At the beginning of the year, Caleb told me that he wanted to take me somewhere special for my 35th birthday, which was at the end of April. He picked where we would go, planned everything, and arranged for my family to help with our kids for the days we would be gone. This would be our first vacation, that was longer than 24 hours, away from our kids, ever! That is nearly ten years of vacationing as a family, which we LOVE, but it was long over due for a little get-away on our own.
The Back Story
A little back story on me + NYC. The first time I ever visited NYC was in August 2003, when I was in college. I had just started dating Caleb a few months prior to going. My grandparents paid my way to fly to upstate New York to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins who live there. The morning after I got to their house, they drove my cousins (3 girls) and I down to NYC to spend a few days. We checked into our hotel around lunch time, but our room wasn’t ready, so we left our bags and headed out to see the city. We had so much planned for our time there! Within a few hours, none of our cell phones were working, stores were forcing people out and locking the doors, stop lights weren’t working, subways weren’t working, and chaos quickly ensued. Remember, this was just shy of 2 years after 9/11 happened and it was still very fresh on my mind.
Long story short, it was the black out of 2003 and it took hours to figure out what was happening. It was well after midnight before we made our way back to our hotel room, due to no subways, overcrowded streets, and jam-packed taxis everywhere we turned. We were so hot, tired, and entered a room lit only by candles. Needless to say, we spent the next two days not doing much and then crammed as much as we could into the last day we were there.
Ten years later, I was excited to finally get a “re-do” when Caleb and I took Savannah and Hudson to NYC in 2013 (they were 4.5 and 2.5 at the time). Caleb has never been and was not excited about this trip because he did not think he would like the big city. I told him, “Just wait, you’re going to LOVE it!” And I was right. We went the week of Thanksgiving and did in all of the typical touristy things, seeing major land marks, and then topped it off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. As soon as the parade was over, we got on Amtrak and took a train ride to upstate New York to visit my extended family that lives there. Since that week in NYC, Caleb has been dying to go back, just the two of us. And he knew I would love to go again, too.
So here we were, heading out to NYC, again, but this time we were without kids and all the things that come with them, in tow. Caleb used our credit card miles to upgrade us to first class seats (oh, how I wish we could always travel this way). It was so nice and easy getting through the airport, security, and on the plane. Once we landed in NYC, Caleb had hired a personal driver to pick us up and drive us to our hotel. Another perk that we had never done.
Where We Stayed
We decided to stay at The Quin hotel, in a premiere suite, and enjoyed our stay there. It is at the south end of Central Park. The hotel has recently been bought by Hilton, so the exterior was undergoing a remodel and then they plan to move inside for remodeling, one floor at a time. When we were in NYC in 2013, we stayed at the Sheraton and loved that hotel, too.
What We Did
As soon as we dropped our bags off in our room, we got on the subway and headed to lower Manhattan for a helicopter tour around the city. Caleb told me a few days prior to the trip that he had bought these tickets. I’m not going to lie, I was super nervous at the thought of it. I really wanted to do it, but was also really afraid to do it. Neither of us had ever been on a helicopter. I just couldn’t think about it. I was there, I was going to do it, and I was not going to let fear hold me back. Our tour was with two other couples, so seven people on board. Once we were in the air, I was fine. It was such a smooth ride and all fear subsided instantly. It was really, really neat to see the city from a “bird’s eye view” and there was a narrator over the headphones telling us interesting facts during the 30 minute tour.
After surviving a helicopter tour, we rented a couple of bicycles and decided to ride across the Brooklyn Bridge. The weather was beautiful and we ended up riding bikes for about 3 hours.
We rode over to the DUMBO area and stopped there for dinner before catching a cab home. I loved the old cobblestone streets and this street was lined with people taking photos at this location (left photo).
The following day, we headed to Soho for some shopping. That was such a fun area that I had not been to before. We made our way over to Canal Street, where all the bargain
shoppers go and it was much more crowded there. People on every corner asking me to buy a “designer” handbag for pennies on the dollar.
From there we headed over to the Hudson Yards. This area is new since we were there last. It has a huge art sculpture called the Vessel, which you need tickets to go inside and we did not do that. There is a mall, several restaurants, and things to see. It was a busy area!
That evening, we did a little people-watching and sight-seeing in Times Square before we went to watch the broadway show, Hamilton. When we took the kids to NYC, we took them to see The Lion King and it was amazing! When we were trying to decided which show to buy tickets for a few weeks before our trip, not many of them sparked our interest. Mainly because we didn’t know much about any of them. And Hamilton was no different. We had heard so many raving reviews about Hamilton, so Caleb found tickets on StubHub. The show was incredible!! The hip-hop tunes were catchy, the story-line was interesting, and the acting was, of course, top-notch. I’m so glad we were able to get tickets and I highly recommend seeing this, if given the chance.
On our last day, we went to FAO Schwarz to do a little shopping for our kids.
We took them here back in 2013 and they were mesmerized.
We spent a good majority of the day bike riding in and around Central Park.
It was so cold when we had been there with the kids that we just did a carriage ride then.
We also went to the MET, which was gearing up for the MET Gala that would happen just two days later.
We didn’t purchase tickets to walk through the museum, but we did go inside to see what we could.
That evening we went to the Flatiron district and to the Chelsea Market.
The Chelsea Market was much more than we had expected. It was a hoppin’ area with several shops and restaurants. We ended the night back in Soho for drinks and dessert.
Where We Ate
Cecconi’s in DUMBO was a beautiful inside and also had patio seating. The food was delicious!
Jack’s Wife Freda was a great place for brunch. A quaint little cafe with fabulous food.
Hunt & Fish Club was a place Caleb picked out while we were still in Texas. It was a very nice restaurant and we enjoyed the food.
Baked By Melissa had the cutest little cupcakes for a late night treat.
Aneglo’s Pizza is where we went for a slice (or two) of New York style pizza.
Being in NYC again was so fun and special. Having been in summer and winter before, I really enjoyed being there in spring this time. It rained a little each day we were there, but not enough to mess up our plans and otherwise, the weather was perfect. Although we travel semi-often, going somewhere without the kids was so refreshing and relaxing (it was hard for me to leave them though). We never could imagine how much we needed that time away for just the two of us. Hopefully it’s something we are able to do more often in the future.
Caleb went above and beyond to make this trip extra special for us and he spoiled me like crazy. The trip itself was obviously wonderful for my birthday, but to top it off, he told me to pick out something to buy that I had been wanting and would love forever.
I can’t believe he took me to the Chanel store in Saks Fifth Ave. on Saks 5th Ave.
Seriously, I don’t deserve any of it, but I am so very thankful for him and love him so much!
We really had the best time away and I just love NYC. Thanks for reading!