How do you measure, measure a year? 2017 was the year I spent time in 13 different countries and 11 different states. I traveled to Europe three times. I set foot on my fifth continent. I revisited London, Indianapolis, Ireland, and Portugal. I reunited with friends from college in Prague and Dublin and old coworkers in London, Chicago, and Dubrovnik. I traveled for 10 days in Cape Town with someone I met in Mandalay and for 12 days in Croatia with someone I met in Dublin. A twelfth of my year was spent dog-sitting, both in Chicago and Jersey City. I added Shenandoah National Park to my list of U.S. National Parks.
I’ve found myself hearing “do more of this” over and over again at certain moments in my life over this past year, as if a group of people in my brain is all meditating at the same time with a joint mantra. One of those moments came as I was paddling a bright green kayak in the sunshine down the gorgeous Chemung River last month.
The summer always flew by when I was working full-time because I never got as much sun as I needed while stewing away in my cubicle. I didn’t think the summer would pass so quickly when I was just working part-time, but, man. I mean, I’ve done a lot this summer, that’s for sure, but I initially expected to be back in the city by the fall and, well, it’s basically here.
The fire was glowing bright orange, burning at a temperature above 2000 degrees. We pulled our safety goggles on, slid on our gloves, and got down to business.
The business was glass-making and the results were beautiful glass flowers, shipped to our homes the next week. I was in Corning, New York with One Carry-On and Stories My Suitcase Could Tell for a Finger Lakes adventure. We had heard we couldn’t visit Corning without spending time at the Corning Museum of Glass, but I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it much. I was completely wrong.
New York City in the fall is basically the best. The skies are my absolute favorite shade of blue, the crowds leave the streets and head to the bars for football games, and I get the parks to myself, with my chai tea and Kindle. But it’s always worth heading out of the city as well. Earlier this season, a friend and I got out of town and drove a Zip Car upstate to explore.
Earlier this month, I was heading to Buffalo, New York with just enough free time for a meal. Per usual, I did extensive research and found the number-one-rated restaurant in Buffalo, Martin Cooks, on TripAdvisor. I was intrigued by reviews touting “Foodie Heaven,” “Perfection Every Time,” and “Most unique dining experience in Buffalo.” To see that the lunch was actually affordable with all these great reviews solidified my decision.
If you had asked me a month ago if I knew about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I would have said “of course.” Even though we never made it that far into history in elementary and middle school, I felt like I knew all about FDR’s New Deal, Fireside Chats, his response to Pearl Harbor, and the adorable ‘lil pup, Fala, who sits at his feet at his memorial in DC. But a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Hyde Park in Dutchess County and I learned so much more about our longest-serving president. If you are a history nerd (like I am sometimes), Hyde Park is a must-visit, and is relatively easy from NYC.
For our second Frousin day trip this fall (read about our first here), Jake planned a trip a few Saturdays ago for the NYC & North Jersey chapters of the fam to visit Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York, about an hour north of the city (just like Croton Dam). Christie, Jake, Katie, and I rode up together to meet the others. Other cars may not have had to deal with such sassy backseat drivers (guilty) or may not have been as lost as we were on the way home, but I can also bet that we had better car games than anyone.
A few weeks ago, on the most beautiful September Sunday, a friend and I Zipcar’ed up the Hudson to Croton Dam, a nice hour drive north of the city. The only thing I knew about the dam prior to going was that it somehow provides water to NYC. All I expected out of the day was a fling with nature, which I don’t normally get these days, but I had no idea how beautiful it would be.