In my quest to find outdoor Things to do Near Meon Long Island, my daughter and I wandered off to the Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve. It is located in Merrick, N. Y. right off the Meadowbrook Parkway. It has free parking and there is no entry fee.
And who was Norman J. Levy? And why would he have a park and preserve named after him? Norman J. Levy was a New York State Senator and a resident of Merrick, New York. He was a champion for the environment and was the sponsor of the first mandatory seat belt law in the United States. Perhaps the next time you ride along the Meadowbrook Parkway, you will notice signs that recognize his role in the seat belt legislation.
The Park and Preserve was once a landfill which is situated next to the Town of Hempstead Sanitation. It is a man-made park and preserve built in 2000. It is the highest point on Long Island’s South Shore with great views of the NYC Skyline and Jones Beach.
As my daughter and I entered the park, we were thrilled to see a barn with chickens and goats. Apparently the chickens are Guinea Fowl and are utilized as a natural way to rid the preserve of ticks. The goats are Nigerian Dwarf Goats and are used for weed management throughout the preserve. We were just excited to see animals. Who knew they were working animals?
As you walk along the different crushed shell paths there are fitness stations where you can balance on a beam, do lunges, push ups, sit-ups etc. There are also great views at the high points of Jones Beach and other seaside gems. We saw a sign for a kayak launch, but didn’t really investigate that too much. There’s a nice breeze as you walk around from the water which can be very invigorating as you breath in the salt air. You really do forget you are adjacent to the sanitation center.
Something that I thought was really nice were that there were small wooden birdhouses on many of the trees. They appeared to be home made wooden houses. Otherwise it is simply an enjoyable stroll right off the parkway where cattails, shrubs, and trees abound.
As we came around a bend, we were excited to see a pier that we were able to walk out onto. It was very breezy by the water so we just took in the views, but on a nicer day you could sit on the benches and rest for awhile. You could see many homes of Long Island residents fortunate enough to live right on the water.
We were pleased with this find. This park and preserve is convenient enough to visit often. I’m sure there are regular walkers, joggers, fishermen at the pier, and fitness station participants. Norman J. Levy is remembered in a beautiful way with this park and preserve!
When should you travel? Any chance you get! I retired last June from teaching and I’m happy to say that I have been on quite a few getaways. I may not have traveled the world or been overseas, but I think it’s important to always have something to look forward to.
My last day of teaching after 30 years was June 26th, and on June 27th my daughter and I were off to Universal Studios in Florida. We love going on rides so it’s a perfect trip for us to take. We stayed at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. This hotel is onsite with a walkway and a water taxi to the parks. It has a great Italian theme with a variety of fountains, statues, sculptures, and mosaics throughout the resort.
My daughter surprised me with a retirement pin and champagne and we were off to the Universal Studios Park. The funny thing was when we first got to the hotel and had lunch, we asked the waiter about the the walkway to the parks. He said it was far and he had only done it once. We must of walked that path 20 times in the 5 days we were there. It really wasn’t far at all and we took great pics on the walkway including at the beautiful butterfly garden along the way.
Universal Studios has many movie themed rides and attractions. When you stay in a hotel onsite, you get a pass that allows you to go on a much quicker line to get on the rides. Disney should really have something like this. You can get on a lot of rides and attractions in one day. We especially enjoyed the character interactions in Universal.
Islands of Adventure is the other park in Universal which tends to have more of the thrill rides like The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic Park River Adventure. This is where you will find The Wizardly World of Harry Potter which is something you really need to experience to truly understand. The newest ride Hagrid’s MagicalCreatures Motorbike is one of the best rides I have ever been on. Islands of Adventure also has Seuss Landing which is fun for all ages. You will see familiar characters at both the attractions and shops. The Cat in the Hat, Hop On Pop Ice Cream Shop, and If IRan the Zoo, just to name a few.
In addition to the 2 main parks, Universal also has City Walk and Volcano Bay The City Walk is great at night to grab a nice dinner and a few drinks preferably margaritas. We like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and Hard Rock Cafe . After a night at the parks, my daughter enjoyed a treat from Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and souvenir shopping. Volcano Bay is a water park with something to do for all ages. I liked the lazy river, wave pool and the raft rides. My daughter was braver and sampled the zero gravity drops, twists, and turns. Volcano Bay has the virtual line feature which I think all parks will have in the near future.
Most of the summer I spent dog sitting which allows other people to travel while I safely watch their dog(s). Dog sitting is my new job now that I’m retired. I wrote in a previous blog about how you need to Find Three Hobbies You Love when you retire. One of them should help you make money to travel with. I did go to the beach, pool, Old Westbury Gardens where I am a member, Fire Island, The Oheka Castle, and many other places using my strategy of googling Things to do Near Me.
In September my husband, son, and I, took a road trip to Washington D. C. for a few days to celebrate my son’s birthday. We are Disney Vacation Club Members so we used points to stay at the Mandarin Oriental. This was all a great idea I had to make sure my physically disabled son would have a memorable 26th birthday. Unfortunately, I planned this trip before my son met and fell in love with his girlfriend. We had a good time, but it was a kind of an under appreciated endeavor.
We made a trip to D.C. a few years back and walked the Mall and had an extensive tour of the Capital. We visited the Supreme Court, all the Smithsonian Museums, and the National Archives. So on this trip I wanted to do some different things and did my research online. Unfortunately we were denied a White House tour which was a big let down. I thought that would have been a fun birthday activity.
When we checked into the hotel it was pretty clear from the other guests that the tourist season was pretty much over and business casual was the appropriate look. Being a teacher for 30 years never led to a September vacation so this was all new to me. Nevertheless, it was hot and we all had on our summer casual look.
My son is in a wheelchair, so believe it or not it’s actually easier for us to walk everywhere around D.C. than travel any other way. On our first afternoon we headed to the Newseum. This was somewhere we had never visited so we thought we would check it out. We heard it was closing down and I’m not surprised because the politics were completely one-sided not making it very welcoming to half the country.
The best part about the Mandarin is that you can easily walk to places like the Mall from the hotel. They also have a great concierge with drinks and food set up which is really the only reason I like this hotel. The last time we were in D.C. was during a record heatwave years ago in June which made walking around challenging. It was still shorts weather in September (not at the Mandarin) which made life easier for us.
