Don’t Let Winter Pass You By!


As I eagerly await my next ski trip, I am still on the look out for other fun winter activities to sign up for. There are so many options out there that I thought I would share some links for anyone who would also like to get out and enjoy the snow before the season ends.

Check out ZogSports for ski trips. They have both day trips and weekend trips offered. I enjoyed my ski day with them so much that I signed up for another one. All the details are at http://www.zogsports.com/.

Outdoor Bound is a great company for anyone who wants to really get out there and be active. Some of the activities they offer include snow shoeing, cross country skiing, even ice climbing! I have enjoyed my hiking experiences with them and look forward to trying more of their events in the future. Check out their event calendar at http://www.outdoorbound.com/.

For those singles out there who want to enjoy an activity with the prospect of meeting someone new, head to Meet Market Adventures. They host a variety of indoor and outdoor activities so there is something for everyone. Some of their activities are even co-hosted with Outdoor Bound. I recently went Snow Tubing with them and it was a lot of fun! Their website is http://www.meetmarketadventures.com/.

I hope these links will help you find something fun to sign up for! You can read about my experiences with all of these companies in some of my past entries which will help you know what to expect.

Advertisements

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!

How About Dinner and A Movie With Some New Friends?

I am always interested in checking out the latest movies being released and discovered a new enjoyable way to do it. On Meetup.com there are so many different social groups doing exciting things in the NYC area. I had joined the Dinners, Movies, and More Meetup Group (which says singles preferred but all are welcome) and thought that the Dark Knight would be the perfect flick to go see with a fun group of new people.

Since there were so many people interested, this meetup event met at a bar for some drinks before the movie instead of the usual movie then dinner plan. We went to Bar 13 (35 East 13th Street and a block from the theater), which in the evenings is super crowded, but ended up being the perfect spot to go before our Saturday 7:40pm showing at the Regal Union Square 14 theater. There was a 2 for 1 drink special for beer and mixed drinks and a nice roof deck area for us to meet and mingle at.

After a couple of drinks, it was time to head over to get in line for the Dark Knight. Our group organizer had planned out the timing perfectly and we had all gotten to know eachother a bit at Bar 13 so we were ready for the movie. Since we were in line at the right time, we were able to get a group of seats in the same area together.

Needless to say, the movie was intense and fantastic! We all had so much to talk about afterwards that we decided to find a place to eat and converse about it some more. Since it was across the street and it was someone’s birthday at midnight, we decided to head over to Max Brenner for some delectable desserts. I was amazed that they were able to accommodate our group so quickly, as we had 16 people interested in hanging out after the film. I had never been there before but every single item looked so delicious that you wanted to try everything. So we enjoyed our varied and delicious treats for a while before it was time to call it a night and go our separate ways.

Overall, the night was a great success. I got to meet many new people and even make some friends. What a fantastic way to enjoy fabulous drinks, an amazing film, and delicious food all in one night! I would definitely recommend that others give this group a try. I know I plan to go again for another fine evening in the future.
To join this or any other meetups go to http://www.meetup.com/
Check out more details about Max Brenner at http://www.maxbrenner.com/.

Hiking to Van Slyke Castle Ruins

I had wanted to sign up for a hiking adventure for a while but was looking for the right one. Luckily, I found it at the MMA site for a Hike and Swim Majestic Ruins of the Van Slyke Castle in NJ. I couldn’t say no! I have not hiked since I was a kid at camp so this would be a new experience for me to do this as an adult. Having had fun at every event I participated in with MMA so far I didn’t think I could go wrong.

I showed up with my mom’s hiking books (which thankfully she lent me), a new cooling water bottle and a standard water bottle which together amounted to my minimum 2 liter water requirement, and a bagged lunch. I was ready to go! The drive was approximately 45 minutes outside of midtown Manhattan over the GWB. Once we started I immediately started to realize what I was in for… lots of uphill on what I thought was a very rocky terrain. We hiked first to Ramapo Lake and then made our way onto a trail around one of the neighboring mountains. With the hot and humid weather and lack of previous hiking experience, I found the uphill sections feeling a bit endless at times and rather difficult for me without some breaks in the middle. However, once you got to a lookout point you felt the reward of the heights you have climbed to get there. I was immensely thankful for my cooling water bottle too! I definitely needed it and had some envious fellow hikers.

