Top 5 Things To Do in Beacon, NY

IMG_5353

My grandma lives in Beacon, NY so I like to visit when the busy schedule permits. Beacon is probably one of my favorite places in my home state because it has grown into this vibrant city with so much to see and do. Being located in the Hudson Valley is also very convenient; you can take the MetroNorth train right into Grand Central Station in New York City, you can take a day trip to the state’s capital (Albany), or you can explore the city itself.

I figured I would write a “Top 5” post for those who may want a decent day trip or a city getaway to a place that is not in the middle-of-nowhere, but will give you the satisfaction of not being in the middle of a city.

Below is a list of some things I would recommend you do should you visit Beacon! There is:

  1. Walk Main Street.

Main Street is filled with local businesses, spas, and restaurants. This is a great way to interact with locals because just like any other Main Street, it is where the heart of the city is. The best time to go is second Saturday of the month as the stores are open later and tend to have some sales or deals happening! You will find antique stores, gift stores, clothing boutiques, outdoor stores, blown glass, and galleries. Each one of them unique and nothing like any other store on the street.

IMG_5359

Main Street, Beacon, NY

In general, Beacon has a lot of art scattered throughout the city but you can find a lot of it right on Main Street! It takes a minute or two to admire but all of the art really brings some color to the city.

We can’t forget about the restaurants and cafes! I have not had the chance to try even a quarter of them, but what I have had the chance to try is amazing.

For breakfast I would recommend Beacon Bagel or Beacon Falls Café. Beacon Falls Café is the perfect place for a mimosa and a formal sit down breakfast. Beacon Bagel has some of the best bagels I have ever had and you cannot go wrong with the flavor you choose!

IMG_5356

Beacon Falls, Beacon, NY

For Lunch I would recommend Poppy’s Burgers & Fries, Homespun, or Max’s on Main. Poppy’s has delicious, 100% grass fed beef burgers that go great with a beer (which they serve). Homespun has delicious sandwiches, salads, and soups, which are all homemade. Lastly, Max’s on Main is a great place to catch a sports game or grab a drink. Their food is pub food but it is delicious!

For dinner I would recommend Brother’s Trattoria hands down. This restaurant happens to be my grandma’s favorite restaurant, so anytime I am in town, this is where we go. I order a different dish every time and I have never had a bad experience. Make sure you ask for the garlic knots! (If I ever get a picture of my food, I will be sure to update…absolutely delicious)

If you thought I was done with the foodie part of me, you are WRONG. If you just want to make sure everyone is happy with the food options, head over to The Yankee Clipper. It is a family-run diner that has amazing food for any meal of the day! You are instantly brought back in time to the diner days as soon as you walk in the door. The service is great and the food is incredible. You cannot go wrong!

Yankee-Clipper-exterior

The Yankee Clipper Diner, Beacon, NY (Photo Cred: Yankee Clipper)

  1. Walk along the Hudson River at Long Dock Park.

283620_10150892642532574_1620210814_n

This is a great location to rent a kayak to head out into the historic river. The Mountain Tops Outfitters Kayak Company will help you launch your kayak and explore the area. You can find their schedule at http://www.mountaintopsoutfitters.com/pages/kayaking-on-the-hudson-river.

Long Dock Park is also a great place to go fishing, walk a rock beach during low tide, or even capture a beautiful photo of the surrounding mountains. It almost looks like another country! I have fond memories as a kid at this park as it was relatively new and the dock was built to allow water to flow through the middle of it and create an artistic element to something so standard. Over time, people have become more and more aware of the location and it’s typically crowded with families on a fishing excursion, but nonetheless still worth a visit. It is also a great location for a jog as they have a river trail!

334157_10150920332712574_1066763334_o

  1. Hike Mount Beacon.

It is a steep but quick and easy hike. I am by no means an avid or experienced hiker, but I enjoy hiking this mountain. You just need a good pair of sneakers and a decent set of lungs! It took me about 45 minutes to get to the top so this can easily be squeezed into your day. Once you are at the top, you will have incredible photo opportunities of the Hudson Valley; you can capture images of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge or ones like pictured below.

627322_10150958730547574_1881631683_o

210802_10150958728707574_407747606_o

As a lover of food, make sure to grab a sandwich from Bob’s Corner store at the base of the mountain. Anything you order will be delicious, but I recommend the Bacon, Cheddar, and Avocado. So yummy.

This mountain is not just an ordinary mountain. During the Revolutionary War it served as an early warning and signaling system for the Continental Army. An incline was built to bring people up and down to enjoy a beautiful natural setting and a cool summer breeze. Once the incline was built, a casino and hotel followed shortly after to keep those that went to the top entertained. In the late 1920s, a fire destroyed the hotel and casino and the entertainment was gone. The casino was quickly rebuilt, but due to the Great Depression, the hotel was never rebuilt. Due to the economic crisis that would take place for the next 2 decades, the incline and casino struggled but nonetheless kept going. They had more fires and more hard times and eventually in 1983, a fire destroyed every aspect of the incline and no repairs were made. You can still see the incline from miles away where the tracks used to be and you can see the powerhouse once you reach the top of the mountain.

334011_10150958746237574_1828157698_o

  1. Visit DIA: Beacon.

The DIA Center is an Art Foundation’s art collection that has pieces from the 1960s to present. The actual building used to be a Nabisco box-printing facility that was turned into this museum! The museum features temporary exhibitions and monthly Gallery talks. They have a ton of different events each year so be sure to check out their website. Another thing you must do before visiting is to check their hours as they change often throughout the year.

http://www.diaart.org/sites/main/beacon

  1. Visit Bannerman Island.
bannermans castle pollepel island 1

Bannerman Castle (Photo Cred: Flickr User gaz)

This is such an incredible, history-filled, beautiful place. The island is only accessible by boat and there are many stories that go along with such a small piece of land.

