Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Escape

The one thing last year taught us was to book summer weekends away. 

Way back in March we felt incredibly well organised when we planned this little mid-August escape to the Catskill mountains just a  few hours north of the city. 
(And then, of course, this August has been unbelievably fresh and cool, barely rising above 25. Typical.)

It was still a treat to arrive in the cute, quirky and picturesque town of Phoenicia (pop. 309).
(How Twin Peaksy is that first photo? Love that view).

We stayed in an old motel that has been recently converted in a way which was most definitely designed to appeal to the Brooklyn weekend market (in fact we seemed to be the only Manhattanites staying!)

Think vintage sun loungers, exposed light bulbs, free Budweiser on arrival, 80s movies screened in the garden at night. 

My favourite bit was the bonfire that was lit every night for people to gather round as they drifted back from dinner in town. S'mores ingredients were left out and we all toasted our own marshmallows (obviously we did not partake in the Hersheys chocolate element - yuk) and chatted by the fire.

The lovely grounds and pool could easily have kept us happy all weekend but we also explored a bit of the town, cycled all over on the free bikes provided by the hotel and went tubing on the river - essentially throwing ourselves down a river in a big rubber ring - exciting!

(The brake-free bikes took a bit of getting used to)
(Pancake stacks at Sweet Sues)
(The whole town turned out for Davy Crocket Day, including a beagle dressed as Davy)
(Gone tubing!)
(Best nap of the weekend)
 (Watching Back to the Future in the fresh air with a glass of wine)

On Sunday morning before getting the bus back to the city we took one last cycle out to the Phoenicia Diner.  
I am such a sucker for a diner. And this one was good.
Busy, bustling, pleasingly retro but with really good food. 

This was followed by a short cycle on Sunday's quiet country roads, riding two-abreast and racing down the hills.
Such a perfect end to the trip.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Busy Summer

This year we promised ourselves we would get out and see some more of this new continent. 

We set about planning little trips here and there to make the most of vacation days, long weekends and work schedules. Suddenly it all came together and we are very much enjoying a summer of fantastic mini breaks and explorations.

With that on top of work suddenly shifting up a gear for us both, a fantastic flying visit back to Scotland for me and hosting many, many lovely visitors from the UK we have been BUSY.

Photos from all our recent North American travels to follow.  For now here are some summer snippets from NYC...

Hot evenings on the High Line

The whole of the City showed up for NY Philharmonic in Central Park (despite some serious heat)

Brooklyn Flea treats

Fourth of July fireworks with the Fergusons!

Happy days with Nick and Stef

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Birthday in DC

Dave was working in Washington DC for a couple of weeks and the weekend in the middle happened to be both his birthday and prime cherry blossom season.
So it was perfect for a weekend exploring the capital city.

I arrived off the megabus bus (which is equally miserable here as in the UK - note to self) at 8pm on Friday night just in time for birthday cocktails and an amazing meal. 
The view above was the first thing you see when you leave the station.

Whilst NY was only just beginning to show signs of life after a never-ending winter in DC it felt like Spring.

Since I'd never been before we had to tick off most of the big tourist sights. 
I loved seeing all the Presidential memorials and so many familiar sights from films and, of course, The West Wing (which I am now even more desperate to re-watch)

{Lincoln Memorial and sight of Martin Luther King's speech at the March on Washington}.

{Obligatory shots with Washington Monument in background, including scaffolding}

We actually just missed peak cherry blossom bloom (and were put off by the huge crowds) but still enjoyed a walk round the famous tidal basin 

{White House! And chocolate milkshake!}
{Library of Congress}

I definitely want to go back. The things we liked most were that all the museums were free (like London and very much unlike NYC). 
We managed to fit in a couple in our quick weekend but we really want to visit in winter and just do museums. 

Also the architecture was so different from New York and definitely felt more southern. 
We loved walking around Georgetown and the Capital District looking at all the amazing houses and old historic streets.