How to Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

How to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Where to start and what else to do on a bucket list adventure in New York City.

Since world wide travel opportunities are still limited, making day trips to nearby sites has been my go to for adventure this spring. We will be moving from New York soon, so I have scoured the internet with nearby places of interest to visit before we become full time Floridians.

Brooklyn has had a surge of lively interest with young professionals moving into areas that were considered sketchy or even dangerous back in the 1980s. The area under the Brooklyn Bridge, known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is one of the most visited and trendy sections of Brooklyn. When we were dating, Pete and I went to a Broadway show and then out to dinner at the River Cafe which sits under the Brooklyn Bridge floating on a barge in the East River. The dress code is men in jackets for this fabulous restaurant with impressive views of the downtown Manhattan skyline. You can read about that adventure here: A New York City night out on the town.

That was my first trip to Brooklyn and it was impressive yet I wanted to spend more time in the area, specifically walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. So when my sister came up to visit a few weeks ago I mentioned this activity on my bucket list of things to do in New York before I move and she was in. Her daughters were excited to join us and had the most fun creating memorable Instagram award winning photos!

For us it made sense to drive into New York City. We were coming from a visit upstate in Beacon, New York and Brooklyn would be, sort of, on our way home to Long Island. I have driven in New York City before but it can be stressful. Luckily my 24 year old niece offered to take the steering wheel, so my job was to simply keep the phone charged with directions for a parking garage near the Brooklyn side of the bridge.

The first garage we approached was already filled at 12:00 noon on a Monday, but after a few turns we found another parking garage. The fee was $25 for 10 hours so we took our water bottles and left the car there for the day. Our first stop was Pebble Beach which we found by accident. We witnessed 3 circus acrobats doing handstands on the beach. While that was fun to see, it was more fun to stand on the rocks and take photos of ourselves with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.

Brooklyn Bridge

The Time Out Market by the Brooklyn Bridge had great write ups and we were excited to try out some amazing food choices. Unfortunately, the restaurants and outdoor deck on the roof are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. So we continued to wander and look for something to eat before starting our one mile trek across the bridge.

Continue reading “How to Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge”

New York City After COVID

After the COVID pandemic it is fun to travel again to nearby New York City. Restaurants, parks and museums are open and welcoming.

This time of year in New York is always refreshing after a long cold winter where we sometimes feel we’ve all been hibernating. This year the changes are magnified due to the relief we are beginning to feel as the world gets back to normal.

For the past 15 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our way of life. Many people lost their jobs or began working from home. Going out in public was discouraged and wearing masks and cleaning hands and surfaces of items possibly contaminated made us fearful.

Fortunately, the vaccine to prevent COVID has become available and the numbers of cases are going down significantly here in New York. Just recently we have been given the OK to have 100 percent occupancy at some indoor museums, if people continue to wear masks. Some shops and restaurants ask that if you are not fully vaccinated, please wear a mask, which means that if you are vaccinated, you don’t have to!!

My son lived for the past 2 years in Manhattan and has noticed a big change in the last month or so. Residents had been walking the streets with masks on. Now, the streets are getting crowded again with tourists. Shops are opening, restaurants are continuing the outdoor seating and have opened indoor seating as well. Everyone is excited to get out and visit with friends and family again and New York City is a place to feel that energy.

I took the Long Island Railroad into Penn station for the first time in over a year and it was a bit different. Masks were worn on the train and I had a row to myself both traveling in and out of the city, so it was not crowded at all. I think many people still work from home. Once in Penn Station I climbed stairs and surprisingly found myself wandering around the AMTRAK station area. I have taken the train many times so I thought this was odd, but found my way to the steps on 32nd street and 7th avenue where I was meeting my son. It turns out that Penn Station is undergoing major renovations and all the restaurants and shops by the ticket booths are closed and hidden behind a makeshift wall which I noticed when I returned for the ride home.

I met my son and we walked the streets on one of the first sunny, fair weather days this spring. People were out in full force. A few individuals wore masks, but I would say that the majority did not have them on outside. I did notice more homeless people on the streets in midtown than I had seen in the past and that is always sad.

Continue reading “New York City After COVID”

Spring at the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay

A visit to the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay is a fabulous place to see all the Spring colors in full bloom!

