Sailing and Wine Tasting on the Hudson


Enjoy the fall weather with a sailing excursion on the Hudson.  Manhattan By Sail offers a variety of sailing outings.  I chose to venture out on a wine tasting sail aboard the Shearwater.  This 80 year old classic schooner can hold 48 people and was a majestic vessel to set sail on.

We departed from the North Cove Marina at 6:30pm just in time to see a beautiful sunset.  There is someone that comes around to see if anyone needs anything such as water or soda throughout your time on the boat.  Already set up on the ship is a plentiful variety of cheeses.  The one thing that was a little bit challenging was maneuvering to get to the cheese platter and serving myself while on a moving sailboat.  But once I had a plateful of cheese and was back in my seat, I could relax again to enjoy the ride.  As we sailed towards the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, we were presented with tastings of 4 different wines.  The wine expert would make her way around the boat to pour each tasting.  It is fall weather now, so when it got a little colder as the evening progressed they were kind enough to pass out blankets to those that wanted them.  All in all it was a very pleasant evening and we were back at the dock close to 8:30pm.

Manhattan By Sail also offers beer tasting sails, brunches, fall foliage routes and many other sailing adventures.  It is not too late to get out there before the season ends!  Check out their website for a full listing of offerings here.

A Day of Sailing and Wine Tasting on LI

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I went on a day trip this past Sunday with Dynamic Outdoors.  The itinerary included a sailing outing on Long Island and a wine tasting in the North Fork region.  How could I say no?

There were four pick up locations in different areas of the city and protocol was that you would email the hosts with your preferred pick up spot.  After everyone was rounded up, the group departed for Long Island in two separate vans and headed for Oyster Bay.  Once at the bay, we set sail on the Christeen which is the oldest oyster sloop in America and a National Historic Landmark.  Everyone on board got to participate with some of the sailing tasks if they wanted to and that was a lot of fun.  The rest of the time aboard was quite relaxing as we passed amazing houses and other impressive ships along the way.  I really enjoyed the change of scenery.  After a 2 hour sailing journey we returned to the vans so we could head to our next destination, the North Fork wineries!

Macari Vineyards was our first stop, where we each enjoyed a wine tasting flight.  There was an optional chocolate tasting available although I personally did not try it.  Following the wine tasting, our group sat outside to eat lunch, relaxed with a newly purchased bottle of wine and mingled while enjoying the scenery.  After a while, our trip leaders took a vote to see who wanted to stay for one more vineyard visit or who wanted to return to the city.  Luckily, the group split up evenly enough that one van could return and the other could take those who stayed across the street to Martha Clara Vineyards.  Since this second visit was not included in the trip cost, each person was responsible for paying for any tastings they chose to do.  We were all having so much fun, that is was hard to get back in the van to return to city life.

I would definitely go on another day trip adventure with Dynamic Outdoors.  The leaders were organized but also allowed those in the group to add to the itinerary with another vineyard visit which I really appreciated.  We had a fun mix of people on this particular day so it was great to continue the activities for a little while longer.  Dynamic Outdoors hosts a variety of trips and I look forward to going with them again.

Harbor Cocktail Cruise Aboard the Zephyr

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After all the rain we have had in the month of June, we actually had some dry and sunny weather yesterday.  So, I happily agreed to go on a Harbor Cocktail Cruise after work where I could thoroughly enjoy the perfect weather.  I signed up for this particular cruise aboard the Zephyr through Outdoor Bound.  The Zephyr is run by Circle Line and is located off of Pier 16 right next to the South Street Seaport.  Having just been on the other side of the river at Brooklyn Promenade Park, it was nice to see the Brooklyn Bridge from the exact opposite viewpoint. 

Before embarking on our cruise, my friend and I enjoyed the happy hour specials at Skippers Pierside Cafe.  Skippers is entirely outdoors and offers $4 domestic beers and $5 imported beers during their happy hour.  They also have a menu of varied food options if you are hungry.  All the groups for our cruise met up at this spot for some drinks and appetizers which was a great way to begin the event.  Our cruise event was priced at $30 which included one drink on the boat and then drink specials offered afterwards at Skippers.

