Fall Foliage on Staten Island

There’s nothing quite like fall foliage on Staten Island. Take some time and explore the local Staten Island parks and Staten Island Greenbelt – a network of lush parks, wetlands, open meadows and hiking trails to catch a glimpse of nature’s splendor.

The following locations are known for an extraordinary display of fall colors, incredibly diverse wildlife and for being the most visited in the five boroughs.

Don’t let the season pass you by: Here are the fall places to check out before winter sets in.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Enjoy moments of peace along the manicured gardens of Snug Harbor. This season features the most beautiful autumn colors in the Tuscan Gardens, New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden and the Front Meadow. Striking setting and an ideal location for lazy strolls on one of those beautiful autumnal Staten Island days.

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Tuscan Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Tuscan Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Tuscan Garden
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Tuscan Garden

The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Located on a hillside, far off the beaten path, with mesmerizing views and serene grounds is the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tobetan Art. Once you visit, helpful staff and an interesting story await you at this hidden gem of Staten Island. Discover this amazing place on a quiet afternoon with an away-from-it-all feel and grounds suitable for rest or meditation. Unique museum that evokes the Himalayas with its location at the top of Lighthouse Hill.

 

 

 

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Greenbelt Conservancy

This Staten Island oasis has 2,800 acres of natural areas and offers 35 miles of trails through parks and woodland. Four scenic trails in a rural setting take visitors on a tour of red maples with blazing colors and Highbush blueberries, along with hawks, deer, owls and dozens of migrating birds. Visitors can talk to naturalists, ride the carousel, lounge along the picnic areas and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding treetops. The overall effect is very calming and serene…

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Greenbelt
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Greenbelt

Bloomingdale Park

Located on the South Shore of Staten Island, this 139-acre park underwent a substantial renovation in 2004. It now features fields for softball, baseball, and soccer; a new playground with a spray shower and swings; two basketball courts; a bocce ball court; and a comfort station. Bloomingdale Park is also a great place to visit to get in tune with nature: It features lush woodlands filled with hiking and running trails.

Fall Foliage on Staten Island - Bloomingdale Park
Fall Foliage on Staten Island – Bloomingdale Park

Willowbrook Park 

Willowbrook park offers a wonderful chance to escape into a more peaceful setting. It is worth the trip to see vibrant leaves of the season and enjoy vivd colors of the scenic fall foliage.While you’re there, take a moment to glance away from the leaves and give your attention to the five-acre lake. Amusements for people include tennis courts, playgrounds, ballfields, hiking, and an archery range (every month they host s free class where the park rangers teach you how to shoot an arrow with a bow, register online at nycparks.gov in advance). One of its most unique draws is the Carousel for All Children with 51 hand-carved wooden animals circle panels depicting Staten Island scenes. Willowbrook park serves as a constant reminder of the beauty that lies within the changing seasons. 

Fall Foliage - Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage – Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage - Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage – Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage - Willowbrook Park
Fall Foliage – Willowbrook Park

All photos by Dmitriy Mirochnik Photography, for more visit Shutterwhisper.com

 

Pumpkin Picking at Decker Farm on Staten Island

Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm on Staten Island
Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm on Staten Island

What’s fall without a perfect pumpkin? Sure you can grab one from the local grocery store, OR you can have a fun filled family day on the historic Decker Farm.  Enjoy an impressive experience at this beautiful place with your children that offers entertaining activities such as a farm house tour, hayrides, art and crafts, face painting and a corn maze so you can extend your visit into a full day family trip.

Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm
Pumpkin Picking : Arts and Crafts at the Decker Farm 

The Decker Farm is part of the historic Richmond Town grounds and is the only family style farm in the New York City. Immerse yourself into the old world charm where you can smell, feel and discover the old world traditions right here on Staten Island, NY. Take the time to visit this special place full of history and cultural richness.

Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm
Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm: Hayrides

Use this opportunity as a great reason to get out in the autumn air and spend the day on a historic farm, weeding through the patches, searching for the perfect pumpkin while taking pictures of your adorable kids in the excitement of it all. After you pick your own pumpkin you can head straight to the arts and crafts station and decorate it according to your individual style. Then let the pumpkin dry while you enjoy a lovely tour of the farm house guided by the costumed museum volunteers that will also do demonstrations of historic trades. This picturesque farm will literally transport you into the olden days  from the second you step on the grounds.

Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm
Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm

“Decker Farm is vital to the way we celebrate centuries of American life. When people visit the farm they are supporting and sharing in American history,” said Ed Wiseman, the institution’s executive director. Wiseman notes that first-timers are often surprised at what they find.

Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm
Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm

“They turn the corner and gaze at the open fields. Then that look comes over their faces,” he said. “They’re thinking, ‘Am I still in New York?’ That moment is priceless. Yes, rural America is still alive, right in our own backyard.” Part of the Decker Farm charm is that it appears much the same as it did a hundred years ago.

Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm
Pumpkin Picking at the Decker Farm

“This land has been farmed non-stop since 1810. It’s surrounded by the original historic buildings. We have the classic farm animals that kids and adults love: chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits and a pony. It’s like stepping back into days gone by.”

Children enjoy getting up-close-and-personal with the farm critters. The animals have fun names like Cornelius (as in Vanderbilt), Buddy, Holly and Elvis.

“Where else in the city can children have the run of a real farm while their parents relax and shop?” says Kevin Fisher, a Historic Richmond Town board member and weekly farm volunteer.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and share some tips on your visit to the Decker Farm!

 

 

 

Most Beautiful Holiday Light displays on Staten Island

Staten Island homeowners take holiday home decorations to new heights this holiday season. So we’re picking our favorite properties and neighborhoods to cruise this Christmas. Nothing says holidays like a family home covered in decorations and lit up at night. Celebrate the magic of the season with these most decked out homes on Staten Island!

Staten Island most decorated homes for the holidays
Staten Island’s most decorated homes for the holidays. Spring St and Ridge Ave.
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Sprig St and Ridge Ave
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Sprig St and Ridge Ave
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island. Spring St and Ridge Ave

Staten Islanders are adding some warm and festive touches to create holiday winter wonderlands, ice castles from the movie “Frozen” and magical North Pole scenes. One can only wonder how many hours elves spent working tirelessly decorating these homes to accomplish such beautiful and creative design.

Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Amboy Rd and Bland Pl

Most homeowners invite visitors to walk around and within the beautiful displays they’ve created to enjoy the magical selection of holiday homes and fabulous facades. These amazing homes are worth the trip. One glance at these treasures and I guarantee you that you’ll be in the holiday spirit.

Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island.  107 Sharrotts Rd.
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. 107 Sharrotts Rd.
Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island
Best holiday decorated homes on Staten Island. 107 Sharrotts Rd
Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island
Best holiday decorated homes on Staten Island. 107 Sharrotts Rd

Elaborate light displays make the spirits brighter and our hearts warmer. It’s that time of the year to celebrate the season and generate your own brilliance.

Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. 580 Woolley Ave
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island
Most Decorated homes for the holidays on Staten Island. 580 Woolley Ave

Delightful decorations are putting smiles on everyone’s faces as the families tour the houses and children’s faces light up with excitement. And the frosty weather outside is no longer frightful.

Holiday Light Displays in Staten Island
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Kingdon Ave and Algonkin St
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Kingdon Ave and Algonkin St
Most decorated holiday homes on Staten Island. Kingdon Ave and Algonkin St

Join the holiday cheer and make beautiful memories with your loved ones. Hope today you are spending the time in the comfort and warmth of your family and friends. May this holiday season sparkle and shine. May all your wishes and dreams come true and may all of you feel this happiness all year round. Merry Christmas my friends!

10 Best Halloween Decorated Houses on Staten Island

 

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

This Halloween, experience some thrills and chills at the 10 best decorated homes on Staten Island.Get ready to spook up your day with these Spooktacular homes. They are, without a doubt, the creepiest, craziest and most frightening homes you’ll ever see. Sound effects, fog and synchronized lighting complete the spine-chilling atmosphere around each home and add a terrifying twist.

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

While some of the homeowners seek out the best decorations available to create a haunted home, others spend their time actually making the decorations from scratch for months! All are equally impressive and very scaaaaryyyyyyy. Take a ride and get your dose of frights at homes that have been transformed into a Halloween nightmare, but beware, you never know what’s lurking in the darkness. They are waiting for you with special treats…..Are you that fearless soul brave enough to pay a visit? Will you make it through the list or will you run??!!!

 

#1. 19 Bolivar St.  This home has added a lot of character to the front porch with these Halloween decorations.

This home has added a lot of character to the front porch with these Halloween decorations.

10 Best Decorated Halloween Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Decorated Halloween Homes on Staten Island

 

#2. 29 Ellsworth Ave. This next house will surely give trick-or-treaters and Halloween party guests a scare with these larger-than-life-size figures.  Are you brave enough to enter?

10 Best Decorated Halloween Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Decorated Halloween Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Decorated Halloween Homes on Staten Island

 

 

#3. 41 Kingdom Ave. This next home will be a crowd-pleaser for all the Halloween guests, don’t miss it.

