Thursday, October 18, 2012

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

Hi all! I know, I know.  It's been a long time since I have posted on my little blog.  But the past few weeks have been a bit insane, to say the least.  My husband and I recently moved into a new apartment and between weddings, birthdays, furniture shopping and football season, we haven't had much time to ourselves!  To put things into perspective - we traveled to Milwaukee at the end of August and I have yet to upload my photos.  Lazy blogger.

I hope to come back soon with fresh, new content (recaps from our last trip!) and fun ideas for upcoming vacations.  So please, keep me bookmarked because I will be back! I promise!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Catching Up!

Well, well, well.  It is somehow already the middle of August and I admit that the last week seemed to get away from me.  While some people spread out their summer activities over the course of the whole season, the last few weeks of summer seem to be our busiest.  Instead of apologizing for being so MIA, I thought I'd do a quick recap of how I have been spending my time.

Last weekend, Dan and I met friends for dinner in Union Square, but stopped for a drink or two at my favorite bar in the history of bars, Raines Law Room.


I joined my parents on their trip to see the Terracotta Warriors at the Discovery Center in Times Square.  If you're thinking of stopping by, now is the time.  The exhibit closes on August 26th. 


Just this past weekend, my friend and I took a road trip to Hershey, PA for Mixtape Festival, a two day music festival headlined by the NKOTBSB.  The perfect combination for the weekend - chocolate and boy bands!

Hey there, Donnie.
The next two weekends will be just as busy, as my friend is coming up to NYC this weekend to see our favorite theater production while Dan is at a bachelor party.  Then for Labor Day, we're packing up and visiting Chicago and Milwaukee.  Busy bees!  How are you spending the last weeks of summer?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cross Country

Conceived in 1912 and dedicated in 1913, the Lincoln Highway was one of our nation’s earliest transcontinental roads and America’s first memorial to President Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway spanned coast-to-coast, starting off in Times Square in NYC, ending at Lincoln Park in San Francisco. This highway originally passed through 13 states - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. In 1915, the "Colorado Loop" was removed and in 1928, realignment relocated the Lincoln Highway through the northern tip of West Virginia. Thus, there are a total of 14 states, 128 counties, and over 700 cities, towns and villages through which the highway passed at some time in its history. To see a map of the Lincoln Highway, please click here.

If you have been though Times Square at any point during your lifetime, chances are that you have missed the sign marking the point of origin of the Lincoln Highway. It took me years to see it myself and that was only after my mom told me it was there! If you stand on the Southwest corner of 42nd and Broadway and look up, you’ll see it. 


We also ran into this marker of the Lincoln Highway in Cheyenne, WY. It’s a bit hard to read with the shadows hiding some of the text but it says: 1928 Lincoln Highway Marker, Dedicated to the Citizens of Cheyenne, May 2000 by the Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board. With Special Thanks to the Finder - Delmar Stone.



Monday, August 6, 2012

Dangerous Cargo

I'll take "things I do not want to see in the lane next to me" for $500, Alex.

Seen on I-95

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Favorites: American History

It seems that in every city I visit, I fixate on one subject to obsessively photograph.  In Washington DC, that place was the U.S. Capitol building.  It is just so majestic and beautiful that my lens was naturally drawn to it.  

Happy Friday!

I love the natural effect that the sun caused in this photo.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

List: Top Ten Quirky U.S. Properties

Today, tripadvisor.com published their top ten quirky lodgings in the U.S. and of course, I wanted to share this list with you all!  Dan and I had the pleasure of visiting one of the hotels on this list - The Peabody in Memphis. (Disclaimer: I still prefer The Peabody in Little Rock, Arkansas a million times more.)

Which hotel would you want to visit?

1. Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast, Bardstown, Kentucky – Average Nightly Rate: $105
For nearly 200 years, this establishment served as the Old Nelson County Jail but now offers a more enjoyable way of “doing time”. Travelers can stay in one of seven guest rooms in this sturdy structure composed of limestone walls 30 inches thick. Each guest room boasts fashionable antiques and heirlooms, while one room still resembles an actual cell and includes two of the original bunk beds. One TripAdvisor traveler noted, “Just spent two nights in the jail cell room and loved it. This really is a jail cell, don’t think it isn’t!”

