Sunday, September 19, 2021

Kingston, New York - A Haven For Street Murals

spent the past week in Uptown Kingston, New York (in the Hudson River Valley) where there are abundant vibrant murals, like this one by Lindsey Wolkowicz with Dillon Paul. “Lifted” depicts women and girls as voices of change.

On Crown Street, this mural, when seen straight on, is a large-scale playing card painted by Nils Westergard as a celebration of a friend through the good times and the bad.

Artist Samantha French and Aaron Hauck painted this evocataive mural “Late Summer Kill Swim” that references typical summers enjoying local swimming holes along the Hudson Valley. The  word “kill” is a Dutch word for creeks or springs.

“Vignettes of Home,” a mural by Kingston-based painter Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, opens three windows into the evocative landscapes of the Hudson Valley that’s long served as inspiration to the area’s artists.

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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Irvington, A Scenic Hudson Valley Town

It’s so easy to hop on Metro North from Manhattan and quickly escape to a stellar scenic landscape in Irvington, one of the peaceful villages fronting the Hudson River. This is Matthiessen Park, a bucolic public park with numerous distanced picnic tables and benches where you could sit for hours reading a book or working on your laptop. 

The 26-some-mile Old Croton Aqueduct Trail that meanders from the Bronx up through the river villages of the Hudson Valley (including Irvington) is a leafy gem with its signature stone cylindrical ventilator shafts peppering the route. I’ve walked numerous portions of this trail. 

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Chain NYC Film Festival

The other night in NYC was such a wonderful experience: My short comedy, “Such A Deal” that I co-wrote with director Dionna McMillian @dionnafilm, screened at the Chain Film Festival @chainfilmfestival. We had a great audience in the “NYC Films” block - high energy and super enthusiastic! The Talkback was fab, with managing director, Rick Hamilton @therickhamilton asking very thoughtful, engaging and insightful questions. I couldn’t have had a better experience. Afterward, many audience members including fellow filmmakers told me how much they enjoyed the film, saying things like: “creative, fun and beautifully shot; a home run,”“wonderful and whimsical,“ “this film was delightful from start to finish.” I feel so honored that our film was chosen to be a part of this stellar film festival.

✍️ Story by: @jcreaturetravel

🎬 Written by: @jcreaturetravel/@dionnafilm

Directed by: @dionnafilm

DP: @barbieleungdp


Starring: @ebonyobsidian

Co-starring: @damianemcee

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Glamping Experience in Maine for Couples and Families Alike

Glamping sounds like it’s all about over-the-top luxury for couples while sleeping under the stars. But the French brand, Huttopia, opened a resort in Southern Maine that’s all about good old-fashioned fun in the woodlands for kids and adults while also giving them a respect and love of nature. This is my latest article for Forbes Life on Huttopia Southern Maine.

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Sunday, August 22, 2021

New York City’s Governors Island - A Bucolic Getaway

Sitting in New York Harbor, Governors Island is just a short ferry ride from the Manhattan shoreline yet it feels worlds apart. 

And, of course, it’s blanketed with foliage to keep me entranced.

Strolling on the network of flower-laden paths that wend through the Hammock Grove on Governors Island is sheer delight.

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Sunday, August 15, 2021

Woods Hole Film Festival

Woods Hole on Cape Cod in Massachusetts recently hosted the 30th Woods Hole Film Festival where my comedy short — SUCH A DEAL that I co-wrote with director Dionna Mcmillian — played. 

I was so honored that our film, which was one of more than 900 submitted, was one of the 150-some selected for the festival.

The screening venue couldn’t have been lovelier. It was the Cotuit Center for the Arts that’s set in a bucolic landscape 10 miles from Woods Hole.

There are so many wonderful things about this film festival, including the camaraderie, the diversity of films and the scenic venue.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Glamping in Maine

 When staying at Huttopia, a resort in Southern Maine, you’ll be glamping where your cozy, comfortable dwelling is snuggled by soaring Eastern white pine trees.

Everything about Huttopia in Southern Maine is peaceful, especially in the early morning and evening. My tiny house faced Sand Pond where the wee beach and the dock with a pair of Adirondack chairs were perfect places to enjoy the bucolic scenery.

Sand Pond is a nexus for relaxation and recreation at Huttopia in Southern Maine. I never tired of the sunrise - or anything else at this playful and peaceful resort.

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Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Bucolic and Historic Accommodation in Delaware

 Just a few miles from Wilmington, the Inn at Montchanin Village & Spa combines a sense of history — it’s connected to the DuPonts and the buildings date to the 18th century — with some whimsical landscaping. Walking from my cottage in the early morning, I found that the gardens instilled a sense of peace.

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Sunday, July 11, 2021

A Green Space Atop A New York City Library

 On Fifth Avenue stands a gem of a library. No, not the “one with the lions” that’s diagonally across from this other one, formerly known simply the Mid Manhattan Library, which had been going downhill in terms of its architecture, design and functionality for quite some time. Then it closed for renovations and I pretty much forgot about it. Until a week or so ago when it reopened. The completely resurrected and renovated Mid-Manhattan Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library is dramatic, bold and sun-filled. And, the rooftop terrace and soon-to-open cafe/coffee shop are the icing on the cake.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Green Spaces Near Tivoli, New York

In the Hudson Valley, the Olana State Historic Site and Blithewood Garden are stunning. These are a few more images from my recent trip.

