15 Family Friendly Spooky Places in New York State

15 Family Friendly Spooky Places in New York State. Halloween is a spooktacular time of year! Ghosts and goblins abound everywhere - and most especially in New York State. Spooky and fun family attractions your entire clan will love abound in this great state, so I have gotten together a list of my favorite 15 Family Friendly Spooky Places in NYS for you to visit and explore. Have a haunting good time.


Halloween is a spooktacular time of year! Ghosts and goblins abound everywhere – and most especially in New York State. Spooky and fun family attractions your entire clan will love abound in this great state, so I have gotten together a list of my favorite 15 Family Friendly Spooky Places in NYS for you to visit and explore. Have a haunting good time.

15 Family Friendly Spooky Places in New York State

Halloween season is fast approaching. As summer gives way to cooler temps, leaves abandon their trees and stories of ghouls and goblins patrolling the night are being told over apple cider and hot cocoa. If you are the mood for spooky Halloween sites but do not want to frighten your own little ghouls and goblins too much, here are some suggestions for Family Friendly Spooky Places in New York State!

New York State is one spooky place! Stories abound of ghouls and ghost at Indian burial sights, haunted mansions, and early colonial spirits. Some stories are of mere hauntings, while other specter sightings are much more elaborate. This list includes those places that are spooky but may still be appropriate for children. Please use your best discretion as to what level of fright you believe that your children will be to handle – and not have nightmares.

Whether it is Halloween-themed pumpkin decorations, haunted walks or train rides, New York offers a variety of activities and attractions for families to celebrate a friendly and safe Halloween season. Stay warm and have fun trick or treating!

Beardslee Manor & Castle – 123 Old State Rd, Little Falls, NY
Another beautifully restored home that is now a restaurant, Beardsley Manor hosts weddings and receptions – and maybe a few ghosts as well. During the 1700’s, the home served as the storage depot for munitions. Stories are told of some Native American warriors who broke into the home who set off the munitions with the flames from their torches. Their spirits are now seen wandering through the dining and ballrooms. There also have been numerous reports of rainbow colored and bright lights showing up at various places on the estate where there is no reason for those to occur. More spirits wandering perhaps?

Explore & More’s Not So Scary Halloween Spooktacular – Buffalo area
Dress your little ghosts and goblins in their favorite costumer and head to Buffalo’s Explore & More Children’s Museum for the Not So Scary Spooktacular Oct. 28. The two-hour event (noon-2 p.m.) features indoor trick or treating, games, and activities.
300 Gleed Ave, East Aurora, NY 14052

Ghosts of NYC Walking Tours – New York, New York
There are a multitude of places that are haunted or having spooky connotations in New York City. The best way to see them is on a walking tour. Each tour covers less than a mile of walking and takes about 90 minutes. There are ghost tours, tours celebrating Edgar Allen Poe and even George Washington.

Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze – Croton-On-Hudson
You may not see the Headless Horseman, but you’ll encounter lots of carved pumpkin faces at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Located an hour’s drive north of New York City, the Hudson Valley is home to about 7,000 decorated jack-o-lanterns waiting to entertain your family. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze invites your family to tour the pumpkins, including light shows choreographed to music. Pumpkins feature a variety of displays, each designed to entertain visitors. The event runs nightly Oct. 4-31, after opening the weekend of Sept. 28. It also four weekend dates in November. An added bonus – children three and younger get in for free.

Grimsley’s Gorge Haunted Walk – Oswego
Prepare for a chillingly good time for the entire family as Grimsley’s Gorge hosts its annual Haunted Walk Oct. 26-28. While older kids and adults may enjoy a walk in the darkness, unaware of the fear waiting to envelop them, younger children are encouraged to visit during the day, when monster-less paths can be safely followed.
376 SW 8th St, Oswego, New York 13126

Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses – Ulster Park, New York
There are all kinds of opportunities for scary family fun here. There is a mile long hay stack ride and six separate haunted houses. There is also a corn maze and a walk through adventure! There is elaborate staging in each house and there is a story to follow for each one as well.

Kingsbury Cemetery Haunted House
Galleria of Shops, 100 Victory Highway, Painted Post, New York – The theme for this haunted house changes from year to year. This Haunted House is not recommended for children under 12, although they will not deny entry to younger children. Special “not so scary” Sunday Kids Matinee event.

