Friday, January 2, 2015

DECEMBER 15-20, 2014

Charles Dickens

We started out this amazing week with a visit to Providence, Rhode Island.  It was high on Mike's list of places to see before he goes home so we all made sure it happened. It is full of history and architectural beauty. We arrived around lunch time so we stopped at a Best Thing I Ever Ate place ( yes, I know we said no more but we couldn't resist).  We were told Rhode Island was famous for 3 food items unique to the state: Hot Weiners, Awful Awfuls, and Party Pizza.  We were able to try the first two- the weiners for lunch and the awful awful for dinner.  

They were ok but Costco dogs are still our favorites!

After lunch, we went on a self-guided tour of the city.  Here in pics are a few of the highlights:

 The Arcade, the first indoor mall in America

 Brown University

The following are some of the lovely old houses

The next photos are the New England churches and steeples I am so crazy about!

Following is a little peek into a fabulous old library- the 4th oldest in the country. 
It was my favorite place we visited in Providence. Very cozy and very inviting.

The State Capital

Made of marble
 It has the 3rd largest self supporting dome in the world. Impressive!


I love this tree for our service men and women. Family members of those serving or who have served are invited to come and place their ornaments on it.

After seeing most of what we had hoped to see, we called it a day by stopping at the Newport Creamery on our way out of town for the Awful, Awfuls we were told not to miss.  The name comes from Awful Big, Awful Good.  They were!! 

CITY # 2:

Oh yes!  It is true. I truly do love New York City AND we were able to go there again!
The reason for our visit this time was our wonderful grand-daughter,Avalon.  She is a senior this year and her wish for her senior trip has always been to see NYC at Christmas time.  Her Dad flew her out here and we showed her the town.  As seeing New York at Christmas time has aways been one of my bucket list items as well, we got to check off two things with one amazing visit!  A what a visit it was! A whirlwind! We wore her out!
Her mom said she went home and slept for 5 hours.  We tried to fit in everything on her list and mine and we very nearly did, saw, ate  all that was on our lists :)

 We surprised her by staying at this hotel!

She was only the 2nd Avalon to ever stay at this hotel and they spoiled her with "riches" and attention. They gave her a gift basket (which was a Land's End $40 tote bag with "Avalon" embroidered on it), slippers with her name on them, stationery, etc.  Very generous, very kind.

 It was lovely and best of all- very spacious. Incredibly spacious by N.Y. standards!
If you look closely in a lot of these photos, you will see Elder/Doctor Braithwaite on the phone in the background.  These are all "working vacations" but you won't hear us complaining. 
Everything is so much prettier at Christmas time.

We got to the hotel around 5 pm so after settling in we went out exploring.  We were once again in a wonderful central location where we could walk to just about any place in you can get so we headed there.  It was raining this night but clear the rest of our stay. 

 Dinner : New York Pizza ( on her list!)

 It was exciting to see these Billboards in Times Square of our Church's "He is The Gift" which I have been linking at the end of my previous blogs. We pray many took the opportunity to view it and share the gift. 

New York City Library 
 The famous Rose Reading Room was closed for remodeling :(

I absolutely love the Empire State Building!
It means NYC to me. 
I thought it was magical the first time I saw it as a child and still think so today.

On the Bucket Lists! The famous Christmas window displays!
This one is from Lord and Taylor's.

Quite enough for her first night.  Went back to our cozy hotel room, grabbed a complimentary hot chocolate and tucked in for the night.

Since we had so much to see and not a lot of time in which to see it, we decided a 'Hop On- Hop Off" Bus would be the best way to go.  Here we are just starting out on our Lower Manhattan loop of the tour which started right by our hotel in Midtown and traveled through Chelsea, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, Soho. We got off near the Brooklyn Bridge at the Seaport District  to explore the Financial District and the World Trade Center by foot and to catch our cruise out to the Statue of Liberty.

The Flatiron Building

 Part of the Fashion Institute- imaginative architecture!

New York is not only skyscrapers.  There are so many wonderful different types of architecture styles everywhere you look.
 And you know I can't resist sneaking in at least one water tower :)

You Law and Order fans should recognize this building.

 The Brooklyn Bridge

The next few pictures are among my favorites - ever!
The lighting ,the clouds, all just right. I love the sky reflected in the skyscrapers.

Ok, so I took far too many photos of Miss Liberty trying to capture the"perfect" one.  This was not even close to being the best shot BUT you'll notice how her crown catches the sun's glare.  Those who know me well know I can't resist bling so this is the photo I chose! Never let anyone dim your sparkle, Liberty!

There she is folks, in all her resplendent beauty - 
the Island of Manhattan.

Our happy girl!

The Canyonlands of the Financial District.

It's amazing what treasures you find tucked in the midst of all the tall buildings.

Lunch. Street vendor hot dogs and hot pretzels- 
on the bucket list.  Check!

The World Trade Center
 Always a very moving experience.
 A building across from the World Trade center Memorial where we rested, warmed and fed our bodies. (Sprinkles cupcakes!) The opposite view is of the water .

 A pretty park where we waited to "Hop On" our bus again.

We went back to our hotel to refresh a bit before we headed out again to see the musical "Aladdin" on Broadway!   It was just as amazing as you would imagine. The actor who plays the Genie has won just about every ward there is for that role and his energy is incredible. 

The 2 places we had planned on trying for dinner both had long lines out the door and as we were trying to make the show we had to just grab something quick at that point. Ended up in a little family Italian joint which oftentimes can be the best find but not so much this time.  
We saw the Macy window displays on our way home but as I've already shown those in a previous post, I won't show them again.

Caught another glimpse of this beauty on our way home and called it a night.