Up early on a Saturday morning we set off to see spring flowers in full bloom at a nearby state park. Since our Empire Pass expired we paid $8 for parking and spent 2 hours exploring the 409 acre estate. We walked the rolling lawns with labeled trees, formal gardens, fountains and a pool area. An original Gold Coast estate from the Coe family consisting of 65 rooms in a Tudor Revival mansion stands tall and is open for hourly tours at an additional fee.

We enjoyed our walk and I had fun practicing my photography skills.

Well worth the $8 parking fee but poor Harry had to stay home. Need to find a park where we can bring dogs. Any suggestions?

Haunted Walk at the Insane Asylum

Kings Park Psychiatric Center formerly know as an insane asylum in 1885 is now a state park. Deserted buildings, well paved trails and a haunted feeling permeate the the grounds

As my anticipated plans for the day fell through, one after the other, I took the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine warming the sandy cliffs at the end of Dock Road in nearby Kings Park. I followed the road to the end and discovered a parking lot filled with cars and a beach. It was nice to see people outside enjoying time together after a long winter and one year of social distancing. A group of older men sat together behind their cars as one fellow showed off the tricks his drone could do.

The Bluffs

I headed toward a trail easily identified with a sign and some steps. Another couple and their puppy followed me up the trail, then sat down to enjoy their cold coffee drinks. The trail winds along the bluff with occasional gaps in the trees offering spectacular views. From the top of the bluff I could see Sunken Meadow State park where I got married in 2019, one of the last big parties before the pandemic!

Nissequogue River and Long Island Sound

After taking a few photos from this scenic overlook, I remembered that last summer we had gotten lost attempting to find a restaurant in this area and drove past the deserted Kings Park Psychiatric Center. I wondered if it was possible to take a closer look and pulled out my handy Google app to get more information.

In fact, the former hospital and some of the abandoned buildings are part of a state park with plenty of parking and trails for hiking, biking and walking dogs. I registered the address into my map app and within 3 minutes found a parking spot at a mostly deserted campus of the former hospital. A few men were working on a roof, but it seemed to be OK to get out and walk around the grounds.

Advancing towards the first building I was in awe of how the dormant trees and bare vines gave the old building with broken windows an even more haunted look. The photos I took of the buildings were cool, but looked even better in tinted black and white.

I imagined the people who lived in these buildings which looked much like a college campus. The 873 acres were used to house patients and also ran a farm colony where therapies included farm related activities like feeding animals and growing food. The objective was to move patients from being secured in dinghy basements in the cities to getting more sunlight and leading productive lives by learning skills and keeping busy with work.

Opened in 1885, the Kings Park Asylum opened to alleviate overcrowding from the Kings County Asylum in Brooklyn. In reading up on the history, I was surprised to learn that more women were usually retained in the mental hospital than men.

But then I thought about mental health and women. What a great topic for Women’s History Month.

One hundred fifty years ago women could be sent to the nearby lunatic asylum for a number of ailments that seem very commonplace today. Grief from the loss of a spouse or child could lead a woman to depression or agony. PMS could be mistaken for insanity.

Unhappy husbands committed their wives based on their own subjective observations. Being admitted for substance abuse with alcohol or other addictive substances were common. Alzheimer’s disease wasn’t identified yet, so if women became forgetful or confused, off they were sent to the asylum.

Of course once admitted, it was often difficult to leave.

In 1905, State Hospital for the Insane changed its name to Kings Park State Hospital. Also the previously established school of nursing was registered with the State Department of Education.

I knew this place reminded me of my years at a State University of New York.

Building 93: used to house geriatric patients and drug addicts.
Third floor housed the Shock Therapy Department

In 1948, following World Wars l and ll, and the Spanish- American war, the hospital census included 1748 veterans suffering from mental illnesses. Many veterans required some type of therapy. Experiences in battle led to long lasting traumatic effects such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and the hospital was able to offer support in the way of hypnosis therapy which sometimes caused amnesia.

The numbers kept climbing at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center as it was later called and soon became overcrowded. In the town of Kings Park which had 16,000 residents, over 10,000 patients were housed on the state property serviced by approximately 700 employees.

Yes, some inmates did escape.

While the hospital with all its land and good intentions were an improvement from insane asylums of the previous centuries, abuses still happened. Reports of patients beaten, even killed due to becoming problematic were common. Patients beating each other by choking was considered common. Patients locked away in isolation or treated with electric shock therapy were doled out to difficult patients. There were even rumors of patients being taken down into the underground tunnels to be tortured due to bad behavior.

