East Coastin'

Last weekend, the girls set off in my Mom's truck to Philadelphia to visit my other sister Megan.  She attends University of Pennsylvania and she stayed in Philly to work this summer.  If we wanted to see her before this fall, we needed to take matters into our own hands.  Thus, the girl trip was born.  Will stayed home with RadDad and his poppy watched him during the day while RadDad worked.  It was good to get away, and even better to scoop up WillRad when we got home and give him a big honkin' kiss!

On Wednesday afternoon, we piled into the truck and started our 12 hour drive to Philly! 

Once we got to Philly we found a parking space, which required me to yell out the car window at a parking attendant, asking if he had any parking spots.  I feel very strongly after this vacation that, although I wouldn't prefer it, I would make a fantastic city dweller.  

Once we got parked, we got on a hop on hop off tour bus around Philly.  We saw lots of historical sites, including Ben Franklin's grave and Betsy Ross' house!

Yeah, that's Betsy Ross' house.

We also got to see lots of different sections of the city, including China Town.  This is a picture of the entrance to China Town.  It was beautiful, I thought it was gigantic....until we got to NYC.  NYC's China Town is a HUGE metropolis within a metropolis!

We hopped off the bus at Maria's favorite place, the Reading Terminal Market.  It is the Reading Railroad Terminal that has been converted into this huge marketplace with restaurants, produce stands, mom and pop shops and the like.   

My favorite shop in the market was the candy store (of course)! They had these amazing dark chocolate covered sea salt caramels that were easily the best things I have ever eaten.

There was so much variety at the Reading Market, this was a booth that had every flavor jerky you could ever want.  If you like that sort of thing...

After eating lunch and exploring the market we got back on the tour bus.  I will be honest that the market really overwhelmed me the first time we went.  We went back on Saturday morning and got donuts (fresh made beautiful donuts) and the second time there, I knew exactly what I wanted and was able to navigate it much more.  I highly suggest a second visit if you ever find yourself there.  You need an introduction visit and then a follow up.

We finished our bus tour back at Independence Hall in time for our tour of the building.  This was the building that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed in.  It was amazing to see.  I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to American History though...

These were the beautiful windows inside the building.

Once our tour was done, we met Megan for dinner!  We went to this place called Max Brenner's.  This place is known for their chocolate so the desserts were OFF THE HOOK.  The food was pretty good too.  The fries are dusted in chili powder and cocoa powder.  It sounds gross, but I now firmly believe it is the only seasoning that you should ever put on french fries.

On Friday, we woke up at 5am and took a bus into New York City!  We were ready for a full day of site seeing and walking!

This was my first site as the bus rolled into NYC.  It was like seeing a celebrity, I see these cars in TV shows all the time. 

We jumped on a hop on hop off bus tour in NYC as well.  It was a really great way to get around the city as well as learn a few things on the way.  

For lunch, Maria had found a place in China Town called the Wo Hop.  We traveled DEEP into the heart of China Town to find it and had lunch there.  It was a tiny little room that you had to go underground to get to.  But, as with all questionable Chinese food establishments, it had pretty good food.  It was quite an adventure, I'm still amazed we didn't get some sort of stomach ailment afterwards.  Wo Hop for the win!

We walked through China Town, which was huge so it took a while, and then through Little Italy where we stopped and got gelato; then ventured back into SoHo.  SoHo had a lot of high end stores and what has to be the most beautiful building in all of New York.  

Did you notice what store that is?  Yeah, that explains why it can be as beautiful as it is...

We hopped back on the bus and rode through SoHo and back towards city center. We got off at Ground Zero to see the 9-11 memorial.  It was...uncomfortable.

I firmly believe every American should experience it.  It is overwhelming.  The waterfalls drain into a center hole in the buildings' footprints, mimicking the implosion of the buildings.  They were beautiful, and a fitting tribute to those that lost their lives that day.  I didn't want to linger there though.  The place made me uneasy as I remembered what happened there.  

We got back on the bus, after a much needed Starbucks stop, and rode to 30 Rockefeller Center!  I was SO excited to see 30 Rock.  I love the show 30 Rock and I love Jimmy Fallon, so I geeked out a little bit when we got there!

Before we got back on the bus, the other girls needed some street nuts.  

We drove by Central Park and the Plaza hotel!  Someday I will come back to NYC and I will stay in the Plaza Hotel.  It is SO SO pretty.  I think that it is much prettier than the Waldorf Astoria.

We ended our day back in Times Square and got to see it all lit up as the sun went down.  We ate at a pub and walked around.  It gets VERY crowded in Times Square at night and there are a lot of people doing some very strange things for money there as well.  eek.

On our final day on the East Coast, we drove out the Ocean City, NJ.  "The Shore" as the locals call it.  It was crowded because it was a beautiful Saturday, but we didn't mind.  We walked up and down the boardwalk.  Ate some Crab Fries (not made of crab), pizza slices as big as our arms, and gelato.  We laid out on the beach and breathed in that beautiful sea air!  Shrivers has a shop on the boardwalk, so we got some yummy salt water taffy and headed back to Philly.

Sunday morning we started our long drive back to Indy.  It was wonderful to get away and be without responsibilities for a few days, but I was so glad to get back to my boys!  This trip was a good one for me, it refreshed me and got me ready for what will be a very busy season in our lives.  



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