Category Archives: Local Fun

Nature finds for weekend fun in New Jersey

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This is one of the first years we have been home all summer. We have loved it though at first it was hard.

For my kids the start was bumpy because they suddenly found themselves with not much to do (I also didn’t sign them up for all-summer camp!) and most of their friends had gone away somewhere. The start was a bit bumpy for me too, home all day with two restless boys and tons of work to do. 2 months in we are learning to balance it all and find ways to make the most of summer here in our New Jersey home, which I still feel we take for granted far too often.

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A Weekend at Camp Shock Top

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If there is any rite of passage as a kid, besides braces and the incredibly awkward preteen years, it’s sleepaway camp. Bonfires, s’mores, first crushes, cabin pranks, trumpet wake up calls. At least this is what I envisioned camp to be. As a kid I never went to camp. My dad says he and my mom loved me too much to send me away. Haha. But really my house during the summer months was a camp in itself. Always packed with friends and activities. We would take days trips to the beach and hang out in our backyard treehouse. I can’t say I really missed out on the quintessential camp experience. But when I was given the chance to go, as an adult (with unlimited booze), I just couldn’t say no.

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A Walk through Dreams: The Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour

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From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island processed about 12 million immigrants before it could be decided that they would be allowed to begin their lives in this country. The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, the United States’ first public health hospital, opened its doors in 1902. It is here where immigrants who were deemed too unhealthy to enter the country would stay. The treatment for various ailments, some far too gruesome for today’s standards, would either result in success, at which point immigrants would be released to enter the country, or failure, at which point they would be sent back.

It is difficult to imagine the fear and stress many of these newcomers experienced through the overall immigration process, especially for many who did not speak the language or had ever even seen a doctor before. Imagine the intimidation of being poked at, examined, or even questioned by men in lab coats, separated from your family, from your parents, being spoken to in ways you could not understand, all the while knowing that your dreams where just one more boat ride away.

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Weekend Getaway to Cortland, NY

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Nestled in upstate New York, just 30 minutes outside of my old stomping grounds of Syracuse (go Orange!), lays the quaint, historic city of Cortland. A winter ski destination and close in proximity to the wineries of the Finger Lakes, it was the perfect little weekend getaway for a fun father/daughter road trip.

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Girlfriends Getaway to Lake Placid

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There are a lot of promises we make to ourselves about how we want the new year to evolve. What can we add, take away, improve on.

For some of us, one of these promises is to be a better friend. It’s something I always strive for too and like to compliment with either nights out for dinner together or, even better, with little retreats somewhere fun.

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Bröd Kitchen: A hint of Nordic flavors in the Village

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I enjoy the hip, creative vibe of the Village in New York City. Not only is NYU located there, but this is the home to tons of artist and performance venues that I have enjoyed over the years, such as the Village Vanguard, the Village Underground, and the Blue Note Jazz Club, as well as galleries and varies pop-up exhibits that happen throughout the year. I love the independent films shown at the IFC Center and the Angelika Theatre. It is home to historic The Jane Hotel, a true gem of New York City history.

There are many places to eat and drink, worthy of continual exploration as it is an ever-changing landscape.

My newest discovery was more than I expected, a pleasant surprise that extends beyond a nice cup of organic coffee and pastries.

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Cali-Style Mexican Food with A New York Flavor

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I don’t consider myself a foodie. I can’t pinpoint specific ingredients or flavors and my taste isn’t too adventurous. Not to mention that I am no stranger to the occasional bowl of cereal for dinner. But when it comes to Mexican food I’m all in. Quesadillas, burritos, tacos… those are essential food groups in my book. So when I stumbled upon La Gringa Taqueria in New York’s West Village neighborhood I knew I was home.

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Embracing Slow Travel

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During my Thanksgiving holiday break, where I enjoyed the company of visiting family, I was reminded of the beauty of slow travel.

Slow travel has been defined by many as the option to choose stays, such as vacation home rentals as opposed to hotels, to connect with locals and have more of a cultural experience where ever you may be.

An example of this would be how my family and I chose to travel through France a couple of summers ago.

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Day trip to Newburgh, NY

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Along the Hudson Valley and about an hour and a half from New York City (with no traffic) is the city of Newburgh, NY.

To see it on its surface, one might see what most people refer to as “up and coming”. However, look deeper and you will see a historic city, with much of its architectural structures dating as far back as the 1800s. Some of them definitely need some TLC, but anyone who loves history will truly appreciate it all. 

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Howl at The Moon in NYC: A Night to Remember

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On any given weeknight after work you can find me unwinding at home, eating dinner from my favorite Mexican food truck and cuddling up in front of a good movie (or two) with my pups. Pajamas on, Netflix streaming. It’s my very own sanctuary from the craziness that can come from living in New York City. But every once in a while, when the timing is just right, I’ve been known to dress up, put on a little makeup and go out on the town with my favorite girls. Last Thursday happened to be one of those nights.

When Carol first told me about the opening night of Howl At The Moon I was not sure what to expect. Midtown Manhattan isn’t necessarily known for it’s nightlife but I was curious enough to accept the offer. From my initial Google search I learned that the venue is “Part bar. Part concert. All fun.” Count me in.

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