Family Appeal

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December 12, 2011
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Family Appeal

I had the opportunity to accompany Avi Kaptzan of Kay New Century Tours on a familiarization tour of the Mohawk Towpath Byway.  The “fam” tour was arranged by Lori Duell from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.  It was an excellent opportunity to see the Byway from another perspective.

One thing that I know we are good at is marketing to a certain demographic.  That demographic is a mature couple, “empty nesters”, perhaps newly retired.  Look around our Board meeting next month.

The question I came away with was, “What can we offer families?”  A road trip?  Families have their best experiences when they get out of the car.  That’s exactly what a number of us have been trying to do for the last twelve years as we created and now implement our corridor management plan.  So what’s the best way to get families out of the car?

Family Fun

On one of the back trails of Peebles Island State Park in Waterford. Photo by Henrietta O'Grady.

Have you taken your grandchildren to the river bed trail at the foot of Cohoes Falls?

Sure you have seen the big boats come through one of the huge locks in Waterford.  Kids look at this as a boat elevator, and for parents… none of the water that raises the boats is pumped.  Still have questions about how a lock works?  Visit the Waterford Museum where they have a working model.  If that doesn’t appeal how about the model of the Burr Bridge.  Can your protege make that out of “Legos”?

Take your family for a spin in a kayak or canoe at any number of access points on the Byway.  Watch nature unfold around you.  Now that it’s winter see how many different animal tracks you can find in a new dusting of snow.

Last time I took my (reluctant?) grandsons for a walk in the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve an American Eagle circled overhead at tree top level for a magnificent show.  Grandpa may have forgotten his camera, but I will never forget the kids’ awe.

A rainy day? Visit the Schenectady Museum.  They have something that will interest every member of the family.  And be sure to take the kids into Schenectady City Hall and stand them in the center of the rotunda on the first floor then dare them to speak (and listen).  That will keep them entertained as parents soak in the majestic architecture.

What is your favorite story about introducing someone to a discovery moment on the Mohawk Towpath Byway?  Sharing that story is the best way we can learn during “hospitality training”.  Share your experience in the comment opportunity below.

By the way, doing a “fam” tour with someone else on the Byway is the best way to learn new secrets along the Byway.  Share a few: learn a few.

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