL. Being a lifelong baseball fan a sport that is played 162 times a season, watching a game was an almost daily occurrence.  With football there is only one game a week so that one Sunday (also Monday and Thursday occasionally) is a social event. People host parties at their house, go to a local neighborhood bar to watch the game or even get in their car and listen on the radio while they go for a drive. My brother in law is from Buffalo New York but lives in Connecticut. Where could he find a bunch of Buffalo Bills fans to enjoy the game with in southern New England? With a little help from Google he found out there are certain bars where people of the same non local geographic origin meet and root for their home team.  There is a lot of fun to be had on Sundays for the football fan however there is one faction of the population that is left behind; the football widow. Yes, this is the friends and family members who do not share in the pomp and circumstance of the grid iron. They know better then to interrupt or persuade a football fan to alter their plans on a day. I know a fair amount of people who schedule their family errands and activities based on whether the game was a Sunday 1p or a Sunday 4p game. If it is a Monday night game the weekend is usually safe! So the question remains what the heck can these football widows or to be fair widowers, do while their partner is otherwise occupied? A few suggestions:

1. I am always attempting to see “this movie or that movie”. I just never seem to get to the theater to see a flick and usually have to wait until it comes out on DVD. Well this is an opportunity to have a specific movie plan each and every week. The typical flick with previews and popcorn and concession stand stops is a 2 to 2 1/2 hour commitment which is just under the length of a football game. Time your arrival and departure carefully and everyone can benefit.

2. If having company over is the tradition for game watching in your household and you do enjoy cooking, this is a great way to practice your skills and even experiment with some new dishes. No worries with failed experiments.. if enough beer is involved and the home team is winning your misadventures in the kitchen will not be noticed.

3. Get healthy. People are always saying they can never find the time to exercise. Daily exercise is best but if you can only do it once a week that is better then not doing it at all. Now that you have an extended window of time you can plan a hike, try a new routine or team like sport or just go for a very long walk.

4. Go to your local library and grab a book.  Reading for pleasure is another thing many people say this wish they could do if they had more time.  You can make a nice dent in a book with 3 hours of time on your hand.

Got more ideas?  Tweet me @skyskymedia

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A Challenge for the Ice Bucket Challenge.

If you have been scrolling your Facebook feed, chances are you have witnessed the very popular Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). In case you have been living under a rock, people are challenged by others to pour ice water over their head and then nominate three people to do the same, or else make a donation to ALS.

I was challenged by a co-worker and chose to make the $100 donation rather than get doused. The results of this viral campaign don’t lie. The ALS Foundation has exceeded expected donations by millions as opposed to other time periods with just traditional donation solicitations. This is all very important, and it’s good news.

I do not wish to damper these efforts or the money it has made for the charity. I just worry that it took a slapstick comedy action like dumping water on someone’s head to get the country motivated to take action. I know it is the end result that matters, and the end result has been positive, but I would like to issue a challenge myself. I challenge everyone who has participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to take a few minutes in the next few months to do some research. Break out the laptop, Google and find a cause or charity that you can educate yourself on and have direct effect on.

Different things strike different chords with each individual. Have you lost someone to cancer? Do you know a child with autism? Do mistreatment of animals touch a nerve with you? If you cannot offer up money, you can always give the gift of time. Volunteer opportunities at a soup kitchen, food bank, local library or school are all options.

Make a difference in a way you see fit. It doesn’t have to go viral. If it does, great. If not, you know that you are doing your part. You are always going to be better at something that you are emotionally invested in as opposed to blindly putting your support behind the latest fad. I respect the Ice bucket Challenge, I applaud the Ice Bucket Challenge, but I challenge YOU to continue the giving and conversations once the Facebook news feeds and Vine videos stop and we as a society move on to the next newsworthy thing. Do you accept my challenge? Tweet me and tell me what you are doing @skyskymedia

