Touring the World’s Oldest Subway Tunnel

On the busy street of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, everything appeared to be a normal Saturday.  The Trader Joe’s was packed with long lines of shoppers, cars and people were busy going about their business.  But then a car drove up and  a small blockade was put up around one of the manholes in the middle of the street.  A ladder was set up reaching its way to the bottom and a large group of people started to line up along the sidewalk.  They were preparing themselves for the descent down the ladder and into the depths of the oldest subway tunnel in the world which was lurking below the surface.  I was one of those people waiting in line.

At the bottom of the ladder, there is a small room filled with dirt where a walkway has been dug out and you must duck under a large concrete slab in the middle of it.  At the other end, is a small oval entryway which you must go through to get to the tunnel.  Once there, you see the wooden stairway below and the enormous (and very dark) tunnel in front of you.  For those of us at the beginning of the line, we had a lot of time to look around as it took a long time for everyone in the group to enter.  After we were all assembled, it was time for the tour to begin.

Bob Diamond, who discovered the tunnel in 1981, is a wealth of information.  His tour is a narrative of different parts of NY history, politics, and his own story of researching and finding this tunnel.  There is a lot of standing and listening, but I found it all quite interesting.  As the tour progresses, the group walks through the half mile tunnel, stopping as we go along to continue the story.  You get to go the entire length of the tunnel and see where it ends.  Definitely heed their requirements of wearing sturdy shoes and bringing a flashlight.  There are many grooves from the train tracks so the ground is uneven and while there are some lights along the side of the tunnel, it is still quite dark.  It was a very hot day above ground when I went, but in the tunnel it was cold.  We were 4 stories underground and you would never know a busy street was right above you.

A brief history for the tunnel is that it was built in 1844 by William Beard.  It was in use for many years but was eventually supposed to have been filled in.  Bob Diamond did a lot of research and was able to find it in 1981.  It is from his many efforts and labors (he had to dig through the room full of dirt to get to that tunnel opening to find it) that this tunnel is now available for the public to see.  The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can sign up for an Atlantic Tunnel Tour by clicking here or calling 718-941-3160.  It is definitely something worth experiencing.

Club Getaway

I have heard about Club Getaway for a while now.  But this past Memorial Day Weekend was my first visit to the adventure/activities/party camp for adults.  With all of the activities I have been doing for the past few years, I thought it would be the perfect weekend trip for me.  Here was my experience this past weekend:

Club Getaway definitely has many devout followers.  One of the questions that my friend and I were asked the most during our trip was if this was our first time there (which it was).    People come from all over to enjoy a weekend away from their everyday lives and they often keep coming back frequently.  There are already plans from some people I met there to return for the July 4th weekend.  As for me, I had a great time, but am not sure I will be one of those people.  Time will tell.

Buses from NY and Boston, along with people arranging their own transportation, all came together on Friday evening to start off the weekend.  There were around 300 people there to celebrate the Memorial Day summer kick off.  I signed up with a meetup group, which I will write more about in another entry, but they were a highlight to the Club Getaway experience.

Once checked into our cozy cabins, we arrived to an amazing assortment of appetizers – everything from sushi to a mashed potato bar.  After indulging in far too much food, it was time for even more food at dinner.  Everyone is served a few courses and many bottles of wine during dinner.  Since this was the first night, there was not as much partying.  People needed to rest up for a busy day of fun the next day!

Everyone is provided with a jam packed schedule of varied events for each day of the weekend.  Some events require signing up in advance which should be done ASAP the morning of the event because things fill up quickly.  For my first day, I started with the camp zipline followed by the trapeze and bungee trampoline.  Then after lunch, my friend and I had signed up for a local vineyard tour which was a great way to see the surrounding area.  It was beautiful!  Once back at Club Getaway, happy hour was in full swing with a burger competition and people hanging out at the boathouse.  There were early evening rides around the lake in the pontoon boat which featured delicious rum punch and sometimes even guitar music – I loved the pontoon boat!  This was followed by dinner, comedians and a themed neon glow party which went on into the night.  For me, Sunday consisted of a morning stretch, a walk to the town of Kent, and swimming and relaxing by the waterfront.  After Sunday’s dinner there was a band, another theme party and a campfire complete with s’more making.  By Monday, I could feel that I was running out of time.  There was so much more to do!  I decided on a yoga class followed by a hike around a local waterfall before that final lunch snuck up on me and it was time to pack and return home on the bus.

There is so much I wanted to do, but those were the activities I was able to fit in for the weekend.  In addition to my preferences, there are numerous sports, classes, hikes, biking, and many other options to choose from to fill your day.  Many people opted to just relax and lounge by the water during most of the three days.  The weekend is entirely up to you and you can be as adventurous as you want to be.

Throughout the summer and even during early fall, Club Getaway has different weekend adventures planned.  Check out their schedule and pricing on their website at www.clubgetaway.com.  There are often specials if you sign up early so be sure to plan ahead!