Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Break.... Adult Style

In high school I remember Spring Break of my Junior year riding the Metro into DC with some friends and going to see the Washington Monument and some other monuments. It was a windy day, but I loved the picture of all of us in front of the Washington Monument (one of these days I will scan my old pictures.... borrowing someone's scanner :) ).
When I was a senior the Orchestra went on a competition trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. It was cold and rainy, so not great beach weather.
In college, what I remember is working over Spring Break.... doing temp work at Manpower, or something. Maybe I did something cool, and my family can remind me what it was, but I don't remember it.
So I was very excited this year when my sister, who is a professor, had Spring Break off and suggested a vacation. I had such a great time visiting Chicago with my sisters over Labor Day, and looked forward to doing it again.

Day 1: Friday March 6
I don't know about you, but when there is a road trip involved, it is Christmas! I can't sleep, I get up before the alarm and am ready to hit the road. It was the same driving up to PA to visit my good friends before heading onto see my sisters. So I got up and drove. I passed by many familiar sights in the DC area, and then onto Pennsylvania. I had a great time visiting my friends, seeing the new office, their town, and just visiting.

I am only supposed to show cute pictures, but I think this is cute

Day 2: Saturday March 7
I got up and drove into NYC to pick up my sisters at the airport. The roads in PA are very interesting... they have these huge dots on the road, and they tell you not to drive too close to another car. There has to be two dots between you and another car. Also, they have "safety corridors", where you get fined more if you are speeding or have an accident. But what about all the other parts of the road? We don't care if those are safe?
I was a bit stressed because the line to get through the tunnel from New Jersey to NYC was very very long, and it ended up taking me an hour longer than expected to get to the airport because of traffic. In the middle of the day on a Saturday. Reason #1 to be thankful for living in North Carolina :)
But it worked out because my sisters planes were late, and they didn't come in at the same terminal, so they had to take a shuttle to meet up. It was so great to see them!
Driving back to the hotel, we went through queens, and so I had my sister hang out the car window to take a picture of the Space Ships from Men In Black.
Then we went to the hotel, which was right in downtown Manhattan. If you haven't ever stayed in NYC, be prepared. The hotels are tiny! Well... the rooms are anyway. But we were a couple of blocks south of Central Park, and a couple of blocks north of Times Square, so you can't complain about the location.
Then we went and got dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp (some good shrimp) in Times Square, and went to the Knicks Game at Madison Square Garden, where the Charlotte Bobcats beat them.

Day 3: Sunday March 8
We got up and went to church in the building that has the Manhattan Temple. It was really cool to see that building.

It was a gorgeous day, sunny and relatively warm for NYC, so we then went to Central Park and walked around. We saw where Hugh Jackman chases the purse snatcher for Meg Ryon. We tried twice to find Alex the Lion, but failed. We did see Strawberry Fields, and listen to a Beatles imitation band, and then watched some ice skating competition. After that we walked to the Rockefeller Center and saw the ice skating rink where Elf goes ice skating. Basically, walking around NYC is like walking around a bunch of movies!

Then we went to the ESPN Zone to watch Carolina play Duke in the final game of the season before official March Madness started. It was awesome! Carolina won, and we got to cheer with other fans. There was a set of annoying Duke fans, but hey, we won.
Then we went and got tickets to Mamma Mia, Orchestra seats. If you have seen the movie, don't judge us. This was soooo much better than the movie. First of all, all of the actors could sing, the set was amazing, and it was a Broadway show with orchestra seats!
All in all, this was my most favorite day of the vacation.

