Rand’s View Hike, Connecticut Hike

There are so many little slices of adventure where the Appalachian Trail cuts through Northwest Connecticut. Last spring I checked out Rand’s View [Parking lot on Housatonic River Road just past intersection with Sugar Hill Road, Falls Village CT] which was a easy to moderate hike, about five miles and 1400 feet of elevation. Even on a gloomy day, the hike was beautiful and lots of fun. From the parking lot walk away from the Housatonic River cross the street and find the well worn white blazed path of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). A quick jaunt through the woods and you pop out into a meadow, before plunging right back into the forest.

rands_view_falls_villiageYou’ll be climbing up little Prospect Mountain, certainly making a heart pumping ascent…but never that steep at any point.rands_view_falls_villiage_1

When you get to the top there is a nice little view.

mount_prospect_connecticutFrom here, keep going and begin to head downhill. You will reach the junction with Limestone Shelter.

rands_view_falls_villiage_2Make a right to stay on the white A.T., and you will pop right out to the namesake view of the hike.

rands_view_connecticutWhat a gorgeous meadow! Even on a bleak early spring day it produced some beautiful colors. Make your way back the way you came, remember to turn at that junction to resummit Prospect Mountain.

rands_view_falls_villiage_3There were so many fine little details along the trail, most exciting of all, our up close and personal encounter with a turkey vulture!

rands_view_appalachian_trailThat gorgeous noble creature. Soon enough we were heading back down through the familiar forest.

rands_view_falls_villiage_8We popped back out to the road and saw the parking lot and river right where we left them.

rands_view_falls_villiage_4Now the best part about visiting in spring was the enormous waterfall at the Great Falls Reservoir attached to the parking lot. I guess this is why they call the town Falls Village! great_falls_reservoirWe explored the little trail up and down checking out the raging river rapids. They were simply magnificent. A perfect day of defying gloominess!

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Lions Head Hike, Salisbury CT

If you’re looking for a roaring good time, it’s just over the border of Massachusetts’s Berkshires region into northwestern Connecticut. Lions Head Hike [84 Bunker Hill Road Salisbury, CT] is a perfect little hike full of excitement and ever changing scenery. It is a two mile roundtrip hike, up 541 feet of elevation. You will work up a bit of a sweat, but if you are in decent shape you can handle this! Spy the parking lot and head out onto the trail.

lions_head_salisbury_ct_5Pass a gorgeous meadow and the fun begins.

lions_head_salisbury_2A quick jaunt through the woods and you’ll pop back out to see the path you’ll be taking, yes, that’s the lion’s head in front.

lions_head_salisbury_1Looks a bit more like a cub to me! There were so many beautiful wildflowers and interesting flora on my September visit.

lions_head_salisbury_ctSoon enough you will hit a junction with private property, be respectful and you should easily spot the sign pointing you in the direction of the trail.

lions_head_salisbury_ct_9You’ll start to notice blue markers and begin picking up elevation.

lions_head_salisbury_ct_6At the first junction keep heading up hill, then you’ll start noticing white markers. You are now on the Appalachian Trail.

lions_head_salisbury_ct_7At the final junction, you have a choice. Take the white for a short steep scramble or the blue for a slower amble. Either way you’ll find a scraggly pine with a marker attached to it, you’ve made it to the top of the lion’s head!

lions_head_salisbury_9Go on and check out the view.

lions_head_salisbury_3Absolutely beautiful, and just a mile to get to this viewpoint. How many miles would your loudest roar project? Head back the way you came, the meadow looked just as beautiful on the return.

lions_head_salisbury_ct_8A lovely little hike to add some nature, cardio, and adventure to your day.

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Flushing Corona-Meadows Park, Queens

Flushing Meadows Corona Park [11101 Corona Ave Flushing, NY 11355] is space of many lives. In the 1920s F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of the park in The Great Gatsby, “This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens.” In preparation for the World’s Fair from 1939-40, and then again in 1964-65 the land was cleaned up and transformed into a fair grounds under the order of Robert Moses. Now it is Queens largest recreational park and the fourth largest by acre in New York City.

flushing_meadows_corona_park_8You could spend a day, or many days here, there is so much to explore. There are still relics remaining from the world fair, including the New York State Pavilion and Observation towers,

flushing_meadows_corona_parkand the ever recognizable Unisphere.

