Sunday, June 1, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Couple of Simpletons Visit the Big Apple

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to see the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and experience the hustle and bustle of New York City. But, because of movies like “The Out of Towners” and media sensationalizing reports of muggings and rude New Yorkers, I’ve felt just a little bit intimidated by the whole idea. But, after my husband John and I had such a great time in Washington D.C. last year, we started thinking of that, if we could enjoy the nation’s capital, which, itself has a pretty intimidating reputation, well, then we’re ready to take on the Big Apple. And, from our first crazy shuttle bus ride into the city from JFK, we both fell in love with New York. With just four days to spend, we got what I like to call, just a quick introduction to the city. We know now we’ll definitely be going back! We began our visit by touring the city from the top of one of the red double decked buses. Sure, it marked us as tourists, but it helped us get oriented and learn the basics of Manhattan. On our own, we went into the New York City Library (this, I had to see after the first wild scenes in the movie “Ghostbusters”), we took in a 360 degree view of the city from the viewing deck on the Empire state building, enjoyed the view from the water during a two hour harbor cruise, and saw two Broadway shows in one day. We were lucky enough to find a tour guide with two extra tickets to the long sold-out performances of the Odd Couple with Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane; and, along with our flight and hotel package from Orbitz, we had pre-purchased tickets to Avenue Q, a musical with furry Muppet-like puppets. We were a bit surprised by some scenes we’d never expect to see on Sesame Street however.

After our 4 wonderful days in New York, we moved on to the birthplace of The American Revolution, Boston. We were surprised and unprepared for snow and temperatures in the low 30s on our first day in Boston. So, we tried to take in as many indoor attractions as we could; beginning with the Boston Aquarium. When the weather got just a bit warmer, we enjoyed a Duck tour. Riding in an amphibious vehicle, our tour guide driver entertained us with historical and quirky facts about Boston as we plied the streets of Boston and then just floated on in to the Charles River for a view of the city from the water. Of course, we spent one entire day walking and stopping along the three miles of the Freedom Trail. The Bostonian Society makes it easy to follow a red stripe down the sidewalk from one historical stop to another. The trail begins at the Boston Common, and, after stops at the new State House, the Old State House, a couple of colonial graveyards, churches (including the Old North Church were two lanterns were hung to indicate “two if by sea”, it ends in Charlestown where we took in a tour of the Navy ship, the Constitution, or “Old Ironsides”. By the time we walked over to Breeds Hill, site of the Battle of Bunker Hill, it was late afternoon and both John and I were exhausted; so we cheated just a bit and took the subway back to our downtown hotel.

While waiting our turn to take a photo in front of the statue of Paul Revere on his horse, I was so surprised to see the family in front of us hold up a front page of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. We immediately struck up a conversation with Walt and Denise Cornelison of Rancho Cucamonga. I’m sure you’ve seen the photos of local folks holding up the newspaper in diverse areas of the world on the front of the Sunday Travel section. It was nice to see and meet nice people from our community on the opposite side of the country.