2. Earthship Biotecture, Taos, New Mexico – Average Nightly Rate: $120
Part accommodation, piece of art and science project, these unique desert dwellings are made from recycled and sustainable materials and utilize natural elements to provide a comfortable experience for guests. Although each pod is powered solely by the sun, wind, and rain, guests still have access to modern amenities including Wi-Fi, television, and on-demand movies in their rented pod. A TripAdvisor traveler said, “The structure itself is just beautiful, the creativity combined with science is truly amazing.”

3. Out ‘n’ About Treesort, Cave Junction, Oregon – Average Nightly Rate: $90
Travelers can branch out during their stay in one of 14 tree houses located among southwestern Oregon’s Siskiyou Mountains. With some of the structures soaring to heights nearly 40 feet off the ground, a sense of adventure is required to sleep among the woodland canopy. Travelers can enjoy al fresco adventures, as they can traipse across swinging bridges and zip line courses and later cool off in the property’s freshwater swimming pool. One TripAdvisor traveler commented, “This is something you must experience for yourself, keep in mind that these are real and true tree houses.”

4. Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York – Average Nightly Rate: $132
Located on a serene shoal along the Hudson River, this lighthouse once served as a landmark and home for the building’s keeper until its closure in 1954. Decades later, the lighthouse reopened as an inn with the purpose of hosting travelers passing through the Catskill Mountains. Open Thursday-Sunday year-round, travelers are able to enjoy the lighthouse’s two rustic guestrooms and stunning views of the river and surrounding mountains. One TripAdvisor traveler commented, “Had a wonderful weekend staying in the lighthouse. Breathtaking views and great hosts.”

5. Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale, Mississippi – Average Nightly Rate: $65
Boasting the slogan “The Ritz we ain’t,” the Shack Up Inn provides a laid-back and rustic setting. Each shack offers a touch of comfort while maintaining the authenticity of the former Hopson plantation, located near the Mississippi Delta – and travelers can soak up the site’s history as they walk among sharecropper shacks, the original cotton gin and seed houses located on the property. “The rooms may not have a high-def TV, but they do have vintage musical instruments and more character than I could accumulate in a lifetime,” said one TripAdvisor traveler.

6. Northern Rail Traincar B&B, Two Harbors, Minnesota – Average Nightly Rate: $87
Seated on 160 acres on the North Shore of Lake Superior, this B&B offers travelers the opportunity to stay off the beaten track in one of 17 train cars outfitted in diverse décor. Upon arrival, travelers collect their room key at the depot-style check-in, before making their way to their train car suite equipped with central air, television, and in some rooms, even a fireplace. One TripAdvisor traveler commented, “The rail cars create such a unique atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else.”

7. Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California – Average Nightly Rate: $189
Atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, travelers can enjoy the sound of waves crashing on the shore during a stay in one of 16 yurts. Inspired by Mongolian architecture, the tent-like structures offer travelers a luxurious alternative to traditional camping. Each domed-dwelling is furnished with polished pine wood floors, French doors, electric lighting, and a waterfront porch where guests can enjoy spectacular seaside sunsets. A TripAdvisor traveler said, “Overall, this place is truly unique and so amazing! It is a great place to escape the business of your life and will allow you to truly relax.”

8. Palm Springs Rendezvous, Palm Springs, California – Average Nightly Rate: $139
Travelers yearning for a retro stay can step back in time at this Californian retreat. Each of the ten guest rooms features mid-century décor, with themes ranging fromPretty in Pink, to Route 66, to Hawaiian Surf. Throughout the day, travelers can splash in the pool surrounded by blue artificial turf and pink lawn flamingos, or even borrow one of the property’s vintage bikes and go for a desert ride. At sunset, complimentary cocktails and savory appetizers are served by the vinyl lounge. One TripAdvisor traveler remarked, “Kitschy, cool, quaint, comfy – this is where you want to stay in Palm Springs.”

9. The Peabody Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee – Average Nightly Rate: $240
This opulent hotel located in the heart of “Blues City” is known for more than its southern hospitality and lavish guest rooms. Since the 1930s, the marble fountain located in the hotel lobby has hosted flocks of feathered travelers. Staying for three months at a time, the resident ducks certainly earn their keep; at 11 a.m. daily, “The Peabody Ducks” march along a red carpet from their rooftop Royal Duck Palace to the fountain in the Grand Lobby, where they splash and play until 5 p.m. “The marching of the ducks was so fun and the hype matched the actual show,” commented a TripAdvisor traveler.

