Let’s Hear it for New York
When I was younger, I wanted to go to NYU. That was my life plan and I didn’t care about anything else except that I had to make it there. I was instantly attracted to any show
or movie that was based in New York. I read everything I could about it and planned all the places I’d see, neighborhoods I wanted to live in and of course what my first Broadway show would be. I remember joining a friend on a trip to Rhode Island where we ended up stuck in the Newark airport for several hours. It was like New York was taunting me…so close yet so far away. No one actually ever told me how unrealistic that plan was. It wasn’t until about junior year of high school when I realized I had neither the money nor the grades to get
into NYU. I was heartbroken when reality set in and I gave up on that dream. Luckily, I move on quickly so there wasn’t a whole lot of wallowing. However, I never lost my love for the city which is probably why two of my favorite shows, Gossip Girl and Sex and The City, are filmed there.
Ironically, in all the years that we have been traveling up that way, we have made several plans to go to New York but something has always happened to prevent us from going. All my life, she has been the biggest tease I’ve never met. So, when we made plans this trip to go for a day, I decided not to get excited until I was there. If it happened…awesome! If it didn’t happen…I wouldn’t be disappointed. And like the most depressing song on repeat, after some confusion and delay, it seemed like this time was a no go as well.
So, it is no wonder that I geeked out all over the place when we finally arrived at Grand Central Station! I mean I had a full on girly squeal moment. I had three things on my
list of things to do: sit on the stairs at the Met, see Time Square, and at the very least, have a slice of New York pizza pie. The plan was to walk from Grand Central Station to The Met and then go from there. My brother-in-law is a history major and wanted to see it and I simply wanted to sit and eat some yogurt on the stairs of the Met like the one and only Blair Waldorf. I wore a headband and everything. We started down Fifth Avenue to get to Central Park. I had been warned that the streets were super busy and that people would just walk right over you if you stopped. While it was pretty busy and people do move fast, we never had a “Hey! I’m walkin
here!” moment even with the six slow kids walking with us.
The sights down Fifth Avenue were amazing! It was everything I ever imagined it to be. You walk past tons of famous places and shops and to think that every block is probably equally as exciting as the one you’re on, overwhelms you. Of course we were stoked to see Tiffany’s since BAT is one of my all time faves. (Maybe that’s where my love for NY sprouted.) Fortunately we were across the street because Trump Tower has basically made that entire section of the street a huge eyesore with all the added barricades and police presence. By the time we got into Central Park, it was already starting to feel like the Met was just a dream. But the thrill of being there in New York City, walking on the streets, and just taking it all in was worth it. Central Park
was beautiful and the kids loved it! We didn’t make it in time to visit the zoo like we had hoped and we only made it as far as one of gorgeous lakes before we realized…we were never going to make it to The Met. So, after having some authentic NYC streetcar hot dogs, we begin our walk back. After all was said and done, we spent about three hours on a train and roughly $100 for a couple hot dogs and a lovely visit to a beautiful park. I didn’t get to check anything off my list but I did have some quality fun with the fam. My dear sweet husband was so loving that he splurged our last dollars on some train station pizza because he wanted to make one of my dreams come true. It wasn’t the delicious greasy New York style that I was craving…but the love that went
into the thought made it the best pizza I’ve ever had! So…would I do it again? Absolutely! Next time though, we will start with breakfast on the stairs of the Met, then do the sightseeing, and then, I don’t care how far we have to walk, I’m not leaving that city without a slice of genuine New York pizza.
Shipping off to Boston
The next day, was dedicated to Boston. The only must-do plan we had for Boston was to go to Cheers. However, it turned out that it was Free Friday for a lot of the children’s attractions in the area so on the way up, we stopped at the Ecotarium. It was so cool! It’s in a town called Worcester Massachusetts and like most of New England, it’s nestled among the trees making it incredibly beautiful to drive to. I can absolutely see why it is my niece and nephew’s favorite place. They were so excited to take us there and the awe on the kids faces was heartwarming to say the least. They had a ton of small exhibits very similar to our own St. Louis science Center but in addition to the cool sciencey stuff, they had a whole section of poop, a great Lake/pond/stream exhibit and the outside exhibits were filled with bubbles and adorable animals. But holy crowded! We are well aware of how spoiled we are with all of the free stuff to do in St. Louis. Although we were taken aback at first, it’s totally understandable with the high prices in that region why Freebie Friday is such a hit. Once we put the stroller away and created a buddy system, we were a lot more relaxed and it was that much more fun. If you’re in the area and have children of any age, I would definitely recommend it.
