A few years ago, my friend visited the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Jersey at the Solberg Airport. If you read my last blog, then you know NYers will cross a bridge or drive through a tunnel for a little fun--NJ is literally right next door. Anyway, she vlogged her trip and I made a mental note to visit the festival next year. Well, next year came around (2019) and I missed it. Then, I said I was surely going to make it “next year”. That didn’t happen because the world was on a pandemic pause in 2020. It’s finally 2021--I know, it’s been years! But better late than never.
Last weekend, the children and I left home for another adventure heading to Readington, NJ. The children were beyond excited when they found out we were going to a hot air balloon festival. The first question was, “Are we going to ride in a hot air balloon?” and, sadly, I had to break the bad news that we were not going to ride in the balloons.
When we arrived at the festival, I immediately realized that the festival offered a little more than hot air balloons. I was aware about the stage for performers because Laurie Berkner, a children’s musician, was scheduled to perform. My son no longer had an interest in the balloons because he spotted a bouncy house and it was over from there. I lost track of how many times I had to reassure him we would visit the bouncy house, but he would have to wait until AFTER the balloon ascension. If you have children then you know telling young children to wait a few minutes is like waiting an eternity.
The balloons were finally ready to go and it was such a cool experience to see so many hot air balloons taking off into the air. My daughter couldn’t get enough of it and she patiently waited for the unicorn hot air balloon to rise. The balloon show lasted about 20 minutes. What do you think was happening with my son? He was still asking about the bouncy house *sheesh*.
Next up, the coveted bouncy house. It cheered him up and that was the highlight of his night. When they were done with the bouncy house, I was ready to head home, but then I realized in the distance there was much more going on than bouncy houses. It was a legit festival (you may use the word carnival). We walked about 5 minutes to go further in and there were food trucks and rides. That was a game changer for the kiddos.
We stayed and they had the time of their lives on the rides. My daughter was so brave! She went on rides that I would not have gone on. I am not not that adventurous. I am the official bag holder when I visit amusement parks. *big laugh*
The festival ended with a firework show. Overall, the weather was great and my children had a great time at the hot air balloon festival. Mission accomplished. We will be returning next year. Have you ever experienced a hot air balloon ride? Let me know.
This year, I saw a lot of my friends posting pictures about strawberry picking and I wanted to get in on the fun because I love all things outdoors, and I knew my children would enjoy it, especially my son who loves strawberries. Unfortunately, by the time I made my phone calls to go strawberry picking, I missed the season. Bummer! There's always next year now that I know the official start and end of the season.
I did, however, find out that blueberries are in season in the month of July. I quickly put it on my calendar and loaded the kiddos up on a hot Saturday morning. When we arrived at Snyder's Farm, located in New Jersey, it was HOT!
Living in NYC would requires a little driving, sometimes over a bridge or through a tunnel if you want to do any kind of fruit picking (apple, strawberry, blueberry, etc). In my opinion, there aren’t many places in NYC. If you do find a place, it usually far out on Long Island or heading upstate. I’ve driven all the way upstate to take my children apple picking, but it wasn’t a day trip. We visited when we had a 3 day weekend from school.
I’ve also visited farms in NJ in the past, which is more convenient because it’s a day trip and I‘ll be home within an hour or two depending on how far I wanted to drive. There are so many options in NJ, so a day trip is worth it.
When we arrived at Snyder's Farm, the children were excited to pick blueberries, that is until my son saw a bug. It was over from there. He doesn't like anything bug-ish. Then, he started complaining about the heat and how tired his legs were. In a matter of fact tone, I told him we were not going home. If you have multiple children, then you can probably relate. One child is adventurous and the other is against all things outdoors. Fortunately for me, my son will do most outdoor activities just as long as you keep all the bugs away.
The farm was very lowkey and didn't have many people there which works out for Covid-19 guidelines. I imagine it will get very busy in the fall during apple picking season. We spent about 30 minutes picking blueberries and the cost was very cheap--just under $4.
Of course we didn't go home after that because a nice lady by the name of Janet who conveniently recommended the ice cream aloud. There's no way I'd be able to have a quiet car ride home without the mentioned ice cream--thanks, Janet. Hahaha. We found a shady area to cool off and eat strawberry ice cream. I typically don't like strawberry ice cream, but Snyder's wasn't bad at all.
Before leaving, we spent time taking pictures, because let's face it, who could resist taking photos on this oversized chair?
Just when I thought we were leaving, my daughter wanted to pick flowers. You can bring your own shears or rent a pair. She opted for 6 Zinnias and they looked beautiful on on dining table.
Overall, we had a great time at Snyder's Farm and we will return for their Fall Harvest. It will be a sort of do-over for my son who wanted a tractor ride sooo bad, but it wasn't available. I have to redeem my cool mom points. Stay tuned for that blog post.