Our departure time was 6:30pm and the boat left promptly.  On the first level there is a an enclosed area with seating (this is also where the DJ was set up since there is a dance floor).  The second level has both indoor space and access to an outdoor deck.  Then one flight up there is a full sun deck with benches if you prefer to sit.  These benches were helpful for keeping balance and holding on when the water got a little choppy.  

Since the weather was so cooperative it was very refreshing to see the sunset behind the city skyline.  Our journey took us up towards Long Island City and then back south to a beautiful view of the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  It was very relaxing to take all of these sights in while sipping on beverages from the bar.  Since I love boats and being on the water, the cruise ended way too soon for me.  We were back at Pier 16 by 8pm.  The groups were supposed to mingle with drink specials and food afterwards, however there was a music/dance event being held so it was way too loud.  So, my friend and I ordered some dinner at Skippers while some very talented New Yorkers danced the night away on the pier. 

All in all, I had a very pleasant evening.  I took lots of pictures and loved my time on the water.  There was not as much mingling aboard the ship as I had hoped, but it was still a great way to end a busy work day.

Free Summer Movies Aboard the Intrepid!

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While I was visiting the Intrepid, I discovered that they host movie nights once a month during the summer.  On Friday, June 19th they will be showing Top Gun at 8:30pm (doors open at 7:30pm).  I can’t think of a better place to watch Top Gun than aboard an actual aircraft carrier!  Lawn chairs, blankets, food and drinks are allowed but no alcohol.  Jaws and Apollo 13 are the movies being shown in the coming months.   www.intrepidmuseum.org has the summer movie schedule and more details.  The Intrepid is located at Pier 86 (46 St. and 12 Ave.) in Manhattan.

Experience History at The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

S1052218Visiting the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum was a very different experience for me.  When I stepped onto Hangar 1 of the Intrepid, I felt the significance of where I was.  People lived, fought for our country and even died aboard this immense aircraft carrier.  For those who worked on board the Intrepid, the everyday comforts that most of us often take for granted are an afterthought to the mission at hand and the efforts to make extremely dangerous tasks go on without a hitch.  I could sense the blood, sweat and tears of the past inhabitants throughout my tour of the historical vessels I was able to explore firsthand with my admission ticket.

I went with a group and was very thankful for the private tour we had signed up for.  I learned quite a bit from our knowledgeable tour guide and I feel like I would have missed a lot of information had I not gone through the tour first.  There is so much to see that you most likely need more than one visit in order to really look at everything in depth.  After our guided tour, I walked past the many magnificent planes and helicopters that are on view on the upper deck.  Then I ventured up to explore the control tower.  The museum really allows you to immerse yourself in the areas where people performed their daily tasks to make this immense vessel run.  You can climb the narrow stairs to see different levels of the rooms of operation and see all of the original controls.  It was quite impressive.

Also included in your admission ticket is a visit inside the U.S.S. Growler, which is the only intact strategic submarine that could fire nuclear missiles that is open to the public – anywhere in the world.  It was worth the wait to walk through the tight quarters of the sub and see the space people lived in as well as how the dangerous weapons were stored.   When I found out that people stayed in this vessel, often for 60 days at a time, without showers, I had immense appreciation for those who worked on this submarine to defend our country.

Also on view is the British Airways Concorde.  No longer in use, this jetliner has the capability to fly across the ocean in record time.   It has crossed the Atlantic in just under 3 hours.

Since this was my first visit to the Intrepid, I do not know how much has changed since the recent renovations were completed.  There was a kamikaze video show with lights, sound effects and real footage which I was told was one of the new improvements.   Everything is extremely well presented and ready for visitors to explore and learn.  There is a hands-on section of the museum that is a wonderful way to experience what it might have been like if you worked on the Intrepid.  I can definitely say that the Intrepid is worth the visit and will provide an eye opening view into history.  You can go to www.intrepidmuseum.org for all the details on getting tickets and planning your own visit.  The Intrepid is located at Pier 86 (46 St. and 12 Ave.) in Manhattan.

