Author Topic: Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, and Big Indian: A Covid Road Trip  (Read 1790 times)

Online JuryDuty

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After staying at home for months, all we wanted was to get out for a few days. In addition, with all the riots, we wanted to get out of the city. We decided on a road trip because it was much easier, realistic, and safer. In addition, we decided to stay in New York State, as many surrounding states had confusing and limiting Covid laws. I had a week off before summer semester began and my wife currently sees one or two clients in the morning. She planned to continue seeing them on our trip. We decided on a four day, three night, Tuesday-Friday trip.
I did minimal planning for the trip. As most activities would be closed, the most we could really do was enjoy the outdoors. Also, we've been working hard on getting the baby on a good sleeping schedule and wanted to maintain that. My wife would see her clients during the baby's morning nap. We planned to drive approximately 2 hours a day during the baby's afternoon nap.
This trip report might not be of so much benefit for others, as we didn't do that much, but it could give people ideas of what's feasible these days. In addition, some of what we did with our baby might be helpful. If nothing else, DDF needs some trip reports for Covid times.

Looking for destinations 2 hours apart from each other, we settled on Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, and Big Indian. We also really wanted to avoid sleeping in the same room as the baby so we could get some sleep. And of course, we needed a crib or a pack n play. I only have Hyatt points, so I looked into Hyatts near these destinations. Poughkeepsie has two Hyatts. One was a more ideal location (closer to the walk on the Hudson) but the other had two bedroom suites. Hyatt Saratoga Springs had a one bedroom suite, but it was really one big room. We opted to stay in Airbnbs instead for the second (Saratoga) and third night (Big Indian). (Most of the reason we picked these three locations was because of the lodging, so this is a little backwards.)

Birds on Hyatt House Fishkill/Poughkeepsie by Jury Duty

I called up Hyatt House Fishkill/Poughkeepsie and asked what it would take to get an upgrade to a two bedroom suite. After a little convincing, he said he could guarantee it for an additional $30. After booking the room the next morning, however, I called back and they were able to upgrade us for free. 8k Hyatt points for a two bedroom suite - I'm definitely coming back to this hotel!
For Saratoga Springs, we booked an Airbnb for $85 a night. It was in Porters Corners, NY, fifteen minutes outside Saratoga. Unfortunately, we discovered that the Airbnb was really one big room and not a living area and a bedroom.
In Big Indian, we stayed at Cold Spring Lodge. I actually originally found them on Airbnb and then found it on their own website for cheaper. ( We booked a two bedroom cabin for $154.

We really only decided to go on this trip the day before. The morning of the trip, my wife went to Gourmet Glatt to pick up food, including sushi for dinner that night and chicken and sides, double wrapped, from Chap-a-Nosh for the next two nights. We headed out Tuesday afternoon, and just under two hours later, we arrived in Hyatt Fishkill. The front doors are automatic, so we didn't have to touch anything. There was tape on the floor to mark where to stand. The clerk did have to swipe my credit card for incidentals, but in addition to handing off the room keys, that was about as much contact we had. The room was on the first floor, so we didn't deal with any stairs or elevators. The room was amazing, anything a family could wish for. It was kind of funny, I actually felt luxurious here. It wasn't super fancy, but it was spacious, comfortable, and my baby had her own room! There was a full fridge, a table, three TVs, two bathrooms (one shower, one bath), a microwave and stovetop. I honestly don't know why people don't talk about Hyatt House more.

Baby's got her own room by Jury Duty

We really didn't do anything in Fishkill. There's a lake next to the hotel that we walked to, and there's a Walmart across the street where we got bread. (We only bought one loaf before, and we went through it really quickly. Oh, and we needed a broom back home.) Walmart was great, except for huge lines to check out (half of the check-out counters were closed for distancing).

