Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating America: Adventure Style!

Yesterday, I got out of work early and decided to have an adventure! Adam and I biked 32 miles from Brooklyn up to the Cloisters and back. The Cloisters is a beautiful medieval museum on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. In the years between 1934 and 1938, five French cloistered abbeys in Europe were taken down brick-by-brick and shipped to New York to be re-assembled into this beautiful work of architecture. It now acts as a museum featuring over 5,000 works of medieval art, surrounded by gardens planted according to horticultural plans from the era.

Pretty cool, huh?

I moved to New York almost 4 years ago. I moved for the energy and the atmosphere that seems to pervade this city, but I knew I was sacrificing an important part of my life thus far - the ability to walk out my front door and be surrounded by nature! Trees, grass, the open water, the sound of crickets.... you get the idea. But since moving here, I've slowly realized that I have SO MANY environments at my fingertips. We frequently go camping in the mountains just an hour north of the city by train, biking to the beach, and running along the Hudson River.

The ride to the Cloisters was an experience in itself because there were so many different environments to see! The ride took about 2 hours each way. We started in Brooklyn, rode across the Manhattan Bridge, through the shops and restaurants of Soho, up the Hudson along the Hudson River Park, past the sailboats docked in northern Manhattan, through the parks in Harlem, under the George Washington Bridge that leads to New Jersey, on the trails alongside the Metro North railroad tracks and finally through Fort Tryon Park to the Cloisters. Talk about a change of scenery every 10 minutes!

We also experienced some real live NYC nature! Adam was attacked by some angry pigeons that he almost hit, and I almost ran over a big fat rat that darted in front of my bike.

So the lesson learned here is that although you may FEEL like you're biking in North Carolina or the like, you will quickly be brought back to reality when you realize a rat just ran in front of your bike. Yuck.

But pigeons and rats aside, it felt so good to be outside in the fresh air, seeing things I had never seen before. When you make exercise a 'chore', you're not motivated to do it, but when you turn it into part of something larger - by exploring your city or even your neighborhood - you almost forget you are exercising!

So this 4th of July, go have an adventure! Your body will thank you!

What are your plans for the 4th?

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