Keep Calm And Kerri On: ‘Backyard Adventures’
Published: May 17th, 2021
By: Sun Columnist Kerri Green

Keep Calm and Kerri On: ‘Backyard Adventures’

Dear Friends,

When I was a kid my bedroom window faced the backyard, and I would look out on it and make plans, thinking of fun things I could do with my brother and sister. I would look at the tree in my neighbor’s yard, making a mental note to climb it later. If my mom had hung laundry on the line, I could see that from my window too; in fact I could hear when she was hanging laundry because the line and the pulley mechanism had a distinct sound as she would hang and move it down the line. From my vantage point I could also see my beloved swing set. My little sister and I spent endless hours on it, and we really loved the seesaw!

We would pump it back and forth, trying to go as high as we could, gaining such velocity that the ends of the swing set would slightly lift off the ground, and thump back. We would laugh so hard and get ready to do it again. Somehow, our mother would always have an instinct to look outside at the exact moment the swing set would rock, and would yell at us to stop going so high before we tipped the swing set over. To this day, I don’t know if that could actually happen or not, but despite the stern look and warnings from my mom we would do it again as soon as she went back inside.

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I also loved hanging upside down on the bar in the middle. There is a great picture of me; I must be about 8 or 9 years old, hanging upside down on the bar, my red, plastic jelly shoes perfectly pointed upwards, a big smile on my face and my very long hair nearly touching the ground.

As I got older my backyard adventures extended to the neighborhood kids and their backyards too. A good friend of mine lived just a couple streets over and I was allowed to walk the not-so-official trail between our streets, and then my backyard stretched a little further. When I finally learned to ride a bike, without getting hurt, my “backyard privileges” stretched to another friend who lived in a different part of town and I was allowed to bike there, as long as I took the back streets and stayed off of the main street.

It’s funny to think about the different adventures I had as a kid, depending on how far I was allowed to go and how far my “backyard” went. The older I got, the farther my boundary and the more daring my adventures were.

I love to travel, and now that I am an adult, my “backyard” has stretched all the way to Ireland, Mexico, California and so many places in between. Like you, I am really excited about having more opportunities this summer, and have been making plans to do some fun things with my family and friends. While you are looking at how to best spend your time away during the travel months, I encourage you to consider doing something a little closer to home this year.

Commerce Chenango serves as the Tourism Promotion Agent (TPA) for Chenango County, and our Director of Communications and Tourism, Audrey Robinson, has been working overtime with our travel and tourism partners around the state on a pretty amazing program. It’s called “Roam the Empire”, and the goal is to encourage us to look at the many opportunities and adventures available right here in New York State.

We all know that last year was incredibly hard on the travel and tourism industry. Travel last year was nearly non-existent and those that were able to keep their doors open really struggled.

From hotels and lodging, to restaurants, wineries, museums, parks, trails, ski resorts and secondary businesses that support the tourism and travel industry. There was massive loss across the industry, and despite the struggles this sector has found a way to reopen, and are ready to welcome you.

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I bet if you look at things to do within a two or three hour radius of your home, you would find endless opportunities and unique fun experiences that your family and friends would enjoy. Need some examples?

Each summer my friends and I end up in Keuka Lake for a few days. We visit some wineries, rent a pontoon boat, and check out the local shops. I also love visiting Ithaca. Not only do they also have great wineries, but there is also great shopping, restaurants, hiking and the waterfalls are magnificent! There is a girl scout camp there too, and my girls have spent summers there enjoying the outdoors.

In the fall my husband will take off to the Adirondacks for hunting camp, and at some point, there is usually a salmon fishing trip near Pulaski. Have you ever visited Rochester? The museums are so great, and I just read the other day that there is a new Van Gogh museum that’s an immersion kind of thing. The innovation from this industry is inspiring, and I am looking forward to seeing more of the Empire State this year!

You are probably wondering why I am talking about places other than Chenango County. “Roam the Empire” is about getting out of your traditional backyard and experiencing something new and exciting without leaving the state. “Roam the Empire” is promoting the entire state as a tourism destination. It is a united effort to promote the great state of New York and you will see “Roam the Empire” on many advertisements over the summer and into the fall.

When you are making plans to travel, consider adding an adventure that is closer to home too. New York State has a lot to offer and the Tourism & Travel Industry needs our help. This is great time to expand your horizon, and go play in someone else’s backyard for a while. “Roam the Empire” and support New York State businesses!

If you are interested in “Roaming” opportunities throughout the state, check out, and click on the travel guide, download the official Chenango County Travel Guide on the site, or watch our for more on "Roam the Empire”.

I am ready to explore a new “backyard” … how about you?

~ Kerri


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