Our first night we walked to the Mall during dusk which was kind of special. Everything looked a little more majestic that time of day, and we took some great pictures.
On my son’s birthday we took a Duck Tour at Union Square. The people couldn’t believe we walked there from the Mandarin. It really is a great way to see everything. If you never did a Duck Tour you should! They are actually a very big thing in the city of Boston. Duck boats are amphibious vehicles that were used during WWII by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. to ferry ammunition and supplies to fighting units on the beach. These tours are fun because the driver is always very entertaining and you actually learn a lot while you travel by land then sea.
After the tour, we walked the city and visited the Old Post Office, the Indian Museum, the Africa American Museum, and the Botanic Gardens. They were all worth seeing, but I especially enjoyed the Botanic Gardens.
One last good thing about the Mandarin is that it is in walking distance to the newly developed Waterfront of restaurants and shops. Naturally being on the water there are many seafood restaurants to choose from and there is a wonderful walkway too.
Before we left D.C. we walked over and visited the Museum of the Bible. This was something I really wanted to do after watching the Bible series on television. It did not disappoint and I highly recommend it to people of all faiths. It has many modern technological features that I haven’t seen anywhere else in D. C. at their museums. It’s hard to capture in pictures so I posted a couple of my favorite Bible verses instead that they had displayed.
D.C. was a great road trip and we even stopped for a few hours at the Arlington Cemetery on the way home. I guess overall my son had a pretty good birthday, and I vacationed in September for the first time!
The following month was my daughter’s birthday and my husband and I did an over night stay in Binghamton. On my daughter’s birthday you better think of good things to do! I used my Things to do Near Me strategy and found a lot of activities for a fun-filled day! We started at Ross Park Zoo. This is a small zoo but we still had a lot of fun exploring. Since it was the month of October kids were encouraged to wear costumes and there were a sprinkling of decorations throughout the zoo. They called it Howloween at the Zoo. They had a petting zoo, wolves, penguins, an endangered species exhibit, and even a sloth. We had fun, but we usually do wherever we go.
Our next stop was the Phelps Mansion Museum where we had a scheduled tour. This was great and I highly recommend it if you are in Binghamton. This mansion is an 19th century landmark featuring the furnishings and many other artifacts of the time. The mansion is located on what was once referred to as Mansion Row. It is the only mansion left standing. Our tour was both informative and entertaining. We learned many interesting details about the Sherman D. Phelps famly at 191 Court Street during this era.
We stopped briefly to explore Cutler Botanic Garden located on upper Front Street. It has free admission and was surprisingly picturesque and made for a great stroll. The garden was established by Miss Frances Cutler, who donated land to the Cornell University Extension.
We visited two great restaurants to celebrate my daughters Birthday. Dos Rios Cantina and 205 Dry. Dos Rios Cantina has a great bar set up and a very nice bartender. You can eat at the bar too if you like. They also have table service. The bartender was great and surprised my daughter with a shot of tequila with the new sparkler set up, and they did a very catchy happy birthday song. 205 Dry is considered a Speakeasy Restaurant. A Speakeasy going back to prohibition. You walk in to shelves and shelves of books to hide that it was a drinking establishment. Drinks and food were great here too!
We had a great day in Binghamton celebrating my daughter’s birthday all using my strategy of googling Things to do Near Me.
Later in October I headed to Amesbury in Massachusetts to visit friends. Why not? I am retired. It was great to see my friends, and it was really the first time I can recall enjoying the beauty of the season of Fall. I always related Fall to going back to work.
Being a person who loves the outdoors and hiking, the first day we headed to Amesbury Town Forest. The Town Forest is 80 acres with many miles of marked trails. Strolling through a forest without a care in the world is a wonderful feeling. Newly retired, I admired the fall foliage with fresh new eyes. A trail of fallen leaves is really a thing of beauty.
During my stays with my lady friends there’s usually a lot of eating out, sightseeing, and lots of cheer. We frequented quite a few restaurants such as the Ale House which is located in a picture perfect town, and my friends were sure to show me the beauty that is all around this area. Once again being fall in New England made it even more spectacular.
Since it was October, I suggested we head to Salem, MA one night since I knew there would be some goings on for Halloween. I had been there before and visited the Witch Museum, The House of Seven Gables, and learned all about the Witch Trials. Before we reached Salem I had interest in doing one of the Haunted House Tours, but when we started walking around I chickened out. So we strolled though the streets and checked out the shops and did a “non scary tour”. We had fun but I haven’t been brave in many years when it comes to haunted outdoor activities. (Getting old)
We also visited Salem, New Hampshire which actually pretty close to Amesbury to visit America’s Stonehenge. Here you have a small entrance fee and you are encouraged to start with the short film before heading out on your adventure. As you walk through the grounds there are a series of stone structures. It is theorized like the Stonehenge in England it was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. The site is an actual astronomical calendar where stones appear to align with solar and lunar occurrences such as the Summer Solstice. They do have events here such as the Summer Solstice Celebration and they advertise snowshoeing in the winter. It was great visit to see friends and hope to head that way again next year.
Back home led to a series of holidays and all the preparation that goes along with that, and of course plenty of dog sitting. In the New Year, my daughter and I embarked on a 10 day adventure to Puerto Rico and a Royal Caribbean Cruise. We departed the day that I would have returned to school if I wasn’t retired. I write all about this in Cruise Travel. This was my last trip before our world changed forever. I say all the time how blessed I was to go on all these trips, especially the one in January. We had a great time, but it would of been nice to know it would be my last trip for a long while.
I pretty much watch dogs, save money and travel. I spend a lot of time planning my travel because I believe it is important to always have something to look forward to. Well in the end of March, my husband and I were this close to going on a vacation for the first time without kids in 26 years to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Right before we were to head to The Bahamas everything turned bad with virus. Little did I know how bad. A lot more than 15 days to slow the spread. I also had a trip to Disney World with my daughter kabashed which was suppose to take place at the end of her junior year of college.
So when I ask, “When should you travel?” I really truly mean any chance you get because at any given moment life can change!
In my quest to find Things to do Near Meon Long Island, I discovered a real gem at the Nassau County Museum of Art. To be honest, I have no interest in visiting this museum, but it turns out that they have quite an elaborate sculpture garden and beautiful walking trails.
