Where can you skate for free in NYC if you bring your own skates? What rink has a holiday market around it? Which rink has several food choices close by? Bryant Park in Manhattan has all of these.
Bryant Park borders 42nd Street and 41st Street behind the main branch of the NYC Public Library. It is about two blocks from Grand Central Station. Between Thanksgiving and the beginning of January the park also hosts a Holiday Market. There are a booths outside carrying a variety of items from clothing to food and gifts.
Yes, if you bring your own skates it is free. They have a changing area. Skating starts early in the morning. There is food available in the lodge, an indoor area near the rink. There is also a Whole Foods across one of the streets it borders and other restaurants and shopping nearby. There are also permanent food kiosks in the park.
It is a rink with some nice views of Midtown Manhattan. It does not get the crowds that the rink at Rockefeller Center gets. I recommend this rink over the others because of that and the close proximity to food and shopping.
Whether you ice skate or not, it is worth visiting Bryant Park in winter. Watch the action or catch a bite to eat and enjoy the scenery of Midtown Manhattan.
When you think of stone circles in Great Britain what comes to mind? Stonehenge? The stone circle in Outlander? There are other stone circles you can see in England and Scotland.
The truth is there are many stone circles in Great Britain. It is said there are 316 stone circles in England, 508 in Scotland, and 81 in Wales.
Within the county of Cornwall in England there are 17 stone circles and this includes the Merry Maidens. Merry Maidens is made up of 19 granite stones. The circle is a diameter of 75 feet (24m). It is in a perfect circle with each stone about 3-4 meters apart. The tallest is 1.4 meters. The stones gradually diminish in size from SW to NE. This is believed to follow the cycle of the moon.
Tales Behind the Stones
The Cornish legend behind the monument is the stone circle was the petrified remains of a group of local girls who had been turned to stone as a punishment for dancing on the Sabbath. Further away in neighboring fields are three other stones. One is said to have been a fiddler and the two others were pipers. The story is they are further away because they heard the church bells ringing out at midnight and they attempted to flee because they realized they were breaking religious rules. They were caught as well and were turned to stone. This story was most likely started to turn people to the church and away from pagan practices.
The stones are in a field next to the B3315 in the parish of St. Buryan in the West Penwith area. It has a small car park that can fit 4-5 cars.
If you are traveling to Cornwall and would like to see a stone circle up close and personal without the crowds of Stonehenge, then stop by this ancient group of stones. You will get to see something that could be over 3500 years old.
Many towns put up a large Christmas tree somewhere central and have a tree lighting to mark the start of the Christmas season. Some towns in New England have a tree lighting, but the tree may not be pine or spruce. These trees are made of lobster traps in homage to the local fishermen.
Plymouth started their lobster trap tree tradition in 2013. This one is on the town wharf.
Some say Gloucester started the lobster trap Christmas tree tradition. They have the oldest tradition in New England. Their tree is stacked with 350 lobster traps. The tree has buoys hand painted by local youth.
Newport, Rhode Island
This tree is next to the harbor. It had buoys, lights and garland.
More New England towns are starting to put these up instead of traditional Christmas trees. There are others in Maine and elsewhere. If you are in New England in December, see which towns nearby have one. These towns put a local flair to Christmas.
What can you see at York Minster besides the cathedral itself? If you look up at the minster you can see the gargoyles and grotesques, but you may also see a nesting pair of peregrine falcons.
Since around 2015 there has been a nesting pair of Peregrine falcons at York Minster. During the 2018 they were reported to have raised four young. Two of the three times I visited York I was able to spy some falcons flying around the minster, landing on grotesques and the towers.
If you are going to try to catch these birds of prey, bring a powerful pair of binoculars or a zoom lens. They land pretty high up on the minster. Whether you are a birder or not, they are enjoyable to see in flight.
What hotel near Boston has a lot of Christmas spirit? Are you looking to plan a trip to the Boston area or North Shore in December? I highly recommend the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
The Beauport has a nice location. Its on the beach in Gloucester. Its a short drive to Rockport, an artsy town on the sea. Marvelous sunrises and sunsets are to be had in their rooms facing the water. It is really a great location all year long.
The Beauport had numerous holiday displays. They had multiple Christmas trees up stairs and down. The seating around the two fireplaces, one in the bar area and one outside the restaurant is grand. The mantles are decorated beautifully for the season.
The Beauport is about the only gig in town on Christmas Day for food. I was told the only other option was Chinese. They had the choice between a four course meal or something off their menu. They were booked at the restaurant in advance, but no worries. I was able to order food at the bar which included the four course dinner if that is what you fancied.
The service at this hotel is top notch. They have doormen that will assist you. They have a van service. The drivers will take you to where you want to go locally for free. I used them twice since I messed up my foot prior to my trip and wanted to walk as little a possible. It also helped me get to know the area from a local before I tried to drive around and explore. You woke up Christmas morning to a large candy cane hanging on your door and they came around at night offering chocolates. They had a nice store within the hotel that was open even on Christmas selling snacks, lovely gift items, clothing, etc.
This trip was last minute so to speak. I am trying to finish some photo projects for a class. I may have booked the room a day or two in advance. What I paid was much less than their regular rates in the warmer months.
If you want a quiet vacation with lovely decor, great service, delicious food, and marvelous views, stay at the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I highly recommend it.