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📍Brooklyn, NY 🌲 Tacoma raised 🏜 AZ cultivated 🖤 Sometimes gothy, sometimes girly ✈️ I travel a LOT 🕷CrossFit, travel, books, fashion ☔️ Next: Seattle
As you can imagine, New York State has been full of rich af people forever - must be nice! This means it’s full of beautiful estates and mansions, especially along Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Lyndhurst Mansion, also known as the Jay Gould Estate, is located in Tarrytown next to the Hudson and sits on a 67-acre park. It was designed in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis, and owned in succession by NYC mayor William Paulding Jr., merchant George Merritt, and then railroad tycoon Jay Gould. It was originally named Paulding’s Folly, but Merritt renamed it “Lyndenhurst” after the estate’s linden trees (which is also where the name Lindsey comes from FYI). Merritt doubled the size of the house in 1864-1865 (yes, there was a civil war happening and this guy was just out here doubling the size of his mansion). Jay Gould should purchased the place in 1880, shortened the name to Lyndhurst, and lived there until his death in 1862. His daughter donated it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1961 and it’s now open to the public for tours. I already love going to Tarrytown due to its proximity to Sleepy Hollow, and this is a great spot to spend a weekend. I’d recommend going to Lyndhurst Mansion earlier in the day than I did, as it was totally backlit at 3pm when I went, which made for rough photo lighting (I considered not even sharing). This shot was taken when the sun went behind a cloud, but was still tough to photograph with me or without me in the picture. Do you have a favorite estate to tour? I also particularly love the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island!
Another cool stop in the Hudson Valley is Storm King Art Center, located in New Windsor, NY. It’s a 500 acre outdoor museum with dozens of sculptures along trails of forest, meadows, and hills. It was founded in 1960 and has doubled in size since it first opened. It’s a great place to get exercise in as there’s a lot of walking needed to see it all. They have bike rentals as well if you want to move along a little faster, and I’d give yourself several hours to be there. I’d seen a bunch of Instagram shots of the place (generally people seem to post the same 2-3 spots) and had no idea going in just how massive the place would be and how long it would take to walk the whole thing. At any time, Storm King Art Center has around 115 sculptures like the one behind me in the photo. I found the mirrored fence sculpture to be pretty cool and unique. It also has an information center at the top for education. To get to Storm King from NYC, you can drive, take coach bus directly there from Port Authority, or take Metro-North to the Salisbury Mills train station. It’s about a 5 minute drive from the station but keep in mind Ubers can be sparse upstate. Do you have any cool sculpture parks near you? There’s another one I’ll be featuring in Minneapolis whenever I get to sharing my Minnesota posts! (Madrid next, then the Dakotas).
Another one of the adorable towns along the Hudson Valley is the aptly named Hudson. It’s much larger than Saugerties with its main street, Warren Street, stretching for ten blocks full of adorable boutiques, tons of bougie antique and furniture shops, and restaurants with organic local fare. It’s a fairly small town with a population of just over 6000, and notably Hudson was “the first city in the United States” - that is, the first city to be incorporated after the thirteen colonies became the United States. It was established by seafarers from Nantucket and New Bedford who feared the British would be back to recapture what they’d lost post independence, and so they set out along the Hudson River to find a safe harbor to relocate their families and ships. Hudson offers a high bluff on the east bank of the river with a natural harbor on either side, so it was perfect. I personally had a wonderful couple of days in Hudson, as the wedding I attended was at the waterfront park and then later at Basilica Hudson, and the next day I returned to walk Warren Street and explore. I had a fabulous burger at @grazindiner, smothered in caramelized onions and goat cheese. Did you know about Hudson being the USA’s “first city?”
