While my original intent for this blog was to journal day trips and mini vacations to small towns along the Catskill corridor –Route 17 East / West — there is also a 17 North and South. So when the temperatures decided to soar into the high 90s last week, Ronnie and I tossed our bags into the car and headed South on 17 headed for the Jersey Shore.
I gotta say, I can understand why Governor Chris Christie does NOT like the reality show that made Snookie famous or how it portrays this beautiful and family oriented area of New Jersey. The Jersey Shore is a fun place to lose yourself on those days…
♪♫•*¨*♥ *¨*♫♪When the sun beats down and brings the tar up on the Roof ♪♫•*¨*♥ •♫♪
When Ron and I arrived we checked into the Holiday Inn Express in Neptune City, NJ. — Someday we’ll take the Shasta down that way,
but we were facing intense heat and the Shasta does not have an air conditioner… YET. So we decided to opt for comfort.
What I like about the Holiday Inn Express is that you know what you’re getting for your money. There are many cute motels and hotels down along the shore, …but unless you get a personal recommendation you don’t really know what you may be getting into. — I hope to help with that in the future as I explore these surfside motels and post recommendations here. – – So if you want honest reviews about places to be and things to see, please click the *Follow* button. (Above left side of screen)
To some, the Holiday Inn Express may be considered a *generic* brand of housing, but there is an advantage to uniformity: no surprises good or BAD. All worked out well, and it was a very comfortable stay.
Upon arrival the first thing we did was head for the beach. (About 20 mins. from Holiday Inn Exp. Neptune)
The beach is the beach and there’s not much more to say about that. – – Sun, sand and surf. – – Oooh La La — We played in the waves while the temperatures soared to one hundred. We walked along the boardwalk and enjoyed frozen treats like Kohrs Italian Ices. I had cherry with a small side of Mango. Ron had lemon. Mine was better. — Hee hee.
We only stayed two nights and ate chicken wraps the first night. We are trying to keep a lower budget on our mini-vacations and eating in is sure to save us a fortune. Joyfully we enjoyed wine and cheese in the hotel room with air conditioning blasting , reading our books when we weren’t out on the beach enjoying the salty air and cooler temps near the water.
The second night we ate at a restaurant near Belmar called Simkos. I had the best pecan crusted salmon and Ron had his salmon blackened. We stuffed our faces and I have to say, that was the best balsamic vinegarette I ever had over Mozzarella and basil with vine fresh tomatoes.
I had read that Owego, NY was voted *the coolest little small town in America* so Ron and I decided to pack up the Shasta and make a run for it.
“Coolest small town in America” is a heavyweight title to carry, so when we got there, and I didn’t see anything to fuss about , it was with a sudden jolt, that I remembered just how seriously they got hammered by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last year. Flooding so devastating that 95% of the village was under water and many roads into and out of were closed for long periods of time. I decided not to critique Owego this time around. But I’ll gladly share some photos and talk about the place a bit.
I will say Owego was definitely *not bad* a year later. I realized that I had come with a tall curiosity that may have even set off a defensive bias. I have lived in, and have been to, so many pretty cool small towns right here in NY that I came with a feeling of expectation since they were claiming to be *coolest in all of America*. (say what?!!!) I wanted to *see* what made Owego #1.
Then I remembered the storms. Since the award was declared in 2009…it was feasible I was not seeing the Owego of that time period. So , I decided to just SEE Owego.
Owego has a charming historic business center with buildings that are quite beautiful.
I’m a beast for old brick storefronts and big windows.
I should mention it was over 90 degrees and there was a Strawberry Festival going on. This caused detours and crowded walkways as people were *herded* along specific streets. (At least we got to see this cool car , huh!!!)
It should also be duly noted that for a Strawberry Festival we did not see any strawberries (whaaaatt!!!!!!!???????).– There was, however a strawberry lemonade stand.
Still, I enjoyed walking and exploring with my husband. There were some cafe’s and a few thrift stores that I could have explored further. We even stopped off at an old cemetery en route.
I don’t see it as a morbid thing. I have always been fascinated by the stories gravestones can tell. I like to tell the dead they are remembered and ask them “what was it like when you lived here?” — My question for many of them this time was “how the hell did you handle these northeast winters back in the 1700s???” — I surmised many of them died before we became dependent on oil. They obviously burned wood. Gathered around hearths and read, or told stories…waiting for the root children to waken and hail new life. The sun’s return. Glorious seasons of warmth and fertility.
Again, as we drove south back to Endicott where we were camping, my thoughts go back to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. As a victim, I know I’m still recovering from the damage of stream surge, so I can’t even imagine what they had to deal with when the Susquehana River broke her banks.
I could see a great potential for Owego being *among MANY cool small towns across America*. And make no mistake, there are MANY glorious little small towns waiting to make you feel at home. Each with something very special to offer. Each of them “the coolest* little small town in America …to somebody!!!”
