One of the things I love most about doing something new or traveling to a new place is that it inspires and spurs me on to do more new things and see more new places. It’s got this infectious/contagious thing going on.
Back when we did a new thing and went on our Staten Island adventure (you can see that here), our trusted tour guide and dear friend, Tanya, and I talked about how we’d never tried stand up paddleboarding but really wanted to give it a go. Jordan jumped in and encouraged us to pick a Sunday and go, insisting that both of us needed a day of rest from all of our responsibilities at church (Tanya is the children’s ministry director, and I handle communications, along with a mish mosh of things).
So this past Sunday was our day — we set out to try something new and rest.
We caught an early Metro North train from 125th Street in Harlem to Cold Spring, NY. The 70-minute ride was relaxing and beautiful as we left the urban jungle behind and traveled alongside the Hudson River. Once we arrived, it was a short walk to Hudson River Expeditions, where we had reserved a two-hour session with stand up paddleboards — or SUPs for all of you cool kids keeping score at home.
We walked down to the water and got a quick tutorial on how to get up and down on the board, how to fall off the board safely, and how to combat elements like the wind if things suddenly changed. All the while, I struggled to focus on the instructions and not be distracted by the beautiful setting around us. I mean, those clouds though…We had a wide open space to explore on our boards, and we alternated between standing up to paddle and lounging on our boards, taking in the mountains and calling out cloud animals. One of us may or may not have fallen off of our board in the middle of a spirited conversation about a funny episode of Family Feud, but the water was pleasant, so that’s neither here nor there. Perhaps more amazing than the striking mountains or the sounds of gentle lapping water or the ridiculous clouds was the fact that we managed to capture these photos without my iPhone falling into the water.
Once our two hours were up, we walked over to Main Street in search of some food. Cold Spring, NY is the kind of cute town that has a Main Street lined with cafes, antique shops, and stores you want to look inside even when you have no plans to buy anything.
We decided to go for brunch at Hudson Hils Cafe, which was a very good choice. I had a chocolate babka french toast with espresso cream cheese syrup, and I’m not a huge chocolate-in-my-breakfast kind of girl, but man, that thing was good.We walked through town some more and made a stop in a few antique stores and the Cold Spring General Store, which had to be my favorite shop. It was that kind of store where I’d gladly take one of everything — stationary, jewelry, flavored salts, candles, homemade jams, lavender bunches, and so on. They were even selling the “Cold Spring” version of this shopping bag I’ve been stalking on Instagram. I exercised restraint, because, well, the way my bank account is set up… but Tanya walked away with a tasty craft cider, and I lived vicariously through her purchase.
We walked past more beautiful old buildings and back to the river. And I’m thinking that house in the middle with the second floor porch would do just fine as my summer getaway home.
After a quick stop for some gelato, we were on the train heading back to Harlem. As the water whizzed by again, we spent more time catching up on life, and Tanya is the kind of friend I get to talk about all kinds of things with — relationships, work, ministry, social justice, recipes, and everything in between. We laughed. We talked about the tough stuff. But we also get to point each other back toward trusting God with the stories He’s writing for us.
And we reflected on how great of a day it was. How great it was to be encouraged to rest. How life-giving it is when we step away from our regular routines, even for just a day. And how much better we’ll be to the people who depend on us because of it.