new york city-country comes to town-part three

We began our final day in the city at the studio taping of Good Morning America. We woke up at the crack of dawn, got ready, and headed straight for Times Square.  I had put in a request for tickets 2-3 weeks prior to our trip, and a couple of days before we left they emailed them to me.  The fun thing is the tickets are free, but we didn’t really know until we got there to stand in line to get our wrist bands, that we still weren’t guaranteed to get in. Luckily, on this rainy Monday morning they scanned our tickets and we got to go in. I thought once we got our email confirmation, that we were good to go; however, it really just depends on the day.

Pictured above are two very exhausted people, who had ran from their hotel on 42nd avenue to Times Square, and who also stood in line (in the rain) with no guarantee of getting to meet Robin Roberts or Michael Strahan, but who happily did so for the possibility.

Once in the studio, I was completely enamored with the set, the cameras, and that being a camera man on the set of Good Morning America was actually someone’s job. The cast was so nice. They walked around during commercials, took pictures with everyone, and asked us where we were from.

This was my second time meeting Michael Strahan, the first time was at the Kelley and Michael Show a few years ago, and the one thing I can say about both times of meeting him is he is SO nice. He takes selfies with everyone, and he thanked us for getting up so early to come to the show. I got pictures with them all except for Laura and George. Laura was taking care of business on her cell phone it appeared, and George stayed on one side of the room, and waived.

That day on the show, the bachelorette Rachel Lindsay made an appearance as well as Priyanka Chopra, the girl who plays Victoria Leeds on the new Baywatch movie. Here’s the link below to the episode we were there for if you’d like to watch.

http://abc.go.com/shows/good-morning-america/episode-guide/2017-05/22-052217-trump-visits-israel-1st-foreign-trip-president

After we left GMA, we headed straight for the closest Starbucks to get some caffeine, and then back to the hotel to take a little nap before heading out to check off the last few things we wanted to see, do, and eat before heading home.

After a long nap, our first stop was for pizza in Little Italy at the cutest restaurant named Sofia’s.

We split a small pizza, and each had a coke to drink. It was delicious. The thin crust was flaky and golden with butter. They also gave us fresh bread with a dipping sauce of herbs and olive oil. It was the perfect amount.

After lunch, we stopped by the cutest Christmas shop a few doors down to buy an ornament. Every time Gregg and I go somewhere for vacation we always buy an ornament. It’s a sweet little tradition we’ve kept for almost 4 years, and every year I look so forward to putting our ornaments on our tree. I can’t wait to hang our NYC ornament next to our beautiful glass pineapple ornament from Charleston, South Carolina. Ornaments are just fun, and I love the stories they tell and the memories they bring back while hanging on our Christmas tree.

After we made our ornament purchase, we headed to the infamous https://www.cookiedonyc.com/ for a cup of edible cookie dough, only to be greeted with a sign that read “closed on Mondays.” I didn’t think anything was closed in New York City. That just means we’ll have to go back and visit.

From there we got a cab to the Financial District, to see Wall Street, and the cute little park named Bowling Green. Gregg and I call Bowling Green home, but in Kentucky not in New York City. By this point, it was pouring, but we didn’t mind.

 

After checking off these two things, we hopped on the subway and headed to Grand Central Station. The Subway is by far the cheapest way of transportation aside from walking. We got off, I snapped a quick picture of Gregg and I people watched for a good little while. There is every kind of person walking through that place. It was neat to see it in person, rather than through a tv screen, as there are so many movies that include this beautiful place in them. After people watching, and thanking the Lord I don’t have to ride a subway to work or home,  we headed straight for https://www.magnoliabakery.com/ to check off another dessert I’ve been wanting to try. I’ve read so many wonderful reviews of their banana pudding, but I found it to be almost identical to my mom’s recipe. I still loved it, and thought about my sweet mama while eating it. She’s the best cook.

 

By this time, we needed to head back to the hotel, change, and make our way to the theatre to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. We needed just a little snack to tie us over so we headed to https://www.juniorscheesecake.com/  for a small meal, cheesecake to share, and a cup of coffee. Only in New York can you consume so many desserts and treats in one day, and justify them by how much walking you did to earn them, and on this day we even ran (to Good Morning America) so I think that deserves a few extra calories. I don’t run for anything.

We saw our last show. All I can say is what a way to cap off a trip to New York City, it was incredible. Also a little fun fact the guy that played Passerino that night was a guy that Gregg went to high school with right here in Bowling Green. Even though we don’t really know him, it was still a little piece of home in such a large place.

