Places to Visit »Block Island

Off the Coast of Rhode Island

Block Island is not the easiest place to get to (it requires a ferry ride and a reserved spot for your car about a year in advance) but once you’ve arrived the long journey is forgotten and only peaceful, lazy, summery thoughts fill your head.

Most of our days were spent with the family at our rental house (PS, do NOT rent from Phillips Realty lest you want a bunch of bogus charges) where we bbq-d, fed the local ducks, and Van, showing his true city kid ways, found himself weary of this thing you call “grass” and a lover of trees.

Otherwise we could be found dining on seafood (see my wrap up here) and at “Baby Beach” a beautiful stretch of sand you’ll find underneath the Stephen King-esque abandoned Surf Hotel.

It’s the beach closest to town on that side and is perfect for babies and children (hence the name) because the water is calm, the waves gentle.

We loved spending afternoons here, Van especially, who was kicking and giggling in the ocean so much he had to take a beach nap with his pops.

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Posted on July 19, 2011

Places to Visit »Jacob Riis Beach

Rockaway Beach Blvd. at Channel Dr.

Jacob Riis was a fearless photographer who used muckraking tactics and his camera to enact major changes in the slums of New York City. The beach named for him is a lovely stretch of south shore sand in the Gateway National Recreation Area that is a quick drive out of the city. It’s popular with families, boom box toting kids, and an eclectic crowd of sunbathers.

One of the parks most popular attractions are the barbecue fields that were absolutely swarming with grilling sausages, bananas (what a great idea!), and burgers and large extended families making the best of the hot summer. Come early if you want to claim a spot.

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Posted on July 25, 2010

Places to Visit »Rockaway Shore Park

Weather thwarted all my planned beach days this summer, but I was determined last weekend to spend part of the last warm-ish day of the year near the ocean. After dropping off a bud at JFK, the Rockaway boardwalk was the most convenient place to take in a little salt air and, for a moment at least, relaxed by the sound of the waves crashing to shore.

It was too cold to actually go in the water, unless you were one of the brave surfers out there, but it's a peaceful place to stroll. Not much in way of snack and shopping in the nearby area, but there is a pretty sweet skateboarding park filled with hip little kids.

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Posted on October 19, 2009

Places to Visit »Block Island Lighthouses

southern lighthouse block islandBlock Island is flanked by two lovely lighthouses, one to the North and another to the South. The Northern Lighthouse is in Sandy Point and accessible by road, but is a far way to walk from the main port (cars and bikes are easily available to rent).

There is a museum, which was not opened when we went, but the main building is not open to the public, You can get pretty close though along a beautiful New England stretch of beach. Once summer is in full swing, a hot dog stand is parked in the lot.

The Lighthouse to the South is much more dramatic, set above the stunning Mohegan Bluffs. Several points along the cliffs offer amazing photo opportunities of the red brick structure. The building itself is being restored but the grounds and a museum are open for exploring.

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Posted on August 31, 2009

Places to Visit »Annenberg Community Beach House

annenberg community beach houseAfter days of heavy shopping for work, we just managed to sneak in a blissful couple of hours at the Annenberg Community Beach House, a public pool that puts most maddening public urban pools to shame. Recommended by nearly every shop owner that wondered why we weren't at the beach on such a lovely sunny day, the spot offers access to both beach and pool and, until 4, snacks (we just missed them).

Originally the home of Marion Davies and William Randolf Hearst (the ditz and the magnate that inspired Citizen Kane), the house is huge, modern and the pool runs the length of it, giving plenty of room for lappers, children, and doddlers like me.

The changing rooms are clean and private and the entire space gleams in that kind of cleanliness that comes from a responsibility and pride that Californians give to their public spaces, a quality I really wish New Yorkers could pick up on.

The long pool is warm, the lounge chairs are comfy and, for a little while, I felt uncharacteristically relaxed, calm, and worry free. Every benefit a nice day outside in a pool has to offer was available ten fold at such a nice facility (well worth the ten dollar admission). Plus: Grace and I got hit on by a couple of teenagers, which was hilarious.

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Posted on July 20, 2009

Places to Visit »Crescent Beach

block island crescent beach view We really packed a lot into our recent visit to one of America's most historic resort areas, Block Island, that I'll be telling you about it over a couple weeks. I'd like to start with the most unusual and dramatic experiences at Crescent Beach just North of Old Harbor.

As many people can probably relate, less than ideal or seasonal weather put a spin on our vacation and we visited the island (which you have to reach via ferry) during foggy, soppy, and sometimes downright rainy weather. On the plus side this made us feel like we were right in the middle of a Stephen King novel, and never more so than our last evening there when we took a stroll along the beach before sunset.

A pristine stretch of soft sand, I can imagine Crescent Beach in the summer is usually packed with tanning revelers and the waters filled with summer visitors cooling off. When we visited though, it was stunning in its beauty but nearly vacant. Off the shore, a wall of cloud bank could be seen and we watched it slowly roll in, swallowing the town in the distance before surrounding us in an eerie and beautiful haze.

While it's a beach experience not many who visit are likely to see, it was one of the most memorable highlights of my trip.

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Posted on June 29, 2009

Places to Visit »Saugerties Lighthouse

saugerties lighthouse

&nbsp Why do I mention it now?

Because considering the next available reservation is in 2010, I thought you'd like a heads up. If you can't plan that far ahead, the grounds are open during the day. Plus I have been craving the farm fresh bahn mi at Miss Lucy's Kitchen since last April.

Here's what I said back on 4/28/08:

The Saugerties Lighthouse, originally built in 1869 fell into disrepair in the fifties until locals raised money for a massive rebuilding. Now the upkeep is funded by donations and the bed and breakfast.

There are only two rooms in the house and this exclusivity (and a major Times article that fortunately came out a few days after I booked) have made this an extremely popular spot. In fact, they are booked for the entire year of 2008. Which means, quite possibly, you will miss out on the steep stairs that lead to the top of the lighthouse, which you can walk around and enjoy a stunning view. You also won't be seeing the Victrola in the sitting room, or sleep in the quaint rooms, or enjoy homemade pancakes in the kitchen from hunky, hippie keeper, Patrick.

But no need to get sad, anyone, with a reservation or not, can walk the half mile trail to the lighthouse and enjoy one of many sitting spots on the water. These spots are tranquil and idyllic. Make sure to wear shoes that can go though sand as you will be right on the water at times. In wetter months (we got lucky with perfect weather) the path can even become waist high in water. The rustic trail, dotted with bridges,?is scenic and your first glimpse of the beautiful lighthouse is exciting.

After leaving this paradise, be sure to visit the town of Saugerties for amazing food at Miss Lucy's Kitchen (get their fantastic bahn mi if they have it) and if you head a bit north, grab world cuisine at the funky New World Home Cooking.

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Posted on June 15, 2009

Places to Visit »Dana Point

Dana Point The real OC, bitches. Sorry, I'm Federline crazy today with my tough talk and my thoughts of cornrows. Anyway, I went to a wedding in Dana Point recently and it is a very peaceful and delightful place to visit. They have sandy beaches and friendly people (strangers say hello and good morning to you there). Also an In & Out Burger is within driving distance. We stayed at the Laguna Cliffs, but beware their front desk guy named “Scott”, he's an asshole.

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Posted on January 30, 2006