Weekend Adventure: Kykuit


One of the perks of having some time off during the weekday is the ability to partake in some local tourist attractions without the weekend crowd.


I have always meant to visit Kykuit, the home of the Rockefellers, hidden away in Pocantico Hills.  I went to the elementary school there, I spend many many hours walking and running the Rockefeller Preserve, but I have never had an opportunity to tour the house.  In fact, there is a spot on the trail, where after the leaves have fallen, you can see the house through the trees.

I took the classic tour, which gave a pretty good overview of the house and the grounds. My tour group consisted of a Women’s Club from Connecticut and me.  I felt so out of place in wrinkled clothes with dog hair, no makeup, hair still air drying and toting around my weekend bag with little whales on it.  I am most definitely not a lady of Connecticut.


My only gripe with the tour was the swiftness in which we moved from place to place.  I would have enjoyed the ability to wander the grounds a bit, and we were moving so fast, I felt like I just didn’t have the opportunity to take any pictures or really enjoy the various gardens we were whisked passed.


Otherwise, the tour was nice.  I don’t think it would be something I’d have my out of town guests consider during their stay here, but at least I had the opportunity to see what the view looked like from the top!








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ChezSylvia Travels: Ogunquit, ME

Marginal Way

I forced myself to take three days off of work this week and disappeared off into Maine.  Ogunquit, Maine to be more precise.

Perkins Cove Drawbridge

Gorgeous little coastal town that is full of character.  I can see why people who come here keep coming back, and people I talk to about Ogunquit have nothing but great things to say about it.  I am so glad Cape Cod didn’t want me this weekend, making me explore other options and discovering this little gem.

Quick trip notes:

I decided to try something new.  I brought along a new little travel picture buddy.  Think Amelie and the adventures of her father’s gnome.  His name is Oliver, and he is very photogenic.

Oliver on the Beach

Sometimes taking a wrong turn leads to amazing surprises.  I took a wrong turn while driving through Kennebunkport, and ended up finding the jaw dropping views of Ocean Drive.  I think President Bush has a house there.  I think I found it accidentally.


Marginal Way is by far my favorite place to be.  I must have walked that path twice a day every day.  One day, I will get old and perch myself on this one bench I’ve decided had the best view and reflect on the awesome life I’ve lead so far.  One day…

Marginal Way

Sunrise is my favorite time of the day.  It was 40 degrees out the morning I ventured out to watch the sunrise over Maine.  Completely worth it.


For all of the photos that made the cut, go HERE.  I had a really hard time picking which ones to put on this blog.

Oliver on Marginal Way

Ogunquit Beach

Ogunquit 2014


Oliver goes sailing

Oliver at Kennebunkport


Sailboat deck

Perkins Cove Drawbridge

Norseman Resort at sunset

Ogunquit sunrise

Sunrise on the Beach

Perkins Cove Window


Sailing Ogunquit

Until next time…


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Weekend Adventures: Great New York State Fair 2014

Back to the Great New York State Fair I go!  Last year, when I went, it was on my own accord.  This year, I had to work.  Well, I had to man a booth for my work, then drive the plug in electric hybrid we had on display back to the office on the last day of the fair.  It wasn’t all work.  I had taken an early morning flight on Sunday, which got me there in time to start my wandering around in the rain.

The good thing about seeking shelter in the nearest building, was what I found that I normally would have missed otherwise.  Like the Cow contest.  I stumbled upon the judging of the Ayrshire cows of various age groups.  It was really interesting listening to the judging notes announced.

Otherwise, I saw the usual.  The carnival rides, the rows upon rows of food vendors hawking the deep fried goodies everyone was looking for and all the exhibits.

After a few hours of wandering, I took my place in the booth and proceeded to people watch for 6 hours.  I answered all sorts of questions, and even took in a Phillip Phillips concert which took place right outside our tent (I was pretty excited).  Rinse and repeat the next morning.

Now that I’m home, all I want is air conditioning and real food.

For all pictures, visit my Flikr!












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Berry Yogurt Popsicles


Now that I’m on a period of forced resting, I have to start watching what I eat with a little more care.  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve definitely been eating much much worse.

So, it’s time to hop back on the wagon, so to speak.

On a recent shopping outing, I picked up a set of popsicle molds.  They were nice, and 50% off.  I’ve always wanted a set, and what better time than now?

For my first popsicle outing, I started looking up different recipes.  I wanted something simple, that didn’t use any pre-packaged juices or had too many ingredients I normally wouldn’t have on hand.