Monster Mash and Bash New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center 260 Madison Avenue, Albany, NY
2-4 p.m. 4th Floor Terrace, Free
Join the New York State Museum for the new Halloween Spooktacular filled with tricks and treats for everyone! This event will feature crafts, games, dancing, story-telling, and spooky science. Costumes are encouraged—we will have a children’s costume parade at 3 pm. A special appearance by Pumpkin Head will add fun and excitement to the festivities! Come out for a Spooktacular time!

The Old Bermuda Inn – 301 Veterans Rd West, Staten Island, New York
This is an old house that has been renovated to house a restaurant. The house is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman. She has been seen walking through the dining room and walking up the staircase in the main entry. Those eating have reported feeling cold breezes and pressure on their arms and shoulders.

Old Fort Niagara – Youngstown, NY
Old Fort Niagara is famous for its many ghost stories. Encounter them firsthand as you take our Lanterns and Lore Ghost Tour. Walk the dark rooms and corridors of the French Castle and other buildings illuminated only by lantern light and hear about the headless ghost, the spectral count and the hobgoblin. Discover other more recent unexplained phenomena such as phantom soldiers and ghostly orbs.
Groups leave at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 per person and must be purchased in advance by calling (716) 745-7611. Group size is limited. Tickets go on sale September 4. There will be no tickets available at the door.

• Spook Hill Newell Road, Middlesex, NY
Starting this list off with a place called “spooky hill” seems fitting. Legend has it that if you put your car in neutral at a certain spot on Newell Road in Middlesex, Native American spirits will push your car back up the hill. Drive to the top of the big hill, sit and be spooked as your car rolls backward up the hill! Here are the exact coordinates.
Note: beware as oncoming traffic will not see you.

Smith-Ely Mansion – 39 W. Genesee St, Clyde, New York – This house has been converted into a bed and breakfast, but it is said to have multiple ghosts. The spirits of many of the former residents have been seen by locals and visitors alike. During renovations, there were so many people who stopped by to tell their stories of hauntings that one worker declined to work on the project any longer.

Trick or Treat Train Rides – Rochester
All aboard! Ride the rails for some Halloween fun with the Rochester & Genessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Trick or Treat Train Rides Oct. 27. Children are encouraged to wear their favorite Halloween costumes as they participate in trick or treating among the museum’s attractions. Ride tickets can be purchased for trips between and 2-7 p.m. Train tickets also allow time to tour the museum’s displays. Families can enjoy complimentary apple cider and cookies during the event.

USS Sullivans Canalside, Buffalo, New York – Five brothers of the U.S. family, the Sullivans, were stationed on the USS Juneau during WWII. The ship was sunk and all five brothers died. To honor the family’s service, the Navy commissioned the building of the USS Sullivans. It was eventually retired and brought to Buffalo for its permanent home. George Sullivan is said to wander the decks looking for his lost brothers who were below deck when they were all killed.

ZooBoo at Seneca Park Zoo – Rochester
Creatures that go bump in the light of day will haunt Seneca Park Zoo during ZooBoo weekends in October. Young visitors are encouraged to dress in their favorite Halloween costumes and participate in the costume contests Oct. 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28. Visitors can meet zoo staffers wearing their favorite costumes, as well as participate in Halloween-themed games, crafts, and activities, including face painting. Tour the conservation graveyard during your visit. Participants can also take part in animal enrichment programs. ZooBoo tickets ($6.50) are in addition to the regular zoo admission for people participating in the activities. While children under two get into the zoo for free, they will need a ZooBoo ticket if parents are going to have them participate in the activities.
2222 St. Paul Street Rochester, NY 14621

• Looking for more spooktacular places to go in New York State? Here my list of Top 10 Spooky Places to Visit in New York State. Be warned, they are not for the faint of heart, and most likely not for young children.

• For more spooktacular spots to visit in New York State, check out the haunted history trail!

101 Non Candy Halloween Treat Ideas
Need alternatives to candy this Halloween for school or house parties or to hand out to trick or treaters? This list of 101 Non-Candy Halloween Treat Ideas has something for everyone.


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St Augustine, Florida, 2017

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


Every Friday when I send out my weekly newsletter, I include a few updates on what is going on in the Ann’s Entitled Life household. However, I am unsure how long I will be keeping those old newsletters, and this blog is supposed to be my diary, so I like to give a bit of a round-up on occasion on what is going on in our lives so I can look back 10 years and reminisce.

