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This is my lucky 13th year in NYC, and probably my last, so I’m making more of an effort than usual to appreciate it. And how better to appreciate anything than from distance?

See you in three hours, George Washington Bridge

Circle Line has this deal on Gold Star through the month of October. For about $25 you can take a 2 hour boat ride up the Hudson River to Bear Mountain. And its round trip so, unless you’re too busy chowing down on Belgian waffles to catch the ride back, you get to spend a total of 4 hours on a boat.

Sure you could drive up to the mountain in about half an hour, but the views from the boat are easier on the eyes.

Up the Hudson River

Wear something warm because it’s super windy and cold on the top of the boat. Then step off and inhale nature for three hours. Oh hey, Nature. You look nice today.

Bear Mountain Lake

And then:

Yeah, I drink wine at Oktoberfest

Absorb it all whilst swaying to the woes of Argentinian ballads at Oktoberfest. Bear Mountain truly missed an opportunity to re-name themselves BEER mountain, but it’s more of a family scene than frat boys gone wild. The festival itself feels like a small county fair with potpourri crafts. It was pretty hard to resist buying a wolf tee shirt, but I settled for a jar of honey instead.

Do lower your expectations on the sausages. My friends were pretty ‘Meh’ about the food and they tried everything, including the saucy meat called goulash but it didn’t look like no Hungarian goulash to me. Maybe that’s what you get when you go to Oktoberfest in September. Because I have the diet of a caterpillar I brought my own snacks.

It’s worth the trip just to hear the harbinger, I mean boat guide man, foreshadow, I mean warn about the perils of going to the zoo. For some reason he sounded terrified of this zoo on the mountain. I lost count of how many times he said, “Don’t go to the zoo whatever you do.” I think he was playing some reverse psychology and wanted us to go to the zoo, but WHY?

He said nothing about the stone house hidden in ivy. Too bad we didn’t spot it until  leaving. Maybe next time, giant faeries.

You can explore Bear Mountain throughout October, but save this upcoming weekend for Governors Island because its the last of the season. Catch the free ferry from the bottom of Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens. If you haven’t been yet, there’s an art fair so you can wander through some of the buildings on the east side of the island.

Do make your way to Picnic Point. Last summer they had adult swings facing the Statue of Liberty. Let’s hope they’re still there or someone’s gonna be very disappointed. Adult swings! My sister, Debbie Downer’s cousin, said that she didn’t think they were for adults. But just ignore her. Adult swings!

Whatever you do, don’t go to the zoo. There’s not even supposed to be one on Governors so seriously, if you see one don’t go. Or do go and take pictures, but let’s just agree beforehand: fall behind, stay behind.

I should probably lay off the horror movies soon. Have you seen Cabin in the Woods yet? Watch it. Watch it right now.