We ended our night with none other than another dessert. I’ve always wanted to go to the restaurant Serendipity, and even though it was late, Gregg made my dreams come true and we caught a cab to Serendipity, and had a frozen hot chocolate. The restaurant was absolutely adorable,  so whimsical and fun.

 

When we consumed our final dessert of the evening, we caught our last yellow cab back to our hotel, packed our bags (so we wouldn’t have to early the next morning), and drifted off to sleep. We had an early flight to catch, and by this point, this southern girl had about all the concrete views she could take… I was ready to be home. I love to go, see and do, but I was ready to be back in the land where people say “bless you” when you sneeze and to see some green grass.

The older I get, the more of a homebody I become. I missed my spot on the couch where I always sit, I missed my coffee here at home that I drink every morning, and lastly I missed the slow pace life we live. One thing I noticed so much this time, is the rush New Yorkers are always in. Talking a mile a minute on their iPhones, while walking their dogs, while crossing the busy streets and intersections. They would be bored to tears sitting on my front porch listening to the birds chirp here in Kentucky.

I’ve tried to describe how truly dreamy this trip was to New York City, but I don’t know if my words and pictures do it justice. What can I say? It was a trip of a lifetime, all thanks to the one who knows me better than anyone, my kind husband. I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts, and I hope more than anything that if you haven’t been there that you’ll go, eat every dessert you desire,  and you’ll have a ball!

Thank you for reading!

new york city-country comes to town-part two

Sunday

We started off the day by going to the 9-11 Memorial. This is definitely something to add to your itinerary if you’re planning a trip to New York City any time soon. We spent the majority of the morning there. We read, walked and listened for hours.

I was in the eighth grade when the catastrophic day known as September 11, 2001 happened. I was in Mrs. Bollenbeckers class, and I remember precisely where in the room I was sitting. Little did I know years later I would be at the exact location where it all took place, viewing only what was left behind from that day. It was definitely a day I won’t ever forget, and the sadness I felt as I touched the glass boxes where the remains from that day were displayed, a woman’s shoes, a mans wallet, someone’s briefcase. Those images will forever stay in my mind, much like the case of shoes has from the holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. They were real people, just going to work that day, unbeknownst to them they kissed their spouse for the last time, and ate their last meal the night before with their family, they had no idea what the next day would hold for them. Probably one of the most touching things I saw were a man’s glasses. I thought about him a lot, the man who wore those glasses.

For me, it was really hard to just leave the museum and carry on with our vacation, knowing so many are still affected from that day, mothers lost their sons, daughters lost their mothers, but I found great comfort in knowing that while that day was as an absolute unforgettable day, and while how big that day seems now as history, Jesus is bigger. Each one that lost their life that day was His creation, His handprint was on each one.

After we left the museum, we headed to the Gershwin Theatre to see the Broadway show Wicked. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Before leaving for New York City, I was so excited to see Lion King again, but after seeing Wicked, it rates right up there with Lion King. The talent absolutely blew my mind. I could have listened to the girl who played Elpheba all day long. Not to mention, we sat by the sweetest couple. They were in New York to see their granddaughter be sworn in as an attorney, so they made a little vacation of it, and we had the pleasure of sharing the same row, and this wonderful show with them. They were from North Carolina, Methodist, and had been married 45 years. All of this information is thanks to my social husband, who is not shy, and has the gift of getting people to tell details of their lives, and to feel immediately comfortable with doing so. No wonder he’s an insurance agent.

After Wicked, we headed back to the room to get dressed for a date night Gregg had completely planned on his own, and I had no idea any of the details, just that we had a reservation at 6:30pm, and he told me to purchase a “Fancy” dress for the occasion earlier this year, in March.

The Uber driver picked us up at our hotel at 5:50pm sharp, and took us to Broadway to the Marriott Hotel, upon arriving I still had no idea why were at the Marriott, and where we were eating. I was starving, and I didn’t have my “buffett britches” on so I knew whatever I ate, better not be a ton, because this sparkle dress didn’t have a ton of room.

We arrived at “The View,” New York’s only revolving restaurant. It was on the 43rd floor of the Marriott Hotel.

We started out with crab cakes, and a teeny tiny salad. It was devine.

We then each chose New York Strip, baked potatoes stuffed with macaroni and cheese topped with bacon for our main entrée. Can we just say a big ol’ hallelujah amen to that? Oh and I can’t forget the basket of bread on the table, with a side of the most creamy butter ever.