Nassau County Museum of Art is located in Roslyn, N.Y. The museum has a variety of art programs and is popular for school trips. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic the museum is closed, but you are free to explore The Sculpture Park and Walking Trails.
The Sculpture Park was a real pleasant surprise! A friend on Facebook posted pictures on a walking trail, but never mentioned the park. After you park your car, you walk on to a grassy area that is sprinkled with large sculptures of various size and stature. Each sculpture has a plaque nearby with the title of the sculpture and the artist’s name. There are more than 40 sculptures. The grounds are beautiful this time of year with all the flowering trees and shrubs. Sprinkled throughout The Sculpture Park are benches where you can sit and admire the view. The Sculpture Park was founded in 1989.
In addition to The Sculpture Park there is a vast woodland area and trails. There are more than a half dozen different trails with names such as Twin Pond, Hempstead Harbor Overlook, Mountain Laurel, and Tulip Tree. The majority of the trails are an easy going walk with beautiful views of Hempstead Harbor. The dirt paths are sprinkled with colorful flowers and greenery.
The indoor Museum of Art may be closed, but the outdoor Museum of Art is open for all to enjoy and explore!
Update! My daughter and I have returned to the Museum and discovered that there is so much more to explore. Upon looking at the Museum’s website, I discovered that there were many more trails, open spaces, and sculptures on the Museum grounds.
We enjoyed another day out walking the trails and taking in the beauty of Long Island. We kept saying how it felt like we traveled far from home, but in reality this beautiful place is a stones throw away in Roslyn. I’m sure if we returned again we would discover even more beautiful spaces and uniques sculptures.
As a newly retired teacher on Long Island, I continue my quest for finding Things to do Near Me. During the Covid19 Pandemic, my college age daughter and I have taken up walking pretty long distances for exercise, and to break up the monotony of the quarantine lifestyle. We generally walk around the neighborhood keeping our distance from other people at all times. We have pretty much exhausted every direction and route in our Salisbury, N.Y. neighborhood. Last week we went to Mill Pond Parkand walked the loop twice which was a wonderful way to social distance and get some fresh air at the same time. Yesterday we ventured out to the Jones Beach Boardwalk.
The Jones Beach Boardwalk in Wantagh, New York is about 4 miles in length. The trail end points are from Field 1 of Jones Beach State Park and Field 6 of Jones Beach State Park. Generally visitors park in Field 6 and start out on their walk which is also accessible for wheelchairs and bike riders.
During this time of social distancing, I found the Jones Beach Boardwalk to be a good choice. The Field 6 parking lot’s size doesn’t allow for huge crowds to make their way to the boardwalk. In addition, the boardwalk is very wide with natural social distancing caused by the center meridian. Walkers walk in an east and west direction, once again allowing for a natural way to social distance.
It was a great feeling strolling along the boardwalk with the blue skies, sunshine, and the cool salt air breeze. With a short drive we were able to escape the monotony of quarantine life with many other Long Islanders and keep our distance at the same time. We did see many people choosing to wear a face mask. For the first time I realized that wearing a mask steals your ability to smile at one another. I personally did not have a face mask on and would smile at people walking by. I could sense that they may be smiling back at me through the light I could see in their eyes. That made me feel a little sad and confirm to me that one day things will have to get back to normal.
Along our walk there were signs of the times. There was a pretty catchy slogan on a sign: Be Smart Stay 6 Feet Apart. You could find this sign along the boardwalk in many locations. There were also other signs of Closings and Do Not Enter all claiming to Stopthe Spread of Covid-19.
In my quest to findThings to do Near Me, Jones Beach Boardwalk is a great option that I will be returning to many times over the next few months. I’m hoping as the weeks and months go by and the weather warms, things will get back to normal as we Long Islanders gather to stroll along our boardwalk.
So what do you do if you need a doctor during a pandemic? You call Teladoc! Teladoc provides quick and easy access to a doctor. Thankfully through social distancing and quarantine, I do not have the coronavirus, but I do have a dry eye condition that seems to be progressing.
I attempted to contact the two eye doctors I have used over the years, but they are not seeing patients so I decided to check out Teladoc. A simple Google search brought me to their site. I created a username and password and filled out basic information. Somehow my insurance just popped up with other basic information about me. I filled out the same kind of questionnaire about history and symptoms you would fill out in a doctor’s office. I then had the option of phone or video call. I chose the phone call option.
Within 10 minutes I received a call from a doctor who had reviewed my information and asked me to describe my symptoms. I explained that in addition to my typical dry eye, my left eye was red and there appeared to be a pinguecula (yellowish growth) on my eye. Apparently a person with severe dry eye and other factors like ultra violet rays exposure can cause this. She said she would prescribe drops and an ointment to treat my condition. The prescription would be sent to the local pharmacy that I chose on their website. She also stated that eventually I would have to see an ophthalmologist when things get back to normal.
Within 10 minutes I received an email that my prescription was submitted, and as I wait for my text from CVS, I thought I would share my experience with Teladoc. Of course the Covid19 is the prevalent illness we are facing today, but what do you do if some kind of minor condition arises? You can contact Teladoc!
Kids need crafts now more than ever in this time where they are stuck in the house most of the day. As a retired 3rd grade teacher, I know the most important thing about teaching is to inspire the love of learning. Crafts can be an important vehicle during the coronavirus quarantine to help children feel a sense of normalcy. Crafts can be a great way to pass some time while we are sheltering in place, and even beyond because it seems regardless of what happens with the virus, schools are not opening back up so soon.
In Find a Rainbow Day, I wrote about how the kids of Salisbury are painting rainbows and displaying them in their windows for all to see. Kids then take a walk around the neighborhood and hunt for rainbows. This is a great activity and distraction for our time. Parents get pretty excited when they see a rainbow too. I made a point of painting my own rainbows 7, one for each window panel. When a child walks by my house at least for a moment, they can forget about it all.
An outdoor craft idea I saw was Chalk Your Walk. This activity took place on March 20 and March 21st, but it doesn’t really matter when kids do this. Kids will get some fresh air and can use some of their creativity. Once again when people walk around the neighborhood, they can see the drawings, designs, messages.
The most recent posting I have seen for an art activity and exercise is an Easter Egg Huntwith Social Distancing. Another great idea very similar to the Rainbow Hunt. Kids design their own Easter eggs and display them in their windows for all to see, and then they can go in search of eggs around the neighborhood. When I read this I got very excited and recruited my college age daughter to help me paint Easter eggs for our windows. She was pretty excited, so imagine an elementary student participating in the Easter Egg Hunt with Social Distancing.
