Happy October, loves! This month is the best kind of chaos for us, beginning with a solo trip for me back to New York for my cousin’s wedding at the end of September/first weekend in October, followed a few days later by …. drum roll, please …. OUR TRIP TO DISNEYLAND!
I’ve only been to Disney World, and the girls had never been to anything Disney related, so this was very special. Sadly Chris couldn’t get away from work to join, but we did manage to drag Grandpa Robert along, so that was very lovely, as well.
We stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and splurged for the Genie+ passes, so this was not a cheap trip. Still, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. With a 7-, 5- and 2-year-old, I wanted to do as much as I could to make this trip as “easy” as possible for myself and Grandpa. Staying in a hotel that was walking distance to everything we needed and paying to skip the lines whenever possible was absolutely worth it. Even though we all stayed together in one room, Grandpa and I each got a Queen bed, Emilia slept in a travel crib that the resort had, and the girls slept on a (very large) hide-away bed. It was delightfully comfortable. I also booked the majority of our meals prior to the trip. This turned out to be a smart move, as well. As you can imagine it was insanely busy, so knowing where and when we were eating was an essential step in avoiding hangriness (myself included) all around.
Here’s a bit of what we got up to 😉
Day 1: Arrival & Downtown Disney!
We were so lucky that we got to visit during the 100th anniversary of Disney and during the height of their Halloween festivities. I LOVE Halloween, so seeing all the decorations and visiting the special attractions was so much fun!
There was direct access to Adventure Park from our hotel (which we didn’t visit on this trip), as well as to the Downtown Disney District, which is steps to the Disney entrance. Be prepared to open all your bags and walk through a metal detector to get into Downtown Disney. Part of the Disney experience is knowing you’re safe from weapons. Because that’s the world we live in.
Day 2: Our First Disney Experience!
One of the best things about this trip was the fact that the girls had no idea what to expect. Yes, they knew we were going to Disney, and they obviously know who most of the Disney characters are, but outside of that, they couldn’t grasp the experience. How could they?
It’s safe to say they were blown away.
Day 3: Finding Our Disney Mojo
Day 4: Headed Home
And that was it, friends! As I type this we are back home, awaiting our next adventure — Aussie Nan & Poppa coming to visit in four days! They head in for Chris’ Big Birthday next week, and we cannot wait! Until next time, bis bald, friends! Hope your fall is off to a fabulous start!
Welcome to the final installation of our time in NYC — Days 4, 5 & 6. They were chock full, and I will do my best to edit, but honestly, we all know I love a good photo. Here’s what we got up to.
Day 4: Prospect Park, Pizza & Baseball
We had tickets to see the Mets play (and beat!) the Phillies on Tuesday night, so we had a bit of more relaxing day. We took Simon the Pup to Prospect Park, had stoop-side pizza for lunch and even managed short catnaps.
After a quick rest, Chris ran over my friend’s place to pick up their car so we could drive to the game. We paid about $50 for parking up in the VERY front, but it was worth every. single. penny. No regrets at all. The ride was about an hour there and 40 minutes back (minus the traffic), and being on our own schedule was priceless. We weren’t sure how long we’d be staying. Turns out … the girls love baseball! Or at least the fanfare involved with it.
Day 5: Playgrounds, Fiona’s play, Lunch dates with Mom, DUMBO & Jane’s Carousel
Grandpa came back into the city to see us Wednesday night and we headed over to Dumbo for Grimaldi’s pizza, rides on Jane’s Carousel and to check out the Time Out Market. Before that, though, Chris took the girls on a playground hunt, Lotte and I saw Fiona perform a play at her school, and I took my three little ladies out for a special lunch in the neighborhood.
Day 6: The High Line and the Color Factory
Thursday was our last full day, since our flight out was 7 a.m. Friday. Sadly, Chris had to work, but I took the girls to visit the High Line, we met up with Fiona and Jake at their favorite place, the Color Factory, and Faye and her kiddos and my sister and Rosalie met us back at Carla’s for a farewell dinner that night.
After the High Line we walked about 2.5 miles (with Grace and Lotte swapping out of the second seat of Carla’s double stroller, but really, Grace basically walked the whole thing!) to the Color Factory. This place is crack for kids. They had the best time running around like crazy and, of course, I didn’t mind the opportunity for super cool pics 😉 They actually give you a card with a QR code on it when you enter, though, and there are spots to take pictures throughout that get emailed to you. For free. Can’t think of any other place that does that!
After the Color Factory we met everyone back at Carla’s for our final dinner. It was the perfect way to end our perfect NYC trip.
And that was our trip in a nutshell, friends. It was full of so many amazing and fun things. We had the perfect weather. And Grace found/was covered in no less than five ladybugs, so my mom was absolutely there in spirit.
Until next time New York …. we sure do love you!
We’re onto summer things now (camp, swim, play dates, etc.), and we have a press trip coming up in August that I’m super excited about. Then we have an awesome Europe trip planned for Christmas. I’m trying not to wish the year away for that trip to arrive, but it’s hard because dang I’m so excited! But until then, you know what I say … bis bald, friends! I hope you all have wonderful summers planned.
