This past weekend we were once again on the road for Jeff’s series against Marist College. This was the first time I visited this area, so during the week as I planned out packing and driving, I also looked into what there was to do near the campus. I decided to only take Ava on this trip and make somewhat of a girl’s weekend out of it…sometimes I sense that she needs some “big girl” time, and since her little bro is totally in that “terrible two” buggy little brother stage, she deserved some Mommy and Daddy time. It was only about a 2 hour drive up to the hotel, and we headed up Friday evening picking up the head coach’s wife and daughter, (LA and K) on the way and got in around 9pm.
We were staying in Fishkill, which is about 20 minutes away from the campus. Of course one of the first things I check to see if the hotel has is a gym. For the first time in I don’t know how long they did not! So having done some research I found that in between the hotel and the campus there was the Walkway over the Hudson which was part of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. It looked really neat, and a great place that I could run with the stroller.
So Saturday morning Ava and I got up, had some breakfast and went to check it out. As we drove down the road, we saw a bridge up ahead. I told Ava I thought that was the bridge we would be running over and she said “no way!”. It looked old, narrow and rickety and I was also a little apprehensive. We drove to a parking lot and found the stairs leading up to the bridge. When we got to the top, we had a pleasant surprise! It was absolutely beautiful. The bridge itself was very clean, wider than it appeared and the view was unbelievable. We had gotten there fairly early and pretty much had the whole bridge to ourselves.
The bridge alone is about 1.3 miles long and crosses over the Hudson River. We stopped a couple times to check out the view and take some pictures, and Ava ran with me for more than half of it. Once we crossed, she climbed into the stroller and we headed down the paved trail for another 4 miles.
Along the way we saw so many beautiful spots, lots of rocky cliffs, trees, old trains and buildings. About 2.5 miles from the bridge there was about a half mile stretch with fitness equipment you could do different exercises on. We saw a few bikers and walkers along the way, and even running tour group, which was pretty cool. For the most part it was empty and very peaceful. And definitely way better than a hotel treadmill! If you are ever out in that area, I highly recommend checking it out.
After our fantastic run (10 miles for me, about 1.5 for her) we headed back to the hotel to get ready for some baseball. Jeff’s team had a double header that day and the weather was great. It’s funny, Ava never seems like she is paying attention to the games but definitely takes an interest in what’s going on. They won the first game but lost the second. After the game, Ava ran over and jumped up on the fence and said to Jeff, “Daddy, you lost! But you won the first one. And you still have the third one tomorrow so it’s ok.” Our little motivational coach in the making!
Saturday night was our usual fun filled dinner out with the coaches, LA, and K. There was a Charlie Browns right across from the hotel so that was the easiest choice. After dinner, I overheard a sweet conversation between Ava and Jeff as I got ready for bed:
JB: “Ava, do you like these baseball weekends?”
A: “Yes I do!”
JB: “What do you like about them the most?”
A: “I love watching my dad!”
So my heart melted and I probably even teared up a little. Sometimes I worry that we do too much with the kids and being on the road. They stay up later, meals can be a little interesting, and they’re often more tired than usual on Monday mornings. But that right there helped remind me why we do it. I love sharing these great days with not only Jeff but with our kids. They see incredible places. They watch their daddy do what he loves. And they are exposed to so many things along the way.
We slept a little later on Sunday morning and then after a quick breakfast I was able to give Ava some promised pool time. She is such a little fish!
So here’s a confession. I was a competitive swimmer for pretty much my whole childhood. I was even a college swimmer. I have been a varsity swim coach for over ten years and absolutely love the sport. And I also was an ocean lifeguard for 14 years, only stopping when I had kids. I swim laps once in a while still, and wish I did more. BUT I have always hated hanging out in pools. Like recreational swimming. I never wanted to go to someone’s house and go in the pool and really don’t spend much time floating around in the ocean. Unless I’m working out, I am not a huge fan. Being splashed is torture to me. But for Ava, I do it. She loves it and I love watching her in the pool. So we swam for an hour, and I had a lot of fun with her.
On Saturday I had pointed out the bridge to LA and K and they had the same reaction Ava and I had about not wanting to go over it. I convinced them it was way better when you were up there and they would not regret trying it out. Sunday morning we packed up and all headed out to run, and planned on just going straight to the game from there. It was pretty much right across the street. We parked and walked up and we all ran separately. Ava stayed in the stroller the whole time, which was good because Sunday is clearly the busy day for the trail. There were so many people, some tours, and they were setting up for a Parkinson’s walk as well. But it was still a great run.
It’s funny, every trip we go on it seems there is some milestone, even a small one that happens and when I think back I remember the trip and the first time Ava did this, or Nolan said that. This past weekend Ava finally mastered chewing gum. Funny, but she has grown up so much through these seasons and I can still picture her learning to walk down hotel hallways and batting cages.
After a great win, we left the field and headed home, getting back just in time to meet my sister for dinner and be reunited with the little man. Then we unpacked and were back to business as usual. After school Monday I asked Ava if she was tired and she said yes. But it is totally worth it, and just meant an earlier bedtime.
“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”