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Comedy and Tragedy

I purposely waited a few days after the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams to jot down my thoughts as I needed to let it all settle. Williams has always been on my short list of pure genius. I would watch him in awe and with my respect as he could run the gamete of entertainment from stand up, movies, television or even the basic interview. My favorite Williams moments were those interviews where the reporter or morning TV anchor would simply say “Hello” and from their they were taken on a 7 minute ride inside the mind of  a master. The particular interview I will always remember was from the television show “Inside the Actors Studio”. Williams was on fire for 2 full hours. The highlight for me when he took a woman’s scarf out of the audience and went from character to character of improvisation turning a simple cloth into comedy gold. After Williams has a heart attack in 2009 he went on a stand up comedy tour. It was on my bucket list to see him live and in person and he did not disappoint. His topics ranged from politics, to entertainment, drugs, sex and rock and roll. His spin and commentary on things in life was unique, funny and most importantly thought provoking. That is the inner workings of the mind of a genius. His brain worked unlike no other.

There is a reason why comedy is paired with tragedy. The two go hand in hand in history and in life. Many comedians, people that make you laugh have another side to them. Some call it a dark side others say that comedians often suffer from a sadness and depression when off stage and are other people entirely when not performing. The media and pundits have been out in full force covering Williams suicide and among the positive remembrances has been a smattering of something very opposite. There have been some criticizing the celebration of Williams because his action of suicide was selfish. This is not an uncommon sentiment among the family and friends left behind after someone commits such an act. As far as we have come in terms of mental health however I am not sure we have come far enough. Depression is real. Depression is present. Depression is dangerous. There is still a stigma attached to this mental health issue and I think the thing people would be surprised at is the number of people who you NEVER WOULD EXPECT to suffer from it deal with it everyday. I am not a doctor, mental health expert nor anyone qualified to speak on medical issues but I would advise the all to treat each other with kindness and understanding. Creating a environment for loved ones to speak openly and honestly without judgment is key in  helping those who may be in  dark period in their life. Even if not visible you don’t know what someone else is dealing with. If you are the one suffering from depression, find someone to talk to. Even if it is an anonymous person, religious leader, hotline or whatever. An understanding ear goes a long way. Know that people care. Lean on the right people to get through it. Let their me more comedy in your life than tragedy. If you need help one option for resources is http://www.mhaorangeny.com/

 

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Green with……appreciation

I am sitting in my 600 square foot studio apartment, wearing my Old Navy shirt and shorts drinking the store brand coffee. And it is the perfect quiet morning. I am fulfilled and satisfied. Sure I love nicer things, sure i splurge in certain areas of my life and of course I dream of that big mansion with a boat in my backyard (because of course the mansion is a waterfront mansion).  Even with all these thoughts and dreams I am cognoscente  and fully appreciative of what I have. That is the brain of a 30 something year old I would hope. However I am concerned about the general tone of the messages put out into the media glamorizing glamour so much that it would make people, even those who think they aren’t impressionable feel “less then” or strive for the unattainable and suffer disappointment when its not reached. Even depression when they don’t “keep up with the Jones’s” .

Channel surfing the television shows I pass by are “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills”, “Million Dollar Listing”, “The A List”, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”.  There is a natural voyeuristic interest in a lifestyle that seems to be a dream and seems to be something you wish you were a part of. But with the sheer number of these shows on television makes me believe that as a whole Americans are unhappy with their lives and in order to be entertained they need to be shown a different lifestyle. It is the season premier of “The Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” this weekend. Last season, 95% of the show was over the top exploits but in order to have some sense of civic morality about 18 minutes of an episode was dedicated to a fund raiser benefit the “kids” held. Clearly not wanting to leave their comfort zone the benefit of course was held in Beverly Hills, god forbid they went to “The Valley”. The “REAL” Housewives franchise is a huge success for Bravo television. I am not sure I would consider any of the woman housewives. Yes they don’t go to a specific  place of employment everyday (most of them) but also they don’t take care of the home and children as housewives do. The real “socialites” of Beverly Hills would be a more appropriate title.