After a lunch by the lake, we finally made our way towards the Van Slyke Castle Ruins. This was what I had been looking forward to the most so I was quite excited, even though I knew it meant more uphill climbing. It was well worth it. As an avid photographer, I took advantage of all that remained of this once glorious building. I would love to come back to view it in the fall or winter when there is less greenery and it will be more exposed.

Once we descended that mountain, our hiking day finished off with a brave swim in the lake. I say it was brave since there was some plant life that seemed to have taken over the water so that if you went in, you would have some interacting with you while you were swimming. I must say though, after all the hard work we did during our hike, most of us quite enjoyed the refreshment of the lake.

All in all, it was a fantastic day. I was encouraged by our trail leader that the more I hike the better I will get at both the uphill climbing and the effect on my knees. I took a rested the following day and my knees were fully recovered from the pain I was feeling immediately after the hike.

This hike was a combined outing with Outdoor Bound and MMA participants. Everyone was really nice and made the experience that much more fun. I would definitely recommend this to someone just starting out with hiking and anyone with an interest in taking pictures of the castle ruins. As I said earlier, I definitely plan to go back sometime!

Delaware River Water Tubing Fun

If you want a relaxing and fun summer day trip, try leaving the city and going to NJ for some water tubing fun. I signed up for this through MMA but it was another combined trip with Outdoor Bound. About 30 of us took part in this outing.

After meeting in Manhattan, our bus headed out for approx 2 hours to get us to our Water Tubing destination. After all the bathing suits were on, sunscreen applied and our tubes selected we were ready to go! We were packed into a bus with our tubes and were driven to the river drop off spot. Getting yourself onto the tube and on the water was a bit comical. There were a couple of funny wipe outs. But once on the tube it was the height of relaxation. The weather was hot enough that you were thankful to have the water underneath you and it was quite refreshing. With the company we used, you float down the river for 2 hours or so and then you come across the famous Hot Dog Man. We all stopped for a delicious BBQ lunch. They had veggie burgers for people like me who don’t eat meat, chicken sandwiches and the regular burgers and hot dogs all fresh off the grill. It was a great way to make more friends in the group and find out more about your fellow tubers. Essentially, this was the half way point so once lunch was finished you got back on the water and floated towards the final stop point. There were some fun tiny rapids that I kept trying to paddle towards whenever I could and the rest was more relaxation on the river. Afterwards, we took our bus back, changed, and were on our way back to the city. It was a delightful way to spend a hot summer day. 🙂 I have heard there is also white water tubing for a more wild adventure so I plan to try that sometime too.

Sailing Adventure Aboard the Ventura

It was a Sunday in June and the NYC area had just gotten through a day of thunderstorms and downpours the day before. When I arrived at North Cove Marina (after getting slightly lost – thanks nice police officer for pointing me in the right direction so I could get there on time!), I saw our beautiful sailboat for the day. It has a single sail and we were informed that this boat was built in the 1900’s and still had most of the original parts and wood. It was made with great craftsmanship and has been well taken care of. There were about 25 of us on this MMA adventure. We began by learning about different parts of the ship and then divided into groups to learn more specific and hands on knot tying and sailing prep. The crew was kind enough to hand out orange ponchos when a light shower passed over us. Little did I know how much we would need them later!

We proceeded to leave the marina and our sailing fun began. We headed out towards the Statue of Liberty and got pretty close. It was a great photo op! Then we headed out towards Governor’s Island. You could see the new Ikea store and how massive it is on the Brooklyn shoreline. Up until now the skies had been partly sunny and a bit overcast. However, once we turned back towards Manhattan, a looming black sky was directly over where we were headed… Not a good sign. We continued on for a bit but then the ship captain said to his crew “Get everyone settled. We are going to see some action”. Shortly after, we were bundled in our ponchos, trying to avoid getting drenched by the monsoon upon us. Believe it or not, it was rather fun! I kept laughing at how crazy the weather was. Some people were still taking pictures even in the pouring rain. The storm seemed to pass quickly and when we got back it had pretty much stopped. Needless to say, no one was dry when we arrived back in the marina.

This was a great way to get out on the water and go for a ride on a beautiful ship. The Ventura offers sunset sails on Friday evenings and other weekend outings. They can also book for private parties. I highly recommend going on your own sailing adventure with them!

Ventura Website: WWW.SAILNEWYORK.COM