10 Best Decorated Halloween Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Decorated Halloween Homes on Staten Island

 

#4. 78 Lindenwood Rd. A very creative 12 year old boy with big imagination lives in this next home. Every year he spooks up his house with all the handmade Halloween decorations he can craft.

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

 

#5. 580 Woolley Ave. This next home is bumping up the creep factor with oversized spiders, brain-hungry zombies and witches. The owners present a frightening show at 8pm, make sure to go!

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

 

#6. 238 Caswell Ave. This home is adding a Halloween spirit to their front yard with some seriously spooky details.

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

 

#7. 30 Edison St. This home is ready for the arrival of the trick-or-treaters and Halloween guests with some creepy-crawly characters and big graphic figures.

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

 

 

#8. 120 Ainsworth Ave. The next house features creepy creatures and terrifying realistic sets.

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

 

 

#9. 32 Santa Monica Ln. This horror-filled front yard will make your skin crawl with terrifying realistic props. This haunted house will make you run and panic!

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

 

#10. 92 Beacon Ave. This home is deathly serious with the display of realistic-looking graves, skeletons other undead monsters.

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

10 Best Halloween Decorated Homes on Staten Island

 

 

Wishing everyone a Happy and safe Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chili, BBQ CookOff and Uncorked 2013

As New Yorkers, we are often rushed through our daily routine, overwhelmed and stressed out most of the time, trying to finish as much as we can by the day’s end. Always in a hurry, we eat, talk, walk and drive, thinking of what we have to do next and forgetting about what matters most, like spending quality time with your loved ones. There’s usually very little time left to do what we actually enjoy and what makes us happy, but few special local Staten Island events allow us to experience just that. That’s one of the reasons why I absolutely love events that take place at the Historic Richmond town; NYC Chili, BBQ Cookoff and Uncorked, among others. These gatherings showcase culinary talents of the pros and celebrate the skills of the rookies. They are centered around family and our community, bringing so many different age groups and people together for one reason that unites us all – delicious food!

Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond TownUncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town

Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town

Uncorcked 2013 Historic Richmond Town

Historic Richmond Town events on Staten Island are one of my favorite recommendations and activities I anticipate most every spring, and for a good reason. Year after year, we get to taste mouthwatering culinary creations all in the historic setting of Richmond Town where you can find a designated spot to spread out a blanket and relax. Just think about tasting a variety of hearty, spicy, beef and vegetarian chili, hot and flavorful salsa, melt-in-your-mouth bbq ribs, delicious slow-cooked pulled pork sliders and more, infusing happiness into our lives with every bite. Next time definitely plan to attend and you’ll find there is much to do including food tasting, culinary demonstrations, exciting competitions, historic landmark tours, hay jumps, all day activities, children’s rides, performances by local musicians and even a Mariachi band.

BBQ CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
BBQ CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
BBQ CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
BBQ CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
BBQ CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
BBQ CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town

There are many elements that make this place a gem – open grassy spaces, designated seating areas and authentic historic buildings that have been restored and are open to the public. This beautiful place is the perfect backdrop for family fun where kids can enjoy the outdoors and active recreation. Make sure to stop by on any given weekend and check out their official site, Historic Richmond Town, for scheduled events year round.

Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town

Some of our favorite stands and contestants that won us over include:

Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Daddy O’s BBQ and Sports Bar, the only authentic smoke house on Staten Island. The energy and the hype of the crew at the Daddy Os BBQ stand matched their flavorful chili.
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Smokey Joe’s BBQ cooks, four friends that like to cook chili and BBQ together. It was the guys’ first year at the cook off, doing a recipe testing and welcoming public reactions, jokingly calling it market research. Their chili was sweet with a surprising kick of heat.
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Culinary renegade, “Chef Rob” won people’s choice award for his delicious and chunky chili for the last 3 years in a row. Rob’s home kitchen is at Harvest Cafe on New Dorp Ln, run by a Very Special Place and open for breakfast and lunch daily.
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Chili CookOff 2013 Historic Richmond Town
Ian McCabe from Connecticut is a family man and a carpenter that prepares amazing chili. We had a chance to meet him and his adorable family at this event. He spoke of his passion for cooking his secret recipes and sharing it with the public, saying “The people want to come in here and try the best authentic chili and enjoy themselves, I give the people what I would expect to get. I’m not going to serve the public what I’m not going to eat myself. I want to put smiles on everybody’s faces when they try my food and make them feel like we appreciate them.”
All images by a talented local photographer, Dmitriy Mirochnik of ShutterWhisper