Sunday, March 30, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The red bud trees in every other yard which seemed to have only slight leaves yesterday, but are in full color this morning.
The common yellow wildflowers found in nearly every ditch and field in sight.
I know that the calendar says Spring does not arrive until tomorrow, but since we do everything bigger in Texas...I choose this year to consider it a 48 hour event!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Following Saturday's full day of adventure, we were ready to take it a little easier on Sunday. Robin, our tour guide extraordinaire, had told us that she had planned a surprise for us at 12:30 on Sunday and we had reservations for dinner at 7 pm...other than that, we could do whatever we wanted.
The show was fantastic. It was so much fun watching the choir as they got the audience involved. The Harlem Gospel Choir does not perform for you to sit and watch...they call you to participate in worship. You spend half of the time on your feet. The good southern food was just icing on the cake.
After brunch we headed out to do some souvenir shopping. We took our time as we made our way back to the room...stopping at The Phantom of Broadway, The New York Store (I think we actually stopped at two of those), the M & M store and finally stopping at the NBC store.
Once back at the room, we decided to rest before dinner and to get back early in order to pack for the airport the next morning. We headed back out to Tavern on the Green for dinner. The place was just as beautiful at night as it had been on Friday in the snow.
It was an amazing ending to an unforgettable trip. We went back to the hotel and did some miraculous packing. Since we had tried to keep it to one suitcase for the trip...getting all those souvenirs back home was quite a feat!
We woke early the next morning so as to meet the limo downstairs in plenty of time to make it through the long security lines we had seen at La Guardia when we arrived on Thursday. Thankfully, the long lines did not exist on Monday and we breezed through to our gate. The flight home was much quieter than the flight to NY...or maybe it was just because I couldn't hear out of my left ear so I couldn't tell if Robin or Stacy were talking to me. By the time we reached Houston I could barely make it off the plane. I came down with fever and chills that evening.
We took a few of these self portraits...but this is one of my favorites. It was a great time! As a matter of fact, as we sat at dinner on Sunday night we began planning our next Girls Weekend. We are thinking either San Francisco or Nashville!
Saturday, March 8, 2008
We started our day of adventure by descending the steps into the unknown world known as the SUBWAY. None of us had ever been on a subway before, much less in NY City. I have heard friends who have visited NY talk about the subway, so I had an idea in my mind of how it would work out. We had picked up a subway map on Thursday and studied it the night before to determine where we would need to begin our journey. As we descended the steps, a little bit of anxiety began to spread through our group. Scenes from all those thriller movies began to replay in our minds as we tried to figure out how to navigate this new form of public transportation.
The World Trade Center site was a somber place. Everyone spoke in hushed tones. You could overhear quiet conversations of people who were there that fateful day as they walked along with friends or family members who were visiting. There were those who shed tears as they toured the site and those who wanted to share their conspiracy theories...but in most people there was a simple reverence as each person experienced the moments in their memories once again. I am glad we went, but it is such a personal experience that it is hard to describe to anyone else. We had trouble even sharing it with one another while we were there together.
Upon leaving the WTC, we walked back down into the subway to catch the next train over to Brooklyn. We planned to have lunch at Grimaldi's Pizzeria Under the Brooklyn Bridge. Zagat's calls it the best pizza in New York. It was well worth the trouble and the wait. It was unlike any pizza I have ever eaten before...but it was delicious. I will admit the first slice we all were wondering what the hype was all about...but once we folded that second piece and took a bite, we knew that this was some good stuff. The pizzas are made in a brick oven right there in the middle of the restaurant. (You have to pass it to get to the bathroom.) It is a tiny place with tables lining the walls and then placed in rows through the middle of the restaurant. But let me tell you every seat was filled when we arrived and as soon as someone left there was someone new waiting to be seated. The hospitality was great and we were asked to visit the new location that would be opening in Sugarland this spring. We plan to make a girls night of it and wear our subway t-shirts when we go. We feel the need to make sure it is as good as the original. (Ha! We just look for an excuse to get together!)