Nature and art are interwoven at the Olana State Historic Site, just like the fencing and benches dotting the landscape. It shouldn't come as a surprise, given that this scenic property was largely designed by noted Hudson River School painter, Frederic Church who lived and painted there.

On the forested property of the Olana State Historic Site, this is one of several silk banners - Memento Mori Mandalas - created by artist Portia Munson. They each honor a creature that had been felled by climate change.

Blithewood Garden on the bucolic Bard College campus offers myriad sensory delights, from the sweet fragrance of lavender and other blooms to the sweeping sight of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains in the distance


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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Another Bucolic Hudson Valley Town - Tivoli

On my recent travels to the picturesque village of Tivoli, I jogged just under two miles every day to the banks of the Hudson River, passing this magical house along the way. 

Numerous carriage roads wind through the scenic Olana State Historic Site that sprawls along the Hudson River. (It's just a short drive from Tivoli.) Among the myriad botanical species growing on this expansive property, the smoke trees with their cloud-like blooms were especially evocative.

The woodsy campus of Bard College is stunning, especially because of its abundance of gardens. (Many Bard students reside in Tivoli.) The walled Blithewood Garden that's set more than 100 feet above the Hudson River is the most spectacular.

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

A Spectacular Garden in Canada's Quebec Maritime Region

The Gaspesie Peninsula in Canada’s Quebec Maritime region is a year-round gem, whether you desire undeveloped sandy beaches, networks of hiking trails or an abundance of cross-country ski options in the winter when a thick blanket of snow coats the landscape. But horticulture fans will also want to visit this area that’s home to the unique and historic Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens. Here, it’s not just the thousands of botanical specimens that will delight, but also the avant-garde installations that are part of the annual International Garden Festival as well as the numerous sculptures dotting the property. I recently interviewed Alexander Reford, the director as well as great-grandson of the horticulturist and Reford Gardens' creator, Elsie Reford. Here’s my article for Forbes Life

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

New York City’s New Green Space

Derelict Pier 54 in Manhattan has been reimagined as Little Island, a new Hudson River installation that adds an almost three-acre green space to the city.

On my recent visit, I found an abundance of stellar flora, though it seemed everyone else seemed to be captivated by selfies.

Spending just an hour climbing the undulating landscape of Little Island and concentrating my attention on the many-hued blooms is a rejuvenating experience.

I noticed dazzling blooms and creative hardscape structures everywhere, even along the stairs and beside the railings.

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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Nature-based and Creative Finds in Greenport, Long Island

Just two hours from New York City, Greenport on the North Fork of Long Island is a more low-key alternative to the scene in the Hamptons. 

Roaming around Greenport early in the day before high season started has many advantages, including finding artistic shapes outside restaurants that had not yet opened.

I found plenty of artistic inspiration in Greenport, Long Island even without visiting the myriad galleries.

In fact, not all the creative art in Greenport, Long Island is displayed in the galleries.

A short drive from Main Street, numerous shaded boardwalks zig-zag through the wetlands that provide abundant bird watching opportunities in the Arshamomaque Pond Preserve, which was renamed for an environmental champion, Paul Stoutenburgh.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

More Wanderings Across the Pennsylvania Border from Wilmington, Delaware

 This is the last of my three posts documenting my nature-based findings while visiting Wilmington, Delaware, President Biden’s hometown, as well as the surrounding Brandywine Valley and across the Pennsylvania border. 

Longwood Gardens is draped with a rainbow of brilliant colors — beyond the tulips that the crowds sought.

Though a springtime visit to Longwood Gardens means you’ll find the venue thronged with those who came for the showy flowers, I chose to stroll along paths that bordered the expansive and picturesque Meadow Garden that exuded nothing but a sense of calm.

Seeking to avoid the masses at Longwood Gardens who came for the tulips, I discovered serene woodlands.

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

More Nature-Based Discoveries in Delaware

This is the second of three posts documenting my nature-based findings while visited Wilmington, Delaware, President Biden’s hometown, as well as the surrounding Brandywine Valley. 

The myriad colors and textures in the gardens of the Nemours Estate, a grand duPont property, easily allow visitors to be wrapped up in a sense of tranquility that seems endless.

A sense of magic and wonder pervades the stunning grounds of The Inn at Montchanin Village, a former 19th century hamlet and DuPont property that exudes charm and offers a window into a long ago era.

Broad sweeps of verdancy characterize the serene Brandywine Valley that surrounds Wilmington, Delaware.

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Saturday, May 22, 2021

Nature-Based Discoveries in Delaware

I recently visited Wilmington, Delaware, President Biden’s hometown, as well as the surrounding Brandywine Valley. This is one of several posts documenting the lush parks and gardens I discovered.

 I love coffee and gardens. So imagine my surprise to find not just awesome coffee but the prettiest outdoor seating around at Brew HaHa! cafe in the Greenville suburb of Wilmington. (They also serve tasty breakfast sandwiches.)

Despite the throngs who came to gape at tulips at the expansive Longwood Gardens (just 12 miles away across the border of Pennsylvania), I managed to find a sense of magic in areas that attracted few.

Home to the Enchanted Woods, the Winterthur Gardens in Delaware wraps visitors in a veil of magic no matter where you walk.

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