May we be so bold as to say the unofficial symbol of R&R in New York State is the iconic Adirondack Chair? Derived from an invented design in the early 1900s made to be for the “most comfortable [chair]”, from its original “sister chair” named the “Westport Chair”, after the town the creators lived in, The Adirondack Chair has become a symbol of leisure for many. Our beloved Adirondack Folk School will teach you how to make your own Westport Chair in a 4-day course beginning July 6. More details here.
Defining R&R is subjective, right?! For instance, my mom would say rest is lounging outside under her backyard gazebo, and relaxation is reading a book for hours on end. To my brothers, rest and relaxation is watching sports while eating home-cooked meals. And me? Well, I suppose it’s as simple as getting a good night’s sleep and having an invigorating cup of hot, frothy coffee the next morning. Also, islands in the Mediterranean satisfy both of my R’s (OK, they aren’t in New York! But I hope to visit the Thousand Islands this summer!).
I imagine surveying the masses for their definitions of R&R would produce interesting, and varying, results. I think we can all agree that R&R is about feeling refreshed -- and ready -- for a later time when we are not in those states of mind, but at the very least we have these comforting memories and emotions to revisit.
Speaking of an R&R survey, I asked members of the New York Makers team to share their favorite spots to unwind in New York State. Here are some of their expert recommendations for your consideration. (Careful, R&R is known to be contagious!):
Audra Herman, New York Makers Marketplace Director: “Gerard Point and Louse Point Springs in East Hampton for solitude while I look at the sea. Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks for more solitude looking at the high peaks. New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx for viewing lush old trees and plants in NYC. Skaneateles Lake in the Finger Lakes for the deep blue lake and wonderful town. DIA Beacon in Beacon has a large scale contemporary art in a naturally lit setting. Wellesley Island State Park Marina, in the Thousand Islands is the perfect location to enjoy the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Roosevelt Baths at Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs is an ‘old school’ healing mineral bath and spa.”
Skaneateles Lake (left) and St. Lawrence Seaway (right). Photos: Audra Herman
Melissa Hart, New York Makers Marketing Manager: “Ausable Point Beach and Campground on Lake Champlain is only 10 minutes from my house, and it's a perfect oasis. You can see the Green Mountains of Vermont across the lake, and there's plenty of stuff to keep the kiddos occupied! With twin toddlers, I'm all about the "staycation" these days.”
Kathleen Willcox, New York Makers Magazine writer: “I second Spa State Park, but I would say my favorite spot there is the playground by the nature education center. Trails from all over the park lead there; there are picnic benches and grills, plenty of great play equipment for kids, and a sizable stream to explore. I also love Lake Lonely, which I can walk to from my house, and Lake Saratoga, for fishing and swimming the summer. The High Peaks of the Adirondacks are also breathtaking whenever I can manage to get there. The High Line in New York City is magical. So are NYC's Chinatown and Little Italy...great memories from my own childhood, and with my children.”
Saratoga Spa State Park. Photo: Kathleen Willcox
Justine Broughal, New York Makers Magazine writer - “My favorite R&R activity is going to Riverside Park and Charlie’s Pan Fried Chicken on a Sunday afternoon. The park has a lot of natural space, and the chicken is amazing! I also love going to Astoria Park for a picnic on weeknights — it’s near my house, right on the water, and the other park patrons always have some bangin’ Latinx music playing!”
And for me, Amanda DiRobella, New York Makers Editor in Chief: “Riding cruisers [bikes] down the Rockaway boardwalk just before sunset. Enjoying a Summer Ale with friends on the picnic benches outside of Montauk Brewing Company. Renting a small motor boat from Captain Marney’s on Lake Placid and exploring for hours and hours. Listening to impromptu ‘jam’ [music] sessions on the Great Lawn in Central Park. Antiquing all over the Catskills.”
Montauk Brewing Company (left) and beach barbecue on the Great Peconic Bay, Hampton Bays (right).
Now that you know where we like to go for R&R in New York State, why don’t you try some of our favorites and let us in on new places and activities we should try! And if you cannot roam, Zen-out your home sanctuary with this carefully-selected collection on our New York Makers Marketplace!
New York Makers "R&R" Collection Preview:
We’ll leave the rest and relaxation to all of you, although we did enjoy our slumberous day after last weekend’s FIRST New York Makers Market at the Garden Party Festival in Sharon Springs with Beekman 1802. June’s agenda for New York Makers is shaping up to be just as jam-packed as May, and major things are happening with our website in particular — so stay tuned!
Scenes from our first New York Makers Market!