This little *studio apartment* on wheels is just perfect for two.
(I don’t know who that old lady is standing near my trailer, but she needs to brush her hair, put on make-up and tone down that grin!! )
OK, first, some background: We picked a 1973 Shasta — mostly because it was in wonderful condition for the age and a great value for the $$$ — but also because it is the year Ronnie and I met and hooked up for our lifetime *road trip*. And just like the vintage Shasta, 39 years later we both have some aches, pains and dings for the wear. But if the road was too easy it probably wouldn’t lead anywhere, right. Like any vintage campers would tell you “just roll with it, baby”!!
Ronnie and I are both pretty handy, so we actually enjoy getting to know our little tag-along inside and out, and eventually plan to customize it to our personal tastes. But for right now practice makes perfect, and we decided it was ready for it’s first *close to home* maiden-voyage. So we packed her up and headed for Owego. Owego is a town in Broome County, just 2 hours north of us. We stayed at an RV park in Endicott, Exit 67 off the Edge of 17.
I’ll write more about Owego in my next post. I just wanted to dedicate today’s entry to the launching of our little home on wheels. Long may she run!!!
In picture above we just arrived and started to unpack, hence the mess. — The white insert on the left is refrigerator. Oven and stove runs on propane. Also water heater runs on propane. Just to the left of the refrigerator is a little tiny bathroom with shower & toilet. Ronnie and I will be converting the plumbing to newer plastic Pex. And replacing the toilet with a new one. As we educate ourselves we learn that a lot of people are opting for compost toilets that work with a toilet seat over a fitted *box*. The idea is to line it with a bag system and fill it with peat moss or kitty litter. When finished using just remove the bag and — well — some people put it in their gardens. I understand the logic for all. The reason many prefer this system is because there are less complications with plumbing problems and also, some campsites don’t offer sewage.
I’ll take plumbing any day. But the compost system is truly worth consideration for dedicated survivalists and eco conscious travelers.
Ron and I took a peaceful ride to the Bashakill again. We’ve been stopping by, hoping to view the bald eagles that nest there.
This peaceful corner of the earth envelopes you instantly. The stillness sliced periodically by sweet bird calls and the occasional bull frog cry (sounded more like a banjo).
Red-winged black birds were out and about, teaching their babies to fly, and the water lilies, like little yellow jewels were just beginning to bloom upon the water. Ron and I jumped out of the car just chock full of enthusiasm for viewing the eagles nest, but we forgot all about those binoculars as the serene environment swallowed us up.
We sat on rocks and just drank it all in. Haven’t felt that way in a loooong time. Being fully conscious of our interconnection with Nature and this beautiful planet just bustling with living energy. — The web of life.
Directions to The Bashakill Wildlife Management preserve are included in the link below:
If you should decide to make this day trip keep in mind that right across the street there’s a wonderful new winery you may consider.
A walk through the woods after a soft summer rain can transport any dreamer into a fairytale world. There’s this moment when the sun comes out and the mist rises through the trees, especially over the marshlands and lakes.
It reminds me of the Mists of Avalon and the days of King Arthur’s court. — You may find you need to just stop everything and inhale. — Do it.
Revel in the scent of damp earth and rich green moss. Run your hand over scaly pine bark .
After a day of hiking or fishing, there’s nothing better than kicking back with a bottle of wine and enjoying the starlit sky. The woodlands north of the city twinkle with fireflies during the warm summer months, while crickets and tree frogs lull you into silent reverie. — And if you should just happen to see a UFO while stargazing, well, it may NOT be the wine. (Just Google Pine Bush & UFOs and see what I mean.)
A trip to the mountains is a treat for all your senses. If you are lucky enough to live in any of the 5 Burroughs of New York City just get on Interstate 87, drive north to Exit 16 and you are at the Edge of 17. — Rt. 17 in New York. — Take it west.
So many places to be, so many things to see. The Mountain Laurel is in full bloom right now. Make yourself a laurel wreath, let your hair down and trip back to another time.
(My beautiful daughters in their laurel wreaths)
If you’re not a hiker or sports person, you’re sure to enjoy exploring the many antique and artisan shops sprinkled along Historic 17. From Harriman to Bethel, and so many towns along the way. Sugar Loaf, Warwick, Wurtsboro, Goshen, you’ll find herb shops, crystal shops, Art galleries — and yeah haunted manors. Each location has their own small town charm. Each has a story to tell.
I’ll be sharing my adventures and recommendations for day trips here. So if you’re a tree hugger like me who loves nature and mini-vacations click the *follow* button to learn more about this world just off the edge of 17.
Be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi
Yes, helloooo, anyone who may find their way to this page. My name is Roxanne and I am proud to be a Mountain Mama from Mamakating. I started this blog because I want to share the beauty of nature as it can be seen along the edge of Rt. 17, just a short drive north of NYC
(I ask for patience as I learn to navigate through this blog-site. )