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Trips in Eastern United States

July 4th in Myrtle Beach

July 13, 2017 in Trips in Eastern United States

Myrtle Beach vacation for July 4th

Myrtle Beach is about 9 hours away from where I live – and lucky for me I have fabulous relatives that live there.  My fiance, his son, and I took a little road trip there for the week of July 4th and as always, we had a great time – even on a tight budget.  We are in the process of putting money toward our wedding, so times are tough.  Having a place to stay for this little vacation was huge in helping us do just that.

Ever since my trip to Vermont for July 4th a couple of years ago, I always wonder how I can TOP that experience.  The professional fireworks show in Burlington was the best I had ever seen!  Myrtle Beach may not have topped the show overall – it definitely came as a close 2nd.

It is legal to buy fireworks in South Carolina, making them easy for anyone and everyone to access.  Because of this, we knew we were going to see a show and we didn’t have to go far to do it.  We sat on the beach at 77th Street (in front of Grande Shores) as the evening progressed.  Armed with our beach chairs as the night fell, fireworks began blasting off all around us.  People were only feet away from us setting off fireworks – and I was sure someone was going to get hurt at some point!  Fortunately, it seemed as though everyone left without a scratch, despite the dangerously low displays.

Fireworks could be seen all over the long stretch of coastline and the beach was packed with people.  We had a truly fantastic time and would highly recommend a visit to Myrtle Beach for an amazing and memorable Independence Day.

Myrtle Beach Fireworks Myrtle Beach Fireworks

NEW YORK CITY IN THE WINTER

January 17, 2017 in Trips in Eastern United States

This post is a little late, but I figured better late than never.  My family and I ventured back to New York City a couple of months ago for the day via the fabulous Megabus.  It’s only about 3 hours away and NYC is one of my favorite winter destinations.  Between the amazing holiday decor blanketing the city and the hustle and bustle of shoppers, it really is an exciting time to be there.

This time, for the first time since just prior to the 9/11 tragedy, I visited Ground Zero.  Six months prior to September 11th, 2001, I was on a field trip to New York City.  We stayed in the city for about 3 days and one of our tours happened to be at the World Trade Center.  It blows my mind that not even a year later those buildings were destroyed and a city was devastated.  I still have a souvenir penny from that trip as well as a few photos.  Being back to that spot was surreal.  I couldn’t believe it was the same place I had been before, but this time, minus two of the most famous buildings – side by side.  The memorial was beautiful, however, and the newly built Freedom Tower watches over.

Another stop that I always love is the famous Bryant Park.  The shops are unique (um, if you haven’t tried No Chewing Allowed Truffles – you’re missing out!) and it’s a quaint area to hang out and enjoy the city for a bit.

Take a look at the photos below to see what our trip was like.  New York City is a great idea near Christmas time!

Bryant Park, NYC

Bryant Park, NYC

NYC Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building, NYC

New York City 34th Street Macy's  9/11 Wall Memorial Freedom Tower NYC reflection WTC Site in New York City

9/11 Memorial in New York City

EXPERIENCING PHILADELPHIA FOR THE FIRST TIME – DAY 2

February 23, 2016 in Trips in Eastern United States

At the beginning of January I took a trip to Philadelphia with Brandon as he bought me tickets to see and meet Chase Rice for Christmas.  I had so much fun the first day in Philly and I couldn’t wait to see the rest of the city.  Check out the post from day 1 here.


Day 2 – Exploring the City of Philadelphia

La Colombe Torrefaction
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Our first stop after a night of very little sleep was La Colombe Torrefaction.  We basically run on coffee almost every single day, and on this day, it was absolutely necessary.  This little coffee shop was tucked in the first floor of a building in downtown Philly.  It was a very modern coffee shop with only a few choices (i.e. if you’re a fan of sweetened drinks – this probably isn’t for you).  Nonetheless, I believe I had a mocha and it was fantastic.  They offered real sugar rather than artificial sweeteners for people to sweeten drinks themselves.


Liberty Bell Center
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After getting our caffeine fuel, we hopped right next door to check out the Liberty Bell.  Going into the building where the actual bell is located felt a lot like getting through airport security.  Your bags are put through an x-ray machine exactly like the ones at the airport and you are required to walk through a metal detector.  It’s a little it daunting, however, you ARE walking into a tremendous part of American history.
The story of the Liberty Bell is spelled out along walls and television screens throughout the building.  At the very end of the building, you find the Liberty Bell standing tall.  We thoroughly enjoyed this stop and the historical significance behind it.  Admission to see the Liberty Bell is FREE.


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
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This was one of my favorite stops on our trip.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier resides in the beautiful Washington Square Park.  If you aren’t paying attention along your stroll, this can be an easy monument to miss.  However, I recommend you swing by and pay your respects.  This is an elegant and tasteful tribute to those who passed during the American Revolutionary War.  It’s definitely worth seeing.


Philly Pretzel Factory
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This was a quick stop along our walk to satisfy our hunger!  We split the cheese steak pretzel and to my surprise, it was AMAZINGLY good!  If you have a second and need a bite to eat, I highly recommend it!  If this doesn’t sound like your thing, they have regular soft pretzels, cinnamon, and more.


John F. Kennedy Plaza AKA “Love Park” 
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I have to admit, I was a little bit thrown off by Love Park upon arrival.  I expected something different from what I was seeing.  A few tourists were there aside from us, and people trying to take advantage of them by “accepting donations” for taking photos using the tourist’s cameras.  Not a new concept, but annoying to say the least.  I was also surprised by the number of homeless lingering in the park.  I didn’t stick around long before moving on.  Nonetheless, I ws happy to kick this one off of my bucket list.
UPDATE: Love Park is now undergoing renovations and is expected to be finished in 2017.


