New York City & Conneticut Holiday Adventure.

A little back tracking to this past Christmas.. who doesn’t want to feel a little Christmas cheer in May 😉

I went on a 3 week North East adventure with my boyfriend, Alex. My family and I wanted to have a cold wintry Christmas… unlike San Diego, which was 80 degrees on Christmas day. Alex  and I started our trip in Farmington Connecticut, where is grandparents have a home. ( they are snow birds that flock to Florida)  We landed at midnight and thanks to some sweet talking the kind gentleman at National rental car, that hooked us up with a snow ready SUV….Well, I may have just made him scared for his life, I explained I was from San Diego and NEEDED a snow truck. lol.   We headed straight to a nearby hotel to catch some zzzz… The minute we pulled up, I jumped directly into the ginormous pile of snow,I frolicked  like snow leopard in my pile… but most likely looked like a drunken baby giraffe. It was 3 in the morning and my excitement wasn’t sleeping, finally after forcing ourselves to sleep.Typical me, I made Alex get up early enough to get the free hotel breakfast…best hotel breakfast ever! I still crave the cheesy,bacon hash-browns.  We filled our plates and didn’t even notice the Belgium waffle maker with 5 different toppings.. Alex and I looked at one another and both said  “this is the best start to a great trip a head.”

We hopped  in the car and took off for Farmington, I was excited to see where Alex spent so many great years with his family. The drive was stunning, freshly dusted snow across the fields with old red barns. I really love Connecticut, I could so be the Manhattan City babe with a side life of suburbia .

As we turn on to his grandparent road, I was suddenly in a winter wonderland forest and then we pulled up to the house that sits atop a cliff that looks out to rolling hills with snow covered trees. The home was welcoming and  opulent . Alex’s face lit up with memories and was eager to give me a tour. As we made our way through the home ,I was in aw and then what I thought was the end of the tour. Alex replied, “oh no there is the other half” Half?!?! He made his way to the “media room,” as he opened the doors to the navy velvet walled room with lush over-size recliners, I looked and him and clearly said “You’re fucked… you just set a new standard and I want one”   😉  He laughed and of course told me… one day babe…  this is a level of life was not used to. I suddenly felt like I was a real housewife, shouting to find Alex somewhere in the crazy maze all while sipping on my cocktail. So we found ourselves having this ginormous mansion all to ourselves and the ground was COVERED in snow, and of course we brought the snow skate. We also had a closet full of epic 80′s snow gear!  Alex and I went straight for the hill and found the best riding path. We had a perfect spot and each flew down like we were 8 but when we fell, oh how we felt our age. Our mission was to do all snowy Christmas activities and adventures possible, sledding/snow skating… check… Snowman building was obviously next. We built our good  friend, Snowy. Alex was the master roller and showed me just the right way.  He had to dig and dig for the rocks we used for his face. We even built a snow cave!  We spent our evenings cooking and enjoying the media room.

After 4 days in a beautiful wooded home, we were off to another. My family rented a farmhouse in Newtown,CT .Where we met up with my aunt,uncle and cousins… and of course my mom. Unfortunately, my Brother and his family couldn’t make it due to an overly pregnant wifey. We spent the week with zero TV and just good conversations and insane competitive game playing. The youngest person was 25 and us cousins decided to play a hardcore game of capture the flag… in the woods…with thorns. Boys vs Girls … 3 vs 3. Us girls, were ready to kick the guys asses. We did make the jails slightly to fun, with beer inside. After intense running, juking,falling,crawling and straight diving, the girls came in with 1 win and the boy with two… the only reason was because they hid it in a thorny cave bush.I suggest everyone to go out and play and old fashion game of Capture the Flag!  The next day we all went sledding on this very icy sledding park that had some jumps… yeah, sledding with built-in jumps and turns. Of course being big kids we took it to a whole new level. We had a whole lane shut down from our extreme sledding methods. It was the time of our lives and one of the last times all of us would be able to spend like that,once babies come along… not for us…for them. 🙂

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After a lovely Christmas and Connecticut trip, we were off to New York. Alex had never been and I felt like I was about to take him to an amusement park for the first time. I think I asked him 20 times about how much he was excited and what he wanted to see the most. I was finally showing him the city I raved about.  The second we saw the skyline, I  lit up like the empire state building at night…( wow I am cheesy).

We were staying at our friends Kevin and Morgan’s, they have an adorable apartment in Astoria, NY. We warned them before coming that we looked like we were moving in. After Christmas,packing for 3 weeks and left over groceries, it looked like we were never leaving. They happened to have an extra room for us, thank goodness because our stuff alone filled the room practically. The minute we set our stuff down, I was ready to be in the thick of it. Granted it was about 37 degrees on the high-end, but I didn’t care. Kevin was a champ and took us straight downtown to Wall street and the Freedom Tower. I had to teach Alex the ropes of the subway system and that you don’t take your wallet out once you are underground, unless you are first purchasing your metro card…but make it quick. Once you have your metro card, make sure to have it in your pocket and ready to swipe.  Like all subway rides it is always a little interesting and sometimes hectic. As we exited the station we could see the Freedom Tower in the distance. It was stunning and filled the skyline perfectly. After visiting the same site for some many years, it was a beautiful moment to see it and fruition.

