Welcome to New York!

Up up and Away…

So we recently just had the most amazing trip with the kids to New York! And I’ll be honest New York and kids are two words that I never thought I would say together! I love to visit New York and have been a number of times but the thought of taking an 8 year old and 5 year old to the busiest city seemed crazy to me! However my 8-year-old daughter Ella has been begging to go to NYC at Christmas time to see the Rockettes. So I was pretty surprised when one evening my husband Jason said “I just booked a trip to New York!” Which if you know him that doesn’t happen or if it does it’s very last minute.

I’m very much a planner; I like to book in advance when flights are cheap and when I can get the best deals. He hates to plan and says I stress him out trying to plan the next vacation. So while I was so excited, I was also having a small anxiety attack on the inside knowing he probably paid double for flights if we had just booked a few weeks prior, and wondered if we could get tickets to shows, dinner reservations, etc. Thankfully he used Southwest points but that’s for another post. I also have a companion pass, so luckily I fly free wherever he flies.

When I travel I literally spend hours reading reviews on trip advisor, blogs, hotels.com, anywhere to learn any tips or tricks to get the best deal and ways to enjoy the most out of the trip! So a 3-day trip to NYC was going to be packed with as much as I could! And with a few lessons learned for myself!

Our flight had a 3 hour delay out of Nashville, so we made the best of it and my daughter and I went to go get manicures to kill time after eating an early dinner at O’Charley’s in the airport. On a side note a quick travel tip, when I know I have a long flight out of BNA I call the O’Charley’s before I arrive and place a togo order to eat on the plane like a chicken salad, and it’s ready as I’m usually running to get to my gate. Yes I’m that much of foodie that I can’t eat the pre made salads out of the coolers. So for those 3-4 hour-longflights it’s nice to have something besides wheat thins to enjoy! Anyway back to NYC…. we finally arrived around 11 pm and took an UberXL to our hotel. The hotel was great and easy to check-in, you can read more about Even Hotel on my previous post!

Day 1: This crazy mom had made reservations for breakfast with Santa at 8:45am at The Rock in Rockefeller Plaza. Why? Well because we wanted to ice skate at Rockefeller and breakfast included ice-skating. I also learned you did not have to ice skate that morning you could come back later that day which is what we did. Breakfast at the Rock was ok, you were certainly paying for the experience and the kids were excited to see Santa. I was excited for a mimosa. Breakfast included eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, pastries, and hot chocolate with marshmallows for the kids and mimosas for the adults. It was neat to have the view of the ice skating rink while you eat. The staff was top notch. Everyone was so nice and went out of their way to make sure we had everything and even offered to take pictures. So while it was a little more than I would usually pay for breakfast, Santa and ice skating made it worth it…. oh

and the mimosa!

It was freezing whilewe were there, low30’s, but Jason really wanted the kids to see the Statue of Liberty. So in order to go when it was the warmest, we left breakfast and took an uber towards downtown to hop on a ferry. I bought the 3 tour passes with plans of taking the kids to see a few more sight seeing options. Thankfully the ferry had indoor seating so the ride over was warm. We did not get off at Ellis Island, I thought my kids may be a little too young to truly understand and appreciate it and it was cold. However we did get off the ferry at the Statue of Liberty. We just had the standard tickets which for us was fine. We walked around the island had an educational talk with the kids and were able to take some great pictures. It was cold but I’m glad our kids can now say they went!

Headed back I had food on my mind and was trying to find something downtown that would be good for my foodie self and also enjoyable for the kids. I had a number of people recommend Eataly to us. I realized it was very close so I suggested lets go there. Ok so here’s the thing…yes the food was amazing…but not with kids! Most people who know me know that if my kids are in tow, I won’t go to a restaurant without a reservation or call ahead seating. It’s just not worth it to me to fight my kids while waiting for a table when there are plenty of other restaurant options where you don’t have to wait, or a restaurant has to be that good! Anyway Eataly was seriously like the most amazing Italian market, like the size of a Whole Foods but all Italian food. There was a place for produce, bread, wine, pastas, fish, cheese other grocery items to take home. Then there were numerous stands like a food court where you could order made to order pizza, pasta, sandwiches, a wine bar, gelato, espresso bar, and desserts! Everything! The only problem was with kids if one child wanted pizza and another wanted pasta you had to wait in 2 different lines. I ended up not even ordering anything for myself because I had spent so much time getting items for the kids. They do have a full service restaurant in the back but the line was over an hour to be seated and we did not have time for that. I had a bite of my kids pizza and part of my husband’s sandwich and maybe a pinot noir while I waited for the kid’s pizza to be made, and everything tasted amazing but it was the worst experience trying to get a table and get everyone fed. My favorite thing about meals are spending time together and talking to the kids about their favorite thing and this was more of an eat to survive experience than enjoyable. I would love to go back, just not with the kids. But oh well you live and learn.

We then had about an hour to kill before heading to watch the Rockette’s at 4pm so we went back to the hotel to relax and freshen up. What happened next truly does still bring tears to my eyes! Before we left Nashville we surprised the kids with ornaments telling them we were going on the trip the same day that we left. Of course Ella was so excited, so I shared the video just to show our friends and family our next big adventure. Within hours I had numerous friends reach out to me via social media saying they may have a connection to a Rockette could but could not guarantee anything but would help make a call. I was truly not expecting anything but just grateful that I had friends who would take the time to even reach out and text or call to see if Ella could even meet one. For her it would seriously make her year. So within hours of our show I had two amazing girls reach out and offer to try and meet Ella after the show. I did not tell her because I did not want to get her hopes up but was just praying that her dreams would come true! Honestly just watching her excitement during the show was worth it. After the show our new friends Saigan and Katie outdid themselves by taking Ella backstage to see everything, even learned a few kicks! It really was magical!

After we brought Ella back down to reality we decided to use our ice skating tickets and attempt a few laps. The magical part was that it started snowing. It was like God was just smiling down on Ella and just seeing so many little things become so magical through a child’s eyes. We did not last long but it was fun! And just so you know you do also have to pay extra to rent the skates.

The best part of my day was finding good sushi! We went to a place near Rockefeller called Hama where we had the Omakasi. When you live in Nashville you have to take advantage of fresh sushi. Everything was amazing.

So overall we had a fun packed day! And everyone was ready for bed!