Exploring Manhattan: Why the High Line Is Awesome Despite Tourism

The High Line in Manhattan is a beautiful path straight down the west side of the island. But so many locals and tourists trying to do locals’ stuff skip it because of how touristy it gets. And I get it, I don’t like people either. Yet, I love the High Line! Let me tell you why.

But first: what is the High Line?

The High Line is essentially a park. The city, in collaboration with landscape artists and others, turned an old rail line into a walking path. It opened in 2009, but really became worth traversing when the last phase opened in 2014. The path runs all the way from the Meatpacking District (Gansevoort St) to 34th St/Hudson Yards. Now, on to why taking the time to walk it instead of taking the subway/a cab/walking the streets is worth it.

The High Line is beautiful.

Art along the High Line
Art along the High Line

The city has invested a lot of money into making the High Line beautiful. From seasonal landscaping to art galore to aesthetically pleasing walkways, they thought of everything. Even the buildings popping up around the High Line have interesting architecture and design. It really is a very pleasant walk even when you’re shoulder to shoulder with strangers!

And it’s not just the High Line itself, either. From the walking path, you can see down streets stretching out to views of Queens. You can also see street art, and if you look to the west, the sunset. It’s just all around a nice experience immersed in the city, yet just above it.

There’s industrial history here, too. At one end of the High Line you can spot the trains out of service, long abandoned buildings, and old brick buildings still in use. It really runs the city gamut on the High Line.

It’s surprisingly convenient.

It may not seem intuitive that a tourist attraction could be convenient, but it is. I mean, it runs along a train track, so maybe it shouldn’t be surprising! In any case, it starts right off the 7 train-easy peasy-and concludes down the island in Chelsea. You don’t have to stop for lights, you can maneuver around folks pretty easily (in most spots), and it’s a straight shot, so you’re not zigzagging across traffic.

Chelsea Market is one of my fav places in the city, but I am never on that end of town. When I go, I really like to walk the High Line off the 7 to get there (yes, it’s a long walk). It’s quieter, it’s beautiful, it’s less stressful. At bottom, it adds a lot to my experience heading to the market. Plus, when you get off the 7 train at Hudson Yards, you go past NYC’s latest evergreen art installation, the vessel:

Admittedly, the vessel has mixed reviews given the crowds it brings in, the suicides that have unfortunately taken place there, and people’s general aversion to its style. But I think it’s alright and they added more art around the base of the vessel and you have a beautiful view of the Hudson from here. I like the city being broken up by interesting stuff like this. The crowds can be atrocious though.

Let me reassure you, certain times of the year and day, the High Line is not busier than the street. We have walked it many times when we have been able to beeline down its paths due to no one being around. It’s particularly easy in the winter, the morning and at night. Skip the crowds on the street and take the High Line instead!

There are several cool spots to stop off from the High Line.

One nice thing about this particular tourist attraction is that there really is a lot to see along the way (hello, you’re in the middle of Manhattan!). My favorite is, naturally, the street art. There’s plenty of Kobra’s work in and around the High Line to stop off and check out. There’s a Banksy, too.

The neighborhoods are also just very nice in around the High Line if you’re looking for that quintessential NYC brownstone feel. Plenty of great brunch spots are just off the high line, and, as mentioned above, so is Chelsea Market. Plus, it’s easy to switch paths to walk along the Hudson further down the island, or head to Times Sq once you get off at Hudson Yards.

There’s also an offshoot of the High Line called the Spur. It takes you inland! The Spur also adds additional art and greenspace as you walk over the traffic to 10th Ave.

I don’t know who needs convincing to check out the High Line, but I hope this does the trick. We love it as locals and as tourists in our city. If you want more ideas of what to do in NYC, check out our other posts discussing local and tourist spots to check out!

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7 Reasons Gantry Park Should Be on Your NYC Itinerary

Gantry Plaza State Park is a locals‘ paradise in NYC. It’s an oasis of a park that spans a huge chunk of Long Island City’s shoreline. People come here to relax, to propose, to celebrate. And it’s because this park has just about everything you could ask for – it’s easy to get to, has tons of seating, beautiful landscaping, and great views of NYC, the sunset and Manhattanhenge. To top it off, it’s surrounded by great breweries and restaurants. I HIGHLY recommend making the quick trip to Gantry for a relaxing, beautiful day any time of the year. You need a reason to go? Here’s 7.

