Category Archives: Travel

A Weekend at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

I’ve had a love affair with tulips for a long time and seeing the tulip fields in Holland has been on my bucket list. Imagine my wonder and surprise when Instagram alerted me to the fact that there are fields of tulips to be frolicked in right here in the USA! Last year I saw pictures of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State and immediately knew I had to go. It was so much closer than the Netherlands—plus, a trip to the Pacific Northwest would mean lots of great hiking and seafood (win/win). So last April, I planned a long weekend getaway to Washington State.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, La Conner, Washington

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and La Conner

Picking a date for our visit was tricky because there’s really no way to know in advance when the tulips will start to bloom. It would be much easier to visit if you lived in the area, but as a visitor planning from the East Coast, I just had to pick a date and cross my fingers that the tulips would be waiting for me. The festival usually runs for the entire month of April, so I figured picking a date in the middle would be safest. But since we had such a warm spring last year, we actually ended up catching the very tail end of the season! We were very lucky that some of the fields were still in bloom—another week and they might have all been gone.

We flew into Seattle, grabbed our rental car and then headed straight to La Conner for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. There are two large tulip gardens in addition to fields of tulips all throughout the valley. You can see the fields from your car, but the gardens are definitely worth a visit for the best photo ops and to see a huge variety of tulips up close. We liked the formal gardens at Roozengarde, but the fields at Tulip Town were better.

After exploring the tulip fields, we headed to the Wild Iris Inn in La Conner where I ate the most delicious cookie of my entire life. Seriously, best cookie ever. We really loved this inn—our room was comfortably decorated and included an electric fireplace and a porch with an outdoor hot tub. It was so relaxing to fill up the hot tub and soak with a view of the fields and mountains. We walked into La Conner and had dinner in the pub section of The Oyster and Thistle, which was right up our alley.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, La Conner, Washington Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, La Conner, Washington Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, La Conner, Washington

 Deception Pass State Park and Coupeville

Next morning, we drove to Deception Pass State Park for some hiking. We did two trails: Lottie Point to see the namesake Deception Pass bridge and Rosario Beach to explore the tide pools and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. We parked at the Bowman Bay picnic area near the fishing pier, which allowed us to take the short hikes in both directions. We spotted a deer and two bald eagles on our hike.

After our day of hiking, we drove to Coupeville and checked in to the Blue Goose Inn, another quaint and lovely bed and breakfast. This inn served me the best breakfast I have ever had at a B&B. Maybe it’s because I’m eating mostly Whole30, but I noticed that the cook used a ton of coconut products and the breakfast was practically paleo without me even asking! It was two courses (!) including a homemade chia seed pudding to start, followed by local organic scrambled eggs, maple-glazed bacon and coconut pancakes with a coconut syrup! Amazing.

We explored some of the shops and galleries in Coupeville and walked along the riverfront and enjoyed some of the region’s famed mussels at Front Street Grill.

Deception Pass State Park, Rosario Beach, Whidby Island, Washington Deception Pass State Park, Rosario Beach, Whidby Island, Washington Bald eagles in Deception Pass State Park, Rosario Beach, Whidby Island, Washington Deception Pass State Park, Whidby Island, Washington Deception Pass State Park, Rosario Beach, Whidby Island, Washington Blue Goose Inn, Coupeville, Whidby Island, Washington

There are so many other amazing places I wanted to visit in the PNW. Can’t wait for our next trip.

A weekend at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, with stops in La Conner, Coupeville and Deception Pass State Park

A Walt Disney World Bachelorette Weekend

My high school friend Ally is the queen of all things Disney World. Not only has she planned several girls getaways to the Orlando theme parks, including most recently her friend Shelly’s bachelorette bash (Shelly Cinderelly! How cute, right?), she even spent her honeymoon on an all-access Disney adventure. So she was the absolute perfect person to share her tips for planning the perfect Walt Disney World bachelorette weekend in Orlando, Florida.

Plan the perfect Walt Disney World bachelorette weekend with these tips and recommendations

Ally’s Tips for the Perfect Disney Experience

1. Stay on property. Logistics can be a nightmare with a big group, but Disney makes it effortless. There are plenty of hotels for all budgets, so take advantage of the free parking and public transportation (buses/trams) offered by on-park resorts. You also have access to other resorts and their amenities.

