Picnic under the Brooklyn Bridge

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Parisian elegance in New York City

Spring is my favorite season in New York City. I adore the colorful blooms, happy faces walking the streets and it is the perfect weather to spend time outdoors, and adore the parks and green spaces that is in New York City. We have so much greenery in this concrete jungle.

It was an honor to be contacted by Corinne and Laéthycia from Personal attention – these incredible Parisian ladies, run a private concierge and event planning company, here in New York City.  When asked if I would like to attend a picnic hosted by them, I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed, these ladies know how to throw an elegant and charming picnic.

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A dreamy spring night at the Brooklyn bridge park

Personal attention put a lot of effort into making an enjoyable and memorable experience, one that I will never forget and will be forever grateful for. The weather was perfect, the location was stunning  and their set up was incredible. We arrived to be greeted by the happy crew at Personal attention, who had just finished setting up the picnic, their positive energy set the scene.  The setting was amazing, with a beautiful blanket and cushions to sit on, looking out to the Manhattan skyline with views of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge.

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Attention to detail

The picnic was perfect. We were provided games to play (frisbee and uno)  and music to listen to. The cushions and blanket were extremely comfy and made for a relaxing evening. The food was perfect, which included a cheese platter, fruit salad, a hearty salad for each of us, and delicious sparkling apple cider.  The atmosphere was amazing, we spent three hours enjoying the picnic and watching the sunset over the Manhattan skyline, a perfect spring night in New York City!

If you’re looking for a unique and elegant New York City experience, look no further than Personal attention. They excel at creating beautiful  and memorable events. A highlight of my time living in this amazing city.

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Roosevelt Island

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Roosevelt Island

A gem of New York City. Roosevelt Island is a narrow island located in the East River. The Island is considered to be  apart of the borough of Manhattan. Manhattan sits to the west of the island and the borough of Queens sits to the east. Once known as Blackwells island, and also welfare island. The island was home to prisons, hospitals and asylums. The island was renamed in 1971 after Franklin D Roosevelt.

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What to see and do

Roosevelt Island tram

Take the aerial tram at least one when visiting Roosevelt Island. The views are amazing, providing a unique skyline view of the city. The tram runs from 59th street and second avenue in Manhattan to Tramway plaza on Roosevelt plaza. The tram ride definitely offers an exciting aerial view of the city. A must see for anyone visiting New York City.

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Four Freedom Park

This beautiful four acre park is a memorial, dedicated to President Franklin D Roosevelt. The park celebrates the Four Freedoms he articulated in his 1941 state of the union address. The park is located at the southern tip of the island, and I would recommend this to be the number one sight that you must see on Roosevelt Island. The landscape is stunning and the views of Manhattan and Queens are gorgeous.  If you love sunsets, I would suggest viewing one during the winter the months, they are absolutely breathtaking.

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The smallpox hospital

A very unique sight to see in New York City. The hospital is a historic landmark structure. The hospital was built in 1854 and was the first major hospital in the United States dedicated to treat the victims of smallpox. It is an interesting sight to see and represents an era of old New York life. It is great to see at different times of the year. The fall foliage is gorgeous, the winter adds more of an eerie vibe and it is  very pretty during the warmer months, with the greenery covering the hospital.

Small pox in the fall

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Cornell tech

An impressive engineering campus, with  an innovative design and beautiful grounds. Exploring this area is a change of scenery from the rest of the island, as it represents modern growth.

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Blackwell Island light house

The majority of the sights to see on the island, are located in the southern region. However, a visit to the northeast tip is well worth the walk (or bus ride) to view the pretty stone lighthouse, which was built in 1872.

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From stunning aerial views, escaping the chaos of midtown,  relaxing with  the breeze of the east river and exploring historic sights Roosevelt Island is a top place to visit when exploring New York City.