Well as a retired teacher, I started thinking about all the other crafts kids could do to keep some normalcy in their lives. Of course kids can dye eggs for Easter and make Easter baskets, but there’s a lot of cake crafts they can do with their parents too. Kids can also have a real egg hunt in their own backyards.
I mentioned to my daughter while we were painting that kids could make flags for Memorial Day and she suggested Earth Day April-22nd and Mother’s Day – May 10th crafts too. Well this got me really thinking about quarantine crafts. For Earth Day kids can make recycled art crafts like many kids have done for school assignments over the years. They can use toilet paper rolls (HA HA!) paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, robots using a variety of recycled materials, water bottle mobiles etc, etc.
Crafts are great, but projects are even better! When I was a teacher I was involved in a great project called The Bottle Cap Project. Kids can save bottle caps for the next few weeks. You will be surprised how quickly the caps will accumulate. You can ask people you know to save the caps for you too. Once you have all your caps, you can sort them into colors and come up with a design. Sketch your design then glue on your bottle caps.
Outdoor spring crafts are endless. Kids can make birdhouses using milk gallons or cartons. Kids can paint birdhouses, rocks, planters, stepping stones etc. Get kids involved in the gardening and planting that we all do every spring.
Let’s not forget to thank our Moms. Maybe Dads could work on these crafts. Kid just need a folded piece of paper to make a Mother’s Day card, and there are a lot of easy crafts kids can make with their handprints and basic materials.
Making patriotic crafts may be the most important type of activity kids can be doing right now. Paint a flag, create a bottle cap flag, patriotic wreaths, and cakes. Displaying the red, white, and blue can help unite us. I have noticed many of my neighbors hanging their American Flags in front of their homes. Many Americans become more patriotic when their country is in trouble. It’s a great time to teach kids to be more patriotic too.
So parents get going and start crafting with your kids! It’s a great distraction for both you and your kids, and a lot of fun too!
During this time of uncertainty and crisis, I continue to see heartwarming activities, as I noted in Covid19 Culture. As America lives under quarantine and unable to live their ordinary lives, it’s important that we all stay positive.
As a retired teacher, I tend to think of the effect of all this on the kids and the importance of parents outlook at this time. No matter how they feel they must stay positive and express hope to their kids.
Well one wonderful activity I found is Find a Rainbow Day. I belong to a neighborhood group Salisbury/Westbury Mom & Dads Group, and last week I saw comments about how the kid’s distance learning assignment was to make rainbows. Many parents dismissed this and expressed concern about the validity of this assignment as not being very educational, but they were wrong. The kids were to make the rainbows, hang them in their windows, and go for a walk and hunt for rainbows.
I started taking long walks around the neighborhood not only to break up the monotony of it all, but for fresh air and exercise. Well as I was walking around I started seeing rainbows on my neighbor’s windows. I have to tell you this made me feel very happy, and I commented in the group about it, and many people shared the rainbow their kid had made. There was definitely a shift in their perspective about making the rainbows.
Yesterday I took a walk with my husband with the intent of taking pictures of all the rainbows that I could find. I went on my own Rainbow Hunt. I took a photo of each one so that I could post them to the group. Parents were pleased to see their child’s rainbow was displayed and I was sure to comment that their kids were truly making a difference in the world with their rainbows.
The local News 12 heard about these rainbows and came to our neighborhood to report on it. Apparently this initiative is county wide and as the news states it is a way to share some cheer. I’m always up for sharing some cheer, especially for children, so I went home and painted 7 rainbows for each panel on my front windows. I hope to make kids smile as they go on their Rainbow Hunt.
Remember to stay positive! You never know who you are inspiring!
As America lives under quarantine and unable to live their ordinary lives, I’ve noticed a few positive things.
Life has slowed down to pretty much to a halt, and without all the running around from one activity to the next, children are spending more time with their parents. In many ways we have stepped back in time to a different era where moms stayed home with their children. I’ve seen parents trying very hard to homeschool their kids or try to fill their time with meaningful activities.
Many parents have set up their own little Corona Academy where they have stepped in and filled the place of their child’s teacher. They have their own little classrooms set up for learning the basics. Children are reading, writing, and doing math problems in their own little at home classrooms, and parents are doing the best they can to help them.
We all know distance learning isn’t the greatest idea for young children and parent’s are going to have to play a pivotal role for it to work at all. There is going to have to be some structure for the learning time to work. Some teachers are going to be better at distance learning than others, and I hope parents realize that this is new for most teachers too. In addition, many teachers probably have their own kids at home that need assistance and have to be cared for. My biggest concern about distance learning is that parents are going to make comparisons with their family and friends about how and what their child’s teacher is providing as educational material.
We have also stepped back in time recreationally. As I walk my dog, I see more and more people walking their dog or just taking a walk to get some fresh air to break up the monotony of it all. I’ve been walking for years and I always comment how sad it is that you don’t see any kids playing outside or doing any of the outdoor activities I did when I was a kid. Now I’m seeing other walkers, including whole families take a stroll around the block. More and more people are walking their dogs, and I’ve seen a few bike riders too. A couple of kids were shooting a basketball in front of their house and even skateboarding.
Puzzles and board games are making a comeback from what I’ve seen on Facebook. I ordered myself 1,000 piece puzzle that’s coming from Amazon today. Puzzles and games also remind me of my childhood. My mother played Candyland and Monopoly with me all time. My father was always up for a good card game.
The funniest thing I’ve seen is a lot of my friends have started cooking, something they pretty much never do. I’ve seen post after post showing these great dinners and desserts that are being made. Most of these women never cook and are feeling quite accomplished.
All these culture changes are great, but it’s going to come a time, sooner than later when people are going to want to get out and do more. We all want to do our part when it comes to social distancing, and Americans always pull together during hard times. Unfortunately, at some point we are going to get like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and long for our busy and hectic lives of old.
As I read my Facebook timeline, I see many friends posting about the shows they are binge watching such as Schitt’s Creek and Grace and Frankie. Then there are the friends looking for suggestion for shows or series they can binge watch. The recommendations come quickly. This is television for the quarantined. I actually haven’t been binge watching any shows accept maybe Law & Order SVU, but I always do that. I’m currently watching Hunters with Al Pacino, but I watch that with my husband who is never home because he’s a manager in Stop & Shop.
