Tag Archives: travel

Soccer Game at New-To-Me Yankee Stadium

TravelBetterPodcasts.com at Yankee Stadium, New York City
TravelBetterPodcasts.com at Yankee Stadium, New York City

When my friend said he had an extra ticket to an NYCFC soccer game at Yankee Stadium, I was elated. Not only have I not seen my friend for a couple years, but I haven’t been anywhere near the South Bronx since the old Yankee Stadium was in use.

I debated trying to get a tour of the new stadium, but then I learned from thwir website that I will actually get to see more things if I go when it is not baseball season.

So instead, I got to the South Bronx  just early enough to meet my friend at a nearby bar called The Dugout before the game.

The video below is from our walk leaving the stadium.

A quick note about transportation to Yankee Stadium

If you’re coming from New Jersey and you’re not driving to the stadium, it can be rather challenging to get to Yankee Stadium in an easy way. What I discovered on this outing was that I could  get home from the stasium by takung Metro-North from Yankee Stadium to Grand Central in Midtown Manhattan and then it is an easy walk to Port Authority or Penn Station.

Adventures in Sensory Deprivation: Your Guide To Flotation Tank Experiences

Yesterday I posted a video stating that I had just had one of my best floatation tank experiences in a space called Art of Floating in Bloomberg, Pennsylvania, but I never got into what exactly floating is.

For those of you who are spa fanatics (like me), you will probably love floating as a nice alternative to the traditional spa experience.

Essentially, you get into a tank filled with water that has been mixed to hold as much Epsom Salt as possible. This makes your body effortlessly float.

The temperature of the air and the water matches the temperature of your body/skin so after a little while in the tank you don’t really feel the water or the air, and it is soundless and pitch black in there so you don’t see or hear anything either.

This allows you to lose a sense of your physical body in space (except for occasionally brushing up against the wall of the tank).

The benefits of this kind of experience are numerous, ranging from pain management to right brain/left brain balancing to improved athletic performance.

I find the floatation tank to be the ideal way to meditate because there are very little distractions that typically come up and you don’t have your eye on the clock because the floatation location will let you know when your session is complete.

You can float away in  both body and mind!

Here are the 5 locations have been to so far and what I liked and what I thought could use some improvement about each location.

Q Flatiron Infinity Float (New York, NY)

This was a fantastic first floating experience! They were thorough about telling me exactly what I needed to do before I got into the floatation tank. I loved how spacious it was and wish they had one more so that I could bring someone with me next time and we could float at the same time. When I left Q Flatiron after my float, I felt like I was Neo from The Matrix, walking amidst all of the hustle and bustle on the streets of Manhattan, but felt so balanced and calm that I could easily dodge the mayhem in the same way Neo dodges bullets at the end of the first movie!

 

Serene Dreams (Kearney, NJ)

The actual experience at Serene Dreams was really nice. They had a great locker room and spacious floating rooms. The pods they use are very nice and spacious.

The next day I had a terrible headache and I am not sure why but I was told that they use chlorine in the water which to me sort of defeats the purpose. Epsom Salt (magnesium) has a number of health benefits, but if you are also absorbing chlorine during your float I don’t think that is very good. They told me at Serene Dreams that the State of New Jersey considers this location a pool and therefore requires chlorine. That’s a shame. FYI, every floatation tank I have seen in every facility I have visited is cleaned after each client’s float with a very thorough and precise filtering process and all floatation facilities require visitors to shower before they float to keep the water clean. Chlorine is unnecessary.

Mountain Float Spa (New Paltz, New York)

Maybe my experience was unusual because I visited this location in winter on a day that was not so busy, but I found myself cold in this location. The room where the pod was located was cold, my feet were cold before and after the float and I was cold floating in the tank because the air was cold in the tank, which made the hour rather uncomfortable instead of meditative.  The relaxation room (after the float) was nice and I spent some time reading before getting on the road.  The people were nice.

Requiescent Float Center (Ballston Spa, New York… Near Saratoga Springs which is north of Albany)

These floatation tanks were a work of art! They were clearly homemade which added to the charm. The one I was in was huge! I can’t say for sure how big it was, but it was twice the size of many of the floatation tanks I had been in so far. Also, the ceiling was very high in the tank. I don’t mind low ceilings in the floatation tanks, but people with claustrophobia might and I have one relative who does not like some tanks because they look like coffins. These tanks did not look like coffins. They offered plenty of room. I also liked that I walked into the shower and then went through the shower directly into the tank. It is a smart set up.

Art of Floating (Bloomsburg, PA)

This was my favorite location for a number of reasons. This is a large but quiet facility with a simple set up that is also beautiful. The tank is compact but I don’t mind (some people might) but it was in a very beautiful room. The relaxation space (where you go after floating) was large and offered a number of rooms to stay in after your float. There was also a sitting space outside on the porch. The people are very nice and helpful.

 


For more information about the benefits of floating, please watch this great documentary: Floatation Nation


PS: If you have been keeping up with my videos, I just want to let you know that video 4 has nothing to do with traveling, so I didn’t post it here, but if you want to take a look it should be up soon at https://youtu.be/WltQ_Q1eFpk

Video 1: Beginning Road Trip

When I am traveling, I am aways thinking about blogging my discoveries but I struggle with finding the time to post.

