New York City

NYC

Hello! It is me again bringing more content to my little place on the web. You all know I have a love for travel and I love sharing how we are able to make traveling fit in our budget.  We went on two ‘big trips’ this year and I will share how we made that happen.  We went to Hawaii in May (which I still need to get a post together) and then we went to NYC in November. I am not a pro traveler, but I like to share what worked for us and maybe the same options can help you while visiting NYC.

When we booked the NYC trip, we had just returned from Hawaii and did not know we were expecting our first child yet.  Fast forward from the end of May to November and this momma turned our fall NYC trip into a baby moon/celebrate my Husbands 35th birthday.  I was 23 weeks pregnant at the time of our trip. We did a lot of the standard tourist things everyone should experience when visiting NYC.  Plus ate lots of good food.  I have been many times to the big apple, my husband had only been for business with not much time to explore.

When we booked this trip, it was partial because it had been on our list of places to go, but we just hadn’t made it out to New York. I thought it would be a great trip for the Fall and Southwest Airlines was having a big sale on airfare which I had points! I was able to get both my husband and I’s airfare ‘free’ roundtrip.  I had enough Southwest points to cover both our roundtrip tickets. I use my Southwest credit card to make a lot of large purchases then turn around to pay it and in return I get a lot of points toward free flights.  Those free flights or legs of flights help with the travel cost that go into a trip.  Another way we save on our travel budget is hotel points.  My husband’s previous job in sales required a lot of overnight travel and he was able to rack up a lot of Hilton points when traveling for business.  We then use those points for free night stays while we travel. Score!  (we did this for half our Hawaii stay as well, more on that in another post) For our NYC trip, our cost consisted of food, transportation in the city and activities while visiting. Keep reading to see other ways we  saved during our trip.

My map of places to go:

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The many times I have been to NYC, I hadn’t walked the Brooklyn Bridge. So when we planned our trip, it was one of the things to check off the list. We walked the Brooklyn bridge and then came back on the Manhattan Bridge.  After walking the bridges, we checked out Chinatown and hubs got his favorite, Pho.

Central Park

Another stop we made was Central Park.  The park is beautiful during the Fall. It is huge but we ended up walking quite a few miles all over the park.  We visited the second week of November so it was chilly but not extremely cold yet.

Times Square

We made our way through Time Square both during the day and once at night.  My husband had not seen Time Square in person and his first thought “it looks so much bigger on TV”.  I had been many many times before so it was just how I remembered. The entire trip, we took the subway and walked ALOT.  We never took one Uber or Taxi. Riding the Subway can save you a lot on transportation costs. We each bought a card and loaded money as needed. It is a bit intimidating if you are from a city like us that does not have a subway system, but it is well worth the savings on your legs and wallet.

Grand Central Station & Bryant Park

Grand Central is just interesting to see all the people on their own schedule trying to get to the many destinations.  The building itself is also gorgeous. It was a first destination for us both.  We also made our way to Bryant Park.  It had really cool pop up shops with handmade items in the park for the holidays along with the ice skating rink.  Ice skating in NYC is on my bucket list but I had to pass this time around since I was pregnant during our visit.

High Line // MOMA NYC  //  9/11 Museum-Memorial //  Chelsea Market

Above are a few pictures from some stops we made around the city.  On our way back to the hotel from Central Park, we stopped to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  The architecture is gorgeous to say the least.  I also scheduled our time at the MoMa museum on Friday evening on purpose because they have free admission from 6-8pm. Just an fyi if you are visiting and have the museum on your list of must see.

We also headed over to the Chelsea Market which I did not photograph, but I did get this photograph of our walk to the market.  is that brownstone ready for me to move in? 🙂 After the market we headed to the High Line since it is very close.  This was a neat park/ walking path to check out, beautiful views of the city. We did wait until our last day to head over and see the 9/11 museum/memorial.  If you have not been, I strongly recommend you have this on your list when visiting. The feelings and emotions while visiting brought back my memory as a 14 year old teenager trying to understand such a tragedy.

Sure, this is ‘most’ of what we did, however, there are many things in between that photos did not capture.  All those NY pizza slices. 🙂 It was a fun trip for my husband and I, we really enjoyed exploring NYC together.  We did fly in and out of Newark NJ meaning we had to get from the airport to Manhattan. I did research before we left to see what would be the cheapest and least amount sitting in traffic. Once getting off the plane, we headed to the Air Tran at the airport, then got off to catch the NJ Transit train to the city.  We paid for our tickets before we got onto the Air Tran which you need for the NJ Transit train all the way into Manhattan.  We paid $11.55 per adult to get us from Newark to Penn Station.  That  means for my husband and I it was $23.10 one way.  I looked into Uber, Taxi’s and the bus system.  The cons to those options, you sit in the traffic and/or pay at least double the price.  Taking the train was simple and fun, plus who doesn’t like it also being cheaper. Once it was time to leave the city and head to the airport, we did the same thing in reverse. 🙂

NYC you were so much fun.  I did take some video as well, I am not sure if I will make a post with that footage yet.  You could spend a week plus exploring the city.  Our trip was 5 days total including flights.  Definitely bring comfortable shoes if you plan to knock a lot off of your bucket list. If you are planning your first trip or fiftieth trip, I hope you have fun.

