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Category Archives: Friday Escape

Friday Escape on a Thursday!? – MEXICO!

Yes, it is a Thursday; but, for me it is a Friday because Ryan and I are off to MEXICO!!!  Although we have both traveled internationally, we have never done so together.  Plus, oddly enough, I have never been to Mexico, so I’m pretty excited.  And really, it’s all-inclusive on a beach so you can’t go wrong.  Just in case you have any doubts on how awesome it is going to be…here’s a little video of our resort – Ocean Coral & Turquesa.

Sometimes you just want to lay in the sand, listen to the ocean and sip on some drinks – especially if you spend way too many hours per day sitting at a windowless cubicle doing mindless work.  Strangely though, I plan to get up early every day (I’m very motivated on vacation).  It’s not the same as getting up early to zombie walk to the metro and continue my day as an office drone.  In Mexico, I can get up early, get an iced coffee, do a little yoga on the beach and then nap for awhile.  Maybe I get thirsty so I wake up and get a margarita.  Peruse a few magazines or read some silly no-thought-required beach read on my kindle.  Lunch and then a post-lunch kayak in the waves. More margaritas.  If I get to hot, I’ll jump into the pool and belly up to the swim-up bar.  You get the idea.

In addition to our relaxation time, we also plan to visit some ruins!  Should be a fantastic time – see you next week!

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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Friday Escape, Travel

 

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Friday Escape – Hogwarts

I know everyone is talking about Harry Potter; but quite honestly, they should!  The books and movies are fantastic and I am pretty excited to see the latest installment.  As such, today’s Friday Escape is Potter-themed, or rather, a Potter theme park!

I vaguely remember hearing that a Harry Potter theme park was springing up somewhere in Orlando.  It didn’t really stick in my mind as something I should remember to check out and I haven’t been to Orlando since I was around fifteen, so I completely forgot about this.  Then Ryan and I decided to re-visit movie 7.1 before we go see the last movie.  In the previews, they show footage of the theme park, and I have to say, it looks pretty awesome.  

Visitors to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are surrounded by the same stores and buildings from the books and movies.  The similarities are incredible as Universal worked with the movie studio to make the buildings as true to the sets as possible.  You can also travel through the books with Harry-inspired rides, browse shops where you can purchase all of the Harry Potter gear you could ever want (or never wanted), and re-fuel at a restaurant where you can get a pint of Butterbeer or pumpkin juice (or real adult bevies).

Granted, I’m not going to be putting Orlando anywhere near the top of my travel list; but, if someone could wave a wand and make it so I was exploring the land of Harry Potter instead of sitting in my cubicle, I would take them up on the offer.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Friday Escape, Travel

 

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Friday Escape – Into the Woods

Later today I will be headed out of DC to my primitive campsite at Raystown Lake.  Though not my first time camping at Raystown, this will be my first time mountain biking there – or anywhere for that matter.  As anyone who knows Ryan can tell you, he loves bikes of all sorts.  Usually when we go camping he finds some time to either go out on his own or hits the trails with some of our biking friends.  Meanwhile, I occupy my time reading, kayaking or drinking beers and hanging out by the fire.  Trust me, I’m perfectly content with this set up.  However, there has always been a part of me that wondered about the appeal of mountain biking.  I like the wilderness, I like hiking and I like biking….perhaps I would like mountain biking?  On the other hand, the idea of launching myself off of a rogue root or rock and into a tree sounds horrifying.  Still, I have to give it a try and this weekend will be my maiden voyage!

I did a little research and the good people at Rothrock Outfitters have a short lady sized bike that I’m going to rent.

Will I become hottest thing to hit mountain biking since I don’t even know what -or- will I get my ass handed to me by mother nature?  I’ll find out tomorrow, but you all will have to wait until Monday.  Wish me luck!

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Camping, Cycling, Friday Escape, Travel

 

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Friday Escape – Cambridge, NY

After a colder-than usual winter here in DC, spring is finally here and with that – Ryan is starting his bike racing seasons!  Up first – The Tour of Battenkill.  The race is a grueling 64 miles with lots of climbs, but does offer up fantastic scenery in the form of covered bridges, rolling farmland, small villages, etc.  It’s known as America’s Queen of the Classics and is really the biggest stateside road racing event.

