Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Colors in Princeton

Yesterday during my lunch break I took a few photos of the amazing fall colors around the Princeton campus. It really is the prettiest time of year here. Above is an amazing tree with Firestone Library in the background. Below is a beautiful yellow tree that's right outside my window.

When I got home last night there was a bunny hiding under the bushes near my front porch. This is the first bunny I've ever seen near my house. As I walked past it to get to my front porch it darted into the middle of the driveway and stood there for about 20 minutes, never moving. I don't know where he came from, but he was scared to death. When I went out later I noticed him under my neighbor's back porch.

And this morning on my way into work, there were workers clearing off the yard in front of Nassau Hall. The one thing you always hear around Princeton in the fall is leaf blowers. All I could think of was how much fun my nephews would have jumping into these huge piles of leaves!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Twins and Library Cards

I went to dinner last night at the Alchemist and Barrister with my friends Amy and Bror and as it turned out, Amy and I had basically the same outfit on. Totally unplanned and kind of amusing. I wish I had taken my jean jacket off for the photo, it would have been even more obvious.

And Bror got a public library card! It's his first American public library card. He's from Sweden and while Amy and I were chatting outside the library he went in and literally about 2 minutes later came out flashing his new card. Pretty impressive, PPL!

It was a fun evening indeed...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fun on a Monday in NYC

On Monday I left work early and headed into NYC to meet up with my good friend Trinity and her friend Jamie who were in town for the Rhinebeck Wool and Sheep Festival. They flew into and out of LaGuardia (from Minneapolis), so they opted to spend a couple days in Manhattan after the Festival. I'm glad I could take the afternoon off and head into the city on a gorgeous fall day and spend some time with them.

Our first stop was the Highline Park. This is a new park in NYC that was once an elevated train track. It offers great views and has my two thumbs up for something fun and interesting to do in the city. The chairs above are from there and below Trinity is lounging on a chaise that sits on the old railroad tracks. You can actually push some of these to roll along the tracks to adjust the location (either closer to, or further away from the chaise next to you). I was impressed, and they were actually pretty comfy.

We went to dinner at nearby Chelsea Market. The Green Table is a restaurant that specializes in local, organic ingredients. I had a crudites plate, Trinity had baked farm eggs and Jamie had a chicken pot pie. It was a lovely way to spend some time over a nice dinner. Trinity also ordered dessert - Cheesecake! So NYC... It came with fresh sliced apples, a raspberry sauce and real whipped cream. Truly decadent. Jamie was interested in cannolis, so we went a little further down the market and found a bakery with cannolis.

It was a lovely evening so we took a little stroll through Greenwich Village to Washington Square Park. Jamie had never been to NYC before, so we tried to check off a few things. Here you can see the Empire State Building lit up through the arch.

It was a short visit, but I'm glad I was able to make it in to see them. Thanks for a fun evening, Ladies!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Princeton Fun

My brother John and his three boys decided to come down to Princeton this afternoon for a little bit of fun. I've been feeling a little under the weather since about Thursday, but I perked up long enough to hang out for a few hours with these guys. Our first stop was Thomas Sweet - home of the ice cream blend in. I got Banana blended with Nutter Butters, Nathaniel got Vanilla blended with chocolate chips and Peppermint Patties and Emerson and Sebastian got a cup each of Raspberry and Mint Chocolate Chip, respectively. Here's Nathaniel showing off his THREE missing teeth. Thankfully the front teeth are finally starting to come in, but I have to admit, I think he looks pretty cute with the gap for now.

Here's Em enjoying his ice cream and the view from the table by the window:

After getting ice cream, we all headed to the University Art Museum to see some African masks and other art. On the first trip in the elevator everyone stood in a row and looked really cute, did a take a photo then? No. Instead I decided to take a photo on the way out when everyone had the sillies and was ready to get outside:

After the museum we went to the awesome and always fun Cotsen Children's Library. The kids listened to some books, played with the puppets and enjoyed the treehouse. Overall it was a great way to spend a cloudy, chilly day with the kids in Princeton. It's always fun to have them around.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Glasses!

OK - I know some of you might be thinking "Beth wears glasses?". Well, yes, I should probably wear them more than I do. I use them only for distance, and then only while driving or in a movie or classroom. But aren't these fun?

I have always wanted to get glasses with little rhinestones in them, and these were calling to me. They are Vera Wang and the style is "Splendor".

So - let me know what you think! I know it's a little daring and crazy compared to my last pair, and I have 30 days to return them thanks to LensCrafters 30-day guarantee.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sandy Hook Bike Ride

I originally had plans to go to a movie on Sunday afternoon, but it was an incredibly beautiful day, so instead I headed out for a bike ride that I've been wanting to do for a while now. I drove out to Sandy Hook, NJ and did about 10 miles with views of the ocean, the bay, old military buildings and Manhattan.

While I was riding, I saw a sign that said "Battery Tours Today". It reminded me of Eastern State Penitentiary, so I decided to go ahead and do it. The guy also said that it would be 10-20 minutes, but it ended up being about 45 mins. He was a little on the chatty side. It was fascinating to learn how the battery worked and see the amazingly thick (20-60 feet) walls of poured concrete.

