Veteran’s Day Travels

It’s been almost a week since my last trip, but I just haven’t been able to find the time to write about it!  I’m finally taking a break from schoolwork to write this up, because it was just too fun a trip to not reminisce over 🙂

For Veteran’s Day weekend my friend and I took a trip out to New York and New Jersey, and let me just start by saying that I forgot how much I LOVE road trips…they’re seriously so much fun!  I love traveling by plane and train of course, but cars allow you so many more opportunities to veer off course and explore whatever catches your eye along the way…and there was a lot that caught our eye!

We left Boston on Saturday morning and were lucky enough to somehow avoid almost all traffic, something unheard of around here for a drive out to New York.  We took the parkway for as much of the trip as possible, and along the way we stopped in cute little towns and even found a rest stop with free Boy Scout food 🙂  I was the lucky driver for the first leg of the trip, and the only crazy part was when we had to cut through the Bronx…I thought us Boston drivers had a reputation, but New Yorkers seem to take the cake!  The silver lining is that I saw a part of the city I’d never seen before, and by the time we finally made it across the George Washington I experienced a sense of relief like nothing else I’ve ever felt.

My friend and I arrived in New Jersey that night where we stayed with her aunt in a town called Cliffside Park – it is so quaint and nice!  The particular neighborhood we were in was a little Italian borough, and it just had a such a nice, community feel to it.  The night we arrived my friend’s aunt took us out to dinner to (of course) a Spanish restaurant, so I was absolutely over the moon!  If anyone ever finds themselves in Cliffside Park, New Jersey it is an absolute requirement to go to Meson Madrid – it was fabulous!  The sangria seriously tasted like SPAIN sangria, and the food was so, so yummy.

On Sunday we took a day trip out to a small town called Roscoe, New York, where we visited an abandoned castle.  Finding our way into the town was an adventure in and of itself, and then by the time we made it the skies were already starting to darken!  We explored more back roads than I can even remember, crossed over a rickety wooden, one-lane bridge, drove into woodsy territory with no GPS service, and finally, SOMEHOW, stumbled upon the Dundas Castle.  This castle, which was built in 1924, is also called the Craig-E-Clair Castle, and it was modeled after the Dundas Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It’s been abandoned for some time, and unfortunately, as is the case with most any abandoned building, there has been a fair amount of vandalism and damage to the property.  To prevent any further destruction the access road to the property has been closed, meaning that we were forced to find another way access the castle…which was located at the top of a steep, wooded hill.  The castle really is a hidden gem in every sense of the word – the old stone blends right in with the birch trees surrounding it, so much so that we almost didn’t see it!  We parked our car on the side of the road, turned on the hazards, and climbed out in our penny loafers and fashion boots…right as a rain storm stared.  I am convinced that it is only through sheer determination that we made it up that hill, which was SO steep and SO slippery from the wet leaves, but make it we did!  And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we reached the top the rain stopped; if that’s not a good omen then I don’t know what is!

The castle was truly so gorgeous that it felt surreal; the property was so green and expansive, and we were so far from the road that it was absolutely silent…but weirdly not spooky.  I think neither me or my friend wanted to admit it,  but we were a little nervous to be up there all by ourselves – it was REALLY secluded!  We’d traveled all that way though, so we went inside the building to explore, and oh my goodness was it worth it.  The vandalism and graffiti was truly so sad to see, but despite all that you could still tell what an incredible building it must have been at one time – spiral staircases, arched doorways and window frames, faded floral wallpaper…it felt like a real castle!  There was just enough light to navigate some of the rooms and halls, but others were pitch black.  I believe the castle had three floors (maybe four?) and if we’d had more time I would have loved to explore every nook and cranny.  The time of day forced us to cut our tour short, however, and by the time we made it back down to the car it was past sunset – not a good time to be in an abandoned building!

The rest of the trip just consisted of nice downtime, something we both truly needed because everyone I have come into contact with lately is just so sick, the one bad thing about this time of year.  We ended our stay in New Jersey with a trip to a Greek diner and a view of the New York skyline, and then made our way back to Boston on Monday.  This was definitely a short trip, but it was just what I needed – adventures is like a vitamin, you need a little bit every day!  I loved being able to explore a part of New York that I’d never seen before, and was especially happy to have an excuse to take a little road trip.  Hopefully my next trip will also require the use of a car!  And hopefully it’s SOON!

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