I’ve been watching movies on AMC that I have on my DVR. I’m newly retired and I thought I would spend time watching movies in the afternoon, but that never really materialized until the quarantine. I’ve watched some classics like Linda Blair in The Exorcist and Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest. Terms of Endearment was a real tear jerker with Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson.
Yes, I have seen all of these movies before, but they are classics. It is also very different watching these movies as a mature woman with adult children than when you are in your teen years. When Regan’s mother is desperate to help her possessed child any way she can, you get that. At the same time all the devil and vomit spewing antics are pretty entertaining. Joan Crawford makes you realize that maybe you were a pretty damn good mother after all. Any drama you may have caused or created was nothing compared to the wire hanger scene, the bathroom cleaning scene, or the rose garden calamity.
Terms of Endearmentwas hard on me though. Those early glances and smiles between mother and daughter. Then the moving away and only having the phone calls to keep in touch. Nothing could top my emotions during the scene when Shirley MacLaine is screaming at the nurses, “GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!” The scene when Debra Winger spoke to her sons for the last time, and when mom and daughter engage in one last glance and smile, put me over the edge. My dogs were very concerned about mommy crying and showed genuine concern.
So as this quarantine continues, I have Rosemary’s Baby, Network, and Saving Isaiah on tap. I’m sure I’ll watch a few Law & Order SVU and maybe if my husband gets a break at Stop & Shop we’ll squeeze in another Hunters. One thing for sure is that I’m done watching Cable News!
As a newly retired teacher, I was able to take a vacation for the first time in the month of January. My college age daughter was on her winter break and we took this opportunity to travel to the Caribbean because we have a mutual disdain of winter, especially the month of January. Our cruise started on January 4th, but we went to Puerto Rico for a couple of days to get a head start on some sun. January 2nd was a perfect day because that was when Christmas break was over and teachers and students returned to school, making it bittersweet.
My daughter had us on a 5AM flight which I thought was kind of crazy, but we were checked in and on the beach before 11AM. The funny thing is the first thing we did was order Coronas. The beach was great and the hotel still had up all their Christmas decorations which was a very different experience for me.
Our cruise started early on the 4th and it was like we had an extra day at sea, but we were docked. It didn’t matter at all that bon voyage wasn’t until 8PM, we were all in on Day 1 festivities.
Day 2 had us in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We chose the Juanillo Beach excursion which turned out to be breathtaking. The beach had the white powdery sand that I love, and I couldn’t stop talking about how great the sand was the entire excursion. The water was calm and a perfect blue too. There was a bar that had swings as seats which everyone there just had to try and take pics on. Margaritas and rum punch were my chosen drink here which made the day even better. I joined in for some volleyball which was fun and kind of made me feel pretty youthful for a retiree. There was a mixup with the pickup time and tendering was kind of shaky, but I tend to always remember the positive.
We went to Secret Sands Beach in St. Thomas on Day 3. We probably should have chosen the Magens Bay Excursion, but we had a good time. The beach was quiet and pretty small as its name suggests. We were provided with chairs, rum punch, and a great host. It did rain on and off a bit but we still enjoyed the water and it was definitely better than winter in New York. Our guide took us to some roadside shops and we got to take a picture with a donkey we had seen the last time in St. Thomas. We don’t know his name, but we call him Banjo. All in all we had a great day and it contributed to one of my retirement goals to see one beach at a time.
We switched it up in Martinique on Day 4 and skipped the beach. We did some local shopping and then went on a rainforest hike excursion. We like to do one hiking excursion on every trip we take, and you never really know what to expect. Well, we hit the jackpot on this hike! Our guide was a seasoned local who was really into his job. He really took the time to point out the unusual way some of the plants grew. He share stories from his home about the different wood like how mahogany is used. He pointed out the unique beauty of the forest that you may not see as a casual visitor.
The best part though was that the hike was pretty challenging, not just a stroll through the woods. Our guide really took pride in his country and showed us how to eat fruit right off the tree and took us to a local church on the way back to our ship. It was a really great day! Like I said, you never know what to expect on these hiking excursions.
Back to the beach on Day 5. This time we were in St. Lucia. We had been there for a week vacation and saw all the big highlights before, and since it was January we chose the Reduit Beach Excursion. Shopping and going to the beach are 2 things my daughter and I really enjoy so that was our plan for the day. They had some great shopping right at the port and once again it was great to see how different cultures decorate their Christmas trees. Reduit Beach was my least favorite excursion. The beach was super small and crowded, and the ocean waves flooded the entire beach. The people at the bar weren’t very kind when I tried to redeem my drink tickets, and sent me on an adventure to figure out how exactly I could do that. Eventually we figured it out, it was a beach in January, but not the greatest experience. The shopping was much better.
We went Beach Hopping on Day 6 in Barbados. This was a fun time and a place I would go back to and spend a week. This was an open air bus ride that was run by two fun guys who knew how to have a good time. The island music was playing as we learned about the history of Barbados and hopped from beach to beach in a 4 hour period. The rum punch was flowing too as we soaked up the sun on Worthington, Rockly, and Carlisle Bay’s Pebble Beach.
The bus ride back was very festive thanks to our great guide who really did know how to give people a good time. It was fun learning about the island sayings and seeing and hearing about the island. One beach was nicer than the next and it was a really laid back feel, and upbeat at the same time. I can see an all inclusive Barbados vacation in my future.
Day 7 was a Day at sea which my daughter and I enjoy very much. We love the lazy days by the pool watching all the events and activities organized by the pool. We really like everything about cruising. We like how we were able to go to 6 different islands in a weeks time. We like not worrying about how to get to and from places, and we love dressing up which you get to do if you are on a Royal Caribbean Cruise.
Cruising is fun and I hope that the cruise industry bounces back quickly from this ordeal. We love waking up each day and heading out to take photos and set out for new adventures. I have been on many cruises and I can say first hand that there’s always workers walking around and cleaning surfaces. People are always encouraged and reminded to wash their hands and hand sanitizer is available everywhere. There are workers whose job it is to distribute hand sanitizer as you enter food areas and when you embark on the ship. I know cruising is not for everyone, but there’s many a people like me rooting for their recovery!