1. Gorgeous landscaping with tons of seating

The city/state spends a lot of money every year on landscaping at Gantry. They’re really not messing around at making this place aesthetically appealing. I love coming here just to see what the new season’s flowers or plants are. In the southern side of the park, it’s like you’re walking through wheat fields in the middle of the city.

When you get tired of walking, there’s no shortage of seats. It’s the best thing about this park. No matter how crowded it has been in the last seven years we’ve been going to this park, there has *always* been somewhere to sit. There’s lots and lots of planned seating – chairs and picnic tables – as well as grassy areas to hunker down on. You won’t sacrifice the view of the skyline from any seat in the house.

2. Great views of Manhattan

Of course you come to the park for the seating and relaxation, but you stay for the views! From Gantry, you can see all the way to One World Trade up through midtown with easy sight of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, through the eastern side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. It’s hard not to get mesmerized by the views. I love watching the city from here because you can’t see the hustle and you can’t hear the bustle. You just see the artfully crafted skyline.

3. Ridiculously easy to get to

Gantry is so easy to get to I can’t believe more people don’t completely overrun the place. There are multiple subway lines that get you close enough to walk to the park: the 7 (vernon-jackson), G (hunters point), E (court square), M (court square), and F (21st St). The N and R aren’t bad alternatives if they’re what you got. You can always transfer to the 7 for a shorter walk off the subway.

But an even better way to get to the park is to take MTA’s ferry. It’s the same cost as the subway – $2.75 – and you get the river ride along Manhattan/Brooklyn (depending on where you’re coming from). There’s also food and drinks on the ferry to keep you going. It’s my absolute preferred way to get around.

The ferry coming into Gantry Park!

Plus, you get a full shot of the old Pepsi-Cola sign at the park!

FYI this sign’s reflection looks pretty cool at night, too.

4. July 4th fireworks

Every July 4th brings hundreds of spectators to Gantry for obvious reasons. The city lets off its fireworks DIRECTLY OFF the park! From the park, you watch the four sets of fireworks explode over Manhattan’s skyline. Full disclosure, I could see this from my apartment, so I rarely actually went to the park, but if you don’t mind the crowds, I’ve heard the view up close is even better than from an apt window.

5. Tons of breweries and restaurants

One wonderful thing about Gantry and LIC is its close proximity to delicious breweries and restaurants. Whether you go before, after or during your time at Gantry, you have your pick. Some of our favorite breweries are Rockaway and Fifth Hammer. As for restaurants, we love Casa Enrique, Cafe Henri and Blend. There’s also food trucks galore, and a food stand that sells beer! (The bathrooms are near here, too, so the convenience can’t be beat.)

6. Beautiful sunsets

The views of Manhattan from LIC are wonderful by themselves, but when you catch them at sunset, they can take your breath away! The sun sits behind the buildings or glitters off them just right all throughout the year, casting shadows and colors towards Queens. If you’re looking for a romantic walk along the water at sunset, there’s really no better place in NYC. I have spent many, many sunsets here just soaking in the calm that comes over the city.

7. Incredible views of Manhattanhenge

Speaking of sunsets, there’s a particular type of sunset NYC is known for — Manhattanhenge. Manhattanhenge is when the setting sun perfectly lines up with the largest through streets (east-west). It’s a beautiful phenomenon you can see while you’re in Manhattan on one of these streets, or, for a perfect zoomed out view, you can come to Gantry and have your fill! Plan accordingly, though, as the sunset version happens only twice a year: once in May and once in July. But don’t worry if you’re a little off, it’s hard to tell on the surrounding nights that you’re not *perfectly* aligned.

You won’t regret adding Gantry to your NYC list of must-sees. If you’re looking for other spots/events to put on your NYC itinerary, check out some of my NYC posts here.

