Parks, ice cream stands, pick-your-own: Safe bets sure to cure cabin fever
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
As New York state begins to gradually open up, you will still have plenty of things to do to keep busy and enjoy the good weather this summer.
Reopenings may vary upon location, so it’s wise to check the location’s social media page, which is likely much more up-to-date than the website, or call before heading out. Also pay attention to county news for location-specific updates on what’s open and allowed and what’s not.
• Go out for ice cream. Since walk-up ice cream stands work just like take-out, these businesses have remained open. Locations with features like miniature golf or playgrounds may not have these aspects of the business open.
• Visit a state park (https://parks.ny.gov/parks) with a picnic, whether it’s a take-out meal or one you pack yourself. Afterwards, take a hike or enjoy any available amenities of the park, like in-line skating paths, walking/hiking trails, scenic views, disc golf and bird watching. The state website should offer the most up-to-date information on what’s open. Keep in mind it could vary by park.
• Drive-ins are already open. Plus, you can enjoy a flick under the stars at a much lower ticket price than indoor theaters. Try Finger Lakes Drive-in in Auburn (www.fingerlakesdrivein.com, 315-370-7780), Midway Drive-in in Minetto (www.midwaydrivein.com, 315-343-0211), Black River Drive-in in Black River www.blackriverdrivein.com, 315-773-8604) or Valley Brook Drive-In in Lyons Falls (315-349-6315).
• Go to a you-pick farm. Many plan to proceed with their regular seasons of public harvest by spacing pickers apart as needed; however, as with ice cream stands, some aspects of the operations such as play areas may be limited. Check Pick Your Own (www.pickyourown.org) to find listings of farms. Enjoy the sunshine, fresh produce and good prices as you harvest part of your groceries. If you’re not able to pick your own, at least shop the farm’s stand for fresh produce. Many farms operate stores, such as Ontario Orchards in Oswego (www.ontarioorchard.com, 315-343-6328), Our Lady of Victory Farm in Victory (www.nygrassfedbeef.com, 315-498-5866 call first) and Beak & Skiff Orchards in Lafayette (www.beakandskiff.com, 315-696-6085) These stores feature an eclectic mix of produce, farmstead goods, lawn and garden supplies and gift items.
• Take a driving tour. With gas prices at historic lows, it’s a great time to explore stately neighborhoods to admire the architecture and blooming gardens. Before you go, review the types of architecture styles common in American architecture, such as Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Cape Cod, and Queen Anne at a site like https://magazine.realtor/home-and-design/guide-residential-styles. There you can find simple illustrations and detailed lists of features featured on each type. Like bird watching, it’s fun to identify different types (although you should probably leave the binoculars at home).
• Go camping. If you haven’t been camping for years, maybe it’s time to dig out the gear (or get new or rental gear). Campsites should open before many other types of businesses. Or you could reach out to a friend with a rural property or campsite.
• Break out the lawn games. Ladder ball, cornhole, bocce ball, horseshoes, lawn darts and croquet: whatever lawn game you like, you don’t need a party to try your skill and get outside.
Photo: Watkins Glen State Park remains opens for visitation. The Finger Lakes park is one of the most visited in Upstate New York.