Winter Woodland Walks

There’s nothing quite like going for a woodland stroll in the woods.  It feels and looks so magical! Last weekend, I visited a wonderful, small, western New Jersey town that gets all decorated for Christmas.  There’s an adorable main street lined with small shops and cafes and lots of nearby farms perfect for visiting for some homemade apple cider and live Christmas decor (pine wreaths, anyone!?). After spending the day wandering the cute little shops and sipping coffee and cider, I decided it was time to see what walking paths and parks were nearby.  Lo and behold, the Cooper Mill was just down the road.

The Cooper Mill was built in 1826 and is on the National Historic Register.  During the warmer months, there are tours and events at the mill.  On this particular day, it was snowing, the water in the mil had begun to freeze over, and it was extremely picturesque.

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sarahheart

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Corn Mazes and Apple Cider!

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Autumn is the perfect time for some outdoor adventuring. The temperature isn’t too cold, the air is brisk and refreshing, the trees turn magnificent colors – it’s wonderful! I have always enjoyed fall hikes through the mountains, corn mazes, and apple picking and this year has been no different!

I daytripped out to gorgeous small town with cute cafes, antiques stores, and a farm that was perfect for some fall festivities!  After a wonderful organic lunch of fig, apple, and brie cheese and a hot panini at The Robin’s Nest, it was on to Stony Hill Farm Market.

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Stony Hill Farm is home to a number of fun autumn activities to partake in.  There are hay rides, corn mazes, rope mazes, gemstone mining (for the kids!), apple picking (at their second location), photo spots, and yummy donuts and delicious cider to enjoy.  I grabbed a hot cup of apple cider and a yummy apple cider donut before heading into the giant corn maze!

The corn maze has a number of activities to complete while inside the maze itself. I focused primarily on finding my way and enjoying the sights from the bridges that place you above the maze itself while crossing, offer great views of the maze and surrounding trees.

With the clocks having rolled back an extra hour recently, the sun began to set incredibly early, casting a glowing, golden light over the corn field.  Looking around, it was impossible not to feel warm and happy 🙂

sarahheart

Summer Perfection: Hoboken’s Pier 13

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Summertime means getting outside and enjoying the sunshine, preferably with a refreshing beverage in hand. In Hoboken, New Jersey, the “Mile Square City,” that means heading over to Pier 13.  With food trucks, fun drinks, and incredible views of the New York City skyline, it’s hard to beat!

Pier 13 stretches out into the Hudson River on the north end of Hoboken.  It’s a bit unassuming if you merely walk by it on a stroll of the waterfront, but once you walk out onto it, everything changes.

At the front of the pier, you’ll encounter that day’s food trucks.  Pier 13 has a pretty great “collection” of food trucks that change and rotate day-to-day.  My favorites include the Dark Side of the Moo (burgers, wings, tacos), Amanda Bananas (banana-based ice cream!), and Carnivale (stuffed donuts!).  There’s generally at least five options to choose from, unless you happen to go during their monthly Food Truck Frenzy, when ALL the food trucks come to share their deliciousness! It’s quite an event!

After the food trucks comes the booze! If you want to drink, you’ll have to get a wristband as you walk farther down to the pier toward the water.  Here, you’ll encounter the drink stations.  There are two structures on the pier that serve alcohol – one is more geared toward cocktails and the other is a bit more beer-centric. Pier 13 is home to all sorts of fantastic drinks! You can get a “beach ball” or a “party pail” to bring out into the seating area with you. I personally enjoy their spiked lemonade and Arnold Palmer beverages – super refreshing on a hot day!

Once you grab your drinks, grab a seat! The remaining stretch of the pier is devoted to casual and relaxed grass-carpeted seating.  These brightly colored lawn chairs are perfect for sitting back and enjoying your food, drink, and friends.  Around 5pm each day, the crowd on the pier switches over from moms-with-their-kids-enjoying-the-sunshine-and-booze to young-and-hip-twenty-somethings-getting-a-drink-after-work.  It’s a great place to head with friends and coworkers to unwind from the day’s work grind!

Of course, you can’t talk about Pier 13 without mentioning the stunning views.  New York City serves as the scenic backdrop, with the iconic Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Freedom Tower taking center stage. Even if you go it alone to Pier 13, enjoy your drink and just take in the incredible sights!

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Pier 13 is always hosting fun events ranging from movie nights and painting classes, to silent dance parties and mini golfing.  There’s also boating and water activities available from the pier, too, if you’re looking for something that gets you off the concrete and into the waves.  Summer is the perfect time to try paddle boarding and kayaking!

For more information about everything Pier 13 has to offer, check them out:

Website // Instagram // Facebook

 

Happy travels and happy summer!

sarahheart

A Mini-Tour Through NYC

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I’m quite a fan of playing tour guide when friends and family come to visit me.  Over the past few years, I’ve had both visit me in Florida and I’ve happily played tour guide around various parts of the state (check out my “Florida” category to check out some of the awesome places!).  Most recently, though, I played tour guide one afternoon around New York City briefly when some of my family came to visit me there.  It’s hard to pick only a handful of places to go and see when there’s so much to do, but I planned out a route that included a couple stops at some notable places.

I came from the Jersey side and entered the city through the Lincoln Tunnel via bus.  A bus ride through the tunnel costs me only $3.50 versus the $14 to drive through in a car, so the choice there is an obvious one (never mind the parking fees, too, once you get a car into the city). I started off my “tour” from Port Authority.  My family agreed they’d like to walk south for some coffee and lunch, so I planned out a scenic route.  We exited Port Authority on 9th Ave (the “back” of the building, essentially), and began heading south down 9th.