Plan the perfect Walt Disney World bachelorette weekend with these tips and recommendations

2. Purchase park passes early. Disney offers a complimentary FastPass service once you purchase your tickets or book a room at a Disney resort. FastPasses allow you to reserve an entrance time for top attractions or character greetings and can be a real time saver. Your attraction choices can be selected 90 days out from your trip. By pre-booking rides/attractions that are of interest to your party, you can plan the rest of the day around the “must-do’s.”

Plan the perfect Walt Disney World bachelorette weekend with these tips and recommendations

3. Customize your Magic Bands. These bracelets act as your ticket and room key, and allow for in-park charging to a room account if you stay on property. Plus, they can be customized! There are a few Etsy shops with cute monogramming options (like these glitter ones or these Minnie Mouse ones) or you can find bridal party decals or patterned decals like these Lily Pulitzer-inspired ones. The Disney store also has buttons you can add to make these accessories your own.

4. Make reservations for great dining experiences! The Disney restaurants both in the park and at their on-property hotels are amazing and cannot be passed up for stand-in-line, quick-service fare. Take a breather from the crowds and schedule some down time for your meals. Be quick, though! High-demand restaurants such as Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table often book up 4 to 6 months in advance.
Plan the perfect Walt Disney World bachelorette weekend with these tips and recommendations

5. Meet Characters: These meet ‘n’ greets aren’t just for kids! Take time to look up when your favorite characters will be out and get in line early or FastPass to meet them. It’s worth it and makes the Disney magic come alive! You can also look up rare character appearances, such as Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, Gaston and many others. You may even spot a villain or two….or a fairy godmother!

6. Download the Disney app. You will be glad you did. The app allows you to see the wait times of attractions, the location of bathrooms, and much, much more! It’s a lifesaver!

Plan the perfect Walt Disney World bachelorette weekend with these tips and recommendations

7. Let your Disney side show: Embrace everything Disney. Bring out your inner princesses with tu-tus or a matching color scheme. Get ears for your party! Matching shirts? Yes! Do not be afraid to go all out. It’s Disney, after all.

Ally’s Picks for Lodging and Dining

Lodging:

Budget: Rent a camp site and go glamping at Fort Wilderness, or savor the flavor of NOLA at Port Orleans-Riverside/French Quarter.

Spend: The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a treat (hello, animals outside your room!) or try The Beach/Yacht Clubs (they have sand in the pool and water slides for that oceanside feel).

Splurge: The Polynesian will make you feel like you’ve escaped to the Maldives with its waterside villas, or try The Grand Floridian for a Victorian-style trip back in time or The Contemporary for modern upscale luxury.

Dining:

Budget: The Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom), Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios), La Hacienda de San Angel (Epcot), The Plaza (Magic Kingdom), Trader Sam’s (Polynesian) and Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom).

Spend: Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Kidani Villas), Rainforest Cafe (Disney Springs), Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom), Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge).

Splurge: California Grill (The Contemporary), Le Cellier (Epcot), Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom), Victoria & Albert’s (Grand Floridian).

A New York City Bachelorette Weekend Guide

A New York City Bachelorette Weekend Guide

Where to Stay

Places We Love: The Gramercy Park Hotel is the height of New York luxury. Each room is unique, the design a mix of bold modern colors and fabulous antique furnishings. The location is also ideal, halfway between classic uptown tourist destinations and trendy downtown shopping and restaurants. Bonus: Your room reservation includes exclusive access to Gramercy Park, the only private park in New York. Only residents of the buildings surrounding the park have keys to enter. Residents and you, that is.

A very cool midtown hotel option is the Dream Hotel, a super-modern urban escape. We especially love their indoor/outdoor terrace bar. We also love The Standard and The Maritime Hotel—both hotels have spectacular views and are surrounded by stellar dining options. The Westin Grand Central is a good “budget” option (budget being a relative term in New York hotels).

