With rising gas prices and growing environmental concerns “staycations” have growing appeal. There are lots of fun things to do right here on the Mohawk Towpath Byway. Take an hour or loose yourself for a day of discovery without spending a dine. Here’s 10 ideas. See if you can come up with others:
1. Take in a special event on the Byway. Most weekend days there is something special going on in one of the 8 communities along the Byway.
2. Volunteer. Call one of the eight local highway departments along the Byway and find a section of the Byway that has not be “adopted” for a roadside clean up. Most likely they will provide you with bags, reflective vests and even gloves to help you get started.
3. Go for a walk on the Byway. For starters pick a section of the Byway that has a sidewalk, parallel bike path or nature trail. See if you can measure a mile: 15 minutes at a brisk walk. How many different birds did you see, hear, or watch fly? How many people did you see and what were they doing to enjoy the Byway? Did you see any “wild life”? Was it cold blooded, mammal, or bird?
4. Put some “Listerine” in a spray bottle. Take your favorite pillow, summer blanket or beach towel, sketch pad, camera or the latest best seller novel and relax at a secluded spot on the Byway. Experiment with the “Listerine”… does it really work as good as the name brand area bug repellent?
5. Try “geocaching”. It’s like a modern day treasure hunt. There are several sites on or near the Byway. Visit www.geocaching.com and register. Then read “Getting Started”. It’s free. Or ask a friend to join you or ask how to use his or her GPS.
6. Dress up like a tourist… camera, free map from Town hall, broad brim hat, and French (or any other language) -to-English dictionary and “drop in” to one of the visitor centers on the Byway: Waterford Harbor, Peebles Island, Schenectady Museum, or the first floor of the Cohoes Music Hall. How many “foreign languages” can you hear?
And if it is a rainy day? Take advantage of the weather.
7. Borrow a fishing pole from friend or family member. Fish are more apt to bight in the rain. Does a ball of fresh bread work as well as earth worms? Don’t forget your umbrella and your bug spray.
8. Relax with that box of photographs you’ve wanted to organize. How many pictures are of friends and family having fun on the Byway?
9. Visit one of the six libraries within 5 miles of the Byway corridor. Find their local history section and peruse one of the topics that you’ve always been curious about: Erie Canal, Knox Canons, Native Americans and “the Falls”, geology of the eastern Mohawk Valley, Cohoes mastodon, historic business gazetteer, or family history for a starter.
10. Invent another activity on the “Byway” and fill us in on the details by commenting on this blog.