Summer In the City – A Very Hot Trip To New York: Day 1

I have returned from a short trip with my husband (no kids, no kids, not even one!) to New York. Before I recount my (mini-)adventures there, I wanted to explain why I didn’t let on about it properly before I flew.

I had orginally planned to make an announcement about this trip on the blog to meet readers and fellow bloggers there, but then in the days leading up to it, a very unsavoury person took an unhealthy interest in me and started pestering me with emails. Since he (it might be a she, but I’d say that’s rather unlikely) has an IP address pointing to the north-eastern US, I did not want my schedule to be public knowledge, I was simply afraid. I’m sorry that I could not use this time to meet some of you, but I felt a great need for privacy at the time and I’m sure that I’ll be back in this part of the world sooner rather than later, and things on the stalking front will hopefully be just a bad memory then.

Austrian Airlines B777, Paine Field WA USA

We arrived at JFK Airport in the middle of the afternoon, and after a successful sprint off the plane in order to beat the hordes to immigration, we alighted in 95 degree weather (oof!) and where whisked away by our tiny (I use that term rather ironically) rental car in the direction of Woodbury Common Outlet Center in upstate NY, our first destination for one night. There was not much whisking though, as we quickly came to a grinding halt on the Van Wyck Expressway and stood bumper to bumper for the next few hours until the Tappan Zee Bridge spat us out into the countryside proper. An experience I don’t recommend after a ten-hour transatlantic flight, with not a drop of water between us, in weather more reminiscent of Las Vegas in August than the East Coast.

The husband was hoping for a Jeep, we got this hearse instead...

The husband was hoping for a Jeep, we got this hearse instead…

But we eventually made it to Central Valley, the Hampton Inn and a cold drink. To my delight we were upgraded to the King’s Suite, which included a whirlpool and a kitchen. I made good use of the former, the latter’s usefulness is lost on me even under the best of circumstances.

At this point we only quickly threw in our luggage though, because we were on a mission. Even after 17 hours on the road, there were things to do, places to see, or rather only one very important thing: having dinner. I was not hungry, to be honest, but for the husband – and all persons travelling with him – the following rule is to be obeyed at all times:

When abroad, eat at least 6-7 healthy (as in size, not necessarily nutritional value) meals a day. (Quotes substantiating this: “I need to schedule my days in such a way as to make room for at least six hot meals, that is not counting snacks btw!” and “I’m not coming to New York to eat quinoa!”)

bright star diner

Our destination of choice in Central Valley, NY is the famed Bright Star Diner. (Famed only in our lives I guess, and that rather out of lack of choice than culinary prowess. That little town is not known for its epicurean variety, the perpetually closed Pizzeria Pomodoro and the dilapidated Dunkin’ Donuts are not much of a competition, I’m afraid.) But we like it there anyway. It is classically American, from the fare to the interior, it says diner-like-in-a-80s-TV-show like nothing else. The food is plenty and definitely complies with the healthy meal (again: in size, not nutritional value) rule.

Quite tired and dazed from both travels and the heat, we still persevered and went for a first foray to the Woddbury Common outlet center, we were not here to joke around after all and sleep is overrated (you might guess that that last bit of wisdom reflects not exactly my own viewpoint, I love my beauty sleep!).


In the two hours before they closed for the day, we managed to successfully shop for a new suitcase (an excellent sign for the things to come, if there ever was one!), new shoes and pants (for the husband, not for me) and a few things for the boys.

I took a preliminary sniffing tour and make-up expedition to the Cosmetics Company Store (I love it there!!!). I was a bit woozy at that point, but I remember trying Bobbi Brown Bobbi’s Party, a rather unexpectedly classic floral with a dominant rose-violet accord over lots of really fake sandalwood.

bobbi's party

The other hand got a good shot of Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarine with the intention of being a much needed refreshing kick in the head. Unfortunately it turned out to smell of fresh cut grass mixed with motor oil and exhaust fumes on my skin, which I am inclined to blame on a tester gone over, since it has so many fans and good reviews. It brought up the idea of a lawnmower naturally, and with that a short story of the same name by Stephen King – really not associations you would want your perfume to kindle…

jo malone lbm

I also was very interested in the various purveyors of leather goods, and had I been in the market for bright orange PVC bags with plenty of tassels, bows, ruffles and rivets, I would have landed a bargain or two. Unfortunately more classical styles were thin on the ground.

The whirlpool back at the hotel got rid of Jo Malone’s lawnmower and thus ended our very long first day on American soil and this very long account of all things trivial.

If you are still here, come back next week for Day 2, tentatively titled The Heat Is On, where we will meet a lovely lady many of you know!

See you soon!

B x


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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67 Responses to Summer In the City – A Very Hot Trip To New York: Day 1

  1. cookie queen says:

    More!! (My son just said take him as a bodyguard next time.) xxx

  2. Ines says:

    So there you were! 🙂
    Looking forward to reading more. And lucky you to get some heat, even though I don’t really enjoy the summer heat much usually, I am now longing for some sunshine and warmth.