Can I just express that this is one of my favorite shots I’ve taken in a while haha? I hope you guys like it as much as I do because the Saugerties Lighthouse to me emanates all of the spooky historic vibes I like to kick off the fall (even if my outfit was still kind of summery). The Saugerties Lighthouse sits at the end of a half mile trail that takes you through a marsh with wooden plank bridges alongside the Esopus Creek and Hudson River. The lighthouse was constructed in 1869 to help navigate the river and today offers overnight Bed & Breakfast accommodations with multiple rooms, public tours, and special events. The B&B costs $525 per night for 2 rooms for up to 4 people with breakfast - pricy, but considering how unique and historic the lighthouse is, I guess I’m not surprised. There’s also a small dock for boaters as well, and I saw people boating all over the Hudson this day even thought it was so overcast! Would you stay in this lighthouse? I would if the costs weren’t a factor but $525 for just me is a little steep! It was a really cool walk though and the cloudy weather certainly added to the spooky vibes.
The area of New York between Westchester Country (first county north of NYC) and Albany is known as the Hudson Valley, and includes cities like Hudson, Woodstock, Beacon, Sleepy Hollow, Saugerties, New Paltz, and many more. The towns are small and quaint, the living is far more peaceful than the city, and the scenery of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River make for a stunning weekend somewhat off the grid (the phone service is spotty). I made the ~2ish hour drive this weekend for a wedding and stayed three nights in the adorable town of Saugerties (pictured here at its waterfront park). Being me, I drove all over the area, eating at the famed Phoenicia Diner, walking the main drag of the iconic Woodstock, having an organic and locally grown burger in Hudson, and making stops on the way home at Storm King Art Center and Lyndhurst Mansion. Saugerties itself offers a cute park with this colorful bridge, nothing but local businesses for delicious food, boutiques, and antique stores, and a beautiful cemetery with famous names buried there like the Van Tassels from the legend of Sleepy Hollow (not the ones from the legend, just related). New Yorkers - here’s my question for you. Is the Hudson Valley “Upstate?” Where do you think “Upstate” starts?
Our Hamptons trip was unfortunately cut short because of Hurricane Henri…. Which I was prepared to post about as we had to leave at 4pm on Saturday rather than Sunday afternoon two weekends ago, but wow, after Ida last night it doesn’t even seem to compare. New York City was hit with record floods last night, and hundreds of people were stranded in subways and cars in flooded stations and roads. At least 8 people didn’t make it. Most of my friends’ buildings or even apartments flooded, including the basement of my building (but not my unit fortunately - everything on my direct end is okay). I’ve never seen so much rain in my life. And if that was our experience in NYC with the tail end of the storm, I can only imagine how hard New Orleans has been hit. They’re expected to be without power for weeks to even over a month. I’ll be sharing links in my story today as to where you can donate to support NOLA, who really needs it. A recent UN climate report ties events like these to human caused climate change, and mentioned the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased over most land area since the 1950s. The heaviest downpours have been observed to be increasing aim all US regions, but the most in the northeast. Warmer air has more water vapor than cooler air so with hotter temperatures we can expect heavier rains, and slower moving storms that linger. Stay dry my friends. Let me know if there are ways if I can help you if you were severely affected. I’ll be sharing resources to help NOLA in my story. 💜💛💚
Fun facts about the Hamptons! 1. As of 2020, the Hamptons is home to the second most expensive zip code in America, 11962 which is Sagaponack, NY. The median home price is $5.7 million and is only second to Atherton, CA. I went on Zillow when in the area just to browse and couldn’t find anything under $1.2 million! 2) Celebrities with Hamptons houses include: Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Katie Courier, Martha Stewart, Billy Joel, Paris Hilton, Robert Downey Jr., Anderson Cooper, Robert De Niro, many of the Real Housewives, and more 3) There are 3 commercial vineyards in The Hamptons: Wölffer Estate, Channing Daughters, and Duck Walk 4) Levain Bakery’s original location opened in the Hamptons, and today is the home of my favorite cookie 5) The Montauk lighthouse at the very end of Long Island was commissioned by George Washington and is the oldest lighthouse in the state 6) Jackie Kennedy was born at Southampton Hospital - she was supposed to be born in NYC but she was six weeks late and her parents had left for their summer home 7) The record for the most expensive home sold in the Hamptons was $147 million in 2014 to hedge fund billionaire Barry Rosenstein. As of 2021 however, the 42 acre Jules Pond Estate is in contract to beat that 8) The Hamptons were settled by the British as farming, fishing, and whaling posts. Southampton was founded and named after England’s city of Southampton in 1640 and East Hampton followed in 1648. Although they’re the only two towns with the Hampton name, the whole area gets called “The Hamptons” 9) Decades before Salem, in 1658, Goody Garlick was accused of witchcraft and subjected to an entire trial after a daughter of a wealthy Lord fell ill and claimed the working class Garlick sent an evil black shadow to her bed. She quickly became the scapegoat for other events like sick livestock and a child disappearance, with a huge witch hunt ensuing, but was ultimately found not guilty by a jury of 12 men due to a lack of evidence - even though they believed her guilty of the crime. She was charged with a huge fine but aside from that lived to old age. What was your favorite fact?