In the year 1951, the hospital started to perform pre-frontal lobotomies on a select group of women.

By 1955, 5% of the patients were receiving Thorazine or Serpasil as drug therapy and the use of restraints declined by a whopping 50%!

The farm buildings were eventually phased out and replaced with community centers for the mentally ill and funding for psychoactive drug research.

Some buildings still stand in the Nissequogue State Park which is open to hikers, bikers and even dogs on leash as far as I could tell. Walking among the buildings made me curious as to who stayed here and why. I’d love to imagine a cooperative environment where people healed from mental anguish. I’d love to think that counselors were available to console the bereaved and to help people move forward to becoming productive and well adjusted members of society,

I’ve seen enough scary images of mental institutes, or as they were called, lunatic asylums, to have a vague idea what may have happened on these grounds.

For more detailed information about this place, I recommend the book: Kings Park Psychiatric Center: A Journey Through History Volume 1 by Jason Medina

It’s a peaceful place to walk and spend a warm early spring afternoon with your thoughts. If you are having a bad day, like I was, just walk around this place and imagine what life could have been like.

Then go home and count your blessings. What are you grateful for today?

Kings Park Psychiatric Center has a history of over 100 years: The insane asylum that featured a farming colony is now a state park with deserted buildings and paved trails.

Long Island’s Beautiful North Fork

As the temperature begins to drop, the urge to embrace the season with farm stands, pumpkins, apples and vineyards set in.

This post was originally written in 2017, remember those pre-COVID days?  Well, happy to report all is not over on the North Fork of Long Island.  The vineyards are welcoming visitors, just not huge bus loads of party animals which may be more enjoyable in fact.  The sunflower fields in Riverhead, pumpkin patches, and farm stands are open for business, just requiring that you wear a mask when indoors.

I recently had the exciting experience of celebrating birthdays with some friends on the “Wine Wagon”.

With a limit of 10 people we met up at Osprey Dominion winery for snacks and some live outdoor music.  Soon Gary pulled up with the wagon and we lovely ladies boarded a seat at the wagon counter and placed our feet upon the pedals.  We were off down the road to our first adventure.  Of course, we were in for a bit of a surprise when Gary alerted us that by law he had to turn off the engine on the road, and it was up to our pedaling efforts to get us to the next location.  

At our first stop, we remained on our wagon and were served a choice of 4 different vintages.  After one hour, we headed on back to the main road this time with someone’s iphone blasting country music.  As we passed the local animal shelter, we met a man walking down the street with a puppy.  We invited him to join us and sang to the puppy until our new friend had had enough of us.  

At the next vineyard, we went inside with our masks, ordered small glasses of wine to taste and sat outside to enjoy the beautiful sun on this fall afternoon.  As the sun went lower in the sky we took some final photos and boarded the wine wagon with Gary to head back to our starting point.   Indeed, a good time was had by all and maybe we even burned a few calories with exercise?

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NORTH FORK

Drive east on the Long Island Expressway until the end, then take route 25 east through Riverhead.  On my last visit, we had the app WAZE turned on and took some back roads to avoid traffic in Riverhead.  It did not save much time, as it still took almost 45 minutes to drive the 12 miles to the first vineyard.

We stopped at a delightfully colorful farm stand with painted antique tractors, gigantic pumpkins, pies, bread, local honey, roasted corn and ripe tomatoes like my dad used to grow.  After filling some bags with tasty treats we got back on the road and headed towards the vineyards.

Considering the traffic was so slow, we stopped at the first one.  Paumanok Vineyards is conveniently located just off the main road and has a wide variety of wines available in the tasting room ranging from $8 to $20 per person to taste 4 samples.  The tasting fee is credited toward a purchase of a bottle so that is an incentive.

What I loved about Paumanok was that they were offering oysters outside on the deck.  It is a very pretty location but they do not allow you to bring your own picnic foods.

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Next on our self guided tour, we stopped at a small vineyard called Sherwood House Vineyards. This was different as it was a small and cozy farmhouse with a quaint fireplace and bar and the size alone did not welcome larger tours.    Again outside food is not permitted, so we took our picnic basket and continued onward.

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Macari Vineyards has opened another location on Main Road in Cutchogue as well as the original location in Mattituck.  The Macari family started growing grapes on a 500 acre former potato farm in 1995.  The family boasts an ecological and holistic approach to the soil which includes a complex composting program and a herd of Long Horn cattle.