In my search I found this recipe for Yogurt Pops from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  I like Jamie Oliver and what he does (real food!), so this recipe fit the bill of what I was looking for.  His tip for tasting the mixture before adding additional honey as a sweetener was great advice.  The bananas I used were overripe ones I had frozen from a while back.  They provided more than enough sweet.

berry pop mix

Berry Yogurt Pops (adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution)


2 small ripe bananas (I used two overripe bananas I kept in the freezer and sliced them into chunks before putting them in the food processor)

2 oz of frozen berry mix (handful)

2 cups 2% Green Yogurt

Honey to sweeten, if needed

Everything into a food processor.  Process until smooth.  Spoon into popsicle molds.  Freeze for at least 3 hours.

The popsicle came out super.  The banana and yogurt lends a nice balance of creaminess to the slight tartness from the berries.  The berry mix I used had raspberries, so there were some seeds to contend with.  A great snack indeed!

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Kickball – Summer 2014

Last Thursday I found myself in an MRI machine getting a scan of my right knee.   25 minutes of staring at the ceiling makes you think about things…a lot.

The Thursday before, I found myself taking a hit from a base runner at a kickball game.  It wasn’t a hard hit, but a hit at just the right angle where something in my knee snapped.  As I was laying on the ground, I felt that pang of devastation as I was sure my running season was over.   Just as I was finally falling back in love with running again, this happens.  FML.  I was just four games away from retiring.

Out for the season, I now found myself captaining from the the sidelines full time.  At least now, I had time to bring my camera and give sports photography a try.

It was a late game, so I was fighting the diminishing sunlight, and with the fast action, there was a lot of motion blur happening.  But I think I got some pretty decent shots:







Side note: How awesome are those shirts?  They were all individually tie dyed by the team’s T-shirt decorating committee at the beginning of the season.  Pitches be Trippin!

I still have the playoffs to go, so more may be on the way.  For the time being, the whole set from this game can be found HERE


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Red Wine Ice Cream

Red Wine Ice Cream

Sometimes you want a glass of wine, sometimes you want ice cream and sometimes you want both…because it’s just one of those days.

Red Wine Ice Cream (from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)


6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt

2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon non-fat dry milk

3/4 cup red wine

In a bowl stir together the yolks, sugar and salt until well combined.

In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream and dry milk and scald.

Temper the yolk mix with the heavy cream and combine the yolk mixture in with the cream mixture and while stirring constantly, bring to just under a boil, about 170 degF.  It should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Once thickened, remove from heat and pass through a fine strainer into a bowl.  Cool the mixture at least 4 hours but overnight is preferred.

Once cooled, stir in the red wine and freeze in an ice cream maker.  Let it set up in the freezer overnight before tearing into it and enjoying.

Red Wine Ice Cream



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ChezSylvia Travels: Bama to Savannah 2014


I finally took a few real days “off” from work and went South for a very long weekend.  It was really to attend a wedding, but I used it as an excuse to also fit in my solo trip for the year.


The wedding was in Auburn, Alabama.  A place I would never visit otherwise, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to.  It’s a very nice college town, home to Auburn University.   They are big on football.

A university campus in the middle of the summer is empty.  Makes sense, but feels so odd.  Every now and then someone would wander by me, but otherwise, I was by myself as I wandered through the courtyards and around the campus.




The wedding reception was held at the Fountainview Mansion.  A beautiful space tucked in the back of the middle of nowhere.

AL_Wedding pool

AL_Wedding cake topper


After the wedding, I said goodbye to everyone, picked up my rental car and drove myself 5.5 hours to Savannah, Georgia.  You can always depend on Google Maps to take you the most direct, but not necessarily most straightforward way possible.  After a hours cutting through parts of Georgia, I would have never seen if I went strictly the way of the interstate, I made it.

It is hot in Savannah.  I now understand why it’s also called Slo-vannah.  I have never walked so slow before…ever.





Despite the heat, I kept walking and wandering.  Besides a short stint along the River Street area, I kept away from the more tourist areas and explored the beautiful treelined streets while admiring the houses that lined them.   The only bad thing about walking everywhere in the heat is that I basically lost my appetite the whole time I was there.  Which is a damn shame since I absolutely love Southern cooking.  I just couldn’t will myself to eat anything.




Savannah_Forsyth fountain


On my last day in Savannah, checked out of my hotel and car retrieved, I had some time to kill before I headed to the airport to fly home.  So, I ventured out to Tybee Island.  Just 15 miles outside of Savannah, it was a beach community.  Not really beach worthy, I was able to root out some sunscreen from my bags.  I sunscreened up in the parking lot and went to the beach!




After some time spent on the beach, and mostly shin deep in the very nice water, I brushed myself off and headed to the lighthouse.  In the past 8 months, I have now visited 5 lighthouses, and climbed up my 3rd one.  Not bad for someone who wasn’t really into lighthouses.



As I was waiting for my flight to board, at one point I looked down at my feet, and noticed they were still a bit sandy.  The hazards of coming home straight from the beach 850 miles away.

More pictures here!


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