This is going to be a long one, but it seems some people won’t be going anywhere all weekend, so I figured you would have the time to read it!
Hopefully I will remember it- seems ages ago now!
So, on the Friday we rushed to the airport after work. Luckily the roads were fine, and I was so tired from work that I managed to sleep quite a bit on the plane (I am getting quite good at this now)- by the time we arrived at our hotel in New York it was about 1.30am, so nearly 24 hours since I had got up and gone to work.
But of course we were awake very early- we went for some breakfast, got a hot drink to take with us and had a long walk around Central Park.
Lots of people ice skating.
It was freezing! There was snow in the air, but it was not settling at all.
All the buildings had decorations, and it all felt very festive.
I was most excited to see the big tree at the Rockerfellar centre- so pretty!
We did some shopping- including braving Old Navy- everyone was buying everything it seemed! I think we were in the queue for about half an hour- I was losing patience then! Luckily we had eaten lunch first (we came quite fond of sharing a tomato soup and grilled cheese). We had a little rest in our hotel in the afternoon (needed to warm up) and then out again to see the tree in the evening. It was packed, there was a one way system going, but it looked so pretty all lit up at night.
Lots of other decorations too.
(Andy trying something with a blurry background).
We have been to New York before, but never found great places to eat. I am sure there are loads, and we tried looking on the internet (Trip advisor etc) but didn’t find anything that looked great- either sandwich shops, fast food places or really touristy places, and we found a Wholefoods shop near Central Park, so we went there for dinner. Because they have the hot food bar, and a salad bar, it suited us both. Then we picked up a few bits of food (and water) for our room, including the most amazing mini gingerbread scones (seriously, they were amazing).
The next day we were off to see the Rockettes- we had some of the scones for breakfast (yummy), and then went to see the show.
(It looks better at night, but we went to a morning show).
This was a fab show- I was not sure what to expect- we had tickets last year after (randomly) my hairdresser recommended it to me. I thought it would be mainly dancing, but there was a story (about a mum and girl shopping for Christmas presents)- anyway the dancers were amazing! It was so festive too, with people in the audience wearing santa hats and things- I wish I had packed my Christmas hair band!
After that, we got the underground downtown, first stop, lunch at Peanut Butter and Co! Although we didn’t take any photos of us there. It was a lovely tiny cafe, with so many options. In the end I went for a very sweet sandwich with chocolate pb, cherry preserves and coconut (served with a little bag of crisps- that salt was needed, and some carrot sticks for health!). They also let you choose your tea bag, (I had vanilla) and the mugs were massive. We bought a few bits in there- Andy liked the sound of the spicy pb.
We are going to recreate some of these at home for sure.
Then we got the subway again, all the way to the World Trade Centre site. We didn’t realise we would need a ticket for the memorial gardens, so once we had that we had a couple of hours to spare before going through all the security.
The new building is well on its way.
So we had a walk around by the water (Statue of Liberty in the distance) and then warmed up in a Starbucks again.
We had to go through security to enter the gardens, luckily this was inside as I didn’t fancy taking my coat off outside.
The gardens have been done really well I think. The waterfalls in the footprints of the two buildings are really beautiful, and it was a very peaceful and reflective place.
I still found it strange to see people posing for photos in front of it and things though (like when we went to Pearl Harbour in the summer).
Anyway, after that we went to the Rockerfellar centre- that is the best building to go up in New York, because you get the best views of the Empire State Building, Central Park etc.
Lit up with Christmas colours!
The glow from Times Square. Andy must have been out there for a good 45 mins in the end- after a while I went to wait inside as it was so cold up there!
On Christmas Eve we had to catch a train before 7am, up to Boston. The train ride was so pretty- sometimes train tracks are in little valleys and are pretty boring, but this one went past town after town of pretty wooden houses, the sea, lovely countryside- very picturesque.
Luckily by the time we arrived we could check in to our hotel, so we left our bags and then went on a hunt for some lunch.