By this time we had eaten our picnic lunch in the car and no longer asked if we could eat inside.

Next stop was the Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue.  We had been heading here initially because they had posted on the website liwines.com to have live music.  Not only did they have live music, but we did bring out some cheese and crackers and had decent size small cups for our 4 tastings at $12.  The wine was good and the sunshine was terrific.  We even saw one of the common sightings out east – a bachelorette party!

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Since we were close to the end, of the North Fork, we kept driving to visit Orient Point.  The ferry to Connecticut had just arrived and several cars were exiting onto the only road east. We took pictures and speculated about the mysteries of Plum Island that we could see from the beach.  Did you know that Plum Island was originally established by the Army to protect livestock from diseases, such as the study of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle.  Apparently there has been some controversy over the safety of the facility and the author Michael C. Carroll wrote a book called Lab 257  alleging a connection between Plum Island Animal Disease Center and the outbreaks of West Nile virus, Lyme disease  and duck plague.   Makes you wonder…

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But not for too long, we started heading back home but ended up on the north road, County Road 48, so we stopped at Sparkling Pointe Vineyards and Winery in Southold.  This vineyard plants only the classic Champagne grape varieties, so if you like Champagne, this is the place to go.  The tasting house is large with high ceilings and light.  In the gift shop are Brazilian costumes that the owners have worn in Brazil during Carnaval so a unique experience is enjoyed at this location.

After a fun afternoon, we were once again hungry and found the best place nearby to purchase fresh seafood: Southold Fish Market on Main Road in Southold.  You can eat inside or out and there is a bar that serves drinks as well as oysters! We took some fresh striped bass home to cook later and it was amazing.

Not to be missed on a trip to the North Fork would also be a visit to the quaint village of Greenport.  Although important for the fishing and whaling industry in the past, it now entices tourists with adorable shops, good restaurants and a carousel from the 1920s.

If shopping for name brand items is your thing, you are in luck as Tanger Outlets is located at the end of the Long Island Expressway and features so many great retail stores.

Being a local Long Islander I have had many visits out east over the years.  I must also include a favorite vineyard I visited with my book club several years ago in Baiting Hollow.  Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard is special and if you only have one place to visit I would highly recommend seeing this vineyard.

The tasting house is large, there is plenty of outdoor seating and you can bring your own food. In addition I have been there 3 times and always enjoyed live music.  The best part is that the vineyard has a rescue farm for horses.  Horses whose lives were at risk are brought here for a peaceful sanctuary and a second chance.  You can support their horses and learn more by logging onto their website bhfhorserescue.org and view the beautiful animals.

Don’t we all deserve a second chance?  Thanks for reading.

tour eastern Long Island New York wineries

Is Montauk Dog Friendly? Ask Harry

Is Montauk dog friendly? Where to stay, eat, play and sit on the beach in Montauk, New York 2020

Harry at Duck Walk vineyards in Southold on route to MTK
Stop for lunch. Really yummy and dog friendly and not as crowded as nearby LUNCH restaurant.
Lounge chair outside our cabin at Lenharts.
The Gig Shack in town is dog friendly. Maybe not so much Pete.
Stores often welcome Harry (and us) inside or at least offer a dish of water to dogs on the sidewalk.
Wear masks in shops and crowds.
Dogs and children under 2 excluded.
Dogs allowed on ocean beaches in Montauk before 10 am and after 6 pm in summer.
Harry waiting for Lobster rolls at Gosman’s Dock. Outdoor tables are dog friendly. Watch out for hungry seagulls.
The Jetty at Gosman’s Inlet is next to a dog friendly beach on the calmer Long Island Sound.
Beach by Gosman’s Inlet – a few dogs and small children enjoy a swim.
Harry made friends at the dog park.
Edward Ecker County Park is a spacious field along a north facing beach with a long fishing pier.

Fishing pier at Eckert County Park.
Due to the Pandemic many restaurants have outdoor seating. This place took our temperatures before waiting on us and offered Harry a dish of water.
A visit to Montauk isn’t complete without a trip to the lighthouse. Dogs are welcome to walk around the beach and trails but not inside the museum.
Montauk loves dogs. But watch your children.
And your hairstyles.
Harry is like me. I’m always so sad to leave Montauk
On the way home we stopped at a farm stand for tomatoes and a walk through the lavender field. One more place that welcomed dogs.