As a newly retired teacher, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the season of fall through fresh eyes. When your a teacher, fall means one thing- Back to School! I soon discovered that fall is pretty nice, especially in my own backyard of Long Island.
I had become a member of Old Westbury Gardens and fall weekends were great for enjoying the Dog Days at the Garden. The dogs like that it’s a little cooler and the Garden is still a great place to roam.
I used my strategy of Things to do Near Me to find more places we could roam. I discovered Bailey Arboretum and Clark Botanic Garden. They are great places to stroll and appreciate the beauty of Long Island.
Bailey Arboretum is located on the North Shore of Long Island in Lattingtown, N.Y. There’s 42 acres of trails and gardens and you can visit throughout the year for free. They do have events such as Family Day and Popcorn and Pajamas. My husband and I enjoyed getting lost along the leaf littered trails and enjoying all the beauty fall has to offer here on Long Island.
Clark Botanic Garden is a 12- acre botanic garden located in Albertson, N.Y. The garden has thousands of species of plants, specialty gardens , two ponds, and a wonderful gift shop.The gift shop closes for the winter and reopens April 1, 2020. They accept voluntary donations and do have a membership program. My husband and I enjoyed a nice leisurely stroll through the gardens, trails, and around the ponds. We are looking forward to enjoying the season of spring at the garden and may attend some of the upcoming events listed on their website: Let’s Chat about our Garden; Poetry at the Gardens; Yoga at the Garden.
Being retired on Long Island allows me to enjoy all the beauty each season offers. Fall is a beautiful season and I can now see it’s a lot more than the back to school season. The spring season will be here shortly and it will be delightful to view it as a new beginning and a season of hope without it turning into a countdown to the final days of the school year!
Today was a great day to take a stroll around Mill Pond. I’ve been strolling through life with my husband for about 30 years now, and a simple Sunday afternoon walk somewhere near our Long Island home suits us fine. We get a little fresh air, sunshine, and exercise as we talk about this and that and marvel at the scenery.
Mill Pond is located in Bellmore, New York. The trail is a 1.1 mile loop where you can admire the wildlife, as you take an easy stroll on mostly flat terrain. The trail loops around the pond, but does have occasional points where you can wander off and be a little adventurous.
It is a memorial trail dedicated in loving memory of Adam D. Rand who died saving others on September 11, 2001 with Squad 288, FDNY. Adam D. Rand was also active in the Bellmore Volunteer Fire Department. You can find a 911 Memorial on the trail loop. We also found and met many dog walkers, families, and couples just enjoying this little hideaway right off the Wantagh Parkway.
The pond attracts quite a gathering of birds. As you stroll along you can hear various chirps, honks, warbles, and general bird chatter. The ducks and swans seem to be swimming in pairs as the spring season is closing in. The geese seem to outnumber the other birds on the pond. Steps away from the highway and suburban life there is a collection of aquatic birds.
As we were at the tail end of the loop, we were greeted with a gaggle of geese. I’m guessing they were expecting us to feed them because they had no fear of a human encounter. The geese encounter was a great way to end our stroll and I took some great photos too. I’m sure we will be back again to Mill Pond for a stroll and to other nearby Long Island trails for a great way to live a happy retirement life!
I have returned to Mill Pond and discovered that it is even more beautiful in the spring time. I really enjoy the birds of Mill Pond as I sit on a bench and take in all their antics. Now that spring has arrived, they are on land more grazing on the grass and they don’t seem to mind me marveling their beauty as they strut along or glide along the waters. Mill Pond is surrounded by homes, busy streets, and a parkway, but somehow it feels like you have been transported to a rural town in a quiet, remote landscape.
Update! The goslings have arrived. They are little fuzzy eating machines. Proud mamas and papas are all around the lake with their offspring. As a newly retired teacher, I have to say I never really enjoyed the outdoors as much as I have this spring. I usually only see the baby geese from the side of the road as I sit in bumper to bumper traffic on the parkway. Looking forward to sharing more of my adventures on Long Island.
Here’s my take on Intermittent fasting, the latest craze when it comes to dieting. Between the holiday season and a 10 day Caribbean vacation that included an overindulgence of eating and drinking, I felt like a needed to lose a few pounds. I usually eat mostly fruit, vegetables, and eggs, but I thought I would give this intermittent fasting thing a try.
On New Year’s Eve I saw a segment where Hollywood stars were asked the secret to losing weight and the answer was always the same – intermittent fasting. This stuck with me, so I searched Google and Pinterest to see what exactly it entailed. I did my home work on the guidelines and it was pretty straight forward. There were a few different methods, but the one that seemed the most feasible was the 16/8 Fasting Method.
During the first 6 hours of your day you can only have water, tea, and black coffee. The next 8 hours is where you eat all your calories. The last 10 hours you are back to the water, tea, and black coffee. It sounded pretty simple and straightforward.
I started on a Monday morning and had my bottle of water like I aways do, and then I usually have a couple of cups of coffee with almond milk. (I never put sugar in my coffee and gave up dairy a while ago.) I had the coffee black as instructed, but it really took the pleasure out of the whole drinking coffee thing. I went off to the gym like I always do on Mondays and halfway through my class, I started feeling like I was losing steam. I finished the class and drove home thinking about how I only had about one hour until the eating part of the day would begin. This really was all I could think about. Light-headed and wiped out waiting to eat my two over easy eggs and sliced apple.
I ate my breakfast pretty fast and had a real cup of coffee with some almond milk. It wasn’t long until I was thinking about lunch. Before I headed out again, I made sure to have lunch, but while I was out and about the realization that I would have to be back to prepare and eat my dinner all before 8pm was always in the back of my mind.
This went on for a few days, and I proved I could do this intermittent fasting thing, but I really didn’t see the point. Why not put a little almond milk in my coffee? Almond milk is sugar free and a whole cup only has 30 calories. Why not have a piece of fruit before I head out to the gym, so I don’t feel light-headed the whole time?
In my opinion, intermittent fasting works for people because they only eat in the 8 hour window of time and you would tend to consume less calories. Of course during the eating window you wouldn’t have cupcakes and chips, but I would never have that anyway. Intermittent fasting is another method for those who want to lose weight, but it is definitely not for me. I felt brain drained the first 6 hours of the day which made it challenging for me to do most things effectively. It just wasn’t for me.
