Visiting One Liberty Observatory Deck in Philadelphia

Y’all know me well enough by now to know that I’m borderline obsessed with observatories (see: New York, Boston, San Francisco, New York again and again). So I’m sure you can imagine my sheer delight at discovering Philadelphia’s One Liberty Observatory Deck, which opened just last year. How perfect for my one-day adventure last month!

View from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, Philadelphia

Except… it wasn’t. One Liberty is my least favorite of the observatories I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. It felt dark – whether it was the windows themselves or the carpet and walls, I can’t say. It’s structured so you can’t get right up against the windows, and frankly, there’s not much to do besides look out the windows. I strongly believe that if you’re going to charge someone to go up high in a building, you should provide more than views – there were a handful of displays with random facts about Philly, and two areas with about two-minute informational tracks on repeat, but that was it. I stuck around for over an hour taking photos just to feel like I had gotten my money’s worth.

View from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, Philadelphia

In spite of this, I got some cool photos. And in the interest of staying positive: The architecture was incredible, and there was an offbeat sculpture of Benjamin Franklin the likes of which I’d never seen.

Benjamin Franklin at One Liberty Observation Deck, Philadelphia

To be honest, I’m sure you’ve already gathered that I don’t really recommend a visit to One Liberty Observatory Deck. But if you do want to check it out for yourself, tickets are $19 and are available online or in person (there was no line when I went, and now I can see why). And hey, if you go and have a different opinion – please tell me! I don’t like it when I don’t like observatories.

What’s your FAVORITE observatory?

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Eating through Cold Spring

I spent a grand total of about two hours in Cold Spring, New York, and I managed to eat an absurd amount of food in that amount of time. Turns out hiking makes you hungry! Not only that, but everything was delicious. Here are my recommendations for a day in this small town – I can’t wait to go back and eat even more!

Brunch at Hudson Hil's Cafe, Cold Spring, New York

Hudson Hil’s

Our first order of business after making it off the mountain was obviously brunch. We went to Hudson Hil’s, were immediately seated (something a group of ten New Yorkers was definitely not used to) and ate our weight in food. I can definitely recommend the French toast – and, yes, that is a beer. I deserved it.

Cold Spring Candy Co. in Cold Spring, New York

Cold Spring Candy Co.

We then made our way to the Cold Spring Emporium, where a group of us was immediately distracted by the free fudge tasting! I left the candy store with a huge piece of peanut butter fudge, enough to last me a full week. This place is the definition of small-town charm – the owner is also a guitar dealer across the way, and pops back and forth between his shops!

Ice cream parlor in Cold Spring, New YorkIce cream parlor in Cold Spring, New YorkIce cream parlor in Cold Spring, New York

The Village Scoop

Conveniently located right next to the train station, this ice cream parlor made the perfect last stop on our day trip. The ice cream isn’t anything to write home about, but it was delicious enough, and the parlor is adorable. Also, they’re cash only – which reminds me, I owe my best friend five bucks…

 

Hiking Breakneck Ridge, in photos

Obviously I took a million (OK, 85) photos when we went hiking at Breakneck Ridge a couple weeks ago. While I spent most of the climb with both hands firmly planted on the rocks, my phone safely tucked away in my backpack, the views were just too spectacular to go undocumented. Whenever I reached a point flat enough to stand on safely, I was snapping photos and taking video.

View from Breakneck Ridge, New YorkView from  Breakneck Ridge, New YorkHiking Breakneck Ridge, New York

(After my friend Jordan took this one I climbed right back down and took the easier ascent.)

Breakneck Ridge, New YorkView from  Breakneck Ridge, New YorkView from Breakneck Ridge, New YorkView from Breakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New York

Like I said last week, I felt (and still feel) SO accomplished! I never thought I’d be able to say I climbed a mountain and conquered one of the most difficult hikes in the Northeast.

On the descent, there were still plenty of adventures to be had. The woods were filled with streams to splash in and old buildings to climb and explore.

Breakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New YorkBreakneck Ridge, New York

After the hike (it took us about four hours), we headed into Cold Spring and ate ALL. THE. FOOD. I’ll be sharing more of that with you soon!

If you want to go: You can take MetroNorth from Grand Central to Cold Spring and walk about a mile to the trail. There’s also a stop at the trail, appropriately called Breakneck Ridge, with trains making stops three times a day on the weekends only. The hike is challenging but not impossible, even if you’re completely out of shape, as I am. It took us about four hours.

Hiking Breakneck Ridge: A video

Yeah, you read that right. I went hiking. On a mountain called BREAKNECK Ridge. My neck is not broken, for the record. I could have broken my friend’s neck, though, when I discovered that this “hike” I had been lured on was in fact more of a vertical rock climb. The phrase “blood, sweat and tears” has never been more real.

Breakneck Ridge from Leigh Anne Zinsmeister on Vimeo.

But you know what? I’m ridiculously proud of myself. I didn’t turn around and get on the next train back to the city. I didn’t give up and require a rescue team (apparently a common occurrence at Breakneck). I powered through, I wasn’t afraid to have my friends literally pull me up at some parts, and by the end of the day I had climbed a damn mountain. I had a very delightful day, and though there are photos and details to share later on, I just want to share that and bask in it for now.

So, enjoy!

Views from the High Line

I can’t believe I’ve never done a full post about the High Line before – it’s one of my favorite outdoor spaces in New York City! Built on an out-of-use elevated train track, this park runs along the west side of Manhattan from Gansevoort Street in the West Village to 34th Street in Midtown. Last weekend, when the sun popped out for a couple hours between April showers, I ventured out to the High Line for the first time in months.

View from the High Line, New York City

Can you spot the Statue of Liberty  above?

View of the street from the High Line, New York CityView of the street from the High Line, New York CityView of the Empire State Building from the High Line, New York City

My favorite view!

The High Line, New York City

The High Line was smartly designed so you always know where you are, and where the nearest stairways to the street are.

The High Line, New York CityView of the street from the High Line, New York CitySpring Blooms from the High Line, New York CitySpring Blooms from the High Line, New York City

The flowers have been weird this year: A whole bunch bloomed in mid-March, when we had a rash of 70-degree days, and then there was a deep freeze that killed them all off. Now things seem to be re-blooming right on a usual schedule.

View of the street from the High Line, New York CityView of the Hudson River from the High Line, New York CityView of the Hudson River from the High Line, New York City

Which is your favorite picture from the High Line?