A Rockin Cruise!

I had the pleasure of going on a super fun concert cruise last night. ROCKS OFF hosts a Concert Cruise Series aboard the Half Moon. The Half Moon is a two level boat. Upstairs there is a sun deck as well as a shaded dance floor while downstairs there is a full bar and an indoor seated area with large windows. The cruise I went on featured live performances by Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears and Via Audio. Both bands were excellent!

The Half Moon departs from Skyport Marina located at 23rd St. & FDR Drive. Boarding for my cruise began at 7pm and we departed promptly at 8pm. The cruise ended close to 11pm and you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t want to be back on land!

Last night, there was an especially beautiful view of the city skyline. On top of what the river normally offers, we also got a chance to see Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls (which can be seen till October 13th, 2008) as we floated underneath and past three of the city’s majestic bridges. These waterfall installations are particularly fun to see at night when they are all lit up. And the most meaningful view of the evening was seeing the “Tribute in Light” beams as they reached to the sky near Ground Zero. It was an awe inspiring!

As for the cruise experience itself, we got chance to really enjoy the city views and take lots of pictures before the concerts began. Then while we were circling really close to the Statue of Liberty it was time to let loose and listen to some great music. My friends and I were able to enjoy the cash bar on the ship without missing any of the show and they also have a hot food buffet if you get hungry. The concert area is fully enclosed and according to the website this ship runs rain or shine for all their concert events. I know that I personally was having so much fun I didn’t want to head back to dock at the marina. I look forward to going on another one of these concert cruises!

You can get all the details about the concert cruise series as well as Rocks Off’s other offerings – such as their Mets Game cruises – at their website: http://www.rocksoff.com/

And make sure you get to see Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls before they are gone. More info at http://www.nycwaterfalls.org/ .

White Water Rafting Adventure

Looking for an adventurous day trip? How about going White Water Rafting! I signed up to go through a joint Outdoor Bound and MMA day trip and there were about 40 of us departing from NYC. Our NY group also met up with 20 people from Philadelphia at the location so we had a pretty good number of people.

The bus ride out took about 2 hours and we went to an area in the Poconos for our day of river rafting. The rapids were said to be a class 3 and it was during a weekend dam release so there would be enough water for our trip down the river.

Once we went through basic instruction on land and were split into 6 people per raft it was time to head to the water. This ended up being a short nature hike through the woods to the place where we got our rafts. It was more of a challenge than I anticipated to carry our raft through a rocky creek path to get to our departure point. It was a relief to finally get it into the water!

This is where is got quite interesting. Since most of us didn’t know anyone else on the raft, we had to get ourselves working together as a team quickly. This proved to be a bit of a challenge in the beginning for our rafting team but we finally started to get the hang of things. Even with the dam release there were lots of rocks that got in the way of a perfect trip down the river. We got stuck many times but got better and better at maneuvering our way out of the rough spots. Some of us even fell off the boat at times – myself included! – but as a team we were able to work together to get everyone back on the boat where they belonged. We also had some great guides following along to help us through all the water challenges.

Half way down we all pulled over to take a break and eat lunch. Our muscles were sore and it was nice to relax for a bit. Before we knew it, it was time to get back on the water. The good news was that the break was all we needed to really get our act together. The second part of the journey was much better than the first and we had gotten so much better at working as a team and overcoming obstacles as they came along. When we got to the end it felt like quite an accomplishment!

So, if you too would like to head out on a white water adventure, there are many ways to get out there and do it! Outdoor Bound and MMA offer great day trip options. There are also meetup groups that go on white water rafting trips so you can also sign up through them. Most of these options will meet in a central location in the city so anyone in the Tri-state area can partake in the fun! Even one of my local bars has group outings including white water rafting days so just research around your area. I am sure you will find a way to get out and enjoy the water yourself. It is definitely worth it and lots of fun!