Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hoboken & New York!

Two weeks ago, we took a little vacation out to Hoboken to visit John's aunt and uncle, who are super hip and totally rock at city living. Though they don't live in New York City, they both work in NYC and are a super short ferry ride, bus ride, or sub ride (the options!) away. If I'm being honest, I actually liked Hoboken a little better than NYC. (Don't hate me!) It's just... slower, but still with lots of great dining options and cool stuff within walking distance. However, that doesn't mean we didn't live it up doing NYC stuff: shows, delicious food, shopping, a museum... we fit in as much as we could with the 3 days we had and it was honestly perfect!

We left Memphis Monday evening and as soon as we got to the airport, things started to get delayed, like really delayed. Our 2 hour layover quickly got gobbled up by bad weather and turned into a 1/2 hour layover, and then by the time the plane landed in Chicago, we basically had no layover and ended up being those people who had to run to their gate. Winded and sweaty, we arrived at the gate only to see our New York plane hanging out, but with doors shut. Womp womp, no luck for us. Once those doors are shut, they don't open 'em for nobody. And it was late, around 9pm, so no other flights were headed to NYC that night. Stuck in Chicago we were! 

We made the best of it by kindly talking a Southwest rep into getting us a hotel room for the night. Turns out, if you're really calm and polite with your request, they'll likely oblige! Woohoo free hotel room! I spent the rest of the night gorging myself on HGTV and the Food Network and it felt so good. The next morning we woke at 3:30am (oof) to catch our 6am flight and made it to New York around 9am. Not too bad, considering most of the time we missed in New York would have been sleeping time anyway. 

While waiting for our bags, we noticed a dressed up dude holding a sign that had our last name on it! I definitely felt like a celebrity for a second. Turns out, John's aunt had gotten us car service, pretty neat. And this guy definitely gave us a proper tour of the city as he drove us through to Hoboken. Swerving in and out of lanes, riding the bumpers in front of him, going a little too fast most of the time... it was actually a fun welcome to the big apple, no joke!

But obviously, the real fun started when we finally arrived at John's aunt and uncle's house in Hoboken! We started off our adventures right by going to the most delicious Italian sandwich shop ever and enjoyed our yummies overlooking the Hudson River in a park on the Hoboken side. Delightful!

After lunch, that 3:30am wake-up call really started to catch up with us, so we relaxed a bit by unpacking and then passed out for a few hours. Man, vacations are awesome!

Later, we headed into the city for dinner and a show and I took this panorama at the ferry station. We were still in Hoboken and NYC is across the river in the background.

Dinner was at a delicious Italian restaurant, Scarlatto's, near all the Broadway shows. The salmon and gnocchi were fantastic! (Side note -- I totally ditched the diet for this trip. Not sorry.)

And once dinner wrapped up, we made our way over to Once the Musical. It was SO good! All of the musicians were also actors in the show. So much talent! And the live music was gorgeous. Plus, the stage is a bar that you can actually go up on and order drinks from before it starts or during intermission, so that was neat! This show is a traveling one now, so if it comes to your city, I highly recommend it!

The next day, we met up with John's aunt at work on the 27th floor of a very tall building in NYC. The view was pretty neat.

And then we all walked around Rockefeller Plaza and ate lunch at a tasty French bistro place called Morrell Wine Bar & Cafe. I noticed a delicious looking bakery next door, Bouchon, so right after lunch, I popped in there and got myself some macarons and a flavored green tea. Let's just say I'm officially addicted to macarons now. It's a good thing no one in Memphis sells them. A really good thing.

With delicious treats in hand, we walked around a bit and found...

A giant bush shaped like an animal's head, right near the Rockefeller ice skating rink.

Aunt Mary, Uncle Tom, and John

St. Patrick's Cathedral, majorly under construction. Since I had my macarons and green tea with me, we weren't able to explore the inside. Bummer town. But the short glimpses we got were gorgeous, construction and all.

Uniqlo, a HUGE Japanese clothing store, now selling very affordable fashionable clothes in the U.S. We didn't buy anything. It was just a wild experience taking it all in.

And then we went for more of a walk by Central Park and landed at the Shops at Columbus Circle, where I bought a pinkish red lip treatment from Sephora and we got some drinks at Center Bar, a little bar with a sweet view.

We made our way back toward Hoboken just in time to catch an old friend and community member from my Jesuit Volunteer Corps days. We decided to grab dinner on a boat that rides along the Hudson river, the North River Lobster Company. The food was yum, the sunset was gorg, and catching up with an old friend was lovely.

My friend and old JVC community member, Katie!

Unintentionally photo bombed.

After dinner wrapped up, we headed back into Hoboken via ferry and felt very proud of our independence, figuring out the transportation system on our own. So, it was only natural to treat ourselves to some froyo once on the other side of the river. We relaxed on a bench on the pier, froyo in hand, NYC as our backdrop... it was a lovely way to end the evening.

Breakfast the next morning was at a fantastic Cuban place in Hoboken, La Isla Restaurant, a restaurant featured on that Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I wish I had gotten a picture because it was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip. Tourist fail!

We spent our last afternoon of vacation at the Cloisters, a museum in northern Manhattan, and branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum was put together by Rockefeller himself, and what makes it super neat is that the building is made up of parts of 5 different Cloistered abbeys from various countries that he purchased over time, shipped over to the U.S., and rebuilt, brick by brick, in NYC.  The museum also features approximately five thousand European medieval works of art, mostly Christian artwork.

The little outdoor spaces, called cloisters, tucked into parts of the building, were my favorite. 

This doorway was pretty neat. And old!

Then again, the old statues were wonderful too!

And the old stained glass windows.

Entire chapels transported over from Europe.