I always love Montauk.

Montauk off season is awesome and in the summer it rocks too. After we arrived at our hotel we took the dog to the beach, only to be chased down by a white van. The official claimed he only had 3 tickets left already earmarked for different dogs. We were to consider ourselves lucky to avoid the $100 fine for having a dog on the beach before 6 o’clock so that rule seems to be enforced.

I was apprehensive about bringing Harry on vacation during high season, but he had a great time and so did we.

Places to stay:

Lenhart’s Cottages

We stayed 2 nights in cabin 7B which is attached to several other units so not really a cabin. It is a suite with a kitchenette; coffee pot, stove, refrigerator, sink, a fireplace that only takes Duraflame logs, and 2 lounge chairs outside the door.

The 3rd night a vacancy in room 10 opened. Since the hot water was unpredictable in 7B we moved. Ron, the manager, offered this room at a discounted rate. Our beautiful 2 bedroom suite with fireplace, washer and dryer, full kitchen, private balcony in the back, living room with cable TV and cathedral ceilings was a perfect way to spend an extra night out east.

Places to Eat:

The GIG Shack

Located on Main Street in town, the perfect location for shopping and dining. We had the duck confit wings for an appetizer, and Cesar salads with grilled fish for our entree. The food was delicious. We could have eaten on the sidewalk in the sun but they did allow the dog indoors. They do not have a liquor license but had mocktails on the menu for a hefty $10.00. Maybe bring a shot with you? Just a thought.

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Also located in town around the corner from White’s pharmacy. Picnic tables and couches in front welcomed us for a $6.00 beer after our Alcohol Free dinner. We went back on our second night and after they took our temperature were given a choice of dining in the back garden. Fresh seabass and seafood fra diavolo were both appetizing and delicious.

Gosman’s Dock

On the Long Island Sound this dock along the inlet has shops, a fine dining restaurant, and a walk up window which serves lobster rolls, fried clams and even hamburgers. Eat outside and watch fishing boats come arrive with their early morning catches.

PLACES TO PLAY:

Edward Vincent Ecker Sr. County Park

Pretty spot with lots of parking, a well mowed lawn for dogs to run, a rocky waterfront beach and quiet fishing pier, this park is a great place to bring the dog for a run or a visit with new friends during the day when they are not allowed on the ocean beaches.

My New York Beach Wedding

After loss it is possible to find love again. Marriage after age 50. Dream wedding on the beach on Long Island New York.

As a 55 year old widow I never thought I was going to have so much fun getting married again. Today I celebrate my ONE YEAR anniversary! It has sure thrown us lots to deal with: retirement for one of us, a global pandemic, a home sale, the death of my mom,  a kitchen and bath renovation and both my kids coming home to live with us for a while during it all. Moving forward every day has been my motto.

We survived half of 2020 and keep smiling that we have each other. It’s never too late for another amazing adventure in life!

So let’s go back to the beginning…

The Proposal

It all started with a proposal back at Thanksgiving 2018 We went out to dinner and he surprised me with a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring. The two sapphires stand for our September birthdays which both fall on the same date!

Unlike most brides to be, once engaged I immediately booked our honeymoon. In fact since I wanted to go to Greece I thought maybe we’d just get married there.

That turned out to be expensive and in several ways too difficult to get an official marriage license.

And then his great niece volunteered to be a flower girl so we adjusted our course.

Having both been previously married I wanted to do a lot of things differently.

For starters, we would not be getting married in a church.

Continue reading “My New York Beach Wedding”

14 Awesome Things to do this Summer on Long Island

Summer 2020 on Long Island offers many places to visit without going far. Beaches, trails, boating, towns and more.

For the past several summers I have put my United States passport to good use and traveled around the world.  I’ve shared photos and posts about some exciting places but my most popular post is about a small town in upstate New York, 17 things to do in Ithaca.

Like many, I am hesitant about traveling this summer. We are now entering phase 3 post pandemic, so some places are opening up here in New York but I will not be going too far away. In fact, with an abundance of outdoor opportunities on Long Island, I will share my summer bucket list with my fellow islanders.

While the state parks do charge an entrance fee of $10, the Empire Pass can be purchased for the year for $80 and with this summer of limited travel, it is well worth the investment.