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The Cloisters

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The MET Cloisters

The Cloisters are a treasure of New York City. A medieval castle, with the most beautiful grounds, stunning architecture,  and glorious artifacts in the galleries and chapel. The Cloisters are an extension of the MET – the Metropolitan museum of art. The location is in the charming and peaceful Fort Tyron park, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan.

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A mini getaway

A  visit to the Cloisters, almost seems like a mini getaway from the chaos of Manhattan. You don’t even feel like you are in New York City! The peace and quiet makes a visit to this unique museum so calming and relaxing.  You feel as though you have stepped back in time, and the location makes it so much more charming. As the scenery is stunning.

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What to see

The grounds of the Cloisters are so charming, and a favorite of mine is to visit the gardens. With multiple gardens on offer no trip would be complete without exploring at least one.

Cloister gardens

  • The Cuxa Cloister
  • Saint Guilhem
  • Boonefont
  • Trie

The Cloisters contains an impressive selection of chapels and halls, all with stunning architecture and art work.

Halls and Chapels

  • Gothic chapel
  • Fuentiduena chapel
  • Langon chapel
  • Romanesquet hall

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Views of the Hudson

A highlight of the Cloisters is the view of the gorgeous Hudson river. After exploring the exhibits and gardens, head to the balcony to take in these sights. These sights will also include the George Washington bridge and views of New Jersey. I have visited the Cloisters multiple times and the prettiest time to visit is during the fall to see the gorgeous fall colors along the Hudson.

Hudson river

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Fort Tyron park

Before or after exploring the cloisters, I would recommend walking through the absolutely beautiful Fort Tyron park. Considered to be one of the city’s most beautiful outdoor pieces of art.

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Getting to the Cloisters

Located in Northern Manhattan, you can take the A subway (Blue express line) uptown to the 190th street subway station. From the station you can either follow the signs to the museum, by walking through the stunning Fort Tyron park. Or take the M4 bus to Margaret Corbin Dr/Cloisters museum.

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Brooklyn bike tour

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Get up and ride

Explore New York City by bike, with your guide as a local New Yorker. Get up and ride is rated as New York’s number 1 biking tour company! So I was honored to be asked to join and review one of their tours. The company did not disappoint. I love the concept of get up and ride – allowing visitors (or locals) to bike around the city in small groups and learn about the area from a New Yorker. Not only do you get to bike around, your guide will also highlight interesting facts about the area, and take you to their favorite coffee and food places! You definitely learn a lot, experience the real New York and have fun while doing it!

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Bike tours

Get up and ride offer three tours:

1. The central park and more bike tour

On this tour, your guide will take you around central park and through the upper west and upper east side of Manhattan.

2. The lower Manhattan bike tour

This bike tour will take you around the charming greenwich village, the trendy lower east side and Chinatown.

3. The Brooklyn water front tour

Ride through the hipster neighbor of Williamsburg, then onto the stunning Brooklyn water front.

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The Brooklyn waterfront bike tour

It was hard to decide which bike tour I would like to attend, in the end I decided to go on the bike tour in my neighborhood-  I live in Williamsburg. I thought this would be a nice way to explore my surroundings via bike and as I have already biked around Central park and the west side of Manhattan numerous times I thought the Brooklyn tour would be best.

And it was amazing! Even though I live here, I still learnt a lot from our friendly and engaging tour guide. We met at the get up and ride bike store in Williamsburg, here we were fitted with our bikes and set up our walkie talkies – this would be the way our tour guide could communicate with us during the ride. It was a nice small group, with four people from Germany, a lady from California, the tour guide and the two of us. A small group allowed for a more intimate and fulfilling tour.

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Williamsburg

So the start of our tour began in my neighborhood of Williamsburg, a hip neighborhood which has a great nightlife scene, with plenty of rooftop bars and live music venues, trendy cafes, chic boutiques, the cutest coffee shops and vibrant street art. We rode through the streets and the gorgeous McCarren park, stopping to see some of the oldest street art in the area, then at one of my favorite coffee shops “Devocion” here we stopped to rest, enjoy each others company and drink a delicious coffee in a beautiful setting.

