The guides from Wilderness Rocks help urban dwellers escape to nature with five- to six-hour day trips through the Catskills and beyond. Groups of up to 14 get scooped up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and whisked away from the concrete jungle's hectic routine of hailing taxis and dodging falling coconuts under the Panamanian Consulate. Departing throughout the year, hike options range from the Catskills snowshoe trip on February 11—a 6-mile trek through the snowy sanctum of the Catskill Mountains—to the Pound Mountain trip on April 7, which involves moderate rock climbing and spelunking. Rather than sprinting ahead to nab the freshest, most coveted pinecones, guides make several stops along the way, allowing everyone to catch their breath and take in the serenity of their surroundings. Once hikers have finished each trail, Wilderness Rocks transports the group back to the 86th Street rendezvous point with nothing but their gear, memories, and carefully rehearsed alibis. Before departure, check each trip's page for departure times, clothing requirements, and what equipment to bring.
FastFrame's talented framers and designers elegantly preserve prized art prints, photos, and artifacts with custom frames assembled out of a variety of mouldings and materials. The hard-working staff builds wall-worthy encasements for two- and three-dimensional keepsakes with a speedy turnaround time, enshrining engagement photos in contemporary frames and safeguarding deflated banana boats in snazzy shadow boxes. The seasoned technicians can craft exoskeletons for pictures using standard mats and frames or specialty fabrics and acid-free preservation materials. As a sign of its dedication to exceptional customer service, FastFrame's 30-day guarantee allows for free redesigns within 30 days of sale, along with a lifetime guarantee on structural craftsmanship.
LiloVeve—a composite of the words "live" and "love"—is part gallery, part wedding-band boutique, and part jewelry-making school. First came the gallery. Caroline Glemann founded it to showcase a range of art that includes paintings, photos, and a permanent jewelry collection. Jewelry-making students take classes and workshops to pick up skills in metalwork, wax carving, and gold alloying. They can even learn about design from an industry perspective, or prep for the SAT's recently added fashion section. Handmade rings adorn betrothed digits after LiloVeve craftspeople lovingly solder, saw, and pierce each sparkling circle.
For more than 25 years, Drama Kids International has nurtured thousands of thespian students and kids simply searching for an engaging activity, instilling children with the ability to speak clearly and confidently. Classes focus on sharpening articulated speech and encouraging creative expression. Children are placed in classes according to their age group: the Lower Primary (ages 5–8) teaches kids how to deliver lines and hone social skills, the Upper Primary (ages 9–11) delves into improvisation and dramatic movement, and the DKI Acting Academy (ages 12–17) preps scene-stealers on how to audition for their dream role. Each class includes a variety of activities for kids to unleash their imagination, which develops their dramatic abilities in a fun, easy-going setting. Drama Kids instructors foster an open, comfortable acting environment. Call ahead to schedule the first class and start your child down the path of becoming one of the more notable Baldwin brothers.
Before the archivists of Art and Framing Gallery begin a project, they slip on pairs of cotton gloves. By sheathing their hands, they guard against fingerprints and finger-paints. Their dedication to museum-quality workmanship shines through each project, whether it's a same-day framing job or a standard three- to seven-day order.
In Art and Framing Gallery's showrooms, walls display more than 3,000 frame samples and acre upon acre of mats. Ready-made framed mirrors and artwork also share this space, which connects to in-house workshops. Here, craftsmen cut custom glass and piece together each project. They skillfully preserve artwork and portraits and excel with projects that require special care. They encase delicate antiques in UV-protective glass and display sports jerseys in cases that ward off wrinkling and grass stains.
When British Colonel Roger Morris and his wife stumbled upon a piece of unclaimed Manhattan hilltop, they knew it would be the ideal spot for their summer home. Built in 1765, the 8,500-square foot Morris-Jumel Mansion—as it's known today—was the centerpiece of an estate that extends more than 130 acres from the Harlem to the Hudson River. Loyal to the British crown, Morris left America during the Revolution; in the fall of 1776, General George Washington used the home as headquarters during the Battle of Harlem Heights.
Today, the mansion offers guided tours of its historic property. After becoming president, Washington returned on July 10, 1790, to dine with cabinet members that included future presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; you can visit the dining room where they ate together. More than 40 years later, in 1833, Aaron Burr got married to Madame Eliza Jumel—the widow of the mansion's second namesake owner, Stephen Jumel—right in the parlor of this estate.
Besides tours, the mansion now hosts rotating exhibits that display everything from period costumes to the axe Washington used to floss his wooden teeth. There are also events throughout the year, from classical and jazz concerts to wine tastings and, once, a lively debate between Burr and Alexander Hamilton scholars.