We cut over to 10th eventually and then caught the High Line right around 30th and continued south that way.  The High Line is a wonderful scenic walkway “above” the city – it used to be an old train line that was put out of commission and then turned into a park.  It now has grass, flowers, trees, and plants and is really pretty and offers great views of the city as you walk along it!  My family was excited to experience it and see the sights!

The High Line continues down 10th Ave for quite some time.  We hopped down to surface level at 20th in order to cross the street and grab a cup at Intelligentsia Coffee inside the High Line Hotel – a favorite of mine and my boyfriend! It wasn’t too crowded inside and we were able to grab a couple seats on the back couch.  Our party of three ordered an iced coffee, a mocha, and one of the hot coffees (don’t remember the origin!).  It was a pleasant experience!

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Since it was getting on in the afternoon, we decided to check out Chelsea Market for lunch since there are tons of places in there to choose from. I pointed out some interesting shops and restaurants on the way before we entered the Market from the 10th Ave entrance. We wandered through the market exploring all the various dining options.  I’m quite a fan of Takumi, Amy’s Bread, Giovanni Rana, and Los Tacos for lunch/dinner options (the Doughnuttery is great for dessert!).  A new section of the market just opened, though, so I was curious to see what was there.  The pizza and sandwiches at the new Cappones really stood out to us, so Cappones it was!

I got a personal cheese pizza and it was great! The sandwiches looked fantastic, too – perfect if you’re looking for something filling since they’re rather large! There was quite a line at Cappones going but the service was quick and everything was made-to-order.  We ate at a standing table just a few feet away.  Everything was very enjoyable!

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After our tour of Chelsea Market, we decided to catch the Path back to Jersey to meet up with my boyfriend in Hoboken.  We took the scenic route since we had some time to kill and walked up 6th Ave to 23rd.  We passed by some interesting things, including one of street artist Invader’s 8-bit mosaic works on a building. There are always cool things to see around the city no matter where you are!

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Although it was a brief trip, it was fun playing tour guide for an afternoon in the city. There are truly endless things to see and check out.  The High Line, coffee, and lunch at Chelsea Market was a nice way to see some iconic things during a quick afternoon.  I’m always on the hunt for new places to explore (and have plans to create an interactive map with a bunch of my favorite spots on it for you to enjoy!).  If you’re ever in NYC, these are definitely some spots worth checking out! 🙂

 

Happy travels and adventures!

sarahheart

Apple-Picking and Corn Mazes

Autumn has generally always been my favorite season and, now that I spend a lot of my time in Florida, I find myself missing it quite a bit.  I tend to travel north quite a bit, though, and have been enjoying fitting in as much autumn enjoyment as possible!  One of my favorite things to do in fall is to visit farms with apples, corn mazes, hay rides, and pumpkins – it’s the quintessential “fall activity.”  I was fortunate enough to have time to visit a lovely farm in Chester, New Jersey called Stony Hill.  It was a blast!

Stony Hill Farms has two locations that are just five minutes apart – an apple orchard (and garden store) location and then a corn maze and pumpkin patch location.  I visited both places and had lots of fun at each!  I had really been itching for some fresh-picked apples, so I headed to the apple orchard first.

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When I arrived, I headed inside to get a basket to hold the apples I was about to pick.  The apples you pick are priced by pound, but the woman shared a nice tip about a full basket being around $20.  She was right, too!  I filled my basket a little bit beyond the top and paid just over $20 for the apples.  Compared to grocery store prices, it was definitely a deal!

The apple orchard was full of various types of apples, some I had never even heard of before.  It was lots of fun going through the rows of apples and selecting ones to pick! The signs posted at each row tell you what each type of apple is good for (baking, eating raw, salads, etc.) so you can pick up apples based on what you might use them for (I plan to bake an apple cake and apple pies!).  I filled up my basket quicker than I thought I would.  I would’ve loved to stay longer just to walk through the orchard more!

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After leaving the orchard, I headed down the road for a super short drive over to the other Stony Hill Farms location.  This was where the corn maze was!  Having grown up in the northeast, I always did corn mazes every fall and I wanted this season to be no exception.  I was really excited to head into the maze! A quick instructional video beforehand detailed how to “build” your map as you made your way through the maze (as well as complete various games throughout the maze which I thought was fun!) and find your way out.  There were a few tall bridges to cross through the maze which provided really nice views of the entire corn field.  I was there in the late afternoon as the sun began going down so it was really pretty.

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The farm also has a nice store where they sell homemade pies, donuts, popcorn, cookies, and tea and cider.  I got a slice of pie and some incredibly delicious (seriously, this stuff was really good) cider.  They had a bunch of pumpkins and gourds outside for sale, too.  It was just really fun to enjoy taking in the seasonal feeling – I love fall!

Stony Hill Farms is an excellent place for some fun fall activities and I’m really glad I had the chance to visit both of their locations.  To check them out for yourself (which I highly recommend!), head to their website at:

http://www.stonyhillfarms.com/

Or visit them in New Jersey at one of their locations! The two locations are super close to one another, so you can check out both.

I’m very glad I had the opportunity to have some autumn adventures this season! It wouldn’t be fall without some apples, cider, and corn mazes!

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