Nix Netflix: 7 Things to Do at Home That Aren't Binge-Watching | General Arts & Culture | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Nix Netflix: 7 Things to Do at Home That Aren't Binge-Watching 

From Live-Streaming Cultural Events to Ordering a Novel from the Local Bookstore, Your Brain Will Thank Us for These Enriching Suggestions

click to enlarge Panther Mountain - SIERRA FLACH
  • Sierra Flach
  • Panther Mountain

If you are self-quarantining at home, good job: You are doing your part to stem the spread of COVID-19. Now, what to do with all that time? While switching on Netflix is a tempting option, we've rounded up some more wholesome ways to spend your time at home, many of which include supporting local businesses.

Plan Your Next Getaway

It’s true, all COVID-19 health advisories say to stay put and shelter in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t daydream about your next weekend getaway. Spring and then summer will be here before you know it, and with any luck, we’ll have this coronavirus thing kicked by then.


So while you are (responsibly) waiting it out at home, do some online ogling and think about your next romantic getaway, girls’ weekend, or local staycation. We’ve recently published weekend guides to Phoenicia, Cold Spring, Newburgh, Catskill, Amenia, Accord, Warwick, and Woodstock, with everything from lodging picks and restaurant recommendations to boutiques, outdoor activities, and cultural destinations to help get your wheels turning.

Take a Hike

While social distancing practices include maintaining a distance of six feet from other people and avoiding social gatherings and contained public places, you are absolutely still allowed to take in some fresh air. In fact, some clean Catskills air would probably do us all a lot of good right now. Luckily the area has more than a dozen abundance of parks and preserves, so overcrowding won’t be not be an issue. Plus, on Sunday, March 15, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State is waiving entrance fees to all state, local, and county parks.


Between the Catskills, the Shawangunk Ridge, the Hudson and Appalachian Highlands, the Hudson River and all its tributaries—this is one of the best hiking regions in the country, with a wide variety of terrains and difficulty levels. Some of our favorites: Breakneck Ridge, Sam's Point, Mt. Beacon Fire Tower, Gertrude's Nose, Storm King Mountain, Overlook Mountain, Bash Bish Falls, and Lower Peter's Kill Loop.


Need to walk the dog, push the stroller, or power-walk through your podcast backlog? Here is a guide to the area’s rail trails. If you need a zen moment, here are some waterfall hikes. If you’re in a rush, here are 6 hikes under 60 minutes. If you’re feeling ambitious, here are three Catskills 3500 high peak hikes.

Read a Book

Put down the cell phone, stash the laptop, grab a book, and cozy up. Almost all our favorite independent local bookstores are shipping books through their online stores, like Postmark Books in Rosendale, and many are also offering local delivery for free. This is a great way to support these local 


Rough Draft in Kingston has closed its physical location but is taking book orders by email and will arrange delivery to anyone within a 30-minute radius of the shop (along with Counter Culture coffee beans and DUB pies.) If you live further away, order online. Golden Notebook in Woodstock is selling and shipping books through its online store as well as offering free same-day delivery of anything currently in stock. Oblong Books & Music has closed both its Rhinebeck and Millerton locations but is offering free shipping on all online orders. 


Need some book ideas? The New York Times bestsellers’ list is always a sure bet. And here’s a recent roundup of local literary picks from six Hudson Valley bookstore owners.

Clean Out Your Closet

Take this time of imposed isolation to go all Marie Kondo on your closet (and, hey, why not your partner’s and your kids too?) and open up a little room for joy. That summer frock you haven’t worn once for the past three years? That suit jacket that chafes under the arms? That oversized flannel you just can’t seem to pull off? Bag ‘em.


Area charities like People’s Place are continuing to accept donations for people in need, but if social distancing recommendations have you weary about dropping off your donations, clean your closet anyway and stash the bags in the attic for post-pandemic drop off.

Shop Local, Online

With everyone staying home, small businesses in the Hudson Valley and across the nation are taking a real financial hit—owners and employees alike. Let’s help our mom-and-pop shop neighbors stay in business, with some online shopping. From home goods to vintage clothing to local provisions and apothecary products, there are loads of Hudson Valley shops with e-commerce platforms. Give the Amazon cart a rest and shop local, online.

And don't forget your musician friends. With bars and venues on mandatory closure in New York State and across the nations, musicians are taking a big hit, with paid gigs being cancelled left and right.  Aside from donating to Sweet Relief's COVID-19 emergency fund for musicians, consider supporting the local bands you love directly. Head to their site to purchase merch, make a donation on Bandcamp, buy that album.

Take a Class

The Mid-Hudson Valley Library System has closed most of its locations, but their website offers members a wealth of resources, including foreign language courses (bongiorno!) and online classes through Universal Class, ranging from history to psychology to creative writing, accounting, entrepreneurship, and web development.

Also if you're itching to movement, why not sign up for an online yoga classes. Many of the Hudson Valley's yoga studios have gone digital, with pre-recorded videos, live stream classes, and video conferencing. Boom! Don’t let this quarantine get you down.

Get Your Culture On (Remotely)

Just because you’re stuck at home, that’s no reason to sink into a black hole of junk food, daytime television, and self-loathing. The country’s leading cultural institutions are doing their damndest to bring high-quality programming to you right in your very own living room, bedroom, bath tub, back porch, or wherever you are.


The Metropolitan Opera is offering a series of free nightly opera streams, kicking off with Bizet’s “Carmen,” which you can watch through a player on their site or through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV. Other institutions have followed suit. Broadway world is offering Living Room Concerts, a sweet and intimate way to hear Broadway stars perform from the comfort of your (and their) homes. From the Guggenheim in New York to the Musee d’Orsay in Paris to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, over 75 world-class museums are offering virtual tours of their collections. 


And locally, in Tivoli, renowned dance center and artist residency Kaatsbaan will be live streaming masterclasses, studio visits/rehearsals, and shows over social media. They’ll be releasing a schedule of digital events soon on their website and over social media.

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