  3. Dubaiscents says:

    I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures! So sorry to hear about your cyber stalker though, how creepy. And love the comment from the husband “I’m not coming to New York to eat quinoa!” 🙂 Smart man!

  4. Jordan River says:

    Safety first. Sorry that you had that experience. No comfort to be found in ‘bright orange PVC bags with plenty of tassels, bows, ruffles and rivets’?; well that is understandable. Lime, Basil and Mandarin, worth another try. Wasn’t that the start of the empire? Or you could use the 5 syllable word; re-X-u-X-tion. Lol’s at the Jo Malone lawnmower. A new niche direction for the brand! Yes, will be back for Part 2. Always happy to meet a lovely lady.

  5. Undina says:

    Loved to read your travel journal. More!!!

    Lime Basil and Mandarine is one of a few Jo Malone’s perfumes that is unpleasant on my skin so I completely understand your associations. It’s good you had a whirlpool option to deal with it 😉

  6. poodle says:

    It was pretty hot around here last week. It was a case of too much, too soon. No one is ready for that kind of heat when just 36 hours prior most of us still had the heat on.
    Sorry to hear about your creepy stalker. I’ve had a few of those and it’s very unnerving to say the least.
    I always love The Cosmetics Company Store too. Sometimes you find some great deals there.

  7. Sandra says:

    Wonderful start to your adventure! You promised to drag the sun back with you! I fear your suitcases were too heavy on the return and that the plane just refused to drag some sun with it. Glad to have you back.

  8. Tara says:

    I do hope the stalker has moved on. Thank goodness there is a continent separating you now you are home. Have you read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker? I think it’s personal safety book every girl/woman should read.

    Now on to the good stuff! Oh how I love readin your travel reports. You are so good to make the most of your first day.

    I have to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if there was nothing wrong with that Jo Malone tester. The basil in Lime, Basil and Mandarin was really horrible on me too.

  9. Darilyn says:

    I am anxious to hear about the rest of your trip!
    I know what 95 degrees in NY feels like…oppressive…
    I am a fan of the classic American diner. Some of
    them are outstanding, and well…some are not!
    Can’t wait for day 2 adventures!

  10. Sorry about the stalker, Birgit. But I enjoyed reading about the first part of your trip. I haven’t tried many Jo Malone fragrances yet, so I will approach Lime Basil and Mandarine with caution 🙂

  11. brie says:

    Birgit you were less than an hour car ride away from me 😦 …I am also sorry to hear about your stalking dilemma and I hope it subsides….The Jo Malone is the one fragrance that hubby lets me spray on him and I rather like it with his skin chemistry…funny that no one else does!

  12. masha7 says:

    Great travel-logue! I particularly liked the culinary discussion, that diner looked…interesting! And you are the first I’ve read that had the same Jo Malone experience I did. I got exactly the same notes that you did when I wore it. Smelled lovely on paper, foul on me. I was traveling, too, visiting a monastery in Bavaria, and still remember trying to find a sink in which to scrub my smelly arm!

  13. Nancysg says:

    I admit to liking your Husband’s rule about eating on trips. I justify my frequent stops for refueling based on “shopping is hard work” maxim. Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures.

  14. Amy Bella says:

    Is it wrong that cut grass, motor oil and exhaust appeal to me more than lime, basil and mandarin? I’m kind of excited to try “Lawnmower” now.

    Stay safe and make every meal count!

  15. the husband says:

    The reasoning and culinary adventures will be disclosed in a post to come….

  16. Keith says:

    It was stinkin’ hot here this past weekend. Now, it’s torrential rain and 45 mph winds (tropical storm) . And the US government claims “there is no evidence of global warming”… Hmmm.

    When my better half and I travel, some of my favorite things to do are indulging in the best and sometimes least expensive food (I think it’s a really great and possibly authentic way to experience a culture) and seeking out opportunities for sampeling fragrance. I drive my partner crazy. He revels in the food, and (in my mind) he secretly enjoys in the fragrance as well.
    Can’t wait for part 2.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Your vacations seem quite similar to ours then. 🙂

      The weather really seems out of control, it has been very weird here in Europe too this year. 😦

  17. Birgit, I hope you get to wander around in New York’s smaller communities, such as the Village. There are some nice little restaurants, even some with outdoor tables. Also, some interesting apothecaries as well as perfume shops. Enjoy!

  18. Vanessa says:

    I adored this account, and am glad you had a good time, the round-the-clock meals and Jo Malones gone wrong notwithstanding. I also find Lime Basil and Mandarin a disaster on me! Looking forward to the next instalment. 😉

  19. fleurdelys says:

    Oh Birgit, as you left the Tappan Zee Bridge you were a mere 3 miles north of my home!! Wish we could have met, but I hope there will be another opportunity in the near future.

  20. Kafkaesque says:

    I loved reading this! Every part was gloriously hilarious except for the issue with the stalker. I’m so sorry; I’ve been there and I know what it’s like, so you have my full sympathy. It’s a stressful experience, no doubt about it at all.