I spent last weekend in East Hampton at the cutest #gifted hotel @themaidstonehotel. What’s known as “The Hamptons” is a string of communities on the eastern tip of Long Island, full of cute towns, 18th century shingle buildings, farmland, and beaches. It’s the ultimate boujie getaway for New Yorkers and a summer home destination for New York’s wealthiest. I was beyond excited to accept an invitation from The Maidstone for a couple of nights, which is perfectly located in East Hampton, one of the nicest communities in the area. It has one of the larger downtowns with unique clothing and furniture boutiques, and also has incredible restaurants like @1770house and @bostwickschowderhouse. I couldn’t be more impressed by the hotel itself - it’s a perfect getaway to just stay on the property for your vacation, with a great bar, restaurant, and plenty of outdoor space to drink and lounge. The Maidstone is a Scandinavian inspired spot with unique decor in each of its 19 rooms, the cutest (and very instagrammy) set ups around the property, and adorably kitschy and eclectic decor inside. It offers free bikes for guests who want to ride around the area. We honestly loved the hotel so much we spent more time onsite than we did off. I’ll be sharing a couple of other shots from the trip, covering fun facts about the Hamptons and our crazy experience leaving early because of Hurricane Henri. Thanks again to the @themaidstonehotel for the incredible hospitality!! Have you been to The Hamptons?
My final stop in Wyoming was at the USA’s first national monument, Devils Tower, which was officially protected by Theodore Roosevelt on September 24, 1906. As a national monument, the land is set aside by the federal government for preservation and available for the public for cultural and educational use. Facts about Devils Tower: 1) Devils Tower is more than 4 football fields tall 2) The proclamation declaring it as a monument mistakenly left the apostrophe in “Devil’s” out, and the typo has never been corrected so the spelling stuck 3) Devils Tower is a sacred religious site for 20+ Native American tribes, and there is controversy over the name given by white settlers. Native tribes called it everything from “Aloft on a Rock” to “Grizzly Bear Lodge,” and it wasn’t given its demonic name until 1875. No records indicate that Native Americans associate the place with evil spirits, and it’s suspected a bad translation led an expedition by Richard Irving Dodge to confuse the words for “bear” and “bad god.” “Bad God’s Tower” became “Devils Tower,” and while some chalk it up to a mistake, others believe he deliberately changed the name of an important indigenous site. They consider it tantamount to defacing a religious symbol by associating it with the Devil’s name, and there have been petitions to change the name to Bear’s Lodge National Monument. 4) There are two legends behind the tower’s formation that are very similar. The Lakota Sioux legend tells that six girls were picking flowers and chased by bears - The Great Spirit felt bad and raised the ground beneath their feet so the bears couldn’t catch them. The Kiowa legend is nearly identical, but with seven girls praying for the ground to rise, and it includes astrology as legend tells that the girls reached the sky and were turned into the constellation Pleiades. 5) There are more than 150 rock climbing routes, but every June there is a voluntary rock climbing closure because of the cultural significance to Native Americans. Had you heard of Devils Tower before? I had seen it on Instagram, but didn’t know the significance of it as the first national monument!