My Warning To You: The lowest priced hotels are found in Times Square or around Penn Station, but be warned that these areas do not have a lot of character. This is commercial New York at its worst: cheap souvenir shops, TGIFridays and Red Lobster, and sidewalk hawkers trying to sell you tickets for a bus tour. Before booking in these locations, just know you’ll need to hop a cab or on the subway for authentic New York dining and entertainment.

Get Your Shop On

Soho Boutiques: Browse a mixture of boutiques and mega-stores in Soho. A stop into TopShop’s American flagship store is a must, and Bloomingdale’s Off the Rack is a little more manageable than the flagship uptown (though that’s worth a stop too). But Soho is known for its smaller designer boutiques and offbeat specialty stores. We love Alice and Olivia, & Other Stories and American Two Shot. Housingworks Bookstore is a cozy place to browse (I’ve found signed first editions tucked into the shelves) and the MOMA Design Store carries unique home goods and affordable art prints. Brunch at Balthazar is a total treat, though reservations are a must at this popular spot.

Fifth Avenue Spree: Shopping on Fifth Avenue can often entail more browsing than buying, but it’s still a great classic New York experience (and there are affordable purchases to be made). Stop into Tiffany’s and let her try on a few wedding bands while you oogle all the sparklies. Cartier is also pretty fabulous. Bendel’s is a great candy box of a department store that is well worth a trip. Lunch at the 8th floor cafe at Saks Fifth Avenue can be nice (the views are great) and Le Train Bleu at Bloomingdale’s is also pretty cool—it looks like a 19th century French dining car. And since you’re experiencing New York like a local, don’t be afraid to take advantage of personal shoppers or shopping concierges where you can check your coats and leave your bags while you browse.

Check Out a Museum

Sexy Time: Welcome to the Museum of Sex. Yep, you read that right. New York City is home to the one and only Museum of Sex, possibly the most perfect museum ever devised for a bachelorette. You might find items from their permanent collection of sex paraphanelia from over the years on display—including everything from early pornography to the latest sex toys from around the globe—or rotating exhibits, like a bouncy castle of breasts (I am not making this stuff up!).

Classical Art with a Twist: Experience the Metropolitan Museum of Art with fresh eyes on a tour with Museum Hack, a group that tailors tours to a young, modern audience. Our favorite for a bachelorette is their “Butts of the Met” tour, an exploration of the many rear ends on view in the Met’s collection. Make sure to take the elevator up to the roof deck, which hosts a sculpture exhibit in warm months. The view of Central Park and the surrounding skyscrapers is not to be missed, plus you can enjoy it with a cocktail in hand.

Visit a Park

River Views and Beer: The High Line is a park/promenade built on an old elevated train line bordering the Hudson River. Take in views of lower Manhattan and the river while strolling through beautifully designed gardens past public art pieces. There are benches for people watching and lots of food vendors along the way so you can grab an ice cream while you stroll. Hop off at 14th Street and head to The Standard Biergarten for authentic German beer, pretzels and ping-pong.

A New York City Bachelorette Weekend GuideRowboats and Tea Time: Rent rowboats in Central Park. Central Park is vast and beautiful and has so much to explore. Since your time is limited, focus on the southern end of the park, which includes the iconic lake where you can rent rowboats. Stroll down the tree-lined Mall, past the Bandshell to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. You may catch an opera singer taking advantage of the acoustics in Bethesda arcade or a bluegrass band performing near the bandshell. Conservatory Water, the Alice in Wonderland statue, and Belvedere castle are nearby as well. Skip lunch at the Boathouse—it’s overpriced and the food is not that good. Instead, head slightly outside the park for afternoon tea at Sarabeth’s on Park Avenue South or Alice’s Tea Cup on 64th St.

Take in the view (by leaving Manhattan)

Venture to Brooklyn: Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and the city’s bridges (from the south up just remember BMW, or Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Washington Bridge). The walk along the river will take you through beautifully landscaped parks and past a few yummy food stalls (we love Luke’s Lobster in particular), as well as an antique carousel. The park is also host to outdoor movie nights, free kayaking, a pop-up swimming pool and other events in the summer, so check their website for details.

City Escape: Catch the ferry to Govenor’s Island. Open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Govenor’s Island is New York’s summer playground. The ferry ride from lower Manhattan will offer great views of both the city and the Statue of Liberty and once you’re there, you’ll find a pop-up beach, public art exhibits, bike rentals and more. The island also hosts a series of festivals throughout the summer, including the Jazz Age Lawn Party.