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We walked down Wall Street and since it was Christmas time, there was  HUGE  Wreaths on the elaborate building doors. It was very crowded and I am sure there were plenty of husband hunters in the mix, it was happy hour time. 🙂  We made our way through the crowd and headed toward the piers.  There  we were able to see Hoboken,NJ and the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an incredible view and we were able to see The Sphere and eternal flame from 9/11. 

It was really windy and the sun was starting to go down, so we decided to head back toward the station and then..the  smell of roasted nuts hit me… I looked at Alex and shouted…NUTS, we have to get them. I had been telling him all about the amazing hot roasted nuts. We turned the corner and there it was,little delicious stand.  For my first time I tried the roasted coconut and my go to peanuts. Our friend Kevin has been living in Nyc for a year and had never had them… not acceptable.  Alex was instantly hooked!! We found our self in front of the Trinity church , so I shoved the nuts in my pocket and made our way into the Church I have been there before and remember what a gorgeous church it was and Alex being the good Catholic boy, I figured he would like to see it… and we could get warm…and use the restroom. 🙂  Alex again knowing his stuff shared some of the stories of the scenes that were depicted in the church. I tried to resist but my hand kept creeping in my pocket in search for more nuts, I trying my best not to make a sound… that’s impossible.  The Church is quaint and stunning with old dark wood and gold fixtures. It is also one of the oldest churches in America.

We figured for our first small outing, we had done well and headed back to Astoria.  We loved going home to Kevin and Morgans, their apartment was charming and Kevin had just set up an amazing bar cart. ( he inspired mine) So every night we were making cocktails at the bar and enjoying nuts and olives. While my body was happy to no longer be restricted in 2 pair of pants.

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I know how it is having people visit and having to go to all the dreaded tourist spots and play tour guide, so I reassured Kevin and Morgan that they had NO obligation in trekking the tourist scene with us. I had a pretty good grasp of the city and was up for the challenge.  The next day was New Years Eve and Kevin and Morgan both had to work. Thankfully they work at an amazing Private Club called The Norwood and they invited us to ring in the new year there.  We were thrilled we  normally would never find ourselves at a private club and New York bars are the best and host open bars. Then set in the panic…. we have a nice club to go to and I was not prepared and it was a Havana nights theme. Goal, hit some stores and hopefully get inspired.   As Kevin and Morgan hung back at the house before work, I wanted to get some tourist time in. So Alex and I stupidly decided to go to Time Square…. yes, New Years Eve day and Time Square… not so fun. It was crazy, streets blocked off and police and people everywhere , Alex was instantly over it!!  I dragged him into the H&M and it was going off , there was even a DJ. I looked like a chicken with its head cut off. I grabbed a little black dress and I was good to go. Alex and I were so ready to be out of there and out of  Time Square. We made our way to Rockefeller Center. We watch the Today Show every day and I had to show Alex studio 1A.  When we got toe Rockerfeller center I told Alex to look up at the world famous tree, his response ” REALLY, that’s it.”  I guess he had some grand expectation lol. I love that area they have large Christmas fountains with HUGE  Christmas lights and ornaments in them.  We started to get hangery… so we went down into the shopping area of the center and stumbled upon Harry’s Pizza… so delicious.. Alex still talks about it.  With warm full bellies we walked to the Trump Tower, where Alex’s Grandpa once lived.

As we cruised around the streets taking it all in, I dragged Alex into some stores and we were both done and ready to rest before our night out. I am girl and need plenty of glamorizing time. We ordered some pizza… yup more pizza…we had pizza everyday 🙂

I was barely 20 degrees outside and it was starting to sink in that I was wearing a little black dress and  it was COLD.  I text my sister-in-law giving her and ALL New York girls credit for looking cute all while it’s freezing. She laughed at me and told me my little bitch coat wasn’t going to do shit and I was going to be cold, so just focus on being cute. So, I sipped more of my cocktail and was ready to face the cold to dance the night away.  We made our way to the train, it was awesome to see everyone ready for the night.  I could tell my feet were going to hate me already. We popped out on 14th st  and knew we didn’t have to walk far to the unmarked club. Well dopey us messed up 214 with 241… it was official my feet hate me and I haven’t even arrived at the party. We made our way into the beautiful 4 story brownstone, each floor was a  different theme. We went straight to the bar, it was an open bar with many options. I started with my go to Vodka Soda and 4 limes and then I saw these delicious looking shots and I had to have one. At same time we saw our friends Morgan and Kevin, what perfect timing friends and delicious shots. OMG, I could have lived on these coconut shots. I don’t know what was in them but once we had one, we ordered another round instantly. The night was starting off well, as we walked up the stairs  to get lost in all the fabulous madness of the Norwood. Food was getting passed around, music was blaring and drinks were flowing.  I was in my favorite city, with my one and only love…. LIFE IS GOOD!

