What a crazy title, right? To this family…life is an ADVENTURE! We had a rough time a couple of months ago and sitting (well, laying, with a neck brace and tears pouring down my face) in that ambulance with those two little girls to my left and right I made a promise. Actually, I think I made a million promises but one was that we would have a FUN, adventurous life if we were able to get through this and I wanted to make sure my girls knew how valuable experiences were and how much we could bond over them and have lasting memories to take with us always!
So the idea popped up a little while after everything happened that I could take Cammy to where she always dreamt of…NYC. There is something she loves about that place and although she had never been, those shiny and bright lights of Times Square pulled her in and she knew she needed to go! So…I told Mike that I could budget for it and pull it off in one weekend and surprise her with the trip and the idea was born and brought to life this past weekend…and it was so absolutely worth every single second!
How did we do this?! Well…I can tell you that I was of course a little apprehensive about some things, after all…this is the craziest, busiest city with all kinds of people and things going on and I knew she may see some things that would surprise a five year old but it wasn’t bad at all…in fact, it was SUCH a beautiful experience for us celebrating diversity with different walks of life and cultures all around us! My only true reservation about bringing her was getting her from the airport to the city/our hotel without a car seat but guess what…I found a REALLY great fix for that that I’m sharing below and after we found that, everything fell perfectly into place and I was 100% confident in our ability to travel safely and enjoy every second of our mommy daughter trip together!
Norfolk To New York, arriving: On Friday morning at 4am, we woke up and headed to the airport to catch our 6am flight. It was a little tough because we were SO tired but we stayed at my sister’s home in Norfolk so we were only 15 minutes away from the airport. Getting through was easy, and adorable because everyone thinks Cam is so cute and it made traveling really fun! We boarded the plane and arrived so early in New York at LaGuardia Airport – the flight was supposed to take an hour and it was closer to 45 minutes, so there we are around 7am already in NYC!
New York to Norfolk, departing: Sunday around 10am (we left our hotel at 9:35am) we arrived at LaGuardia to get ready for our 12pm flight, we had time for lunch and it was really efficient! We again arrived early when returning to Norfolk and picked up our bag and got home quickly around 3:30pm back on the Outer Banks!
We booked our hotel and flights through Expedia.com!
$50 for bag fees ($25 per flight)
CAR RIDE TO AND FROM CITY:
Here’s where I was MOST concerned! I didn’t know about taking her the distance of the airport to the city WITHOUT a car seat, especially after the accident. I understand that you don’t need a carseat for taxi rides and it’s even NOT a part of the law there so we did take three short taxi rides a few blocks over without one. But…I found this absolutely wonderful service called Kid Car NYC that even has an app that you can communicate with your driver through, see their license plate and car color and have their phone number ahead of time! You request what kind of car seats you need and what kind of car you prefer and it’s just the easiest process with such kind drivers! This is a HUGE lifesaver for people like us just needing to get safely to the city from the airports and they travel all over the place for this service so it’s definitely worth the look and worth the money we spent to travel there and have Cammy in her proper car seat!
$120 for first ride with code TRAVELSAFE
$124 for second ride
Cammy kept calling them “tabs” because she was mixing taxi and cab together and it was SO cute. I won’t say they’re super friendly people lol but they definitely listened to us well and let me buckle Cammy in before driving. They didn’t cost that much and we only took them three times. One of the times we took one was from our hotel on 35th and 8th to Central Park because that’s a little of a hefty walk for Cammy and she was already pulling 20K+ a day with me so I felt bad to make her walk that far!
No more than $25 in taxi rides
We stayed about 7 blocks from Times Square (touristy, I KNOW..WE LOVE IT!) so that we could be in the heart of all that hustle with so many fun shopping attractions like the M&M store, the Disney Store, Old Navy, etc! We loved being able to hop around wherever we wanted with those bright shiny lights and billboards and tons and tons of awesome people around. Some strange, scary people? Sure…but let’s be real that can be absolutely anywhere. I lived in Norfolk long enough to be pretty immune to that.
Yes it’s chaotic. It’s FAST. You need to hold your kid’s hand tight and make sure people don’t run into them walking but people in our experience were great at walking wisely around one another. We love parking it on the benches and the just watching the lights and all of the glow! It’s SO inspiring! Cammy saw the Naked Cowboy and goes Mommy, he is NOT naked…he’s wearing underwear! HAHA! Also — the characters walking around are pretty weird but Cammy REALLY wanted a picture with Pikachu…so we braved it and then she got a little scared when all the other characters ran up because of course they want to jump in the picture and get $$$ from you, too! I told them to back off and that Pikachu is all she wanted, lol! Watch out for those guys!
Very unplanned and unexpectedly we also went to the TOP of Rockefeller Center at sunset which was sooooo amazing and I can’t believe I hadn’t done that sooner! Cammy’s ticket was FREE (for ages 5 and under!) and we got a little VIP sneak up to the top an hour and a half early…because this guy just couldn’t get over how cute Cam was (thanks girl! Once again you’re getting us the hook up because you’re freaking adorable!) – so there we were watching the sun go down on the beautiful city and seeing the most amazing view I’ve seen in so long!!!! But seeing her face seeing this? Even better. This was SO worth the ticket price to get up there!
Around $37 for my ticket
I’m actually surprised how much I LOVED being in Central Park on Saturday with Cammy! I visited before and thought it was wonderful but it was just like this really, really peaceful, perfect break for us and I am so thankful we went. We sat on a rock, Cammy drew art and then held up what she sketched and said we “would have Central Park forever” because that’s what she drew, with us in it. I just about cried!! It was warm but the shade was perfect, we were swinging on swings together, I got her a Pikachu balloon animal from the nice guy near the bathrooms and it was a really good idea to do this in the middle of our trip for a break. We visit IT’SUGAR down the road and got some great candy and gifts for our people…then we headed back to the hotel to hang before a night on the town together!
First things first…HOT DOG STANDS, haha! Cammy LOVED those hot dogs and she had never even eaten a hot dog before haha! We love them, love the pretzels and gosh we love that ice cream. The vendors adored her and one guy said how she was the cutest tiniest little customer and he was just so proud to have her there hahaha! We also love the bagels at the carts in the morning. Nothing like a New York bagel!
We also visited a hibachi restaurant, Bread and Butter (twice) and a classic pizza joint we can’t remember the name of but loved. The dining in New York city is so abundant and you can just kind of walk down the road and find something great so easily, we loved not “planning” to go anywhere! We also loved stopping at “health marts” and grabbing a smoothie on the go.
We stayed at the TRYP hotel only about 7-ish blocks from Times Square and we loved it! It was modern, clean and accessible. RIGHT beside a NYC Police station and super quick service, friendly and accommodating!
PACK LIGHTLY…we shared one suitcase and made sure it had wiggle room before leaving so we could bring things back to our people!
We both brought our own book bags to take our stuff on the plane, Cammy had a sketchbook and colored pencils, we kept her entertained without an iPad the whole time which is always my goal! No judgement, we just don’t like our kids on them because they act really cranky when they don’t get them the next day or an hour later. They probably use one 3-4 times a year…but Cammy LOVES the draw so that works perfect for her!
I did bring my Mark III and just one memory card (16GB) and my 35mm lens. I didn’t have it ON the camera while traveling in the book bag, I would put it on before using it because I don’t like having it shoved in a bag with the lens on – it feels safer and like I’m taking better care of it to have them with the caps on separately until being used. Easy to transport!
To sum it up, this experience was gold. I would do it again, and again, and again! I LOVED this time with you, baby girl! I will never forget these memories!