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A Weekend In Bar Harbor, Maine

Maine is a really special beautiful place. It’s worth going further than Portland, exploring Bar Harbor, hiking in Acadia and checking out Bangor. The best part is that you can do it all in a long weekend. Plan ahead – Bar Harbor gets busy! Make your B&B reservations early and make sure to look at whether you need driving reservations for any part of the park. Once you’ve got these, you’re golden and can check out everything we discuss below!

Bar Harbor

Downtown Bar Harbor

Downtown Bar Harbor is an adorable place. Though it’s clearly a tourist town, it doesn’t have the same sort of cheap feel that many do. In fact, it has a lot of great local restaurants and stores. Our favorites included Choco-Latte, Cool as a Moose, and Pink Pastry Shop. You have to try the moon pies at Pink (and don’t mind the somewhat cranky staff)! There’s also a neighborhood Route 66 if going full tourist is your thang.

Other than shopping and eating, Bar Harbor has a beautiful waterfront that you can walk along quite a ways using the Shore Path. If you’re staying at the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, you have particularly easy access. But you can get there just by heading to the harbor and following the railing.

Speaking of places to stay, we stayed at Manor House Inn and LOVED it. Absolutely fabulous breakfasts made to order and accommodating of most dietary restrictions. The bed is comfy, the room is large, the shower’s hot. And it’s so close to everything but on the outside so you’re not in the middle of the crowds (i.e., you can sleep at night!). There are quite a number of B&Bs in Bar Harbor, and we strongly recommend this one!

Bar Island

Not far from the Manor House Inn, there’s a road that leads to Bar Island. The cool thing about Bar Island is that you have to wait until low tide to get there! Which of course means you have to wait until low tide to get back, too, so plan accordingly! When we were there, low tide was around 10am, but you can always check the times here. It’s not recommended to drive on the bar because so many people have had cars wash away when they don’t make it in time before low tide is over. As you can see, people do it anyway!

It’s a short walk to the island, but it’s fun if you’re there at the beginning of low tide as you’re navigating shallow waters. I recommend going this early because then you can have the time you need to explore Bar Island and get back before the tide washes out and you’re stuck there all day!

There’s a lovely path through Bar Island, but remember this is part of Acadia National Park, so you should have a park pass if you’re exploring the island. We didn’t see any rangers on the island, but you never know.

We went from one side of the island to the other in about an hour or so. The path initially leads you to a pretty lookout onto Bar Harbor and ocean. We stayed here for a short while taking it in until the crowds started coming in behind us.

The trail continues to different parts of the island that are pretty and worth exploring. You’re totally canopied by trees and you get beach and ocean views until your heart’s content.

Overall, I’d say Bar Island is a not to miss attraction near Bar Harbor, but you really do have to plan it out to make sure you’re not missing the rest of what Acadia has to offer!

Acadia National Park

Exploring the East Side

Speaking of Acadia, there are day trips from Bar Harbor to round out your weekend of hiking and enjoying nature. You can spend a day exploring Cadillac Mountain, Gorham Mountain, the Beehive, Sand Beach, and Thunder Hole (along the Ocean Trail). Or you can split this up to spend a whole day on Sand Beach of you’re into that.

You can also visit the Asticou Azalea Gardens for some real relaxation. It’s such a pretty spot for wedding or engagement photos, or just enjoying some curated gardens. And it’s free! It’s a great stop off on your way back to Bar Harbor from hiking all day as it’s right along Rte 3.

Exploring the West Side

There’s so much focus on the east side of Acadia National Park, but you can’t ignore the west side! The west side is home to some great attractions including Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Pretty Marsh Picnic Area, and Beech Mountain. These are some highly recommended spots to get away from the east side crowds! You get the same beautiful ocean views and high peaks without fifty people lining up behind you.

There’s also food along the way – just stop at any lobstah joint you see on the side of the road. We stopped at a couple and they’re delicious! Or as you pass beach front after beach front, why not stop to sit on a dock for awhile?


When you come to this part of Maine, you’re usually here for Bar Harbor and Acadia. But you may have flown into Bangor or have to drive through it to get back to Portland. Take a moment to explore Bangor, a cute small town. We walked around quite a bit and grabbed lunch and pastries. There are small commons with statues ala:

And just some typical quaintness and small parks that small towns in the Northeast often have. It’s obviously even more gorgeous in the fall, and I assure you, not too cold!