John acting like a monk in the recreated monastery gardens. 

Actually, maybe the gardens were my favorite part. They had all the plants in different sections (kitchen herbs, plants used in brewing beer, a medicinal garden), and it was fun to see what types of plants they used for various things. There were even some poisonous plants in the mix!

And apparently, they would grow fruit-yielding plants like you see in the picture below in order for the branches to all receive the best sunlight and therefore produce the most fruit. It required meticulous grooming of the plant. I love the geometricalness of it. 

The boys found the hops plant and then hung out underneath it.

More artwork, including a gorgeous tapestry there on the left.

Another gorgeous chapel.

Another little outdoor walkway.

Seriously, yet another gorgeous chapel.

And a beautiful view of the Hudson River from an outdoor patio. Apparently, in addition to the space he purchased to build the museum, Rockefeller also purchased all the land across the river from the Cloisters so that it would have a perfect, uninterrupted view. See? Nothing behind us! That type of empty space is unheard of in NYC!

Oh, look! A bridge!

And a view of the Cloisters from the outside.

After our museum trip, I obviously had to make one more stop at my favorite Italian deli, Vito's. And pose for a picture.

I know I've posted this before, but LOOK AT THIS SANDWICH AGAIN!!!

Roasted red peppers, fresh (made in-house) mozzarella, pesto, that bread!!

We took a pre-dinner break and just chillaxed for a while. I may have napped. It was probably glorious.

Then, we headed back into the city for our last NYC meal at Marseille, a really fun (and, of course, tasty) French Bistro.

And our uncle had bought us tickets to a jazz club, Birdland, so we headed there next and saw Tierney Sutton do her jazz thang. She covered lots of Joni Mitchell music, even one heart wrenching song about Joni Mitchell choosing to place her daughter for adoption. Whew. Barely made it through that one without a tear. It was wonderful.

And that was it!

We made our way back to Memphis the next morning, tummies full, hearts happy, and adventure accomplished.

Pretty much everything you see here, all of our NYC adventures, were suggested to us by John's aunt and uncle, so we really have them to majorly thank for such a fantastic trip! Good food, brilliant shows, a very Catholic museum... let's just say they know us well.

And, of course, his aunt and uncle have already invited us back for another visit because we hardly saw a fraction of a fraction of what the city has to offer. I mean, I didn't even lay my eyes on the Statue of Liberty. I know!! Crazy, right? But also a great excuse to return.

They also invited us on a joint Caribbean vacation, so I suppose we'll just have to do that too.

But for a good while now, we'll just be spending our time at home in Memphis, adventuring around town, relaxing when we can, staying put so that we're ready as soon as our adoption agency calls.

And that's all good. Because honestly, stay-cations can be just as awesome as vacations. And I'm thinking adoption is worth staying put for. :)


  1. Looks like an awesome did a lot of fun stuff! I agree...adoption is worth staying home for but just imagine the places you will go when your little tike is old enough to endure long car rides or plane trips!

    1. How old is "old enough"? Knowing us, we'll be ready to travel once that little one has arrived. Ha! We have a serious travel bug. :) But for now, we're happy to stay in Memphis and await that call. Fingers crossed and prayers said that it happens soon. And same for you!!

  2. Soooooooo fun. Pretty pictures. Never heard of Hoboken, but it looks and sounds lovely. I want to go to New York now, and see the pretty. Too bad u got stuck in Chicago, but sounds like you made the most of it.

    1. We didn't even know the Cloisters existed until John's aunt and uncle mentioned it! So happy they did. It's gorgeous! We definitely made the most of getting stuck in Chicago and I even thought of you guys while we were there!

  3. You're trip looked like so much fun!!! I wish we would have known about the Cloisters museum when we were there in March, it looks so beautiful!! Darn! Next time! Also, my sister's best friend has an apartment in Hoboken and she always loves going there. I've never been but I've heard nothing but great like you said, it's just a hop skip and jump from the city! :)

    1. Yes, next time you must check out the Cloisters and Hoboken. And then share all your pics because yours are always gorgeous! Both are hidden gems. :)

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Stephanie! Hope you have a chance to get away or just relax a bit extra this summer!

  5. OK, you are giving me major wanderlust... your trip looks awesome!!! What a perfect variety of art, culture, and fun! And your pictures are just adorable. T and I are trying to plan a trip for sometime in October...this is just further inspiration to make something happen! Glad you had such a good time!!! And on your next trip, your newest accessory will be a babe in a backpack I bet :)

    1. So excited you're going on a trip in October. It's so fun to plan vacations! I'd love to hear what you end up choosing as your destination. :) And I hope you'll do a trip post too, because I always loving hearing about different cities and such, what people saw, and especially what they ate. Haha. I'm a foodie at heart. We're really hoping a little babe gets to come along on our next trip, for sure. :D

  6. This brings back soooooooo many memories of when we lived there!

    We took our engagement photos in the city around November when the ice skating rank was up...

    NY is our favorite state for city and nature :)

    1. It's definitely a fantastic city! I'm already jonesing to get back because we have a lot more exploring to do. I'm not sure I've ever seen your engagement pics. I bet they're lovely! :) There's something quite romantic about that city, and especially about ice skating.

  7. Looks awesome! I've never been to NYC, and I would like to check it out sometime, though there are other travel items on the list before that. I've never heard of the Cloisters museum, but it looks awesome!

    1. It's definitely a good city to put on your list. :) You would LOVE the Cloisters museum. And I'm sure you'd photograph it waaaayyy better than I did. I'm curious to hear what else is on that travel list of yours!

  8. All that fresh mozz! Om nom nom nom nom!

  9. New Diet Taps into Revolutionary Idea to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 12-23 Pounds in Just 21 Days!


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