“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharal Nehru

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surprise Vineyard Day Trip

Nick surprised me last weekend with a group dinner Friday night and then a day trip to a Hudson Valley vineyard.
Oh how I love when he plans things for us! 

Friday night we met up with some great friends Pam and Matt & Jeremiah and Julie. We had reservations at Landmarc and it was a perfect evening of steak and potatoes! Pretty much everyone at the table either ordered a steak or burger. It was so great to see everyone and catch up!

Saturday I had no idea where Nick was taking me. I knew it involved about a 2 hour train ride. It was quite the hike! Towards the end of the second train ride Nick asked me if I had any idea where we were headed.... none. I didn't have a clue which for some reason surprised him.

I didn't realize where we were going until we got off the train and headed to the shuttle (and by shuttle I mean the small school bus). And the only reason I knew at that point was because our driver held a sign that said, "Millbrook Vineyards." Yes.... wine tasting! Perfect!

Such a great idea! By the time we made it to the vineyard it was lunch time and I was starving. We made our way down the path towards the outdoor kitchen. After a few decisions we decided on a glass of wine, two burgers, and a chocolate chip cookie. The vineyard had picnic tables set up all around the water and grapes... so we sat and enjoyed the scenery.

It was such a beautiful day we decided to take a short walk to the overlook where you can see for miles along the Hudson Valley. Such peacefulness. I've said it before and I'm sure it won't be the last time... it is so great to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city!



Afterwards we had a short tour of the vineyard and then finished with the wine tasting. The wine was really good and relatively inexpensive for a bottle. Perfect combination. It was the perfect day trip - I have a pretty amazing husband. He did joke that this "surprise" should give him points for at least 6 months!

Love this man!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Cafeteria = new favorite restaurant in the city! More on that in a minute...

Friday night Nick and I decided to stay in. We've been trying to be more healthy lately. Better meal decisions. I decided to make chicken fajitas with corn tortillas and this black bean/corn dish as a side. Plus a little chips and guacamole (even though that's not real healthy).

The dinner came out wonderful! It was my first time making the side dish and guacamole and I could not have been happier. Especially the guacamole - I loved it! Super easy to make. I have to say it is one of the better meals I have made.

Saturday was a big day for me - I ran my first three miles EVER. Anyone who knows me knows I hated anything over 400 yards... even 400 yards was pushing it. I was a sprinter in high school and despised long distance. So the fact that I ran three miles is a huge accomplishment! I was quite proud of myself. My next goal is to run a 5K...

Nick and I ran a few errands and then had lunch at Cafeteria in Chelsea. It.Was.Delicious. This restaurant is my new favorite in the city. I don't know why we haven't been before but you can count on us returning. Everything on the menu looked tasty - it was really hard to decided.

We started off with some drinks - margarita on the rocks for Nick that had a little bit of a twist and a blueberry mojito for me. Just what we needed on a hot, humid day. After taking a long time to review the menu we finally decided.

Nick ordered the fish tacos (way to be healthy!) with a side of truffle parmesan fries (not so  healthy) and I, well... I didn't order so healthy. I ordered the fried catfish with a side of cheese grits. That's right - a Southern meal. I can't even begin to explain how satisfying this meal was. I savored every bite - the catfish was fried to perfection and the grits had just the right amount of cheese mixed in. Nick's meal was every bit as delicious as mine. Both of us had nothing left on our plates.

Afterwards we met up with some of Nick's prior classmates at The Frying Pan. It's this large boat that sits on the Hudson. It's basically a huge bar... and it was packed! The environment was really neat and we had a great table towards the front that looked over the Hudson. However, I couldn't stay too long... the motion of the boat was making me nausea. It was a constant back and forth motion and after about an hour I was ready to be on solid ground.

 The rest of the weekend was quiet - a relaxing, lazy Sunday. Just the way we like it!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fire Island

Nick and I decided to take a day trip to Fire Island. It's a 32 mile stretch of land that is only accessible by taking a ferry. I had heard a lot about it from other people and patients - I think it's well known too because parts of the island is very gay friendly.

We decided to go to the main area... sort of the capital of the island, Ocean Beach. It was a kind of trains, planes, and automobiles day to get there. It wasn't hard by any means but a few transportation switches.

First there was a subway ride to Penn Station. Then we caught the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica where we had to switch to another train. This train took us to Bay Shore where we then caught a taxi service to the ferry. And lastly the 20 minute ferry ride to Fire Island... it was quite the trip! Fire Island has no cars - you walk or ride your bike. Also there is no eating or drinking on the beach (except water)... it keeps the beach areas clean and pristine.

The ferry was extremely crowded!

Ocean Beach is this cute, quaint beach town. The main square area had the typical restaurants, beach stores, etc. It really was very nice. We had a about a 5-10 minute walk to the beach. We passed a lot of small houses with a very topical feel to them. Nick and I talked about looking into renting a house and getting a group of friends to go.

The Atlantic!

The beach was crowded but not overly crowded. We found a nice spot and proceeded to relax. It was hot but we didn't have the humidity we had been experiencing the last few days. And there was a nice breeze coming off the Atlantic. As we lay there I tried to remember the last time we were at the beach... I couldn't. It's been a long time. I missed it... the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Priceless.

We ate lunch at a little cafe in town for a break from the sun. And of course we had to get some ice cream for dessert. We stayed at the beach for another hour or so but then decided we had enough. I'm not one for just laying out in the sun and Nick's skin can't take too much either. Next time we will bring an umbrella so we can have some shade.

Those people were smart - umbrella!

Our first beach day!

So began our transportation journey back to the city. It didn't take too long to get back to the city. Fire Island is a great day trip. It's definitely something we will be doing again!