Thursday, October 9, 2014

Our trip to the East Coast- Highlights of NYC (days 1-3)

So I was seriously considering not finishing up these posts. Its almost too much info for anybody, but  I hate not finishing off projects. So for the sake of getting closure, I figured I'd just finish up with at least some highlight picture collages of the last 3 days of our trip in New York. I won't be saying much but I hope the pictures will say it all for me- We did a heck of a lot in just 3 days and we a blast. We Love New York!
Day 1- The Manhattan Sky line view from our hotel room in Long Island City

Our first dinner in the city at John's in Time Square recommended by my SIL Gaby. Delicious pizza in a beautiful renovated church. A great New York meal anytime.

 The kids (and Tito) experience Time Square for the first time
 with the help of Spidey himself.
There is something different going on at every corner.

  It was alive and kicking At Rockefeller Center- Its such a location straight out of the movies. The boys found happiness at Nintendo World before we went on our way to a last minute set up (by a good friend) to see a taping of America's Got Talent
 at the famous Radio City Musical Hall. 
Great 1st night in NYC.

 Day 2-  Started off with a trip to see Lady Liberty, a walk up to her pedestal and a visit to the museum with in its walls. Looking back on the city from the statue is a view I will never forget.

TBT- Jerry and I had gone to NY back in 1998 with Christian who was 18months old at the time. One of the most memorable moments I have of that trip was of watching Chris on the boat to and from the Statue. He was just captivated by the water and wanted to stand by the railing at the top of the boat to watch the water as it moved along. Being able to capture him in this very soulful stance meant so much to me and I get emotional every time I look at them. So I figure I'd share them with you here to fully reminisce.

So remembering these pictures and knowing we were going back to the Statue of Liberty on pretty much the same type of boat 16 years later, I wanted to hopefully get some of the same shots. And I did! Sans the binky in the mouth of course.  ;)
He doesn't remember having taken those baby pictures but he still had that same soulful look and was captivated by this whole experience in a totally new way. So happy that I got to capture these on film too.

Wall Street- This was Jerry's must see part of the trip...his kind of Disneyland. I made sure to point out to the boys the architecture and the layout of the buildings. It the concrete Jungle of the world.

911 Memorial-  An immediate sense of solemnity falls on you as you approach this place. There are no words to explain or ways to wrap my mind around the images going through my head as I sat there imagining what it must have been like there that fateful day.  Even Mikey who wasn't even born then and knew not what it all meant could feel that sense of quiet fall on him. We spent the following morning showing him videos of what happened so he could fully understand the magnitude what this beautiful memorial meant.

(TBT #2- Another picture found from 1998...It gave me some serious goose bumps people!!)

 A YANKEE GAME!!!-  Jerry surprised us by changing our plans for that evening with tickets to Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox game. Yeah baby!! When would we get the chance to see those two teams play AND in addition we had the privilege of watching Derek Jeter play one of his last games of the season in NYC.
 Let me tell you, those Yankee Fans are hard core!
The subway ride to the Bronx was full of them! Soo cool!

Day 3- Final day in the city and a chance to get a few last things in. We walked to Grand Central Station, Saint Patricks Cathedral (almost too overwhelming to be in there with all the renovations going on inside), walked down Lexington Avenue, saw Saks Fith Avenue, the Apple store under glass, and of course famous FAO Shwartz and the "Big" Piano. The boys gave it a good shot at playing Chopsticks with their feet...soo much fun!

 Central Park Tour- This is the last and final tour through Tours by Foot we would take. We almost missed it entirely due to a miscommunication of time, but we made it. Our tour guide Bill, was a lot of fun and for a change was an Actor/Art History major and he knew a lot about Central Park and its history. It was a beautiful, peaceful tour and very green. Picturesque beyond belief especially at the sunset hours.  We can now officially say we have seen Central Park from beginning to end, and oh did Bill make us walk.. A LOT!! This tour takes you from 59th and Fifth Avenue entrance all the way to the other side to Central Park West where it ends at John Lennon's Strawberry Fields and the site of the Dakota  Apartments where he was shot and killed. Worth every step we took.