10. Kate’s Lazy Meadow Motel, Mount Tremper, New York – Average Nightly Rate: $200
Located on nine magnificent acres in the Catskill Mountains, travelers can stay among nine cozy cabins adorned with dazzlingly retro décor. With each one boasting a multi-colored kitchen equipped with a Frigidaire, stove and restored cabinets, together with an array of vintage finds from across America, guests may feel like they stepped back into the 1950s. A TripAdvisor traveler said, “The room was so cozy and comfortable, with great furnishings.”

Friday, July 27, 2012

Video: Road Trip USA

My friend, Kathryn posted this video and it was too good not to share. After watching this, I have a new goal - to get myself out to Monument Valley.

I must say, NYC looks pretty damn nice through this videographer's lens!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Rock: Alcatraz Island



Who says visiting an old jail is creepy? I find that there is something eerie and humbling about walking the same halls where some of our country’s most hardened criminal spent long days, stripped of their freedom, repenting for crimes committed. In the past few years, we have visited two of the most infamous prisons in the United States – Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and Alcatraz in San Francisco.  


Alcatraz is located on an island in San Francisco Bay and was in operation between 1934 and 1963. In its heyday, it housed some of worst felons of our time including Al Capone (who also did time at Eastern State,) “Birdman” Robert Stroud and Alvin "Creepy Karpis" Karpowicz. (Rather than create a laundry list of Alcatraz facts, I invite you to check out this site which will answer all your questions about the prison.) 



Even though the island is just 1.5 miles offshore, in its 29 years of operation, Alcatraz boasts no successful escapes. However, in June of 1962, three inmates hatched one of the most brazen escapes ever designed. To this day, no one knows the fate of Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin. Did they make it out alive? Or were they killed in their attempt? 





If you’re planning a trip to Alcatraz, be forewarned – ticket lines can get pretty long. My advice would be to pick up a ticket (with audio tour) ahead of time for the earliest possible entry and get to the pier with enough time to be on the first boat out to the island. That way, you can explore the space while it is sparsely crowded! 



Tickets to visit Alcatraz are available here.

*One of the stories that resonated with me most was from a narrative of an ex-prisoner. He recounted sitting in the prison and hearing the voices of New Year’s Eve revelers echoing from across the Bay. It was then he realized that there was a whole world going on that he was just not a part of.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Favorites: Broadway in Bryant Park

Yesterday marked the kick off of one of the summer’s best annual free events – Broadway in Bryant Park. Each Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm, performers from a few chosen Broadway and off-Broadway shows hit the park’s stage and belt out songs from their respective shows. My office is conveniently located a block away from the park, so I decided to spend my lunch hour soaking up some performances. The one thing I didn’t estimate was the crowd. Word to the wise, if you plan on stopping by, GET THERE EARLY!

Working in midtown does come with its perks! 

Spiderman!

Thursday, July 12, 2012
  • Stomp
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • SPIDER-MAN: Turn Off The Dark
  • The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Thursday, July 19, 2012
  • Wicked
  • Memphis
  • Traces
  • Ghost
  • Sister Act
Thursday, July 26, 2012 
  • Voca People
  • Traces
  • The Fantasticks
  • Jersey Boys
Thursday August 2, 2012
  • Chaplin, The Musical
  • Mamma Mia!
  • One Man, Two Guvnors
  • Silence, The Musical
Thursday August 9, 2012
  • Chicago
  • Rebecca
  • Evita
  • Rent
Thursday, August 16, 2012
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Avenue Q
  • Bring It On: The Musical
  • Rock of Ages
  • A Christmas Story

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Theater Review: Macbeth at Lincoln Center



If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you already know that I have a slight obsession with Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth. Just this year, we’ve already seen the show in two different forms – the avant garde, Sleep No More and Verdi’s version performed at the Metropolitan Opera. So, it was not a surprise that when I learned Alan Cumming was bringing his one-man show of this play to the Lincoln Center Festival, I was on board.

While I had been to the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle countless times, I had no idea that there was a theater hidden in there! Not surprisingly, the Rose Theater was really nice and much more spacious than I would have imagined for being tucked away in a high-rise. Our seats were in the last row of the balcony (trying to be economical here!) but our view was still great. 

