Lauren Freedman: Of all the places to go in New York Ctiy, my favorite is Central Park. Maybe you've been there, too, and enjoyed the zoo, visited the Shakespeare Garden, rode the carousel, gone ice skating, or just wandered through the park to see what you could find. There's something universally fascinating about this large expanse of greenery in the middle of the bustle and concrete. It's a tourist attraction for millions of people each year, but for me, it's part of my daily routine. Photo: I Heart Snow Contest
My fiancé and I start most weekends on our favorite bench in the East Meadow with our dog, Ruby, sipping coffee and watching the world go by. In the winter, kids (and kids-at-heart) bring their sleds, trash can lids, and cardboard boxes to slide down the hills. When the weather is nice, Ruby tries in vain to chase the squirrels up the trees. Sometimes we cross into the North Meadow to watch a Saturday morning baseball game or a pick-up soccer game. When there's enough snow, we see the cross country skiers making their way through the park along the bridle path.
But Ruby's favorite place is the North Woods. This amazing space has wooded trails, streams, and a beautiful waterfall; it's enough to make me forget I'm in Manhattan! Ruby loves to race through the muddy streams and chase us up the hill toward the Harlem Meer. From there, we follow the path around the water and back toward our apartment through the Conservatory Garden. We meander through the beautiful mazes of manicured gardens, pausing to let Ruby check out the fountains. On our way home, we might even run into some of Ruby's favorite dogs and take a break for more playtime.
All New Yorkers will tell you that Central Park is our backyard. For me, it couldn't be more true. Central Park is where I start and end my days. In the winter I play in the fields of snow, and in the summer I hunt for the best sprinklers to run through. Last June, I even did yoga in Central Park with 10,000 of my closest friends. For apartment-dwelling outdoor lovers like myself, Central Park is the greatest backyard in the world.
Deborah Breyette Sanders: We love Gifford Pinchot State Park. All times of year. We are lucky to have it within 3 miles of our home and can enjoy the great trails and the water activities available to us year round. I have tons of great pics of our family enjoying this park...but our favorite hike is always our Christmas Morning Hike:) It’s a great family tradition inspired by the beauty of the Lake in the Snow.
Beth Kroiz: My favorite place to be is Maryland Heights in the summer time with my mom. What a beautiful view of Harper's Ferry and the river confluence! I am from Lovettsville, Virginia and grew up hiking in the area. I don't live here anymore, but every time I come back home to visit, Maryland Heights is one of my first stops. When I am at the top looking out, I know that I am really home.
Beth Kroiz: I moved to the NW from Virginia! There are so many awesome spots in the northwest! After 3 summers of stream surveys I feel very lucky to have seen so much. But on a hot day in the summer time, nothing beats the Illinois River in southern Oregon!
Shannon Barclay: I♥ NW. I live at the base of the Olympic Mtns and must say, it's pure heaven. Towering rainforests, mountain peaks, curious wildlife, raging rivers, moss and lichen, mushrooms, berries, etc etc etc etc. I'll be hiking an old growth trail this afternoon just up the road from my lil farm. But, there is something to be said about the sunny SW.
Jen Meshna: Southwest - Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado
Rose Dattler: My favorite place outside is the overlook at Point Mountain Reserve in Hunterdon County, NJ. It's close to home and it's basically the opposite of what most people think of when they hear about NJ. It's also a sentimental place because on my first SCA crew in 2005 we worked on the trail leading to the overlook.
Sarah Hitzemann: Glacier National Park, mid-summer, at night the sun starts to go down at around 10 pm and when it disappears behind the mountains it is one the most memorable sights you will ever see.
Leslie Linowski: My absolute favorite is Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the winter...it is cold, windy and the landscape is so much different from the hustle and bustle of the summer....
Michelle May: West Virginia is my favorite! I've been to 40 states, but my heart will always be in WV :)
Jared Dial: White Sands in southern New Mexico, at night during the full moon, in late summer. There is nothing else quite like the moonlight reflecting on the crystal white gypsum. So wonderful!! Just don't step on the centipedes ; )
Kelly Lynn: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the south shore of Lake Superior is great any time of year, but autumn is the best.
Josh Otto: Mount Rainier National Park. I go camping to a place called Ohanapecosh camp ground 7 miles from the town of Packwood, WA. The Ohanapecosh River is glacier water but it's refreshing on a hot summers day and the hike to Silver Falls is beautiful. The forest is so silent but so beautiful at the same time.
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