Category Archives: Travel

Memories of Home: Long Island

By Matt Solowan

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

Whenever people ask me where I’m from and I say New York, they always reply with something along the lines of “Wow, that’s so cool! You live in New York City!” I then have to remind them (and for some people teach them) that New York is actually a really big state, and New York City (or Manhattan more specifically) is only one part of it.

I grew up on Long Island, about an hour drive from Manhattan. While some people only know us Long Islanders as inhabitants of the setting of The Great Gatsby, we have also made quite a name for ourselves for other reasons. From the beautiful beaches of the Hamptons to our world-famous bagels and pizza, Long Island has come to be known for many things.  When I go home for breaks now, I like to squeeze in as many of my favorite Long Island-themed activities as I can possibly fit in. This got me thinking about what my perfect day on Long Island would be. So without further ado here it is:

I’d wake up early so that I can get to my favorite bagel shop while the bagels are still fresh. I’d order my favorite bacon egg and cheese on an everything flagel (slang for a flat bagel) and an iced coffee. No breakfast food can compare to a Long Island bagel, and in fact, whenever my family or friends come to visit me at school, I always beg them to bring me as many as they can( By the way, if you think you’ve had a bagel, but it wasn’t from Long Island, then you probably were just eating bread).

Photo by Ann on Unsplash

If it were summertime, I would then drive out to the beach with my friends, preferably the Hamptons or nearby Fire Island, but Jones Beach or Oyster Bay are nice hangout spots too. While we may not have the same crystal clear blue water that you find in the Caribbean, to me spending the day at the beach has always been like a mini-vacation (although the seagulls can get pretty annoying).

After that, my friends and I would return home to get ready to go out for the night. One of the best parts about living in the shadow of Manhattan is that at any time you can hop on a train and spend the night in one of the greatest cities on earth. No matter how many times I step out of Penn Station on arrival in Manhattan, I am always in awe at the sights and sounds of the city.

Photo by Alex Simpson on Unsplash
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Exploring California National Parks

By Minah Ha

[2 ½ minute read]

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

Growing up in Southern California, I was privileged enough to be driving distance away from many popular national parks. Every winter and summer break, my family would take a trip to a new national park. During the winter, we would stay in hotels or motels and explore the parks during the day and during the summer we would go camping. Camping and exploring national parks is a fun activity for families or friend groups to take part in over a long weekend or vacation, so here are my top three national park choices that I highly suggest you visit while you’re in California!

1. Yosemite National Park

Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash

This is one of the most popular national parks in California. It boasts beautiful mountains and waterfalls. The campsites in Yosemite fill up fast, so the best time to book them is in February or March if you want to camp around June. The best place to camp within Yosemite is in Yosemite Village because of its proximity to the best hiking trails and sightseeing locations. Some of their most beautiful hiking trails are the Vernal and Nevada Falls trails. These trails take you to a beautiful spot where you can get very close to the waterfall and if you go earlier in the summer, you will get soaked by the waterfall. The park is very family-friendly and has hiking trails suited for younger children. 

2. Sequoia National Park

Photo by Jorn van Til on Unsplash

Sequoia National Park is known for its gigantic trees. The biggest one yet is called the General Sherman Tree and it’s something that must be visited if you end up going to Sequoia. The park is about 3 to 4 hours away from  Los Angeles. This place is also best to visit during the
months of May to June because the weather is perfect for hiking. Sequoia is also home to various wildlife species and you might be able to see some bears and deer! If you want to get more done while you’re up there, Sequoia is also only an hour and a half away from Kings Canyon National Park, a park with mountains and waterfalls that are beautiful to visit at sunset.

The Culture of Sleep Away Camp

By Katie Stone

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

Most people have little knowledge of sleep away camp aside from classic movies like “The Parent Trap” and “Meatballs”.  The image that comes to mind when most people think about sleep away camp is of canoeing on a lake, tie-dying t-shirts, or making s’mores and telling stories around a campfire.  The truth is, all of these things certainly exist at sleep away camp, but there is so much more that is involved in this American summertime tradition.

Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

As a child growing up in the state of New York, my summers always took place at sleep away camp, where I’d spend my days in nature among friends. If you’ve never heard of sleep away camp, it’s a summer-long activity-driven community for children and teens. I have had my fair share of bracelet making and song singing, although my favorite part of camp is undoubtedly interacting with all of the people I’ve met over the years.  Because there are about 100 girls at my camp, and 200 boys at the neighboring “brother” camp, it is safe to say I recognize every face I see.  I can walk down the stunning lakefront path to the dining hall and see friends ranging in age from 8 to 21. There is a certain bond that forms between people who live together in an isolated, yet self-sufficient mini-world that is sleep away camp, and this made this a very memorable part of my childhood.

One of the strongest and most tight-knit communities I belong to is my sleep away camp.  Tucked away in the serene Adirondack mountains, camp is home to a small group of kind, creative, and unique people. The sense of comfort is so strong in this small, lakeside oasis that every person feels like a member of a family. We admire each other’s passions, supporting one another in everything from sports to plays to painted masterpieces; I have never felt more at home in a place besides my own house.  Growing up as a camper, I learned fun lessons from my counselors: how to french-braid hair, craft string bracelets, and effectively mouth words to songs that I was too young to memorize.  They taught me the games, songs, and customs that bind our camp community together, making sure to promote camp spirit.  Now that I am a counselor, I feel that it is my duty to highlight these traditions and pass down the skills I learned to my campers to demonstrate how special this place truly is.

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