As far as the show itself, we had no idea what to expect. How was Cumming going to play all the roles? Would it even make sense? Thanks to a pretty good understanding of the work, we had no trouble following along and discerning which character was which. This version of the play was set in modern times in a very clinical psych ward in which Cumming plays the lone patient. (This set actually reminded me a bit of the King James Sanitarium from Sleep No More – yes, all roads lead back to Sleep No More.) Within the walls of the institution, Cumming seamlessly switched roles from Duncan to Lady Macbeth to Banquo with ease. I have a soft spot for Malcolm, so I especially enjoyed Cumming’s use of a baby doll to act out that part! To add a bit of a supernatural element to the minimalistic production, the three witches gave their prophecies over three TV monitors. 

In my opinion, Cumming is an evil genius in that he made this production work. How he remembered so much dialogue, let alone Shakespearean, is beyond me. While a bit out of the box, this show was certainly a hit for me. If you happen to be in NYC this week and you want to see a different sort of show than you’d find a few blocks over in the theater district, I urge you to check it out! 

The show runs through July 14th and tickets are available here.  Read the New York Times' review here

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top 10 July 4th Fireworks Displays


july 4th fireworks top 640x360 wblog Top Ten Cities for Fireworks

Looking to see some amazing firework displays tomorrow night? Check out this great list that ABC  posted, unveiling the top 10 cities in which to view some fantastic light shows!  How does your city celebrate the 4th?


New York City: This Fourth of July, the retail giant Macy’s will dazzle New Yorkers with a show titled “Ignite the Night.” The soundtrack will be a blend of patriotism and pop: Kenny Chesney and Katy Perry will perform in sync with the fireworks, which will launch from four barges on the Hudson River. (Steve Kelley/Getty Images)



Philadelphia: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the annual host of what the city calls America’s “Largest Free Concert.” The Party on the Parkway attracts 500,000 people culminates in performances by big names, with this year’s lineup including Queen Latifah, Common and Joe Jonas. After the music dies down, the party picks up with a 15-minute firework display that costs the city more than $2.1 million.(Travelif/Getty Images)



Washington D.C. : In perhaps the most patriotic location in which to celebrate the holiday, a medley of colorful explosions engulfs the Washington Monument as fireworks launch from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Make sure to arrive early — the roughly 500,000 spectators begin crowding up space in America’s backyard by the afternoon. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)



Boston: The birthplace of the Revolution celebrates American Independence with the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.” A concert by the Boston Pops Orchestra, with special guest Grammy-winning Jennifer Hudson, will provide the soundtrack for about half a million spectators as fireworks light up the sky above the Charles River. (Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)



San Francisco: Pier 39 provides panoramic views of San Francisco Bay, the backdrop for the city’s 21-minute Fisherman’s Wharf Fireworks Extravaganza, which typically attracts about 600,000 attendees. (Robert Houser/Getty Images)



Lake Tahoe Fireworks: The 5,000 bursts of color in “Lights on the Lake” are doubly impressive because the streaks of light reflect off the surface of Lake Tahoe. This 23-minute show attracts about 100,000 each year. (Keri Oberly/Getty Images)



Atlantic City: Claiming roughly 200,000 annual attendees, this show is among the nation’s longest. A 22-minute display soars above the marina, followed by a 24-minute show over the city’s famous boardwalk. (Steve Maciejewski)



Chicago: Budget cuts have concentrated the Windy City’s Fourth of July celebrations at a single place: the historic Navy Pier, which juts out onto lake Michigan and provides impressive views of the Chicago skyline. (Getty Images)



Addison, Texas: This boom town’s fireworks display is aptly titled “Kaboom Town!” The Dallas suburb’s famous 30-minute show may off the beaten path, but it gets consistently high marks from the American Pyrotechnics Association. About half a million people from the region spill into the town of 15,000 to experience the musically choreographed display, which follows an air show. (Flickr/thom82)



New Orleans, Louisiana : The 236th anniversary of American independence is also Louisiana’s bicentennial as a U.S. state. This year’s “Go Fourth on the River” festival will finish with fireworks launched from two barges anchored in the Mississippi River that can be enjoyed from land or steamboat. (Don Klumpp/Getty Images)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears



I’m not going to lie. I am not a big fan of the zoo. Every time I visit one, I always end up feeling sorry for the animals and walk away sad. And don’t even get me started on the circus. 

However, when I learned that the St. Louis Zoo was a) the #1 ranked zoo in the country and b) free, I was on board. (Disclaimer: Parking was not free.) At least I would get to see some birds, and we all know how I feel about birds. 

The zoo itself was quite large and we got lost in it multiple times. Personally, I felt that the signs were a bit confusing, but in fairness, that could have just been heat exhaustion setting in. Steph + Heat = meltdown. 

