Winter Weekend in Woodstock

For Rob’s birthday this past weekend, we drove to Woodstock, NY for a snowy adventure.  Our Airbnb cabin was surrounded by woods and featured a baby grand piano and a roaring fireplace- the perfect backdrop for a winter weekend away!  On Saturday, we snowshoed up Balsam Lake Mountain, followed by Graham Mountain, together a 9-miler of snowy trails, woods and breathtaking views.

Balsam Lake Firetower View
Here’s a picture from the windy top of Balsam Lake Mountain’s firetower, featuring 360-degrees of Catskill views.

On Sunday, we tackled Blackhead Mountain, a woodsy 5-mile loop, using our microspikes the whole way and climbing over frozen waterfalls– in some places incredibly steep terrain.  Being active outdoors all day, followed by a restful evening in front of the fireplace with those close to me, is my favorite kind of weekend! Would you try this getaway?

Icy frozen waterfalls, on the way down Blackhead
Our shadows blending in the trees, heading down Graham
Rob walking through a massive frozen waterfall
In front of the cozy fireplace

An Active Weekend in Bucks County, PA

Urban living is fast-paced and exciting, but can take its toll: a lack of trees and nature, being bombarded with crowded/claustrophobic situations all day long (subways, elevators, cubicles), and general noise and chaos can result in urban fatigue. Which is why I was so excited when Visit Bucks County and fitness getaway expert Ketanga Fitness Retreats teamed up to offer an epic two-and-a-half day adventure along with a mix of awesome travel and fitness writers, to try new routines, challenge our fitness capabilities and have a great time. Who could resist that challenge, and this view?

Delaware River, c/o Bucks County.

Driving over the bridge into New Hope, PA always welcomes with serene river views. It’s one of the northeast’s most fun towns to visit, with restaurants, coffee houses and Revolutionary-era landmarks. We arrived at our hotel, the 22-room Hotel Du Ville, a cozy, French country estate-style hotel (with a wonderful backyard fire pit).

Our bike ride along the Delaware River on the left, and canal on the right. The canal was created in the 1830s as a way to transport goods between NYC and Philly.

We began our active adventure with a 14-mile bike ride with Encore Rides, whose owner, Rick James (who promised he was not actually the singer of Super Freak) lead us through New Hope’s back streets until entering the longest path of our journey along the peaceful Delaware River. River views, glimpses of impressive homes and woodsy charm made for a rewarding ride. I also built some serious strength in my legs.

Taken from our bike ride on Washington Crossing Bridge.

The next morning we were jolted awake with hip-hop boxing in-place with martial-arts trainer Steve Feinberg, no coffee needed. I was surprised how fun- and intense- simply doing moves with good instruction can be (and without any machinery or special gear.) We enjoyed an intense afternoon pilates-and-pinot session, (i.e. working out next to grapes growing at Buckingham Valley Vineyards) with expert Jenna Muller, followed by a tasting of wines made on site. Both were amazing athletes and instructors- my arms were on fire, in a good way!

Our SUP adventure. Photo c/o Cassie Hepler, instagram.com/Explore_Philly.

At nearby Falls Township Lake, we spent our last morning stand-up paddle-boarding with Driftwood Water Adventures owned by Bobby Moyer, SUP guru (and sometime high school science teacher.)  Paddling out to the middle of the lake was a thrill, and the cool breeze invigorating. SUP is surprisingly a good workout and helps improve balance.

I returned home feeling energized and fit. Our short but intense adventure had all the ingredients of a great fitness getaway: a medley of activities, amazing company and a gorgeous, nature-filled/history-rich location as a backdrop. Thank you so much, Bucks County and Ketanga Fitness; I had so much fun!

S’mores station at Hotel du Village

Adventure in New Hope

Morning light and fog. Picture taken January 2014 on the New Hope, PA side of the bridge (I was visiting the area for work at the time). It was freezing cold but beautiful. I can’t wait to get back this week!

If I had to pick my favorite small town off the top of my head, I’d say New Hope, Pennsylvania. I recommend it highly for the perfect fall weekend getaway. With its woodsy, serene countryside of rolling hills, farms, Victorian homes and charming Main Street set romantically on the Delaware River, New Hope is straight out of a storybook. While it’s a little early for Fall leaves and covered bridges, this week I’m excited to be heading to New Hope on a fitness-themed travel writing assignment involving hiking, biking, yoga, paddle-boarding, and even exploring a castle! I’m looking forward to seeing Bucks County from a new, adventurous perspective (floating in the river after I fall off my paddleboard?), meet other travel writers and push the limits of my nascent/dubious athleticism. I’ll share all my adventures here, along with my favorite travel recommendations.

Labor Day

Fourth of July 2017, from Greenpoint (Empire State Building at bottom right).

I woke up this morning feeling the delightful chill of cool air blowing in my apartment window and the realization that it wasn’t the AC: it was a chilly morning! Labor Day weekend has always signaled that summer is coming to an end, and the weather is cooling down, too. I’m looking forward to sunny sixty-degree days, better outfits involving sweaters and tights, autumn adventures with friends and family, crisp weather for hiking and spending time outdoors, and most of all, the smell at night beneath starry fall skies.  With the new season I’m starting my first blog, where I hope to keep in touch with you and share my adventures and favorite things.  As Rumi said, “I once had a thousand desires. But in my one desire to know you all else melted away.”

I hope you have a wonderful long Labor Day weekend with warm summer memories and some cool breezes.