Welcome to the third installment of my Things to Do in NYC series. This time I’m comin’ at ya with a list of some of my favorite activities in NYC. You don’t have to be a tourist to love these things — Chris and I partake in most of them on the regular, even though we live here.
There’s really no limit to the number of things you can do in this city, and this list is maybe a bit unconventional. I didn’t include things like taking in a Broadway show (always worth it) or visiting the Empire State Building (an ancient tradition). Some of these things might take some planning, and a couple of them are seasonal, but to accomplish some or most of the things here will, I promise, make you one very happy person.
What to Do in NYC
Bike in Central Park: Whether you rent your bikes from one of the many stores available near the bottom entrance of the park, or just pick up a couple of Citi Bikes, biking through the park will still allow you access to some of the most beautiful areas of CP (although be cognoscente of the areas where you are supposed to walk your bike, and not ride it), and it might just save you a little bit of time in the process. Be warned, though — biking around the outer loop of Central Park is not all fun and games. There are some pretty tough hills to tackle, my friends, especially in the northernmost section of the park (otherwise known as the Harlem hills). Don’t be embarrassed if you have to get off your bike and walk it up in this area … I certainly did.
Walk The High Line: The High Line will always hold a special place in my heart, since Chris and I stayed at The Standard Hotel overlooking The High Line the first night that we were married. But even without a sentimental reason to visit, The High Line is still pretty amazing. This public park is actually built on a set of old freight rail lines elevated above the city on the West side. It’s free to enter, and there are tons of snack and drink vendors along the walk. There’s also a fun seated section with a huge window overlooking the street where you can sit and watch the cars drive by as if from right underneath you. After you’ve walked The High Line, stop off at the The Standard Biergarten for some drinks and pretzels [my fave!]. Another warning for you: this place gets packed, so if at all possible, I would make your High Line walk as early as possible, so that your visit to the Beer Garden is on the earlier side, as well. [Check their hours to see what suits your schedule.]
Watch Shakespeare in the Park: So this activity definitely takes some planning, but if done correctly, it can really be a spectacular day. The hardest part about this suggestion will be actually getting the tickets for admission. There is an online ticket lottery, but the chances of actually getting tickets this way are slim-to-none. In my opinion, your best bet is to camp out for them — and camping out is half the fun! As you may recall, I did this one day last summer with a friend [and I’m hoping to do it again this summer], so I won’t go into a ton more detail here. You have to get there super early [I’m talkin’ 4:30 a.m. early] to even have a shot at getting the tickets, but you can camp out and read, and local restaurants send out delivery men to take food and drink orders, and park performers stop by and serenade you while you wait — it’s all part of the experience. Tickets are handed out at noon [they’re free!], and the performances start around 6, so after you get your tickets you have the whole afternoon free before you have to come back for the performance. [Perhaps a nap will be in the cards?!]
Visit DUMBO: Brooklyn has its own set of fun adventures to partake in, so I’m only going to include this one thing here, since visiting the DUMBO [which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass] section of Brooklyn provides you with the most amazing view of Manhattan, as well as access to a ton of other activities, like pop-up pools in the summer, Jane’s Carousel for the kids, lots of shops and restaurants and ice cream, etc. Check out more about DUMBO in this post that I wrote about my visit there last year.
Ice skate in Bryant Park: If you know me at all, you’ll know that ice skating in Bryant Park is absolutely one of my favorite pasttimes. [So much so that my husband’s first ever Christmas gift to me was a pair of skates and a lock specifically to use for the lockers at Bryant Park.] Anyway, it’s not just the skating rink at Bryant Park that makes it so special, it’s the entire Winter Village. The pop-up shops surrounding the rink provide the most festive ambiance for a late-night skate, and they play old-timey music and you can stop by Celcius afterwards for a hot toddy. The rink usually opens in November and closes around February (although the shops close right after the holidays), so that’s plenty of opportunity to dust off the old skates and go for a twirl! Skating is free here if you bring your own ice skates and lock.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge: I mean … enough said, right?
Dying to Try: A Visit to The Cloisters: A visit here is definitely on our NY to-do list. The Cloisters are technically a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although they’re actually located in Fort Tyron Park (check out directions here). I’ve heard that the grounds are beautiful, and the extension is used to exhibit the museum’s collection of art, architecture and artifacts from Medieval Europe. Pretty cool.
So those should keep you busy for a while! Up next: Bee-boppin’ around NYC. [AKA, the best places to listen to some music!]
I hope your weekend’s going well! I met up with an old friend of mine from junior high this morning in DUMBO (an acronym for the Brooklyn neighborhood that stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) to help her look for wedding dresses. (SQUEEEE!!!)
Anyway, DUMBO. It’s thecutest area—even when the weather is crappy, which it was this morning. I wanted to share some photos of the stroll we took after shopping here:
And that’s DUMBO! I’d recommend a trip to that area if you’re visiting Manhattan–it’s got really spectacular views of the city, and a lot of great restaurants. It was just a short walk from there to Brooklyn Heights, where we walked along the famous Montague Street and ate breakfast at the Heights Cafe. (The Portobello Omelet is seriously delish! I’ve definitely had better Bloody Mary’s in my life, though.)