Once back in Manhattan, we headed for Chinatown. Word on the street is that you can pick up really cheap (in other words, knock off) designer bags in Chinatown. Robin just wanted to find a store with the whole pigs hanging in the window so that she could take a picture of it. We found half a pig, and upon inquiring with a shop owner were told that you have to arrive early in the morning to see the whole pig because they carve off of him all day! This was the most crowded area we had encountered. It was busier than Times Square had been. As you walk down the street amongst the crowd, you hear people talking about handbags and watches...but they come right up to you so that you are the only one who can hear them. It was a little freaky at first. At one point, we found ourselves on a side street when a lady walked out of an apartment building across the street from us. In the middle of the street she answered her cell phone and continued to walk to where we stood. To anyone else, it looked like she was just having a conversation on her telephone...but she was actually trying to get us to follow her to a shop which had a back room with fake handbags!
We returned to the hotel and freshened up for dinner. The concierge got us reservations at Smith and Wollensky that evening. Being from Texas, we had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity for a good steak and they did not disappoint. We shared a wonderful appetizer platter of steamed seafood. They had the biggest shrimp I have ever seen...and I have seen some pretty good sized ones around here. I had a marinated Cajun ribeye that was out of this world good! During dinner our waiter happened to mention that we had celebrities dining at a nearby table. We looked over to see Vince McMahon, Triple H, Undertaker and several of the other wrestlers from the WWE. As it turns out, they were having dinner before heading over to Madison Square Gardens for a boxing match. Stacy and Robin even got pictures with some of them. What a fitting end to our day of adventure!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
After changing into warmer clothing, we decided to head toward Central Park. On the way, we found out why all NYers wear boots. I wore a pair of leather tennis shoes, and though my feet were still dry and warm, the slush at the street corners was getting thicker and harder to get through without stepping in a puddle. Robin's boots were doing fine in the weather as well, though she had to watch where she stepped to keep from getting the water over the sole. However, Stacy's boots were not living up to expectations and her feet were already wet. We ended up in Journeys footwear on 5th where Stacy was able to find a good pair of all weather boots. All three of us ended up buying a pair and taking our shoes back to the room before starting for Central Park again. It was much easier not having to watch our every step.
Central Park was truly a sight to behold! The schools had been closed for the day and the park was full of children...sledding, building snowmen, throwing snowballs, enjoying the snow. Here are a few of the pictures from Central Park where we spent most of Friday. You will quickly see why I kept hearing the words to "Winter Wonderland" in my head all day.
Several hours after entering the park, we were trying to decide whether to leave to find some lunch or to find Strawberry Fields and then lunch. We soon stumbled upon this sign and the answer to our dilemma:
We had the most wonderful lunch in the Crystal Room facing the park. We were able to sit and enjoy a leisurely meal (we were probably there for over two hours) while admiring the winter landscape that the Lord had painted. It was truly picture perfect.
We continued walking north in the park and took the opportunity to make snow angels in the undisturbed snow. At the Great Lawn we turned east and headed toward the opposite side of the park. Upon exiting near 81st, we decided to walk back to Tiffany's before heading back to our room. Around 76th, we decided to hail a taxi instead of walking!
Tiffany's was quite an experience in itself. There were people everywhere! The diamonds were gorgeous and they will not be going out of business any time soon.
We walked back to our room to rest for a little while before looking for a place to eat dinner. We decided to eat at a local pub recommended by the doorman called Ashtons. We enjoyed another relaxing meal among the locals before heading back to the room for a little rest before our next day of adventure!
Grand total snowfall during New York's first significant winter storm: around 9"
There is no way we could have planned to arrive the day before it started or to leave the day after the airline schedules finally returned to normal. It was a blessing that could not have been planned, but was most certainly not missed by us. The Lord was good to us during our Girl's Weekend 2008.