Over the past few weeks, I've heard more griping than usual about the Capital Region's supposed lack of culture and entertainment.
It's a gripe I've always found mystifying, and it's especially mystifying whenever I gaze at the local arts calendars, which are filled with all manner of events and diversions.
I used to scan these calendars to learn about concerts and movies coming to the area, but now I rely on them to tip me off to enriching family-friendly events that will appeal to me, my husband and our 8-month-old son.
What I've discovered is that we have plenty of options, especially now that the fall festival season is upon us.
Now, I've never been a big fan of festivals and the crowds and lines that go with them.
But there are a lot of smaller, lower-key festivals in out-of-the-way places, and fall is the perfect time for a day trip. If you're feeling bored by the Capital Region and antsy for something new and interesting, I recommend taking a chance on one of these events.
Chances are you won't be disappointed.
This past weekend, my husband and I took a chance on the Cherry Valley Kite Festival, which took us to a beautiful, rolling hillside overlooking the small Otsego County village.
As we approached, we could see kites floating and bobbing above the site, moving upon the breeze like large, fanciful birds.
Once there, we couldn't stop looking up -- at the animals and beasts dotting the bright, nearly-cloudless blue sky, as well as smaller, more conventional kites. There were hundreds of kite enthusiasts there, all having a grand time.
It was the perfect outing for a baby who is curious about the world and loves looking at people and brightly colored objects. But it was also a good outing for his parents, who enjoy getting out of the house and spending time outdoors.
I'm not sure where the rest of the fall festival season will take us, but I have some ideas.
And I'm eager to discover other events that, like the kite festival, are a little unusual, a little different.
The Capital Region has no shortage of options, but you've got to be willing to seek them out.
If you do, you'll make some pretty interesting discoveries -- and find that this area has a lot to offer, after all.
Reach Sara Foss at [email protected]