It may seem like an ill-placed intention to go out of my way to relax and find solace in Brooklyn for a mere 24 hours. But when it's done the right way, with no stressed goals of places to go and people to see, it leaves time wide open and free for wherever that sly north wind blows this unbound soul...
Here's my advice...
Step 1: Your AirBnB should have some Brooklyn charm
Are there knights guarding your outdoor patio? Are you sleeping on a couch and not a bed? Are your roommates from all nooks of the world? Because when your accommodations are just for a night the phrase "the weirder, the better" is exactly what you're looking for. Something just a little off center so that when your nostalgic mind vignettes back to that moment it will evoke the kind of smile that immediately draws others' shoulders in and their voices to a whisper as they ask to hear your story. For a one night rendezvous in the city you only need the essentials: a place to sleep snuggled in your trusted cocoon silk, a shower, a toilet, and a place to lock away your laptop and your favorite weekender bag while you wander the streets of Crown Heights.
Step 2: Find a sweet cafe
The cafes in Brooklyn are never-ending, some are chic with streamlined aesthetics and artisanal roasts, some are cozy with cushions and couches featuring local brews, some have artifacts from all over the world highlighting fair trade beans. And honestly, there's nothing not to love. After the slightly cramped yet anticipatory nap on the Megabus in the morning, you probably still have some work to finish before the weekend is over. So finding a cafe that has great wifi and an aesthetic to suit your mood is essential to efficiently finish your work all while enjoying a bit of people watching as you graze on your hearty salad and a cranberry-pumpkin scone.
Step 3: Make sure that your AirBnB is close to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Because there is nothing more peaceful than walking through gardens full of flowers, herbs, and trees just before fall depends upon the city, blanketing it with a cool that renders the gardens bare, skeletal. So that when you return to the city in the winter months you can bare witness to the blanket of winter chill and the dusting of snow over the branches and stems.
Step 4: Bring your journal
When you travel solo, there are ample opportunities for you to have some deep and thorough conversations with your soul. Bring your favorite pen and your trusted journal, let some of those words & feelings & dreams gain tangible form in the written word. Make it a magical experience by bringing your favorite scarf/blanket to spread on the ground of the Cherry Esplanade in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, take off your shoes and let your toes touch the grass while your write.
Step 5: Find a yoga studio next to a juice bar
Because if you want to have the best morning in Brooklyn ever you gotta go to the Brooklyn Yoga Collective with their intuitive, connected, and gentle spirited teachers for a wildly affordable class. Then head over to Veggie’s Natural Juice Bar for that post-yoga yum! My love for the beet, apple, & ginger juice is to the point where yes, I will pay $6 for a juice; especially after a $10 yoga class.
Step 6: Meet your friends for Bipmibop
If you’re like me and when you read that word you thought it was a gigantic typo, don’t worry you’re not alone. Meeting with a friend who lived in Korea for years makes them an expert on Korean food, so you trust them to order your meal for you. It’s actually the most delicious Korean food ever. Steaming rice served in a hot metal bowl mounted with veggies (or meat), egg, and seaweed with lots of Korean hot sauce. Best post-yoga lunch ever.
Step 7: Don’t leave without visiting the mothership
Because no trip will ever be complete without visiting and relishing in the majesty of Free People. The trick is to not spend too much time there or you will buy the whole store. Granted, you never have buyers remorse from Free People because everything they make is perfect, but you need to save money for your next solo adventure. So keep your wallet close and don’t let your eyes wander too much or the clothes will hypnotize you.
Step 8: The ride home
You came into Brooklyn alone but you’re leaving with DC friends. In preparation for the long ride, make sure you’re fueled with coffee & dirty snacks and that the driver has some down beat tunes to keep you going. Also, make sure you have lots of cash because the tolls on 95 are no joke.