Sunday is the big race day, and I will happily spend the time bounding from place to place trying to take some good pictures.  On Saturday, we are hoping to explore the little town of Cambridge.  It’s very old and rural and should have some great architecture and history.  For example, the Cambridge Hotel, which is a landmark hotel that was built in 1885 to provide lodging for people on the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Line.  Apparently Cambridge also has its share of antiques and crafts…could be fun.  The area is supposed to be good for biking (clearly), but also hiking, camping and kayaking.  Maybe if it’s nice we can take a light hike or a calm paddle.  I also saw that hot air balloon rides are big in the area; however, at $240 per person, I think we will entertain ourselves on the ground.

Food-wise I found this little cafe, Common Ground, that I think we will have to try.  Looks like they have a bakery, espresso bar and a small menu of salads, sandwiches and wraps.  Unfortunately, it’s not open on the weekends, but hopefully we will have time to stop in on Monday morning before we head out.  Other than that, given the size of the town, I think we will be better off just wandering around and asking people for recommendations.  Or, if any of you have suggestions, let me know!

Regardless, I’m excited to explore Cambridge, to get some great photos and of course, to watch Ryan race!!!  I’ll let you know how it goes on Tuesday.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Friday Escape, Travel

 

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Friday Escape – Tahiti

Last week, Ryan and I took a leisurely stroll over to the National Gallery of Art to see the newly installed Gauguin exhibit, Gauguin: Maker of Myth (one of the perks of living in DC is the access to the free museums!) and it just reinforced my intense longing to go to Tahiti!!!  Gauguin was a french Post-Impressionist painter that relocated to French Polynesia after suffering through depression and the lose of his job as a successful stock broker after a stock market crash.  He spent almost a decade in Tahiti painting and carving before moving to the Marquesas Islands in 1901, where he would die 2 years later.  His grave is still there and has a cast of one of his most beloved works – Oviri.  The original Oviri is usually housed at the Musee d’Orsay in France, but is a part of the traveling exhibit here in DC.

Gauguin seemed to love the same things about Tahiti that anyone would, especially a feeling of escape to somewhere tropical & exotic.  I’m sure you’ve all seen the images – little straw huts suspended above the water, your own little paradise island in a tranquil sea of mystifyingly blue color.  I can see why Gauguin would have been compelled to stay here, whittling away at his carvings (which are quite good – I didn’t know that he carved until the exhibit) or painting his next tahitian scene.  But just in case you aren’t convinced of Tahiti’s awe-inspiring beauty:

A quick check on Lonely Planet reveals that the best time to go is during the dry season, May-October….hmmm…looks like that’s right around the corner!

So yes it’s beautiful, but what is there to do?  (As if lounging around in such a beautiful place is NOT enough…).  There is a lot more to do in Tahiti and the surrounding islands than people might think, although it should seem fairly obvious that there are a good deal of water activities.  If you like to dive, the crystal clear water is more than just an element of a fantastic photo or the source of your own personal, natural dream machine at night.  Tahiti offers diving with the added “bonus” of some shark sightings.  They idea of being far below the surface (over 10 feet is a little far for me) with a breathing apparatus strapped to my back so I can pretend I’m a fish, all the while being encircled by sharks, is not an appealing one; however, I know that lots of people would love this.  If simply being near the wildlife is not enough for you, you can also feed the sharks and the rays during some dives.  

If you are with me and want to will the idea of sharks from your mind altogether, then snorkeling is likely a better option that is thankfully also offered in Tahiti.  Again, with the clarity of the water, it is not surprising that you would have some great views and you get to stay at the surface.

Another good way to enjoy the views of Tahiti (and not just the underwater views) is by boat!  I know I would be absolutely happy to spend a day paddling around the islands, but even if you aren’t much of a paddler a different type of floating vessel can be found for you.  Sailing and other boat cruises are great options for getting out on the open water without using your own manpower.

For those that are more the land-lover type or just want to switch it up from all the water activities, there’s always hiking.

All this activity will certainly work up an appetite and food wise, Tahiti offers up its fruit of the sea in various forms.  The traditional dish is poisson cru – a raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk, but there are many other types of seafood as well.  If you don’t like seafood (something I will never truly understand, but to each his own), the local pork is supposed to be quite tasty too.

All in all, Tahiti and the rest of French Polynesia seem to me like a destination filled with relaxation, sun, sand, beautiful water, yummy fresh food, and a tranquility that would cost you much more money in places in the Carribbean.  Again, I have never been; but, hopefully that will change soon and I can report back on how right I was. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Art, Friday Escape, Travel

 

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Friday Escape – New Zealand!