flushing_meadows_corona_park_2Many museums including the New York Hall of Science, Queens Museum of Art, and the Queens Zoo and Botanical Gardens. You can fish at Meadow Lake, barbeque, visit the skate park or six playgrounds, or play baseball, soccer, tennis, cricket, and volleyball. Try birding in a fountain pond,

flushing_meadows_corona_park_9or marveling at the many beautiful sculptures in the park.

flushing_meadows_corona_park_3If you visit in the right season the roses may be blossoming, stop to smell them.

flushing_meadows_corona_park_1The park is home to the US Open tennis ground and the New York Met’s Citi Field. You will find seasonal bike/kayak rentals, the Queens International Night Market, Queen’s Theater in the Park, and even a little carousel. From a colorful past to a hopeful future, the park holds a special place in the hearts of Queens residents and anyone from around the world who has had the pleasure of visiting.

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Museum of Moving Image, Queens

Expectation is the root of all heartache, but what is it when something is much more than you expect? Wonderful, and the Museum of Moving Image [36-01 35th Ave, New York, NY 11106] is just that. Simply upon walking in the first exhibit was about how cats took over the internet.

museum_of_moving_image_queensYes, this was going to be a good visit. Exhibits rotate frequently, so you never know what you’re going to see. The museum is dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of media, it speaks to all different age levels and interests. Beginning at nineteenth century moving picture museums to

museum_of_moving_image_queens_8video games (some of which I could actually play!!)

museum_of_moving_image_queens_9and everything in between related to media.

museum_of_moving_image_queens_4Exhibits are eclectic, interactive, and attention-grabbing. I found masks from some of my favorite movie characters,

museum_of_moving_image_2and some really great old school merchandise.

museum_of_moving_image_6My favorite thing of all must have been the theater,  a work of art which I loved exploring. museum_of_moving_image_9 I wish I was there for a screening! Some other time. Tip: check out their offers and discounts, there are many instances where you can enter the museum for free!

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Long Island Piers, Queens

Whenever I travel into the city, I want a skyline view. I think the Manhattan skyline is one of the most beautiful in the world, and it’s always best captured from another borough. In the Long Island Piers at Gantry Plaza State Park [4-09 47th Rd, Long Island City, NY 11101] give me just what I’m looking for, and a bit more.

gantry_plaza_state_parkYou have the beautiful cityscape across the East River, always magnificent at the golden hour of sunset. There are piers to fish/walk out on, a playground, handball/basketball courts, and welcome patches of green. Interesting architecture is everywhere.

gantry_plaza_state_park_queensMost odd of all are those huge dark industrial looking mammoths, gantries.

long_island_city_piersThey were used for loading and unloading rail car floats and barges. Try and imagine the riverfront covered in these hundreds of years ago. It’s a little park, with some little special attributes, perfect for taking it slow in the big city.

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Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens

socrates_sculpture_park_1A small urban oasis in a big city. Socrates Sculpture Park [32-01 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11106] is a mixture of first and foremost art, along with nature, and a fabulous city skyline.

socrates_sculpture_park_5The park has been open for 30 years, continually changing its installations. There was a lot of work in progress when I visited and only a few completed works.

socrates_sculpture_park_7However, they were very interesting, but if you’re looking for a fuller experience be sure to check the schedule to see what’s happening now!

socrates_sculpture_park_6The garden was wonderful and full of life on a warm day.

socrates_sculpture_parkPeople were sitting under the shade of trees reading books, picnicking, and just enjoying their surroundings at this gem.

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MoMA PS1, Queens

I saw it from the subway stop, the layered Manhattan city skyline in the background.

moma_ps1_queensOnce the Monday-Friday home to school aged children, now MoMA PS1 [22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City NY 11101] now one of the largest contemporary art institutions in the United States.

moma_ps1_queens_4There are 3 floors and a basement level which will give you a nostalgic feel, however different now and the halls of building have an artistic flair.

moma_ps1_queens_7There is always new art on display so you never know what you’re going to get. Come with an open mind. You may see sculptures,

moma_ps1_queens_9paintings, murals, multimedia, and hopefully birds!

moma_ps1There are so many colors and facets to this museum, I truly loved the eclectic collection.

moma_ps1_6Affiliated with MoMA in Manhattan, save your ticket for free entry.

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