Saturday, December 30, 2017

Holidays In The City

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year. I wish this season of joy and kindness could last another month. Our family may not have made a Christmas bucket list or advent countdown, but we have enjoyed December all the same. There is just something about the holidays that make people re-prioritize the right things. I hope you have seen the lights, drank the hot chocolate, baked the goodies, donated the stuff, and snuggled the ones you love all month. Of course, you can continue to do that after December 25th :)

Today I am sharing our trip to NYC! Going to New York City during the holidays was a dream come true. I don't even know other words to say about it. It surpassed all my expectations and I want to go back as soon as possible. Some times I find myself justifying a weekend trip  to get out of town. Sadly, I don't live in a world where I take weekend trips to New York City :( So I have to suffice with planning an in-the-future trip :) and hoping that means in 2018 future!


We made the trip by car A.) because that is how we travel and B.) it made more sense for car travel versus air travel. By the time, we drive to Raleigh (2.5 hours), get there a couple hours early (2+ hours), fly 2.5 hours, do the whole unload/luggage pickup (1hour), AND THEN travel to our hotel (apx.1 hour) plus the expense, car travel looked like the better choice. How can that be? I was happy to drive up north to be able to travel through new states. I'm soaking up all the East Coast things!   

We arrived Monday evening at Navy Lodge Staten Island. For all my military people, this is the way to go! Yes, I would have loved the convenience of staying in Manhattan. However, for the price, Navy Lodge Staten Island is the way to go. If you are staying in prime tourism season (aka holidays), then staying outside the city is going to save you big time. The lodge is nice, well kept, and sizable for families. We were technically on a Coast Guard base which has some amazing lookout points of the river, the bridges, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and all the other places that converge in this area. It was AMAZING. We never went back to the lookout (pictured above) in the daytime but that would definitely be on my list next trip. 

Tuesday morning was our first day in the city. We drove our car to the Staten Island Ferry terminal and parked in a lot nearby. The lot had a shuttle bus which we used when the weather got colder; otherwise, we walked the quarter mile every time. The Staten Island Ferry is free and hundreds of people use it every day. It is heated, there are plenty of seats, lots of security, and food/drinks are allowed on board. There are also bathrooms. I was really hesitant about the Staten Island Ferry because I didn't know much about it. Rest assured, Staten Island Ferry is the way to go. Did I mention it is free? When you arrive on the Manhattan side, there are a few subway stations right out the front doors of Whitehall Ferry terminal. So easy for someone who has never been to New York City.

We had tickets to the 9/11 Memorial museum mid morning. We took our time walking up through the financial district seeing the sights. I liked this area of the city because it wasn't crowded and busy. We missed a lot of big things down here like the New York Stock exchange and Federal Hall. We did see the Charging Bull, Wall Street, and St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church which was pretty cool in real life. We also saw One Freedom Tower and the 9/11 

The rest of our first day was spent walking around the city. We went to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the USO New York. Rumor is USO New York City often receives show tickets to give to military patrons. This probably rings true when it isn't the busiest week of the year :) We were totally ok with that. The options for tickets were a little grown up for us so we passed. I was happy to roam the city instead.  

Day 2 was our busy day! We were up early and back late that night. I'm not sure what a NYC bucket list would look like for you but bagels and pizza were on ours. All the research I found said eat the bagels!! You don't have to tell me twice. We went for the best...literally, Best Bagels & Coffee. Of all the flavors we tried, a plain bagel with fresh made strawberry cream cheese was the best. Doesn't that sounds delicious?

After searching for incredible bagels, we headed towards Central Park. We had plans to see Central Park, Museum of Natural History, and a peek of the parade prep. I could have watched them prepare all day. It's like a science to lay those balloons out, inflate them, and keep them contained.

We took a break to tour the Natural History museum. We didn't spend too much time there. I think the SemperFiFam is starting to get burned out on museums. I guess a lifetime of museums gets old?? Opps, who knew? I wouldn't feel right about skipping it all together. It's the Night At The Museum museum! P.S. I love Ben Stiller. 

After the museum, we went to Central Park. Some of the streets had been closed at this point to prepare for the parade so we struggled a bit. The boys got separated from the girls and we used GPS to find our way back together. You can imagine the challenge with the less than accurate GPS system.

Central Park is gorgeous. We only saw a small area of the south side. Central Park would be on my list when we go back again.

We (think) we found the Elf bridge where the snowball fight takes place. So we had to take a picture. We love the Elf movie!

The boys went to find the ice skating rink in CP and we hung out on the rocks. Wednesday night we made a quick tour of Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue. We toured the windows and watched the light show outside Saks Fifth Avenue. We also took a quick visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral.


In Rockefeller Center, the tree wasn't quite ready. We watched the ice skaters and warmed up in the Lego Store.

Every store in NYC seems to be on board with decorating for the holidays. The Lego Store is always a must visit with the kids no matter their age. We ended our day with some pho and other Vietnamese cuisine which was so good!

I'm going to stop here and come back with a Part 2 of our Holiday in the City :)

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  1. Beautiful trip! NYC is one of my favorite places in the world. There's just something about it that I can't put in to words. It just makes me feel alive! I had the privileged of growing up 80 miles from the city so it was easy to take a bus in and out for day trips. I really miss living on the East Coast!

  2. Your blog post brings me back! I can't believe I used to live there before getting married...and I lived there for nearly 10 years too...yikes!

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