While waiting for our food, we decided to take a few pictures of one another looking out at the view, and boy was it beautiful. I felt so fancy, and so incredibly spoiled by my husband who knows that delicious food is the way to my heart. Thankful for the time he took to plan this night for us, and the thought he put into it.

It. was. divine. Every single delicious bite. For dessert, I got a chocolate lava cake, and Gregg got the raspberry sorbet.

While eating dessert, Gregg said the driver was waiting for us, so I quickly ate every last bite of my dessert thinking at this point it didn’t matter how much my sparkle dress had expanded because of how much I had eaten, because we were going to just head back to the hotel to change and head out to do some sightseeing. I was wrong.

Gregg paid and we headed toward the elevator, and stepped outside to only be greeted by not an uber Toyota Camry (that’s pretty much what every Uber driver drives in New York) but, a LIMO.

Gregg rented a limo to drive us around New York City.  I was mad. Well, only for 3.5 seconds.  I couldn’t believe he had done such a thing. My sparkle dress self hopped right in, and Gregg turned it to the rap station, I mean what else do you do when you’re riding in a limo, in New York City?  and we rode to Central Park like famous people, just the two of us in that ginormous limo, with me shaking my head at him in disbelief the entire time.

The limo driver dropped us off at Central Park, by a horse and carriage, and we rode via horse and carriage around the park under a blanket, and under the stars. It was a dream, and so much fun.

After our dreamy horse and carriage ride, we got back in the limo, and asked the driver to take us to the Rockefeller Center to take a quick stroll, and a couple of pictures. I love all the lights in the trees. It gave me a little glimpse of what it must be like to be here at Christmas.

So we said our goodnights to this gorgeous side of the city, and then hopped in the limo to head back to the hotel. We had tickets to the Good Morning America taping the next morning, and that required a very early wake up time.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of our trip to New York City! Thank you, for reading and following along!

 

 

 

 

 

 

new york city-country comes to town-part one

Earlier this year, on a very cold, wintery Friday night in February, Gregg was sneaky and completely shocked me for the nine hundredth time in our marriage. This time it was with plane tickets and a booked hotel in NEW YORK CITY. He wrapped up a gala apple (from our fruit bowl) in a cute little bag, and attached a note to it that said “Pack your bags; we’re heading to the Big Apple.” I literally jumped off the couch in my owl pajama pants and oversized t-shirt, screaming and jumping with excitement. He had done it again, he surprised me.

Now listen, I love a good beach trip to Alabama or Florida probably more than anyone, when you don’t wear make-up for a week, and you literally spend the entire day on the beach people watching, reading a good book, napping and eating snacks you would never buy at home. But there’s something about venturing to a big city where there are coffee shops on literally every corner, and there’s an absolute possibility of seeing someone famous. A place where the buildings are taller than anything you’ve ever seen before, the restaurants are more authentic, the lights are so bright and beautiful, and the sights and sounds are so different than any place you’ve ever been. I couldn’t wait to be there.

Fast forward 3 months…..

It was finally the week we were going to New York, and it was the busiest week we had had in a while. We celebrated Mother’s day, 3 birthdays, and had 2 church softball games, not to mention going to work every day. It was a jammed packed week, but the anticipation of New York City and the fact we had so much to celebrate made the week fly by, which left me packing until 1:00 am Friday morning, the morning we left, but I didn’t mind.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite moments from the first few hours we were there.  Oh and THANK YOU, to my gracious in-laws for taking us to the airport early, and picking us up when we returned.

We had a direct flight from Nashville to LaGuardia Airport, which put us in New York a little after 12pm their time. When we first got to the airport we learned that the company Gregg had booked our transportation through to the hotel had had some hiccups and we were going to have to wait an additional hour to leave the airport. So we cancelled our reservation with them, and hopped in a yellow cab, and headed to our hotel.

We stayed at a Yotel. ( Yotel-Manhattan)

When first walking in I thought I was in the future., There was no front desk with a person behind it to greet us and check us in, we had to check in at a computer, and guess what? That same computer made our hotel room key right there, it was just like an ATM, but for hotel room keys. My country mind was blown. We got in the elevator, headed for our room, but first made a quick stop on the fourth floor to look around. That’s where the hotel restaurant was, complete with comfy places to sit, and a lawn with chairs and a huge TV screen on it, apparently on certain nights they play movies up there. It was better than any movie theatre I had seen in all my life.

