When it's 102 degrees in July and the elbow sweat situation is at a breaking point, an escape from the asphalt jungle is mandatory. However, living in NYC, it's not as easy as it would seem - or is it? For my 31st birthday I was determined to do something that wouldn't involve sweat dribbling down my back and frizzy hair plastered to my head....I mean, it's my birthday! So, I found a fix for escaping the city (without the need for excessive travel), smell of sea salt, beauty of the water, magnificent front row seat to the sunset, picnic snacks with adult beverages, and the company of my friends. We took a two hour sunset sailboat cruise down the Hudson from Chelsea Piers, past the Statue of Liberty and Governor's Island and around Lower Manhattan. The crew served us wine and beer and we brought our own picnic and it was fabulous. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to enjoy the city sights from outside and in need of a little retreat from the persistent hum (and humidity) of the city. Oh, and I'm not putting the link to the sailboat company on here because I don't want it to get too popular (and pricey) so it becomes cost prohibitive. Sorry....I'm selfish!
New Jersey Shore
Labor Day weekend necessitated a trip to the Jersey Shore. Being still a relative newcomer to the mid-Atlantic states, my only association with the Jersey Shore at the time was of course Snooki and fist pump related. While we did walk on the boardwalk in Seaside (and it IS as garish as it looks on TV), our shore experience was much more civilized and fun. My friend's have a house in Chadwick Beach where we cooked, walked on the beach, went crabbing, bike riding, played games and just hung out enjoying one another.
I'd never been crabbing before and we rose early Saturday morning to sidle up to the dock with our bait (frozen fish), lines, cage and nets and set up a few lines along the shore. Coffee in one hand, line in the other we waited for the little suckers to nibble on the scrumptious bait and then slowly reeled them in. We measured our catch to ensure they were big enough (it's illegal to keep the wee ones) and then tossed them in our bucket. It was quite fun! Once the tide changed they stopped nibbling so we packed up our lines and went home to steam the crabs; the meat was destined for a nice crab sauce our friend's dad was going to prepare. It was a phenomenal experience and I'm looking forward to tasting the results of our efforts!
October brought back to back wedding adventures - the first was my oldest niece's wedding in St. Paul, Minnesota, which was an awesome family affair. Several brothers, nieces and nephews, uncles, cousins, and family friends were in attendance. My niece looked stunning and everyone had a great time catching up. Since the wedding was in my Dad's hometown, it was a great opportunity for him to show me around his old haunts including my grandfather's original restaurants and bars, my dad's childhood home, his grade school and college and just show me around St. Paul a bit. I grew up in the Twin Cities but spent most of my time in Minneapolis (& suburbs) so St. Paul has always been rather vague in my recollection. It was nice to get the opportunity to experience it through my dad's eyes. The trip was short (due to an unfortunate inability to reach the airport in time for my original fight - I blame NY cab drivers and rain) but sweet and spending time with my parents was fantastic. My mom and I also fit in a lunch with my aunt and one of my closest college girlfriends and that was an extra special trip.
Five days later I was off to Cancun, Mexico for another wedding! This time it was for a friend from college. Another college friend, Brandie, and I met in Ft. Lauderdale and flew the second leg of our trip together. A not so pleasant side note...Spirit Airlines is by FAR the most ghetto airlines I have EVER flown. They charge for carry on luggage, display paid for advertising on the overhead compartments (classy), the seats are dirty and dingy and everything appears in a state of disrepair. As they are as low class as they appear, the airlines is relegated to the bowels of all airport terminals (the Ft. Lauderdale terminal was no exception). Needless to say, we were both relieved once we finally touched down in Cancun and equally as elated when we walked out into the warm sun! Still chilled from the crisp fall weather of DC and NYC left behind, we were quick to join our already arrived friends, throw on our suits and lounge poolside at the resort with a margarita in hand. 48 hours in Cancun certainly is a whirlwind trip but when your only priorities are relaxing, walking on the beach, partaking in wedding festivities and catching up with friends, it was relatively low stress. Our huge room at the resort was fabulous and the pools were all beautifully positioned with a view of the ocean in front. And despite a downpour during the outdoor reception, the guests made the best of it and shuttled off to a hotel ballroom for dancing and partying until the wee hours of the morning. The trip back was slightly rough - again having to endure the Spirit Airlines adventure (with a 5 hour layover to boot) and minor "fatigue" from the wedding festivities, but the Vitamin D and fun with friends justified the experience.
To cap off the 2010 wedding festivities, we had a BachWer escape to Southampton in October. The tourists were gone for the season but the stores were still open and the weather was still nice enough to eat outside at a main street cafe. Three of us went to celebrate a mini bachelorette-wedding shower party for a very close friend that is getting married in April (click here to see her fabulous blog). We took the train from the city and made it just in time for lunch outside and some vino to celebrate the occasion. Lunch was followed by shopping in the darling (albeit exorbitant) stores of Southampton and a quick stop at Southampton Publick House for a pre-train brew. Our next stop was dinner and an evening of fun with great friends who live in Central Moriches. It was an evening of great friends, laughing, debating (maybe a little bi-partisan "disagreement"), amazing food and overall tons of fun. A warm up for the real event in April!
The rest of 2010 has been spent mostly locally with a variety of adventures (as per usual) including an afternoon at Radegast Hall & Biergarten in November, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with my brother and his family, engagement parties, volunteer opportunities and just general merriment. Yes, merriment - it's 3 days before Christmas and after 2 weeks of listening to Christmas Carols "merriment" is in the general lexicon. I'm off to California tomorrow for Christmas with my family and so excited for a short reprieve from the cold of the city. Until 2011 and the adventures that await! (Currently they include NYE in Vermont, Machu Picchu & Lima, weddings in San Diego & Vermont and who knows what else!).
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Christmas and fabulous New Years! xoxoxo