Almost two weeks ago, I headed off on a crazy adventure – something I never pictured myself doing…taking a trip without my kids! You see, I still consider myself “new” to all this blogging stuff and still giggle like a school girl when y’all come by to visit or better yet leave a comment despite posting my 450th post last week. When I emailed about being added to an invite list for upcoming events, never in a million years did I think that would mean and almost instant invitation to come to New York City in a month for an event. Not wanting to say no to such an experience, I pulled myself together enough to accept the invitation, book plane tickets and find a hotel in a city that I’d always wanted to visit but never had the chance. Over the next several days, I’m going to share my adventure with you. Reliving it through the pictures and telling y’all about it makes me feel like I’m right back there again and that just makes me happy all over again!! Hopefully this is the first of many fun trips and experiences I can share with you. Fair warning – these are going to be long with lots of pictures 🙂 (Disclosure: there’s really nothing to disclose – I paid for the trip – plane tickets, accommodations, ect – all on my own. I did get to attend an event I’m going to tell y’all about and I got some stuff but I’ll disclose that when the time comes.) Now, as my princess would say “buckle in”…
After dropping the princess with the sitter and the boys off at school, hubby headed to the airport to send me on my way. Having NEVER left my children other than to go to the hospital to have more babies or work, I was having some serious anxiety. Couple that with hating to fly and all the new things that lay ahead and I was a ball of nerves. JetBlue Airlines was the way to fly for sure! After booking, prices dropped and they were fantastic about compensating me (I shared my JetBlue love here too). Checking my bag was awesome (I took a huge suitcase with my carry on inside it so I’d have an extra bag to bring things home in) – it weighed 52 pounds and the sweet guy at the desk let it go without me having to try and rearrange anything which I so appreciated (it was supposed to be under 50 pounds)! Then through security which only took a few minutes then on to wait for my flight. Time passed really quickly and before long, I was walking aboard my plane.
There was lots of room on board. Having three people per side per row, I was a little worried I’d be squished in but I worried over nothing. On the way up to NYC, I sat next to a lovely couple who was flying up for their son’s wedding. Sweetly they offered advice about places to go and things to do while visiting. After listening to the official boarding announcements (all the things I try NOT to think about while flying), we were ready to take off. We had left the gate early by about five minutes but had to wait at the runway because some military jets were landing where we were supposed to be taking off from. If there’s any reason to delay a flight, it’s for the military so we all waited patiently while they did what they needed to do.
One of my most favorite things about JetBlue is that they have DirecTV (sadly no Disney channels yet!) and SiriusXM available for free on their flights (you can also view the map to keep track of your flight’s progress which is cool). I got to watch an entire episode of Real Housewives of Orange County without interruption! (Yes I know that’s not the best thing to watch but it’s a guilty pleasure!)
I really cannot say enough good things about my flight to NYC. My only complaint is the placement of the controls for the in flight entertainment. When resting my arm on my arm rest, I kept bumping the buttons and changing the channel or volume which was slightly annoying.
Before too long, we were being offered snacks and drinks. Another thing I love about JetBlue is that the free stuff is unlimited. Yes you heard right – if you’d like a bottle of water AND a can of Coke, you can have both! Want pretzels and cookies? Just ask! Our flight attendants even came back through later in the flight offering additional bottles of water to make sure everyone was comfortable during the flight. JetBlue does this a bit differently than other flights too – there’s no huge cart in the aisle way. Each flight attendant takes a section of the cabin and is their waitress, taking drink orders then coming back with them on a try. For snacks, they just bring a basket through which was a nice change to see.
There wasn’t much to see out the windows during the flight (I’d picked a window seat – for free! – but it was crazy cloudy so I just watched my trashy tv shows instead) but the clouds cleared for a few minutes before we landed and I could see we were getting close and I began to get nervously excited. I’d seen the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade for as many years as I could remember so I knew what I was in for right? Ha! Landing in a very wet NYC wasn’t exactly what I’d planned but that’s how it worked out and I made the best of it.
My travel agent at AAA had offered to book a shuttle to get me from the airport to the hotel but I was determined to get there on my own. (I was kicking myself for not doing that as I was hauling my 52 pound bag up countless flights of subway stairs….) This is where my first frustration happened. Upstairs the agent working at the subway office sold me a card after I explained where I was trying to go and wanting the unlimited seven day subway pass. $35 later I thought I had what I needed. When I tried to get on the subway downstairs, the card I just purchased didn’t work. The agent downstairs explained I had a different card and refused to exchange it so another $25 for the pass I wanted to buy in the first place. (Spoiler: this was my one and only subway ride – I wish I’d have taken a picture!!)
After the craziness of the subway (the subway wasn’t bad – it was hauling that darned suitcase that was terrible), I walked out onto a wet NYC street and I finally felt like I’d arrived in the city. Horns, traffic, people. Yup I was in the right spot. A short walk to my hotel to drop off the suitcase and I was out again exploring the city. I wasn’t going to sit in my hotel room just because it was raining!
The hotel was a block from Central Park (more on the hotel in a separate post) so I headed there first. Then I started walking without too much of a plan other than wanting to see Radio City Music Hall (only a few blocks from where I was staying). Before too long, I started seeing lots of big lighted signed and I realized I was in Times Square! I’d planned on visiting later in the week but since I’d stumbled upon it, I decided to check it out a bit while I was here. Perfect excuse to get in out of the rain (yes I took my Disney umbrella with me).
When I left, it wasn’t raining hard. In the couple of hours I was out walking around, it started pouring! While trying to escape the rain, I found The Disney Store! After picking up a couple of things friends asked for, I started back to the hotel. Of course, I got completely lost (after a couple of days, I realized I wasn’t lost but had made a HUGE circle instead of turning where I needed to) which meant I was completely soaked.
I managed to find the hotel so I could dry off and warm up before trying to find some dinner. The front desk recommended the bar next door (I’ll include the name and review in the hotel post) for a good burger so I walked over and grabbed dinner before calling it a night.
Thursday (the next day) was my big day – the reason for the trip so I prayed my bag would dry out a big and the rain would move on so I wouldn’t be soaked for the event. I laid everything out in the room and just prayed. The only dry part of my jeans in the picture above is the pocket area that my jacket covered up but even my jacket was soaked through…. And that was my first day in the Big Apple in a nut shell.