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Labor Day getaway 2012: Hudson Valley and Thousand Islands

Happy Summer! Hopefully you keeping yourself cool with AC & tons of ice cream this weekend as the temps climb into what feels 116. I feel another really long post coming up so I'll get straight to it.
First few interesting facts about this post:
- This trip took place before Google maps app existed
- All photos taken with Nikon CoolPix
- All photos are unfiltered
Real copy of Google Maps printed out
I was recently talking to a friend of mine (who btw has the cutest 6 months old baby boy ever!) who was looking for an overnight getaway. Of course right away I started texting her thousand of ideas I have and then remembered a trip I took to Hudson Valley. I absolutely love love love Hudson Valley, it's just close enough to the city but far enough to count as a getaway. Thinking back I've visited Hudson Valley multiple times but this particular one came to mind. All I could remember at that moment was The Walkway over Hudson but as I dug through my old emails, photos and even print out Google Maps (oy, I am old) I realized that it was actually a part of an amazing Labor Day trip during which we've visited a ton of places. By ton I mean TON! I don't know how we did it all. I am going to do my best to give you a play by play itinerary in hopes you take some time out and go on this trip because it is AWESOME ! & I got to visit 2 of what I thought were the coolest places ever !! Of course you should know that I think there are a tons of coolest places ever so this means nothing.

Ok so here it goes - 718 Miles and plenty of gorgeous castles

Stop # 1 (78.1 miles from Brooklyn, NY)
Bannerman Island- a 2 hour Sightseeing cruise of the Hudson, they have many options but I got to go to Bannerman Island, walk around, hear the history and take thousands of amazing photos, like this one.
Photo taken by me, not one of those postcards
Everything about this tour was perfect. Abandoned island, abandoned castle, and even the bugs that helped set the mood. In all seriousness, abandoned castles hold a special place in my heart - it's a place with so much history and always a heartbreak. A giant building stuck in time always with its own story, as I walk through I usually zone out the tour guide (ok, not great but hear me out) and imagine all the parties, the fights, the secrets that took place there. If I can own a small castle of my own, I certainly would.
Stop #2 (15.4 miles)
Now, now I know I said Bannerman Castle was a perfect experience but this next stop was pretty rad too. Walkway over the Hudson is basically just that a walkway over the Hudson River, it's beautiful, it's peaceful, it's romantic, it's perfect for friends, pets, babies and all in between. Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes (or not, i wore flip flops to ensure my pics are cute) and go during sunset. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I am just going to leave this unedited picture right here. Ok maybe one more... They are completely unedited and I still can't believe I got to see that first hand.

Nothing I say about The walkway would compare to these photos so moving on to Stop # 3.
#3 was Orange County Choppers, yep the TV show. I have never watched it but my travel partner did and it was a must stop. Even if you never watched the show or know what I am talking about it is definitely worth a stop. It's the home to the world's most original custom made bikes so yes do it.
So here is where things get interesting because based on my printed out Google Maps I can't find any other activities BUT there are definitely photos from a drive-in movie theater which based on my timeline would have been after the walkway and OCC would have been before... but you know what I will let you figure out that out for yourself when you plan this amazing adventure (unless you'd rather I do it and then just ask). Also judging by my previous research this concluded the first day, with us staying the night in Woodstock, NY.
Next Day
Stop #1
Well original stop #1 was this aaa-amazing pancake spot on Main St., in Phoenicia, NY but they closed so womp womp but the next Stop # 1.5 is ... Mystery Spot - pretty cool. I would not go out of my way but if you are eating at one of the adorable places down the Main St., definitely check this store out (if you read my earlier posts about Weird States books, it definitely is in Weird NY book).
I feel like I am rushing through this blog but that's because there is so much to get through and yet somehow only 4 mins into reading this thing we are up to the highlight of this trip - Alexandra Bay NY. Alexandria Bay is located in the Thousand Island region of NY. Thousand Islands are made up of 1,800 islands on the border of U.S. and Canada. (Tip, bring a passport just in case and hope over to Ontario for a quick dinner, I know I did).
This is the precise moment in time when I wish I wrote everything down 7 years ago foreshadowing this blog because I don't know the exact hotel where we stayed which just means it must have not been that memorable. I do remember we took a day boat trip going around the islands and stopping off at 2 of my favorite ones Boldt Castle and Singer Castle.
The story of Boldt Castle is a tragic one. Man begins to build a castle for his loved one, she dies, he stops all construction mid work and as a result we have a beautiful, magical half finished castle to gawk at today. Boldt Castle stood untouched for 73 years before it was opened for tours. BREATHTAKING! That's all I am going to say about that and leave this right here. The history, the heartache, the view - to me there is no better high than being in a place like that.
If I had to choose between Boldt Castle and Singer Castle, hands down Boldt but Singer Castle is located on Dark Island and obviously that's worth a mention.
Another day, another adventure:
After full and exhausting day before we set on to drive towards home but not before driving along the coast of Ontatio Lake and coming across a small bay with boats. The weather I remember was cloudy with a chance of rain so we did some quick sight seeing and moved on to stop #2 of the day: World's Smallest Church - you better believe this was in Weird NY book!!!
If you don't think that's adorable I don't know what is...
Other Stops on this trip included. The Heller's fabulous Furniture, The Culinary Institute of America, Historic Town of Hyde Park, Vassar College & Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. What's weird is before I opened my photos from back then I could not remember all that which is just another reason for this blog. I love memories and now anytime I or you want to look back, it's all here written down.
Since my memory is not great and this post has gone on and on, here are some photos of the sites and you can decide for yourself if they are worth visiting (hint: they are!)
Woodstock '69
This concludes this Labor Day weekend getaway (P.S. this trip was 7 days) but not before checking out Bethel Woods which is the original spot of Woodstock '69. Miles back home: 130 miles. To find the exact marker : Woodstock site. You are welcome!
The Heller's Fabulous Furniture
Hope you enjoyed this post, now stop reading and go

Daydream and Wander


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