Reading Terminal Market
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Reading Terminal Market was a fun place that we accidentally stumbled upon.  The market consists of a large variety of restaurants, baked goods, and more – all in one location.  No matter what you like to eat, I challenge you to NOT find something that appeals to you here!


Benjamin Franklins Grave
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Located directly behind the Wyndham in the Christ Church Burial Ground is the famous Benjamin Franklin’s grave. The burial ground is closed to the public unless a small fee for admission is paid. This was a wonderful historical stop along the way. Franklin’s grave happens to be at the very edge of the fence, making it easy for those on the outside to get a look at.  As you may notice, people often leave coins on his stone.  There are also plaques outside of the fence for people to read and brush up on their history.


There is SO much to see in Philadelphia and I’m sure there are many things that we missed. Fortunately, we don’t live far so getting back won’t be too difficult. I recommend everyone swing by and pursue the city if the opportunity comes around!

Experiencing Philadelphia for the First Time – DAY 1

January 19, 2016 in Food and Drink / Trips in Eastern United States

On Christmas day my boyfriend gave me the best gift he possibly could have: the gift of Chase Rice.  Quite literally.

To explain further, Bran bought us tickets to the Chase Rice show with meet and greet passes for Christmas.  If anyone knows me well in person, they would know that I have a mild obsession with the country singer.  The closest show to us, however, happened to be in Philadelphia, PA.  So Friday January 8th, we took our first road trip to Philadelphia.  I’m not really sure what took us so long, as it’s a mere 2 hours away from home!  But it was a great opportunity to check out a city that I hadn’t been to before.

Geno’s VS Pat’s

We couldn’t check into the Wyndham until 4pm, so when we arrived in Philadelphia around 12pm, we had quite a bit of time to kill.  Our first stop?  The infamous “cheese steak corner”.  Everyone told me before I went that day to make sure I tried Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks.  I can honestly say I had never even heard of the 2 places until then.  After doing a little bit of research, I learned that these 2 competitors seem to have their own fan bases – and usually people prefer one over the other.  I also learned there is an official lingo when ordering a Philly cheese steak!  Can I get a whiz wit….?  😉

Brandon got his hands on a Geno’s sandwich (with whiz) while I opted for Pat’s (with provolone).  The Geno’s sandwich was dripping with grease and I have to admit, it tasted a bit artificial to me.  Maybe it was the cheese whiz?  Maybe it was the steak itself?  I don’t know.  I preferred the Pat’s cheese steak out of the 2 places.  Neither one of them really impressed me, however.

My not-so-professional analysis?  They are both overrated tourist traps.  But hey, at least we can say we tried them both.


Killing Time

After our little trip to cheese steak corner, we headed across the street to kill some time at a local bar called South Philly .  We we’re the only ones in there, aside from the bartender.  Then again, it was a Friday afternoon…..and barely over 12pm!  It was a casual bar that was clearly a popular Philly sports spot, as it had sports team pennants and autographs all over the walls.  We hung out for a while before we decided to move on.


A Show We Won’t Soon Forget

That evening we caught a cab from the Wyndham to the Fillmore in Philadelphia.  We arrived 2 hours early since the show was general admission, and the line really wasn’t as bad as we had expected.  Tucker Beathard opened the show (he’s a newbie to the scene and fantastic, BTW) followed by The Cadillac Three (they were AWESOME) and of course Chase Rice being the final act, performing not only his hits like “Ready, Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight”, but also singing some fun covers.
This show was in my top 5 for sure.  The energy of the performers was amazing and the crowd was electric.  We made a few friends, got GREAT spots, and had an unbelievable time.  I really liked this venue.  The staff was friendly and everything was smooth sailing.  Oh, and while we didn’t get much time with him, Chase Rice was a very friendly guy!  And just as gorgeous in person….just sayin’.

 

Day 1 was a blast, but I was exhausted.  Day 2 we would see much more of the city…..

NEW YORK CITY: THE GLITZ, THE GLAMOUR AND THE CHAOS

December 24, 2015 in Everything Else / Trips in Eastern United States

New York City is one of my favorite destinations to visit during the holiday season.  It just oozes Christmas spirit!  The best part is that it’s only a few short hours from where I live, so a bus trip is a breeze.  We took the Megabus on December 12th of this year, which just so happened to be a 60 degree day.  The weather may not have felt like Christmas, but there was no shortage of spirit all around.  NYC is full of glitz, glamour, and pure chaos – but I love it.

We took the Megabus from White Marsh and embarked on our 3 hours or so journey.  After arriving, we did a lot of the typical ‘touristy’ things, such as Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Rockefeller Center.  Trenton wanted to see the Lego Store and Toys R Us, so we made sure to make those stops.  The crowds were absolutely ridiculous – it’s all part of the big apple experience though.

One of my favorite parts of this particular trip was watching the Salvation Army folks singing and dancing for donations.  They were so happy and cheerful and it was infectious!  People crowded around the energetic men and many even joined in on the fun.  As you can see in the photo below, they really knew how to bring people together, and isn’t that one of the reasons we love the holidays so much?

NYC Salvation Army dancing

There is so much to see and do in New York City, but people watching has to be one of the best parts.  There are people of all shapes, sizes, races, colors, and cultures.  You never know what you’re going to find…..like a group of Santa’s on motorcycles driving through Times Square!  Apparently there was a Santa Convention in town that day…..Santas in Times Square

Whether you go for a day or a week, NYC should be on your bucket list.  Once you see it, you’ll become addicted to the sights and sounds.  Unless you hate city life, that is!

Be sure to check out my previous blog post from the big apple, A New York Engagement!

 

 

 

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