1.  Robert Moses, Field 5

Yesterday I drove myself over the bridge to Robert Moses ocean beach on Fire Island.  Clean, soft sand, refreshing salt water with moderate waves, qualified life guards and open bathrooms make this beach a true pleasure. If your ideal day is to sit in a chair under an umbrella and read or to take a long walk along the shore, visit the lighthouse and maybe stroll into the small beach village of Kismet, this can all be done in a day trip. Walking east along the shore I will warn you that some bathers prefer not to wear swim suits.   Just remember to wear your mask in the bathrooms at the beach.

Parking $10 or Empire pass. https://parks.ny.gov/parks/7/

Fire Island Lighthouse Kismet Beach

2.  Montauk

The eastern most point of Long Island has this amazingly, still quaint fishing village. The cost of hotel rooms has sky rocketed in recent years but since you save money on air fare and time and the hassle of driving through New York City, it can be worth the splurge.  More ocean beaches, fishing trips, fresh seafood, hiking trails, cliffs, surfers and a light house to climb are just some reasons people keep coming out year after year to visit. My friend has made 2 visits already this summer with her kids to watch the sunrise at what is called THE END – and breakfast spots are open for the early birds too.

Hotel rooms are available but the average price per night is around $500 with a 3 night minimum on weekends. Day trip or a little getaway;  I’ll be planning my trip out east soon.

Montauk – Budget Friendly Vacation  

Montauk point light house
Montauk Point lighthouse

3.  Sunken Meadow State Park

What I love about this park is the 2 mile boardwalk along the beach for walking and riding bikes.  This park has hiking trails through the woods, and a public golf course with a driving range.  You must reserve a tee time in advance.  In addition, I like to visit this location as it is where we got married on the beach last June and had a fun celebration with family and friends.  We’ve been back a few times this spring and always enjoy some time outside.

Parking $10 or Empire pass: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/37/

4. Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve

This scenic park is located on the North Shore in Lloyd Harbor.  The old estate and buildings are still standing on the hill above the Long Island Sound and active horse stables give the feel of being a guest at a country estate.  The three mile paved and shaded trail is available to pedestrians and bicycles only.  No dogs allowed.

Parking $10 or Empire pass: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/23/details.aspx

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5. Cold Spring Harbor hiking trail

This one is Free.  Simply park by the library on Harbor Road in Cold Spring Harbor and you will see the sign to the entrance.  This is the north end of the 19 mile Nassau-Suffolk trail and does have some hills to climb.  People often bring dogs along on a leash.   I would highly recommend spraying for ticks before you head out on this trail or any trails on Long Island and be sure to check carefully when you return home as well.

https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7029784/cold-spring-harbor-state-park-out-and-back

6.  Huntington Village

The restaurants in town are most creative as they set up outdoor dining tables on side walks and alleys.  Musicians on the street, music coming from the restaurants and people walking around make us forget that we have been sheltering in place for 3 months.  The waitstaff is required to wear masks and you have the option to wear a mask as well.  Walking around the town, getting an ice cream and seeing people again can make us all remember we are part of a bigger community.  And when you go out to eat, you can feel good about supporting the local economy too!

7. Planting Fields, Oyster Bay

If you prefer gardens, this former Gold Coast estate features 409 acres of gardens.  The Coe house and greenhouses are currently closed but the grounds are open for walking and enjoying the outdoor gardens and architecture from the early 1900’s.

https://plantingfields.org/plan-your-visit/

8.  Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Located on the south shore in Great River, the grounds are open everyday except on Mondays.  The trail along the river is lined with a variety of trees and plants in an informal setting.  The house is closed currently but this is a beautiful park to visit and learn more about the types of plants in this area.

9.  Long Island Aquarium

A favorite place to visit with families is the aquarium in Riverhead.  The sea otters, penguins and sea lion exhibits are outdoors.  Sting rays and sharks are indoors and masks are required.  Due to reduced guest capacity, reservations must be made in advance.

Tickets & Aquatic Adventures

10. Fire Island by Ferry

I grew up on the south shore in Sayville, known as the “friendliest town in America”.  This is really a great little town with restaurants and small shops along a quaint Main Street that often closes for town events like car shows and summer festivals.  Following Foster Avenue south towards the Great South Bay and turning left at the end, you will see the docks for the ferries.  Two of my first jobs were cleaning houses at Fire Island Pines and making pizzas at Cherry Grove. Both awesome little beach communities that do not allow cars, homes are connected only by boardwalks and the vibes from the New York City gay community are alive and vibrant.

