|Keuka Lake State Park|
Jeremy and I have a well-established division of labor when it comes to our camping trips. He obsesses for months and months over campgrounds and reservations and traveling itineraries while I pointedly ignore any specific questions, offering up irritating shoulder shrugs and grunts in response to his frequent overtures.
I’m pretty sure I know why I do this. As a working mom, my life is full of schedules and to-do lists. I have very little daily mental ‘down-time’ and I guard it jealously. I just can’t think about an enjoyable family activity that might take place a month from now when I am furiously trying to figure out how I am going to get the boys to their doctor’s appointment on time when they just scheduled a late meeting at work.
Jeremy puts up with my recalcitrant attitude because of this one fact: about a week before we leave on any trip, I kick into rabid vacation planning mode. I search high and low for the best of the best in the region that we are visiting. I find off-the-beaten-trail activities that are just the right blend of fun and kid-friendly. By the time we leave on a trip, my husband and our camping buddies are always confident that I have assembled a daily itinerary that will keep everyone happy.
Except this time I didn’t. For a variety of reasons, the weeks leading up to our 14-day New York State Excursion were jam-packed for me. It was all I could do to get the clothes packed in time for our departure. We left on our trip with exactly one activity planned: a day would most certainly be spent at Niagara Falls. The rest was a bit fuzzy.
Lucky for us, we have gotten pretty good at this game. On our first morning in the Finger Lakes’ Region, we knew that we wanted to spend the day relaxing, swimming, and kayaking so we headed to Keuka Lake State Park, about 30 minutes from where we were camping. The drive to the park was gorgeous, leading us up along the west side of Keuka Lake and giving us a glimpse of the many beautiful houses perched right on the side of the hills and looking like they were about to tumble into the lake.
The state park was perfect: easily accessible with a great recreation area and sparkling clean facilities. The boys spent the day wandering back and forth between the playground and the lake…
…while the adults swam, kayaked, and kicked back.
Jeremy and I found a place to stash the kayak and took a quiet swim far away from the ‘crowds’.
It was here that I finally hatched my plan for the trip. I decided that all of our vacation days must be just like this one. We had paid the daily entry fee when we arrived, but on our way out of the park at the end of the day, we stopped at the ranger station and bought an Empire Pass. For 65 dollars, this pass would get us into all of the New York State Parks and Recreation Areas for an entire year. We planned on recreating this first day of vacation as we travelled across the state.
And that is exactly what we did. Brilliant planning on my part, don’t you think?