Like Mount Beacon, there is a connection to the American Revolution. The island was set up with defense mechanisms to protect the Hudson Highlands from the British fleet in 1777, but the attempt was unsuccessful and the British still invaded.

Francis Bannerman, a Scottish-born man and ammunition dealer, bought the island in 1900 from the Taft family. His purchase was a result of New York City authorities forcing him to move his historical equipment and ammunition (his business) out of the city. He wanted a safe storage place for his stuff and built Bannerman castle as a result. The castle was not only a storage space but also a simple residence which he and his family would reside.

My papa was so involved with this little island and I had the opportunity to visit during a special event a few years ago. This island is not technically in Beacon but a guided tour departs from Beacon and you can buy tickets for $35 per person. For more information regarding the island or purchasing tickets, go to their website: http://www.bannermancastle.org/index.html

Beacon is the perfect day trip filled with history and so much to do!

 

Fun in the Sun at Folly Beach, SC

This post is not going to be super exciting or informative but I still want to give you some insight into my visit to Folly Beach in South Carolina. 

Just a little but of background information first….

My mom lives just outside of Charleston in Summerville and I came down for the weekend since my entire family would be present for her birthday. Instead of sitting around and doing nothing (this tends to be a thing), we went to the Sea and Sand Festival on Folly Beach which consisted of the following:

  1. Beer
  2. Country music 
  3. Local vendors
  4. Food

The weather was perfect other than the crazy winds and a nice break from the Boston cold.   

We tried some of the local vendor’s goods including Snöbar which sells alcohol infused Popsicles. I love my tequila so I had the margarita version while my mom had the Cosmo one. We both enjoyed ours but they were a little overpriced at $5 a pop. 

  
 
After walking through the different tents, we went to Snapper Jack’s for lunch where I had steamed oysters filled with Spinach and cheese, they were delicious.  
 
I had also shared a Blue Lagoon Fish Bowl with my Aunt Sue which was also very good but not a ton of alcohol was included in this drink.

 
For my main course I had the Fire and Ice Chicken Sandwich that had a siracha aoli sauce that was incredible. 

If you ever have a chance to visit Folly Beach and want to grab a bite to eat, this place is perfect. It’s not right on the beach which is a downside but it has a great atmosphere, great staff, and great music. It is well worth the walk away from the beach. 

The best part about this whole day: THE BEACH   

   

This beach has the perfect sand and a great place to look for starfish!

With it not being prime beach season (it was about 70 degrees) I didn’t have a chance to catch a tan but it felt so good to be walking around the beach. 

Xoxo,

Amy

A Day Trip to Portland, Maine

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take my first trip to Porland, Maine! You would think living only 2 hours away I would have made this trip long ago…wrong. 

Let me start by saying this: I can’t wait to go back. Being March, while it was the first day of Spring, it was cold. However, with the short amount of time I spent in the city (even with the colder temperatures), I fell in love with the capital of the Pine Tree State. 

Portland is that city you escape to. It’s cute, small, young…kinda perfect. I left Boston later than I wanted to (12pm to be exact) but I still got the taste of Portland I needed to write this post. 

There are 3 things you must do in Portland:

1. Eat a potato donut. I recommend going to Holy Donut on Park Ave as the donuts I had from there are delicious but they also are famous! Read this article by CNN Eatocracy: http://theholydonut.com/maine-residents-manic-for-potato-donuts/ and I promise the drooling will start.  If you love sweet and salty, the dark chocolate sea salt would be the perfect choice.

 Photo Credit: StarChefs 

2. Visit Portland Head Light Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. This is pretty much a given considering it’s the most photographed lighthouse in the nation. They have a cliff walk so you can really get some great photographs and also get a little bit of exercise.

Fun Fact: I’m a NY Giants fan!

  

This is where most famous photographs of the lighthouse are taken

       

3. Walk around downtown Portland. You can find tons of small family-owned shops and boutiques. You can go cheese tasting at Cabot or grab a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, tea, a cappuccino, (you name it!) at Bard Coffee. I had a cappuccino and it was delicious!     

    Keep in mind I was super limited with my time in Portland but if you just want to roam around, this is the place to do it. I will be visiting again in the summer and can give you more ideas and tips on what to do when the weather is warmer! 

    Before I bring my first travel post to an end, let me make a couple more recommendations. 

    1. Find a way to fit The Green Elephant Restaurant into your time in Portland. It is a vegetarian restaurant and it was AMAZING. I’m not vegetarian, in fact I love meat but this place was incredible. I don’t like brusel sprouts but theirs were so delicious. For my main course I had the local mushroom bowl and I would eat this everyday. So many amazing flavors.

    Brusel Sprouts!

      

    Local Mushroom Bowl

     

    2. See a show/concert at the State Theatre. It’s an old fashioned venue with tons of character and an awesome atmosphere. Not to mention for being a venue that old; their light and sound technologies are really advanced. I went to see Mayday Parade and The Maine with some friends and had a blast.  

    The Maine…in Maine!

     

    3. Portland has a ton of breweries so if you are into beer, do some brewery-hoppying (pun intended)! 

    Short and sweet but this makes the perfect day trip in Portland. Great food. Great Beer. Great Shopping. Great Times.

    Xoxo,

    Amy