Wednesday, June 22, 2022

NYC - Part ONE

 EEEEK!  I've been DYING to tell y'all but we surprised the kids with a somewhat impromptu trip to NYC and had the absolute BEST TIME.  So here's a little back story... we had this week in June with nothing planned and I started looking into taking the kids somewhere solo like the JW Marriott in San Antonio, Sea World, etc.  I wasn't sure if Dave would be able to make his schedule work kind of last minute but when he was able to I started to expand my search to include beach rentals.  I know that some people are LOYAL beachgoers.... particularly 30A loyal beachgoers BUT I grew up going to beaches in NC and SC and, honestly, the thought of having to rent chairs and being 3 rows back from the water and all of that sounds not all that appealing (SORRY loyal beach people... I don't have any desire to go to Disney World either so there I go offending 90% of people - hahahaha)  Not saying it will never happen but I just need more details on how to not be stressed about it ;)

I started looking into going to Edisto Island (one of my FAVES from growing up) but things were pretty picked over and we decided to table that idea for an upcoming summer where we wouldn't be scrambling to book something (see... I'm not anti-beach!).  I decided to look into NYC and after a night of googling, researching, pricing, etc. we booked flights and a hotel!  (I booked all of this on 5/29 and we left 6/13!) 

We flew Delta into LGA and booked a hotel in the midtown/Central Park South area.  We knew we wanted to take the kids to see all the "touristy" things and so we bought each of us a  CityPASS which made it SUPER simple to book activities and then allowed me to kind of plan our days around those times.  The CityPASS gave us choices of activities (i.e. Guggenheim OR Top of the Rock) and saved a TON of money vs purchasing individual tickets.  We also had access to discount Broadway Tickets through CityPASS which was great as well.  

We decided not to tell the kids about the trip because what's better than a trip to NYC?  A SURPRISE trip to NYC ;) Mason had a football game last Sunday evening and when we piled back into the car all hot and sweaty they asked why we couldn't go out to eat with friends and I said... "oh... because we have to go home and pack... because we're going to New York tomorrow!"  Their reactions were HILARIOUS - you can see Luke just processing things, Mason is over the top excitement and Griffin burst into "happy tears" which, honestly, looked super sad. hahaha

We went home, packed and then everyone was up way too late with excitement ;) We left bright and early the next morning and couldn't have asked for a better experience. 


The flight attendants asked if they wanted to go check out the cockpit and you KNOW that was an easy yes ;)

I. Mean.

Our kids each brought their iPads and a book on the plane but that was it (Griffin also brought a notebook and markers).  We flew Delta and they all pretty much just watched movies on the seatback screens which was great.  I finished a book (WOO HOO!!!) and the flight couldn't have been better.

We flew into LaGuardia and had a car service (pre-arranged) pick us up and Dave and I were cracking up because these were the kids faces the entire ride into the city (faces alway up looking at the buildings)

We used Precision Cars based on great reviews and they were awesome.  Texted us when we landed, were right there to pick us up, waters in the car, etc.  We used them for our trip back to the airport and it was the same great service.  HIGHLY recommend if you're booking a trip!

We got checked into the hotel (I'll share more about the hotel in my next post!), took in the view from our room (hello, central park!) and pretty much hit the ground running.

We decided to head to Ellen's Stardust Diner a little bit early since we were all super hungry and I'm so glad we did because there was zero wait...

Ellen's is a super fun 50's themed diner with singing staff.  Like REALLY INCREDIBLE singing staff. 


We started our "food tour of NYC" ;) with a few Yankee Doodle burgers and OH MY WORD!  They were great but really didn't hold a candle to the performers.  My tip would be to go EARLY if you can to avoid the crazy long lines... we got there probably around 3:30 and walked right in but by the time we were leaving the line was down the block.

