Get Back in the Saddle–Horseback Riding is a Fun Tween and Teen Activity

Trail-ride-ready at Seaton Hackney Stables in Morristown, NJ.

I love it when my nieces or nephew visit! My sister calls it “Camp Naomi” when any of her daughters stay over. Last winter, my brother’s daughter spent a few days in New Jersey, and we had a great time exploring the American Museum of Natural History, hand-building at a Visual Arts Center of New Jersey pottery class, and going on a trail ride at Seaton Hackney Stables in Morristown. Though I live in the ‘burbs and my town is a commuter-train-ride away from Manhattan, you don’t have to drive far to find horses. In fact, Watchung Stable is located in a neighboring county in the midst of the wooded Watchung Reservation.

Located in the Watchung Reservation, Union County’s Watchung Stable has a long and rich heritage. Owned and operated by the County since 1933, its goal is to provide the opportunity to learn how to ride, enhance equestrian skills or just enjoy the natural beauty of the 26 miles of bridle paths that weave through the Reservation, a 2,000-acre forest preserve.

Watchung Stable

My niece and I enjoyed the peaceful trail ride through Morris County’s Loantaka Brook Reservation. The stables have a low-key, friendly feel, and the staff and guide couldn’t have been nicer.

Hon, need an excellent tween or teen activity? This is it!

Me and my niece say hi to a stable resident.

Stables near Essex County, NJ: Seaton Hackney Stables, Watchung Stable, Mortonhouse Farm, Silver Bit and Spur Farm

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Dinosaurs Dressed Up

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All Dressed Up and Somewhere To Go

I’ve spent a lot of time at the  American Museum of Natural History, especially when my kids were little. We marveled at the dinosaur bones, studied the amazing wall in the Hall of Biodiversity, and gazed into space at the Hayden Planetarium.

Subway Art under the museum.
Subway Art under the museum.

Subway "fossils."
Subway “fossil.”

Subway "fossil."
Subway “fossil.”

At the museum a few years ago, I watched Tibetan monks build sand mandalas and meditated with  Abbot Khen Rinpoche Geshe Kachen Lobzang Tsetan Khen Rinpoche (Khen Rinpoche for short).

But, I’d never been to the museum in the evening, dressed up and as a guest at a fundraising gala.

A T-Rex, towering and fearsome.
A T-Rex, towering and fearsome.

The 94 foot long, fiberglass replica of a blue whale.
The 94 foot long, fiberglass replica of a blue whale.

Always impressive, the big blue whale seems to swim in mid-air.  At the gala, it floated above the tables and modern-day finery.

I had such a nice time at the Stephen Gaynor Gala, meeting Hubby’s colleagues, meeting Suzy B of Suzy B Jewelry, bidding on raffles, dining on a delicious dinner, and rocking to a set by Lauryn Hill.

And guess who I introduced myself to…

the MC of the night…

drum roll, please…

Anderson Cooper!

Anderson Cooper and me!
Anderson Cooper and me!

Anderson was gracious and friendly.  I shook his hand.  He asked if I wanted a picture and I said yes, but first I had some things to tell him.

I told him he was my favorite journalist, that I watch him almost every night, thought he did a great job covering the earthquake in Haiti, saw him when he was in the Ukraine, like the way he presents both sides of an issue but his panelists aren’t acrimonious, and wondered about the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial.  Anderson asked me (ME!) what I thought of the trial.  I seriously could have talked to him all night!  Then we had a photo taken.  My mom says, “No wonder he looks so happy in the photo.”

I am still thrilled thinking of it.

Hon, have you ever met someone you admired from a distance?  I’d love to hear about it.

Undersea Undergound

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Color, Composition and Creativity

I stopped in my tracks when I came across these beautiful undersea mosaics.  Along with the amphibians and insects featured in my previous post “Underground Art,” these glass and ceramic tile artworks are located under the American Museum of Natural History at the 81st Street subway station.

Still wondering who I met at the gala fundraiser at the museum last week?  If you follow me on Twitter, then you know.  If not, you’ll have to wait for the big reveal!

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I love the mosaic’s vivid colors, the detail in each scene, and the artistry.  It’s amazing that static material can evoke movement!

Hon, just imagine you’re scuba diving.

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Underground Art

The Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building.

Manhattan On My Mind.  

Last week, I attended a gala (very fancy!) for a private school in Manhattan. Who? The Stephen Gaynor School. What? A fundraiser. Where? The American Museum of Natural History. Hosted by? Well, that’s a surprise for later in the week.

I love the museum for many reasons, but I found another reason to delight in visiting. If you reach the museum by subway, specifically the 81st Street entrance, you will find gorgeous mosaic tiles.

Hon, happy hunting for underground art!

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My favorite?  Stay tuned…

Do you have a favorite?