During these uncertain times, we are all feeling the frustrations and sadness of not being able to travel. The month of August has been excruciating for me as it is the time that I tend to travel internationally, and it ain’t happening. So what is the solution?

As I forge through this pandemic,  I want to share some tips on how to explore places closer to home and my own local travel experiences with the hope that you will be inspired to do the same. I am fortunate to live in New Jersey close to quite a bit of unique possibilities from New York to Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut.  I will be featuring on my blog a BackYard Series of possibilities until it gradually becomes safer to travel. You don’t have to travel far to experience something cool!

Here are some familiar tips

  1. Pull out a map and circle a geographic area that requires you to drive between 1- 4 hours with an occasional stay-over.
  2. Use Trip Advisor or the State tourism website to learn what places to visit that are open and safe and begin developing a list to schedule weekends.

Storm King Art Center, Cornwall, NY

Before I share my experience and photos of Storm King, I want to first talk about the wonders of sculpture parks and why they should be discovered by you. First of all, throughout the world, there are over 500 sculpture parks and gardens (the latter tends to be smaller and may be attached to a museum or art center). The USA alone has way over 100 sculpture parks; New York State has at least 10. Practically, all states have these unique parks (just google it).

There is something about witnessing modern art sculptures surrounded by rolling hills, bodies of water, native grasses, or a lush forest that changes with the seasons. It is inspiring to see these massive shaped metal sculptures reaching into the sky that sometimes look like alien ships or creatures from another planet. These open-air museums are perfect for fighting back the fatigue that our families are all experiencing from being sheltered-in-place since March 2020.

Storm King Art Center is located near the town of Cornwall, NY, less than 2 hours from North Jersey. It approximates 500 acres of a dramatic landscape and has one of the most extensive collections of contemporary outdoor sculptures in the US.  My sister and I packed some snacks and lounge chairs and headed to the town first to pick up sandwiches and refreshments before entering the park. This quaint town is worthy of a stop to better understand what life is like in the Catskills Region.   Tickets were reserved early since they only allow a limited number of folks per time slots. The restaurant and the main building were closed to the public. We easily logged 10,000 steps before we sat near the picnic area underneath a tree to have lunch and rest on what was a hot sunny day.

There are over 100 sculptures of every size spread throughout this scenic park of natural woodlands, meadows, and fields. Based on my photos, we probably only got to see half of them. Definitely, would like to go back in the fall to enjoy the foliage and see the rest. The park offers bike rentals and kayak tours near the Hudson River for those who want a more active day. The center’s mission for preserving the environment also includes the offerings of educational programs and activities for families.

For me, it was a photographer’s dream, and all the more reason I would want to come back in the fall and experience the changing of the season. By 400 PM, we were ready to head home. I plan to check other sculpture parks in my immediate area, which I would also consider when traveling abroad. The 30 photos are from a range of well-known artists such as Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Louis Bourgeois, Mary Lin, Victor Contreras, and many others.

                                                                       Click the center of the photo to see the full view.

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