 And after a long day and so much walking (my pedometer recorded over 20,000+ steps for that one day) we ended this amazing trip with a very big sweet tooth at the famous SERENDIPITY cafe. This was another recommendation from my SIL Gaby. Its cute and quaint and the size of the desserts allowed us to share in the overindulgence of yuminess! 

And then as soon as it had started it was all over...We were headed home! 

We are still looking back and remembering so many great moments and missing so much of these 3 beautiful cities. We are so grateful to our In Laws for joining us once again and for being a part of all those memories we made. I am grateful to Jerry for making such an effort to make sure this happened for us this year. It really was a special trip and the boys and I will never forget it.

Thanks to all of you for coming back each time to keep up and I hope that we could inspire you travelers out there to try a few of the Tours we took. I can't recommend them enough. 

From my little corner to yours...That's all folks! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our East Coast Trip- Philadelphia, PA

It only made sense that if we were driving towards New York that we pass through Philly since it is literally the midpoint between WDC and NY.  We also figured it would be a great way to continue the historical tie ins by visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall for the kids. When would we get a chance to do all of this again like this?

Road trips are always cool, but when a road trip can take through a series of 6 or more states all in a few hours can check them all off your list right? The kids loved that. 

Travel Tips- So in my research I found out a few things:
  • The Independence Visitor Center, the Liberty Bell Center, and Independence Hall were all within the the same area- making it easy to visit all at once
  • The Liberty Bell was a free exhibit and did not require tickets to visit it- Woohoo!
  • The Independence Hall Tour tickets were free at the Visitor Center but only if you got there early enough to reserve them (which we wouldn't be)
  • But for $1.50/per person (a minimal cost) you could pre-order tickets and pick your tour date and time. So in planning and knowing that we would get to Philadelphia later in the afternoon I went on line here and picked the 4:15pm tour (2nd to last tour of that day) and bought our tickets to make sure we'd give ourselves sometime to get there and still make it.

 The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell was surreal to see. You hear so much about it and what it symbolizes, but again to see it in person is always more impacting. It is much bigger than I had expected and there was a security guard who explained the story of how it cracked for the kids to hear and I love that they have it displayed in the middle of this room with Independence Hall in view.

 Independence Hall-

Independence hall tour was once again surreal in that you are walking into a building that at one point housed one of the most important events that helped our founding fathers shape our nation. You can feel it in the air as you walked in. 

The park ranger explained the story of this picture and how it depicts the Assembly room in which the actual Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed. Then he actually walked us into the that exact Assembly room. Can you see it?
Wow! Its just like the picture and the chair in the middle is the original chair George Washington used during that time. They also had Thomas Jefferson's original cane. I personally couldn't help but stare and take in the room to just imagine what it must have looked like with all of these men arguing and scrambling to get these historical moments done.

Ben Franklin
  Also a couple of small blocks away from Independence Hall, we found the burial spot of Benjamin Franklin.  The Christ Church cemetery is located two blocks away, and Ben Franklin's gravestone can be seen just on the other side of an iron gate on the south-east corner of the cemetery.  Its simplicity and lack of grandeur was its beauty and spoke volumes to me of how simple of a man he must have held himself to be. He is buried with his wife and a his son who died at 4 years old from small pox.

The Rocky Steps
After all this American history intake, we had a some time to spare so we went off to look for the Philadelphia Art Museum which is the location of the famous "Rocky steps."  And yes...we became the corny tourists and ran the stairs ourselves.  Another check off the bucket-list for sure ;)

Driving on out of state highways...Hated It!!

I have to say that this following part of the road trip was the most frustrating of our trip for me. We were "supposed" to have a philly cheese steak dinner IN Philadelphia.  However... because the highway system out there is designed the way it is (engineers are fired!) and because Jerry and the GPS system were not getting along so well that night, he missed the proper exit by 1/2 a mile, and we ended up unceremoniously leaving Philadelphia and ended up in New Jersey 5 miles later! Uugghh!  Let's just say this was one of those things I wished would have been different but in looking back it has definitely made for some hysterical memories and its become part of the story of our trip.

Soo good-bye Philly... New York is next.

Thanks for stopping by,