Summer Fun in Isolation

The arts, entertainment and recreation sector is still closed but there are many ways to have fun early this summer

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Although businesses are opening, a sufficient increase in new COVID-19 cases may cause New York to close or limit how they operate. Although arts, entertainment and recreation represents the last category of business types slated to re-open, you can still find fun ways to get out this summer to have fit fun.

Retail – curbside pickup and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting are among the first categories opening.

Stop at a favorite local restaurant or store to pick up a healthful lunch to take your family on a picnic, whether at home or at a park. Ramp up the fun by selecting a theme like “New York-grown picnic” and choosing only items made in New York. Many restaurants that didn’t specialize in take-out pre-pandemic have adjusted to current times and may likely continue offering take-out. Bring along a Frisbee or other lawn game to spend more time outdoors.

Visit a produce farm for you-pick produce. Look up a farm near you at www.pickyourown.org/nycentral.htm, which maintains an updated list of farms in the region. Especially because of the pandemic, it’s important to call first so you can abide by the farm’s rules. For example, the farm may limit the number of pickers at a time or require that you use their containers. Some of the farm’s amenities like a children’s play area may not be available, so ask if you’re unsure. If you’re not up for picking, many farms on the site and other farmers operate farm stands providing fresh produce. Try a new recipe with your produce goodies at home.

Grab your pole and fishing license to try your angling skills in the region’s waterways. The DEC’s website (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html) shows where to go and offers online fishing licenses. Fishing licenses are also available over the phone at 866-933-2257.

Visit a park. Whether you want to select a location you haven’t hiked before or want to revisit an old favorite, many of the state’s parks (https://parks.ny.gov/parks) have remained open. Battle Island State Park (315-593-3408) features an 18-hold golf course and also geocaching. Clark Reservation Park (315-492-1756) boasts hiking, fishing and picnic pavilions. Its eclectic mix of environments—from meadows to wetlands to rocky cliffs—make its plant and bird life quite diverse.

It’s still advisable to maintain social distancing of six feet and to wear masks when that’s not possible. The parks may not have certain features and amenities open, so check the park’s website or call before heading out.

Play with your children at home. Indulge in the fun of a water balloon fight, sidewalk chalk drawing, or tossing a ball around. Build a goofy obstacle course or a disc golf course (use buckets as goals) and challenge them. Hang out with them in their kiddie pool. If your children are tired of your current outdoor games, they may have outgrown them or may have discovered parts are broken or missing. Invest in a few new ones, like badminton, croquet, lawn darts, lawn bowling or tetherball (great for small yards and small families).It’s good, fit fun that gets everyone moving.