Day 4: Monday March 9
Monday was cold and rainy, but we had Statue of Liberty tickets, so we got up and caught the subway down to the south end of Manhattan. What is interesting about the NYC subway is you have to enter it on the right side of the street for the direction you are going. So there was a huge school group that was on one side of the street, then they crossed to the other side, then they realized they had to go back to where they were. I thought it would be a nightmare to take a school group to NYC.
So we got down to the ferry a bit early because I wasn't sure how long the subway would take. So we decided to go see Ground Zero, which was a subway exit up. Basically, it is a big hole in the ground with cranes. There is a temporary museum exhibit open, and it was very sobering.
Then we went on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. We waited in line, and went through two security check points, and then we were only able to go up to the base of the pedestal, and not all the way up to the crown. As we walked around, all these people wanted to take pictures of themselves jumping. I didn't quite understand the point.

Then we went on the ferry to Ellis Island. It was interesting to see the room where they processed the immigrants. We couldn't find the book from Hitch, but we did find a trunk just like my mom's.
We had dinner at a Mexican place in South Port, which happened to be near the Hot Dog Eating Contest place, so we took a picture of it, and got to see the Brooklyn Bridge up close.
Because it was Monday there were no Broadway shows playing (even from the evil empire). So we took the subway up to Grand Central Station to check it out. The big hall looks like Hogwarts, and it is amazing how much stuff is underground! They had a little exhibit on how the subway was dug underneath the city, which I thought was interesting. There is a tool that digs a hole, and puts the concrete casing down all in one move.
Then we headed back to the hotel to make posters for the Today show!

Day 5: Tuesday March 10
We woke up at 5:30 A.M. to go be on the Today Show. We got there, and the only other people there were a group of cheerleaders from Texas. A man came over and said he had free hot chocolate and Krispy Kreme donuts for people waiting to be on the Today show. So we went over there, but the donuts were not Krispy Kreme donuts, so that was disappointing. While we were waiting we were blocked by several buildings, so it didn't seem to bad. But then they opened up the area where the taping is, and the wind blew through that alley, and it was freezing! I even tried bringing toasty-toe things to keep us warm, but they weren't that effective. We stood there for about an hour and a half, and then Al Roker came out to do the weather and he shook our hand! Then Meredith came out and even though we didn't get to be on TV, we did get a picture with her:

Then we were tired of trying to be on TV, so we went to get warmed up and eat breakfast, but we couldn't find a good place to eat. Then we walked to the MET, and saw Uma Thurman on the way. We tried one of the NYC Hot Dog stands, but it didn't taste very good, so we were not having a good food day. The MET was really cool, an awesome building. But I like photography, and there wasn't very much of that.  So because we got up so early, we headed back to the hotel for a little bit to rest before going to see Phantom!!!  But before we could see Phantom, we had to find some dinner.  We decided to try the Carnegie Deli, which is way famous.  We walked in and it was disgusting!  Huge plates of raw meat on every table with two slices of bread hidden.  We walked back out.  Then later on the vacation we were watching a TV show and it explained how Deli's are just big meat shops, and we were like, ooohhhh.  Bottom line, finding really great food is next to impossible in New York.  So then we went to Phantom of the Opera and it was amazing!  The actor playing Phantom sounded just like the recording, and the set was amazing and it was just B-Awesome! (To quote Bolt).

Day 6: Wednesday March 11
We got up and got tickets to see Angela Lansbury and Rupert Everett in a Blithe Spirit.  Then we walked to the Empire State building, but it was so overcast that the guy there said there was zero visibility.  So instead we went shopping.  H&M is a really cool store that we don't have in NC or  Utah.  And then we went to the largest Macy's ever!  It was enormous.  Anyway we had to leave to get back to the play on Broadway, and I am such a terrible texter that I said it is 1, meaning the time, and my sister read it as the first floor, so it took a while to find each other.  The play was really funny, and it was just fun to see Angela Lansbury and Rupert Everett live in person.  Then we got some Italian food and drove to Boston.  The drive was not that great because the exits weren't marked with facilities, and I ended up driving the wrong way on a one way street to find a bathroom.  Oh well.  But then we got to Boston and our hotel was totally swank!  The room was huge with two bathrooms!  Much improved over the NYC hotel.  Also, there were a million really nice restaurants right next to the hotel, like Maggiano's and Flemings, so you know it was a nice neighborhood.  