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Brooklyn navy yard

After our coffee, we continued on our bike tour. From Williamsburg we headed to the Brooklyn navy yard. The navy yard was once a ship yard and is now an industrial park with a mission to “demonstrate how modern manufacturing can thrive in urban America”. A highlight of our visit to the navy yard was our tour of the Brooklyn Grange – a world leading rooftop farm with a sustainability center. Here, they design, build and offer landscape services for gardens, farms and green spaces in NYC. As I work within the sustainability and conservation field, I was so excited that this stop was on our tour. The rooftop farm is very impressive, and the views of Brooklyn and Manhattan make it even more impressive! Our guide also pointed out that the navy yard also has a rooftop vineyard, which is now on my list to visit.

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DUMBO – Down under the Manhattan bridge

After the Navy yard we continued on, riding through the gorgeous Vinegar hill with cobble stone streets before stopping in the trendy neighborhood of DUMBO. The neighborhood of DUMBO is now one of the most expensive areas in NYC – once an old industrial area, the warehouses have been transformed into high end boutiques and pricey restaurants. Plus the area is now known as the tech hub of Brooklyn, with many tech companies moving in. DUMBO is also one of my favorite neighborhoods because of the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and it’s access to the Brooklyn bridge park.  After learning about DUMBO we rode through the Brooklyn bridge park absorbing the cool breeze from the east river and taking in the iconic Manhattan skyline.

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DUMBO

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Brooklyn Heights

We continued riding through the stunning Brooklyn bridge park to the charming neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. Brooklyn heights is an affluent residential neighborhood with the most gorgeous brownstones. The Brooklyn heights promenade is also amazing, with great views of Manhattan and the statue of Liberty. We stopped for a slice of coal oven pizza at table 87 – so delicious. Next it was time to ride back to Williamsburg, we rode through the Brooklyn bridge park and continued on the greenway trail to return to the store.

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Overall I was extremely satisfying with this tour. Biking is a great way to explore an area, and I loved how Get up and ride go above and beyond, their guides are very knowledgeable and friendly and I love how they  added in coffee shops, food places, and interesting places to stop at. I would  recommend them to anyone visiting (or living) in New York City.  Check out there website here for more information.

 

 

Brooklyn bridge park

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Brooklyn’s waterfront

The Brooklyn bridge park is a true gem of New York City. With a charming atmosphere and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. The Park represents a reconstruction of the post industrial waterfront, which goes from Atlantic avenue in the South (the Columbia heights neighborhood), under the gorgeous Brooklyn heights promenade, past the impressive Brooklyn bridge, to north of the Manhattan bridge, to the trendy neighborhood of DUMBO (Down under the Manhattan bridge).

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What to see and do

View the iconic Manhattan skyline

The view from the Brooklyn bridge park is one of my favorites places to observe the dramatic Manhattan skyline. On a clear summers day or during a sunset, the view is incredible.

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Bike Ride

Go riding through the lush green park, taking in the views with a cool breeze from the East river. An easy 1.3 mile ride from one of the park to the other.

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Wine and dine

Picnic

With plenty of green space and iconic views, the Brooklyn Bridge park provides a great opportunity to have a picnic and chill out.

Splurge at the River cafe

With a stunning setting, a romantic atmosphere and incredible views, the river cafe is the perfect place to dine on special occasion.

Buzz bar

A chill place to grab a drink and a quick bite to eat. With outdoor seating and live music events this is the perfect place to relax after exploring the Brooklyn Bridge park.

Brooklyn ice cream factory

Satisfy your sweet tooth at the famous Brooklyn ice cream factory. The lines do get long but the ice cream is truly delicious and satisfying on a hot summers day.

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Free events

Take advantage of the events  that the park puts on during the warmer months.