I am hoping that short video recaps make things better.

It is part of a 30 days of video challenge by Blossom Benedict (#RightVoiceForYou, #30dayvideochallenge).

I can’t promise I will make it past day 1, but at least I do have day one for you today.  🙂

https://youtu.be/vnb36n2CPBk

TBP 0022 How to Plan A Staycation That is Awesome!

 

How to Plan a Staycation: My staycation to the paterson museum
How to Plan a Staycation: My staycation to the paterson museum

VACATION IS A STATE OF MIND.

This has always been my philosophy.

It’s just that it is so easy to stay stressed when in a home environment that most people find it hard to reach that state.

And it is also easy to blow off local adventures because there’s no excessive driving or flying. Because most staycations are only one day with flexible commitments (no car or hotel reservation), one can get to Saturday morning having expected to visit a local park that is an hour away and instead choose to stay in and sleep or do chores because it seems more pressing.

But as we get into one of the most busy seasons of the year, it can become difficult to carve out some travel time.

Mini-Vacations, Local Vacations and Staycations are the way to go when you don’t have a lot of time or resources.

Today’s podcast (TBP 0022)  is about how to plan a staycation that is awesome!

PS: The information on the show I mention can be found here.

 

Travel Better (or Worse) With The United States Government Shut Down

Salem Massachusetts Visitors Center United States Government Shutdown on Tourism

I’d say travel is worse with the government shutdown, but here are some ideas to consider.

I was in Salem this past weekend and while one would think that that would have nothing to do with the federal government, the visitor’s center was not open.

Thank goodness for the volunteers standing outside of the visitor’s center, or we might have had to figure things out on our own, which is very doable in most tourist attractions.

But it’s unfortunate that all this has to happen.

Like I have mentioned in other posts, this is Salem’s busiest time, so they weren’t going to let a shutdown effect business. And it was very busy there, so I don’t think it’s making a lot of people hesitate to take excursions. It just might take a little bit more planning before heading out the door.

The upside to all of this? I’m sure there are locations that have really slowed down (like Washington DC), so if you like having cities all to yourself and can deal with the way the shutdown might make things a slight bit more inconvenient (or closed), then this might be the perfect time for you to take a trip.

Here’s a post from Hosteling International about the topic. It’s very good and some of the places that are on their list surprised me. Why would Disney World have anything to do with a government shut down? Probably for the same reason Salem does, but I doubt that Space Mountain is closed or that Mickey has locked himself in his cottage.

TBP 0020 Salem Massachusetts – It’s October and I’ve Gone A-Witching

TBP 20 Salem Massachusetts Halloween October Samhain
October and Autumn always makes me think about Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem is very special to me.  It is a place where I find what I am looking for.

There is definitely a special energy there. It’s a different vibe than Sedona and probably has more to do to the people that are drawn there then the energy of the land, which is where Sedona’s special energy is based.

History of Salem, Massachusetts:

Salem is well known for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  Several witches were cruelly hanged during the hysterical witch hunts in the Americas. Today, Salem has a large witch population – those that practice the Wiccan religion. I think like minded people like to gather here because of like minded people, and that it is a way of honoring those that were sent to trial and to their death unfairly.

Visiting Salem, Massachusetts:

It’s awesome to go to Salem in October. It is a festive town all year round but especially in October.

If you’re looking for a haunted house or the typical Halloween spooky/scary stuff, I guess you can go to Salem to find it, but that’s kind of cheesy to me and a bit of a waste of time and energy because you can find spooky/scary anywhere in October.

The difference with Salem is that it is the real deal.  Why not honor the celebration of Samhain and respect the religious culture of this town?  It is a different way to experience and understand Halloween, and it is a great trip to make for those who simply like the travel and tourism side of it.

Samhain Vs. Halloween:

Samhain is the Wiccan new year, and is considered the time when the veil between the living and the dead is lifted so that better communication can occur with those on the other side.

It is a great time to honor loved ones that have crossed over, very similar to Day of the Dead in Mexico. I do this honoring of my ancestors on my own with a silent supper. But going to Salem is a great way to enjoy the celebration of the holiday and honor ancestors because they have a public Silent Supper which, though I have not attended it in the past, I bet is quite a powerful experience (and a great meal!)

This year (2013), Silent Supper/Dumb Supper in Salem is October 27th, 2013. Again, I’ve never participated in this one, but it will probably be awesome and a beautiful way to honor loved ones: http://www.festivalofthedead.com/dumbsupper.html

Side note:  The honoring of the dead is about love, not fear. It bums me out that they make it all spooky scary, but that sells tickets and is what most people associate with this time of year. Wiccans honor the earth, which is about abundance and love, not fear.

A lot of the links I have listed below imply the spooky/scary elements that are associated with Halloween. While I understand why that is done, I feel that it misses the opportunity to show people that this could be a completely new, unusual and more fulfilling way of experiencing this time of year.

FYI: The Witches Ball is on October 25th and this is one of the biggest events of the season.

