Below follows the tale of one of the BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE. Sarah and I had our entire Friday to spend together in Central Park. This was my first foray into the world famous park and I was SO EXCITED to explore all 840 acres...and I would say we covered about that much.
We started off with a walk from Harlem and entered the park at the North West corner. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the park felt empty...as if we had much of it all to ourselves. We began our journey with a stroll around Harlem Meer and chatted about marriage. It was so therapeutic to swap stories and struggles and laugh at how much God has combatted our fears and worries with relationships.
As the late morning began to heat up, we slowed the pace down and just took our time to stop and smell at the flowers. Before long we found ourselves in the Conservatory Garden. Here we were finally met with some other New Yorkers. It was fun to see what I imagine was a more normal day in the park. There was a class on a field trip and I tried to imagine what growing up in an urban jungle must feel like, to have your outdoor trips take place in locations like Central Park. I think I would have liked it.
Walking through the meadows towards the Reservoir was mystical. Acres and acres of rolling grassy hills covered the entire area and were dotted with picnic-ers and young families. It was quiet and peaceful, a true oasis in the middle of the concrete chaos. I could imagine the summer weekends there and Sarah confirmed that the meadows are in fact covered edge to edge with visitors. I never knew such expanses existed in the park. It was beautiful, as was the Reservoir which hosts some of the best cross town views you could ask for.
Eventually we found ourselves at Belvedere Castle and decided to explore. Sarah told me there were some pretty views from the top and so we ascended through the cramped stairwell and took in the scene before us.
We actually took a beat to rest here as we had been walking for about 2 hours. There was a little wood next to the castle and so we perched up on a bench and just sat in the cool shade for a long time people watching and admiring the scenery. I love watching people in a new city. You never know where they came from or why they are there - so many eclectic roots and stories in one spot. I love the mystery of it.
After our little siesta we journeyed south to the capstone of our day in Central Park - late lunch and a boat ride on the Central Park Lake. I was most excited for this adventure as it is truly one of those quintessential New York experiences. We made a loop around the Lake before crossing the famous Bow Bridge. It was all of my Pinterest and fashion blog dreams come true. New York is just so pretty.
We took the long way to the boathouse, wandering through the Bethesda Arcade. This held a special place in my heart as it is the location where Chuck Bass FINALLY marries Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl (one of my all time favorite shows). I definitely had the feels there. The palza was packed with people, performers and artists. It was cool to see all these people displaying their talents against such a lovely backdrop. You could honestly just sit there for hours and be entertained.
At about 1 pm we finally arrived at the boathouse and immediately got a row boat. I could not believe how inexpensive it was - 15$ for an hour of boating and we thought that would suite us perfectly. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. We were pushed out in the Lake and had an hour to row around and see the city from the water. I have to admit that we were not the best rowers but we had a ball, laughing at ourselves, dodging couples on dates and listening to some of the musicians that play at the water's edge.
Oh bliss. I wish I had kept more of the phone snaps from that day because they were pretty hilarious. I loved the Lake. This was honestly and still is one of my all time favorite memories and experiences. We treated ourselves to a late lunch at the Loeb Boathouse (pinch me) and this was a much needed rest from the previous walking and rowing. We were wiped and it was only mid-day. A champagne pick me up was definitely in order. God really blessed our time by giving us one of the best seats in the house - right on the water. The food was phenomenal, as was the attentive service. I felt like the luckiest girl to share it all with Sarah. We were pretty proud and ecstatic with the day we had had - the best girly date.
It was truly the perfect end to a perfect day spent together in Central Park. I can honestly say I have more or less walked the whole park (we clocked about 7 miles that afternoon). But it was all COMPLETELY WORTH IT. It is important to plan some longer dates with your girlfriends. It bonds you and leaves space to really connect and share more of what's going on. Since Sarah and I live about 2500 miles apart (the struggle is real) having a full day together was ESSENTIAL. We not only got to talk but we also got to play and I believe both are vital for healthy friendships. I am learning this more and more. I hope this inspires you to plan a fun outing with your best friend. And if you are in the NYC area or planning to travel there soon - feel free to use our itinerary!
1. Enter the park at Frederick Douglass Circle
2. Walk by Harlem Meer
3. Stroll in the Conservatory Garden
4. Pass through the North Meadow
5. Walk down and west around the Kennedy Reservoir
6. Go up to the viewing deck of the Belvedere Castle
7. Follow the edge around The Lake to Bow Bridge
8. Cross the Bridge and visit the Bethesda Arcade
9. Rent a boat and take it out on the Lake
10. Have lunch and champagne at the Loeb Boathouse
Until the next one!
~ A ~