This battery, and all of the ones on Sandy Hook, were created to defend New York Harbor, so the view from the top was pretty cool. This is a view of some old concrete military buildings and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge as seen from the top of the Battery:

There are a ton of old military buildings on Sandy Hook. The houses in the photo below served as housing for those stationed at Fort Hancock and now one is open for tours and another houses the Audubon Society, but the others are falling into disrepair. I guess there is little government funding for upkeep here. Apparently there was a plan to make them into B&B's, but that fell through.

This is the oldest lighthouse in the US, at Fort Hancock:

And this is a groundhog! Even though there are beaches on both sides of this very narrow peninsula, there is what's known as a "maritime forest" in the middle. So I rode past huge sand dunes and salt marshes, views of the ocean and the bay, and through dense forests. It was a pretty interesting ride.

After logging about 10 miles, I put my bike back on the rack on my car and took advantage of the ocean views. It was a beautiful day to sit on the beach - about 65 degrees and breezy. There was a sailboat off in the distance:

And a view of Manhattan to my left. It was a beautiful, clear day and it felt like you could see forever.

It was a little on the windy side, and the dune grasses were being blown around quite a bit. Here you can see that they leave little circles in the sand from being blown around.

A perfect way to end a little adventure:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quick Trip to MA

On Saturday morning I drove up to Boston from Princeton. I went straight to Ann and Lee's place and dropped off my bag and then Lee and I headed out to meet Allison at the MFA. I was very interested in seeing the Edward Weston show that was there, and was happy to have Allison suggest the Greene on Greene show, too. It was an enjoyable afternoon at the museum. Allison and I had tickets to see Kiss Me, Kate at the Lyric Stage Co. (thanks, Matt!), so we headed straight to the theatre after grabbing a quick lunch. The show was so much fun. The Cole Porter tunes are wonderful, and for me it brought back a lot of happy memories from my days in summer theatre when GCSDW did a production of Kiss Me, Kate. It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. The show got out around 6pm and then Allison and I met Ann and Lee at Finale. They were downtown because they had tickets to the ballet (aren't we a cultured bunch?). Finale is mostly a dessert place, but I had a small bite for dinner and then the most outrageous hot fudge sundae with chunks of brownies, whipped cream and of course, a cherry on top. Here's a photo of all of us, after enjoying our scrumptious desserts:

After that Ann and Lee went to the ballet, Allison headed home and I went up to Davis Square to meet some folks for candlepin bowling at Sacco's:

It ended up being a random assortment of fellas, but it was lots of fun. Here are Peet, Ben (Matt's friend), Matt, me, Tom (Nick's roommate) and Nick.

I ended up playing horribly, but still having fun thanks to the good company, the juke box and a huge bag of M&Ms that everyone got to share. After bowling I headed back to Ann and Lee's and we stayed up later than we should have just chatting and catching up.

On Sunday morning Ann and Lee and I went apple picking! It was kind of a cloudy day, and the orchards were pretty muddy from the rain on Saturday, but we found plenty of good apples and enjoyed the time outside in the country.

It's amazing how many "drops" there are and yet there are still plenty to go around. We went to Russel Orchards in Ipswich, MA and they have a bunch of different varieties. Most of them were still available, but a few had already been picked through.

I didn't go apple picking as a kid, although I've been going pretty regularly in the past few years. Lee, however, is somewhat of an apple picking connoisseur. Here I am following his instructions on how to successfully pick an apple:

And here I am after being a little too aggressive on that arm twist and ripping out half a branch. I was so surprised when 2 apples came off into my hands. Oops - I guess I still have some learning to do. Maybe I'll get it right next year.

One of the best parts about apple picking is the hayride out to the orchard. The other best part is eating cider donuts! At Russel, they sort of combine the two and use the leftover oil from making the donuts to power the tractors that take folks out to the orchards. This leaves a faint scent of cider donuts in the air, instead of gross exhaust fumes.

And yes, here are the donuts. They are some of the best I've had. They are not coated in sugar as most cider donuts usually are, so they have a more obvious apple taste as opposed to just sweet. They are always fresh and hot and you have to wait in line to get to this self-serve cabinet. And it's well worth the wait!

I was hoping to see a little more fall foliage while I was up in MA, but there were just a few spots that were starting to turn. I'm sure by this weekend or the next it will truly be peak foliage season. But it was still beautiful.

These quick weekend trips can be pretty exhausting, but they are always worth it. I stopped at John and Jill's for dinner on the way home and got a good shoulder massage from Jill and got to play with the kids a little bit. I read Emmy a book or two in his blue bed in his blue bedroom and watched Nathaniel practice with his newest aquisition: drumsticks! It was a great way to end an already fun-filled weekend.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Halloween Preview

Last weekend I got to go to Target with Mom, Jill, Nathaniel and Sebastian and help pick out some Halloween costumes for the boys. Emerson loved his Super Why mask, cape and wand and Sebastian opted for G.I. Joe Cobra. I didn't get any photos of Nathaniel, but his spooky costume will be a surprise on Halloween.

Here's a cute video of Emerson and Sebastian in their costumes: