Biking and Wine Tasting with Outdoor Connections

I recently went on my first event with Outdoor Connections for a day of biking and wine tasting.  I had such a wonderful experience and couldn’t wait to write about it.  Anytime you try a new company, you know anything is possible.  Luckily, Outdoor Connections is well organized and ready to get city dwellers out of the concrete jungle to enjoy some fun adventures.

Once everyone had gathered near Port Authority, our group was divided into two vans.  A benefit of going with Outdoor Connections is that they provide a wide assortment of breakfast goodies for everyone.  The options included chilled juices and an assortment of fresh muffins and pastries.  What a great way to start the day.  Approximately 2 hours later, when we got to our starting point on the Delaware Canal Bike Path, all our bike rentals and helmets were ready for us.  It was time to start biking! Our organizer, Jim, made the trip both informational and fun.  He shared some history of the canal at a few of the stops and made sure everyone was comfortable with the pace and that no one was left behind.  Lunch is also provided with this trip which was another nice touch. 

Biking down the Delaware Canal is something I would definitely do again.  The canal path was flat and well groomed so I never felt overwhelmed and there is so much to see along the way.  We biked a total of 15 miles and then some of us did an additional 3 mile loop before it was time to drive to our next stop – Sand Castle Winery.  A well organized and thorough tasting (which included chocolate pairing for some of the wines) followed by some cheese to snack on and our day was almost done.  It was time to head back to NYC.

Outdoor Connections does a variety of trips and would be a great way to get out and enjoy the lovely fall weather.   You can also find out what they are up to at meetup.com by clicking here.  I look forward to joining them on another trip sometime soon.

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Ski Season is Here!

I lived in New York for a while before finally hitting the slopes and we have some great local mountains to ski on!   You can even sign yourself up for a day trip or weekend trip from NYC to Vermont.  There are many ways to get yourself to a mountain to enjoy a snowy ski day even if you don’t have a way to drive yourself.  Below is a list of companies that can help get you to where you want to go during this ski season:

Urban Sherpa:  www.urbansherpatravel.com

Zogsports: http://www.zogsports.org/nyc/Trip/Ski.aspx

Catskills Ski and Bus Packages: http://www.catskillhighpeaks.com/trailways-ski-new-york-bus.php?PHPSESSID=5e5734473f74831ecc0c7b0d3248202f

Emilio’s Ski Shop:  http://www.emiliosskishop.com/pipedreams_schedule.html

Catch the Homage Bus: http://nybustrips.com/

A friend just told me about another bus option – Blades Bus:  http://www.bladesny.com

Meetup.com: www.meetup.com Find local ski groups or start your own!

These were just a few options and hopefully one of them will get you on your way to the slopes.  Happy Skiing and Boarding!

Learn to Surf!

One of the best ways to cool off in the hot summer months is to go to the beach.  As I discovered with my first attempts last summer,  it is even better if I can grab a surf board and get in the water to catch some waves.  I had a really successful surf lesson on Long Beach, Long Island this past Saturday and wanted to share the company info with those who might be interested.

Skudin Surf, Inc. has local surfing lessons at Long Beach and the Rockaways. The instructors were really helpful and I improved a lot during my 90 minute session. Here is a link to their website where you can sign yourself up for surf lessons and camps www.skudinsurf.com .  Even if you have never surfed before, they will help you get up on the board in no time!  I look forward to putting the skills I learned to good use on future surfing outings.

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!

Day Trip to Hunter Mountain

This weekend, I celebrated the arrival of 2010 with my first ski outing of the season.  On January 2nd, the weather was perfect for a ski day!  Snow was lightly falling in the city and continued throughout the day.  There was a dusting already on the ground when I headed to the Times Square pick up location.  

I signed up for this day trip through Outdoor Bound and prior to the day of the trip they sent an email noting the two pick up locations available, what to bring and who our guide would be.  While waiting for the bus to arrive, I received a message from the trip leader that he was on a different bus at the alternate pick up location near Union Square.  So I was on my own heading to Hunter Mountain but since it was mostly a sleepy ride that was fine with me.  The bus company we went with was Urban Sherpa and it turns out you can also sign up directly through them for numerous ski day trips.  Even though my Outdoor Bound guide was on the other bus, everything was still handled properly and I left the bus with my lift ticket and rental pass in hand ready to get on the mountain.

