My first car was a 1995 white Ford Escort hatchback that my mom generously purchased. It was nicknamed The White Rabbit, festooned with zebra seat covers, and took me absolutely everywhere (including all the places I shouldn’t have gone – sorry mom). After that, I moved on to a brand-new Honda Accord that became too ubiquitous for my liking, so I transitioned to a Honda Element. The Element holds a special place in my heart, making me nostalgic to this day whenever I see one. It has always been my favorite car, at least until this past weekend, when I fell in love with the 2016 Lincoln Navigator.
Luxury is hypnotic and I’m not immune to its charms, but the Navigator is something more than luxurious. It’s intelligent and thoughtful, two traits that become incredibly necessary when you’re navigating the streets of NYC and the aggressive surrounding highways. For my weekend of adventure, I had planned day trips to Sleepy Hollow and another for Brooklyn’s favorite fall activity, apple picking. Like any New Yorker, I have access to the best of everything, but I still miss the comforts of big box stores and chain restaurants, so there were plenty of stops and eats on the agenda.
Sleepy Hollow is an incredibly charming area to visit, especially in October. The town celebrates Halloween to the fullest, complete with a Headless Horseman and haunted houses aplenty. Our main goal during the visit was to shoot as many spooky and fall-focused outfits as possible. You’ll be seeing those coming soon, don’t worry. We pulled into the beautiful grounds of Phillipsburg Manor, and right there in the parking lot, we turned the Navigator into a dressing room for our four-outfit shoot. My makeup was strewn across the back for quick changes, scattered among hats and no less than 15 pieces of clothing hanging on hooks. I wish there was a photo, but we were too preoccupied with the quickly fading light.
It wasn’t until the drive home that the thoughtful details of the Navigator began to appear. Assistive technology like subtle nearby vehicle indicator lights on the side mirrors and proximity sensors on both the front and rear of the car saved me multiple times. Especially in a city like NYC, where space is at a premium and everyone is jockeying for the same location at rapid speeds, it was nice to have extra lookouts.
The morning we drove to the apple farm, the rain was coming down heavy. Automatic sensors for both the lights and the windshield wipers made it much easier to focus on staying safe & singing along to throwback jams. As we approached the farm, I realized that I wasn’t in my ideal apple picking outfit, so when we parked (in a field, mind you), I hopped into the back, closed the gate, and changed. With just the rear seats folding down (still leaving four luxurious seats), I was able to change my entire outfit, including pants, without a problem. Being 6’2″, I rarely fit anywhere, but there was never a time when I was too big for the Navigator.
After a bushel of apples, a jar of apple butter, a half pint of cider, and two apple cider doughnuts, we were ready to head back towards civilization. One snag: after the morning’s rain, the field we’d parked in was muddy, and the combination of the steep incline and a rather large hump made it impossible to back out. That’s right. I got a brand new SUV stuck in a field. While I was freaking out, my friend Kristin ran for help, thinking on the way how nice it’d be if we had four wheel drive. Growing up in Arkansas, I was familiar with 4×4 trucks, but I never imagined the Navigator would be that powerful. An enthusiastic teenage boy came, found the 4×4 button on the radio console that I’d missed in my stress, and backed right now. Miraculous.
The last time I had a car, I would listen to Kelly Clarkson’s My December album on repeat while working through my feelings (judge me if you like, but this is her best album). The upgraded sound system in my Honda Element became very important to me, and the Navigator’s system exceeded my expectations with ease. There’s nothing quite like your seat vibrating while you’re stuck in traffic to soothe your nerves as you sing along to Britney Spears.
There were other delights, too. Like when I’d unlock the car at night and see the Lincoln logo projected onto the ground beside the car. Or the automatic running boards that extended to make it easier to get in and out. While wearing my ELOQUII faux leather joggers, I cooled down with air conditioned seats. The trick I nearly discovered too late was being able to close the rear lift gate with the same button that would open it.
A huge thank you to my friends at Lincoln for making this wonderful weekend (and upcoming outfit photos) possible with the loan of this swank Navigator for the weekend. I felt expensive, was well-lit thanks to the sunroof, and indulged in all my favorite suburban pleasures. It was a weekend to remember!
Photos by Kristin Booker