Cemetery Serenity: Greenwood and Sleepy Hollow

(all photos taken by me)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed an appreciation for cemeteries. Walking through a cemetery makes me feel calm and pensive, and somehow a bit safe. It’s a sacred space and almost surreal in the sense that you’re reminded of how fleeting life is. There’s something about being in a cemetery that prompts a sense of reflection and curiosity. A curiosity for what may have happened to some of these people, how were they buried, who cared for them, and what lies beyond.

I’ve recently had the pleasure of visiting Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Both cemeteries are historic in their own right – Greenwood is actually a National Historic Landmark in which with many notables and members of high society have been buried.

Founded in 1838, the beautifully designed cemetery is the home of Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn. It’s also home to the burial grounds of beloved artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Theodore Roosevelt Sr. (father of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt), and many others.

If you’re in the NYC area, drive or take the MetroNorth to Tarrytown for a visit to Sleepy Hollow cemetery. I typically go around Halloween; of course, due to Mr. Washington Irving’s legendary tale, the town absolutely comes to life during the fall season. There’s plenty to do in Tarrytown in October, and I definitely recommend talking a walk through Sleepy Hollow cemetery; it’s so rich and full of history and looks stunning when fall foliage is in full bloom.

At Sleepy Hollow cemetery, you’ll find “The Old Dutch Church of the Manor of Phillipsburgh,” which has been around since the late 1600s. Stop by the church during October and enjoy a dramatic performance of “Irving’s Legend“. You can take historic walking tours, and of course, pass by the grave site of Washington Irving himself.

Keep an open mind and think about all of the knowledge to be gained when you visit a historic cemetery!

Sunday Snapshot: Fresh Apples

Macintosh Apples in box
September is apple picking season in New York! The image above shows apples for sale in crates at the Queens County Farm when I went pumpkin picking a while back.

You can’t pick apples at the farm, but in October, they have plenty of fresh apples from the Hudson Valley for sale.

Below, I’ve listed some places you may want to look into if you’re interested in picking some fresh New York apples this season:

Happy Apple Picking!

Baltimore: Where to Eat, Stay, and Visit

Good Eats in Baltimore

Miss Shirley’s Cafe and the Local Oyster:

Miss Shirley’s Cafe – OK, so, I tried to get brunch here on a weekend morning and it didn’t happen. Miss Shirley’s is definitely the go-to brunch spot at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. After heading to the restaurant on a Sunday or Saturday morning, I noticed the crazy line and felt defeated. It was about an hour wait for breakfast. Although this didn’t work out, I went to a cute spot in Little Italy called Mugs’ Italian Bistro. It was quiet, the food was fresh and quickly made, and tasted delicious.

BUT, I went back to Miss Shirley’s on Monday morning and there was no line and plenty of space! For drinks, as you can see above in the middle picture, we ordered the Spicy Shirley, which almost tasted like an appetizer itself – but was amazing; and Miss Mimosa, which was really fresh and crisp tasting.

I ordered the cornbread squares with jam, which was so delicious! In the first image to the left, you’ll see my “Get Your Grits On” – the jumbo blackened shrimp on fried green tomatoes and grits. This was soooo good, and the portion size was perfect. I think there were about 6 shrimp in total?

The Local Oyster – I didn’t realize this initially, but The Local Oyster is located inside of a marketplace. But, it was easy to get to, and I went on Monday for the $1 happy hour! (Check out the platter, 3rd picture to the right) Oysters and clams were $1 all day and they were certainly enjoyable; I had mine with The Raven beer, a draft inspired by Edgar Allen Poe (who had quite an influence on the city). So, definitely add this on your list of places to go to!

Where to Stay:

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore Inner Harbor – it’s all in the details! I love the old, historic charm to this hotel, which was once the location of the historic B&O Railroad Headquarters in downtown Baltimore. The images above are taken in the elevator lobby, and only a glimpse into some of the marvelousness found in the hotel. The rooms were spacious and the hotel was conveniently located to the inner harbor and surrounding neighborhoods. Or, you can just take the water taxi to where you want to go from the harbor.

Where Should You Visit?

Federal Hill – if you’re strolling around the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill Park is a nice place to visit. As seen by my image above, with the cannon overlooking the harbor, Federal Hill park is actually a historic landmark. Because it it’s fantastic view, it was once a military outpost. Just beware, climbing up the stairs to the park is not for the faint of heart. It’s a bit tiring if you’re out of shape 🙂 but it’s worth the the climb.

Fells Point – A historic waterfront neighborhood with quaint townhouses, harbor views, waterfront walkways and plenty of seafood. I love how decorative the door knockers are on many of these homes; from crab decor, to lighthouses, and lion faces – you’ll enjoy checking out the neighborhood aesthetics. The image on the top right was a picture perfect scene with an old Ford 150 parked by a street lamp in front of some red brick townhouses. Grab your walking shoes, and take a stroll through Fells Point.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Folks in Baltimore love their Orioles, it’s quite the common sight to see orange, white, and black t-shirts speckled in crowds. If you’re in Baltimore and a baseball fan, definitely check out Oriole Park at Camden Yards. To see Camden Yards is a site in itself, it was once a railroad station; the ball park is nestled within a beautiful neighborhood with the reminder of its industrial history.

Other notable mentions – dinner at Phillips at the Inner Harbor was pretty good, be sure to get a reservation though. It gets busy on the weekend. Also, I wanted to eat at Thames Street Oyster House, but it was literally booked through the weekend 😦

Enjoy Baltimore and make sure to make those reservations when it’s time to eat!

Enjoying Italy: Amalfi Coast


The Amalfi Coast in Italy is absolutely amazing! I only had a day trip here, but I’d love to stay for a full week. It’s the home of tasty Limoncello and oversized lemons; this place really leaves a lasting impression. In addition to the beautiful views of the water and the homes built into the mountains, there’s beautiful ceramic tiling and artwork to enjoy throughout the nestled town of Positano.

I love the architecture along this coast – the colors are friendly and serene, exuding the aesthetic of the Mediterranean. The great thing about this view is that due to zoning restrictions, you’ll never see a tall sky rise in this seaside town. The housing structures have been the same since they were built, they have to continuously look uniform.

I’m so thrilled that I got to experience the beauty of the Amalfi Coast and Positano. With mermaid and nautical imagery, great food, fresh fruit and lemons, and views of the sea – how could you go wrong?

Spring, Summer, A Sunflower, and a Farm

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(image shot by me at Queens County Farm in Queens, NYC)

Spring was officially yesterday and it snowed in Brooklyn.

I took this photo at the Queens County Farm this past October, but sunflowers are always so enjoyable. They remind me of spring, summer, and fall. I even managed to capture a bee pollinating. Plant more flowers for the bees! #SaveTheBees

PS: Queens County Farm dates back to 1657 and is a great trip for the family as it includes a petting zoo, so there’s plenty of opportunities to educate the children and family on farm animals, agriculture, gardening, and even farming history.  This is a sustainable farm and only sells its produce locally; they are sometimes at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Spring Forward! A Sunday Snapshot

NYCskyline

Views from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Spring is almost here and it is getting quite enjoyable to be outside. As much as I love to get away from NYC, I absolutely love the sunsets here. There’s something about the sun shining off the buildings, the shadows that are cast, and the cascading of light down the avenues. In all of this grit and grime, there’s some luster and beauty.