Photos are from 1) Central Park on a recent afternoon, 2) the Williamsburg Bridge when I decided to walk to the West Village to go meet a friend, 3) a fun archery class at Gotham Archery - can't wait to go back again, 4) a quick snack of rambutan, and 5) beautiful flowers from this week's farm share.
Sunday morning I surprised Jon with a trip to Mast Brothers Chocolate for a factory tour and chocolate tasting. We saw how their chocolate was made, from roasting the cacao beans to packaging the bars. We also got to taste the chocolate at different stages of the process. They offered us samples of the roasted cacao, chocolate from the conches that were grinding the cacao and sugar, and finally five different kinds of their chocolate.
Aside from the chocolate bars that have ingredients such as sea salt or coffee beans, the chocolate consists of only cacao and sugar. It allows the flavor of the beans and the subtleties between them to come through and produces a beautiful, high quality bar of chocolate.
Tours are available on Friday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you have some free time, grab a buddy and take this tour. And be prepared to sample a lot of chocolate!
NYC's Pride Parade is one of the biggest parties of the year. This year Jon, myself and some of our friends volunteered with ACT UP and somehow ended up on the float for the entire parade. Originally the plan was to stay only for a few hours but we ended up staying until the very end. It was crazy and exciting and SO MUCH FUN! I'm thankful to have had the experience.
Do you know about ACT UP? I was extremely proud to be volunteering with them last weekend.
"ACT UP, the commonly used acronym for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, is a grassroots AIDS organization associated with nonviolent civil disobedience. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, ACT UP became the standard-bearer for protest against governmental and societal indifference to the AIDS epidemic...
From its inception, ACT UP has had a considerable impact on AIDS-related public policy. ACT UP successfully used its nonviolent, direct-action approach to force the FDA to accelerate drug trials for AIDS and to consider ACT UP's "parallel track" proposal. Under this proposal, people with AIDS are given drugs before they are approved by the time-consuming and bureaucracy-ridden FDA approval process. ACT UP's protests also led Burroughs Wellcome to dramatically reduce the price of AZT. Other pharmaceutical companies have been shamed into cutting the prices of drugs that have demonstrated effectiveness in helping people with AIDS."
After a month full of business trips and too much time apart, Jon and I decided to take a weekend trip to the North Fork. The North Fork is the antithesis of the Hamptons. The area is much more laid back and is definitely more my speed. We booked a room through Airbnb and our hosts were great. They had a lot of recommendations for us as well as two sweet golden retrievers who were happy to receive some extra attention. We planned our trip to happen a couple of weeks before the season officially began and were lucky to have some pretty glorious weather.
We went to several beaches in the area and found that instead of soft white sand the shoreline was covered in rocks and shells. It wasn't a bad thing. Just different, you know? Although it did feel a little creepy feeling the shells crunch under our feet as we walked along the beaches. Jon said that it felt like a pile of bones.
On Saturday afternoon we took the ferry from Greenport and headed over to Shelter Island. We rented a couple bicycles and spent the day riding around the island, relishing the nearly car free roads and stopping at beaches along the way.
On our hosts' recommendation, we stopped by the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company for a tasting. This local brewery has a great deal where for only $8 you get five 4 ounce pours and you get to keep the pint glass if you wish. The beers were incredible. I was a big fan of their stout. Jon really likes their saison. This place a definitely worth a visit. Their brews were delicious and the staff was attentive and very friendly.
I was happy to see cherry blossoms in full bloom everywhere we went.
The weekend went by much too quickly but it was the perfect, slow paced getaway that we needed to rest and recharge for the coming week. The North Fork is charming and only a two hour drive from the city. I highly recommend a visit if you're looking for a quick escape from city life.