I prefer to have 3 sensible meals a day with a couple of pieces of fruit for snacking throughout the day. I’m old school and still think breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I prefer to eat a whole food diet and avoid meat, dairy, sugar, and processed foods. I tend to eat the fruit and vegetables that are in season to mix things up. Of course when I go on vacation I over indulge, and usually one day on the weekend. Life is short, and I like waking up to a good cup of coffee, and enjoy going about my day with a clear head!
Eisenhower Park in East Meadow has a lot to offer the people of Long Island throughout the seasons. In the winter, you may just want to get out for a little fresh air, and a brisk stroll around the lake just might be the answer.
A short drive will bring you to a place where not only you can get a little exercise, but you can enjoy the lakeside birds of Eisenhower Park. It was only natural for me, as an animal lover to focus on the unique behaviors of the birds as my husband and I made our way around the lake.
There were basically three cliques- the geese, the ducks, and the sea gulls. The geese were strolling around the lakeside until we approached, and they soon made their way onto the frozen lake. It’s funny to watch them because they gracefully glide across the frozen ice. They spread out across the frozen section of the lake content to be soaking up some sun. They allowed us to get pretty close to take some pictures.
As we made our way around the lake we discovered that the opposite end of the lake wasn’t frozen at all. One can assume the sun shines longer here. In this section we found the ducks, who seemed to not have a care in the world. They were swimming and splashing and having a grand old time. They were quite a contrast to the ice skating geese.
As we approached the final stretch of the lake we found the sea gulls. They were huddled together on the frozen lake with their feathers all puffed up, heads down looking pretty miserable. They literally seemed frozen in time longing for the dog days of summer and to be back on the beaches of Long Island.
Our walk was pretty quick, but when you’re retired you just want to get out for a little while. By the time we made our way around the lake a couple of times, we were happy to be home and out of the cold. We’ll be back to the lake at Eisenhower Park when it gets warmer, and take advantage of all the other events and attractions the park has to offer.
As a newly retired teacher, I have been actively trying to get involved in doing new things. In a previous post, I wrote about a simple strategy that I use to try to find new things to do. I Google search – Things to do near me. Well one place I’ve had my eye on to join was Old Westbury Gardens. In recent years, I had gone there for Rise of the Jack-o-lanterns which is a scenic walking tour of more than a thousand hand carved illuminated jack-o-lanterns. When my daughter was younger we went to the Gardens for a variety of children activities. For some reason we never became members, we would just pay the entry and program fees each visit.
As a newly retired teacher, I decided it would make sense for my husband and I to become members because the membership would pay for itself after the 2nd or third visit. There are a variety of memberships and discounts for children, seniors, and students. We chose the Family Membership Package which includes unlimited free admission, advanced reservations for events, members only events, and discounts at their shops.
Old Westbury Gardens is centered around the former home of John S. Phipps, his wife Margarita and their 4 children. Many events are held at the mansion including mansion tours, a variety of children activities, art exhibits, concerts, and an activity that my husband and I participated in Flavors of the Season. This was a great event that took place during the Christmas season. Each room in the house was decorated with Christmas trees, poinsettias, and other Christmas decorations. Even Santa Claus was there to greet you and take photos. The meeting area was in the mansion’s indoor porch area where the wine and cheese flowed freely. The main event was in the mansion ballroom where we sat at round tables in groups and an expert guided us through wine and chocolate tasting. This was a great social gathering where we learned a lot about wine and chocolate pairings.
My husband and I also enjoyed yoga at the gardens. This was great; blue skies, sunshine, and yoga! They have this activity twice a week and is open to members and the public. We also enjoyed the holiday market which was held in another home on the grounds of one of the Phipp’s daughters. I walked through the many rooms in this home imagining how wonderful it would be to live there.
My daughter and I enjoyed the Owl Prowl which was held in the former barn of the Phipp’s family. Members of a local Sanctuary brought a variety of live owls and taught us all about the physiology of owls, interesting facts, and about owls in our area. We then went on a prowl for owls. We didn’t see any, but we enjoyed looking.
The thing I like best about Old Westbury Gardens are the Dog Days. It’s usually held the last weekend of each month and you can walk the grounds with your leashed dog. My dogs love the adventure and dog lovers across Long Island gather at the gardens on these weekends. It is such a pleasure to walk around and see both owners and dogs smiling as they stroll the gardens. Everyone seems so happy to be there and its a wonderful experience for all.
Old Westbury Gardens opens for the 2020 season April 1st. I’m sure I’ll be receiving my newsletter and events calendar soon, and in the mean time you can always go online to their website. An event I saw listed was Spring Break Out, a fun for all ages garden tour. Concerts, stargazing, bat walks, and summer camps were other listed events. I’m looking forward to the first dog friendly weekend which will be held Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26.
My family is sure to renew our membership to Old Westbury Gardens to participate in many of the same events we did last year. This year I’d like to try the tai chi, a guided tour of the gardens, a concert or two, stargazing, and lunch at theCafe In The Woods. TheThings to do near me strategy is a great way to find gold mines like Old Westbury Gardens. A simple Google search can lead you to endless magical experiences and adventures close to home.
Start out very open ended and ask the Mom/Dad to tell you a little about the dog.This can be very informative.
Dog sitters should ask how old the dog is and if he/she has any special needs you should know about.
What times do they feed their dog? Ask how often they feed their dog and how much. Is the dog a grazer? Food aggressive?
Is the dog allowed to have treats? Will they provide them? Can you give them any kind of treat or are there restrictions?Allergies?
Can their dog go up and down stairs? This is very important because you don’t want anypups tumbling down a flight of stairs.
Do they keep the harness on all the time? collar?
How often does their dog need to go out? When do they usually take out their dog? Does it go in the yard or do they walk him/her? Is their dog fully potty trained or do they use wee wee pads?
Does their dog know how to walk on a leash? Do they want you to take their dog for walks to get exercise?
Would they like updates of their dog during his/her stay? How often? Do they want photo and video updates? Will they be in a different time zone? You don’t want to be sending updates at 3 AM their time.
Where does their dog usually sleep? Does he/she sleep in a dog bed? Crate? (door open or closed) On a chair or couch? Does the dog usually sleep in their bed?
Does their dog have a favorite toy or blanket?
Does their dog get along with other dogs? Children?