From waterfront workouts, water sports (Kayaking, rowing ect), summer night movies, environmental volunteering days, and books under the bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge park offers something for everyone.

Check out their website for upcoming events – Brooklyn Bridge park website

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Visit the trendy neighborhood of DUMBO

Down under the Manhattan bridge. This area was once a ferry landing, and is characterized as 19th century industrial with warehouse buildings. With its Belgian block streets, the neighborhood definitely has a lot of charm and character. It has now been taken over by hipsters, and is one of New York’s trendiest neighborhoods, with plenty of places for weekend brunch, art events, photo shoots and is also considered to  be the tech hub of Brooklyn.

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DUMBO

Down under the Manhattan Bridge

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Take a photo under the Manhattan Bridge

Stop at the intersection of Water and Washington street to take this iconic photo. It is now one of the most famous Instagram photos of New York City. The view is pretty impressive, with the Manhattan bridge framing the Empire State building.

Water street

 

The Brooklyn bridge park and surrounding neighborhoods are a true jewel of the city that never sleeps. It is one of my favorite neighborhoods and I always enjoy strolling through this area. It has changed a lot and will continue to do so. This area of the city has so much to offer. I would recommend visiting.

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Brooklyn bridge park night views

 

 

Acadia National Park

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Maine

The breathtaking treasure of the north Atlantic coast, Acadia National Park is located in the state of Maine. Maine is the northeastern most U.S state, and is a part of the “New England” region. The state of Maine, is boarded by the state of New Hampshire to the west, the dramatic Atlantic ocean to the southeast and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and northwest. From its natural beauty, stunning views and friendly and welcoming locals, a trip to Maine is well worth it. And the magical Acadia National Park is the true gem of this charming state.

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Acadia National Park

Acadia National park is one of the oldest U.S National Parks, east of the Mississippi river! It was first established as a National Monument in July 1916, and was then changed to a National Park in 1919. The majority of the 49,052 acres of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, which is the largest Island of the coast of Maine, and is also the 6th largest island in contiguous U.S.

Acadia is the highest rocky headlands along of the Atlantic coastline of the U.S, and has a large abundance of biodiversity. Here you can explore a range of landscapes, from the rocky coastlines, to forests, ponds, marshlands, fields and mountains! A true nature lovers playground.

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Highlights and must sees

Bass Harbor head lighthouse

Visit the charming lighthouse, with views of the rocky coastline, and stay to watch a breathtaking sunset. There are also hiking options from here.

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Sand beach

A gorgeous beach that is nestled between granite mountains and rocky shores.

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Ocean trail

Walk from sand beach to otter cliff. An easy walk, with the most breathing views of the Atlantic ocean.

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Thunder hole

A natural rock inlet where you can see and hear the waves crash with a thunderous boom and high flying foam.

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Park loop road

27 miles long, this route connects the parks lakes, mountains, forests and rocky shores with many observation points along the way. A great introduction to seeing the beauty of Acadia.

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Cadillac mountain

Drive or hike the impressive Cadillac mountain. This gorgeous mountain sits at 1,5350 ft above sea level and provides stunning views of Acadia. The perfect place to watch the sunrise.

Bar harbor

A charming sea side town on Mount desert island, and is known as the gateway to Acadia. With charming boutiques and restaurants this is a popular town to visit when exploring Acadia.

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Acadia National park is a truly magnificent place. There is so much natural beauty and diversity to explore.  It is one of my favorite U.S national parks and a highlight from our travels in the United States. A true gem of the east coast.

 

St. George Island

St. George Island State Park

After camping in the beautiful mountains and national forests along the Blue Ridge Park (Blue Ridge Parkway , Great Smoky Mountains National Park) we were in search of some heat and sun. We Looked at the map, in search of our new destination that wouldn’t take us too far off the direction towards New Orleans. We found St. George Island, located off Florida’s gulf coast, perfect! We headed to St. George Island State Park to set up camp, the busiest camping site we had encountered so far on our trip. While it was a little warmer, the sun remained behind the clouds for our trip,but we could still enjoy the beauty of this island, after all, it ranks as one of the top beaches in the US!