So, February’s issue of Outside Magazine features an awesome article on New Zealand that is totally unfair because now I can not stop thinking about going.  Of course New Zealand isn’t new to Outside or to anyone that is in to being outdoors.  In fact, it should already be close to the top of any adventurer’s travel list.  But this article just hit you with everything all at once.  

Of the two main islands-the North and the South Island-I think that the North Island would be where I would start.  According to the article, you can go yacht racing, trout fishing, mountain biking, visit volcanoes, dip in the hot springs, see crater lakes, and do some under-the-radar surfing.  Two of New Zealand’s major cities—Auckland and Wellington—are also on the North Island along with most of the native Maori culture.  Not to mention that there are beaches and stunning scenery everywhere you look.  Work up a thirst in all of your adventures?  You can go wine-tasting.  Really, what can’t you do in New Zealand?!  For the more daring, you can even go bungee jumping.  As you may recall from my other post, bungee jumping is probably not for me.

Plus, the part of the article that really hooked me and keeps playing in my mind is the idea of touring around New Zealand in an RV – brilliant!  And with the right travel companions, completely awesome!!!  Obviously, you would need to be renting one and this company offers varying sizes.  I truly don’t know if I can think of anything more fun that driving around in one of these things with some friends, great music coming through the stereo, some tasty snacks, maybe some Snapple, stopping off wherever we want (New Zealand does not require you to camp at a campsite) and doing tons of cool shit along the way.  Feel like kayaking today? Sure.  Little hiking adventure?  Why not?  Lounge on the beach – yes please! 

If that doesn’t excite you, then I don’t think I want to know you.  However, I’ll give you another angle – maybe you are enticed by the fact that this place is so amazing that it served as the location for the fantasy world of Lord of the Rings. 

Basically, a trip to New Zealand would just be fantastic.  Make sure you allow yourself at least 2 weeks and bring along people that can appreciate it and have fun with you!  Until I can afford this sum of everything awesome trip, I’m just gonna keep dreaming about.  For now, off to the bar for $1 PBRs!  It’s close to embarking on a road trip in New Zealand….right?

 
 

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Friday Escape – EVEREST!

Normally, with the holidays behind me and with my college schedule still ingrained in my body’s clockwork (despite graduating 3 years ago) I would be thinking ahead to my late winter “Spring Break.”  This would entail someplace warm, with a beach, and preferably the magical ALL-INCLUSIVE.  In school we went to Jamaica one year and the Dominican Republic another.  Since I graduated, I went to Thailand and Malaysia.  This year, I’m not sure where I will be off to, but with all the holiday treats in my belly, I am not thinking about strutting my stuff on any beaches.  However, with the new year and resolutions and all, Ryan and I have been thinking about big trips we want to do and one that always makes our “to-go” list is hiking to the base camp of Everest.

How badass would that be?!  Going all the way to the top would be sweet, but that also costs way more money than I will have in the forseeable future and requires some pretty legit mountaineering skills – of which, I do not posses.  So, base camp seems like a fantastic choice!  Plus, no real risk of losing any extremeties.  This is not to say that base camp is an easy walk in the park.  Far from it!  You still need to be fit and ready for a challenge.  Each day is usually 4-6 hours of hiking and is over some rocky and rough terrain, not to mention the altitutde changes.  

There are tons of outfitters that you can arrange a trip through.  With the help of the amazing sherpas (they generally carry most of your stuff for you: food, shelter, bedding, etc. leaving you with just a day pack) you can make the journey “easily.”  You can also go it alone and haul your own crap up with you.  Not sure which we would do, but either way the end result would be a fantastic view of Everest and an incredible sense of accomplishment.  Not to mention, the Nepalese people seem pretty awesome.

When you finally make it to base camp after about a week of trekking, you camp there along with those who are just starting their adventure to conquer Everest.  People that have done it say that the atmosphere at camp is anxious and excited, or if you are there as peeople come down, completely estatic!  Apparently, there are some pretty ridiculous parties at base camp as well.  Not only are you tired, but you are at 18, 192 feet!  Probably doesn’t take much to get people loose and rowdy.

So, if you can imagine yourself stirring the morning after a base camp throwdown and then popping out of your tent to be confronted by the beauty of Everest staring you in the face, perfectly framed by prayer flags, then you should look into this as well!  Let’s all go!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2011 in Friday Escape, Travel

 

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