Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Last month Greg and I decided to take a 'staycation'.  In years past we've been able to take some really amazing getaways but this year it made more sense for us to stay close to home and save some money. We planned a few activities in advance that we knew we wanted to do. We lucked out and had great late-summer/early-fall weather which enabled us to do everything on our list.
We jumped off the week with a trip to the wineries on the North Fork of Long Island.  Since it was just Greg and I we decided we would take the train and bring our bikes along with us. We didn't pack food figuring we could pick some items up when we got there. We got off at Mattituck and headed over to Love Lane (their tiny main street) to hit up the Village Cheese Shop. We filled our back pack with delectable cheeses, olives and crostini and set off for our first winery.

 At our second stop we ended up at a winery we had never been to before, Shinn Estate. We immediately fell in love. This place is off the beaten path and away from the party bus scene. Walking in you feel like you've arrived at someone's (awesomely decorated) back yard. The wines have names like "Coalescence" and "Wild Boar Doe" that somehow just make them more enjoyable to drink.

After all that wine we were starving for lunch. Newly opened Lombardi's Love Lane Market has a brick oven pizza bar in the back. We ordered a freshly made pie topped with fennel sausage, hot cherry peppers, broccoli rabe and fresh mozzarella. We ate every last delicious bite.

The following day we headed to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, planning the entire day around going to one of our favorite restaurants, Five Leaves. We strolled around the neighborhood and parks, had some drinks and a great meal. From there we headed to Citi Field to watch the Mets. We basically had the stadium to ourselves but managed to make our own fun.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Bronx Zoo. It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast marveling at all the different animals to be seen. I have an affection for penguins so that was one of the highlights for me, but they kept hiding in their little caves so it was hard to capture a good shot.

Can you spot the half zebra/half horse hiding back there? Greg and I couldn't get over this thing. It didn't seem real. Why on earth does it have zebra legs?

These guys were fun.

The baby giraffe on the right. Stop it right now.

Running around the zoo all day wore us out but we woke up early the next day, packed a lunch and hit the road for a visit to Black Rock Forest. We were blessed with another dazzling day, perfect weather for hiking a mountain.

We were alone on the mountain and it was so calming and serene. There's something about spending the day with nature that really brings about a sense of peacefulness.

It was a much needed week away from work and time spent together. I love hopping a plane to somewhere warm and tropical but spending this time near home was just the reset we needed.