Finally... finally last week was my vacation. You know, the kind where your employer gives you a certain amount of vacation time to use throughout the year, which in my case is only 15 days and five of those have to be consecutive. Yeah, that kind workplace. No biggie... no not this time, because this time I've been waiting since last October when I first purchased my plane ticket to New York City! Just like a kid waiting to go to Disney World and having to count down the days... that's how I've been since October!! Waiting is torture people! Going to a city you've always wanted to visit and finally meeting your best friend while you're there. T-O-R-T-U-R-E!
Anyway, I thought I would start my blogging spree with a snippet-- or maybe it's more than that, so I hope I don't bore you to death with all the details about my vacation. I at least wanted to give you a tease of the Big Apple and everything I saw there. It truly is the 'city that never sleeps' (I know, we were out pretty late most nights. More explanation below.)
First, let me say, this post will be long and full of pictures and a lot of rambling. Don't say I didn't warn you!!!
|The Empire State Building|
After we arrived and got settled into our hotel, we just started walking. It's a big city, but one thing we soon found out... if you just keep walking, eventually you'll run across a major landmark that requires exploring! Que... The Empire State building. I think that conversation went something along the lines of:
Me: "Ooo look benches, lets stop for a minute. I need to rest. Oh cool, look at that sign! Ooo and that one, and that one over there!!"
Laura: "Wow that's a tall building. I can't even see the top from here."
Me: "Oh wait... is that the Eiffel Tower? Wait, wrong continent but I know it starts with an 'E'! Oooo it's the Empire State Building!! Let's go up!
Next, please enjoy the amazing pictures I took from the top. It was a cloudy and dreary day. And boy or boy was it windy up there!
If you look at the picture to the right, at the far end to the left is a small island. I zoomed in with my little camera and snapped the Statue of Liberty (Seen in pic to the left). Laura said my camera sucked! She was so jealous my camera took better pictures than her's. hehehe
|Laura and Me enjoying one of many drinks|
|Blarney Rock Pub|
So after that walk and lovely visit we headed back to the hotel to rest up, charge our phones and chat, chat, chat. Time really slipped by on us. We finally got to fill in all the blanks you just can't get out of an email or text message. After getting fully charged, we went in search of bar/pub. Somewhere we could relax, have a drink and a bite to eat. Wow! We really had a fun night that night. I said before it's the city that never sleeps... and that is the true. After making our way back to our hotel about 2:30- 3:00 am (seriously I don't know how we didn't get lost!) there were many people out and about. Yes, it may have been a bit quieter but not too much!
Then next morning... I was feeling a little less than perfect (see above the drink in my picture and times that by more than a few). We got a bit of a late start, but once I showered and got some food in my belly, I was starting to feel pretty normal... well sorta. We made our way toward Times Square and beyond! If I thought all the lit up signs where awesome, I hadn't seen nothin' yet! Here's a bit of the signage we witnessed!
|The ABC News Studio! I love GMA!|
There were signs everywhere. I kept saying, "Wait! I've got to take a picture of this... of that." It really is a sight to see. Some are just signs and some are digital screens. They are so BIG and BRIGHT. Pure awesomeness!!
And this pic to the left... It's the famous New Year's Eve ball. Millions upon million watch this sparkling ball fall every year! I can only imagine what an experience that would be to witness this for myself. The energy of NY would be amazing! There was so, so much to see here. I think if we went back, there would be plenty of stuff I didn't see the first go. Your eyes can only take in so much and spending just a few days just isn't enough time!
After walking through Times Square, I pulled out my Google Maps phone app and discovered that just a few more blocks (because seriously, after the 100 we walked, what's a few more???) we weren't far from Central Park! You just can't go to NYC and not see it! We took a Pedicab one hour tour through the park. If you're not familiar with what that is, it looks something like this: See Right --->
Please note... this is not us, nor was this our driver. Our driver was much more hilarious and had a problem with his ex-girlfriend and I believe he even gave us his phone number... yeah... the real NY experience, I'm sure of it!
All kidding aside, he was fantastic and knew so much about the city. Ooo and he even gave us a deal on our ride! We were nice and tipped well :)
One of the stops we overlooked, is where Balto the dog is memorialized. You can read the full article about this amazing dogs journey Here!
Here is a bit about it: "...a life size statue of Balto in New York City’s Central Park on December 17, 1925. Sculpted by F.G. Roth, the bronze sculpture is New York’s only statue commemorating a dog. The statue includes a plaque with an inscription that reads:
“Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed anti toxin 600 miles over treacherous waters, through arctic blizzards, from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925- Endurance, Fidelity, Intelligence”.
"Rising from Bethesda Terrace is Angel of the Waters, also called Bethesda Fountain. The statue references the Gospel of John, which describes an angel blessing the Pool of Bethesda and giving it healing powers. The fountain commemorates the Croton water system, which first brought fresh water to New York City in 1842. The angel carries a lily in her left hand -- a symbol of the water's purity, very important to a city that had previously suffered from a devastating cholera epidemic before the system was established. The piece is the only statue that was commissioned for the Park. Created by Emma Stebbins, it also marked the first time a woman received a public art commission in New York City."
A few movies filmed here:
- Hair -1980
- Home Alone 2
- When Harry Met Sally
- The Muppet's Take Manhattan
"Strawberry Fields is a living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist – John Lennon. During his career with the Beatles and in his solo work, Lennon's music gave hope and inspiration to people around the world. His campaign for peace lives on, symbolized at Strawberry Fields.
