the visit: october edition

A few weeks ago I made the drive up to NYC to visit my favorites--Kara and her adorable dog Lucy!

Since I moved a little further south recently and had to drive through Baltimore at rush hour the trip took a little longer than it used to. By the time I got in we were both exhausted so we decided to order sushi to be delivered to Kara's apartment. First we had to find parking,  which is always a challenge in the city. Garages are expensive as all get out but you won't get ticketed, towed, or hit (probably. No guarantees on the not getting hit). If you can find it, there is free street parking. There are also plentiful deceptive street parking spots: they look perfectly fine but there's always a sign indicating that you can only park there for 2 hours between the hours of 2 am and 8 am or something equally ridiculous.

Thankfully this time I was able to get a spot super close to Kara's place and that all signs seemed to indicate was in fact a valid parking spot on weekends. A few tries and scraped hubcaps later we got the car parked.

Saturday was busy but fun. We woke up early and picked up a good friend of Kara's from college who happens to live about a mile away from Kara. Once we had Alli, Kara, Lucy, and the bagels (courtesy of Alli) we headed out of the city for a little apple picking.

Growing up, Kara and I spent our summers going berry picking in Texas. But since the Houston area doesn't lend itself to apples, we never went apple picking. I did go once my first year of law school and loved it. When Kara suggested we pick apples I was totally down. The place we went to was about an hour and a half north of the city in the Hudson Valley.

The drive itself was gorgeous--we were surrounded by beautiful fall foliage which caused much oohing and aahing. The farm was adorable. It wasn't too gimmicky, which we liked. We parked among the trees and with our giant apple bag in hand set out to pick some apples.

 Since we had been told we could eat the apples prior to paying we each chowed down on an apple. I'm not normally a golden delicious lover but the one I ate at Fishkill Farms converted me.

Once our apple bag was full we made our way over to the store and vegetable patch.  We waited in line forever at the store for hot apple cinnamon donuts, a crazy popular New York fall treat. They were worth the wait without a doubt. After chowing down on our donuts, we wandered over to pick some vegetables. No one else really seemed aware there was a vegetable patch so we had it to ourselves. They had a wide range of vegetables and herbs available for picking. Kara got a little of everything while I opted for a bag of giant green beans and Alli made herself a beautiful flower bouquet.

Once we were done with the vegetables we decided to call it a day and headed back to the car. First we stopped to introduce Lucy to some chickens. She was really into the chickens, terrorizing a rather bold brown one.

Back in the city we took a little rest since we had a late night coming up and we were both exhausted. After nap time it was play time. Kara's roommate Qua Asia joined us for some delicious soul food in Harlem. We split two different dishes (ribs and fried chicken) along with various sides. After dinner we hopped the subway down to The Shrine, a popular Harlem music venue, for a show.

When Kara first moved to New York she discovered Greg Banks and has been loyally attending shows ever since. His birthday party happened to be that evening and since she'd talked about him so much we decided it was time for me to finally see a show.

We were able to get a table right up front and settle in before the show started. The show was so much fun--high energy and funky. I have a tendency to forget how much I enjoy live music until Kara takes me to a show in New York.

Since we got home around 1 am, we decided to call it a night and sleep in the next morning.

Sunday morning started lazy. After lounging around with Lu, we got dressed and headed down to the East Village for brunch at a diner in the St. Marks area. St. Marks was home to the city's artists back in the 70's and 80's and retains a good deal of that artsy vibe. If you're looking for something a little outside the ordinary, St. Marks is a good place to find it.

With our bellies full of omelette, we headed to a yoga class at Yoga to the People. The studio is donation based and while the suggested donation is $10, they are totally non-judgmental if you can't donate anything. The class was wonderful; I especially loved the singing bowl they used at the end of the class. It completely clears your mind, kind of like if someone pressed a reset button.

Feeling rather zen after class, we popped into one of the numerous tea houses in the area for some hot tea. Kara opted for a matcha tea while I selected a white peony. Both were delicious and we enjoyed getting to sit and talk and sip our tea.

Sadly we couldn't stay longer since it was getting late in the day and I had to drive home still.

My trips to New York are always so wonderful. The city has grown on me significantly over the years. It used to be overwhelming and slightly scary. But while it still can overwhelm me, it no longer scares me. If nothing else, it's a refreshing change of pace from life in the suburbs.

But the city itself isn't the best part of the trip. I'm extremely fortunate to be close with my sister. Our grand Asian adventure brought us even closer together and I love anytime we get to spend together.

And an even better reset button than going to a different city is doing it with family.

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