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains

One of my major loves of the USA is the National Parks system. As a nature lover, and with a background in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, I am in awe of all of the National Parks that I have had the chance to visit, and the system that protects them. On our drive to the south, I had to make sure that we did not miss the Great Smoky Mountains, the most visited US National Park. I do hold the National Parks pass, however the Smoky Mountains don’t require an entrance fee, one of the few parks that don’t! The Smoky Mountains is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a division of the larger Appalachian chain. These Mountains border between North Carolina and Tennessee and is one of the largest protected areas in eastern US. They are also acknowledged as an UNESCO world heritage site, very impressive. With its beauty and diverse range of plant and animal life, it is no wonder that the Great Smoky Mountains is a popular place to visit and explore.

As we visited during winter, parts of the park was closed, I would love to go back during the spring and/or summer to explore more of this gorgeous place.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

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Bryce Canyon National Park

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Bryce Canyon

The natural beauty of Bryce Canyon National park is incredible. The views from above and from within are truly breathtaking. The major attraction is the spectacular crimson colored hoodoos, pillars of rock created by erosion. Bryce Canyon has the largest collection of hoodoos in the world, attracting nearly two million visitors annually. Bryce Canyon is located in southern Utah, in Utah’s canyon country. A four-hour drive from the famous Las Vegas, Nevada and two hours from the beautiful Zion National Park 

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Hoodoos

The main attraction is of course, the gorgeous collection of hoodoos. The best place to view the hoodoos are from the Bryce amphitheater, which has the largest collection of viewpoints.  With four main viewpoints (Bryce point, inspiration point, sunset point and sunrise point) and access to numerous hiking trails, this is the perfect area to start a journey exploring Bryce Canyon.  

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Hiking opportunities

Bryce Canyon has a range of hiking trails from easy to strenuous. As an introduction to Bryce canyon, I would recommend beginning with the Rim trail hike, here you will be hiking the rim of Bryce amphitheater, viewing the gorgeous hoodoos from above, walking between sunrise and sunset point. Rim trail is classified as easy. Please note that the rim trail is not a loop, so the hike can range from 1 to 8 hours, depending on when you turn back around!

A step up from the Rim trail hike, would be the Queens/Navajo combination loop, this is classified as moderate and is also regarded as the most popular hiking trail. Highlights will include viewing Thor’s hammer and the two bridges. If you are looking for more strenuous hikes, I would recommend the Peekaboo loop, here you will hike through the heart of the park, with stunning views of the hoodoos and also viewing the wall of windows. Fairytale loop is another great strenuous hike, providing you with a chance to see the Chinese wall, tower bridge and tall hoodoos. Away from the Bryce amphitheater at the northern end of the park is Mossy cave, an easy hike away from the crowds.

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Bryce Canyon hiking

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Highway 63

A breathtaking scenic drive through the park. Provides a great opportunity to view some of the major overlooks, with 13 viewpoints along this 38 mile round trip. Highlights include the natural bridge,  Rainbow and Yovimpa points. If you only had one day to explore Bryce canyon, I would recommend completing this loop and stopping off at the major viewpoints.

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Mossy Cave

If you have more than a day I would recommend a visit to Mossy cave. A hidden gem at the northern end of the park. provides an opportunity to get up close with the hoodoos without descending.  It is an easy hike along a stream side to view this pretty cave. Depending on the time of year you may also see a waterfall or icicles in the cave! A peaceful hike without the crowds.

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Bryce Canyon is a truly remarkable place. The scenery is stunning and the opportunities for hiking and photography are endless. A true nature lovers playground! Photos don’t do justice, you really need to explore Bryce Canyon in person to surround yourself in this natural beauty. A unique, and breathtaking landscape. One of my favorite national parks that I have visited so far.

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