Rory's aunt and uncle live in Skillman, New Jersey, which is about a fifteen minute drive to Princeton and just a little over an hour into New York City. They recently downsized and have a good amount of furniture they were looking to be rid of, and since we just moved into our first house, we were pretty ready to jump on some free furniture, even if it was a few thousand miles away. So we made the grand plan of flying up north, renting a car, and then driving back down. And you know what, friends? It worked!
I had the great privilege of visiting NYC back in the fall with the teaching staff at Downtown Academy. We had a great time and saw A LOT. In recent years, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a big city type. I enjoy visiting them once in a while, but I prefer smaller cities like Athens, Chattanooga, Greenville, etc. However, when I was in NYC in the fall, I made a little mental list of things I would love to do if Rory and I got the chance to go there together. And when I say little, I mean little. All I wanted to do was go to Central Park and see a Broadway show together.
When we arrived in Philadelphia, we were greeted by Aunt Shelley and sweet Grandpa Mel. We hopped in the car and then stopped to eat a Friendly's which is kind of like Denny's or IHOP. (It's Grandpa's favorite. :)) Upon arrival at their home in NJ and after putting our things away, we took a little nap on the couch and then went out to dinner with more family. That was a lot of fun because I had not met a couple of Rory's cousins yet. We went to Seasons 52, which is an amazing restaurant that has a different menu for each week of the year! It was de-lish.
On Saturday, we put on our walking shoes and did NYC. We met Rory's cousin, Kristen at an amazingly delightfully yummy Italian restaurant. After that, we had a ton of time to kill, so we walked up to Central Park and spent the better half of the afternoon there. I had been to Central Park in the fall, but we were able to spend so much more time there, and it was incredible. It is hard to believe as you walk through the park that you are in the middle of NYC. We saw so many fun sights, and it was fun to say, "Oh my goodness, that was in Enchanted!" a couple times and to people watch. There were so. many. people.
After that, we were going to do dinner at Shake Shack, but the line was INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE, so we went to Five Guys instead. It was just a few blocks away from the Majestic Theatre, where we were going to see the 8:00 show of Phantom of the Opera. When I went to NYC for the first time in high school, I saw this show and was mesmerized. I was so excited that Rory and I got to share in it together this time! There were some parts I didn't remember; even though I've seen the movie several times, the live show has some pretty neat special effects.
With such a late night, we enjoyed sleeping in on Saturday. That day, we kind of hung out on our own; we were dropped off in Princeton by Uncle Ken and did some exploring. The town of Princeton was super cute and reminded me of Athens a bit. We ate lunch at a super yummy pub-like restaurant called Winberie's, did a little souvenir shopping, and explored the campus of Princeton University. Y'all. Princeton is beautiful. I hope to one day make it back there when it isn't so hot and we haven't walked eight miles the day before. It is gorgeous. The buildings obviously have a rich history and have been meticulously preserved. Plus, they have a free art museum! We were there before the students came back, and there were mostly tourists walking around, taking it all in just like us.
On Saturday evening, we were treated to a big family cookout, where I was able to meet even more family I hadn't met yet. Aunt Shelley knows how to throw down, y'all. That food was off the chain. I was sad we weren't going to be there much longer to help polish off the leftovers, because dang, that food was good!
Sunday morning, we woke up and drove to Enterprise to get our car. We had reserved a "Toyota Rav-4 like vehicle," and when we got there, we could see that the pickings were slim. Uncle Ken saw BMW X-5 in the lot and jokingly said that we should take that car. Well, friends, the Hyundai Santa Fe they were going to put us in was "damaged," so guess who drove home for 13 hours in style?! Y'all. I am not a huge car person, but that car was jam. up. Sun/moon roof, heated leather seats, navigation system, Bluetooth for your phone and music...I told Rory that I didn't care if we got home at 4 am since we had that car. We had a good old time riding in that vehicle. For the majority of the trip, we listened to the Serial podcast, and we took turns driving and sleeping. It definitely made the trip much more comfortable and enjoyable. Not to mention we were able to get some awesome furniture!
The Lord gave us a great summer, and this was such a fun way to put an end to our summer travels and adventures. We are hoping for a quiet and restful fall and are looking forward to enjoying our home, our friends, and our puppies. :)