I have some exciting news! After six months of working without a break and two job changes I am finally taking a vacation - an entire week to do nothing but ponder important things. Like are tablecloths to tables what socks are to humans? How come cantaloupe sometimes smells like nail polish remover? And just how did Diane Keaton manage to sell all that apple baby food in "Baby Boom"?? I was hoping to travel somewhere but the timing wasn't right. I've never taken a staycation because, well, what would I do with all that free time?! But, it turns out, you can do quite a bit in your own backyard (not your actual backyard, you understand. My backyard would be the laundry room in our apartment building's hallway... and I really do not want to spend that much time with a bunch of judgmental Bounce sheets). And, best of all, it's cheap! So cheap that I've been spending money on shoes and handbags as a way to make up for all the money I'm gonna save. I don't want my bank account to get overly confident (see my note on Bounce sheets).
It's only Day 2 but I've already done quite a bit...
DAY 1 - To kickoff the staycation, I wandered over to Union Square to return a pair of shoes at the Sperry store with my trusty pal and sister, Kristin. Somehow though, we got lost in the Union Square market. There's nothing like free jam and pickles to get you off track. I always thought that when I moved to NYC I'd go to the markets a lot. But I've never really stopped by all the booths, taking in all the flavors and asking the vendors poignant questions like, "Uh, hey can I try a sample of that maple candy? Yeah, the pecan one?"
Finally jam gets the spotlight it deserves (that diva, peanut butter, is always stealing its spotlight on the supermarket shelves)....
Relish from Rick's Pickles...
Peppers, peppers and even more peppers!
What's this delicacy? Oh... it's wool...
Pies as far as the camera on my iPhone can see!
Next we hit up Breads Bakery (after unsuccessfully trying to eat lunch at Chat n Chew, where we encountered a waiter who could just care less that we wanted to eat there. "A table for two?" we asked. "Yeah, I guess if you want you could sit over there.") on 16th Street. The bakery smelled like the inside of a cookie jar. We were looking for a place to eat lunch, but we couldn't help but try some of their flaky, oh-my-goodness-I-want-my-wedding-cake-to-be-made-of-this rugelach and a potato puff-like pastry that was simply ahhhhmazing. Both melted in your mouth. I only wish we decided to eat a croissant-filled lunch there! By far the best bakery I've been to in the city so far.
Lunch at Republic, the noodle place, was next. Yum times ten!
I bid adieu to the delights of Union Square (it's really like that donkey place Pinocchio went to in the movie that bears his name) and took a 45-minute train ride from Grand Central to my parents' house/retirement complex in good ole Rockland County, where much of my staycation will play out. I settled into my seat, popped a Halls cough drop (I am fighting my first cold of the season and have taken on an old lady's medicine cabinet kind of smell) and was in and out of sleep the entire train ride. Thankfully, though, I woke up in time to get off at the right stop, plopped onto the couch at the retirement home and got all the way to Page 2 of Nicholas Sparks' riveting "The Longest Ride."
DAY 2 - Rockland is absolutely beautiful this time of the year. Really a jewel of New York State. The colorful trees that line the streets - they're so friendly and encouraging... "drive that car!" they seem to be saying - are reason enough to visit. I started my day by trying to get into the movie "Our Family Wedding" on TV, which seemed to be a take on Ashton Kutcher's timeless "Guess Who," plus "Father of the Bride" with a little "Jumping the Broom" thrown in (I have seen pretty much any and every movie with a wedding in it... even if it's just a movie with a 2-second closeup of a wedding picture). During the movie, I caught what has to be the most effective political commercial I've ever seen from Judge Daniel Angiolillo (watch and find out while you'll never forget his name!). Genius!
After filling up on wedding drama and local politics, Kristin and I headed over to The Orchards of Concklin, a farm in Pomona, NY. According to their website, they've been farming in Rockland since 1712!! Almost as long as the retirement home has been specializing in comfortable couches! We went straight to their little grocery section and picked up some fresh apple cider donuts, a little bottle of apple cider and a mini pecan pie for our dad (his favorite because, according to my mom, they used to make something very similar in Turkey... minus the pie crust... aka pecans drenched in brown sugar). All three were absolutely delish - so fresh!
Well that's all I've done so far. Stay tuned for more... will I ever make it to Chapter 2 of Nicholas Sparks' epic novel? Will I be able to get up from the couch? Will I run out of Halls cough drops? Sorry to end on such a cliffhanger... it's just a ruthless marketing ploy, nothing personal!