Growing up in Manhattan, Peter Dolan always looked forward to his family’s weekend getaways at his dad’s old cabin in Greenwood Lake, NY. His siblings, not so much. When it was time to fledge, Dolan didn’t followed his passion and pursued a degree in animal behavior and zoology at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Post-grad adventures took him west, where he fell in love with trail building, creating inclusive outdoor adventures catering to the disabled and veterans. After returning east, Dolan joined AmeriCorps as a trail builder at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. He got hired there and in January was promoted to trail program manager for New York and New Jersey.
LATE TO BED, LATE TO RISE
On a Saturday, oh boy, let’s just say I wake up around 11 a.m. I’m a night owl when I get the chance so I will be up until around 3 or 4 a.m. and sleep until 10 or 11 a.m.
By the time I wake up, it’s more of a lunch type of thing. My three meals are lunch, dinner, and midnight snack. But I don’t typically eat when I first wake up. I’m one of those people who need a few hours to drink a few cups of coffee first. Black coffee is the most important meal of the day.
SEPARATING WORK AND PLEASURE
I honestly try not to hike much on my days off just because you don’t want to mingle work and pleasure too much. My girlfriend and I live right on a reservoir so I do much more kayaking in my time off. We have a mini fleet of kayaks and we built a canoe last year, so we have lots of watercraft.
Most often I kayak in the reservoir by my house but sometimes I go up to Greenwood Lake. And I do like to bring the kayak when I am doing work-related things. If I have to drive all the way to the Delaware Water Gap for a meeting, I’ll just pull over on the way home and pop in for a few hours.
KNOCK ON WOOD
Woodworking is definitely something that I am flirting with more. In anticipation of being able to retire someday, I’m kind of just feeling it out while I have the chance. This was actually AmeriCorps Education Award money. So when you finish an AmeriCorps term of service, you get a stipend that you can use for continuing education and there’s a school up in Vermont that accepts those funds and they teach woodworking. I’m actually leaving tonight to spend out the very last of those funds to do a furniture building course.
A lot of my friends like board games. My girlfriend really like [Settlers of] Catan, but our whole friend group plays a bunch of strategy and tactic games. Keep the brain sharp on lazy weekends. I don’t really play video games; I’m too old for that. It’s usually kind of a beer and games hangout. It all pretty much blends together. You’re playing a game but you’re actually just catching up on life.
HERE FOR THE BEER
My friends and I were just up at Pennings in Warwick, NY last night for trivia night. Craft beer is always a good attraction. The sour trend that’s going on right now, there’s a few that I’m into, but for the most part, they pass me by. But IPAs, stouts, porters; I love scotch ales, wheat heavies, rye beers if you can find them, imperial reds. So yeah, I like beer.
Board games, kayaking, and home repair woodworking. Between those three things, that covers 99 percent of my free time.
WHAT’S FOR DINNER
Mostly I like to batch-cook things. If I’m cooking, I want to make it a good use of time. I love roasting cauliflower, stir fries, chicken, that kind of vibe there. Sautéed veggies and stir fry has kind of formed the foundation of most of my meals.
My girlfriend and I will usually watch some TV or read before bed. Right now, we are watching Orphan Black. We just finished The Mandalorian on Disney+.
LIGHT AND NOT-SO-LIGHT READING
Right now, I’m reading a book on convergent and divergent evolution. I feel like I’m reading either very hard non-fiction science books or just ridiculous science-fiction. There is no in-between. Those are the only two genres that exist for me. Just because of the hype around the last Star Wars movie and Mandalorian, I was moving and found a bunch of boxes of these old Star Wars novels. So honestly, that’s been my guilty pleasure.
LIGHTS OUT WHEN THE SUN RISES
On weekends, I could be going to bed around 4 a.m. If I’m with friends, we are all the kind of “stay up until 3 a.m.” kind of people so with friends on the weekends, that’s often the case. When my brother and I get together, we have this kind of tradition of when the sun comes up, we go to bed.
I think nighttime is nice because all of the other distractions just stop. Phones get quiet, there are no emails, the world just gets quiet. It’s nice to have that time; it’s liberating.