a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Monday, October 20, 2014

This city wears me out in a good way

After a two and a half year hiatus from the Big Apple, Whitney and I planned a trip up to The City while her brothers were in town this last weekend. It was a whirlwind of a weekend and jam packed with all things New York.

I'm so exhausted but the trip was so worth it. 

Here's a recap:

 Made it to Times Square!

 Stardust Diner - the food = sub-par. The servers that sing Broadway while you eat = worth the sub-par food. As our server was dropping off our check she grabbed my hand and commented on the tiny CTR engraved ring that no one ever notices. "We pegged you guys the second you walked in," she said. Come to find out she graduated from BYU and grew up in AZ. Always nice to find Mormons everywhere. 


Staten Island Ferry with Manhattan in the background

First time at the 9/11 Memorial and I was very impressed. What a stunning and moving memorial!  

Freedom Tower from the bottom 

 We didn't want to pay to go to the top of the Empire State so the lobby was good enough

Seeing A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder for the first time. This play won the Tony for best musical in 2014 and it was awesome. Whit and I got rush tickets and ended up being in box seats which was a first. Loved the play!


Waiting in the freezing cold for rush ticket for Les Miserables. We were the 5th people in line but we had to do it. Ever since I met Whitney and we found out we're both die hard Les Mis fans we've awaited the day when we could see the play in person together. Sitting on the cold cement for two hours was worth it. 

Central Park on a crisp, fall day 

5th row seats! You could almost reach out and touch the actors! Now, I've seen Les Mis more times than I can count but being that close and seeing it on Broadway (the first time in 17 years since I last saw it on Broadway) made me really emotional at the end. I'm not ashamed to say I cried during the last 10 minutes. Also, the Asian women sitting next to us were insane. They asked Whit to take a picture of them and then tried climbing on the stage (English is difficult) and then got yelled at by an usher. "Hey, get off of there!"

Last stop: Top of the Rock - breathtaking 360 degree views even if it felt like Antarctica.  We made it there just during sunset!

1500 miles, 8 states, and 7 new best friends

There are trips that you go on and you almost immediately fall in love with the trip itself. It's something about the location, the people, the stories, the sites and sounds, or the combination of all those things that make that trip truly once-in-a-lifetime and filled with irreplaceable memories. 

I just got back from one such trip. 

My friend Jason Brown and I traveled to Palmyra and Niagara Falls last year and wanted to road trip again this year with one of our destinations being Sharon, VT - the birthplace of Joseph Smith. Back when we started tentatively planning I wasn't even thinking about fall foliage or New England but when we started solidifying plans we both realized we'd be in the Northeast during the peak season of fall colors. It was dreamy and incredibly beautiful. 

First stop: Quechee Gorge, VT

Quechee Gorge was the perfect first place to stop. We went on a tiny hike down to the water, the boys were boys and climbed trees way too high, we took a million pictures (with a million more to come in the next couple of days) and we fell in love with the colors.

Next stop: Sharon, VT - the birthplace of Joseph Smith

We arrived on a brisk, fall morning with the fall colors radiating beautifully around us. The sky was overcast, but as soon as we drove onto the grounds you could feel the Spirit permeating the place.

I was very grateful and humbled to visit the location where Joseph was born. His family toiled to work the land and provide a meager living for their children. They didn't have much but they were God-fearing, diligent, and righteous people. Little did they know how Joseph would change the world forever. 

Next day: Portland Head Light - Cape Elizabeth, ME

Okay, seriously, this place was out of a picture book. The overcast sky filtered out leaving only sun for the rest of the day. This lighthouse is the most photographed in the area and I can see why. It was perfectly picturesque. I could have stayed all day and just wandered around, filling my soul with sun, colors, and happiness. 

Next: Ferry to Peak's Island

There is something about ferries that I just absolutely adore. Maybe it comes from taking the Balboa Island ferry with my family every year we spent at Newport. Maybe it's the wind or the water or docking next to an island. I don't know. But the Peak's Island ferry did not disappoint. For only $7.70 it was worth every penny and then some. Only a short 20 minute ride and we arrived on the island where we walked around looking for ice cream (our search came up fruitless) so we opted to explore the neighborhood and then relax in some lawn chairs and feel the sun on our faces. 

 The houses on this island were TO DIE FOR. This was my personal fave. 

 All the guys fell asleep.

That is the face of pure joy when we finally found a house (a pink one I might add!) and there were red leaves in the yard to toss. Magic.

Last stop: Plymouth, MA - home of Plymouth Rock

There it is! They say this is the rock the pilgrims stepped on when they docked on the American continent for the first time. It looked just like any other rock to me. Cool nonetheless. 

 However, I did find these amazing men funner to look at during the trip than any rock out there. More on them later. 

In three days we drove more than 1500 miles and I became inseparably close to Jason, Ashley, Mitchell, Taryn, Harrison, Erika, and Nate. We were 8 people from different social circles, wards, and backgrounds but I fell in love with all of them. We laughed almost constantly, shared stories about our families and lives, played games, listened to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" dozens of times on the radio, navigated new roads and terrain, and become the best of friends - framily as we called it.

Mitchell was the king of one-liners that had us either rolling on the floor laughing or rolling our eyes. Just fyi, he will always volunteer as tribute.

Erika was sensible and flexible and a joy to be around. I love easy-to-be-around people. She was the only one brave enough to order The Peanut Butter thing at the last restaurant we went to....and kind enough to order 8 spoons so we could all have a taste.

Harrison kept it real and always knew the best way to get places. He made us taste a local New Hampshire soda which I don't think we'll ever forget it...even though we're trying. #moxie #industrialsludge

Taryn wanted to go to a Haunted House really bad so she made some phone calls and ended up calling a police station. Google was obviously out of date.

Nate tried his best to outshine the other car with his driving skills. He's a champ for driving a zillion miles and never having a close call. He's also real close to learning a lot of T-Swift lyrics.

Ashley made us look pretty and was the queen of group shots. We will thank her in 20 years for that. She also tried falafel for the first time and found a new love.

Jason was the perfect trip captain, always keeping us on track and on time. He might have accepted a dare by Harrison to drive more than 100 mph on the freeway but don't tell our moms that.

Thanks for a wonderful trip guys!