April Vacation 2015

Hey Everyone!
Well, after a couple of months bogged down with illness, this week redeemed it all. We took advantage of some time off by taking the girls away to the Cape and then Manhattan. Yay for vacation!

We took off Saturday for the Cape, where we spent three days in South Yarmouth; we day tripped to Provincetown one of the days.  We had a great time, ate a ton of delicious seafood and we had spectacular weather for the days we spent outdoors. On the one gray skied day we spent it swimming and chilling out locally.

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Then Tuesday, we took off for NYC!

What a great time with the girls.  My husband and I used to travel to NYC twice a year, every year from 1999, till our first daughter was born.  We had traveled a time here and there afterward alone, but we just took it off the plate after 2011..but this vacation we decided it was back on!

Our oldest daughter loves to hear me talk about all the sights, people, sounds and foods you can experience in NYC, so she’s been waiting a long time to check it out.  The best part of this experience, taking children, was that I got to relive the tourist side of Manhattan all over again..since taking my husband for his college graduation present, which was his first time.

(I grew up going to NY, as my parents first came to the Bronx from Italy in 1970.)

I wanted to share this cute story, as we drove into Manhattan, we were pointing out all the sights to the girls.. traveling down the Hudson.  They were pointing out sites back to us. It was cute.  When we got into our hotel’s area, which was Times Square, we pointed it out to our oldest.  The lights were bright, as it was dusk, and the swarms of people were all around.  Our oldest daughter started bawling her eyes out, over the excitement of finally seeing NYC.  It was the sweetest thing I had ever seen.

The first night in the city we immediately went to dinner at Don Antonio’s for fun apps and fried pizza, then we went for a long walk around Times Square and Rockefeller Center.  The weather was perfect, at 61F, so we were able to take advantage of no heavy coats and walking all around. (But I always need sweaters, scarves and a hat!)

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We spent our first full day in Central Park after having breakfast at a Cafe Europa nearby. The park was a lot of fun, a lot of walking and we got real lucky with the weather.  Most of the day was dry, sunny and perfect; it got up to 70F!  We walked for about 3 miles, checking out all the fun spots along the way, and the girls enjoyed it all. Especially the Alice in Wonderland statue.

Once the skies started to change, we made our way to the American Museum of Natural History.  It was a great indoor spot to check out of the rain and the girls thought it was an amazing museum…and so don’t I!  It’s my favorite museum on Earth!  After we hung out there for a while, we hit up The Burger Joint for dinner inside Le Meridien.  Then we walked down to Times Square for dessert at the Stardust Diner, where there’s always a show going on.

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On Wednesday, our third day, we trekked down to the Empire State Building to take the girls on top of the world!  It’s one of my favorite buildings for design and architecture, it’s perfect in every way.  I just love art deco.  We got to the top, at 86th floor, and it was sunny and the views were spansive.  Once we settled in facing north, the skies got foggy and IT SNOWED!!  Yes! It snowed and became blustery within seconds of checking it out.  I am so glad I forced the winter coats on everyone! (A mom always knows!)  Then afterward we went to Union Sq for lunch at Schnippers.  What a great stop for lunch.   We hung out for a while, before trekking back up to Times Square.  We had promised a ride on the indoor Ferris Wheel inside the Toys R Us.  It was a lot of fun!!  We spent a lot of time in there looking around, and walking the square.

Then we finished the night with a late dinner at Toloache, a very nice Mexican restaurant.  It was a lot of fun there too, where we ended up having my favorite meal of the week!  The sangria was authentic.  We got fresh guacamole (the girls loved it more than I did!). They each had chicken quesadillas, which were tasty, and I had the quinoa paella, which had corn, asparagus and mushrooms..it was perfection!  My husband had the seared scallops with black quinoa and lobster/avocado tacos…TDF!  We kept the sangria (and shirley temples) flowing, enjoying our time together.  Loved it so much. 🙂

I want to head back soon just to have that meal again!!

