Another way that we saved money was buying food at grocery stores instead of restaurants (not that we invented this tactic–lots of seasoned travelers do this!). Anyone who’s ever been inside of a Dean & Deluca knows that it’s a food lover’s dream, so you’re not missing out on the New York foodie experience by getting something to go from a grocery store rather than a formal eatery. We probably spent like 40 minutes looking around and trying samples before deciding what to get for our picnic outside of the Met.
After the MoMA we hit up Chelsea Market and that might have been the best surprise for me of this trip! When we were all coming up with ideas for what to do while in NYC, this wasn’t on my list (not that I didn’t want to go, I just hadn’t heard a lot about it beforehand) but I am so glad we checked it out. From what I understand–don’t quote me on this–this used to just be a complex of industrial food production sites that kind of fell into decay as the area became less industrial in the 1990s. It used to be the site of Nabisco, and the Oreo was invented here so….I was immediately impressed. A developer had the idea to connect all of the little brick buildings all with this cool corridor and create an indoor food vendor marketplace. Upstairs is the Food Network offices and I think a few other TV channels too.
Our bus terminal was like a block away from Time Square, so we walked through there as well. Time Square is at once breathtaking and horrifying. It’s like the perfect representation of all that is commercial and garish in America. I mean, it’s got Madame Tussaud’s and Ripley’s Believe it or Not right next door to each other! You can tell just by glancing around that basically everyone walking through (at a snail’s pace, because it’s packed) is from out of town, or trying to sell you some bus tour or caricature. And who goes to New York and gets Cold Stone (says the woman who ate at a Chipotle half and hour earlier)?! BUT, it’s truly one-of-a-kind, and really entertaining for people watching sake. So it was worth a short visit.
Grace and I had a short panic (Tess said she likes being the youngest because several other people have to fail before she’s expected to step in) when we couldn’t figure out where our bus depot was–for some reason, there were two buildings designated “42nd Street Port Authority”–but thanks to a helpful lady in the wrong terminal we found our way. I wish I had a picture of the three of us freaking out that we were getting on the wrong bus back to Nyack, though, even after we knew we were in the right depot. For some reason the bus departure gates have these tall, skinny escalators up, but not down, and so we thought we were trapped at the wrong gate. You can imagine all of the commuters waiting to get on their bus home after a long day and seeing these three frantic girls running back and forth within the glass waiting area like hamsters. Thankfully, we were in the right place, ha! What’s traveling without a few mishaps?
I have to start by saying that I borrowed the title for this post from an Instagram account that I love called Childhood Unplugged (not affiliated in any way, just a humble, no-name fan). I’m not sure how I came across the account (probably trolling the “explore” section, let’s be honest), but I have been inspired by their mission to make “a conscious effort to encourage our children to get back to the art of play.” The gorgeous pictures they feature of kids playing sans any sort of electronic device have stuck with me for the last few weeks. I have nothing against technology, obviously, as I am sitting here typing away on a laptop. And I don’t even expect that our kids will never use an iPad or watch TV, I just don’t want technology to be their definition of fun. I know it’s a big part of our world today, but I don’t want it to be our whole world.
Last weekend was our annual family reunion with Dave’s side of the family, and this year we gathered at Bear Lake right on the Utah/Idaho border. As we approached the lake the weather was getting stormy and cold and I was internally lamenting that it probably wouldn’t be much fun to play outside that day, which was a shame since that was our only scheduled day to actually be on the beach. Well, I guess I was wrong because sun or no sun, Ella was completely and totally enthralled from the second her little toes hit the sand and she made a beeline for a bucket and a shovel.
This was her first time on a beach and we could barely drag her away to eat a lunch that included Doritos (so you know she was serious).
I love these pictures because you can see the succession of the weather/her filth level. Thankfully, what started as a super cold. windy, rainy day got progressively warmer and played through the entire thing.
Finally, swim-suit level warmth.
I don’t know if there has been another activity in Ella’s 21-months of life that has kept her this interested for such a stretch of time with no interference from me. She played for four and a half hours, through lunchtime and nap-time. I was totally in awe that she was just doing her thing, totally oblivious to the fact that she would be totally expected to be in meltdown mode at this point under typical circumstances.
As the afternoon wore on and she got dirtier and dirtier I couldn’t help thinking that these are the sort of classic kid moments I want her to experience as she grows older. No electronics, no manufactured stimulation, just a little gal, outside, exploring the mud and water. Childhood at its finest!
More on the reunion later, I just wanted to get these pics up while the thoughts were still fresh