Field Trip: Rockaway Beach

My husband and I took the day off Monday and headed to Rockaway Beach. We’ve been talking about going for months, but our trip kept getting put off due to train problems, weather, etc. I’m not one to spend all day sunbathing,  so I’m glad we waited. The weather was perfect (high sixties) and the beach was practically empty.

Rockaway Beach is in the far, far reaches of Queens, and it was quite the hike from Manhattan. It took three trains and about an hour and a half to get there.

On our way: Rockaway BlvdAlmost there?

It was worth it when we arrived though, because this was our first view of the beach:

View of Rockaway BeachSee what I mean about the perfect day?

The Rockaways sustained a lot of damage from Hurricane Sandy, and most of the boardwalk was closed. We spent most of our time walking down the beach – it seemed like it went on forever!

Looking down Rockaway Beach We did take a short detour off the beach to find Rockaway Taco, which was sadly closed. It was an interesting* walk, and along the way we saw this guy below. I think he was warning us to turn back, but we didn’t get the message. The area was a little sketchy, and a few minutes later we witnessed a crazy fight. Needless to say, we hightailed it back to the beach after that!

Skeleton Near Rockaway BeachThe sand was full of shells, so of course I was searching for the perfect one during our walk. They were mostly crushed, but I did find some beach glass and this heart-shaped rock.

Heart-Shaped RockHow cute!

Doesn’t this look like the perfect place to spend your day?

Bench on Rockaway Beach BoardwalkWe ended our trip to Rockaway Beach by grabbing a couple slices of pizza and hopping back on the train to home. It was an absolutely relaxing way to spend a warm fall afternoon!

What is your idea of the perfect day trip?

P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more pics from my travels and day to day life!

*My mom had a habit of using the word interesting when she didn’t really like something but didn’t want to say anything mean (example: “That’s an interesting shirt.”). I’ve definitely picked up this habit. #TurningIntoMyMom

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New York Favorites … after 8 Months!

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve lived in New York for eight months. Time flies!

I really love this city. I’m not going to pretend that it’s been all candy and rainbows since we moved here – it’s pretty darn expensive for one thing – but it’s been a lot of fun exploring different neighborhoods, restaurants, parks, etc.

I thought I would do something different this Friday and share some of my favorite things to do and see in New York.

Hello Little Home: New York FavoritesRiverside Park follows the Hudson River on the west side of the city. The views are great, and walking along the riverfront path is the perfect way to spend a lazy day. When it’s time for a break, I love to drop by Boat Basin Cafe for a drink, food, and people watching.

New York Favorites: Riverside Park SunsetA sunset over the Hudson River – it makes New Jersey look beautiful!

My other favorite park, of course, is Central Park. I love to loop around the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, get lost on a winding path while eating hot roasted nuts from a vendor, or enjoy a picnic and bottle of wine.

One of my favorite memories was walking around the park (with what felt like half of New York) after a snow storm. It was such a great atmosphere with people cross-country skiing, sledding, and just generally enjoying the day!

New York Favorites: Central ParkEnjoying Central Park in all seasons!

My husband and I like to go on long walks on the weekend. One day we were exploring Morningside Heights (one of my favorite neighborhoods), and we came across a White Peacock at St. John the Divine Cathedral. I’ve never seen anything like it!

The Cathedral itself has a really interesting story. It was designed in 1888, begun in 1892, and remains uncompleted. During it’s history, it has undergone radical stylistic changes, the interruption of the two World Wars, and a fire.

New York Favorites: Peacock at St. John the Divine CathedralPretty cool, huh?

New York has lots of great food. Some of my faves are tortas at El Mitote, amazingly light and delicious cupcakes and tempting baked goods at Magnolia, steamed buns and cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar, yummy Ukrainian food at Veselka, babka, rugelach, and strudels from Zabar’s, and chalupas from Noche Mexicana.

New York Favorites: RestaurantsClockwise: borscht at Veselka, El Mitote, Veggie Bun from Momofuku, and Zabar’s

Walking the High Line is the perfect way to spend a beautiful day. It’s a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. You’ll have great views of the surrounding neighborhood, which is pretty fun to explore, too.

New York Favorites: The High LineOne of the many classic city views from the High Line.

Straying from Manhattan, the Brooklyn Greenway (waterfront) is another great walk. If you are looking for amazing views of Manhattan, head there.

New York Favorites: Brooklyn Greenway (waterfront)View of Manhattan from Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn.

