Sunday, July 8, 2012

Norwalk Islands: Your own private beach near NYC!

Recently, we discovered where to have your own private beach near NYC! I almost hesitate to publish this because it was so remote and wonderful. But... it's your lucky day, if you are willing to embark on a rigorous kayak journey to get there. 

The Norwalk Islands are a little chain of over 25 islands just off the coast of Norwalk Connecticut... right off of Calf Pasture Beach. Hop on a train from Grand Central to East Norwalk, and you'll be there in about an hour. The walk to CPB is about 20 minutes. We rented kayaks at Norwalk Sailing School (cash only!) and set off on a 3 hour journey around the islands. Paddling out was relatively easy. We travelled to a few of the nearby islands... most had rocky shores but were easy to land on. (I recommend wearing water shoes like Keens - it was hard to walk on the rocks barefooted)

We discovered one little uninhabited spot and set up our umbrella and chilled out. The water was pretty cold, and smelled a bit lake-ish, but was still nice to take a dip in on a hot summer day.
The ride back was a bit challenging, since we caught high tide and a bit of wind. I'd suggest checking tide times online prior to renting, so you aren't trying to paddle against the tide.

Calf Pasture Beach looked pretty nice and not too crowded - and you can rent chairs for $5! There was a nice burger joint and clean restrooms. We didn't really spend much time here, but plan to return.

Calf Pasture Beach 
After our big kayak adventure, we hitched a ride to a little area by the water where there were seafood shops, a pizza joint (Partners Cafe) and ice cream stands. This is also walkable from Calf Pasture Beach - probably about 20 minutes, and about a 10 minute walk from the train station. We enjoyed pizza followed by shakes from Mr. Frosty's ice cream stand:

 (photo credit: Videler photography)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beacon, Take 2

About a year and a half ago, I went to Beacon in the Hudson Valley for the first time (initial post here). I absolutely loved Dia Beacon, and was looking for an easy, car-free escape from NYC over President's Day weekend so a friend and I made the trek up there on the Metro-North. I spoke a bit about the museum in my initial post, and I'll just reiterate that it's such a cool experience for those who are not only art fanatics but also those who fall more along the lines of "art curious." The installations are somewhat interactive as they require walking around and through them... Richard Sera's giant works look different from every angle, so that it's impossible to get a sense of what they look like from any one vantage point. They made me think a lot about space, presence and what it really means for an object to occupy space. (perhaps because I read that on one of the placards...)

Richard Serra, Torqued Ellipses, 1996-2000 (Image from Dia)

My friend Kristin joined me, and fell in love with Sol LeWitt's work - a series of full wall drawings of geometric shapes. 

also liked these installations, but realized at this point that no photography was allowed... so this is my last photo!

We hiked up a little hill to the town - about a 10 minute walk from the museum - and went to a delicious cafe! Homespun Foods had healthy and hearty soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods. I had a tomatillo soup that hit the spot on a chilly afternoon.