After that we headed over to Rockefeller Center because OF COURSE the kids wanted to check out the Lego and American Girl stores. G's face when she turned the corner and realized the store was about 5 times bigger than she thought ;)

 Griffin has been saving up her money and had decided she wanted to buy a new doll and had been begging me the week before this trip to take her to the American Girl store in Dallas and I'd been putting it off knowing that we'd be in NYC and how special it would be for her to pick one out here it was SO FUN!

LOOK HOW SWEET!  I hope she remembers this forever!

We were there until the store closed and then headed to the Lego Store which is FOR SURE something to check out even if you're not a huge Lego fan just because it's seriously so cool.  

After a little bit of shopping we hopped in an Uber and headed to the Empire State Building where we had 7:30 pm tickets (we were there a bit early).  The timing was great because it gave us lots of time to head up to the observation decks (there are all kinds of things to see on your way up....)

... and still be at the top to watch the sunset which was the plan.

Nothing else like it!

The weather was gorgeous and so we decided to walk back to the hotel and take in the city a little bit more on the way. 

Once we were back we showered and CRASHED hard!  Signs of a great first day ;)

I'll share more tomorrow - if you have any questions make sure to leave them in the comments!


  1. Beach recommendation! 30a doesn’t appeal to us either. High rises and rows of people on a beach isn’t our jam. If you do want to beach it for a vacation, I highly recommend checking out Anna Maria Island in Florida. My whole family has been going here forever (some of us even drive 19 hours instead of flying because we love it so much). I think your fam would love it. It’s quieter, no high rise buildings and absolutely beautiful.

  2. I love that you surprised the kids with the trip!!! I’m taking my two oldest to a Notre Dame football game in October and after I saw you surprised your kiddos I decided I’m not telling them unti we head to the airport! 🙃

  3. Andrea, you can just see the JOY!!!!!

  4. I loved following along with you on Instagram too! I love reading about trips like this and it's one of my favorite cities ever. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  5. We aren't Florida beach or Disney people either! Glad we aren't alone ha. We do love Indiana dunes/lake Michigan though. It's dreamy there and not so over rated and crowded.

  6. EEEE! I was SO excited to read this post! I absolutely LOVE NYC and have been many times myself. I have yearned to take my family there (my youngest is still a bit too young this year). I love the idea of a surprise trip! How fun!

  7. We don't do crowded beaches either. I grew up going to a small beach town in the Florida panhandle that not many people have heard about. I still take my kids there as often as possible. I lived in Hawaii for several years growing up and have experienced the crowded Waikiki and resort beaches & our family much preferred traveling to the leeward side of the island where tourists didn't go and we could actually be near the water. That crowded experience keeps me from trying out 30A. We much prefer no crowd!

    1. Would you be willing to share what beach town that is??

  8. So excited to read about this trip! Would love to go, but this trip feels overwhelming to me so hopefully, this blog will ease my stress!

  9. I want to know every detail of what you did there...I'm taking my son in two weeks! I haven't been since my first year of teaching (25 years ago), and have wanted to go back ever since. We decided to make it happen as his graduation present. We're staying at The Pod in Times Square.

  10. Oh...forgot to include my questions. What were your City Pass choices? Did you attempt the subway system? Any tips that a non-New Yorker might not think of? For example, I've heard that closed-toe shoes are a must (as opposed to Birks) because the sidewalks are so dirty.

  11. What a fun way to start the trip! I love NY and can't wait to go back.

  12. I love EVERYTHING about this!!!! What incredible memories!

  13. SO fun! We surprised our girls when they were 8 and 9, and it was one of our favorite trips ever. Their daddy even surprised them with "hair appointments" for their dolls while we shopped, and then had lunch in the tea room and saw a show - such a precious girl daddy moment.

  14. I highly recommend Edisto! We went last summer and our kids LOVED it. It is so chill, with just enough to keep everyone busy- dolphins in the channel, beaches, Botany Bay (must do!), great restaurants. It is very controlled as far as 'touristy' things. Our kids are 16, 14 and 12 but we had younger cousins along and they had a blast!


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