Friday, 12 June 2015

First Stop : New York

Where better to start our amazing American road trip than New York? Our travels began in the city that never sleeps, and there we met with my sister and parents to celebrate both my sister's 30th birthday and parents 40th wedding anniversary.  We all rented an apartment in New Jersey through Airbnb.  If you haven't heard of Airbnb before, you really need to, as it's an amazing website where you can rent properties all over the world.  You can find out more about our recent Paris trip using Airbnb here.  

The apartment we rented was absolutely stunning.  It was situated on the Hudson river and only a short train ride into central New York. You can find the apartment here, and for 4 nights, it worked out at only £280 per person. From our window we could see and admire that amazing New York skyline. Not a bad view whilst eating your breakfast. 

So onto day one, and the sun was shining.  We all headed out to the only place to go in the sun, Central Park. We strolled around Central Park and had a lovely lunch at a place called Tavern on the Green. I know they normally advise you to eat in the not so touristy areas, but when you have one hungry pregnant lady (me) and a hangry toddler (my daughter), you go where you can find. I can highly recommend the New York bagel.  

That afternoon, I took my sister to see Les Miserables on Broadway as a birthday treat. My sister adores Les Miserables and had been trying to recreate some of the songs for me on our walk to the show.  I must say, I'd seen the film, but wasn't the biggest fan. However, I am now a convert and the show was just amazing.  It's so worth going to see a show on Broadway if you get the chance.  

My mum and dad came to meet us afterwards and whilst they were waiting they saw Dame Helen Mirren appear from one of the other theatres.  I will try and get the grainy picture from my dad and pop it in if I can!

That night we were all exhausted from a mixture of jet-lag and pounding the streets of New York, so we ordered in a pizza which I munched away in my pjs whilst watching the city of New York doing its New Yorky things.
Day two and me, my husband, daughter and mum decided to have a wander to Hoboken in New Jersey.  My sister and dad had decided to go to the 9/11 memorial. We had some breakfast and did a little exploring before heading back to our apartment.  Right outside of our apartment was a play area, sand pit and water park which was free to use, this obviously got the thumbs up from my daughter!  Here she is is ordering my mum around aboard her boat and then handing me a ticket to her pirate ship. I just don't know where she gets her bossiness assertiveness from!  

In the evening, we strolled along the Hudson river and we were going to get a boat across to see the Statue of Liberty, but, unfortunately all of the boats had stopped at 5pm!!! We were determined for my mum to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty as she had never seen it, so we took this VERY zoomed in picture.  You can just about make out the statue by her hand! 

Day three and we headed to the New York High Line.  This wasn't there when I last went to New York and it was a must-see for me.  It's a public park built above the streets of Manhattan on an old rail road.  The walk along it was around 1.5 miles long with the vibrant city of New York humming below.  It was amazing walking between gorgeous smelling plants and flowers, in such a peaceful setting right in the heart of Manhattan. I'd highly recommend it and my daughter loved running free and walking along the benches looking at the views below. 

In the afternoon we popped to Madison Square gardens.  My mum decided to give the locals some of her biscuit (my mum always had some goodies stashed away in her handbag!).  I do mean squirrels here, though I have a feeling we probably shouldn't have fed them.  But nonetheless, I managed to snap this little fellow before he took a bite. 

There was a lovely children's play area in the gardens and we stayed a while, then headed to Central Park for ice-creams and to wander around the Shakespeare gardens. In the evening the three of us went to a local Thai restaurant called Box Bistro and Sushi Bar. It was absolutely delicious and I would highly recommend it. I have dreamt of Pad Thai since eating there.  

The next morning we waved goodbye to the city that never sleeps as we headed to JFK airport to catch our flight to San Francisco. 

Before I go, I thought I'd share a few travel tips from our New York trip... 

We used the tube to get around in New York, but we did find that not all stations had elevator access and this meant my husband having to either carry the stroller or we folded it down.  This wasn't a major problem, but something to bear in mind.  

When we needed to get to places in New Jersey we used the taxi service Uber.  I have never used them before but they were so much cheaper than when we hailed a cab.  The service is all done through your phone via an app and it gives you the cost and which drivers are in your area, and it even shows you their journey to get to you so you are not waiting around needlessly.  As it is all done on the app, you don't even need to pay in cash, its charged to your account. Sorry if I'm explaining something here that you already know about, but they don't have them in Derbyshire so the Uber service was a revelation to me and I'd highly recommend using them. 

There are so many places to eat in New York and New Jersey it can be a bit overwhelming. We used the Yelp app to help us find nearby restaurants and also see reviews.  It was really handy and we found the reviews to be very accurate.  It's definitely worth taking a look. 

So, next stop on our travels...San Francisco.  

And I would love to hear any tips or recommendations for New York. Comments are always welcome down below please. 

Thanks for reading, 

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