Why I love living in New York’s Hudson Valley: there is some funky big stuff to see, like a 13-foot garden gnome, a 37-foot Buddha, a 31-foot fork in the road, and a tall Paul Bunyan statue complete with chest hair. Settle down, we’ll eventually get to posts about all of these!
Here’s a little something to tide you over:
Where we went, and who was coerced into going:
Curiosity and proximity have lured us to the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope in Mt. Tremper on two occasions.
WHY did you go there, exactly?
The four of us frequently head out in the family roadster to see the local sights. Mainly because if we stay home, I’m forced to listen to the background music of the Mario Galaxy game which The Boy plays on the Wii, and it makes me cranky.
The first time we went, we were on a weekend trip with friends. Our families meshed perfectly; the moms were friends, the dads were poker buddies, my son and their daughters were about the same ages. These were the tranquil days before The Girl arrived to rock our world. It was one of those sweet “family dating” relationships where everyone gets along in shared interests. Sigh.
The second time, The Girl was on the scene.
Okay, what was so cool about it?
The kaleidoscope is inside a tall black silo located within the Emerson Country Store. The store itself is a minefield of breakable but beautiful kaleidoscopes available for sale. As soon as they spotted us toting a toddler, the staff sensed destruction and quickly escorted us to the interior of the silo. We had the choice of lying on the floor to watch the show overhead, or leaning on tilted back boards.
The ten-minute show – colorfully prismatic, musically fast-paced, and somewhat psychedelic – is reflected off three 37-foot tall mirrors. If your supply of hallucinogens is running low, come here instead for a similar effect.
The soundtrack is a mix of folk, jazz, big band, psychedelic rock and patriotic music. The high-quality sound system was too much for The Girl, who was just 22-months old at the time. She made it through half before demanding an escape.
Also, the kaleidoscope is only about 15 minutes away from Chomsky, the aforementioned 13-foot garden gnome, and 30 minutes from the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, which connects Highland to Poughkeepsie. So if you’re looking for a “Go BIG” trifecta, this is an easy day to check a few off the list! It’s also less than 45 minutes from Kaaterskill Falls, the tallest waterfall in New York State.
A little background info about the place:
The kaleidoscope opened in 1996. The silo, part of a restored 19th century dairy barn, is over 56 feet tall. The kaleidoscope itself was designed by award winning kaleidoscope artist Charles Karadimos. Not surprisingly, the video imagery was designed by Isaac Abrams, a pioneer in the psychedelic art movement of the 60’s, and his son Raphael, a computer artist. Accompanying the visuals is a musical score by Gary Burke, a local composer and drummer who has worked with Frances Ford Coppola and Bob Dylan.
Three seasonal shows rotate. They include: America, The House We Live In; Metamorphosis; and Hexagram Holiday.
How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
5. Entertaining, but pretty short. And, ironically, comparable to the Mario Galaxy music in terms of sending me into Cranky Land.
Hey you! Go BIG!:
The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. 5340 Route 28, Mt. Tremper, NY. 845-688-5800
Go BIG BONUS!!!
You’ve just wasted several minutes reading this post. Extend your unproductive screen time on this fun site where you can design your own virtual kaleidoscope! It has my parental seal of approval; The Boy LOVES this!
I found this on VeryShortList, a cool site which sends me a short daily e-mail describing intriguing picks for all types of entertainment-websites, movies, books, etc.