This year, we are once again at our condo in the St. Augustine area snowbirding. We’ve owned the condo for four years now, and Hubby is getting happy feet. We are probably going to list it in April, and see if it sells. If it doesn’t… well, we come back next year.

This is on top of still looking for a new home back in Western New York. That has been more difficult than we had hoped it would be. We know what we want, where we want it, and it becoming more apparent as time goes by that that home may not exist. (We will not build as our personalities are not made for the trials of building a home.) Also, the market back home is much hotter than down here in Florida, and the supply back home where we want to live are extremely tight. Not certain I want to overpay for a house with a view and then spend big-bucks renovating to make it liveable.

However, with a bit of luck, we could be selling two places this year and buying one in 2017. Thank goodness Hubby unloaded one of his rental properties last year and is considering unloading more this year. I can forsee a lot of real estate transactions in our future, or none… ah the real estate waiting game. Good times.

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


Anyhoooooo…. getting back to our time in St Augustine in 2017.

The weather has been outstanding. Not just good, but phenomenal. Oh sure we had a few days with highs in the 60s (that is amazing!! In a normal January we’d have been happy with that for most of the month’s highs nevermind lows for daytime high temperatures!), some rainy weekends and a tornado warning one day (ok, that was scary), but for the most part we’ve had lovely 70s and 80s with a fair amount of sun.

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


Max and I have made it our mission to go to the beach and walk in the (low tide) waves a few days a week. He is groomed on Fridays this year, so I take that into account. We had set up physical therapy for him in Jacksonville on Thursdays mainly for the water treadmill. Come to find out that the treadmill there was flat, no incline. Well, we can get the same results on the beach here, so I take him down on Monday (he’s already looking a little grubby after the weekend) and Wednesday for a good mile+ walk on the sand, and through the water.

Since traveling to Jacksonville and spending the day made no sense for PT after we nixed that water treadmill, we have a physical therapist come to the condo on Thursdays to give Max the rest of his therapy exercises and a laser treatment (for pain management). The PT vet said he is doing extremely well and she does feel the beach walks are helping him.

Mr. Max lowered his Prednisone dose this past Sunday, so the beach may also be necessary to deal with an increase in energy!

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


These photos show some of the damage from Hurricane Matthew last October. When we arrived in January, there was a dumpster in every driveway on A1A (not kidding). The Vilano Beach Pier was undergoing some repairs (since finished) and our condo building still had repairs being made in the basement (storage lockers). Two blocks with older homes and trailer homes seem to be toast. Considering all that will be going on in Vilano beach the next two years, I expect some pretty pricey housing to go up on those blocks.

There was one house on A1A that was on pylons for years. They had trucked in more sand for support two years ago and were working on the house for what seemed like forever. THAT house looks beautiful now. The rest of them? Well, you see in the photos above the damage done by the hurricane to some of the beach homes.

There is sand on the opposite side of the street on A1A too. If you had not been down here before the hurricane hit, you wouldn’t think anything of it. To me, it is odd to see. I followed along on twitter when Hurricane Matthew hit, and then the clean-up afterward. A1A here was covered in debris and sand, and the trucks came down the road and basically plowed everything out of the way before they reopened the bridge to people and traffic.

I did post Hubby and Sonny-boy’s ocean fishing experience here: Offshore Ocean Fishing – From Ocean to Table.

Hubby has been heading into Jacksonville once a week for shooting lessons. He’s getting quite proficient, and brings home is targets for me to “admire” more often than not.

St Augustine, Florida. Life in Vilano beach, early 2017. Photos of A1A, Vilano beach; white sand, strong waves, and sunshine. Taken 3 and 4 months after Hurricane Matthew.


For myself, I have been doing nothing. And enjoying every second I have been doing it! Publix has a B1G1 wine sale every week, and I found two new wines to put into my rotation: Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (we went back twice to get this one… omg good!) and Buried Cane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.

Hubby and I enjoy a “date day” every Tuesday. We go out, explore and/or shop, have lunch, etc. (We have a puppy sitter stop in so Max is not alone for too long.) Every Friday when Max goes to the groomer, Hubby and I have a good 4-5 hours to ourselves again too. We have hit all the resteraunts in the area we have enjoyed previously, and will not be off to new restaurants starting this Friday!

That is all that has been going on with use these early days of 2017. What is new with you and your family?


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Offshore Ocean Fishing – From Ocean to Table

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!





