I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend and got to spend some time outdoors enjoying this beautiful weather. I have been savoring every minute of summer, and got to visit some pretty amazing places these past few months. Check out the rest of the post to see my top 12 favorite things to see and do this summer here in New York, and also in my hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota.
1. Untermyer Gardens
My mom came to visit in June, and we visited Untermyer Park and Gardens in Yonkers, New York - just 30 minutes north of Manhattan. These gorgeously stunning gardens were built by Samuel Untermyer, who purchased the estate in 1899 and continued to expand the gardens over the next 40 years. The park celebrated its heyday in the 1920's, when it was the backdrop for many glamorous parties, and artistic performances and celebrations. Just imagine a Great Gatsby Era party in this space! Now the park is a little rundown and in need of repairs, but an incredible place to visit nonetheless. It is open to the public daily at no charge, but you can also make a donation to support the restoration of this Park.
2. Build It Green! NYC
I volunteered for the first time at Build It Green in Brooklyn. I had a great time digging through their trove of treasures, and dipping my toes in the world of building. Build It Green is definitely one of my new favorite places. It's a really cool organization and you can read more about it in this post.
3. Greenwood Cemetery
I enjoyed several events at the magnificent and historical Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 1838, this National Historic Landmark spans over 400 acres and is home to the statuary and mausoleums of many influential and historical figures. The Greenwood Cemetery is a fascinating place to visit, and they have a great line-up of events including a moonlit walking tour and a morning yoga session. The picture below is from a performance of Our Town. A uniquely wonderful experience.
4. Awadh Indian Restaurant
The latest restaurant I designed celebrated it's opening in July. If you haven't tried it yet, you should definitely visit for rich and delicious Indian food and a warm and elegant atmosphere. You can see more pictures of the space from my post here, and read more about the design process here.
5. Rooftop Dinners
I love celebrating summer in New York at a rooftop dinner with friends. The view from the roof of my building in the Financial District is amazing, and the sunsets are awe-inspiring.
6. West End Temple
I volunteered at the West End Temple near Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY. This beautiful worship space and community center suffered devastating damage during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and they are still recovering 2 years later. If you want to help out, you can sign up with New York Cares for ongoing rebuilding projects at the site.
7. Blogger Block Party
I had a blast learning DIY projects and making connections at HGTV's Blogger Block Party in August. The highlight for me was meeting real estate investor, contractor, and host of HGTV's "Income Property", Scott McGillivray. The event was a great day filled with inspiring DIY presentations, and meeting new friends. I left feeling inspired and ready to create!
8. Coney Island
Summer in New York isn't complete without a visit to Coney Island. I was too scared to ride the new Thunderbolt coaster at Luna Park , so I stayed on the ground to snap this picture of my friends screaming their faces off, right before they plunged to their deaths!
9. Ice Cream
I ate an obscene amount of ice cream this summer, and I loved every bite. Check out my round up of inspiring ice cream shop designs here.
10. Paper Art
I celebrated the wedding of my friends Marian and Jun, and had my portrait done by the incredibly talented paper artist Jenny Lee Fowler. She hand-cut these silhouttes of me and my boyfriend in just a few minutes! She is super amazing and you should definitely check out her work.
11. Malouf's Mountain
I love the hustle and bustle of city life, but it's also nice to get away and explore nature. It's especially difficult for New Yorkers to enjoy camping since many of us don't have cars, and small apartments mean limited storage space for bulky camping supplies. That's why I love going to Malouf's Mountain in Beacon, NY. They will pick you up from the train station and take you to their peaceful and secluded campsite in the woods. From there you can explore numerous hiking trails through Upstate New York, and spend the night at your private campsite stocked with firewood and cooking equipment. It's the ultimate glamping experience, but you really do feel a million miles from the city. It's one of my favorite things to do every summer!
12. Minnesota Livin
I also spent some time this summer with my parents in my hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. We visited the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. The Sunken Garden is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in MN.
I also made a trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival (one of my favorite places in the whole wide world), and got my hair braided like a princess!
Last but not least, I had a blast with my family at the Minnesota State Fair, aka The Great Minnesota Get-Together. This is seriously one of the best state fairs in the country, and definitely worth a trip to Minnesota. This year I ate blueberry snow, met a day-old baby piglet, and rode rides at the Midway until I was dizzy.
I hope you all enjoyed your summer as much as I did! What were some of your favorite adventures this summer?