If you’re into it, you can also check out Steven King’s old house, where he apparently wrote many of his novels. We couldn’t go in as it is now leased out to writers trying to follow in his footsteps, but the gate was so cool! There are also some other interesting statues and what not in the yard. It’s a nice pitstop and very close to town, so easy to head on over to take a peek.

The airport in Bangor also is kind of cool. It’s one a lot of military folk come through after being overseas. There’s a long history of Bangorians (or whatever you may call them) greeting soldiers on their way home. The airport is full of memorabilia, photos and letters documenting this history. It’s so cute and sweet. Don’t come here just for this, but check it out if you’re going through the airport!

Fall is such a gorgeous time to come to Bar Harbor and Acadia, but I imagine you can go in Spring and Summer and be just as happy. Try to plan an off-holiday weekend if you can to take full advantage of relaxation. We hope you enjoy! If you are trying to think of other great weekend trips, check out some of the ones we’ve taken here.

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Hiking Acadia National Park: Ocean Trail (Sand Beach, Thunder Hole)

Acadia National Park’s Ocean Trail is a really cool trail, despite being heavily trafficked. Whether you’re coming from Cadillac Mountain or you just drove in from Bar Harbor, you have to make a stop here. Along the way, you can stop off to enjoy Sand Beach, Thunder Hole and Otter Cliffs. Make sure to check recreation.gov to see whether you need a reservation to drive on the road there, and don’t forget your park pass!

Ocean Trail

First, the trail itself. This trail is cool because you can walk along the beach or along a footpath lining the beach. If you choose the beach, you’re in for a rock-hoppin’ good time. I had SO MUCH FUN. There are places you need to climb over large boulders, so if that’s not your thing, take the footpath. Also, make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes. It’s easy to get off balance on the rocky beach. Kids are always around and watching, be a good role model!

The Ocean Trail
The Ocean Trail

Sand Beach

Sand Beach is located at the beginning of the Ocean Trail. It was quite chilly when we went, so we really didn’t hang out on the beach long. I can see why people would when it’s warm especially because there are bathrooms here! It was also a bit crowded, despite the cold and Acadia’s reservation system. You’re very unlikely to get a parking spot in Sand Beach’s lot, but worry not, parking along the street is no big deal and it’s pretty easy to walk back to the beach if that’s your destination. We didn’t stick around long enough to get a good pic of the beach, though you can see it below in the distance from the Ocean Trail.

Sand Beach in the distance from the Ocean Trail
Sand Beach in the distance from the Ocean Trail

Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole is a stop along the Ocean Trail that you can get to off the footpath only (i.e., if you’re walking along the beach, head up to the footpath at this point). You take a path out to a particular rock formation on the beach where you hear the loud crack of thunder. The thunder is created by the water rushing into the rock. It creates a big splash, so you might even get wet! We enjoyed watching/listening to the thunder clap for a few minutes and kept on our merry way.

Thunder Hole along the Ocean Trail
Thunder Hole along the Ocean Trail

Otter Cliffs

You can see Otter Cliffs in the distance as you walk the Ocean Trail (see below). We didn’t actually go all the way to the cliff – you can walk out on the cliff and look out over the ocean – because we were too enamored with the Ocean Trail itself. We got caught up watching a seal and then saw the trailhead for Gorham Mountain, so we exited the Ocean Trail before getting to the cliffs. If you aren’t rushed like we were a bit, then go the distance! It a little bit depends on where you parked you car, as you may not want to walk that full way.

Otter Cliffs from the Ocean Trail
Otter Cliffs from the Ocean Trail

All-in-all, we really enjoyed the Ocean Trail. It gets crowded, but there’s lots of beach space to explore. You can treat it like a playground, hopping from rock to rock while the seals play in the ocean, or take the footpath and just enjoy the serenity. It’s easy, beautiful and has fun stops along the way, what’s not to enjoy! Don’t forget to check out Acadia’s other fun stops like Bass Harbor Head Light House or Beech Mountain and Pretty Marsh. Acadia has so much to explore!