Is their dog spayed or neutered? Are they up to date on their vaccines?
Well today’s the day, one year since my baby Gabby went to heaven. It’s crazy how much I still miss her. Today I heard this song while I was driving by O.A.R. “I Miss You All The Time” and I know it wasn’t by accident. A Jonathan Carroll quote says it all: “My memory loves you… it asks about you all the time…”
I’ve had many dogs before Gabby and I love and miss them too, but Gabby was special, she was my soul dog. We had a connection that is hard to explain, and can never be replicated. She’s the only dog that I have had who has a mini memorial on my dresser, a stack of photos of her at hand, and a canvas of her on my bedroom wall. Gabby is the face of my business card which I have handy in my car, bag, and around the house. These things keep me connected to her and I occasionally blurt out a “Right Gabby” or “Right Grandma” (I called her that when she started getting grey).Each holiday or major event throughout the year usually begins with me saying, “This is the first (fill in the blank) without Gabby.”
The thing I miss the most is soaking up the sun with Gabby. Read my Instagram over the years and every other post was Gabby. ” Soaking up the sun with Gabby today” “Another great day with Gabby”. “Blue skies, sunshine and Gabby” Today was blue skies, sunshine and no Gabby! I really thought we would retire together.
Gabby will always be that dog that no dog can replace. The dog that can make me cry. My heart will always miss her, but my soul knows she’s at peace. “Whoever said, it’s only a dog, obviously never loved a dog.”
“Find Three Hobbies You Love: One to make money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.” This is a great Her New Life Quote for living a happy retirement life. Long before I retired, I was planning and establishing these hobbies.
I have been a Rover Dog Sitter for about 5 years now developing my hobby that makes money. Rover is a great way to create a profile where you can become a dog sitter in your home, make home visits, do daycare, or become a dog walker. You can set your preferences. I personally dog sit in my home and do daycare only for small dogs, and I get to do what I love, hangout with dogs all day.
I belong to Life Time Fitness and enjoy BarreFusion. I occasionally take a yoga class, if I feel stiff or my back starts acting up. I gave up on the strength classes and HIIT classes because this usually leads to skipping the gym completely and regular chiropractor visits. BarreFusion is just right for me. It’s an overall body conditioning class that is dance based. There’s no high impact involved and class routines are almost always different.
Walking is also a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. Taking a walk can really break up the day. You can take a walk in almost any kind of weather all year round. You can walk around the neighborhood, park, preserve etc. Walking is something almost everyone can do, and the location possibilities are endless.
When you are retired you have more time to pursue hobbies that can bring out your creativity. I enjoy crafts such as mosaics. I learned all about mosaics in classes at the local library. I used Google and Pinterest to learn more and to get creative project ideas. I was inspired by some of the pins on Pinterest to make Christmas ornaments. I ended up mailing them around the country as Christmas gifts.
Baking is a fun all year round activity where you can be creative for every holiday or occasion. When I was working I tended to make box cakes or just pick up something at the store. Now that I’m retired and have plenty of time, I’ve been more creative. I made chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate bark, cheesecake, and cookie dough pie. These treats aren’t hard to do, but who has time for that when you’re working full time? Pinterest once again is a great place to find recipes and decorating ideas. Making cake pops was one activity which was very time consuming, but I was very happy to make them to bring to my daughter on her birthday. I’m just getting started with my creative endeavors, and it’s one of the best parts of being retired to me.
No matter what your interests are, perhaps you like photography, painting, tennis, golf, hiking, writing, when you’re retired you have more time to pursue these interests. Don’t be afraid to try new things, the possibilities are endless! Hobbies are an important part of living a happy retirement life!
As a newly retired teacher, I’m almost always looking for new and interesting things to do. I’m forever searching the web looking for vacation ideas and new adventures I can take with my college aged daughter, or my husband who is still too young to retire. Sometimes I just want to do something a little special and not travel too far. I discovered a simple technique of just googling Things to do near me… and a multitude of options appear right before me. Tripadvisor is also a great site to find things to do and read reviews from people who have personal experience with a particular venue or event.
Well, one place I discovered was The Oheka Castle. This is an historical hotel in Huntington, Long Island. It is also known as the Otto Kahn Estate because it was the country home of Banker Otto Hermann Kahn and his wife Addie during the roaring twenties. The castle is well known for its prestigious weddings, exquisite galas, and luxury hotel accommodations. I discovered during one of my Things to do near me searches that the castle has daily mansion tours. You can go on their website and book a tour of the inside of the castle and the grounds. We chose the mansion tour and lunch package. When you make the online tour reservation you can choose from a few options.
It was a quick and easy drive to the castle, and as we pulled into the estate grounds, and I was kind of glad I was driving a Mercedes. The castle and the grounds take your breath away with its beauty and elegance. We took some photos outside and had an easy checkin. The meeting place was in a corridor with a beautiful staircase apparently used in many films and music videos, including Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. They keep the tour group small and intimate and there was a real mix of people. There was an older couple who came to the castle specifically for the tour who were visiting from England, a family who was staying at the hotel, and the remainder of the participants were couples and friends that I assume were somewhere from the tristate area.
We were greeted by a very warm and friendly guide that led us to the library of the Kahn family. We were allowed to browse a few minutes and then were invited to sit down for what would be the portion of the tour where we learned the history of the Kahn family, and the castle throughout the many decades. Through the use of large photos and a very informed and animated guide we were both educated and entertained. After a Q and A , we toured some of the lavish bedrooms and suites and made our way to tour parts of the outside of the castle. Back in the castle we viewed various rooms for entertaining and dining, including the Charlie Chaplin room.
At the close of the tour we were invited to help ourselves to some tea and cookies. Many of us headed to the restaurant for the lunch portion of our tour. It was a beautiful bright room with large windows and fabulous views of the grounds. Our server was very inviting and made us feel very welcome. Of course my husband chose the Castle Burger as his main course and I had the crab cakes. Throughout our lunch the service was impeccable and at no time did we feel out of place. This was definitely the type of place that my husband and I would choose to have lunch over dinner due to the cost, but you get to have the same experience.
As we were leaving, we saw that there was a luncheon fully underway in the Chaplin Room, from what I understand is pretty pricey to reserve for a group. We left feeling very happy and pleased with our day at the Oheka Castle, and the venue we found under things to do near me.