We were within walking distance of Quincy Market, so we had a look there, although nothing appealed so in the end we found a lovely sandwich shop and went there instead.
Then we were off to get the subway to the Boston Pops!
This was brilliant, my favourite show of the holiday. The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra play lots of Christmas carols and songs, and a choir sing along, and it is just amazing. They did the most amazing version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, with each verse sung in a different style and different tune (eg 5 gold rings was with Bethoven’s 5th Symphony)- it was fantastic.
We had no idea what we would do for dinner, but came across a Cheesecake Factory pretty near the concert hall, so we went there. I love their guacamole so much (but you do get a mountain of it), so we had that to share for starters, and then I had a lovely salad with goats cheese and pecans and beetroot and things. Tasty, and it meant I saved room for dessert! They had a holiday special one, which was basically chocolate and peppermint, so we shared it.
Yummy! We walked back as we needed it after that!
On Christmas morning we woke up to snow! Lots had come down, and it was still going first thing. Our hotel had pastries and tea in the restaurant, so we had that, and then a skye call to Andy’s family. Then we wrapped up warm and headed out. It was the coldest day of our holiday. We wanted to do the Freedom Trail, as we thought most things would be closed on Christmas day, and of course it is all outside (although you have to follow a red line/ brick path on the pavement- not so easy in the snow).
There was lots of snow still in the park, but most of it had gone from the pavements.
In the afternoon we went back to our hotel (again with a Starbucks- there were some open on Christmas day) to warm up, before heading out for some dinner. We had originally booked a dinner, because the sample menu looked like it would cater for vegetarians, but when we looked online the night before, there were starter salads and that was all (which would be fine, but it was a set menu and pretty expensive), so in the end we cancelled that, and went for a pizza. Then we went to see Django Unchained (which was really good, and jam packed)- I rather overheated in the cinema as I had 2 thermal tops on! It still makes me chuckle that Americans always clap when a film ends.
On Boxing day we walked around a bit more, did some shopping (bought some bargains in Bath & Bodyworks) and then went to see the Nutcracker. I was not sure what to expect, having never seen a ballet before, but actually I quite enjoyed it too. The different styles of dancing were really good, and I always enjoy listening to the orchestra playing.
Then we had to get our bags and head to the bus station, as we were getting the bus back to New York that evening.
I managed to fall asleep, and when I woke up I was shocked to see a lot of snow. We were about an hour behind schedule, which is not bad considering how much the roads were covered.
This was taken at the rest stop. Luckily after that, we saw snow ploughs and gritters go out, and they managed to clear the roads, and in the end didn’t get to New York too late. By the time we got there, it was just torrential rain (such fun wheeling our cases through the street rivers).
We spent our last day walking around Central Park and doing a bit of shopping:
And also having a Starbucks to warm up. I think we had one nearly every day/
We went for dinner at Wholefoods again, and then we had to get the bus to the airport (although the bus we had booked just didn’t turn up, so in the end the company took us and the other passengers in a little mini van- cutting it quite fine to get there on time!). I managed to sleep most of the way home (the magic combination seems to be noise cancelling headphones + sleeping tablet – only the ones that make you drowsy, not the prescription ones,+ don’t eat the food on the plane).
If I were to sum this holiday up, it would be like this:
Gingerbread scones, Wholefoods dinners, Starbucks chai lattes ( peppermint hot chocolate), thermal tops, big boots, lots of walking, lots of Christmas trees, and fun shows.
Or I could do it with a song?
(To the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)
On my fab Christmas holiday I managed to include:
12 miles of walking
11 thermal tops worn
10 gingerbread scones munched
9 bottles of water drunk
8 thousand miles flown
7 souvenirs bought
6 chai tea lattes
5 Wholefood dinners….
4 hours in Old Navy
3 fab shows
2 cities visited
And I managed to see The Christmas Tree!
Disclaimer- some numbers in the song may be estimated