Let’s continue with numbers six through ten of my favorite moments while in New York, shall we?
6. A silly photo shoot with my besties
Sometimes I forget how rare it is to still have such a close group of girlfriends ((affectionately known as “the stars”)) that I’ve grown up with since childhood. Each time we get together, we seemlessly pick up right where we left off. Years ago, before I moved to Seattle, one of the girls, Amanda, had a great idea that we should get a professional photo of the group. So, we all met up at Sears Portrait Studio around Thanksgiving time, and posed for several group photos. Well, let me tell you, that framed group photo would prove to be one of my favorite possessions, and I think the other girls would say the same. Since we would all be together the weekend of Jenni’s baby shower, we decided an updated photo was in order. We all met up at Jackie’s mom’s home for some delicious nibbles and photos. It was so silly, and so much fun, and I think the photos prove it! I have so much love for these girls and the new generation of “baby stars.”
7. Visiting Sleepy Hollow days before Halloween
Did you know Sleepy Hollow is a real town in New York State? During my visit with my Uncle Pete, Aunt Steph and their two kids, who live in Carmel, NY, we ventured into the famous town of Sleepy Hollow. One of the highlights was visiting the old Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the Old Dutch Church. Many notable people are buried at the hilly cemetery, including Washington Irving himself! The historic Old Dutch Church was founded in 1685, and along with it’s churchyard, were actually the basis for Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Various guided and self guided tours are available around the cemetery, church, churchyard. Since we were visiting the town just days before Halloween, preparations were underway for a town parade and a Horseman’s Hollow event at the Phillipsburg Manor. Another major Halloween event is the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze at the Van Cortlandt Manor. I wish we’d had time to fit it all in! ((note: the events around this time of year get very busy as expected, and tickets to the Blaze must be purchased in advance)) But just wandering around the town, stopping for lunch, and taking in the eery sights are a must-do in New York State.
8. A visit to bustling NYC, with an introduction to Pickleback Shots
After a day in Sleepy Hollow, Andrew and I hopped a train headed for New York City to visit and stay with my good friend Angela. We spent
every day several days shopping, enjoying the sights, eating, walking through Central Park. So much activity that it will certainly warrant it’s own blog post. But one of the most notable highlights of NYC which I will mention here was a night out, tasting my first ‘Pickleback Shots.’ It is a shot of whiskey, chased by a shot of pickle juice. Sounds a little bit gross, but I love pickles and was game to try it ((ok, maybe I went back for one or two more “tries”)). Who would have thought pickle juice completely takes away the strong flavor of the whiskey? It really did, and therefore contributes to rapid intoxication, but unlike previous occasions, I held my liquor that evening and didn’t even wake up with too bad of a hangover the next day. Pickleback Shots FOR THE WIN!
9. Take your sister to work day!
My middle sister Becky works part-time at a family nursery school in New Hartford, NY and one fine Tuesday, I went with her to work! It happened to be a day of all boys in the class. Can you imagine teaching 7 boys, ages 2 and 3? Impressive work Becky and her co-teacher Laura do. We had story time, did some painting with bubble wrap and paper shaped like a corn cob, dance time, gym time with a wagon and other wheeled riding toys, and of course my favorite, snack time. It is no secret that I absolutely love being around children, so a morning at Becky’s school was great fun. My sister is so great with kids and passionate about teaching them, and I am so proud of her for what she’s doing there! It was really special to spend a morning there at school with her.
10. Alpenglow performs at Ommegang Brewery
I have three very musically talented cousins all in various bands on the East Coast, and I was lucky enough to see one of them, cousin Ken and his band Alpenglow perform in his hometown Cooperstown, NY at the Ommegang Brewery. Alpenglow is based in Burlington, Vermont where the members all currently live. Three of the members actually grew up in Cooperstown, so coming back home to perform there must be very special. A big group of us including Beck, Druce, three of the kids, Aunt Lynne and Uncle Bob went to my Aunt Nan’s home in Cooperstown for a warm soup and grilled cheese pre-show meal. We all then filed into vehicles and headed over to the Brewery for the show, held outdoors in a heated tent. I was so amazed at how well they played and sounded. It was very clear to see how talented each member of the band is, switching from instrument to instrument with each new song. They just released their first album “Solitude,” available on their website, and just recently finished up a Eastern US tour with group Lucius, so I hope you will check them out!
Believe me when I say there could have easily been a top 50 + list of memorable times during my visit to New York State, but I forced myself to narrow it down to ten to be a tad more reasonable. Some other honorable mentions that didn’t make the top ten list but were truly wonderful include: special moments with my friends’ little girls B, V, C and meeting sweet little N for the first time; a delicious homemade meal at Uncle Bob & Aunt Lynnes; playing tag in the yard with little cousins A & A; and devouring NY Pizza from my hometown on three separate occasions ((best pizza ever)).
Sincere thanks to my family and friends who made our month in New York so immensely enjoyable! And double thanks to everyone who hosted us, including Becky, Druce and the kids who let us take over their playroom and living room with our inflatable bed and big heavy suitcases. This visit home to NY was so very necessary and it reminded me just how important it is to spend quality time with friends and family. I’m grateful for such an extended time there with everyone, and also for the support they’ve all given us while we take this early retirement adventure. I’m thinking we should have a big party with ALL of you next summer when we return to the states, yes?!
Look for my recap of a great time in the Big Apple, next post!