See a Show

Broadway for Less: For affordable Broadway tickets, check out Today Tix, an app that sells Broadway tickets at considerably discounted prices. The classic answer for low-cost Broadway tickets used to be the TKTS booths at South Street Seaport or Times Square, which sell day-of half-price tickets. But waiting in line at these booths will take precious time out of your getaway weekend. The prices on the Today Tix app are just as good, if not better, minus all that time standing around.

Comedy + Concerts: If Broadway’s not her thing, try a stand-up comedy show or a concert. Comedy shows are affordable and great for parties. The most renowned comedy club in New York is Upright Citizen’s Brigade, which hosts two to three nightly shows. If you’re here in the summer, make sure to look out for the many free outdoor concerts held around the city, most notably in Central Park. You can also check out who is playing at Bowery Ballroom or Webster Hall, two downtown venues that reliably bring in great bands.

Wine and Dine

I had so much to tell you about New York dining that I wrote two full separate posts on it! You can find my guides to NYC Dining, including dinner, desserts, late-night eats and more, here and here.

A New York City Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to Stay, What to See and Do

A Winter Girls Getaway to Lake Louise

I love the idea of a snowy winter escape. It’s perfect for a laid-back bachelorette, or just a much-needed getaway with your girlfriends. Erin from Fuller Edge Photography had just such an adventure when she and a few friends took a girls getaway to Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. The ladies started the day off with a brisk sleigh ride with Brewsters Adventures, which took them all around the lake, affording gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and forest. After a quick thank you to the horses and a turn on the ice, the ladies made a lunch stop at Baker Creek Mountain Resort. Sherrie of Oak & Meadow had packed an amazing picnic lunch (including spiked hot chocolate and whipped cream, of course), which they enjoyed around one of the resort’s roaring fire pits. Winter perfection.

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A Savannah Bachelorette Weekend Guide

Savannah has so much to offer as a bachelorette destination. The city has an almost ethereal charm, from the quaint oak-filled squares and colonial mansions to the scrumptious Southern cuisine and friendly locals. Below you’ll find our recommendations for a bachelorette weekend in Savannah packed with good food, gorgeous strolls and to-go cocktails (yep, you read that right).

A Savannah Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, eat and drink and what to do for an epic bachelorette in SavannahA Savannah Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, eat and drink and what to do for an epic bachelorette in SavannahA Savannah Bachelorette Weekend Guide: Where to stay, eat and drink and what to do for an epic bachelorette in Savannah

For classic upscale Southern elegance, we love the Gastonian. For the budget-conscious, the Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree are well placed near River Street and plenty of shopping and can serve as a good home base to explore the city. For more space and a bit of local character, opt for a home rental, like this modern townhouse apartment near Forsyth Park.

Explore the Downtown Design District for the perfect mix of eclectic boutiques and galleries. As the home of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), it’s no surprise that Savannah’s shops are filled with unique jewelry, art and clothing from local designers.

Take a shopping break and savor a scoop of tutti frutti ice cream at Leopold’s, a Savannah institution. The classic soda counter has been serving up sundaes and cones for almost 100 years.

For a laid-back first night in the city, book a table at Moon River Brewing Company for casual pub food with a Southern twist. You may end up visiting an abandoned section of the brewery later if you happen to take a ghost tour…

Speaking of ghosts, we highly recommend booking a private ghost tour with Tara’s Tours. Savannah is known for being one of the most haunted cities in the country—almost every house has a resident ghoul and every local has a paranormal encounter to share. We recommend Tara’s Boos and Brews tour: Half bar crawl, half ghost tour, this is perfect for a bachelorette party. Take advantage of Savannah’s lack of open container laws by bringing along light-up to-go cups (yep, most bartenders will make you a drink in your own cup to go!).

End your first night at McDonough’s for all-night karaoke. May we suggest “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”?

Refuel after your night out by grabbing a table on the balcony at Huey’s on the River and ordering the crabcakes benedict with one of their famous Bloody Mary’s (plus a plate of pillowy beignets sprinkled in powdered sugar to share, of course).

