pre-flight snack at Tampa airportAfter my 4th child was born, I decided to take each older child (along with my nursing/co-sleeping baby) on special vacations since life was busier and my attention spread out thinner. (And I love and NEED to travel, or I go stir crazy.) That's when I took my second oldest on Amtrak to D.C. and NYC. My oldest son chose to visit St. Louis. My daughter, who was 5 at the time, had the foresight to declare she wanted to hold off on her trip until Baby was old enough to be left behind. She waited patiently for 3 years, ha!
our airplane snack choicesWe had been planning all along to head down to Miami, a place I've never explored (and a location for an American Girl Place, one requirement). But then we start talking about New York, and it's hard to fight the urge. I let her decide, and NYC won out because she was too young to really remember our last trip there. We were weirdly captivated by the idea of visiting during the heart of winter. We were able to afford this trip entirely because of credit card rewards. I started digging and found rewards I didn't know we had. Our flight and hotel were covered! The week before we went was the big northeastern blizzard, so we were concerned we would get snowed out. But since NYC didn't get hit as bad as expected, it all worked out fine. Despite my mother calling me repeatedly the week we left to tell me how crazy I am.
because it leads us here:
where dreams come true.
The first night we arrived, we thought it wasn't even that cold (but we changed our minds by the next day). While we were walking to the subway the next morning, we talked about how much we wished it would snow. When we walked up the steps into daylight toward Dunwell...it was snowing! It felt like a scene out of a movie.
and mozzarella sticks!!!
Champs Diner, which was new to us, is awesome, and I could have eaten every meal here (and we did eat here again) during our visit. Sometimes I will visit a restaurant like this where I will think it's good, but I could have eaten just as well at home. I feel like Champs does it better than I might do at home, which is the mark of a great vegan place to me.
In the café, they bring your dolls a highchair and a cup and saucer. You get to keep the cups and saucers plus the napkin rings, which are hair bows. If you do not have a doll, they let you pick one of theirs (and they even have boy dolls) to sit with you.
Our appetizer was fruit and veggies.
Overall, we had a great day here. The restaurant and store are darling (and expensive for all and maddening and annoying to some, I'm sure), and we got to participate in a craft time. I banned all kinds of plastic dolls in our home for many years, but my daughter is 8 and only has a few more years of childhood enchantment and dolly fun, so I've loosened up. (And truthfully, no one squeals and gasps more than me looking through the historic dolls and clothes.) Sadie Sunshine (who isn't a "real" American Girl doll) got her hair styled in the salon, and their wardrobe has increased! This is thanks to Grandma and Grandpa who gave us a big gift card for Christmas. My favorite thing about the meal were the conversation starter cards on the table. We had a great time asking and answering questions back and forth.
That night, I was able (with my daughter having a super time with a babysitter) to enjoy Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man. I really enjoyed my first row mezzanine seat and loved the performance!
That's Day 1 1/2. To be continued!
*Also, since blogging is apparently so elusive to me these days, I thought I might do better posting daily pics on instagram. Follow me if ya want! @veganandsoforth