From there, we headed up to Boston and parked in the hidden Boston Common lot. I can’t lie, we were extra cautious of time and made sure that we headed straight to Cheers. We didn’t want the only thing we had on the agenda to get missed after walking all day the day before and never reaching our destination. But after realizing how close we were to everything, we relaxed and got to spend a little time enjoying a leisurely stroll through the Boston Common. Jeremy has been a fan of Boston ever sense I introduced him to Ally McBeal. It was both of our first times there so we didn’t have too many expectations but on the drive up, we were looking through all the things to do in Boston and were overcome with the regret that we didn’t plan a full day of sightseeing. Next time maybe. When we got into the park, we were blown away! The commons were absolutely gorgeous…an urban paradise if you will. The best part was that it’s like a third the size of Central Park so when somebody says Cheers is just at the other end, you’re not walking for two days. We saw somethings in the park and just enjoyed a stroll with the sights and smells of nature in a harbor town.
We got to Cheers and got to take our picture in front of the sign like true tourists. No kidding! While we were standing outside about four driving tourist buses drove past for photo ops. We decided since it was just around dinner time we go ahead and eat at the iconic restaurant. The food was delicious, the ambiance was fun and our waitress was probably the best I’ve ever had. Although our wallets were not so happy when we left, our bellies certainly were! Our full tummy’s were the perfect end to a beautiful day.
So, if I were to make any recommendation to you about this city it would be to definitely visit Cheers for some delicious grub but also make a day of it so you can see all the amazing things Boston has to offer!
They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight…
My son has been a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine since before he could talk, walk or dance. He fell in love at first toot. When we first heard about Thomas Land in Edaville USA, we knew he would want to go there…maybe even more than Disney World. During the first planning stages of this Best Last Trip, we thought for sure going to go there at some point. However, after realizing it was three hours from my sisters house, we decided that it wasn’t a day trip that anyone else in the group wanted to make and it would be quite costly. So with great mommy guilt, I made the executive decision to cut it out of our itinerary. Naturally, of course, they advertise it on every Thomas movie he brought to watch on the way up. But what really got our guilt strings was when his cousin Peter so sweetly found Oliver a pamphlet for Thomas land while in Boston. He exclaimed with such joy and love that it was in Connecticut so it was only a short ways from their house where we were staying!
We were originally supposed to leave Sunday and go straight home but our hearts kept tugging at us that we needed to hit up Thomas Land before everyone moves and we never go up northeast again. (Or at least for the next couple years.) So, Sunday morning we got up, packed up the rest of our stuff and headed north with the kids being none the wiser. It wasn’t a long drive but it was definitely a beautiful one! We chose to take the extra 20 minutes and avoid the tolls which meant we got an extra scenic route to our destination. Seriously though, it was so scenic and all the way up to the main entrance, until we actually saw the parking lot, we continuously had to reassure ourselves that we were not going the wrong way. It amazes me how much nature is around you everywhere you go in that region. (Sidenote: it’s probably the thing that I miss most now that we’re back home in St. Louis) We pulled into the parking lot and the kids were still clueless. They were convinced that we were just at the hotel for the night and when we finally told them where we were, my son cried. He was so happy and I knew in that moment that we made the right decision.
The park was fantastic! I had pre-ordered the tickets and the process to go into the park was a bit strange but when you walk in the main entrance, you are surrounded by a beautiful lake and a quaint little town set up. You can easily see how this would be a huge attraction for Christmas time with its charm and shop windows lined with Santas and snowflakes. There are rides all over as you head past the main train depot where Thomas loads up for rides every hour. Just past more rides and a temporary “Dino Land”, we came to the gates for Thomas Land. Each ride is dedicated to a different character and we made sure to ride almost every single one. Oliver discovered he does not like ‘spiny’ rides and we all discovered that Lorelei is still our little daredevil. Unfortunately, she was too small to ride the regular Troublesome Trucks roller coaster but was very patient waiting and watching her brother ride. We sweated through an adorable Cran-tastic Cranberry Jubilee show with Sir Topham Hatt and the some of the crew at Tidmouth Sheds, let Winston show us around the park and fought fires with Flynn. The whole day was the perfect way to end our vacation and in the end, I am so thankful that we decided to spoil the kids a little on the way up! It is well worth the trip!