A Mountain Mama's Travel Journal

Category Archives: Day Trippin’

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, Image…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.

All in all, I have to say, that life along the boardwalk on the first heat wave of 2012 in the Northeast was pretty cool!Image

SIMKO’S Website


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. Image

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.

Breathe  the fragrance of  the wildflowers.

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