                                              

The Norwood is known as the anti-wall street private social club. It is for the artsy eclectic bunch.  There was art all over the walls from some of the most famous artist to artist that only the art world people know about. The art was beautiful to oh so strange.  The clock stuck midnight and we all welcomed 2014 with a cheer.  Us Californians are used to the clubs closing at 2am but New Yorkers are bad ass and last until 4am. We decided to cut out at 3am and didn’t know a taxi was so cheap back to Astoria or would have taken one, so we head to the subway. The train was  full of party goers. The subway can really rock you to sleep, but I made sure to stay awake. Alex and I took the express train and we = didn’t know we would pop out on a different street in Astoria. Alex and I were very confused and I was nervous but we realized we were just caddy corner to where we normally get out.

My feet felt broken and I could barely walk… then my man of all men, offered his shoes to me. It was 20 degrees and he took off his shoes, so I could have relief and actually walk. He told me if we ran into some trouble makers we might be screwed since we both are somewhat shoeless and not in are sharpest state of mind.

We were perfectly safe  and so happy to make it back to the apartment. Credit to all New Yorkers for partying on your long cold nights and still staying cute!

We left the first of the year to some relaxing and football watching. We did stroll the streets in Astoria to pick up some dinner and delicious bread from the bakery. Since Alex had prosciutto bread, he was on the hunt and went into every bakery asking for it. I will have to take him to Brooklyn next time.

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We had started our tour of New York from the bottom up and we still needed to see so much. We only had one day left… or so we thought.  A huge snow storm was about to hit and when I called the airport to check on our flight, and it  was canceled and there was no way out until the 6th… which was 4 extra days. We were ready to be home but soo excited to experience a snow storm. So we got ready… beer,food,games and we were waiting anxiously watching the news and looking out the windows. Then it hit… the snow was going sideways!! We all put on our coats and headed outside. We all took it in and then the snow ball throwing began. We were dipping and dodging between cars, trying to nail one another with the biggest snow ball we could make. That night I will remember forever! Drinking beer and playing with your friends in the snow = best night ever!  When I went to bed that night, I was like a  little kid that checked the snow every time I woke up. There was sooo much snow!! Kevin and Morgan had to work the next day and Alex and I had a snow-covered New York to explore. We headed straight for central park, there was barely a cloud in the sky and the fresh snow was glistening in the sun. It was one of the most incredible days in the park. Kids were sledding and there was even cross-country skiers. As we held hands and walked through the park snacking on some hot roasted nuts, we were again living my romantic movie moment. hehe.

We worked our way from the Upper West side to the Upper East side. That’s when I had my Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf moment on the steps of the MET.  Alex had no idea what I was talking about but was still a champ and took my steps picture, I should have just had a headband ready. 🙂

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I just love the upper east side, it’s a whole different vibe there. I showed Alex my brother’s old stomping grounds as we strolled  for something good to eat. We didn’t know what we wanted but yet we were being so picky… then yet again, we got pizza. There was so much snow on the ground our poor feet were freezing and we were ready to head back for our evening cocktails at Kevin’s  bar cart.

The next day we decided go to The Natural History Museum. The greatest thing about NYC, several of their museums are donation, they have suggested price but give what you can and enjoy! The museum was huge and stunning. I learned that Alex the one who has always avoided going to museums with me in San Diego, loved it and ready every single plaque. After the museum we headed to lunch in the village to meet with an old friend of mine. My friend Caitilin showed us the neighborhood and took us to the High Line, it is an old elevated railroad tracks that has been transformed into a public park with these awesome sliding lounge chairs. They slid on the railroad track and perfect for spring and summer. The area is lush with epic views of the water and the city. There are also a lot of the big designers studios in the area and I gushed every time I saw one.

By now Alex was pretty over the subway riding and walking everywhere. His words ” you walk to the train to wait then you wait on the train and that makes me tired then we walk.”   Well that mind set wasn’t going to help my case on wanting to move there!  Alex just  he wants to live in the woods.
For our last day out we hit Time Square. I always know when I am getting closer to Time Square because the more jumbotrons you see. It was  hectic and  the snow was disgusting at this point. We cruised toward Carnegie Hall with some more hot nuts and ended up at Central park and it began the flurries, it was magical. It was our last day and I really took it all in, the feeling of cold wind on my skin, the smell of exhaust and hot roasted nuts and the sound of the people from all around the world, right there in New York City. The three weeks had amazed me and in that moment, it all ran through my head.

It was one of the best trips I have ever had and it included some of my favorite people and places.  Two states, 11 people, 21 days and one fantastic time!! We can’t wait to go back again, and make it a total foodie trip!

* For your next New York adventure check our Free New York museums!

xo-A

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