Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beyond Date Night: Governors Island

Fall doesn’t officially start until September 22 but the brisk chill in the evening air is screaming that Fall is indeed here. For me, Summer was awesome—so awesome that I barely blogged, content to give my weekend over to all the fun I could have instead—especially after having gone through my early summer medical drama. It all started with a conversation during a random walk in Battery Park (where we got hitched). From that point on, it became very important to me to really experience the summer and not to look back at the end of it wondering (a) where the time went; and (b) regretting spending time in the house lamenting in the state of my health. Maybe it was the hospitalization in June that lit the fire. Suffice it to say, we followed through on our intentions and the Mister and I had a great time experiencing New York like tourists (rather than the residents we are), trying new restaurants, road tripping, and going back to our childhoods. As Summer draws to a close I can’t help but think that all the fun times had a positive effect on our marriage and our lives, which is why I’m ready to ride this date train into the Fall.
Generally, for me, Fall weekends bring the desire to hang out on the couch in cozy pj’s watching a marathon of guilty pleasure TV shows with an oversized mug of hot chocolate. I’m not usually an outdoor adventure girl so you won’t catch me in hiking boots working my way up a mountain trail with the crunch of leaves under my feet. You might catch me in a park upstate with a camera in had to capture the beautiful changing foliage but then it’s back inside to relax. Summer made me change my thinking a bit and while I’m not ready for a hike, I’m not quite ready for hanging out of the couch. My mind may change after the first big snow storm but until then, we’re scouting new experiences.

While scouting, I decided to create a regular feature on the blog to keep track of what we've been up to but also to inspire you to do the same. The couch, computer and TV will always be there. Live a little.

A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip out to Governors Island (an island just 800 yards from the tip on Manhattan) for a day of bike riding, exploring and outdoor eating. The day turned out to be a little overcast but we had a great time. The best part? It was virtually free!! We drove to downtown Manhattan to catch the ferry out to the island. We found free parking on the street, walked over to the ferry (also free) and piled onto the boat with a mixture of neon clad kids going to a rave, families with young children and a host of 20 and 30 somethings with cameras, picnic baskets, blankets, frisbees, etc.

When we got to the island, we took a short walk to the bike rental stands run by Bike and Roll. We waited in line for quite a bit but we got the bike and the first hour was free instead of the normal $15 per person rate. We toured the island by bike (once I found my balance) checking out all of the abandoned and converted homes once used by U.S. Army and the Coast Guard (if not by the Dutch and British before the island became the property of the U.S.—learn more here.

Once we returned out bikes, we walked around the island to get a closer look at the Nolan Park houses, the church, the works on display at the art festival, the sculptures throughout the island and the park. While hanging out in the park, we found Little Eva’s—a small beer garden that serves beer and wine and a few seafood dishes. The prices are very reasonable. We also wandered into the food court area where there was a gathering of food trucks and stands selling everything from ready-made picnics to yummy West Indian cuisine. We grabbed a bite and sat down to eat. After eating, we headed back to the ferry station to catch the last boat back to Manhattan.

At the end of the day, we were out about $10!! That’s a steal of a date in this city. After exiting the ferry terminal, we were walking past the Staten Island Ferry terminal (right next door) and decided to hop aboard the big orange boat and get some good shots of Lady Liberty for free. It was the cheapest, greatest date we’ve had in quite a while. I highly recommend spending a date on Governors Island.

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