After my first small distractions this year (if you haven’t yet read my post on my plan for you year the link for it is here) it was time for an Adventure. Around February 2016 I found an amazing deal online for a few nights in NYC, I had never been but had always wanted to go, so I mentioned it to my mum, she of course being level headed and sensible said “we will go next year, we can’t before the wedding”. In December I knew I just had to get away and the first place that sprang to mind was “NYC…. Do it for mum”. So I spoke to my hubby, my aunt and my dad. all three agreed it was a trip of a lifetime and we should all go together to support each other ( the other reason I thought this would be a good idea is because my dad would normally travel with my mum and going forward this is one luxury he wouldn’t have). I scanned airbnb and found a gorgeous apartment, then I scanned British Airways flights travelling to JFK airport, and be fore we knew it, we were all booked up to go! Over Christmas my dad really didn’t cope (understandably so) and just after New Year he decided that it was too soon for him to travel, but he would look after little dog for us.
January dragged as did February, but before we knew it, it was the 28th of Feb and Hubby and I were on our way to pick up my aunt and to get us checked into our hotel at the airport. We booked into the Doubletree Hilton at Heathrow, and I couldn’t fault it, I mean how many hotels do you check into and they greet you with a warm, fresh cookie?! My aunt brought along a bottle of champagne and we popped it open before dinner and toasted to mum and to safe travels. We headed down for dinner- which was gorgeous, and then headed back to our rooms, I grabbed a quick bat hand tucked myself in for the night, the bed was incredibly comfy and cocooned me, but I was so excited I woke up every half an hour to check the time.
Finally it was six am, and it was flight day- I had such a wide range of feelings- Nerves, a touch of sorrow (mum should have been doing this with us, and it’s yet another first without her there), and lack of sleep… however all of this was outweighed by excitement. I got up and ready and proceeded to head out to the lobby as that was where we were all meeting at 7. We drove over to the car park and grabbed our luggage out, go checked in at the desk and breezed through security. We grabbed breakfast at Strada and before we knew it we were on the plane…
Take off, no turning back now. I had already checked out the films to entertain myself on the flight and devised a whole 8 hours plan… However 20 minutes into girl on the train I could feel my eyes getting heavy, so I thought La La Land would perk me off… I woke up round 30 minutes in, and my gosh the film was brilliant ( I have re-watched it all since, its now a firm favourite of mine!)… I finished watching the girl on the train and the next thing I knew we were landing! We collected our luggage and jumped in a yellow cab at the airport… WE WERE THERE!
The cleaners for the apartment met us and showed us in and where everything was and they left us to get unpacked. It was perfect, only small but we were only using it as a base to sleep in really. At this point we needed to make a serious decision- what to have for dinner! My Hubby is obsessed with hot dogs so we researched a few places before we left and one recommendation couldn’t be turned down- Papaya King, – after all they have been serving hot dogs since 1932! I went for the appropriately named 1932 which came with curly fries and a drink and hubby went for two chilli dogs- I don’t normally like hot dogs as they repeat on me but they were lovely!
Barring the hot dog experience it was time for us to make our way to our first New York attraction. We had booked a place on The Ride, when is a sightseeing bus with a difference, it’s a 75-minute interactive experience with 2 hosts on board and live performances on the street! it has floor-to-ceiling glass windows and stadium style seating as well as audio and video. You will see some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks including Times Square, Columbus Circle and the Chrysler Building as you interact with everyone and everything it Passes! This was a brilliant first night activity as it helped to beat the jet lag while doing something fun and still being able to take in the city.
For the morning of day two we decided a little comfort food would be good for breakfast so we visited a McDonalds. I opted for a sausage and egg McGriddle as we can’t get those in England. It’s almost a McMuffin but instead of a muffin it has two maple syrup pancakes on either side of the filling which is delicious! I paired this up with a shamrock hot chocolate.
We discussed the plan for the day and decided that it would be rude not to visit Macys while in New York. We found a subway and headed there… after 4 hours I can safely say we were all shopped out and had only visited half of the store!
That evening the three of us headed to columbus circle- one of my favourite spots for shopping, but this time we were not to shop, we were tracking down a pub called McGees as this is the pub How I met Your Mother based their pub McClarens around and as hubby and I love this series we had to visit it. It wasn’t too far at all and before we knew it we had ordered our first round of themed cocktails. I went for a Pinapple Incident which was pineapple Bacardi, Spiced rum, Pineapple juice and – heavenly! Our dinner shortly arrived, I had opted for a burger, enough to line the stomach and just simple, was delish though! After that one I decided it was me duty to try a few more from the list! after a creamsicle and a Robin Sparkles- and managing to drop the majority of said Robin Sparkles into Hubbys lap, we decided it was time to head back to the apartment as we wanted to pack as much as possible into our trip hangovers wouldn’t be helpful!
The next morning we were up and at them early and we headed to the Lennon memorial, it was a must do stop for the three of us, as mum loved the Beatles and no doubt would have wanted to visit there if she had managed to go with us. I ideally wanted to lay a flower for mum but far too windy. walking through central park memories were racing through my mind and I started to well up slightly. as we got to Strawberry Fields I knew i was going to get teary. The memorial was beautiful and we took a moment to reflect quietly. I found a bench and sat down and had a little cry and my aunt and husband both joined me and hugged me. I then started to laugh, while still crying and explained that if mum was here no matter how cold it was she would have hobbled the whole way there in her flip flops ( she had a bit of a sore hip so had developed a slight limp) my aunt then chimed in with how bossy she would have been to hubby about getting a photo. I think its crazy how you can switch from tears of sadness to smiling so quickly, but I am incredibly grateful for it. And with the sun shining down on us, in the bitter cold, it really did feel as if mum was there with us (as cliche as that sounds!)
