While Dave was studying for the CPA, we started talking about taking our first trip for just the two of us since Charlie was born after he passed. Our first thought was some sort of all-inclusive resort in Mexico or the Carribbean…we’ve actually never done a resort-type trip together, and the chance to completely relax was seriously appealing. Once we changed our mind about flying somewhere, though, we said “What would be one of the toughest cities to visit with a toddler?” and New York City came to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I know people take their little kids to NYC all the time and have a blast, but the way we love traveling there consists of long walks, multi-course meals, and late night drinks, and those are all things that are admittedly easier without a two-year-old in tow :) New York City has played a deeply special role in our relationship ever since our long-distance dating days when we would meet up there some weekends, and since we hadn’t been in a few years, we loved the idea of making a return trip for our post-CPA celebration.
We scored a fantastic deal on a room at the gorgeous High Line Hotel (I think since we were there the Sunday-Wednesday right before Thanksgiving when not many people are staying in hotels!), and once we had the all-set from Dave’s exam results and an ambitious-but-effective driving plan in place, we got to work planning a fun few days away in one of our favorite places. I cried a little when we left Charlie, but as our trip unfolded, I realized what an incredible gift it was to be able to give Dave my undivided attention and to receive his in return. Even if we don’t make this big of a trip too often, we hope to steal away for at least one weekend a year from now on!
For my own memories (one of the best things about blogging = all the vacation memories I’ve been able to record!) and in case you have a New York City trip on the horizon and are interested in our itinerary, here’s what we did!
Day one: We drove from Syracuse on Sunday afternoon, parked at Croton-Harmon, and took the Metro North into the city, which worked out very seamlessly. Dave went to weekend grad school in the city years ago and used this travel route, so he’s a pro :) We arrived just before dinner, in time to check in to our hotel and get freshened up. We walked a block down the road to Empire Diner for dinner and loved it–our food was delicious, and the restaurant was super cozy, so it felt heavenly on a cold evening. Anxious to take in the city a little, we walked on the High Line after dinner–being steps away was one of the best parts of staying at our hotel (closely followed by the beautiful decor and the C.O. Bigelow bath products they provided that I am now kind of obsessed with).
Day two: This was our sleeping-in day, and man, even though I woke up naturally at 7:30, I felt so rested! How many years till Charlie starts sleeping past 6:30..? Dave woke up earlier and grabbed coffee and a scone from the bar downstairs, so we snacked on that and then got ready for the day. I had scheduled a late breakfast/early lunch at Buvette, which was bustling with people, even on a Monday. We cozied up at the bar for our meal, which I always love–it’s fun sitting close and watching the chefs/baristas at work! Afterwards, we took the subway up to Midtown to go to daily Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, one of our favorite places in the world (Dave was planning to propose there, but I guessed it, so he changed his plan. We joke he’ll have to give me my ten-year anniversary ring there someday instead!). Next, we popped into Tiffany’s to say hi to a friend who works there (what a cool job, right?), and so I could pick up the souvenir I’d been eyeing, this darling scarf. Can’t resist that pretty blue :) We also wandered around a little to see some of the department store decorations, something we always do when we’re in New York around the holidays, and then walked over to the Bryant Park Christmas Market. We weren’t originally planning on stopping for another meal till dinner, but breakfast wasn’t as big as we had anticipated, so off to Shake Shack we went. I’m not sure Dave would have let us leave NY if we hadn’t made it there, so it worked out fine!
After going back to the hotel to relax for a bit, we walked over to Chelsea Market to go to Corkbuzz. Fun fact about Dave and me: we are a little obsessed with wine documentaries. As a result, we jump at the chance to talk to sommeliers, and the one at Corkbuzz was awesome. After a few glasses of wine, we stopped at Dickson’s Farmstand for a quick dinner that was unexpectedly one of our favorite meals of our trip. Everything was SO flavorful, and hot dogs, mac and cheese, and brussels sprouts hit the spot after getting a little bit of a buzz from the wine, ha! Most of the shops in Chelsea Market were closing by the time we finished, but Le Song had a live jazz band playing and nutella beignets on the menu, two things we couldn’t resist, so we ended our evening there. The whole night was low-key, but so much fun.
Day three: I knew I needed to fit at least one training run into our trip, so we decided to do a bucket list run…all the way around Central Park! We ran the perimeter, plus two extra miles around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in order to hit my eight-mile goal. This was literally my favorite workout of my life–I wish I could do all of my runs there! After getting showered and dressed back at the hotel, we headed out in search of authentic NY pizza (my qualifications are “I need to be able to smell it from outside and the slices need to be bigger than my face”). We found our perfect running reward slices at Village Pizza (no website, but they’re on 8th Ave. at 13th St.) and devoured them on the sidewalk! We spent the rest of the day wandering around, stopping into whatever stores looked fun, including a few that have been on my list, like the gorgeous Sezane store and the Margaux flagship. Dave is a great sport about shopping, which I appreciate :) We refueled with coffee and a croissant at Maman, which was fun to revisit almost three years after I posted about them here. It was as lovely as I remembered!
We headed back to the hotel in the afternoon to lie down for a bit…let’s just say an eight-mile run followed by an additional four miles of walking may not have been our best-thought-out plan. We relaxed and did some reading, and then got dressed up for dinner. Long story not-so-short, we ended up canceling the reservation we had made since we didn’t feel like that type of food, Uber-ing to another restaurant to find they had a two-hour wait, walking to a place nearby and sitting down for an appetizer (only to decide the entrees were too pricey and didn’t sound that great), Uber-ing back to Chelsea, and ending up at a cozy Italian spot, right down the street from our hotel. We have a sweet memory of a similar spot we ate at during our trip to New York a few weeks after we got engaged, so we couldn’t have been happier to finish our trip there! The restaurant was Pepe Giiallo and our pasta dishes hit the spot after a long, active day. Unrelated, they decorated our hotel for Christmas on this day, so we arrived back to find it beautifully lit up–so fun!
Day four: We got up bright and early to squeeze in daily Mass before hitting the road, with the hopes of beating the day-before-Thanksgiving traffic. We walked to St. Michael the Archangel for Mass in a tiny side chapel, and then stopped at Empire Diner again en route back to our hotel for one last big meal. As much as we enjoyed this place for dinner, I think we liked it for breakfast even more. Then we packed up our hotel room and started the trip back to Syracuse to snuggle our boy!
We love you, New York! Be back soon :)