Eastern Tour 2014: Connecticut and NYC

After a beautiful few days around the San Francisco area, John and I hopped a cross-country flight to JFK. A short car ride landed us in John’s hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut at his father’s home. This Southern California girl has always been fascinated by the East Coast. Everything is different: the food, the people, the history, the architecture, the weather. Despite the freezing downpour outside, we were cozy inside the apartment (I need to invest in an electric blanket).

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We spent the next few days exploring John’s old stomping grounds, hitting some of his favorite eateries, catching up with Dad and John’s step-mother, Kenny. I adore the beautiful old homes and rolling hillsides and ancient rock walls. One evening, I had a date with three handsome boys: John, his father, and a dear friend from John’s childhood. Each time I visit Greenwich, I get a bigger glimpse at what makes John who he is.

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Our next stop on the Eastern Tour involved a train. I have an inexplicable fear of trains- subways especially– and I knew that this vacation would be the chance to conquer it. The desire to be brave doesn’t make it any easier, however. It was a huge relief to arrive at Grand Central Station, and a surprise to see how stunning the building is.

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We stayed at the Nu Hotel in Brooklyn since all of our New York friends live there. We were in a bit of a rush when we first arrived, but I fell in love with the old buildings and spied some firemen hanging Christmas lights. Charming! We had time to drop off our things and change clothes before an event I’d been eagerly anticipating: the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Knowing that we were kicking off our “Christmas in the city” leg of the trip with the Rockettes made the crowded subway ride a little easier.

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The show was indeed spectacular, with the audience full of happy children and laughing grown-ups. I felt so grateful to be there that I teared up a few times. What a beautiful experience!

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Our Christmas kick-off in New York City had just begun. After the show, we rode the elevator up 65 floors to the rooftop bar at the Rockefeller Center for martinis and champagne. We braved the cold and sipped our drinks outside on the Observation Deck, soaking in the best view in the city and sneaking a kiss or two. So romantic!

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Afterward, we strolled through huge crowds of holiday gawkers and took a few selfies at the famous Christmas tree of Rockefeller Center. Though it was somewhat bigger in my imagination, it was colorful and sparkling and gorgeous. I heard people speaking all sorts of different languages around me, and love the thought that each of us were there to do the same thing: feel the magic of the holiday in NYC. We made our way to a tiny Italian place called Bianca and met a tableful of old friends. We laughed our way through incredible food and many bottles of wine until the wee hours of morning.

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We slept late the next day, finding legit New York bagels and good coffee for brunch before heading to the Museum of Modern Art. We strolled through art exhibits that I didn’t really get and met another friend for lunch. We headed back to Brooklyn (via devil train) for a little downtime before meeting another crew of old friends for dinner at a bourbon bar called Char No. 4. Like the night before, we spent the evening laughing, catching up, and eating delicious food. Oh, and meeting 8 week-old Arthur!

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In the morning, John stayed back at the hotel to do some work while I met my friend, Betsy, and sweet baby James for a crisp, beautiful stroll in Prospect Park. I was reminded again that this was a special time to be visiting: the farmers market under the Soldiers and Sailors Arch was full of holiday goodies and Christmas tree vendors were working hard, their trees piled upon each other on the sidewalks.

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After my fun (and too short) time with Betsy, John and I went to Franny’s for lunch. It was a place that numerous friends had recommended and they were right- the roasted vegetable farro salad and white pizza were unbelievable. John and I took a long stroll through Brooklyn after lunch and I momentarily daydreamed about what it would be like to live in one of the classic, gorgeous brownstones. What a very different life than in Park City.

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Later, we went to some friends’ house and visited with their 3 year-old twins before heading out for a cocktail and another fabulous dinner. Afterward, we met other friends at a private holiday party, complete with a Christmas carol sing-a-long, an incredible DJ, and homemade ornaments as our parting gift from the hostess. Very Brooklyn– and a fitting end to our time in New York. It was time to move on and continue our Tour de East.

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Coming up next: Family time in Princeton, New Jersey and a day in Philadelphia with John’s ancestors, cheesesteaks, and hockey.

Got the travel bug? Check out more of our adventures on the TRAVEL BLISS page

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