Hubby had wanted to go ocean fishing for a few years now, and the weather was never conducive to going when we had company (fishing is not for me). Until now. Sonny-boy came to visit us last week at our condo in Florida, and he and Hubby went out offshore ocean fishing.

The weather has been glorious the last few weeks in the St. Augustine area. Little rain, mostly sunny, and temperatures from 65°-80°. Unseasonably warm and clear! We will take it.

With this wonderful weather, came great fishing conditions. Normally, ocean fishing in January is not possible (the captain of the boat Sonny-boy and Hubby went out with said he normally goes out five times in January). When my brother was up two years ago in February, the ocean was too rough the whole week to go out. You need fairly decent weather to go out ocean fishing with a rod and reel.

Hubby looked into the offshore ocean fishing a bit for cost and regulation. The charter boat covers their fishing license (as I understand it is part of the fees the charter pays to Florida). Some boats do not go out very far, and Hubby wanted one that would go out far enough so they were not waving at the people on the beach.

He finally settled on a charter boat for him and Sonny-boy that was 6 hours long (other choices at this time of year were 4 hours and 8 hours. There is a dawn to dust choice in-season.) The cost was $650, so this is pretty expensive fish.

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


In Hubby’s words…

I went on a 6-hour offshore fishing trip with my stepson today off the coast of St. Augustine and Jacksonville, FL. I have only ocean fished once before, and that was in a small boat off Long Island years ago. This was a 36 foot 600 hp center console boat. Water was a bit choppy heading 10 miles offshore due to swirling winds. We then headed north about 10 miles towards Jacksonville.

For most of the time we had lines in the water, it was non-stop action. We were bottom fishing, and the fish would sometimes hit the bait before I had even set the reel. I must have caught over three dozen fish throughout the day. Unfortunately, most of them got thrown back in the water. We ended up keeping our limit of seabass (5 over 13″ each). Over half the fish we caught were red snapper, some nice sized ones, too, but we could not keep any. Also, I caught a 30# drum fish and a small strawberry grouper that had to go back.

If anyone has visions of relaxing while ocean fishing, forget it. There was no place to sit. Instead, you had to brace the front of your legs against the sidewall of the boat while holding the rod in your hands. This did not do my back any favors. With all the action, my wrists were actually getting tired.

Then, there was the mid-trip nausea and dry heaves for five minutes. The captain gave me credit for getting right back on the horse and continuing to fish afterward. I don’t mean to complain, I just wanted to relay my actual experience. The captain definitely delivered as far as finding where the fish were.

As I understand it, trolling-style fishing happens in the summer when the ocean water is warm. Maybe I will give that a try someday.

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Sonny-boy and Hubby each caught a drum fish. That is a picture of Sonny-boy with his. Sonny-boy is 6’5″ tall, so that is one big fish!!

Unfortunately, they had to toss them back. Not in season.

Hubby caught more than 15 red snapper fish (Sonny-boy caught 3) and had to toss them all back. According to the captain, they could not take any (I since found this website that suggests they could have each kept one, possibly two – red snapper.)

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


They ended up keeping 10 seabass (5 each).

After filleting (which was included), Hubby said they end up with about 3- 4 pounds of fish.
We had dinner, and then Hubby foodsavered the rest. (Be sure to click here for Hubby’s Vacuum Sealing Tips and Tricks!)

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


Fortunately, it was delicious because for the price per pound, it was the most expensive fish fry we ever had! 😛

A few notes – the amount of red snapper they caught (that was tossed back) was a surprise even to the captain. Apparently, the ocean is quite cold in January (it isn’t horrible when we walk the beach, but I would not want to go swimming right now). Normally little fish come up when it is warmer to feed.

Offshore Ocean Fishing - From Ocean to Table. A day of Atlantic Ocean offshore fishing on a charter boat in the St Augustine, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida area. The catch goes from ocean, to our dining room table!


The same for the pelicans. They will scoop up those fish and eat them. Right now, they are very hungry. There was a welcoming committee when they came back hoping for fish scraps. You cannot feed the scraps to the pelicans though as the bones could lodge in their throat.

Hubby and Sonny-boy both said they had a great time, although it was a lot of work and not the sitting in a chair while drinking a beer and hoping for a nibble idea most people have of fishing!


Disclosure: the links in this post may be affiliate links.

• For more Florida posts on Ann’s Entitled Life, click here.

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