Day 2, Thursday, December 18th.
We walked to the spot to catch our bus for part two of our tour, this time the Upper Manhattan route.
It happened to be right near all these next few wonderful sites!

St. Patrick's Cathedral
Undergoing renovation but still breathtaking.
Many famous people have been married or had their funeral here.

 The Atlas Statue of Rockefeller center directly across for the cathedral.

The window display of Saks 5th Avenue.
Sorry the glare prohibits a better view.
It was a fairy tale theme.
With some New York humor thrown in for good measure.

Rockefeller Center!

On again. Upper New York City here we come!

Some typical New York City street scenes:

The one and only Plaza Hotel.

Central Park

I loved the birds.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Avalon really wanted to see our temple there so we got off at the Lincoln Center stop, got a warm hot cider, looked around the area and peeked inside the temple building where we met lots of missionaries and to our delight, Sister Morgan, the Mission President's wife of the New York North Stake , who we happen to adore.

We walked from there to the Shake Shack for our lunch. It was very hard for Avalon to admit it, being a true-blue Californian, but she felt their burgers may, just may, be better than IN and Out!  The restaurant is just behind The Museum of Natural History so we went there afterwards.  We had intended to spend a few hours there but our time was running out quickly so we opted for a quick look instead.  

We finished the bus tour with a loop around Harlem and Central Park. 

Riverside Church

Grant's Tomb

The Guggenheim Museum

A very cold young lady.

Now onto one of the highlights of the trip and one of the top of the bucket list items for Avalon and myself:
A carriage ride through Central Park at dusk. 

I didn't take a lot of photos primarily because it was too cold and I didn't want to come out from under my cozy blanket to take them :)
Avalon and I loved it and Dale was our "prince" to fulfill our dream, even though it wasn't on his list. :D !

Next bucket list item was ice skating in Central Park.
 Got a good half hour session in just before the rink was cleared for the Zamboni. Perfect!


After the Ice Skating we checked out the famous places all around us. 

The Plaza Hotel Tea Room

Bergdorf Goodman's windows 

F.A.O. Schwarz 

How about this?! We got to see surfers in Huntington Beach live on this web-cam!

Now this is Christmas in the City!

We made our way back to Rockefeller Center and ran into the big crowds we were expecting all week.

One of favorite things we did- the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes.

It truly is a spectacular ! We loved everything about it. The choreography and perfect execution are thrilling to behold. But what impressed me most was the live Nativity at the end... children reading from the Bible, camels, sheep and inspiring Christmas Hymns! 

More sites on our walk to our hotel.

The Chrysler Building

Whew! What a full day!  Loved every minute and so grateful to share this marvelous experience with our Avalon.

Friday, our last day.  Just enough time to see/do/eat the few things left on on lists.

Number one:  The Observation Deck on top of the Empire State Building!

Look for the white Macy's sign below. Look carefully and you will see that the store takes up the entire block!! The world's largest department store .

The Empire State Building had its own 'window display'!

Since we knew we were in the fashion district and since I am a big Project Runway fan, we looked up Mood and it was just around the corner.  Dale and Avalon indulged me .

No Tim Gunn sightings. 

Here is Dale with the famous dog, "Swatch" :)

Lunch time! 
Another Bucket list item:  eating at an authentic Jewish N.Y. Deli.

Matzo Ball Soup and Potato Pancakes (latkes)

Now that's a sandwich!
Turkey, pastrami, corned beef, roast beef, and brisket!

It's Christmas time in the city!

The Holiday Market at Bryant Park.
We were all enchanted with this.

Rich and perfectly delicious.

We couldn't walk by Macy's again and not go inside and see this humungous store for ourselves. We took the elevator up to the top floor to SantaLand  just to check it out ( thinking of the movie "Elf"!) and found it was a 4 1/2 wait to see the jolly old soul. Yikes!
We took the wooden escalators down (the first in the country) to get an overall view of each and every floor.  Impressive.  This one store is bigger than a lot of malls!

 One last stop- the Holiday Market at Union Square. 
These looked and smelled amazing so we just had to try them.

Yep. Yummy!

 Riding a subway and a NYC taxi cab on the bucket list. Check!
(no photo of the taxi ride )

In front of her hotel.
Last night.
Worn out!

Our darling girl wearing the treasured find she bought at the Holiday Market ( Unicorn Onesies)
and the
heirloom (hopefully!) ornament we gave her to help remember the trip by.
Something tells me she's not going to forget it!   :)


We loved spending this time with you and making these memories.
Thank you Dad and Neno for making it possible. 

And that's a wrap folks.
I know it's not a full week but I'll have to add some of this week on to the next blog.
I'm worn out! Ha!
Sorry if this is photo overload for any of you but I was thinking those who've always wanted to see NYC at Christmas time wouldn't mind. 


  1. You are the best grandparents ever!!! Thank you sooooo much for taking such great care of my baby! I LOVE these pics! I wish I could just print this exact post out for her scrapbook! Love you!

  2. Wow! I love these pictures! NY is so pretty! The fashion pictures were so cool! All of those beautiful fabrics! I miss you guys!

  3. That unicorn onesie made our nativity!
    What an amazingly awesome trip!

  4. Looks like a great trip. What an amazing experience for Avalon and you and Dale.

  5. A trip to always remember! You sure packed it all in! I remember when Kim and I took a trip there; there is truly so much to see. Love it. Now I want some NY pizza! Did she try a bagel?

  6. ok i finally caught up on all the posts again! i read this new york post weeks ago but then got interrupted and forgot to comment on it. such a fabulous time with cute avalon! anyone who gets to travel with mimi is lucky...trip planner extraordinnaire!

    love all the pictures! beautiful! and the pic of baca and avy looking at the window display? they are smiling like that cause they are laughing that you asked them to pose there. am i right??