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Hiking Acadia National Park: Beech Mountain & Pretty Marsh

The west side of Acadia National Park doesn’t have the same cache as the east side, but it’s 100% worth exploring! You can drive around the tip of the Park with the ocean constantly by your side and pull off wherever you like for a quick bit of respite. Two great pulls offs we enjoyed were Beech Mountain and Pretty Marsh. We strongly recommend these two!

Beech Mountain

Beech Mountain is a short trail in between Echo Lake and Long Pond. To get there, you take 102, turn right on Ripples Rd, then go straight to Beech Hill Rd until you reach the end. The trail has two options – a longer .7 mi stretch or a steeper .3 mi stretch – to the top. We opted to take the .7 route up and come down the short way. The trail is pretty characteristically Maine: rocky and full of pine trees. Along this trail, you’ll get stunning views of Echo Lake and Long Pond.

The summit has an overlook you can climb up to get the highest views. We took in the fresh air, the crisp breeze and serene lake views for a while. Such a great place to have lunch, introduce kids to trails, or just get out of your head. This trail is different from the east side because you won’t see the huge crowds up here. If you want some alone time, come here!

Pretty Marsh

We saw signs for Pretty Marsh along 102 and decided to stop off. It’s a picnic area and beach front. There are a lot of parking spots with picnic benches, making it ideal for a pitstop with the fam, birthday party, or family reunion. We saw a few families enjoying the dense pines sitting at picnic benches in the picnic area.

As we drove around the picnic area, we noticed a walk path down to the beach. Of course we had to park and check it out! The beach here was so beautiful, again characteristically rocky. We were by ourselves in the harbor breeze watching people in sailboats enjoying the fall day. The whole west side of Acadia helped us relax much more than the east side purely because there aren’t nearly as many people on the west side.

As you can see, they are both beautiful places worth checking out! And don’t worry, you can stop for lobster rolls or at random beaches along the way, too! While you’re on the west side, make sure to check out Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. On the east side, you of course have to head up Cadillac Mountain, should check out Gorham Mountain, and must walk the Ocean Trail from Sand Beach, past Thunder Hole, to Otter Cliffs. Head back to Bar Harbor for dinner afterwards!

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Acadia National Park: Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse at the tip of the west side of Acadia National Park. If you keep going south past Southwest Harbor, you’ll see a turn for 102A. Take that until you see the pull off for the lighthouse. You’ll know you’re there because most likely there will be a huge line of cars waiting to see it (classic Acadia!).

The line tends to move quickly, though, and there’s no extra charge to visit the lighthouse. There’s a relatively large parking lot and most people seem to go to the lighthouse, look out on the water, get back in their car and leave.

The entrance to the lighthouse itself is at the beginning of the parking lot. It was built in the mid-1800s, and it remains in use today. A member of the coast guard lives in the lighthouse, which makes the inside off limits, but you can walk the grounds of it until you’ve had your fill of its ocean views. Bass Harbor has the only lighthouse accessible by car in Acadia National Park, so don’t miss it!

There’s good reason to stick around after that, though! First, there are bathrooms that are not too dirty at the far end. This is always a hiker’s dream. Second, and what a lot of people don’t realize, there are trails by the bathrooms! They take you directly to the rocky beach with a great view of the ocean and the lighthouse.

You can sit over the rock ledge to enjoy an ocean-view lunch or just take a break. This is likely a nice place to take in the sunrise, as well.

Or you can get right into the rocks and rock hop around the shore. This is one of the best parts of Acadia National Park, whether on trails like Gorham Mountain or beaches near Thunder Hole or Pretty Marsh. Get on the rocks and have some fun!!

After you’ve had some fun in Acadia, don’t forget to check out Bar Harbor!

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Hiking Acadia National Park: Cadillac Mountain & Gorham Mountain

Whether you’re spending a day, a weekend or a week in Acadia National Park, I strongly recommend checking out Cadillac Mountain and Gorham Mountain. They’re easy hikes (and even drives!) to incredible views. Along the way, you’re immersed in Acadia’s characteristically rocky terrain and leafy deciduous trees. Here’s some of what you can expect if you choose these two mountains.

Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain is one of the most popular mountains in Acadia National Park. To get there, you have to take the Park Loop Road, which is a gorgeous, tree-lined street. Don’t forget you have to have your park pass through here!

Right now, Cadillac Mountain is by reservation-only. This was implemented during COVID, but I have heard rumors that they may keep the practice. Make sure to check out the park’s website! The reservation cost $1.

If you’ve got your reservation or you don’t need one, you can begin up the road to Cadillac Mountain. One nice thing about it is just how accessible it is. You don’t have to hike to get amazing views. As your car climbs the mountain, you get to see lakes and mountains with lots of pull offs for you to take them in.

Once you reach the top, you wait in line to park or you get lucky enough to find a spot right away. The space is a sort of huge rock face with walking paths for you to look out onto the ocean. It feels really endless from here like you could just fall into the Earth. (On that note, be careful! It’s not particularly steep, but always watch your step.) It’s especially beautiful in the fall with all of the trees burning yellow and red.

When you’ve had enough of the view, there are some short trails around Cadillac Mountain, plus bathrooms and a visitors’ center. We took one trail behind the visitors’ center that was smooth in some places and fun/rocky in others. There was a warning where it was rocky to be extra careful.

This trail opened to a nice expanse of the ocean and islands. What was extra nice was that not a lot of people were on this part of the trail, so we got to experience it by ourselves.

Gorham Mountain

If you’re doing them both on the same day (totally doable), you can continue on Park Loop Road to Gorham Mountain. We again needed a reservation for this part of Park Loop Road, so make sure to check in advance to see if you’ll need one, too. The drive is absolutely beautiful as it was on your way to Cadillac Mountain. Park along the street where you find the Gorham Mountain parking lot (or in the lot if it’s not full!).

I should note, there are two ways to enter this trail, but I would recommend starting at the far end (not where the Beehive begins). The first half of this trail is the most fun. It’s really pretty and rocky, but not difficult or scary. This is my favorite type of trail.

And the view from the top aint too bad either. At first, you get to a spot you think is the summit. Take in the view there, but keep going! Eventually you will see the actual summit sign telling you the elevation. I imagine this area is very nice any time of year, but again, the fall colors popping against the blue ocean is just spectacular.

Rather than turning around, you can keep going straight on the trail. This will take you out to the other side, which means you will have to walk along the road or the Ocean Trail to get back to your car. No big deal, it’s beautiful and an easy walk.

At this end of the trail is the Beehive trail, which goes along switchbacks straight up the mountain. We knew we were close when we heard what sounded like hundreds of voices. Not knowing where on Earth they were coming form, we started searching the trees. That’s when we saw them: dozens of people lined up along the switchback edges of the Beehive trail (see pic below). At the sight of this, we decided it wasn’t worth it to wait in line. We kept going and exited the trail shortly thereafter.

If you’re not too tired at this point, you can go along the Ocean Trail up to Sand Beach and back down to Thunder Hole and Otter Cliff. It’s well worth the walk! You can always do it another day, though. Your park pass is good for a week! Instead, head back to Bar Harbor, or take a drive around the West side of the park or check out Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

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Exploring NYC: Crossing NYC’s Stunning Bridges by Foot

When we aren’t able to hike in the woods, we take city hikes, sometimes walking 10+ miles in a day all over the city. One great way to see a different side of the city is to cross one of its many bridges connecting Manhattan to the other boroughs/NJ. They make it so easy! We have crossed five of NYC’s major bridges, plus two bonus bridges a bit more upstate, Bear Mountain Bridge and the Poughkeepsie Bridge (Walkway over the Hudson)! Here’s a guide if you ever want to try it yourself!

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is of course the iconic one to cross. It has a beautiful wooden path above the traffic that’s easy for bikes and pedestrians to stroll along. This bridge can get extremely busy and you will see influencers taking shots on here. If you go early in the morning from the Manhattan side you can catch a nice sunrise with far fewer people. There are a lot of other ways to see the Brooklyn Bridge in all its glory as well, including a ride on MTA’s ferry (shot from the ferry below).

