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.

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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!

All Points West Festival – This Weekend!

 

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This weekend, head to Liberty State Park for the All Points West Festival.  This year there is a wide variety of performers during this local three day music event.  If you are coming from Manhattan, I recommend taking the ferry. That way you can fully take in the beautiful scenery on your way to Liberty State Park.  Once at the festival there will be plenty of music, art and food to enjoy throughout the day.  I had a lot of fun last year and am looking forward to this year’s line-up.  Check out their website for all the details at http://www.apwfestival.com/index.php.

Music Festival in Astoria this Saturday

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Looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors while listening to a variety of local performers this weekend?  The second annual Astoria Music Now Music Festival will be held on Saturday, July 25th in beautiful Astoria Park.  This year they have expanded the performance areas to include not only the main & side stages on the Great Lawn but there will also an additional third stage dedicated to world music, DJ’s, dance & theater arts.  Vendors will be selling crafts, clothing, art & food at this event as well.   Activities are scheduled to begin at 12 noon and last until 9pm.  The weather should be great so get out there and enjoy!!!

Go Horseback Riding – In Brooklyn!

On a city street just outside of Prospect Park in Brooklyn you might be surprised to find a Horseback Riding Stable. Kensington Stables is located at 51 Caton Place in Brooklyn and is one of the closer venues for NY city dwellers to learn to ride. They offer group trail rides and lessons, carraige rides, as well as private instruction.

When I went, I had signed up for a group trail ride so we were scheduled to depart at a certain time. I used to ride when I was younger but it has been many years so I was a little nervous. I was amazed at how the stable was just on the street corner amidst regular buildings! Because of my prior riding experience, they put me on one of the more eager horses. This horse was ready to go! The entire group had our horses brought out to us while we waited outside the stable on the street. Once everyone was ready, we were lined up and it was time for our guides to lead us to Prospect Park for our trail ride. Honestly, I was freaked out at the fact that we had to cross a busy traffic circle to get to the park. I was worried the horses would get jumpy and run off with us but the guides were experts at getting us safely across to the park.

Once in the park, there were still plenty of people walking by and riding bikes since it was a lovely day outside. But the horses were used to this and were pretty much unfased. My group was a mix of beginners and other levels so we maintained a nice walking pace during most of the trail. It was beautiful walking through the park and exhilerating to do so on horseback! The group trail rides last for about an hour. I’ll admit it was hard to turn back since I was having so much fun. As someone who used to be an advanced rider, I felt ready to take it to the next level the next time I signed up to ride. But for those who have never been on a horse before and are looking to get started, this is a great way to get out there.

Kensington Stables has all their information on pricing and the services they offer on their website: http://www.kensingtonstables.com/. The people who work there are friendly and very helpful in making sure you enjoy your horseback riding experience.

Hiking in the Moonlight

This Saturday night, when most people were getting ready to plan their evenings out on the town, I was getting myself ready to enter the wilderness. I had signed up for a Full Moon Hike through Outdoor Bound. So I gathered my new headlamp, my water bottle, some snacks and my backpack. I was ready to go.

I had been worried about the weather since showers were in the forecast. All day it looked dreary and cloudy. I wondered how I would be hiking in the moonlight if there was no visible moon? But the trip was still a go so I met up with my group at 7pm. We ventured out of the city and were on our way to Harriman State Park in upstate NY. It was about an hour drive away from the city.

As we drove, there were some rain showers and only cloudy skies. I just hoped the weather would hold out when we got there. Luckily as we were driving up the mountain it looked like the rain had stopped! Hopefully it would stay that way while we were out in the woods.
We went up a small winding road and when the van was parked and we turned out the lights it was pitch black. All you could hear was the chirping of all of the surrounding nocturnal insects. It was then that the reality hit me of what I had signed up for. I was about to head into the middle of the forest with 12 other people with nothing but our headlamps/flashlights and our hiking guide to lead the way. It was exhilarating and a bit scary.

As we started out, I quickly adjusted to the ways of night hiking. You could only see what your headlamp revealed directly ahead of you, along with the trail of lights ahead where the others were walking in front of you. If you wanted to see the surrounding area, you really needed to watch your step since your light would no longer be guiding your feet! As I walked, I kept thinking to myself – WOW! I am in the middle of the woods, in the dark, and if I turn off this light I will be in complete darkness! Not only that but we were climbing steep trails and slippery rocks since it had rained so much before. It was hot and muggy so any rain drops that fell through the trees were actually welcome.

We made our way to the lake where if it hadn’t been raining you would light a fire and roast marshmallows. This wasn’t possible for our group with all the rain that had occurred but it might have been even better this way. This way you got to fully appreciate the surrounding darkness. To my happy surprise the full moon had made itself known through some thinner clouds. Shining brightly in the sky it had an illuminating glow over the lake and surrounding forest. It was beautiful! We had been prepared for a possible night swim in the lake but the water was a tad chilly. So those of us who were so inclined went in to wade in the shallow water. I could have stood there for hours. It was such a peaceful experience. Most of us had turned off our lights and our eyes had adjusted to the moonlight while we rested. I really enjoyed our time by the lake.

Soon it was time to get back on our way. For the rest of the journey we encountered some steep inclines, had to climb some rocky sections (which is why they suggest using a headlamp so you have the use of both hands), and were able to hear some owls, see a family of deer and hear the surrounding wildlife. I felt a million miles away from civilization. When I turned off my light and looked around I could see no other lights at all. We were that far away from any stores, houses and lights. I loved it!

Our hike was completed at around 1am. I was sad when we returned to the van and had to head back. But my body was a bit sore from all the activity so I guess it was for the best. All I know is, I had an amazing time and cannot wait to go on another night hike. I was also extremely thankful that the weather had held out for us. Once back in the van we had more showers to drive through and I was happy to be sheltered again when that happened.

Outdoor Bound has another full moon hike offered in October. That is the last one for this season but they will have more next season. I know I will be signing up next spring/summer! It is a wonderful experience and I highly recommend giving it a try.

It’s Not Too Late to Buy Your Ticket!

Next weekend is the All Points West Music and Arts Festival. Radiohead and Jack Johnson are headlining this three day festival taking place at Liberty State Park, NJ. There will be 3 stages and and the line up has officially been scheduled. You can get all the info on who is playing when and how to get there at http://apwfestival.com/.
Liberty State Park is a great venue and the last shows I have seen there were lots of fun. I am going Saturday and have already bought my ferry ticket (it is definitely a great way to get there and you go right past the Statue of Liberty). I am a huge Radiohead fan so I can’t wait! Get your tickets while you can! You don’t want to miss out on this great festival!