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Need Ideas Please
Old 09-29-2006, 08:05 PM   #1
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Need Ideas Please

Hi All,

My in-laws came from Europe to visit with my wife and me. They'll be staying with us for six months. They don't really speak English and they are well into their 70s (but get around just fine). My wife and I are at a loss as to how to keep them entertained on the weekends. They're simple people and they say that they are happy just to spend time with us. But I'd like to have things for us to do.

We live in northern New Jersey so we're close to Manhattan, Rockland, Westchester and southern Connecticut. I wouldn't mind driving long distances if it was worth it.

Any suggestions?
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-29-2006, 08:15 PM   #2
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Can't go wrong with Washington, DC. Don't forget Philly & the Liberty Bell, New Hope is pretty. Also the Maine coast is spectacular.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-29-2006, 09:21 PM   #3
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Re: Need Ideas Please

You might ask around to locate ethnic (their ethnic) neighborhoods in NYC metro. They might really enjoy meeting folks who speak their language.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-29-2006, 09:35 PM   #4
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Re: Need Ideas Please

I can give some suggestions for southern CT, which is where I live. Where are they from and what sort of things do you think they would like (i.e. museums, outdoor attractions, sporting events, etc)?
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 07:37 AM   #5
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Re: Need Ideas Please

linkerbink,

All great places - I think they're a bit further than I had in mind. Maybe the Pennsylvania trips would be doable in a day. I'll have to check.

Brat,

A great idea. I know of one neighborhood in Queens but not much to do there. They do go food shopping there by themselves during the week from time to time. There are two really good restaurants there that I know of and I'm sure we'll be visiting them.

Gumby,

They're from Romania. They both enjoy nature very much. My FIL enjoys watching baseball on TV but doesn't follow players and such closely. Not knowing much about baseball myself, I asked him if the World Series was being played soon. He didn't know . But he enjoys watching. He also loves classical music.

But they are very easy-going people who would be happy doing anything really. We ask them from time to time what they would like to do and their answer is always the same - "We don't have to do anything as long as we spend time together". But doing nothing is unacceptable to me. With few exceptions, they do nothing during the week when my wife and I are at work (except read, watch TV, and go for walks) - it's got to drive them nuts . I was thinking of going on one of those cruises up the Hudson River before it gets cold. And there have got to be things to do along the Hudson - farmer's markets, tours, etc.

Thanks for the responses. Any more ideas would be appreciated.

Vince
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 07:39 AM   #6
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Re: Need Ideas Please

I'll offer more stuff later, but we are leaving for the Chihuly show at the NY botanical gardens shortly, which should be right up their alley.
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A few suggestions
Old 09-30-2006, 10:51 AM   #7
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A few suggestions

Well, its a little late for baseball season, but there is always next year. In any event, if you just like the game and don't particularly follow the "stars", I would recommend going to a minor league game. It is fun and affordable, and you get to see people playing baseball largely for love of the game, not for millions of dollars. I was going to recommend the Bridgeport Bluefish, but then remembered that there is another team in the same league that is probably much closer for you -- the Newark Bears.

Other suggestions

The Beach - I could walk on thhe beach all day long, even in winter. In Connecticut, good places to do so are Sherwood Island State Park in Westport and Silver Sands State Park in Milford.

Apple Picking - we usually go to Bishop Orchards in Guilford, but there is also Jones Family Farm in Monroe. I'm sure there are "pick your own" orchards closer to you your home. We often take a picnic -- a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, some cheddar cheese and a freshly picked apple make a great lunch when eaten out in the orchard under a sunny but cool sky.

Winery visit - we enjoy visiting wineries; you get outdoors and it is interesting. There are a number of vineyards in western CT. Here is a link -- http://www.ctwine.com/western_trail.htm

Vintage train or trolley rides

The Danbury Railroad Museum - http://www.danbury.org/drm/index.htm
The Shoreline Trolley Museum in Branford - http://www.bera.org/
The Essex Steam Train - http://www.essexsteamtrain.com/

On the Essex Steam Train, you can also ride a riverboat up the Connecticut River, which is undeveloped along that stretch and quite beautiful. They also have a dinner train.

Zoo and or Botanical Gardens/Arboretum

I would recommmend the Beardsley Zoo and Bartlett Arboretum in Bridgeport, but for my money a much better trip would be the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens, and it is closer for you.

Interesting small art museums (after you get tired of the Metropolitan Museum, the Frick Collection, and MOMA in NYC)

The Bruce Museum in Greenwich
The Yale Art Museum in New Haven
The Yale Museum of British Art in New Haven

Other attractions in CT

The Norwalk Maritime Center and Aquarium - interesting museum devoted to maritme shipping, shipbuilding etc. Also, South Norwalk, where the museum is located, has a nice section with many little restaurants for lunch.

Things I have enjoyed up the Hudson Valley

West Point - absolutely beautiful location high above the river
Hyde Park - FDR's house is very interesting and they have nice grounds
The Town of Rhinebeck - very nice little village for strolling and window shopping.





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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 11:08 AM   #8
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Quote:
I was thinking of going on one of those cruises up the Hudson River before it gets cold.
Excellent idea!

