SOMETIMES NO PLAN IS THE BEST PLAN

I like to end the week with plans for the weekend. Whether it’s a road trip out of town, getting to a restaurant I have wanted to try, or staying home and watching movies, I have a chronic need to know what the immediate future holds. My plans are always malleable and quite often change, but the idea of not putting any thought into what I might be doing for the next 48 hours is quite troublesome to me.

This past weekend was particularly aggressive in terms of plans. There was a Friday night dinner reservation with dear friends, followed by drinks with more friends and an early morning wake up call to head north for an autumn bi-plane ride over the Hudson Valley. It would be a quick turnaround as I had a birthday dinner and party back in the city that Saturday evening. But I couldn’t get too drunk because we wanted to finally use our tickets to the Bronx Zoo on Sunday and walk through Central Park to see the changing leaves.

Insane? Perhaps. But there is a part of me that knows I won’t live in this city forever and as a result I must see and do everything possible. I find it exhausting at times, but the fear of missing a quintessential New York moment or experience keeps me in constant motion.

We went out on Friday night according to plan, but in typical New York fashion, by the end of the night I found myself sipping on far too many Tecates in a wood shop at the edge of Brooklyn. It was an area of town where the streets dead-end so far up the East River you can’t make out the city in the distance and most ubers decline your request for pick up. I blame my poor choices and late evening on the inconvenience of being able to leave it all. Before I knew it, I was engaged in an hour long debate about Kurt Cobain, had taken off my shoes, and it was 4:15AM.

It was there my coveted plans turned as stale as the beer puddling on the floor beside me. Saturday morning came and went, but I didn't stir from beneath the covers of my bed. By the time I was out of bed, the first thing on my mind was how quickly I could order Thai food, not the open air bi-plane ride in upstate New York. Dinner came quickly, as it does when you shorten your day by waking up at 2PM, and I could barely get a single drink down. The proximity and rapport of my girlfriends gave me a temporary energy, but it was fleeting the moment we shifted from sit down dinner to standing up after party.

I kissed the birthday girl goodbye and headed home for some much needed rest. If the weekend wasn’t to be totally lost, I needed a good night’s sleep.

Sunday morning proved to be far better than Saturday and I was optimistic we would be able to make something happen. I was determined to see the fall foliage, even if it was from a curled up state in the front seat of a rental car.

We tossed around the idea of taking the train, but I was still in no state to deal with the stench of the on-board lavatories. Which I knew I would be frequently visiting as a result of my re-hydration efforts. The constant rocking leads to inaccurate aim by the male patrons and when you only clean the walls once every presidential administration, the smell turns quite poignant. The trash is never emptied so wet clumps of year-old toilet paper stick to your feet as you scramble to wipe with something other than your hand. No thank you.

The only train alternative was renting a car. A last minute reservation in a city full of 8 million people shouldn’t be an issue, right? We couldn’t have possibly been the only people wanting to escape the confines of New York City for some fresh air and autumn flavored weekend activities. No way.

After 40 painful minutes on the phone with zipcar, the sweet older woman assisting us was able to find a minivan “conveniently” located 5 miles away in Union City, New Jersey. It wasn’t ideal, but it was the only option.

$50 uber ride to Union City, New Jersey

$175 zipcar for the day

$18 coffee stop

We were down $243, but we were on our way. It didn’t take more than 20 minutes for the city to disappear behind us as we headed north. With absolutely no plan, we just drove. Taking every colorful turn we could until we finally landed at Wilklow Orchard to pick some apples.

This particular day happened to be one of the warmest since summer finally packed its sweaty bags and left, leaving us with his more manageable friend, fall. It was only 75 degrees outside, but the remaining alcohol in my blood boiled without a cool breeze to balance the warmth. I was poorly dressed for the occasion in jeans, a sweater and vest, feeling the sweat drip down my back the second I emerged from the air-conditioned car. Luckily I had forgotten to empty my backpack of a new dress and decided to apple pick in full glam. I dressed it down with a denim jacket to avoid sideways glares from the hordes of families nearby, but the whole outfit came together quite nicely. 

We traversed in and out of the trees, picking more apples than any small family of 2 could possibly consume in a year. We made our way to the top of the hill and found a perfect table to perch for a while, watching the trees slowly shed their leaves. For the first time in awhile, time seemed to pass slowly.

We were getting hungry and decided to continue further north to Poughkeepsie to grab some seasonal cocktails by the water and walk the well-preserved railroad bridge across the Hudson River.

The Walkway Over the Hudson merges perfectly into the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which continues on for several miles. While the river views were stunning, not much can compare to the dense canopy of multi-colored leaves, gently rustling in the autumn breeze. We strolled up and down the trail for at least an hour, unwinding from the rush of the city and soaking in the splendor of the moment. 

With no plan at all, we had stumbled into the perfect fall day.

Dress - Zara, Jacket - Cotton On, Hat - Worth & Worth, Beret - & other stories, Sunglasses - Ray-Ban

Chelsie Fish

Slightly exaggerated stories of love, life and travel.