Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: Birthday Camping in Beacon, NY

Birthdays are a serious business in my book. When I was little, I started planning my next birthday AT LEAST 6 months in advance. Hey, if you wanted it to be good, you had to plan, especially when it came to the guest list. My general rule of thumb was: If you wanted a lot of presents, you had to invite a lot of people. It was as easy as that. You didn't necessarily have to like all of them, you just had to extend the invitation and hope their mothers had enough sense to shop at Toys 'R Us.

Nowadays, not much has changed. I want people to know. I let my birthday slip into casual conversation months before the big day. The postman knows, the security guards at work know... even the guy at the deli knows. Call me silly, but... I just LOVE birthdays.

This year, I wanted to send off 28 and welcome in 29 in the middle of the great outdoors. Contrary to what you might think, New York is not all concrete and cabs. A 1-hour train ride north from Grand Central and you're in beautiful Beacon, New York. We've been hiking and camping in Beacon for the last 4 years, after discovering the gem that is Malouf's Mountain Camping. Dick Malouf, a true outdoorsman and Beacon native, picks you up from the train station in his 'nature van' (ie. a short school bus painted from top to bottom with a nature montage).

The only way to describe Malouf's is 'glorified camping'. It's a great compromise for the ladies (who'd rather not rough it completely) and the guys (who want to feel like they're camping in the middle of nowhere). Dick drops you off at the hiking trail of your choice (30 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours or 5 hours) and then takes your bags up to the campsite for you. What a guy! All the hikes lead to fantastic overlooks where you can see the Hudson River. We did the 3 hour hike because we wanted to enjoy lunch by the reservoir. After hiking into the campsite, we built a fire, enjoyed a beer and grilled chicken and asparagus over the fire pit.

On Sunday (my birthday), we hiked, read by the fire, enjoyed a leisurely lunch from the grill and shared drinks with some of the other campers. Then Adam spoiled me with a 5-star dinner from the grill... steaks and marinated baby bok choy, with a bottle of French wine (which was actually purchased in France and carted over the Atlantic for me). Bonus points, Adam!

I'd say my birthday was a huge success. Going to Beacon always recharges my battery... there's just something about sitting by a campfire and falling asleep to the sound of chirping crickets. I may be a big city girl, but I'm still a Southern girl at heart.

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday extra special this year! Your calls, texts, emails and cards made me feel so loved!

Here's to a great 29th year! I have a feeling this one's gonna be great!


And now... a photo montage because I went a little camera crazy!

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