Take a stroll. Savannah is an incredibly walkable city and the houses are arranged around lovely squares filled with trees and flowers. If you happen to be in the city at the beginning of April, do not miss the Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens.

Host a shower in Forsyth Park. The iconic fountain at the center of the park and romantic oaks dripping with Spanish moss is the perfect setting for a picnic shower.

A night out on River Street, the hub of Savannah nightlife, is a must. Start at the rooftop of the Bohemian Hotel for cocktails and tapas overlooking the river. If you’re feeling a little country line dancing, head to Saddle Bags (mechanical bull riding optional), or get your dance on at Club 309 West.

Photos courtesy of VisitSavannah. com. Images 1, 2, & 4 by Geoff L Johnson, image 3 by Dylan Wilson

A Key West Bachelorette Weekend Guide

Virginia wedding photographer Kim Stockwell is used to being behind the lens rather than at the center of the action. But for her bachelorette bash in Key West, Kim was blown away by the action-packed weekend planned by her closest friends. “Nine very important people in my life made me feel insanely loved and I am beyond grateful,” said Kim. Kim took a few moments to snap pictures of the gorgeous Florida beaches and their cute beach bungalow close to party-central Duval Street, as well as a group shot or two, which made the perfect thank-you gift to remind the girls of their weekend in the sun.

Check out Kim’s Key West bachelorette weekend agenda below to help plan your own trip to the southernmost city in the continental USA. Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography Key West Bachelorette Party Guide | Ultimate Bridesmaid | Kim Stockwell Photography

Check in to your house on Louisa Street, just a block off of Duval Street, the hub of nightlife and general revelry in Key West. This adorable cigar cottage is decorated in the quirky tropical patterns and bright colors typical of the Key West style, but the real draw is the backyard, complete with plunge pool, grill and patio setup perfect for a casual dinner. Serve drinks and dinner in the backyard one night, or for a casual dinner out, try Willie T’s.

No trip to Key West is complete without a Duval Street bar crawl. Sloppy Joe’s has a huge dance floor and Irish Kevin‘s in known for the great live music, friendly bartenders and generally fun and laid-back atmosphere. The rotating roster of performers are top notch, creating a nightly dance party. (Make sure to try the cinnamon toast crunch shooter.)

Sign up for the Fury’s Ultimate Adventure, an all-day boat trip that includes snorkeling, parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking and more. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon drinks are included in the price of the tour (and the cute crewmembers are an added bonus). A great deal for everything you get!

After a day on the water, head to dinner at the Conch Republic Key West, a beautiful open-air restaurant overlooking the marina (which happens to be right next to the dock you board for the Fury tour). Be sure to try Key West specialties here, like conch fritters, mahi mahi and key lime pie.

If you’re hoping to model your Key West adventure on that season of The Real World, try Dante’s, a giant pool party complete with floating beer pong and shot skis.

Head to 801 Bourbon Bar for their world-famous drag show (it’s been running for 25 years!). This raunchy, racy show isn’t for everyone, but the right bride will have a blast. Call ahead to book a table in front and to the left of the stage, where there’s plenty of room for a large group. The bride gets in free, but the $10/person cover for the other members of your party is well worth it.

After your night out, you’ll be in need of a restorative brunch at Louie’s Backyard Afterdeck. Enjoy a mimosa and tres leches French toast on the multi-level deck overlooking the ocean.

Camping in the Catskills

Andrew and I both love camping, so we’ve made it a tradition to go at least once a year. For the past three years, our destination has been New York’s Catskills region, in particular the town of Saugerties. We love the close proximity to New York City—about a two hour drive—which allows us to get away for a long weekend without much fuss. Here I’ve put together a little guide of some of our favorite things to do in the lower Hudson Valley.

Campgrounds

First, Andrew and I are “car campers,” meaning that we don’t hike out to remote campsites with all our worldly goods on our backs. Granted, we do hike (take the train) out of New York City with all our worldly goods to pick up a car in New Jersey, but we can’t say that really counts as “roughing it” no matter how difficult it is to carry that stuff up and down the subway stairs. But despite being car campers, we still like our camping experience to be as close to “alone in the wilderness” as we can get. We like heavily wooded campgrounds where the sites are pretty well spaced. We do not like loud groups of college kids arguing over the rules of beer pong at 3am. (Yes, this makes me sound old. I accept it.)

We’ve stayed at both the KOA and Rip Van Winkle Campgrounds in Saugerties, and Rip Van Winkle is our favorite by far. The grounds are pretty, with a winding gravel road that leads through a fairly heavily wooded forest and past a creek (we like the creekside sites the best). The tent sites are huge. There’s also a pool, a nicely stocked camp store, a lake with paddle boats, trout fishing, laundry facilities and free coffee. The staff is welcoming and really does a great job keeping the bathrooms and showers clean. Also, if your attempts at campfire cooking totally fail, there’s an Italian restaurant in town that will deliver to your site. (For the record, we have never done this. We did once get trapped in a crazy bad storm though and have to eat cold rolls and an entire box of cookies in our car because our tent sprung a substantial leak. Needless to say we have invested in better gear since then.)

Hiking

Hiking Trails in the Catskills RegionGiant Ledge: This intermediate 3.5-mile out-and-back hike starts off with a fairly steep trek up rocky terrain in a beautiful wood. I was surprised how strenuous it was because I’m usually good with ascending, but your payoff comes quick. After only 1.5 miles, you’ll find yourself on level ground with access to a series of open ledges with dazzling views. The view is amazing and you feel like you’re on the edge of the world due to the steep drop-off from the ledges. We visited in the fall and the autumn colors were breathtaking. One nice thing about the hike is that the journey up is just as lovely as the view at the top.

Overlook Mountain, Catskills RegionOverlook Mountain: This 5-mile out-and-back hike has a few very unique features that make it well worth adding to you list. One is an abandoned hotel about 2 miles into the hike. The hotel burned down not once but twice, but a good portion of the stone walls remain. We happened to hike it on a misty day and the ruins were totally eerie in the filtered light. At the top of the mountain you’ll find a fire tower that is open to the public, so the brave can get an even better panoramic view from the top. My one critique of this hike is that the trail up isn’t that scenic or enjoyable. Most of the trek up is on a wide gravel track without much wildlife to enjoy. The hotel and fire tower are so cool though, that it makes the uninspiring first leg worth it.

Sights

Storm King Art Center, Hudson ValleyThis year we spent a half a day at Storm King Art Center. This massive outdoor sculpture park is sited on 500 rolling acres, including open meadows and shaded woods, and you’ll find over 100 modern works of sculpture dotted throughout. It is absolutely a whole new experience to view art like this. You can see some pieces from very far away and really appreciate the forms they create against the landscape, and how they change in different lights. Then, as you get closer, you experience their true scale and start to pick up on the details of the work. We also saw some wildlife around the park: a mother deer with her youngster and a woodchuck (fun fact: also called a groundhog or even a whistle pig, depending on where you live). Highly recommend this as a stop on your itinerary.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Catskills RegionAnother cool attraction in the area is the Saugerties Lighthouse. Now operating as a bed and breakfast, it’s only accessible by boat or a walking trail—but, be warned! The trail can only be accessed at low tide. When the tide rises, access from the mainland is cut off and the lighthouse finds itself on an island. Check the tide timetable on their website to plan your visit and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the sunny dock surrounded by the Hudson River.

The area is ripe with orchards and farms, perfect for a quick apple-picking stop or a bit of farmer’s market shopping.

Food
Andrew and I always make it a point to cook out on the fire when we’re camping, so we haven’t eaten out a lot during our stay in the area. That said, we do have a favorite lunch spot: the Dutch Ale House in downtown Saugerties. We stop here every year because I’ve become addicted to one item on their menu: The Pilgrim Sandwich. This decadent sandwich, inspired by Thanksgiving, can really only be eaten once a year, but it is so, so worth it. House roasted turkey, stuffing and provolone cheese are pressed onto marble rye bread and accompanied by two to-die-for condiments: cranberry relish and gravy. It is insane. Insanity in sandwich form. But I love it so much. Basically it is Thanksgiving dinner in one bite. Ugh, now I totally want one.