For another unforgettable view, take a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. It does get very crowded, so I recommend an early start, but it’s worth it. The bridge itself is gorgeous, and you’ll get a great perspective of the East River, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.

New York Favorites: Brooklyn BridgeWalking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a really cool place to explore in Queens. It was the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, and you can still find fair remnants there. It’s a huge park, and the day I was there was freezing, so another visit is definitely in order.

Nearby the park is a huge Chinatown (one of the largest outside of Asia). It’s fun to visit, and we ate at a really good restaurant (the name of which escapes me).

New York Favorites: Flushing Meadows Corona Park - UnisphereThe Unisphere, theme symbol of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair.

One of my favorite places, which I just discovered recently, is Governor’s Island. It’s a former military base that the government sold to New York in 2003.

Governor’s Island is the perfect place to spend a beautiful, sunny day (it’s only open on summer weekends). You can pack a picnic or buy food there, ride a vintage French carnival ride, cruise the island on bikes, or just enjoy the views of the city. I’m hoping to spend a lot more time there next summer!

New York Favorites: Governor's IslandVintage Mickey Mouse on a ride at Governor’s Island.

There aren’t a lot of bargains to be found in New York, but the Staten Island Ferry is one of them. You won’t have to pay a dime to take in views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Upon arrival at Staten Island, you can turn right back around and ride the ferry back to Manhattan, or you can explore a little bit. The area where the ferry lets you off isn’t very exciting, and it’s even a little rough, but it’s worth checking out for a few minutes.

If you do decide to explore, make sure to stop at Enoteca Maria for some amazing Italian food. We ate there on a whim, and the meal and hospitality were unforgettable. It’s within walking distance of the ferry terminal.

New York Favorites: Staten Island FerryStaten Island Ferry Terminal

Finally, my list of New York favorites wouldn’t be complete without Coney Island. It’s equal parts seedy and old-fashioned fun!

I love to walk the boardwalk, eat deep fried food, and people watch (some of the best in New York). You can also ride vintage amusement park rides – like the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone – and even see a freak show. My favorite time to visit is the off season – it feels like you have the whole boardwalk to yourself!

New York Favorites: Coney IslandConey Island fun!

That wraps up my list of favorites. Have you been to any of these places? Let me know what you think!

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Beach Essentials

Who is ready for a long weekend? I know I am. To me, Memorial Day signals the start of summer, and that means it’s time to hit the beach

I’ll be stuck in New York this weekend, but if I were going to the beach, this is what I’d bring.

Beach Essentials: One Piece 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

I love this pretty Liberty print tank. I’d pair it with super bright accessories, plus a touch of gold. A fun, easy read is a must, too.

Beach Essentials: Bikini1 / 2a 2b / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

For a classic bikini, you can’t beat this red suit from Old Navy. This look is all about the accessories: a fun polka dot hat, striped sandals, floral sunglasses and towel, and an ombre tote. Add a book from Jennifer Weiner, and you’re set.

What are your beach essentials?

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Spring in NYC: Cherry Blossom Trees

We moved to New York from San Francisco a few months ago, so this is my first real spring in 6 years. I’m loving all the trees and flowers that have started to bloom, and I’ve been stalking cherry blossom trees throughout the city of New York.

We even had one bloom right outside our door!

cherry blossom tree outside our door - www.HelloLittleHome.org

It only lasted about a week, but every time I left my apartment someone was taking a picture.

I had visions of visiting Washington, D.C., for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but unfortunately that’s not happening. Maybe next year!

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has hundreds of it’s own cherry blossom trees, so of course we had to visit.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Cherry Blossom Trees - www.HelloLittleHome.com

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Cherry Blossom Trees and Photo Shoot - www.HelloLittleHome.comCherry blossom photo shoot!

We even saw some pretty tulips!

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Tulips - www.HelloLittleHome.comI had to elbow my way in to get this shot. Tulip mayhem!

I’ve also spied cherry blossom trees in Central Park:

Central Park cherry blossom trees at Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir - www.HelloLittleHome.comCherry blossom trees surrounding the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

and Riverside Park:

Riverside Park cherry blossom trees - www.HelloLittleHome.com Riverside Park cherry blossom trees - www.HelloLittleHome.com Riverside Park cherry blossom trees - www.HelloLittleHome.comThese were my favorite!

The pretty pink and white blooms are just so springy and sweet.

Do you have a favorite spring flower?

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