Wednesday: The hotel offered boxed breakfast at the check-in counter. The three options of "mains" were oatmeal, Trix or Cheerios. Everything in the box was at least OUD, but the muffins tasted extremely processed. Also, there was clearly poor planning involved, as they had an orange and orange juice. It was perfect for our needs, though.

boxed breakfast by Jury Duty

At 12, we headed out. On impulse, we stopped in Wappingers Falls, where there's a really nice waterfall on the main road. We later discovered that, ironically, we had stopped in the location of one of the craziest stories of racial friction in modern history. (You can Google "Tawana Brawley".) We then moved onto Poughkeepsie.
My wife has been wanting to visit the Walk over the Hudson for a while, and that's the real reason we first though of Poughkeepsie. It's an old rail bridge converted to a pedestrian bridge, and you can walk over the Hudson River. We really enjoyed it, but only walked a half hour. Bathrooms were open.

Walk over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie, NY by Jury Duty

At 2 PM we headed up north. We didn't quite make it, as baby started screeching and we had to find a rest stop on the Turnpike. Again, bathrooms were open there. After the baby ate and played a little, we continued on.

Of course we see other Jews... Caption this! by Jury Duty

We drove through Saratoga Springs on the way to the Airbnb but didn't stop. The place was nice, but nothing to write home about. We had to do some strategic planning to put the crib in a quiet and dark spot, but it worked out alright. WiFi was reliable enough for my wife's client meeting the next morning.

Thursday: While the baby usually sleeps two hours in the morning and 1-2 hours in the afternoon, the previous day had taught us not to rely on two hours in the afternoon. So after an hour nap in the morning (when my wife worked), we woke up the baby and headed out. The plan was for her to sleep less in the morning and sleep through the long afternoon drive. We left at 11 and walked around Saratoga Springs. We bought the obligatory souvenir from a shop that was ecstatic to have customers. None of the stores had bathrooms open. We then went to the racetrack, but it was closed. Instead, we went to Congress Park, which is a nice park in the middle of town. The Holiday Inn adjacent to the park had open bathrooms. I never thought it would be such a challenge to find a bathroom, but it's a surprising obstacle for Covid trips.
Next stop was Lake Saratoga. We drove the long way around for a nice scenic drive. At the SE corner of the lake, there's a public beach ($3 entrance, cash only). They were giving out masks, but most people didn't wear them. There were also benches and picnic tables (outside of the paid entrance) along the water. We then headed southwest to Big Indian.

Once we got off the Thruway, the drive was beautiful but we lost service. We drove through Woodstock, but didn't stop.
Cold Spring Lodge has six cabins with two or three bedrooms each. They have a pool for the summer (read: not yet), a swing set, a huge empty yard with the Esopus Creek meandering through it. They sell firewood and starter bricks for campfires and have a collection of games in the check-in cabin. Check-in was smooth, and the only contact we had was picking up the (physical) key. Aside for the lack of an eruv, I can see how this is a perfect getaway for a weekend.

Swimming the Esopus Creek by Jury Duty

Cold Spring Lodge, Big Indian, NY by Jury Duty

There was no AC, but it seemed pretty cool with the windows open and fans going. The real issue we had was that one of the windows was taped shut and another had a ripped screen. If we could have opened those, it would have been amazing. Without it, it was a little warm.

Friday: We checked out at 9:15 and headed out on our 2:45 hr drive. There were a couple of gas stations even before the main highway, so we were able to fill up. The baby fell asleep at 10 and woke up at 12, just as we were pulling up at home, the best drive she went through.
All in all, we enjoyed the time out of the city and the fresh air. We didn't do anything amazing, but it was very enjoyable.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 09:29:05 PM by JuryDuty »
Jury Duty: A time with nothing to do but chill and write a TR. Kinda like the beach without a view and an ocean breeze.

Offline shmelive

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Re: Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, and Big Indian: A Covid Road Trip
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2020, 05:47:39 PM »
Love the TR! Thanks for writing it up.

Offline theyankel

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Re: Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, and Big Indian: A Covid Road Trip
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2020, 09:07:34 PM »
great TR
gives some ideas between camp and school next week