I can always count on my friend Aki for excursions that are fun, if often last minute.
Working Dog Winery
I always think of the area around my mom’s house as no man’s land, or at least retiree-ville, with not much around except a Target and terrible Japanese food. However, it turns out, Aki discovered, there’s a winery not too far away.
It’s called Working Dog Winery and is very nice. We got a bottle of rose to split and sat outside chatting and snacking. (The place doesn’t have food and we neglected to bring some from my mom’s house. Luckily Aki had chips and nuts in her car.)
A really good thing about the place is that they have a specific area for people with kids. In other areas, kids aren’t allowed, which makes for an even more peaceful time.
Spring Lake Beach
I was hanging out one Sunday afternoon at my mom’s a little bit bored when Aki texted that she felt like going to the beach. It was already past three, but I encouraged her to go since sunset wasn’t until 8:30. Just for kicks, I checked the map and saw that my mother’s house was between Aki’s place and the shore. I half-jokingly said she could pick me up on the way.
After a bit she texted, “Ok, I’ll be there in 25 minutes.” Yikes! I scrambled getting together some snacks as well as my hat, shades, and anything else I thought I might need.
It was a really lovely outing. Although Spring Lake was an hour away, it didn’t feel long because we were yakking the whole time. The town is very nice. It looks more like Martha’s Vineyard than the Jersey shore with big beautiful houses and no boardwalk. Aki said there are no restaurants or other places selling food — you have to go to the next town for that — so that’s how they’re able to keep the beach so clean.
Since we had gotten there kind of late, the visitors seemed to be mostly gone and it was residents. It was so pretty and peaceful. We sat there chatting and eating my mom’s food for well over two hours. We also dipped our feet in the water, and it was much warmer than we expected. Soaking up some sea air felt really good.
A cider and ice cream excursion
In late August I had a fun excursion with Aki and her fiance to upstate New York. Our first stop was Seven Lake Station for lunch and a flight of hard ciders and beers. I had the ham and gruyere sandwich and enjoyed most of the flight.
After lunch we got ice cream at Bellvale Farms. It was good but I should have stuck with my favorite, cookies and cream (which Aki’s fiance got), instead of trying to be different and getting some raspberry-dominating flavor and cookie dough. The view was nice though:
Our last stop was Pennings Farm, where we got a flight of hard ciders and again enjoyed the view.