    But, on a positive note, what a lovely description of your adventures. I LOVE hearing things your husband says, as he’s got an amazingly hilarious, dry, wry sense of humour. (“at least six hot meals, that is not counting snacks btw!” and “I’m not coming to New York to eat quinoa!” — hahaha, “that’s not counting snacks!” Heh.) And the back of that car does actually resemble a hearse a little. The weather though…. welcome to my daily world. Actually, if the weather stayed at 95 degrees this summer, I’d be grateful. I *pray* for it to remain at a measly 95 degrees! 😉 😀

    As for the Jo Malone, if it makes you feel better, I thought LBM was ghastly too. Green grass, yes, but, on me, also plastic-y, burning synthetics which really could approach diesel/lawnmower mental associations. Terrible.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for your kind comment, Kafka!
      The husband has his fans (to his utter astonishment), but then he doesn’t realize what a hoot he is sometimes! 😉

      The Jo Malone has apparently left a broad trail of victims behind, it has mown us down so to speak. So good to know I’m not alone! 🙂

  21. I very much sympathize with your husband! When traveling (oh, well, let’s be honest . . . even when not traveling), I need to be fed every three hours. Like a zoo animal 🙂

    Hopefully the remainder of your trip was quinoa-free!

    On a side note, I just wanted to say that I applaud you for being being open and frank about the situation with that man (or woman) with your readers. I can’t imagine that it was an easy decision to make, but I think it’s the right one.

    • Olfactoria says:

      You and M are one of a kind, kindred spirits, food lovers to the end! 🙂

      I needed to explain why I went to NY (with so many readers and bloggers there) and didn’t say a word. I didn’t want people to be offended.

  22. Suzanne says:

    Birgit, I very much enjoyed this, but I want to know what you had to eat at the diner! Hopefully, Mr. Olfactoria is preparing a post now, because inquiring minds want to know. 😀

    Glad you had a wonderful trip, even if the weather was hot!

    • the husband says:

      Suzanne, I will write something up as soon as I am back from my business trip. Unfortunately I am so busy right now that I haven’t been able to get above 3 meals a day since I left the City. But to give you a little sneak preview (but please be discrete about it, I don’t want the other 2 “fans” to know yet) all I am saying is: 4pounds of delicious Q at the Fette Sau….

      • Suzanne says:

        OK, I will keep it on the down-low, but whoa … I just hopped onto their site. That is some Q awesomeness, and I’ll be looking forward to your report! 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thanks, Suz! The food details I’ll leave to the specialist. 😉

  23. Birgit, I am so sorry about the stalker situation. I hope next time you are in New York you will let me know. You are among the shining stars in the perfume blogosphere, and it would be an honor for me to meet you and go sniffing! We could go to the Empire Diner and have cheeseburgers and fries beforehand. Look forward to reading the next installment!

  24. happyface313 says:

    Better safe than sorry! – There are so many weirdos out there that it is best to keep certain things private and you were wise to do so. If it is meant to be, you’ll meet all your blogger-friends at a later time.
    I love the US, so I can’t wait for part 2 – you must have had a very serious itinerary 😉

  25. Natalie says:

    It was wonderful to read of your trip! I can only echo what others have said: do stay safe! The internet can allow scary people too much access to our lives. (Oh, and regardless of that situation, I doubt anyone would be offended by you not giving them the chance to look you up on your trip. Even our most popular perfumistas need vacations. 🙂 )

  26. Kimberly says:

    Funny post! And good for you for listening to your instincts!

    Is your heartbroken friend OK?

  27. laniersmith says:

    I am so happy to know you were on my side of the Atlantic! I can’t wait to read the next installment. I am glad that you came over incognito (like a Hollywood Movie Star couple hiding out from the Press!) and that you are safe. That is the most important thing.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love it on your side of the Atlantic, I love it even more on the Pacific, it’s been a while that I’ve been to California, but I hope to go there again next year…

  28. Farouche says:

    Looking forward to the next installment. And sorry about the stalker. That must have been very scary. It’s a beautiful day here in the East Coast USA. All the heat of last weekend has dissipated, the rain of the last two days ended, and we have sunshine. I’m wearing Bel Respiro on one wrist and 28 La Pausa on the other and trying to decide which I prefer.

  29. Scentrist says:

    How about that! I did a double-take when I saw the picture of the Bright Star Dine on NY Route 32. It’s literally up the road from me, as is Woodbury Common. Unfortunately, you picked a heat wave to come here, and I’m sure the Common was a misery. Had you driven a couple miles north of the Bright Star, there’s a cute little German place that serves decent schnitzel and some other familiar things, with a cute 50’s era BMW parked in front (with the door that opens in the front).

    Glad you seemingly enjoyed the trip, and sorry that you wound up with the “Manbulance/Hearse/Ford Flex” you did.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ha, we were so close! How funny! It must be nice to be near Woodbury Common.

      I’m sure Schnitzel would not have been the thing we’d like to eat in America, it being a Viennese specialty and all… we were quite happy with the Bright Star Diner.
      It was hot indeed, but we survived. 😉

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