Even social media site Facebook has been linked to “depression” due to envy. While Facebook has many different uses, when truly broken  down it is more of a “brag book” to let your friends know your professional accomplishments, personal accomplishments, if your in love, if you look good, if your completed home improvements, or if you “checked in” from the a remote island resort. Intentions are often harmless but it does evoke certain emotions.

The key to navigating all of these messages being thrown at you is to stop and take moments to reflect on what truly matters and what makes you happy. It is OK to dream, wish and fantasize but remain grounded in whats real. A private jet to an island for a weekend is not real in most peoples lives. The unsolicited hug from your child at night is. Those are the moments to focus on.

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Im losing it…literally..

Why oh why wallet must you forsaken me? Everyone has their own quirks in their personality. Some people are fast drivers, some people are cheap, some people are good looking. Me? I lose wallets. The amount I have lost over the years is probably not believable. The ways in which I have lost them is even less so. I remember “my first time”. My parents had gone on vacation to Florida and left us kids home with spending money and me in charge. I went to the movie theater with the money we were given for the week in my wallet. The movie was great. The theater was dark. Before I knew it (well when I got home) I realized the wallet was gone. Upon returning to the movie theater, and on hands and knees it was gone. I was in charge of my younger brother and sisters well being for a week and now I had no money, credit cards, identification or anything else. It was a call to the neighbors and a quick loan that got us through the week.

I have twice left my wallet on top of the roof of my car. I have twice been on Route 9W in Newburgh trying to find my possessions roadside with the hope of retrieving as much as possible. I was recently on Long Island visiting family. I had to rush back to the Hudson Valley to work an event. I had just reached the Whitestone bridge when I hear the Facebook messenger on my phone alert me. It was a message from Tyrone. I don’t know anyone names Tyrone but I read it. “I have your wallet”. What? How? Now? I had left it on top of the gas pump located all the way back on the end of the island in which I started. Needles to say I turned around and got the wallet but missed the event. I will forever love the bread store owner who works next to my apartment. I didn’t go far but in the process or getting out of my car and walking across the street I dropped my wallet in the snow. The shop owner sought me out and gave it back to me. She would take no reward. That brings me to today. I has a business meeting in Yonkers and needed to rush to come back to the Hudson Valley and be ready for my radio airshift that afternoon. I made it back in time and had a great show. After my show I stopped at the food store to pick up dinner. One problem. No wallet. I left it on the gas pump.

Growing up Catholic I knew that Saint Anthony was the person to whom which you prayed for a lost item. I need to hire Saint Anthony myself and have him take care of me and my life. Until then I will be on all fours looking for my identity Help!

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Artists to watch

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching one of the most popular new artists on the radio perform at the legendary Apollo Theater; Sam Smith. He is embarking on a sold out Fall tour and this was a teaser show for some of his biggest and most loyal fans. His lyrics are deep and meaningful as his delivery of such lyrics are as well deep and meaningful. He is the epitome of the phrase “music is what feelings sound like”. He was joined on stage by legend Mary J Blige and held his own while performing next to such a powerhouse. I predict even bigger things for Sam Smith. In this edition of Skywriting here are a few artists to watch, and get to know as I think their futures are bright. Enjoy this sneak peak.

Electronic Dance Music or EDM is experiencing a huge amount of success right now. What used to be more “rave” and “underground” has burst on to the mainstream front and has increased in popularity. There is a whole dance music culture which has spawned many festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival and locally Mysteryland. Mainstream artists are pairing with DJ’s and music producers to get in on the latest craze. M83 is a French group that is one to watch. They are creative with their use of lyrics and reverb with instruments creating a very unique sound. They are 5 albums deep already but experiencing this mainstream push by attaching their music to motion pictures like Divergent. Check out www.ilovem83.com for more.

