Taking the dog for his morning walk this week I noticed a new crispness to the air that told me that fall is on its way. It’s hard to believe that stores are having back to school specials and we’re already making plans for Labor Day weekend. The start of school is just around the corner. As a retired school teacher, I know it’s a bittersweet time of year that hits us with a range of emotions from excitement about a new start and seeing old friends to nervousness about learning a new schedule, and even trepidation that winter is not far off.
But, let’s not rush things. There is still plenty of beautiful weather left, and some would even say the best is yet to come. There are lots of great things to see and do here in Orange County no matter the season. So I urge you all to embrace the moment, seize the day, and live for the present. Grab a friend or loved one and get out there, try something new, and see what’s happening in Orange County.
Did you know that the Orange County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a County department this year? Parks Commissioner Richard Rose, his Parks team, and I are very proud of the outstanding facilities, services, and programs that comprise the Orange County Park System. It encompasses 16 different locations and manages and maintains more than 3,300 acres of parkland throughout the County. Across County parkland you’ll find two 18-hole championship golf courses, an arboretum, group and family picnic sites, camping sites, multi-purpose trails, 11.5 miles of linear trails, multi-purpose sports fields, playgrounds, equestrian area, observation tower, tennis courts, ponds, waterfront areas with a rooftop boat launch area on the Wallkill River, and plenty of open space. Plus, when the weather turns cold, there’s a skating rink, fantastic snow tubing park, cross country ski trails, and much more. We truly have something for everyone in the family.
For a complete look at what’s available through the Orange County Parks System, visit their website at www.orangecountynyparks.com. There you will find a full listing of all of the County parks and the amenities available at each. There’s also a listing of upcoming events available for your viewing. You can make your reservation now to get a camp site for Labor Day weekend at Winding Hills. There’s still time to catch a concert at the Barn at Hill-Hold on a Saturday evening.
The concert on August 24th will also feature a chicken barbecue fundraiser to benefit the Friends of Hill-Hold. On September 8th, the Friends of the Orange County Arboretum are hosting their 10th annual garden tea. Weeknight concerts at the Arboretum as part of the Newburgh Jazz and Pop, Rock, and DooWop concert series will also continue on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through August 28th. Grab a picnic and a lawn chair and check it out.
The Arboretum is also the sight of a beautifully moving 9-11 tribute each year. If you’ve never been, I encourage you to join us to remember our 44 Orange County neighbors who were lost that tragic day, as well as those servicemen and women who have been lost defending our freedom since then. The ceremony begins at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11th.
So, please join me in wishing "Happy Anniversary" to our beautiful Orange County Parks System this year. You can share in the celebration by checking out one of our great locations across the County.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.