Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
When my mom visited me recently she insisted on going to the Cloisters. A friend of hers had told her it was one of the all time best things about New York. I have been meaning to go for ages and that combined with the lofty review my mom had received solidified our plans for a Saturday morning excursion.
The museum was created to house a donated collection of medieval art from John D Rockefeller Jr. But what stood out more to me was the incorporation of old French abbeys into the actual building itself. While in the museum I was quickly reminded why I used to want to be an archeologist. I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the process of taking apart an ancient ruin, moving it and then putting it all back together. Its pretty powerful stuff:
Another highlight is the manicured courtyards. If you go right now, you will be spoiled by all the flowers and trees that are in bloom:
What took me by surprise was how antiquated the entire collection was and inside the building, you will feel like you are winding your way through an old drafty castle taking in each piece.
I'm mad I didn't write down the name of this because it was my favorite thing in the museum:
When you plan your trip definitely get off at the 190th Street stop. The Cloisters is located in Fort Tryon Park and the stop will place you at the southern end of the grounds. The scenic stroll along the Hudson before you arrive at the museum is a great way to start off your visit. Also, right now is the time to go because everything is in bloom. This will certainly enhance your visit.
The other good news is admission is by donation so your afternoon will not put a hole in your wallet. Take the A train up town to 190th st.
Monday, May 9, 2011
This is a quick little jaunt, but fun because the walk is right along the Hudson, so you can do beachy things like skip rocks or send off a message in a bottle.
Also, there is a slough that runs inland toward Saugerties that has an interesting riverboat culture. Felt kind of southern.
During your walk, stop to notice the trees off the path - it looked as if a hurricane had just blown through:
The lighthouse itself is a valued upstate relic. Not only is it uniquely beautiful, but its also very historic. You can also stay there as its a bed and breakfast, be sure to bring your girlfriend here:
Every time I visit Saugerties, I make another discovery that makes me love it even more. Its creeping its way to the top of my Where-To-Build-A-Summer-Home list. The town itself has a good mix of old and new businesses and its surrounding region is stunning. You can't beat the Hudson/Catskills combo. One of Nature's best.
Monday, May 2, 2011
The trek to Verkeerderkill Falls along Shawangunk Ridge (yes, its a mouthful) is officially one of my favorite hikes I've done in the Catskills and what's best is I just happened to stumble upon it.
Lots of recent research has pointed me to the Shawangunk Ridge, also recognized as the Shawangunk Mountains or more affectionately as "The Gunks." This is a ridge top that runs through three counties in New York state. You can pick up trails along the ridge in varying locations or if you are a total bad ass, you can hike the whole thing.
Being the eternal day tripper that I am, I opted for the less arduous of the two options and decided to hike from Sam's Point Preserve just south of Ellensville. Legend has it a man name Sam was being chased by Native Americans and leapt from the cliffs to avoid being captured. He survived the fall and the region earned the name "Sam's point."
Park your car in the lot for ten dollars and hit the trail. We decided to do the 6 mile round trip hike to Verkeerderkill Falls. Nothing really could prepare us for the vistas that we encountered:
The trail runs east along the ridge, so this was the view of the Hudson Valley. Needless to say you can see for miles in nearly every direction. The word "Shawangunk" translated means "in the smoky air," which I love. I can't wait to do this hike again in the fall:
Be prepared for the trail itself which is a rocky and muddy affair. We took our time on our way out to the falls, but as it got late on our way back and we tried to pick up the pace, it was still hard because we were constantly navigating boulders and puddles. I suggest good shoes:
Also wear long pants and socks. We were told to tick check by fellow hikers. I panicked, but escaped sans tick emergency.
The trail ends here, at the Verkeerderkill Falls. At 180 feet, this is the largest of the falls in Sam's Point Preserve and it is certainly a prize when you reach it. The falls are surrounded by large, layered, rocky cliffs where you can sit and take in the view. This was the best picture I could get as I was too scared to venture any further to the edge:
What I liked in particular about this hike was the fact that you could feel like you were at the top of the world without feeling like you killed yourself getting there. That said, this was no trip for the lazy. When we got back to the car I was sore and ready for a big meal.
Please do me and yourself a favor and make sure you get here this summer. Looking out east across the Hudson Valley makes you feel like all the land is yours (in a non-greedy way). I get so used to the magnitude of our city that sometimes I forget the magnitude of our environment. Its a great lesson to relearn.