Until next time NYC……….

Jessica

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Summer Day Dress

What is more exciting, this perfect ‘summer’ weather lately or that I am finally blogging?  Okay, maybe you all did not miss me like I have missed blogging.  Lets have a small recap on my life since my last post in February. Yes, I said February as in 4 months ago.  Since then, I have been working full time, running the boutique business full time, small renovations to our kitchen, attending weddings, going on mini weekend trips and most recently planning/taking a two week vacation to Hawaii for my 30th Birthday. It was the trip of a lifetime and I could go on for hours about it. I took a lot of photos and videos in Hawaii so I am still working on a post or two of that trip. Stay tuned and I will eventually share it here with you all.  🙂

Todays look is one of my favorite summer go to looks.  A simple bell sleeve dress with some simple bright designs.  This look can go to the beach, the park or a day date.  Good news, you can get it right now at 7th & Park. Free U.S. shipping! I paired my look with a simple gold flat sandal from J.Crew.  You can also add more accessories depending on the occasion.  Beach tote? Floppy hat for the beach? Sunglasses? Check out the sunglasses all under $15 at 7th & Park.

Hope you all are doing well and have some fun things planned for the weekend and summer. I have a few things planned this summer; lake house life in Maryland with my family, girls weekend to see my best friend in Grand Rapids, mini tips and possibly a getaway to Nashville, TN. We recently booked a long weekend trip for early November in NYC. Southwest was having a major sale and I earn points with my Southwest card. Our flights only cost me $22.40! (the taxes & fees you have to pay) I will put together a post soon on how we travel on a budget and get great deals. As for this weekend, I will continue working on our kitchen/patio area, getting caught up on the business, and enjoy the nice weather outside.

Enjoy your weekend!

-Jess

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Upper East Coast Road Trip

One of my favorite things in the world is on the blog today, travel. It was a must to put together this travel post for you as a way to document where we headed this past Fall.  We went on this road trip in October 2015 but its never too late to share the gorgeous upper east coast with my readers.  We spent 8 days just adventuring.

A little background on my traveling ways if you have just tuned into the blog.  Number one, I am more of a beach and sunshine girl. Give me the Caribbean and I am set! However, this beach girl at heart was at a loss for words to describe this trip. More on that later. Number two, on my husband and I’s first anniversary, we decided to take a road trip  and it has turned into an annual thing for our family. Yes, our family.  We do not have children yet, but our fur baby does tag along every year.  She is not a fan of photos so none of these photos have her included.  I know that is sad, but she likes to squirm in family photos so much that the photo ends up looking horribly blurry.  This is anniversary road trip numero dos for the Bryant’s! I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I really want to encourage you to make the trip to the upper east coast. You won’t regret it. Keep reading to see all the states we visited. This was also a ‘wing it’ kind of trip which if you know me, that does not happen! Like, not sure what towns we were spending the night in and how many days in each place kind of ‘wing it’. I am a planner of all trips, vacations, parties, etc. but this time around I let go and just took in the crisp Fall air and all the beauty this world has to offer.

Our first day we drove from home, Indianapolis, to right outside Gettysburg, PA.  Why Gettysburg, PA? Well, when you have a husband that loves history as much as mine and knows way too many history facts, you stop and take in a historic place. After staying near Gettysburg the first night and visiting for a few hours on day two, we headed for Philadelphia, PA.  I must say I had strange ‘must see’ things along our road trip, and Philly was one of them.  I wanted to see the Rocky steps and eat at Shake Shack! Go ahead, judge me. Quick pit stop in Philly then off to Mystic, Connecticut we went. Oh and how can I forget seeing NYC from a distance only to come to a screeching holt to sit in traffic for over an hour or so to go across the George Washington bridge. One word of advice if you take this trip, bring lots of cash! Those damn tolls are not cheap, literally! We paid $15 or so just to cross a bridge ONE WAY! Moving on….

