Burnt Hills family wins our #DGSummer100 activity contest

The Weeks completed 79 of 100 things to do
Lower right: The Weeks family, from left, Maria, Lauren, Kelsie and Kurt; and photos of the girls enjoying a busy summer.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Lower right: The Weeks family, from left, Maria, Lauren, Kelsie and Kurt; and photos of the girls enjoying a busy summer.

BURNT HILLS — It started out as a summer activity list for the Burnt Hills family.

But when the Weeks family realized there was a contest involved, everything changed. Parents Maria and Kurt, along with their daughters Kelsie and Lauren, turned the fun list into more of a game plan. 

After completing 79 of The Daily Gazette’s 100 Things to do this Summer and documenting it all on Instagram, the Weeks family won first prize in the #DGSummer100 Instagram contest. The list, which was printed in The Gazette’s Summer Edition supplement, was packed with ideas for things to do over the summer. The contest invited people from across the Capital Region to try out some of the things on the list, snag a photo of it and upload it to Instagram with the hashtag DGSummer100.  

“My mom actually took the newspaper copy and highlighted a couple of the things she thought we could do because my parents are retired and we usually do some adventures with them in the summer,” Maria Weeks said. 

The family usually goes to Thacher Park and a few other places with their grandparents throughout the summer. Maria is a school librarian in the Schuylerville Central School District and has the summers off with her daughters. They’re always looking for things to do during the long stretch of days off between June and September.  

The “100 Things to do this Summer” contest was an added incentive to do more with their summer. 

“Because sometimes we might sit and watch too much tv in the summer and we need something to do,” Maria said.

“I would have stayed on the couch all summer,” Kelsie agreed. 

Instead, every week was filled with a few adventures of The Gazette’s list: from taking the Saratoga National Historical Park 100 Mile Challenge to boating on Lake George to grabbing dinner at Jumpin’ Jacks to visiting more than a few museums, the Weeks family had a packed summer. 

“There were multiple times when I would come home and they would [have done] three or four things on the list,” Kurt said. 

There were, of course, a few challenges along the way to winning first place. 

“Some Things were easier than others,” Maria said.

One number on the list that stumped them: “Shop for Amish baked goods and quilts on the back roads of Montgomery and Schoharie counties.”

After a few attempts to find the shops, the Weeks started asking for advice. A few people at Kulak’s Nursery and Landscaping — where the family went to check off number 54 on the list — recommended heading out to Route 5s to find a few shops, but family friends recommended some other spots. After a few tries, they came away with nothing.

Finally, on one of their trips, Lauren spotted a strawberry stand that was run by an Amish family. Maria got a photo of the property and uploaded it to Instagram. 

“We probably would never have gone to try to find the Amish if it wasn’t on the list,” Lauren said. 

Nor would they have gone to the State Fair. 

On a work night (for the sake of the contest), Kurt drove the family out to the fair in Syracuse. They tried everything from the chocolate milk to the Belgian waffles and took a grand tour of the fair before Kurt finally had to coax the kids out at closing time.  

“… he basically [had to] drag me and my friend out of there,” Kelsie said. 

But it wasn’t the only item on the list the kids had to be coaxed home from.

“Bromley was really fun. We also had to be dragged out of there like the State Fair,” Kelsie said. 

They took the Bromley alpine slide, went on a ropes course and went zip lining all for the first time. 

The Weeks also discovered a few local on-goings, like the drum circle in Schenectady. 

“That’s something we never would have gone to. Most things we either knew about or could look up online, but apart from the list  [we wouldn’t have known].” Maria said. 

After winning the #DGSummer100 contest, and gaining some expertise in how to do summertime in the Capital Region right, the Weeks have a few suggestions for next year’s list: add mini golf, camping, a visit to miSci and a walk along the pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam.

Categories: Life and Arts

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