Happy Friday everyone! And happy July as well! Can you believe 2011 is half-over already? Craziness!
I’ve been busy busy this week getting my scrapbook on (which is something that happens all too rarely around here lately) so for today’s Friday Faves post, I am reposting a post I did for the Sweet Shoppe blog a few weeks back, documenting my top five faves from our trip to New York City.
Normally I would never consider reposting a post I’ve posted on another blog but in this case I’m making an exception since this post included a bunch of details from our trip to NYC that I want to include as part of my Adventure to Album album so I wanted to make sure everything was documented on my own blog as well so I can easily find them later.
Soooo if you already saw this post over at the Sweet Shoppe, my apologies, and if you haven’t checked out the 365 Days of Bliss blog we’ve got going on over at the Sweet Shoppe, I highly recommend you do since it’s a great way to see what are amazing team of designers and Babes are up to over there.
And with that, here are my top five faves from my first trip to New York City…
One of my absolute favorite things in the world to do is travel. Earlier this month I was lucky enough to take my first ever trip to New York City. Of course, being a city girl at heart, I had high expectations for the Big Apple and I have to say, I was NOT disappointed. I loved loved loved our week spent in NYC! My only disappointment was having to come home! LOL!
Since we’d be here all day if I were to list everything I loved about this trip, I’ve decided to whittle our nine-day trip down into my top five favorite things, in no particular order. Of course, I will be creating a June 2011 Faves: the NYC Edition scrapbooking layout as part of my 2011 Faves series but since I haven’t started my page yet, some words and some photos will have to for now. Ready? Ok.
1) The Book of Mormon
This Tony-award winning show for Best Musical from the creators of South Park and Avenue Q was high on our list of things to do in New York City. So high in fact that we actually bought tickets for the show before Adam’s vacation had even been approved. (We were pretty sure it’d be approved, but still, you never know with the military!)
Being huge fans of both Avenue Q and South Park (random fact: the nickname Nettio was actually inspired by an episode of South Park, haha), we knew if we were going to see one Broadway show, we wanted it to be this one.
Given all the glowing reviews we’d seen beforehand, it was fair to say we had some pretty high expectations for this show. Did it live up to our expectations? Absolutely. We LOVED it! Adam even went so far as to say it was his favorite show ever (beating out some of our other faves like The Lion King, Avenue Q and Hairspray). It was THAT good.
The songs were SO funny and catchy, the choreography for the Mormon characters was spot on (if you’ve ever been to a Mormon teen dance, you’ll know what I’m talking about, haha) and the overall message was surprisingly sweet. It was everything a well-done musical should be with a modern day twist. We both left the theater saying how much we wished we could see it again. It was definitely a hit in our book.
2) Central Park
Another random fact about me? I LOVE trees. So much so that when I was looking for a university to attend, one of my top requirements was that the campus had to have trees. No puny trees tucked in between big concrete buildings. Big luscious foresty trees.
So it’s probably no surprise when I say that Central Park is pretty close to my idea of heaven. It was GORGEOUS. Lots of big, green, pretty trees. I was in LOVE.
What was even more amazing was just how quiet the park was. Even though you could see the streets and cars through the trees, you couldn’t hear them. It was quite literally like being in a forest in the middle of a giant city – probably because that’s exactly what it is, haha.
By far the biggest surprise was just how BIG the park was. Adam and I took one of those bicycle tours through the park where they show you all the major landmarks and movie locations and even so, we saw maybe half of the park?
Central Park was such a fave in our book that we even made time on a second day just to go down and hang out in the grass and relax. It was a perfect balance to the hustle and bustle of the rest of the trip. It firmly solidified that if we ever set down roots somewhere it is going to be some place with lots of parks. And big trees.
3) Food, Food and More Food
Food is always a big part of our travel itineraries and this trip was no different. Over the course of nine-days we had a pretty wide variety of foods: italian, NY-style pizza, doughnuts at Doughnut Plant, hot dogs, bbq, cupcakes, cookies from Levain Bakery – the list goes on and on. We’d even gone on a super healthy eating plan for the weeks before we left just so we could be sure we wouldn’t come back weighing 800 lbs, haha. As I liked to refer to it we were “making room” for our NYC trip, LOL!
My personal favorite food experience would have to be lunch at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.
I had heard about Shake Shack many of times from Kelly Purkey’s blog and as a California-native where In-N-Out is king I was super curious to see what all the fuss was about. We had of course heard about the long lines which always make me a bit hesitant since sometimes long lines can equal overrated.
I know it looks like Adam is really annoyed in this photo but really he’s just wanting food. The line went all the way around the corner!
After waiting about an hour for food – 45 minutes to order and another 15-20 minutes while they cooked it – I have to say I was really impressed! The burgers were really fresh and juicy and the fries, shake and fresh lemonade were tasty. Adam’s comment was we waited an hour for food that took us 6 minutes to eat, haha, but that it was worth it. I’d even wait in that line again!
See, he looks much happier now that he has food!
Not to mention the location simply can’t be beat. Sitting in a park setting under the trees (see, trees! haha) eating tasty treats in the middle of the city is my idea of a good time.
4) Spending the day at the Jersey Shore
Despite the title, this fave has nothing to do with Snooki, Pauly D or the rest of the Jersey Shore crew, haha. But we did actually spend the day over at the Jersey Shore for another reason – family.
Adam’s cousin Christine leaves on the Jersey Shore so we took the train over from the city to spend the day with her and her family. Although we’d seen her in February at Adam’s grandmother’s funeral, we hadn’t seen the rest of her family since our wedding back in 2005 and to be honest, as most wedding days are, it was a bit of a blur.
So it was really nice to be able to visit with them in a more relaxed environment. We took a stroll down the beach where I was able to put my feet into the Atlantic Ocean…for the very first time! And they gave us a nice tour of the area since this is the area where Adam’s mom’s side of the family is originally from before they all moved out to the West Coast.
All in all, it was a really nice relaxing change of pace from the rest of the trip and I’m definitely glad we were able to fit visiting them into our trip. Seeing family is always a fave of mine!
5) Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
I’m never really sure what to expect when visiting such an iconic place. Will it really live up to all the images you’ve seen? Or will it be a complete disappointment? (The Alamo, I’m looking at you.)
I’m happy to say the Statue of Liberty very much lived up to what I had imagined in my head. If anything it actually seemed bigger in person than I expected!
Since we had heard the security lines at the Statue of Liberty can get really long (the National Parks Service website warns 90+ minute lines are commonplace), we decided to arrive in time to catch the 8am ferry in hopes of beating the crowds. I have to say, this totally worked! We waited only about 10-15 minutes to get on the ferry AND we were able to score some tickets to the pedestal of the Statue despite the website saying they were sold out. Yay for being early birds!
The Statue of Liberty was definitely a cool experience but my personal favorite part of the day was visiting Ellis Island. Some of my dad’s side of the family came through there from the Azores Islands so it was really neat to be somewhere that had a personal history connection to my own family. One big advantage of having a really uncommon last name? When you find someone with that name in the database, odds are they’re related to you somehow, haha.
As part of Ellis Island there, is the American Immigrant Wall of Honor where you can pay to have the names of family members who immigrated to America added to the wall. I had no idea before I went but turns out my great grandfather’s name was actually on the wall. So neat!
Visiting Ellis Island was definitely highlight of our trip. As a scrapbooker it really made me want to learn more about my family history. Looks like I have another project to add to my list!
And that’s it for my top five faves from my first trip to NYC. Anyone else ever been to New York City? What were your personal faves from your visit? Feel free to share in the comments!