Fun facts about Yellowstone National Park! 1) Yellowstone is the world’s first National Park, established by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872 2) The park is contained in 3 states - 96% in Wyoming, 3% in Montana, and 1% in Idaho. It contains 3,472 square miles 3) Yellowstone is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined 4) With 67 different species, the park is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states. It also has 285 species of birds 5) Yellowstone has more than 10,000 hydrothermal features, including geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. It has more than 500 active geysers, more than half of the world’s geysers. 6) There are 92 trailheads with around 1000 miles of hiking trails, and 15 miles of boardwalk 7) Old Faithful, its most famous geyser, erupts every 92 minutes on average. When we went to the park, we didn’t know there was a predicted schedule. We arrived about 2 minutes after an eruption, and wasted almost 2 hours waiting for the next 🙃 8) Human history in the area goes back more than 11,000 years, according to archaeological findings. The first American to explore was John Colter, who raves about the geothermal activity. Few people believed him and mocked his stories, calling the region “Colter’s Hell” 9) Yellowstone is home to one of the world’s largest active volcanoes, lying beneath the park. The first major eruption was about 2.1 million years ago and covered more than 5,790 square miles with ash - one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history. Therefore Yellowstone is marked as a super volcano, and if it were to erupt, it could spew ash for thousands of miles across the USA, damaging buildings, destroying crops, killing wildlife, and shutting down power plants. However, there hasn’t been an enormous eruption in 664,000 years, or a lava flow at all in 70,000 years, so it’s not likely any time soon. 10) Yellowstone has its own Grand Canyon. It’s over 1000 feet deep, up to 4000 feet wide, and 20 miles long 11) The park received over 3M annual visitors since 2008, and peaked in 2016 with 4.26M visitors This shot is from Mammoth Hot Springs. What was your favorite fact?
One of the most famous areas of Grand Teton National Park is Mormon Row. Toward the end of the 19th century, Mormons from Salt Lake City were sent out to establish new communities and settled in a cluster in what was called at the time Grovont, Wyoming - now known as Mormon Row. Although the Wyoming conditions were harsh, 27 different homesteads were established in the area, although few remain today. The most well known is Moulton Barn, which you’ll see all over Instagram and Google Images as one of the most photographed scenes of the park. Photographers come from worldwide to shoot the scenery. Photography wise, I got some incredible shots of the barn without me in it, as shooting with a lens that was not quite as wide provides for the effect that the mountains are huge and close behind the barn that you’ll see in most photos. However, in order to capture the whole barn and myself, I had to use a wide lens (24mm), which portrays the scene slightly more accurately as the mountains are quite far away from the settlement itself. Had you seen the famous photos of Mormon Row before?
My favorite spot in Yellowstone National Park is Grand Prismatic Spring, the most photographed thermal feature in the park. It’s photographed so much I’d have loved to have a shot without a massive sign in it, but it was so crowded it was either a sign or tourists, and I’ll gladly choose an informational sign over some randos. Grand Prismatic Spring is the third largest hot spring in the world, after Frying Pan Lake in New Zealand and Boiling Lake in Dominica - but neither is as brightly and beautifully colored. Grand Prismatic is larger than a football field and deeper than a 10 story building. The spring has a deep blue center, surrounded by bands of orange, yellow, and green bands tinted because of microbial mats, multi layered sheets full of heat loving microorganisms, mainly bacteria. The colors change throughout the year - the microbial mats tend to be orange and red in the summer, and dark green in the winter. These heat loving microbes have actually helped NASA and other scientists make major medical and scientific advances, including the sequencing of the entire human genome. Be super careful not to fall into any of Yellowstone’s hot springs - you’ll literally disintegrate. People pass within 2-3 minutes of falling in, and dissolve into nothing within a few hours. The spring is approximately 160° F/70° C. Grand Prismatic is one of my favorite things of any national park - I’m just truly awed every time I look at it! You know I’m into posting colorful photos, and this is a color queen’s dream location. Do you have a single favorite feature of all the national parks you’ve been to?