This tranquil section of Central Park was named after one of the Beatles' best-known songs, "Strawberry Fields Forever." Recorded in 1966, the song's title comes from an orphanage in Liverpool, England where Lennon used to go to play with the children. His aunt, who raised him, disapproved but he insisted it was, "nothing to get hung about." Hence, the song's famous lyric.
Strawberry Fields was officially dedicated on October 9, 1985 – the 45th anniversary of Lennon's birth. Yoko Ono worked with landscape architect Bruce Kelly and the Central Park Conservancy to create a meditative spot. The iconic black-and-white mosaic was created by Italian craftsmen and given as a gift by the city of Naples. Based on a Greco-Roman design, it bears the word of another of Lennon's songs: Imagine.
A designated Quiet Zone in the Park, the memorial is shaded by stately American elms and lined with benches. In the warmer months, flowers bloom all around the area. Along the path near the mosaic, you'll find a bronze plaque that lists the 121 countries that endorse Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace. Today visitors from around the world flock to Strawberry Fields."
Amazingly, after the walk through Times Square and the tour through Central Park, we still managed to walk all the way back to our hotel without dying! I know, I can't believe it either!! We were exhausted and again our phones needed charging. But we were super excited for our plans that night. We were seeing a Broadway play in NYC!!! Yes... total excitement ensued! We took a taxi this time, too tired to walk. I'd actually have to say that hailing a taxi is a lot harder they show on TV. For one, I can't whistle like they do. The small bird chirp noise I make isn't going to get us anywhere and frankly, I just don't have the legs to "wow" a driver to pull over! hehe Actually, there are so many taxis going this way and that and most already have a paying customer in their cab. But alas, we scored!
WICKED at the Gershwin Theater
We weren't allowed to take any pictures once inside, but the show was... Amazing? Fantastic? Terrific? It was better than all those words. The acting was superb, the singing blew me away and gave me chill for the entire show. I just can't wait for it to tour near my hometown. I'm definitely going to go see it again! If you ever get the chance to see it...GO!!!
For the last part of our trip, we took a taxi to see site of the World Trade Center. Laura and I both felt like it was something we didn't really have to see if we didn't make it, but I'm so glad we found the time. If you know anything about what happened to our country on September 11, 2001, I think you should visit this site. It was a horrific event that I will never forget. I will never get the images out of my mind that I saw on TV. I will always remember where I was, what I was doing on that day when I heard the new... or what I was thinking when I saw the towers fall to the ground. Most striking and what hurt my heart the most was the coverage of friends and family crying out for their loved ones on TV. They were missing and they only wanted to find them. Seeing it all tore me up and truly made me thankful for all that I have.
It was a peaceful place (minus all the visitors). But even with all the people there, it was a somber place. It was unreal to stand on that holy ground where so many lost their lives just doing their everyday job.
I ran my hands along the engraved names around both infinity pools, trying for just a moment to put myself in their place... if only for a second... but I couldn't, no one ever could unless you were there and it happened to you. The power from the rushing water of the pool, created a soft and steady breeze giving you a tranquil feeling.
"The Survivor Tree"- one of only six trees to survive the collapse of the World Trade Center- it was the only survivor tree planted here. The others are planted round the city in various locations."The Survivor Tree" was only 8 feet tall when it was found in the aftermath and now it stands over 30 feet tall. A true testament to surviving!
The Strand Bookstore... 18 miles of new, used, and rare books since 1927.
Do I need to say more.... I hope heaven has a place like this because I'd never leave!
This was our last place to visit on our list! I'm so happy I can say, "Yeah, I've been there!"
I adore taking pictures while in the sky. Like giant cotton balls, you just want to reach out and touch them. Also, I promised my daughter that I would take these because she's 6 and just can't grasp how you can be higher than the clouds :)
So that is everything Laura and I did in a nutshell while in New York City from Monday-Thursday! We had the time of our lives and best of all, I got to spend it with my best friend!
As if walking roughly 10-12 miles in the Big Apple wasn't enough, my husband and I promised to take our two daughters (age 6 and 3) to the beach for a couple days camping once I returned from my trip. We have a pop-up camper and the kids love it. It's cheaper than a hotel and its a great way to get some family time in. We live about 2 and a half hours from Hatteras Island in North Carolina, so it's not too far of a drive and thankfully... I didn't have to walk there!!
So rather than giving you the rundown of everything we did, I'll just post a few pictures below of all the fun the kids had!
This is our camper... and the most awesome Jeep there ever was! (okay, really... no it's not. But I sure do hear enough about it from my husband. Man, he loves that car!)
|Carly made it to the top of the sand dune and she's telling me to "hurry up!"|
|She is just too grown!|
And they ran
ran some more!
<---- Here Carly is just too excited about the water and as you can tell it shows!
Here Kaylee ----> just found a flea crab. Wow she was thrilled about this and continued her search for them ALL day!
|A little sandcastle time...|
-------> Dad built, what he called his "sand lazy boy" chair, the kids loved it and as you can see below, it made a fantastic hole to jump into later!
Finally! That was the end of my week. Pretty fantastic, I must admit. I was able to spend time with my best friend, Laura, after only texting and emailing each other for nearly 2 years! And I was able to have a wonderful beach trip with my beautiful family. There's only one question to ask here...
What's on the agenda for next year? It may take some time to figure that out, but until next then... I hope you all have an awesome summer and thank you for taking the time to read possibly the longest post I've ever written!
(Laura, you should be proud!)