We found the closest subway station and headed down to Grand Central teminal. The first spot we visited there was the whispering gallery- if you stand in opposing corners and talk into them you can hear each other, when I heard my aunt I span around as I thought she was behind me!
Once we had finished our fun there we headed into the ticket hall- it was breathtaking!
But we needed to get to our next adventure as we had pre booked tickets for the Empire State Building. We made sure we had fast track tickets as we were told it is a glorified queue, we also purchased tickets that took you right up to the top, the views were incredible, however the space at the top was very confined and did make me a little claustrophobic, but I loved being on the lower pen in the open air and taking in the iconic building, and knowing we were on one of the most recognized buildings in the world!
Next we travelled downtown via a cab and headed to the Dominic Ansel Bakery, While in New York there was a must try pastry.. The Cronut. If you ever visit you must add this to your must do list (you can also pre book your cronut as they can sell out on the day, here is the link). It is a doughnut made from croissant pastry and to sum it up, you will never taste anything like this. Each month the flavour changes, and the flavour we had was blackberry brown sugar with toffee, even thinking about it makes my mouth water!
Once we had devoured that culinary delight we travelled to see the 911 memorial, it so eerie to find such a quiet space in the middle of a city full of life. and the size of the memorials really put the enormity of such a tragic event into perspective.
We headed back to the upper east side to our apartment and has a nap for a couple of hours to prepare ourselves for the evening. We had booked a table at The View restaurant near Times Square. When you have checked your coats in you enter an elevator and speed up to the 48th floor. Again we can’t just go to any fine dining restaurant, this one rotates 360 degrees every hour. The food as the view were out of this world, it was easily the best meal I’ve ever eaten, and with such a relaxed atmosphere I never wanted to leave that spot.
While we were still digesting we headed across the road to see the Lion king on Broadway. I had never seen it before but it was amazing, I was moved to tears at one point and I couldn’t help but sing along to the songs that I knew! After the show we hailed a cab and headed back to the apartment.
It was our last full day in NYC and we had booked to visit the 9/11 museum. It was a very emotional place to visit knowing that the destroyed buildings we were looking at and standing in the space of would have once been full of people working and going about their daily routines, and how one senseless act could just rip that life away. There was a wall where people were asked to show what colour they remembered the sky being the morning of the attacks, and they had hung tiles of the various shade of blue- it was truly beautiful. There was a small room in which there were photos of all of the victims and some of their personal belongings and a video room with their families telling stories of them- tears began to fill my eyes again and I had to get out of there. We next watched a video on how they built one world trade center next to the site of the original world trade centers and it gave and enormous sense of hope.
After 4 hours inside the museum we quickly headed up to the one world trade observatory– as always with New York the view was incredible, and now I could now say I had seen the City as it is meant to be seen, from the sky, from both the upper and the lower parts!
For our final night my aunt opted to have an evening to herself to relax and unwind so Hubby and I got dolled up and decided to have a date night, of course we headed back to McGee’s for dinner drinks and a couple of shots of vodka and cranberry juice. By the time we left the temperature was a chilly -15°C! we drunkenly plodded back to Columbus Circle, and I may have done a bit of damage in Michael Kors! at this point the hubby bundeled me into a cab before I went into any other shops!
It was our last morning in New York and we went for a stroll around as it was a Sunday morning the shops opened later, we found Tiffany’s (I had originally wanted to have breakfast outside of the window as depicted in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s but we didn’t come across anywhere to grab food and go on route there) and we headed to grab a coffee, it was now a cold 19°C. We then hit Bloomingdales and Saks. Final purchases complete we ran into a pet shop to see what we could bring little dog home, we found the most adorable fireman outfit for him and a toy hot dog ( as picked out by hubby to represent his first meal in New York), however we also met the cutest Havenese puppy and little dog almost ended up with a brother as his gift! Heading back towards the apartment we found a Sprinkles ATM and had to grab a cupcake from there as a one off experience I opted for the peanut butter and chocolate flavour- it was genuinely one of the best cakes I have ever had, second only to our wedding cake!
Finally we found a small burger place called burger heaven and grabbed a quick lunch before we headed to the airport. I hate the final meal before heading home as my holiday blues start kicking in big time.
Before we knew it we were back at the airport, through security and waiting for our plane, it literally felt like we had blinked when we landed and our trip was over. we grabbed some last minute american candy and snacks for the journey home and then we were boarding. Our american adventure was done. I slept for the majority of the flight home and then I was back in the UK. we collected the car and hubby opted to do the first part of the journey home. as we got onto the motorway Strawberry Fields by The Beatles came onto BBC Radio 2- I took this as a sign from my mum.
I loved every Minute Of New York, and if you ever get the chance to go, DO! It really is a trip that isn’t to be missed. Have you ever been to New York? Was there anything we missed off of our must do list that you have done?- You never know, you could inspire a trip back there for me!
Until the next post, take care lovelies xxx