Mystic, CT–Day 2 & 3

Yes, I wanted to stop to see where the movie Mystic Pizza was filmed. 🙂 I have always been a Julia Roberts fan. We ended up staying here for two nights! There we go wingin’ it again! Day two was mostly travel and day three was for sightseeing and the huge indoor mall/casino we found. So we happened to be wondering and came across the biggest compound in the middle of nowhere.  Of course we ventured in only to find out it was 9 million square feet of hotel, casino, restaurant and shopping mall run by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.  Of course, we spent time and miles walking to explore! Good thing I have a husband who enjoys shopping. 🙂

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Day 4–traveling to Boston, CT & Providence, RI

We happen to stop at Wahlburgers for lunch and drove through Boston.  We didn’t stay long and on-ward north we went to Providence, RI for yet again a quick drive through.  Pretty town. (first photo is Boston, second photo is Providence)

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Day 4-6–Portland, Maine

Maine is always somewhere I was just not sure about, until I visited. It is also my husbands birthplace, so it was on our go-to places at some point in our life.  He did not live there long so he has no memory of it. Being a city girl, I can’t explain the calm feeling I got as soon as we entered the state of Maine. It was such fresh air and like no place I had been before. These pines trees smelled amazing!  When I travel, I love getting a feeling that this place, this moment is not like any other. I kept telling my husband these Main(e)ians must love it here! I know, that might be made up but it stuck with me the whole time we were in Maine.

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(Downtown Portland, Maine–‘alley restaurants’)

I absolutely loved the buildings, streets and the calm/quaintness it had to offer in downtown Portland. There are businesses on the main streets and then in the back ‘alleys’ are entrances to other restaurants and shops. So cool and I fell in love! Now you see why we stayed 2 nights! On my husbands must do list in Maine? A Lobster roll from fresh lobster!

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Lobster Roll ^^^^^

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The streets during the daytime! After exploring downtown Portland, we had to venture to the outskirts to see the beauty of nature.

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Can we say a scene from the Notebook?  I think I see Ryan Gosling about to paddle me away in that little boat. Okay, I kid! But this view and the picture! This view was maybe my favorite the entire trip.  It was so calm and peaceful I could have stayed on that dock all night. I felt like the daily weight of the world did not exist which seems to not happen to me often. We took a causeway out to this land of secluded homes.

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Ready for my boat ride! Okay, no real boat ride here but we can pretend, right? It was such a beautiful day exploring with my husband. We were a bit sad to leave Portland, but there were still more states to explore. On our way out of Maine we road along the coastline.  Oh and before we left Portland, not too far away was this lighthouse!

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You think I have a shot at it becoming a postcard? Ha! We can dream, right?

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Day 6-7–White Mountains of New Hampshire

After leaving Portland it was a couple hour drive west to New Hampshire.  We found a little cozy bed and breakfast in the mountains that had cottages.  It was so calming and quiet here.  Lilly loved it. The stars at night were amazing! The nearest town was 15-20 minutes which had the coolest coffee shop, sorry Starbucks! Look at those Fall colors! I enjoyed every bit of the Fall foilage while road tripping.  Thanks to my mom, my love of seeing the leaves change colors came from her a very long time ago. On a random Fall Sunday, she would round up my brother, dad and I into our minivan to go see the leaves change colors. As a child I despised this every year, but I grew to love it so much.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.

(view from our cottage front yard)

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You know I don’t drink coffee, but Hubs lives on it.  How can I not take a picture of the pretty heart design! Cheers! p.s we are not big brewery people, but there are great breweries in all the states we went for those of you that enjoy it.

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Day 7-8–Burlington, Vermont

Our last and final destination before heading home to Indiana.  On our way to Burlington, Vermont we had to stop to take this photo in the White Mountains where it was snowing! This view was breathtaking!

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Through the mountains to Vermont we go! We arrived as the sun was setting, sorry for the dark image.  It was a cute town.  We wondered the streets that back up to the University of Vermont.  Coffee shops, restaurants and shops along this downtown area.  We had dinner down by Lake Champlain (a few blocks away) and then came back downtown for hubs to get his coffee(ness). And yes, I photograph the coffee(ness). 🙂 The trip went so quickly, I would defiantly recommend more time to cover all those states, but I know that is hard to do when you have to return to work. It was a great adventure to see places we have never been and were so hard to imagine.  I will definitely go back to a few of these spots again for longer stays.

 

Lake Champlain….the side we were on is Vermont the other side where you see the hills is New York state. If you continue north you would be to Canada!

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I hope you enjoyed this travel post of the upper east coast of the U.S.  I would recommend you to grab your significant other or a group of girlfriends and make this trip.  It was so much fun.  Even though it was a lot of driving (over 2600 miles roundtrip) it was to date my most relaxing and best road trip to date! If you have specific questions about lodging, restaurants or things to see/do, I would be happy to answer them! The outdoor sports, hiking are also a must if you go during warmer temperatures.

*Oh and since we have visited my husbands birthplace, next up is mine! Well, one day! Hawaii. (I know, fun fact that we were born in the two most furthest spots in the U.S.)

With Love,

Jessica