Bleachers is the creation of Fun’s Jack Antonoff. It is a indie rock sound  that was created in secret until the album was finished. The single I fell in love with was “I want to get better” and is a unique sound that definetley leaves you wanting for more and for the whole album. I bought the album Strange Desire on July 15th when it was released and it has been on repeat ever since. The songs Roller-coaster and Shadow were two of my favorites on the album and yes on cut #10 you may hear Yoko Ono. For more ear candy check out www.bleachersmusic.com

Schoolboy Q started like many in the hip hop and rap world with underground mixtapes. These are albums put out by the artists themselves to generate a street buzz about them. Often times if you want to see whats new and whats on the up and coming, rummaging through those CD’s on the checkout counter in the gas station is worthwhile. He properly lunched his career in 2011 after getting the attention of Kendrick Lamar another artist and his label. His rap and rhyme style is considered similar to Jay Z which could be why I like this music so much.

Those are just a few of the up and comers but word of mouth is how to get in the know of the next big thing. So i rely on you. Who should I be listening to now?? Tweet me @skyskymedia

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Hudson Valley Day Trips

OK OK the kids want to go to Disney World. You do the math. Plane tickets, hotel, park admission (which is at the $100 mark), food and souvenirs and suddenly ‘It’s a small world” has become “It’s a small fortune and bank loan” to go to the most magical place on earth. Now the “Mickey Mouse club house” DVD’s have been banned and it is time to reconsider your vacation plans. If you only have a week’s vacation time, plan multiple day trips with a variety of activities to make it seem like one great vacation. The Hudson Valley has many different options to choose from and here are a few ideas.

The Rocking Horse Ranch is the perfect option if you want a Disney like vacation minus plane fare, food and park admission. Your overnight stay price is all inclusive covering hotel, 3 meals and a ton of different activities on the ranch.  Horseback riding, a spa, childrens activities, organized game nights and an indoor water park are just a few of the options available to you at the ranch. Zebras, camels and more make up the wildlife exhibit. Horseback riding is a huge part of the ranch but if you love horses but prefer not to ride there are carriage rides, barn tours and even a horse shoeing demonstration. The ranch is open into the early fall with various rates and specials which become more lucrative the longer you stay. It is a viable alternative to a amusement park getaway with its all inclusive nature. The ranch is located in Highland and you can find out more info at www.rockinghorseranch.com

For those of the over 21 age and who like to take a sip of vino is the Shawangunk Wine trail. There are 15 wineries as part of the trail and to get to a bulk of them (with a designated driver) is a challenge but possible. The wineries vary from older to newer and from more rustic to modern. Each winery on the trail has its own sense of character and charm. Find one you like, buy a bottle of wine and pack a picnic lunch and you are set for the way. Often times the wineries have events and music going on during the weekend like Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville. There is a food and wine festival July 26th and 27th that offers  a variety of choices under one roof. One of my favorite wineries with a view is Benmarl Winery in Marlboro. They hold a sangria festival every summer with various flavors and varieties, a BBQ and live music. More info at www.shawangunkwinetrail.com

A tire and water. Thats all you need. Town Tinker tube rentals in Esopus is an affordable and fun option for a summer activities. For as little as 25 dollars you can rent all the gear you need to go tubing down the Esopus and enjoy the sights and sounds of Mother Nature. Kayaking is also available if that is more your cup of tea. Details at www.towntinker.com

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Red White and Boom

Ahhhhh.. i hear the silence of the office right now. Yes a 4th of July that falls on a Friday means a sneak out of work on Thursday for an even more extended weekend is the thought process for most. America is turning 238 years young today and an American tradition is BBQ’s, fireworks and family fun. The options are plentiful, inexpensive and Mother Nature is going to cooperate for the most part this holiday season. Many villages and towns have their own fireworks celebrations and you can find out more and even get a map by texting the word “fireworks” to 410-45.  Here is a listing of some of the larger celebrations and as always all are weather dependent.

