Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Day Trip To New York City

For Christmas Fred surprised me with a day trip to New York City! Not only were we going to NYC, but we were going to take a carriage ride!! I could hardly believe it. He knew that Hallmark had been showing all kinds of scenes of carriage rides and I tweeted about how romantic it was. What's really romantic is Fred paying attention and then making this experience come true for me. The plan was for us to take Amtrak up in the morning and then back again around midnight. What a fabulous gift amiright?


Having never been to NYC right after Christmas I had no idea what the city would hold for us. Instead of planning what we were going to do up there, I just mentioned a couple things I wanted to do and figured the rest of the day would unfold however it was meant to. The only thing I did last minute the week before we went up was make a reservation at Tavern on the Green for dinner. My initial plan was to  visit the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and maybe the Statue of Liberty. Oh, what foolish thinking.


As soon as we got off the train we made a beeline for the Empire State Building. The line wrapped around an entire NYC block by 10am!! Isn't that crazy?! Scratch that off the list. We meandered our way over to the New York Public Library. I was excited to walk through this historical building. I was actually surprised that there weren't as many books that we could get up close and personal with. It didn't disappoint in its beauty though. If you get to the City, you should definitely take the time to take a walk through.


Having never been to Rockefeller Center I definitely wanted to get a photo by the ice skating rink. I thought it would be fun to go skating, but holy smokes the cost of that was outrageous! We weren't sure where we wanted to eat lunch, and I really wanted to eat somewhere the locals love, a place that had a great reputation, or somewhere fun. Unfortunately, we ate at a burger place in Rockefeller Center and were very underwhelmed. Next time I ask local friends before we head up.


We found out going to the Statue of Liberty was out of the question. My boys were up in NYC as well that weekend with their dad's side of the family. They were going out to it and were told it was a 3 hour wait for the ferry. lol So glad we didn't have our heart set on that. We also found out Ellis Island was closed. Because of that we headed over to Central Park.


I always had an idea of what Central Park looked like, and it didn't match up to what we saw. I thought it was This long, grassy area with trees lining the path. Boy was I so wrong. There were hills and large rocks jutting out, and paths that went all kinds of directions. You have NO idea how long it took for us to find the zoo. There were absolutely zero signs to point us in the right direction and the map we were trying to use wasn't very helpful either.


When we finally ended up at it, we bought tickets at the kiosk. At least that was up-to-date. Maybe they should considering putting in a few signs to make finding them easier. Ha! Anyhow, we started off with the sea lions which are smack dab in the middle of the zoo. It was incredible to see them so close up. Then we saw all of the rest of the animals. I couldn't get enough of the bears. The snow leopard was beautiful. It took a little bit for everyone to figure out where it was and once we had an eye on it, it jumped around to where most of us couldn't see it.


The rest of the zoo was fun, too. The harbor seals were playing which was fun to watch. I have always loved watching penguins, but I wish the windows to view them was better. We ended up our time at the zoo watching the very end of the sea lion show. I was so excited to have spent some of our day there.


We walked around Central Park and then went to a coffee shop close to Tavern on the Green because we were a bit too early to show up for our reservation. I was really excited about dining here because it's such a landmark. I had gotten reservations at the bar so I was sure how great the service or seating would be, but I held out high hopes. Let me tell you, I wasn't disappointed. The seating was perfect and we were only in the vicinity of the bar. If our section was so nice, I wonder what the regular seating was like! Our server was spectacular. The shrimp cocktail we got as an appetizer had the largest shrimp I've ever had! It didn't disappoint. I got the roasted organic chicken and Fred got the chardonnay braised short rib of beef. Both were absolutely scrumptious. For dessert I went with the carrot cake and Fred had the seasonal eggnog creme brûlée. I really wanted to come home with something from eating there so we went to the shop and bought the Apothecary Jar of Matches. Here are 2 things that are funny about that: 1) when I was on the site before we went I thought it was a bottle of q-tips 2) I thought it was a super small jar. Nope, they are matches and the jar is really large which I loved!


From there we made our way around to the other side of the Park to catch our carriage ride. Now, here are some things to think about when considering a carriage ride. If you go during the day there are going to be a lot of people walking through the park so that might hamper your experience. The plus side is you can see all of the landmarks your driver points out. If you go at night, there's pretty much zero foot traffic and you have the Park almost to yourself. The downside is that you can't really see much and in the winter it's pretty chilly.


Our driver was delightful. If I remember correctly he was from Turkey. Henry was driving Dennis who was pretty much taking our route by memory. I was even able to take the reins for a few minutes. It was an incredibly relaxing ride and I'd definitely do it again in the future. The only part that gave me concern was at the end when Henry had to make a u-turn with Dennis in the middle of the insanely busy street with a ton of traffic. I don't know how they do it.


We got done early because we'd been able to start our ride about 30 min early so Fred and I decided to high-tail it back to Penn Station to see if we could get on an earlier train. If we couldn't we would've had to wait 2 more hours to catch our scheduled departure time. We had to walk through an incredibly busy Time Square which was PACKED with holiday tourists and the city getting ready for the New Year's Eve countdown. We got to the train station, Fred was able to get us new tickets, and we were on the next train leaving for Maryland! We got back around midnight instead of 2am which was an awesome bonus!

If you are able to spend a day in NYC, no matter what the season, I would say go for it! You won't be able to do absolutely everything, but you will have a fun time no matter what you end up doing. It's the city that never sleeps and there's always something to do there. I've made a list of where I want to go over the next 1-2 trips we might make in the future:

Bronx Zoo
Coney Island
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Empire State Building
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Top of the Rock
Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center)
Castle in Central Park
The Cloister
Babeth's Feast for a meal

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.