Getting there is easy. From the Brooklyn side, get off the A or C train at High Street – Brooklyn Bridge. If you’re coming from Manhattan, get off the 4/5/6 train at Brooklyn Bridge. It’s hard to miss once you’re off the train. For more on what to do in this area, check out this post!

Manhattan Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge is pretty iconic as well, but mostly because of how it looks from DUMBO. It’s very pretty from down here. The bridge itself? The pathway is a bit narrow and not very interesting at all. Once you get to the Manhattan side (or if you start there), you can see some really beautiful city perspectives. Although I haven’t had the pleasure, I am betting you can get some really great views of the Brooklyn Bridge/lower Manhattan at sunset in the wintertime from here.

To get to the Manhattan Bridge, you want to get off the F at East Broadway. It’s then kind of an awkward walk up and around to the entrance (East Broadway –> Madison –> Catherine –> Bowery). You’ll be in Chinatown, which is always a treat! The Brooklyn side is a little trickier. If you’re coming from the Brooklyn Bridge, walk north along the shoreline until you get to the Manhattan Bridge and follow it to its entrance. Essentially, plug DUMBO into your phone from wherever you are and once you can see it, you can follow it to its entrance.

Williamsburg Bridge

The Williamsburg Bridge is super underrated. Not only do you go through some awesome street art in Williamsburg to get there (not to mention plenty of coffee shops), but it’s a nice, large pathway with really pretty pink railings! I mean, I don’t even like pink, but juxtaposed with the inner city grit, it’s actually quite charming. People also draw all over the pathway, so you get some fun street art there, too.

For the Williamsburg Bridge, I suggest taking the MTA ferry to South Williamsburg and walking to the entrance (it’s at 5th/6th and Wythe). You can also take the G to Metropolitan, but it’s a further walk and not nearly as nice! If you’re in Manhattan already, take the F to East Broadway (this time go north east instead of south west like with the Manhattan Bridge) or the B/D to Grand St.

Queensboro Bridge

This is my neighborhood bridge. I cross it regularly to get to Manhattan from my apartment in Queens. I love it because it’s really classic looking and actually provides a good amount of space for walkers on one side and bikes on the other. From the bridge, you get a beautiful view of northern Manhattan/Queens and Roosevelt Island. I love watching the cable car go from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan and back from this view point.

George Washington Bridge

The George Washington Bridge is largely functional for people. I don’t think a lot of people go over it for the views, due to how busy the street is. But you should! It’s got really nice views of Manhattan (especially at night) and leads right to Fort Lee. It’s super easy to get to off the subway as well. There are points along the path that are fairly narrow; you have to watch for bikes that don’t care that you want to see the views. The bridge is also quite high. Given how easy it is to traipse over this bridge, though, I don’t see why anyone would skip it.

The George Washington Bridge is off the A at 175th St Station. There are helpful signs pointing you the way to get there. It’s a narrow path (which you share with bikers) to get on the bridge itself, then you’re good to go! Take a left to get to Fort Lee. For more on what else to do when you check this bridge out, check out my post here!

Bonus #1: Bear Mountain Bridge

You have to get on the Metro North to walk this bridge! Before we crossed it, we hiked Anthony’s Nose. We climbed on down and took a quick stroll over this historic bridge. The views from here are quite nice (as is this entire area). The train goes along both sides of the shorelines here and we watched several make the journey down the tracks. I will warn you on this one, however, that there’s a sizeable gap between the walk path and the railing in certain parts that freaks people out a little bit. Be careful when taking pics!

Bonus #2: Walkway over the Hudson – Poughkeepsie

You can get to this bridge on the Metro North as well. It’s quite a ways up there – 1hr45mins or so. We had pretty high hopes for this bridge as we’d seen it hyped elsewhere. It was…nice. It’s got a huge walking path and there are no cars, so that is probably the biggest plus to this bridge. But the town of Poughkeepsie is only meh (during COVID times at least) and there’s not much to see on the other side. Having said that, quite a lot of people were on this bridge by the time we walked back, so maybe I’m just a naysayer. The views aren’t *as* nice as some of the other bridges, but you do get a full shot of the Hudson.