After watching the amazing documentary series Frozen Planet, one of my must see exhibits was the Penguin & Puffer Coast. Partly because it provided relief from the heat and partly because I am obsessed with all things penguin, I spent an inordinate amount of time in here just watching the birds. I cannot believe how still penguins can stand – they almost didn’t seem real. 


We also spent a good deal of time in the Jungle of the Apes because let’s face it they are just fun to watch, even when they are spreading their crap all over the windows.


This giraffe was a rock star. He was perfectly content just sitting there and eating whatever grass was in neck’s reach. 



It was hot out there, and this bear knew it. 



So did these lazy big cats.



For more information on the St. Louis Zoo including hours, directions and prices, please click here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Favorites: Royal Kansas City

Nothing beats finding a killer view of a city while on vacation. In San Francisco, we stood atop Telegraph Hill and were treated to a panoramic view of the city below. From the 95th floor of the John Hancock building, Chicago’s tallest buildings seemed to be within arm’s reach. And nothing will ever beat the view of New York City that the World Trade Center used to provide.

Directly across the street from Kansas City's Union Station, you’ll find a large, grassy hill that leads up to the World War I Museum. Now, we all know how I feel about stairs but despite my pleas against it, we made our ascent anyway. 



Boy, I am glad we did! The grassy hill presented us a breathtaking vantage point where we just sat and took in the view. What I loved best is that we were literally the only two up there looking down at the city below.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Left Coast Burgers

One of the things I look so very forward to every time we go out to California is hitting up In & Out Burger. You see, this is a fast food chain that we just don’t have in NYC and that saddens me because their burgers are heaven on a bun. The last time we were in Los Angeles, we literally ate there EVERY SINGLE DAY. I even may have considered ordering a mass quantity of burgers and shipping them home. I mean, take a look at the deliciousness below.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Tractor Story

While on the road, sometimes we’ll see a sign that reminds us just how far we are from New York City. That very thing happened as we were driving through Kansas City, Kansas. We somehow got lost trying to find the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway and ended up driving on a long and lonely road. In the distance I saw a sign for some type of hall of fame. As we got closer, I could see that it was advertising the “National Agriculture Center and Hall of Fame.” We certainly were NOT in New York anymore, Toto.



The National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame is located at 630 Hall of Fame Drive, Bonner Springs, Kansas 66012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Favorites: More Custard, Please

When it comes to ice cream, I have zero control. So it’s no big surprise that some of my favorite memories from our trip to Missouri involve eating this tasty treat.

Our first stop was to Fitz’s, a St. Louis institution best known for their premium root beer. After looking through the menu, we both decided on ice cream floats. I ordered The Better Brown Cow (Fitz’s Draft Cream Soda topped with chocolate ice cream) and Dan got a traditional Root Beer Float.

Best cream soda I have ever had.
We were shocked at how gigantic these floats actually were and Dan had no faith that I would come close to finishing those four scoops of ice cream. He had no idea that those four scoops would disappear within ten minutes. I am not even exaggerating here. It took me ten minutes to finish this giant float. Dan had to remind me that I wasn’t being timed and I wasn’t in an eating contest. I guess I was just channeling my inner Adam Richman that afternoon.

Somehow, I was STILL hungry after this.
The next place we visited was Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a famous stop along the famed Route 66. Ted Drewes has been serving custard since 1929 and one taste of it will make you understand why it has stood the test of time.


The custard is so thick that the cup is handed to you upside down. I ordered a giant cup of custard (shocking, I know,) but decided not to force myself to finish it like I had done the day before at Fitz’s. If only I could have packaged up what I didn’t eat…SO GOOD!

Smooth and silky.

Since I was on such a frozen custard high, when I saw Sheridan’s Frozen Custard in Kansas City, KS, I nearly pissed my pants. I was all set to order a simple chocolate custard, until I saw a poster for a special blend that included Hershey’s Kisses and cookie dough pieces. I had to have it. This custard wasn’t nearly as good as Ted Drewes, but it did the trick in satisfying my new found daily custard craving.

Note Dan's body language in this pic. He is disgusted with my custard intake.

Last but not least was a trip to my old familiar ice cream paradise – Baskin Robbins. Not sure if it was because I was on vacation, but the Cappuccino Blast I ordered tasted so much better here than it ever did in Brooklyn.
Old reliable.