Our hotel was located right in Manhattan, to me it was the ideal location, close enough to Times Square, yet a far enough walk away to feel like you had walked off at least 1 out of the 3 desserts you consumed that day.

After arriving at the hotel, we unpacked, and headed out to Shake Shack for a burger and a milk shake, then off to our scheduled bus tour. The Bus Tour through City Sightseeing was probably one of my favorite parts of our trip. This was the third time I had been to New York, and the first time I had ever done a bus tour there.

The timing of the tour was perfect, just before sunset, and the latter part of the tour was dark enough so we could see all the gorgeous lit up buildings. The weather couldn’t have been better. The traffic throughout the tour wasn’t the greatest, but it worked out in our favor, giving us a longer tour, and more time to take in all the sights and sounds of New York City.

side note: Before leaving for New York, we found tickets for this tour on Groupon, making it only $22.00 for the both of us, not bad for an almost 3 hour tour, getting to cross both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, a perfect view of the statue of liberty, riding through China Town, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, Soho, Times Square, Brooklyn,  seeing the Chrysler Building, and so much more.

Our bus tour ended about 10pm, and boy were we exhausted. We headed back to our hotel, and called it a night. We had lots of plans for Saturday (the next day). First on the list Brunch at SaraBeth’s in Central Park where we had the most fluffy pancakes, with a side of fresh strawberries, and coffee. It was one of my most favorite meals while we were there.

After Brunch, we took a stroll through Central Park, made a visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Art Museum (for Gregg) and then onto 90 Bedford Street to find the apartment they filmed our all time favorite show after “Friends.”

Pictured below is Monica’s Apartment from Friends, and the little shop below that is supposed to be the coffee shop they always hang out at, called Central Perk. Now for a little confession, I did pray that we would see someone from Friends while we were in New York City, my eyes stayed peeled the whole entire time hopeful that David Schwimmer (Ross) would be eating at SaraBeth’s the same time we were, or Courtney Cox (Monica) would be casually running through Central Park as we were strolling through. Sadly, we didn’t see either one of them, but I’m just tickled that we got to see what we did, and that my best friend got to see it with me.

P.S. If you haven’t watched Friends, treat yourself on this dreary Saturday morning, and start at season one on Netflix, and watch all 10 seasons. You will laugh, cry, laugh until you cry, and quickly become the best of friends with Monica, Chandler, Ross, Joey, Rachel, and Phoebe. You will also find yourself quoting scenes from this show on a regular basis, and humming “I’ll be there for you” for the rest of time. I’ve inserted that song right below so you can the full effect.

I’ll Be There For You

After a full day of sightseeing, we went back to our hotel and got dressed for a fun night out eating dinner in Little Italy, and seeing the Lion King on Broadway. I couldn’t wait for Gregg to see Lion King. There’s nothing like a broadway show, and there’s absolutely nothing like a Broadway show in New York City. Back in 2012, my best friend and I saw it, and I absolutely fell in love with the music, the costumes, and the animals. I knew Gregg would love it too.

We had dinner right on Mulberry Street, at the cutest little Italian restaurant named Grotta Azzura in Little Italy. Gregg had the Gnocchi Petso Roso, and I had the Fettuccini Alfredo. We took our time and enjoyed each and every bite of our meal, and being amongst the busyness of Mulberry street.

Once we were done with dinner, we called an Uber and headed straight to Minskoff theatre to see the Lion King.

Once again, Lion King did not disappoint, not to mention I just love being at the Minskoff Theatre that overlooks Time Square, I love seeing all the hustle and bustle, and lights from up there. As soon as the show was over, we headed to 5th avenue to cap off the night seeing the Empire State Building.

Again, Gregg ordered our tickets through Groupon a while ago, so upon entering the Empire State Building, they quickly moved us from the “Buy your tickets here” line, to the express line, and we were able to go up 83 floors, make a complete circle up top, and see the lights from every angle, stroll through the gift shop, and come back down all within 30 minutes. If you’re planning a trip to New York City any time soon, you must plan to see the Empire State Building. If you purchase your tickets in advance off Groupon, the prices are way cheaper, plus you get to fill like a big deal getting to bypass all the long lines.

The Empire State Building was just like I remembered. The lights were beautiful, and the view will absolutely blow you away.

That concluded our first day and a half in New York City. I couldn’t wait to go to sleep that night, so we could wake up and do it all over again.  Stayed tuned for part two (days 3 and 4), sweet readers! Thank you so much for following along!