Recap: North Face Endurance Race Weekend- Bear Mountain, NY

Even when we are not traveling, Kim and I like to keep busy and do and see things in our city (New York) or around the tri-state area. We are always visiting new restaurants, street fairs, festivals and exploring new neighborhood…
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Especially when traveling with a child, I think it makes sense to make a weekend out of activities that are a bit further from home. For us it’s more about balancing things that we enjoy and activities that will entertain the little one.
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A couple of weeks ago I ran in the North Face Endurance Challenge 5K for the second year in a row. (Check out my post about last year’s race HERE)
Last year the race kicked my butt and after doing it a second time I’ll say that this is definitely the toughest race that I’ve entered.
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I guess that I like torturing myself because I’m already looking towards next year’s race and thinking about entering the 10K race. Kind of crazy since I’ve haven’t yet run a 10K!
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The race took place upstate New York at Bear Mountain State Park. Due to the early start we slept in the vicinity of the park. I wasn’t going to just head up there at night to sleep so we headed upstate early and made a mini-trip out of it.
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Here is what we did over the weekend:
We were looking to check out an area upstate that wasn’t too far from Bear Mountain. After considering a few different ideas (nothing too exciting), Kim came out with a good option. We could stop by Warwick, NY to visit the Pennings Orchard & Farm Market to check out the market and their “barnyard buddies”. Lucas loves dogs so we figured that he would love to see some of the farm’s buddies like goats, llamas, chickens, rabbits, ducks and sheep.

When we arrived at Pennings, we checked out the market first. Nothing really stood out besides getting an apple cider doughnut to share. We started chatting with one of the employees and asked where the animals were and were told it was too cold out for them. (I guess it was too early in the season since it was a gorgeous day.)

The only animals we could visit and feed were the chickens. This definitely didn’t sound too exciting but ended up being a lot of fun. Lucas loved hearing (and copying) the noises that the chickens made. At first my brother and I were hesitant to feed the chickens. I know that I didn’t want to get my hand pecked by them. My brother went first and his hand survived the ordeal so then I gave it a try. The chickens were pretty gentle considering they were battling for food against many others of their kind.

Lucas enjoyed watching the chickens eat from our hands until I jokingly screamed OUCH! He must have thought that I was hurt so he started to cry.

Lucas getting measured
Pennings Famous Fish

Pennings also serves food at their Harvest Grill. A family that we were chatting with earlier had an order of the fish & chips which looked awesome. I asked how it was and was told that it was the best fish and chips they ever had. The fish batter was supposedly made from the doughnut mix.

We ordered a basket of fish minus the chips and enjoyed a slightly sweet freshly fried snack. I’d definitely recommend trying it if you happen to end up in Warwick, NY! (Yea I know probably not likely.)

After leaving Pennings, we headed over to Warwick’s Main Street. It didn’t take too long to walk the entire thing. It was lined with lots of restaurants and shops. We decided to grab lunch at a restaurant known for its pizza. It was located a block from Main Street and not very good.

Tasty Vanilla
None of the stores really caught our eyes besides one- CVS. My brother and I went in to see if they had any vanilla reloads. They were well stocked and in plain sight. Besides lunch, this was the only purchase we made.
Tourism Office

Free parking was available near the tourism office. The office caught my eye due to it being located in an old railroad car. Too bad it wasn’t open. I would’ve liked to have seen what was doing inside.

Our next stop was due to a find from Yelp. While walking around Warwick, we searched for things to see or do around the area. A popular ice cream shop called Bellvale Farms Creamery came up.
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While Warwick was pretty quiet, there wasn’t an open spot in the creamery parking lot when we first got there. We were surprised to see a line to get inside to order. While on line we chatted with a guy in front of us. He said that the lines were much longer in  the summertime. He also mentioned that people drive from a couple of hours away just for Bellvale Creamery.

Don’t expect to find your typical chocolate, vanilla and strawberry here. The creamery had lots of interesting flavors. Kim and I shared a small mixed with two flavors.

  • Bellvale Bog– dark chocolate ice cream mixed with brownie dough and fudge swirl
  • S’mores– graham cracker ice cream with marshmallow and chocolate swirl that takes you back to the campfire.
Our flavor selection went well together but if I visited again, I’d get all S’mores. Both flavors were rich, creamy and full of flavor. Lucas really loved it too!
After our visit to Warwick we headed over to the Woodbury Commons Outlets to do some shopping for Lucas. I’m not a big fan but Kim enjoyed her mini-shopping spree and we found lots of stuff for the little guy.
The North Face Endurance Challenge was the main event for our weekend.
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After catching the school bus from the parking area to the race site we picked up our bib # and checked out some of the partner and sponsor booths. Some favorites at the event were Smartwool and Clif Bar. I would’ve liked to have seen a big tent with North Face gear on display.
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Entrants into all of the races (they had multiple races happening over the weekend including a 5K, 10K, half marathon, 50K, 50 miler…) got a very nice North Face shirt. After the race, they had an on-site screen printing tent where they then print the image of your race on your shirt within a couple of minutes. Definitely a nice touch!
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All runners also received a pair of Smartwool socks. I’m definitely a fan of Smartwool so this was a nice perk! I chatted with the Smartwool reps for a while and heard they would be doing a giveaway later in the day. This was a lot of fun. They went around giving out numbered stickers. You then had to go find your match and for doing so you received a free pair of their awesome, wool socks. They gave away a few hundred pairs of socks which was very generous of them.

The race itself was pretty difficult. There were lots of rocky areas and up/ down hill sections. The uphill areas were extremely difficult but otherwise I really enjoyed the course. Trail running is not my usual thing as there aren’t many trails nearby to run on.
After participating this race for the second year in a row I’m thinking of looking for trails to train on in the future!

Lodging:
We decided to use our points for our hotel stay. After searching around, we found availability at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites West Point- Fort Montgomery.

The hotel was in a convenient location, under 15 minutes from Bear Mountain. We chose  a room with two queen beds so we could share it with my brother and sister-in-law. The room was a decent size and very clean. I had no complaints besides the fact that they only gave three towels to a room booked for four adults. A quick call solved that problem.

To pay for our stay, it would’ve cost $199.00. I used some Priority Club points so our stay came out to 25,000 points. Definitely a decent value.

The North Face Endurance Challenge is a fun and exhausting race which I’m looking forward to competing in again next year.

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