 

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On Thursday, we headed to Queens for the Museum of Moving Image.  This museum was a lot of fun to walk through.  It shows how a movie is made, and through time how technology has changed.  The stop motion exhibit was our favorite.  They were showing the Madmen exhibit, the whole reason we went.  This exhibit had all the real show props, costumes and sets..so I got to walk partially into Don’s office and his kitchen from the home he had with Betty.  It was amazing!  LOVED it all.

Then we headed to a Venezuelan restaurant for lunch.  We had never had Venezuelan, but wow, we ended up loving it!  The restaurant was a tiny place, Arepas.  The girls split a mini’s appetizer plate that had fried yucca, sweet corn cakes, fried cheese and an empanada. My husband and I got arepas, their specialty.  An arepa is a type of bread that is made from corn.  It’s not sweet, but it’s texture is very much like a tamale’s dough.  It is griddled then cut open for the toppings.  I had two types, one mushrooms and the other plantains with black beans…OMG yum.  My husband had one shredded pork with plantains and one shredded beef.  Very good.

Then after lunch we trekked up to FAO Schwartz and a walk around the city.  We walked A LOT.  For some reason we decided to let the girls have dessert BEFORE dinner. Our plan was to swing by Serendipity for a frozen hot chocolate..but they were closed for renovations..but luckily Dylan’s Candy Bar is on that corner, and they serve ice cream.  It’s a famous tourist spot that my kids recognized, and they were excited to say the least.  They, at this point, were sooooo exhausted from our day, but they stuck it out.

We ended the night with a trip to Little Italy for pizza and a late night walk through Times Square. (thank God for the subway! You can zip anywhere you want for under $3 a ride!)

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On our last day we took our car out of the garage to drive down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower.  Since the weather wasn’t the greatest for us to travel on a boat, we decided to see her from the island, and leaving that to our next trip back.  🙂  After this stop, we grabbed bagels and took off for Boston!  Home sweet home!

-Welp, there’s our week!!  It was pretty badass, AND, relaxing. We are looking forward to our next family vacation! But for now, it’s back to reality…  booo!

xoxoxoxo

Here are some tips for bringing kids to Manhattan:

  1. Get them involved with where to go.  Give them a map if they can read or show them sites ahead of time online. Getting kids involved makes them eager to see sights, and teaches them the first earmarks of traveling.

  2. Stay in a hotel that is right in the most notable neighborhoods, like Times Square, Columbus Circle, Herald Square, SOHO, or the Empire State Building.  You’ll be able to access taxis, subways and hot spots much easier being in the heart of it all. Plus, it makes it easy on them to walk outside the hotel if they see something exciting or worth seeing.  

  3. Make sure the kids wear comfortable shoes, preferably sneakers.  They will walk a lot, and you know kids just don’t walk, they dance, scoot, skip, shuffle, jump and do all kinds of movements.  Comfort is key!

  4. With all the movements, plan to rest.  There are not a ton of places to sit walking around NYC without it being in a park or place to eat.  Not many stores have seating, and it’s hard to find a bench outside of a park in a residential area.  My tips are when you are eating a meal sit ten/fifteen minutes longer.  If you are on an experience like a ferris wheel, really allow your child to sit comfortably or if you are at a museum, allow them to get their legs off the ground every twenty minutes or so. And if they are tired, and you see a spot, SIT! 

  5. Have them carry a light backpack or crossbody bag with essentials..i.e. antibacterial lotion, water, a snack, bandaids, change, sweater, sunglasses, etc.

  6. Use the subway!  It’s fast, a lot of fun for kids and you can jump on/off for under $3 a ride (kids under 44″ are free!), and it will take you everywhere!

  7. Finding ice cream, everyone’s favorite treat, is actually tough to find free standing in Manhattan.  I am not sure why.  But if your child really wants an ice cream and you are at your wits end, go to a Duane Reade.  They have literally EVERYTHING.  

  8. Let them play!  Stop by a local park or a space where they can run free.  There is nothing better than unwinding.

  9.  Eating well, and healthy, is important on a trip to keep energized.  Bring a few items of food in your hotel room for early risers or late night snackers.  Booking a hotel with a fridge in NY is key…if you have one, stock up on milk, water, and juices, and, stash some cereal, fruits and their favorite handy snacks in your room.  Again, Duane Reade has everything!

 

 

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