Day 7: Thursday March 12

We went to the JFK Presidential Library.  It was interesting to see some of the things he did in his presidency.  I hadn't realized that Jackie O was quite a bit younger than he was.  It was also interesting because the Obama's say similar things to the Kennedy's.  Then we went to Harvard and joined a campus tour.  Their library has a clause that it cannot be added to, so they put the stacks underground to hold all the books.  Harvard is small, like Duke, with only five thousand students total.  The book store was really cool, and we decided that libraries should be set up like bookstores because it is so easy to find a lot of books you want to read in a book store, and not so easy to do that in a library.  Then we walked around Cambridge, and got some dinner.  We were reading a newspaper to see what to do that evening, and saw an ad for Britney Spears Karaoke, so we decided that would be hysterical.  But we wanted to get desert first, and kill some time before that show started.  So I got the roads mixed up, so we walked all along one street that I thought would have shops, but it didn't really, and then we got to the street that was supposed to, but they all closed at 7 pm.  So unlike NYC where everything is open until midnight or later, Boston closes early.  Which was a major bummer.  So then we went hunting for desert, and couldn't find anyway, and we ended up walking by a grocery store on the way to the Britney Karaoke, so we just got desert there, and since it was so cold and windy, we gave up on the Britney Karaoke and just went back to the hotel.  But we had a great time talking while we ate desert in the grocery store, and then we were laughing our heads off walking back to the hotel.
Day 8: Friday March 13
We had thought about doing a historic walking tour, but it was so cold and windy that we gave up on that idea and went to the Science Museum instead.  It was a really cool museum, with a lightning show, an IMAX theater where we saw the Amazon and people with huge sticks through their chins, and lots of cool exhibits.  Then we we to Maggianos for dinner because it is good, and my sister gets a discount.  I decided to break away from my usual profiteroles and try their special.  It was awful!  A huge slab of dark dark bitter chocolate that tasted burnt, with marshmallow fluff on top.  Memo to self, stick with what you like.  Just further evidence that the food on this trip was not as good as the food on the Chicago trip.  Then we went to see Sheer Madness, which was hysterical.  

Day 9 and 10: Saturday March 14 - Sunday March 15

We drove back to NYC so my sisters could catch their flights.  Because I didn't know what traffic would be like, they got there way to early.  So they sat in the airport for a while.... and since I had a car and didn't have any particular time to leave, I drove back to the Empire State building and went up to the top.  It was a gorgeously sunny day, and the views were pretty cool.  Then I drove to PA to visit my friends again.  It was nice to just crash at their place and catch up on some sleep.  We did a ton of stuff on our trip, and I was tired.  I got to go to church and meet some of their friends, and we sat and visited and ate some good food.  

Day 11: Monday March 16
I drove back to North Carolina.  The amazing thing was after spending a week up north, in the cold, rainy windy weather, as I was driving back south, I got past Richmond and all of a sudden the trees were in bloom, the grass was green, and the weather was gorgeous.  Spring had arrived in the South!  I love living in the South.  

It has been hectic since getting back, work has been nonstop busy, and I ended up having to work last weekend to catch up from vacation.  Yuck.  But I finally got the blog entry written!  Hurray!  And.... go Heels! Still in the NCAA tournament, but the coolest time to watch them was at the ESPN zone with my sisters.   


Meredith and Abe Fish said...

I'm glad I got the play-by-play. Sounds like you had a great time. I can't believe all the things you guys did. I need to take vacations like that. ~Meredith

Annie said...

Wow!!! You are so brave to do all of those things! Especially to DRIVE in NYC and Boston -- you great-nieces are amazing! You did SO many fun and amazing things. I enjoyed reading all about it!

Carla said...

ha ha i love blogs... now i don't have to write in my diary, i can just print off your blog!