What do you think of when you think of Woodstock? Most people remember the world-renowned, rock ‘n roll music festival and see it as a defining moment in the hippie, 60’s counter-culture. But did you know that the Woodstock site in Bethel, New York also continues to entertain through its Cultural Arts Center, its various concert stages and halls as well as its Museum at Bethel Woods? We were recently invited to explore the area, stay locally, and enjoy the Center For The Arts immersion program for children. Here’s what we learned.
What a breath of fresh air this place was! Located just 90 miles from NYC, the expansive grounds, vibrant greenery, and lovely landscape had us city folk rejoicing in the countryside. I’m pretty sure I heard the Sound of Music’s, “the hills are alive” song playing in the background everywhere I went.
Think quaint restaurants, bed and breakfasts, antique shopping, farmer’s markets and friendly, down-to-earth people. It’s a relaxing lifestyle and a much needed getaway for Manhattanites like us. Additionally, the Catskills and Monticello are neighboring cities, so if you wanted, you could also visit a local casino, indoor waterpark, one of their famous hiking trails, enjoy a mountainside view or visit an alpaca farm like we did!
It stands for Peace.Love.Arts.You. For 5 days, kids aged 4-9 can enjoy imaginative play and hands-on arts instruction at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts with world renowned, and talented teaching artists. It’s a really fantastic opportunity for art-loving kids to work closely with professional artists, learn about the inspiration behind their work, and get mentored in such an intimate setting.
The day that we participated, the older kids group that Juliet was in, practiced watercolor painting techniques, learned about how to create depth and dimension by sketching with perspective, and focused on landscape drawing, intricately detailing sunsets and incorporating the use of shadows. I was really impressed at the depth of art education they imparted onto these budding artists. It was NOT simply a free-for-all, art class. They each grew their artistic vocabulary and became more skilled artisans in the process.
Fine art is not the only focus here though. Through the week-long drop-off camp, kids learn foundational skills in music, theater and dance too! It truly is a well-rounded arts camp! So not only does their educational experience enrich through learning programs, the kids create, and perform too! This is the perfect fit for a child like Juliet who enjoys arts ‘n crafts, dance, and theater!
Unbelievably, their 1 week program which daily runs from 9am – 4pm is just $250 per week. Read that again. I said per week, NOT daily like we are used to in Manhattan. What a freaking deal. With all the money saved on camp, you’ll be able to splurge on a hotel getaway & spa here haha!]
I’m far from being a history buff so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I truly enjoyed learning about the history of Woodstock, the 60s, and hippie culture. If all my history classes had been so interactive, and instructional through multi-media systems, I certainly would have enjoyed the subject more! We were scheduled to visit for an hour but because I really got into it and also wanted to stay to watch the Woodstock documentary, we were there for 2 hours.
BINDY BAZAAR TRAIL & GROUNDS
We were in Bethel during the most perfect weather weekend so it was with great delight that I explored the Bindy Bazaar trail and grounds around Woodstock! Nothing beats the smell of fresh air and sunshine on a summer day! The grounds were just beautiful to stroll through. I highly recommend doing so AFTER you’ve visited the museum to fully appreciate the rich history.
The Bindy Bazaar was a vibrant, fun little trail that combined textural tapestries with trees. Seeing artsy rainbow glimpses in the path ahead motivated me to walk further into this enchanted forest and it was a hike I will never forget. I highly recommend this!
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural organization that inspires, educates, and empowers individuals through the arts and humanities. You’ll see from their calendar of events and activities that they provide great sources of family fun entertainment ranging from seasonal festivals to musical concerts, to artsy camps for kids. For more information and to plan your visit, click here.
This was a sponsored post but as always, all opinions are 100% my own.