Those are all the bridges we managed to walk over in and around NYC! It’s well worth taking in a bridge or two, and it doesn’t have to be the Brooklyn Bridge! They really give you a unique perspective of the city, and you never know what you might find to check out in Queens or Brooklyn!

If you’re interested in crossing bridges generally, check out our post on the Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge in the world that we crossed in Switzerland or all the covered bridges we visited in Bennington, Vermont!

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Easy Hiking in the Adirondacks: Cathedral Rocks & Bear Run

There are so many hikes in the Adirondacks that it can be overwhelming to pick which one to do. A lot of them are tough, long hikes to the top of mountains with sprawling vistas. But not everyone has the stamina or time to do these 10+ miles hikes. So where do you go for a shorter/easier hike? Well, the hike out to Cathedral Rocks and Bear Run is perfect for this! (Important note: no dogs allowed on this trail!)

Getting there

How you get there always depends on where you’re coming from. The trailhead is in Keene, at the junction of AuSable Rd and Highway 73. The hiker parking lot was full when we got there, so we parked on Highway 73. Then we walked down AuSable (turns into Lake Rd), which wasn’t open to street parking and goes along a golf course. It’s not a short walk, but it’s flat and easy (and quite pretty!).

At a certain point, you’ll see tennis courts on your left and a big resort (AuSable Club) in front of you. You want to turn down the road next to the tennis courts, which winds through a residential area. Before too long, you’ll come across a wooden gate. The gate is really cool and marks the entrance of the trail.

Once you’re past the gate, you’ll walk a luscious canopied, wide, flat, dirt trail. Keep on the lookout for signs on your right because this trailhead leads to several different trails. The sign you’re looking for says “East River Trail” and under that “Cathedral Rocks + Bear Run“. Don’t be fooled by the sign you come upon first, which is just for the East River Trail. Or do, because why not! There’s a lovely marsh to traipse through, if you do.

Bear Run

For a long while on this trail, you’re headed to both Cathedral Rocks and Bear Run. The trail is steadily uphill, but not hard. There’s a junction 45mins-1hr in that gives you the option of going to Bear Run. This is NOT TO MISS. It’s a short detour off the Cathedral Rocks trail and well worth it. The trail is marked with blue markers that wind up and over until you get to a chimney that you have to scramble up a bit to get to the overlook. There’s a boulder suspended in the chimney that adds just a bit more dare to the scramble. We made it more fun than it has to be — you can of course just walk over the rocks like a normal person.

Once you get through, you walk a short way to the overlook. There’s a rock bed to sit on and take in the view. This was our favorite part of this hike!

Cathedral Rocks

You leave bear run the same way you entered – through the chimney. You head back down the trail to the fork and this time, take the Cathedral Rocks path. A ways down, you’ll see huge rock walls until finally you get to what is officially Cathedral Rocks. These jutting rock walls are high and intimidating. We hung out for a bit just checking out how cool each nook within the rock was. This is what you came to see!

Pyramid Falls

When we were done taking in Cathedral Rocks, we continued on the path toward Pyramid Falls. This was one of those “am I on the right track?” paths. We followed the red colored markers, but still we wondered why we weren’t hearing any falls. Well, I don’t know if it was the time of year (July) or what, but when we finally came upon Pyramid Falls, it was a very cool rock formation, but just trickling falls. We honestly expected more and were happy that the trail to the falls was the same trail that leads you out, so we didn’t feel like we wasted time seeing it.

Canyon Bridge

As a bonus, on your way out you can follow the West River Trail to Canyon Bridge. Canyon Bridge is quite small, but it’s still fun to walk over the river this way!

This takes you back out to the big trail you started on, just quite a ways down the river. You take it back to the gate, down the road next to the golf course, and to your car. The hike overall took us around 3 hours (including getting to the trailhead), taking it easy and taking it in. If you’re ever in the Adirondacks and want to hike, but aren’t in the mood for something harder like Cascade Mountain, give this one a shot! There are also lots of great hikes to take it easy (or hard!) closer to NYC, if that’s your thing instead.

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