July 2014 archive
After returning home from my southern road trip I fell back in love with New Jersey. Last winter had me contemplating whether I wanted to live here, but all I really needed was some time away to remember why I love it so much. So here it is, reasons to love New Jersey:
- It’s truly the best of both worlds in New Jersey. No matter where you live you’re never far from a beach or major city (you have your pick between New York and Philly). Where I live in the Northeast, for example, I’m about thirty minutes from New York and an hour and a half hour from the beach (which I think makes for the perfect mini road trip!). My friend in South Jersey, however, is about two hours from New York and only fifteen minutes from the beach!
- We experience every season. Sure, New Jersey winters are long and cold, but every other season more than makes up for it. Florida is great with it’s hot summers and warm winters, but here in the Northeast we get the best season of all – autumn. The leaves turn the most beautiful shades of orange and red and it’s just the right temperature outside: cold enough to bundle up in a cute scarf, but not I-can’t-feel-my-hands-cold. I would take autumn over a warm winter any day…and to be completely honest, I even kind of like winter, because Christmas just doesn’t feel the same without hot coco and snow.
- The pizza and bagels are better than anywhere else (okay maybe New York has us beat with the pizza, but we’re right behind them!).
- It’s filled with green! Most people don’t think of green trees and hiking when they think of New Jersey (thank you, Newark airport), but in spring and summer there really is green everywhere you look. I love New Jersey summers, because not only do we have the beach, but we also have places to hike, lakes and rivers to kayak and boat in, and secret spots to cliff jump!
- New Jersey has the most diners in the world. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite meals is breakfast…especially when it’s not breakfast time. Growing up my friends and I would often end up at the diner after a night out – whether it be from the movies when we were young, a pep rally in high school, or coming home from the city when we were older. Breakfast food (pancakes!), diner fries, and good company was, and still is, the perfect way to end the night.
- The skyline. One thing you don’t get when you live in the city, is the view of just how beautiful the New York City skyline is. My favorite spot in all of New Jersey is right near the Hudson River where you can sit and admire the city from afar. There’s hiking nearby (again, outdoor activities!) and plenty of picnic tables and benches. I love to come here on my own to read and just collect my thoughts. There’s something magical about sitting among all of the nature and looking across the Hudson River at the greatest city in the world.
Have you ever been to New Jersey? If so, what did you think?
I’ve been wanting to go to the city lately, so when I had nothing to do this Sunday I decided it was time for a day to myself. What better way to spend a Sunday then to explore Central Park? I did a lot of walking and exploring, but for the most part I took a lot of time to do nothing- and I really enjoyed it. Even the book I brought to read stayed in my bag almost the whole time. At the end of the day, I treated myself to my first Mister Softee, and it was delicious!
How was your Sunday?
This past June I flew to Texas to visit my boyfriend Michael. There we visited Austin and Dallas before setting off on our week long road trip to North Carolina.
We arrived in Austin, TX with high expectations (all of our friends raved about how much we would love it), only to be let down. I enjoyed the outdoorsy atmosphere, driving past rivers filled with kayaks and canoes, but other than that there wasn’t much that stuck with me…except Mozart’s. The small cafe sits on the Colorado River and offers a wide range of bakery items and coffee – perfect for anyone who loves latte’s and a view! It was the perfect stop to sit and relax before hitting the road again.
In Dallas, TX Michael’s sister showed us around some interesting local spots and we went to see a baseball game at Global Life Park! The first bar we went to, Truck Yard, looked just like a junk yard – random chairs, old signs, christmas lights – it fulfilled everything that Hart of Dixie made me think the south would be, I was satisfied! (Now if only I could find Wade…) The baseball game was great and Michael’s favorite team, The Astro’s, beat the Texas Rangers yayy!
Unlike Austin, our expectations of New Orleans had been surprisingly low. Before heading out everyone warned us of all the crime so we both began to give up on Bourbon Street and warm up to the idea of staying in to avoid “all the crime”. It’s great to have low expectations because we ended up loving New Orleans, and we couldn’t stop ourselves from saying so, out loud, every other corner. Sure, there are bad areas of New Orleans, but there are bad areas almost anywhere you go. We quickly learned from the concierge at our hotel that as long as you didn’t go past Bourbon St. you would be fine. Our first night we went to Bourbon St. – we ordered a hurricane (I don’t know how people finish those…), I rode a mechanical bull (bucket list check!), and we danced to country, jazz, and rock (so much variety!). The next morning we wandered all over the French Quarter and I fell in love with New Orleans even more. Everything is so beautiful, and so European, that it’s hard to remember you’re still in the U.S. Having checked off all our to-do’s of the night life, it was time to have an obligatory beignet. We went to the famous Cafe Beignet on Bourbon St. and listened to a jazz band play in the rain while we enjoyed our sugar coated treat. Michael doesn’t even like sweets, but he loved it! After filling up we sat by the Mississippi River and then walked over to the St. Louis cathedral – which is not only beautiful, but it is also located right next to a lovely park only steps from the river.
The next morning it was time to take the ten hour (yes, ten hour) trip to Savannah, Georgia. We made really good timing and arrived in Savannah around 7pm – just in time to claim our complimentary drinks at the hotel (after 10 hours it was needed). We freshened up and then walked over to Liberty St. to have dinner. We planned on going to Public Kitchen & Bar but with little excitement over the menu, we instead headed to The Distillery. What a great find! This place was laid back and the food was delicious, just what we were looking for! We called it an early night then went out the next day to find that it was raining. Not exactly the Savannah I was hoping for, but we made the best of it and walked around with our umbrella. Because of the crummy weather we left for North Carolina earlier than expected but not before stopping at Leopold’s Ice Cream! The best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had!
Our trip ended in North Carolina where we settled Michael in to his new apartment and had a celebratory wine and pizza dinner (our fave). The entire trip was unforgettable and I’m so happy I got to see more of the U.S. ! (If you’re interested in more detailed reviews of the restaurants we ate at you can read my thoughts on almostkate.yelp.com)