Orange County-The town of Newburgh and the Newburgh waterfront host a fireworks display on the 4th of July beginning at 9pm. The great thing about this event in particular is the Newburgh waterfront has multiple dining options to partake in before the fireworks celebration so you are in prime position to view.  Or attempt to make a dinner reservation at one of the venues with outdoor dining and you can possibly time a great meal with some great entertainment. If you want to just view the fireworks and want to picnic there is common area greens and boardwalk along the river to check out the fireworks.

Ulster County- The city of Kingston hosts a citywide celebration on Friday night with live music at TR Gallo park. There will be multiple bands (one of my favorites The Cagneys) performing. Shuttle buses will be available at various locations to bring you to the waterfront as streets on the waterfront may be shutdown to traffic. Fireworks begin at 9:30 and like Newburgh the Kingston waterfront has multiple restaurants and bars to choose from for some pre-fireworks options.

Dutchess County- One of the best attractions in Poughkeepsie is the walkway over the Hudson. This  walking bridge gives amazing views of the Hudson River as well as the Mid Hudson Bridge all year round. People walk the bridge span year round for pleasure, exercise and more and it lends itself as the perfect fireworks viewing location. By going to www.walkway.org you can purchase tickets for 1o dollars to be allowed access to the walkway on the 4th of July night from 6:30 until 10:30. Find your spot on the walkway, and enjoy as the fireworks will go off between 9 and 9:30. Tickets also available at Adams Fair Acres Farms as well as Mahoneys Irish Pub  in Poughkeepsie.

There so many great options here in the Hudson Valley for you to enjoy the holiday. Please leave the fireworks to the professionals Often times home parties include the shooting off of fireworks in the backyard or street. Make sure  everything is done with safety first so you can enjoy future holidays with your friends and loved ones.

 

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SCHOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER!

No more pencils no more books no more teachers dirty looks! Uh oh can you hear that? It is the sound of fear, worry and loathing as parents realize they will now be responsible for the entertainment of their children an extra 8 hours or more while school has recessed for the summer. When I was a kid it was a simple as going outside and not coming back UNTIL the street lights came on. Now with the advent of smart phones, I pads and gaming devices children are in danger of spending their whole vacation indoors on an electronic device. As tempting as that may sound as it will keep them occupied here are a few suggestions that will get them out and about with actual people and activities and hopefully before you know it that school bell will be ringing again.

Camp Redwood-Walden is a summer camp that has been around since 1961 giving kids the chance to play sports, do arts and crafts and more. There are boy/girl specif cams for ages 5-12 and then Co-ed Teen camp for teens 13-16.  There is a pool, games and activities as well as my favorite Color Wars. If you would like to take a look at the facility check out their free camp fishing derby from 1p-3p on June 29th. More info can be found at www.campredwood.net

Make sure you check out your local library for FREE programs from the children like crafts, trips and summer reading programs. Having worked in a library I know the incredible resource it can be and all for FREE as your tax dollars pay for most of the services. Many libraries have summer book clubs in which children can read a book for the summer and “report” on it to a library employee. Often times there are events and parties planned through the summer and at the end of the summer as an incentive to keep reading. Many libraries also offer bus trips to amusement parks and such for teens.

One of the best family activities as a friendly price is a trip to Dutchess Stadium to see the Hudson Valley Renegades play minor league baseball. The Renegades are a division of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and they CATER to families. There are always on field games and contests between innings and a lot of entertainment other then baseball to keep kids interested. Also for kids they can be just as entertained by the Renegades as the New York Yankees so long as its baseball. Additionally at a Renegades game kids have the opportunity to get an autograph from players. This one on one opportunity is not something you get in the Bronx. The best part of a day at the Renegades is the cost. They have game packages that include tickets and food making it an affordable day for the family as opposed to major league baseball. So affordable that you can make it a weekly occurrence. www.hvrenegades.com

Tweet me with more ideas: I will publish them mid-summer when you “run out of ideas”   @skyskymedia

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    For the past 14 years, Skywalker has been a fixture in Hudson Valley radio broadcasting. He hosts then most listened to radio show in the market; the 2p-7p drive home on WSPK K104.7 Follow him on twitter @K104sky Read Full
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