New Jersey and New York

We didn’t want to leave Vermont since the forests had not yet reached their autumn colour peak, but we had booked a housesit in New Jersey, so leave we did. Once we got adjusted to leaving, we started looking forward to what was next.

Our New Jersey housesit homeowner had suggested stopping at Storm King Art Center if outdoor sculpture interested us, which it most definitely did. Storm King, begun in 1960, is a 500-acre open-air sculpture park in New York’s beautiful Hudson valley. The land itself has been sculpted to include fields, marshes, ponds, and hillsides with often gigantic sculptures thoughtfully placed throughout the landscapes. You can ride (rental bikes only), walk, or take a tram tour through the pathways, and come across surprisingly beautiful vistas and art with every turn and on every overlook. We spent several hours wandering around and finally had to accept that we couldn’t possibly see everything.

Our time in Long Valley, New Jersey, was busy but loads of fun. We were taking care of Mr. Kipling, a two-year-old border collie who had been kept very intellectually stimulated by his pet parent. As well as taking him to his agility classes, and out for regular walks among beautiful acreages, we worked on his vocabulary and finding skills. He had a big bag of stuffed toys and each one had a unique name. Sometimes we would hide the toys around the kitchen and he would go bring the correct toy on command and drop it into the waiting bag. Other times, we had him root around through the full bag and bring the named toy to us. His basement held a mini-agility course so we could run him around that when the weather wasn’t great.

The trees were lovely in this area, satiating our autumn leaf colour desires. A worrisome note was the presence of Spotted Lanternflies in the area. We had come across these red-and-black insects earlier in our trip, but not in the numbers that we saw in this area. Trunks of the maple trees in our housesit yard were wrapped with sticky tape to catch the critters and they had already been sprayed a couple of times. Yet the flies were everywhere, clickety clicking as they jumped off the trees when disturbed. The species was first recorded in the United States in 2014 and as of 2022 is considered an invasive species in the Northeastern states. The biggest concern is the risk to agricultural industries such as maple trees and vineyards.

New York City was on our wish list (we’ve never been), but we didn’t think we’d be able to get there from this housesit since we couldn’t leave Mr. Kip alone that long. Our homeowner decided that we should not miss the experience and jumped through hoops to make it happen for us. We planned our trip around a day that Kip normally went to day camp, and she arranged for a friend to pick him up and bring him home and both she and the friend encouraged us just to go and enjoy ourselves. We felt like we were playing hookey from our responsibilities when we dropped Kip off and headed for Jersey City to take the ferry to NYC.

Since this was our first time visiting, and we only had one day, we went for the broad overview provided by the hop-on-hop-off bus rather than a walking tour that would only allow us to see one or two of the neighbourhoods. It isn’t our usual approach, but it seemed the right choice for us this time around. It meant that, for the most part, our view was from the top of a bus, but it gave us a terrific orientation to the city, which will benefit any future visits. There is so much more we’d love to see and do, but at least we were able to experience just a little of this iconic city.

We had a few days between the end of our New Jersey housesit and an appointment for Artie in Pennsylvania, so we decided to squeeze in a few more fun activities en route. The first meant that we drove about three hours north rather than west to Corning, New York. Our target here was the Corning Museum of Glass, which we had heard about while watching the Netflix show, Blown Away. The museum was well worth the drive there and offered very good value for the entry fee. It’s a beautiful museum with plenty to see for everyone, including a well-curated history of glass area that we only had time for a quick gander. We learned a lot about important scientific advancements in glass over the years, watched glass being sculpted and blown in a hot shop, and marvelled at gorgeous glass sculptures.

A short walk from the glass museum is the town of Corning and the Rockwell Museum. You could see both in a day, but we decided just to enjoy a walk through town.


  • Storm King Art Center: Tickets are per car, but based on the number of people. $46 for Artie and the two of us. Check the website for opening days and hours. Note: The website says that they cannot accommodate vehicles larger than a standard parking space (there are options for bus/train and shuttles during high season). Artie is a little longer but we had checked satellite photos and decided it was worth a try. They routed us to a separate gravel parking lot that was almost empty that worked out fine.
  • New York City Hop-on Hop-off Bus: We chose the Top View tour (there is also Big Bus), $120USD including taxes for both of us.
  • Ferry: Paulus Hook, Jersey City, to NYC $13USD each way for both of us.
  • Corning Museum of Glass: Adults $20USD, 62+ $17USD. There is also a combined ticket with the Rockwell Museum in town.
Stays (for camping program details, see CampingPrograms)
  • Accord, NY: Rondout Valley Campground Thousand Trails (member, $0)
  • Long Valley, NY: Housesit
  • Horseheads, NY: Boondockers Welcome

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