New York City, Day 1

It’s been over a year since Dan and I left our apartment in Brooklyn, so we figured it was time to go back and visit our old stomping grounds.

Our trip to New York City got off to a rough start when we missed our train, but fortunately, we live close enough to drive, so that’s what we did. It took us a few hours (with traffic) to get into Manhattan on Saturday. When we finally got there, Dan dropped me off in Chinatown and continued on to Brooklyn. I had lunch plans with some of my college friends, while he wanted to spend time at his old tattoo shop.

Sanur Restaurant

My friends and I had lunch at Sanur, one of our favorite little hole-in-the-wall restaurants. We caught up, talked about old times, and chatted about the future. I always enjoy hanging out with this group, and count them among my very best friends. They were my support system throughout all four years of college; I couldn’t have graduated without them.

Brooklyn

After lunch, I took the subway into Brooklyn and met back up with Dan. We spent a few hours catching up with his old co-workers and just enjoying being back in our old neighborhood. It’s a strange thing, to be a tourist in a town you once called home. Storefronts change, people come and go, and yet the essence of the city, of our old neighborhood, remains the same, just the way we left it a year ago.

Manhattan

When dinner time rolled around, we met up with my brother, who still lives in Brooklyn. He took us to another great little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Rub BBQ. Though a bit pricey, it’s definitely worth it for their award winning, slow cooked barbecue, not to mention their fried green tomatoes and fried Oreos.

After a long day walking around the city, we said goodbye to my brother around 9 o’clock and called it a night. We had reservations at a hotel in Herald Square, so we checked in and enjoyed a few hours of the Olympics before falling asleep.

To be continued…

North Carolina and New Orleans, Part 2

Continued from Part 1…

East Coast Vacation 2012

Saturday, May 5th, was spent traveling. Dan and I returned our rental car to the Raleigh airport around noon, then sat around waiting for our flight, which wasn’t scheduled to take off until 2:30. Unfortunately, the airline kept us waiting long past our original departure time due to a broken overhead compartment door on the airplane. When we finally took off, it was after 4 pm. Fortunately, we had scheduled enough time into our layover in Houston in case something like this happened, so when we landed in Texas, we had fifteen minutes to spare before our second flight took off.

Flight

We didn’t get into New Orleans until after 8 that night, but we still made it a point to get some traditional po’ boys for dinner.

French Quarter, New Orleans

French Quarter, New Orleans

New Orleans was, of course, beautiful. It was a little hot (low 90°s) and humid (~90%), but nothing unbearable. The first day we were there, we walked around the French Quarter with my parents, drank Dirty Bananas, had lunch in Jackson Square (gumbo, jambalaya, and alligator nuggets), then went for a dip in the pool .

Lunch in the French Quarter

Our second full day in New Orleans (Monday, for those of you following along) was spent walking around the local mall and enjoying Chick-fil-A. After our shopping trip, we went for a quick swim in the pool, then went back out again to see The Avengers at The Theatres at Canal Place. (Yes, we saw The Avengers twice while on vacation. It was that good!) What was neat about this theater was the fact that they served you dinner while you watched the movie. Their flatbread pizzas were particularly delicious!

Pool

Our final day in New Orleans was spent walking around the Audubon Zoo. Yes, it was hot out, but the animals were a lot of fun.

Audubon Zoo

Audubon Zoo

White Alligator

Wednesday was our last day of traveling, and by far one of our busiest days yet. We drove to the airport, flew from Louisiana to New Jersey, took a shuttle from the New Jersey airport to a train station, took the train into New York City, took a cab from Penn Station to Port Authority, took a bus up to our hometown, then drove home from the bus station.

We had a lot of fun on our vacation, but by the time we got home, I was exhausted and looking forward to falling back into my usual routine. We’ve been doing a lot of traveling these last few weeks, and the summer hasn’t even started yet.

Have you done any exciting traveling lately? Where you are going this summer? Let me know in the comments.

North Carolina and New Orleans, Part 1

East Coast Vacation 2012

My grandfather (who I affectionately refer to as Granddaddy) is turning 95 next week, and every time I talk to him on the phone, he asks when he’s going to see me again. Considering I haven’t seen him in over five years and Dan has never met him, we decided to make a pit stop in North Carolina for a couple of days before making our annual trip to New Orleans to visit my parents.

Toyota Camry

On Thursday, May 3rd, Dan and I woke up at the crack of dawn in order to get to the rental car office by 8 am. When we arrived, we were greeted with a beautiful, brand new, 2012 Toyota Camry with only 1200 miles on it. (The above photo was taken after a few hours of driving.)

Travelling

The trip from New York to North Carolina only took us 11 hours, including the three pit stops we made to eat, pee, and gas up. Our goal was to make it to our hotel before 10 pm, so that we would have time to drop off our stuff before going to the midnight premiere of The Avengers.

Travelling

We were way ahead of schedule when we rolled into town around 8. We checked into the hotel, went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner, and still made it to the movie with plenty of time to spare.

Avengers Ticket

My review of the Avengers: Five stars. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go. Right now.

After the movie, we didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 3, and then we had to be up the next morning around 10, which resulted in us not getting a lot of sleep. I think the excitement of being on vacation pulled us through, though, because we were right on time when we got to Granddaddy’s house at noon on Friday.

Granddaddy

My grandfather is, by far, one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. He was a professional baseball scout for years, as well as a coach and an athlete. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, and even has his own Wikipedia page. His own Wikipedia page!

We spent a few hours with my Granddaddy and step-grandma, talking and reminiscing, catching up and exchanging photos. Even though my grandfather’s health is starting to decline, he’s still sharp as a tack. He can remember every detail of everything that’s happened over the last 50+ years – every event, every person he’s met, where he met them, what he ate for breakfast on a Friday in 1943, even the baseball stats of some of the first players he scouted. Are you impressed yet? You should be. My grandfather is amazing.

Because of his age and the fact that we live so far away, it was incredibly sad having to say goodbye. It’s hard to accept the fact that I may never see him again, but I’m so glad we took the opportunity to visit when we did.

After we left his house, we trekked across town to have dinner with my sister, whom I also haven’t seen in a very, very long time. We keep in touch on Facebook, but it was still exciting to see her and her kids again. Can you see the resemblance?

Sisters

By the time we left my sister’s house and got back to our hotel, it was late and we had to be up early the next morning to catch our flight to New Orleans.

To be continued…