Finally, Salem is a good place to go year round. Sure, Halloween/Samhain is probably the high point of the year, but don’t forget that the main focus of the people that live in this town are the seasonal changes of the earth, which are celebrated year round and give Salem a different and wonderful flavor all its own no matter what part of the year you chose to visit.

http://hauntedhappenings.org/

http://www.salemweb.com/hh/

http://salemhalloweencity.com/

http://www.festivalofthedead.com/

http://www.festivalofthedead.com/witchesball/  October 25, 2013

http://salem.org/calendar_main/festival_calendars

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60954-c4113/Salem:Massachusetts:Halloween.html

Wiki about Samhain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain

TPB 0019 California and the Sierras – Ski and Snowboard

TPB 0019 California and the Sierras - Ski and Snowboard

 

Today I discuss three separate areas of California where you can enjoy the slopes.

The three ski/snowboard areas I will be covering today are:

  • Big Bear/Snow Summit area near Los Angeles (also a nod to a few tinier snow hills)
  • Mammoth Mountain / June Mountain
  • Lake Tahoe – which includes 7 separate ski resorts

I’ve heard people that typically ski the Rockies refer to the snow on the California mountains as “Sierra Sludge” because it tends to get very heavy by the end of the day and there is a TON of it (usually in big piles) by the time the sun starts going down.

Coming from the East Coast, the “sludge” they are referring to is AWESOME. It took a bit of adjusting in my skiing style, but it’s wonderful compared to the East Coast hard pack.

So I hope you enjoy today’s podcast. I had audio issues on this podcast. I was so enthusiastic to start recording that I forgot to clip my mic to my shirt, so it sounds like the mic is constantly bumping into things (which is it). I apologize for this, but I liked the content and if I re-recorded it I feel like I would have just breezed over the content rather than get into the details, so I chose to post this show with the icky audio.

If you don’t want to listen because if the audio pops, you can glean what you need from the podcast notes.

Thanks!

Leslie

 

Continue reading TPB 0019 California and the Sierras – Ski and Snowboard

TBP 0018 Ski Utah Powder

Winter is on it’s way! Time to talk skiing!

SKI UTAH!

Inspired by a mega Ski Group Meet-up in New York, I decided to create a show about Utah, one of my favorite places to ski.

I got really jazzed when one of the groups was telling me about their upcoming trip to Brighton, which is one of many ski resorts located around Salt Lake City.

I have skied Utah many times. Most experiences were great but the last time resulted in an injury for the person I was with so I also became very familiar with Salt Lake City, which I also talk about on the podcast.

But most of the focus of today’s podcast is on Park City and the ski resorts that are located around Park City.

  1. Dear Valley (skiers)
  2. Park City
  3. Canyons

I talk about packing strategy, too. When you fly to Utah for the skiing, it’s good to know what NOT to bring because between equipment and bulky clothes, there’s already a ton of stuff to drag from the baggage carousel.

Finally, I also talk about some lodging strategies if you are planning to be in Park City during Sundance Film Festival, which is not only a great time to see some great flicks, but the slopes are great at that time, too.

DEALS RIGHT NOW: https://www.skiutah.com/winter/deals/showme/member/550579887.html

The ski resorts around Salt Lake City: http://www.onthesnow.com/utah/ski-resorts.html

I mentioned on the podcast a lift ticket /ski ticket deal with The Canyons. I have information on last year’s deal, and actually, several ski resorts participated. I have not seen any information on whether this deal is happening this year (2013-2014). Here is some information on last year’s deal (Look at listing number 4 on this webpage): http://www.saltlakecityonthecheap.com/free-or-cheap-ski-lift-tickets-in-utah/

Winter Activities in Park City besides skiing and snowboarding: http://www.visitparkcity.com/things-to-do/winter-activities/

 

*** Sorry no pix this week… photos are trapped on a grumpy computer other than the one I am typing on right now.  Will revise later when I have access. ***

Pet Travel Made Easier with Hosteling International

hostels now pet travel friendly in europe

When I created TBP 0004 “Enjoying a Hostel Environment” I mentioned that one should leave the dog home if planning to stay in a hostel. I didn’t think that any hostels existed that were open to pet travel because the logistic of a dorm room are not conducive to such amenities.

It can get too crowded with just a bunch of humans and their huge luggage, but can you imagine adding three barking chihuahuas and a giant St. Bernard to the mix?

That would be utter insanity!

But apparently hostels in Europe have figured out a work-around for the dog issue.

After I posted that podcast, I received an email from Hosteling International with a link to their blog post about a few of the hostels that DO allow dogs.

I was thrilled to read the article because even though I enjoy solo travel, it can get a bit lonely.

The dog obviously keeps me company, and many of the dog-related places that I visit (like dog parks) offer a great way for humans like me to socialize on the road, but there is nothing like finishing a day of sightseeing in a common room or in the kitchen and sharing my experiences while listening to others who also have advice and could guide my next day of touring.

I hope that the American hostels will follow suit and consider opening their doors to pet travel, too.  I love staying at hostels and have really missed the camaraderie and the social way to learn about the the destination.