The main mountain (Hunter West) had many extremely difficult slopes, so I spent most of my time on the intermediate slopes at Hunter One.  Since we left the city at 6:15am, we arrived at the mountain early enough to enjoy some of the freshly fallen powder before the slopes got more crowded.  As the afternoon went on, conditions got a bit colder and icy, so I headed inside to warm up before the bus ride back.  Our Outdoor Bound guide sent us a message that he was doing the same, so we were all able to meet up and hang out for a bit before the return to NYC.

Since I went alone on this day trip, I would have to recommend that anyone going alone should prepare to spend the day that way.  Most people on the Urban Sherpa bus were with their own friends and there was no real mingling that I was aware of.  Even alone though, I still had a lot of fun and enjoyed some great time on the slopes.  And because I had signed up for this trip with Outdoor Bound it worked out well as I had people to hang out with for a bit towards the end of the day which I would not have had otherwise.  Outdoor Bound and Urban Sherpa have many upcoming dates available if you would like to plan a day to get out of the city and onto the slopes.

I am very excited for more skiing and other winter adventures in 2010.  Happy New Year everyone!

Experience Fall with a Biking Adventure

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Get away from the city and immerse yourself in fallOutdoor Bound has a new event that will have you exploring mountain trails both on a bike and by foot.  I went on this event during the first weekend in October.  The fall colors were just beginning to peek through.  There is another outing scheduled in late October when there will be even more colorful views, so sign up now if you are interested!

The event was described as a day of leisurely biking, including a hike to a scenic view.  This was all to be followed by a visit to a local pub before returning to NYC.  After meeting in the city at 10am, our van ride lasted for an hour and a half before we arrived at Cromwell on the Hudson.  Our bike and helmet rentals were arranged through Storm King Adventures whose staff was very helpful.  

Once the group and the bikes were driven to the start of the trail, it was time to get our equipment and begin the ride.  A lot of us had not been on a bike in a while, but once we reminded ourselves how to shift the gears, etc., we were ready to go.   Now, since some of us had not been bike riding for a long time and were under the impression based on the trip description that this would be a leisurely event, we quickly learned that there was more hard work getting through the trail than expected.  There were a lot of uphill portions on the trail which took their toll after a while, even though we were all in pretty good shape.  So there were times when those of us who were tired would just walk our bikes until the ground was more even.  

The hiking portion was rather steep but not too lengthy of a walk.  Once we reached Eagles Cliff though, the view was spectacular and it was a perfect spot to rest and enjoy our lunches.  After we returned to the bike trail, the last portion of the ride was a lot more downhill which was an exhilarating way to end the day.  After our biking workout, we went to a local restaurant for some delicious treats.  They served beer and wine, but most of us were more eager to enjoy their menu.

While the trip was a lot more demanding physically than expected (Outdoor Bound has since revised the event description), it was still a lot of fun.  The scenery was gorgeous and I took a lot of great pictures along the way.  I can only imagine how glorious it will be during peak fall colors.  If you are looking for an active way to view the fall foliage, then this is a great way to do it.

Walking the High Line

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Looking for a refreshing walk in NYC?  Try exploring the newly renovated High Line which is located on the West Side of Manhattan.   Walk above the city streets on what used to be only railroad tracks.  Now, you will find a variety of plant life and architectural design with many places to stop and take in the scenery along the way.   The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing district up to 34th Street and entrance is free.   For all the details on how to get there click on their website:  http://www.thehighline.org/about/park-information.

If you are interested in meeting new people during your exploration of the high line, you might consider signing up through Outdoor Bound or MMA for one of their urban hikes in this location.  You will start off at Vestry Wines for a wine tasting, then from there you will walk along the scenic waterfront until you reach the high line entrance.  Once you have finished walking to the end of the high line, everyone in the group heads to a local spot for some drink specials to finish off the event.  I went this past weekend and it was a lot of fun!