Fun facts about Grand Teton National Park! 1) The park was established in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge against massive public opposition. It was originally 96,000 acres, and expanded twice, once by Franklin Roosevelt in 1943 and then reestablished by Harry Truman in 1950 to become the 310,000 acre park it is today. There was strong public disapproval each time, and cattle ranchers led 500 cattle across the land in protest in 1943. 2) The Teton Range sits on a fault line and were formed by earthquakes over millions of years. On the east side of the fault sits the valley names Jackson Hole, and the mountains sit on the west side of the fault. 3) Grand Teton has 8 peaks over 12,000 feet, and the highest one is at 13,700 feet above sea level. 4) The land was mostly sculpted by glaciers into canyons and peaks, and today only 12 glaciers remain. 5) The park has an abundance of wildlife including buffalo, elk, coyotes, moose, foxes, bears, wolves, and bald eagles. Much of the park’s territory is relatively untouched by civilization and provides evidence of how birds and animals live in the wild. 6) Grand Teton is the only national park in the USA to have its own airport. 7) The Grand Teton Range is 40 miles long and the youngest range of the Rocky Mountains, and some of the youngest mountains in the world for scientists to study 8) The first European American to discover the area was John Coulter in 1806, largely considered America’s first Mountain Man. He disappeared from his settlement in 1808 and his body was never found 9) Before the park was originally designated, tourism attracted huge crowds which resulted in saloons, dance halls, and gas stations that disturbed local ranchers and farmers. This led to the park’s overall protection 10) The park saw 3.29 million visitors in 2020, and peaked at 3.49M in 2018. This is up from 2.49M in 2008. 11) It’s gone to the pronghorn, the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, capable of reaching speeds of up to 70mph What was your favorite fact?
Our second stop in Wyoming was Yellowstone National Park, and it was my third time visiting. In many ways, Yellowstone is my favorite National Park - I’m fascinated by the colorful geothermal pools, the canyons, the wildlife, and the overall history of America’s first National Park (more to come in a future post). It just has so much to offer, is so incredibly unique, and as far as scenery, is of a kind that appeals the most to me personally. It’s navigable and massive, so don’t expect to do the whole park in a day - I’d recommend 2 days at least but preferably 3 or more to really experience it. With that said, the one detractor is because it’s so awe inspiring, it’s extremely popular and overly crowded to where I wish they’d put daily limits. A friend of mine (@gabrielalaloca) referred to it as the “Disneyland of National Parks” and it’s not an incorrect assessment as you have to wait in long lines for parking, and it’s totally swarmed with people. I mean, it’s a terrific family vacation, so I don’t blame people for coming en masse…. But again, it certainly detracts from the overall experience, especially at popular areas like Grand Prismatic. On top of that, this year it was crowded like I had never seen it before - when I went in 2015, I just don’t remember having to circle around for parking over and over. One way you can beat the crowds at National Parks is going super early - but some of the best attractions, like the geothermal pools are covered in steam early on so you won’t be able to properly see their color until the sun has burned it off. Another tip - Old Faithful has times of eruption predicted by the lodge! We didn’t know that was a thing and waited an unnecessarily long time where we could have been doing something else in the meantime. I’ll be posting a couple more shots from Yellowstone, one covering the history and the other covering the science behind the geothermal pools/theories about Yellowstone’s potential eruptions. Anything you want me to read up on specific? Have you been to Yellowstone?