Gumby's suggestions are very good, too. The Hudson River Valley is beautiful any time of year, but fall is one of my favorite times there. I like the idea of a winery tour. There used to be the Brothers' Winery north of West Point.

Does Reinbeck still have the Old Reinbeck Aerodrome? They used to put on a great little old-time air show with vintage planes, but that was long ago and in the summer as I recall.

West Point is well worth a visit. The US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY, is an interesting little trip from NYC as I remember, and the US Coast Guard Academy at New London, CT, may be worthwhile.

How about an antique shop tour? That part of the country is full of good shops and it should give you a chance to get out of the city.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 11:37 AM   #9
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Re: Need Ideas Please

A little further up the Hudson:

http://www.olana.org/

Other stuff in the area:

http://www.olana.org/visit_attractions.php
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 12:57 PM   #10
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Re: Need Ideas Please

DW's parents from Sweden have visited a few times. They were happy sightseeing on their own a lot, and on weekends we'd do the standard sightseeing things -- I don't think you'll have any trouble finding things to do.

You might worry more about how you're going to live with them for six months without everyone getting on one another's nerves.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 04:02 PM   #11
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Lots of good suggestions thus far. A couple more:

- A day trip to Warwick Valley Winery & environs. Very pretty area ("black dirt" farming area that produces like 1/3 of the US' onions). The winery itself is really based on an old apple & pear orchard, but they have decent wine, picking in season, excellent food (done by a CIA graduate) and most weekends they have some kind of music.

- Dinner at the Culinary Institute of America. I've never gotten to do this, but they have student-run restaurants that are supposed to be amazing, plus it is in a lovely area.

- Take them to New Hope, PA and its sister city across the Delaware whose name escapes me. These two small towns straddle the Delaware river in a pretty area. There is lots to see in the towns, plus there is a nice walking path along the old D&O Canal right of way.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 04:10 PM   #12
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Dinner at the CIA is fantastic! But you need to make reservations way in advance, they are often booked months ahead.

The twin of New Hope is Lambertville, NJ. We actually like it better than New Hope.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 11:19 PM   #13
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Re: Need Ideas Please

How about a drive south down to the shore? Ocean City and Wildwood won't have the crowds now, but a walk down the boardwalk could be nice. I personally like Cape May.
Heck, take em to Atlantic City to see the casinos.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 09-30-2006, 11:42 PM   #14
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Yes, I second the Atlantic City nomination. Old people love the slots, and English language skills are not required.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 10-01-2006, 11:12 AM   #15
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Williamsburg, Virginia ?
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 10-01-2006, 08:38 PM   #16
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Thank you all very much for your responses.

brewer,
I took my in-laws and wife to the Chihuly show at the NY Botanical Gardens. We really enjoyed it. For various reasons, I've become the type of person who can't enjoy the moment - always preoccupied with worry - work, money, etc. But on Saturday, I just let it all go and allowed myself to really enjoy being with my family. We saw some amazing plantlife and artwork and had a nice lunch at their outdoor cafe. Thanks for the idea.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 10-01-2006, 10:03 PM   #17
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Re: Need Ideas Please

http://www.gchistory.org/barns.php

Thirteen Sided Barn

Thirteen Sided Barn
Built in the 1830's is the oldest, documented, multisided barn in New York. The weight of the roof of this unusual structure rests solidly on its thirteen sides. The only interior framing, apart from the side walls, is a single center pole.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 10-01-2006, 10:14 PM   #18
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I'll offer more stuff later, but we are leaving for the Chihuly show at the NY botanical gardens shortly, which should be right up their alley.
Are you going to the Bronx? Stop by Arthur Ave for some Itilian food. If you saw the movie "A Bronx Tale", the author was writting about that area. Let me know what you think.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 10-02-2006, 07:11 AM   #19
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincenzo
Thank you all very much for your responses.

brewer,
I took my in-laws and wife to the Chihuly show at the NY Botanical Gardens. We really enjoyed it. For various reasons, I've become the type of person who can't enjoy the moment - always preoccupied with worry - work, money, etc. But on Saturday, I just let it all go and allowed myself to really enjoy being with my family. We saw some amazing plantlife and artwork and had a nice lunch at their outdoor cafe. Thanks for the idea.
Ypu're welcome for the suggestion. That's really funny: we were there on Saturday, too! I had never been to the gardens before and I was really astonished to find 250 acres of land, including 50 acres preserved as native forest. We even saw a skunk ambing along the edge of the woods (in the Bronx!). I've never seen a wild animal larger than a squirrel in the 5 boros. Neat place. Needless to say, the Chihuly exhibit was amazing, too.
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Re: Need Ideas Please
Old 10-02-2006, 01:51 PM   #20
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Re: Need Ideas Please

Wow - who is this Chihuly guy anyway. There's an exhibit of his art in Co Springs right now also. I'd never heard of him before until the past couple of months, and now I'm hearing things about him all over.
We are talking about the same guy right? Dale Chihuly - makes "stuff" out of glass? Actually I was at a play in the colorado springs fine arts center last friday and there's this HUGE chandelier that basically looks like a medusa head and I wondered if he made it.
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