The ferry to Sailors Haven and Sunken Forest also leaves from the same dock area and while homes are not available to rent and only a concession stand is available for dining, this natural setting makes for a great day trip for families.

Ferries cost $16-18 round trip and you can pay to bring your dog as well.  Ferries leave approximately every 2 hours.

http://www.sayvilleferry.com/schedule-pines.php

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10. ROBERT MOSES, Field 2

The western most end of Fire Island National seashore has a 3 par 9 hole golf course right there at the beach.  No reservations necessary as it is first come, first served. Perfect for beginners and beach lovers.  Pack a lunch or dinner, play golf and take a long walk around the point or hop in for a swim in the sea.

$10 parking fee or  Empire Pass.

11.  Jones Beach, Field 6

Although the concerts have been cancelled this summer, the iconic boardwalk at Jones Beach is still a treasure.  I prefer field 6 on the eastern most part of the park as it is the shortest walk to the water and right on the boardwalk.  Also a great place to walk with a stroller.  The playground may be opening soon and a there is a small 9 hole pitch and putt golf course along the boardwalk as well.  My grandmother and mom used to tell stories of going to the pool located in the building during the summer and the many evenings they spent dancing to music outside at the bandshell.

$10 parking fee or Empire Pass

https://parks.ny.gov/parks/jonesbeach/

JONES BEACH BREAST CANCER WALK

12.  Kayak River Rentals

I have heard wonderful tales of kayaking the Nissequogue River starting in Smithtown near the bull (It’s a famous statue here on Long Island).  So you make a reservation and meet the group – sign some papers and board the kayak.  Double kayaks and canoes cost about $60 for the approximately 3 hour tour down the river toward the Long Island sound. Nature, birds, and water are the best, just prepare for the sun, bugs and hydration on your adventure.  A bus even brings you back to your car. This summer I will definitely try this.

http://www.canoerentals.com/

13. Motor Boat Rentals

Living near the beach, I have always had either a sailboat or a motor boat… except for this summer.  While I am happy to save on the expense of maintenance and repairs, I will miss going out in a boat.

Having friends with boats is always a good alternative.  But if your friends don’t have a boat, it is possible to rent boats for a day or even half a day.  I did this last winter in Florida with my sister and her family and we had a blast. So as a consolation to staying home this summer without a boat, I have been looking into day rentals and am considering two. For a boat that could accommodate 8 people, for the day it is about $1000.

In Freeport, the rental shop offers hourly rentals starting at 2 hours for about $300.

https://summerboatrental.com/

In Port Washington, Long Island Boat Rentals offers deals for small boats as well as captained boats for the day.

I am looking forward to trying out one or both of these places this summer.  Who’s in?

I am grateful to live in such a beautiful place and to have the summer off.  I can not imagine what the fall will bring for me as a teacher but I know that I have today to get out and enjoy.  Keep safe, wear a mask if you will be near people and have a great summer!

 

The 9/11 Memorial Museum: what to expect

Visit to 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York. What to expect at the memorial

We all have our own memories of that day.  I was teaching in a school 40 miles away, but I remember seeing the darkened sky and the fear on everyone’s faces as parents came to take their children home from school that day.

Memories about this tragic attack on our country is a wound we will never completely heal from. After 18 years, it still brings tears to my eyes and is one of those things that we need to remember.

Freedom tower World trade center NYC

World Trade Center NYC

Be warned, you must be prepared for what you will see and how you will feel.

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Bronx Botanical Garden and Arthur Avenue

Day trips to New York City in the spring. Bronx Botanical Gardens, orchid show and a walk along Arthur Avenue. Living life with travel and adventures after loss.

I’m always looking for new adventures and the ones where I don’t have to pack a bag and fly somewhere can be a fun diversion and a good way to put off the inevitable chores around the house.

Of course I am looking forward to having my house clean and tidy and clutter free after I start my spring cleaning, but sometimes, really most times, I’d rather do something else!

So on the suggestion of my friend Liz at a recent book club meeting, I encouraged my handsome fiance to take me to see the Orchid show at the Bronx Botanical Gardens and follow up the flower visit with a stroll down Arthur Avenue, the Little Italy of the Bronx.

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