Every year, my sister and I take a weekend road trip to New York City. Unlike most road trips, we ride a bus and sleep the entire way there. Leaving on Thursday night, and returning Monday morning, we travel for 10 hours each way.
Last year, we stayed for three days, traveling around Manhattan. On Friday morning, we walked around Times Square, before finding a double decker tour bus to ride. While on the bus, we went to Battery Park, which faces the New York Harbor. We also passed the Statue of Liberty, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, and the Plaza Hotel.
As typical tourists, there were certain attractions that we had to explore. Since we go to New York in December, we always try to see the Rockefeller Center decorated for Christmas. This is my favorite part of the trip because Christmas is my favorite holiday. Being surrounded by so many lights and decorations is the highlight of my trip. I could spend an entire day looking at it all. Eventually we had to leave and at the end of the first day, we ate at one of the many “Best Pizza in New York” restaurants and headed back to our hotel.
The next morning we decided to see more of the buildings and monuments around the city, and check out Central Park. Our first stop was the September 11th Memorial and the Freedom Tower, or One World Trade Center. There is such a feeling of serenity when standing at the memorial, especially so early in the morning. Standing there, and imagining the events that took place is one of the most memorable experiences, and I know that I will never forget that feeling.
When we got to Central Park, there were so many people. We did not really have a plan, so we just started walking through the park. My sister is a huge fan of Gossip Girl, so she wanted to see the location where Chuck and Blair were married. Having packed our lunches that day, we walked around until we found a nice spot to sit and eat our lunches. Every time we sit in Central Park, I think of how beautiful it must be in the fall when all of the leaves are changing colors, and that is all there is, as far as you can see. Of course, the park is beautiful in the winter as well. With the exception of the September 11th Memorial, this was probably the most calming part of our trip. Despite all of the people, I felt so clam walking through the trees. Maybe it is because I am from a rural North Carolina town, but I love a good walk through nature.
I also love anything sweet and chocolatey, which led us to the Cake Boss Bakery. Knowing how much of a sweet tooth I have, I had to limit myself to three desserts. I ended up with a canola, peanut butter cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies. That ended our second day, and we went back to our hotel before our final day.
Our last day in New York is always spent shopping. First, we go to Chinatown and Little Italy, where I like to stock up on small trinkets, like keychains and postcards. I also get small gifts for my family while I am here. My sister usually buys a few things for herself, but saves her big shopping for Times Square. After leaving the smaller stores of Chinatown and Little Italy behind, we go in almost every clothing store in and around Times Square. If my sister can find it, we will stop there. That is all that we do on our third day, before riding back home throughout Sunday night. Every year, we try to find some new monument or area of the city to explore.