NEW YORK CITY

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What an amazing city!

My cousins were visiting from Florida and had never been to New York City so we got up early to hop on the NJ Transit train into New York.  The train made a lot of local stops and finally ended up at New York Penn station.  Just a helpful hint – make sure to buy your tickets from the machine in the waiting area outside your train stop because it is cheaper than buying the tickets from the Conductor on the train.

Once you get off the train, it is a little crazy when you walk up to 8th Avenue with all the people, taxis and horns honking.  Stay close to your group and just be prepared.  It’s fun, but the city can be hectic.

We wanted to show our cousins, Laura and Gia, a lot of the sites so we took the Gray Line double-decker bus tour around Manhattan (another name for NYC).  I would recommend trying the Big Bus tour because they had better reviews.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a vendor when we got there so we took the Gray Line City Sightseeing buses. We were not too impressed.  On one bus they didn’t even have a microphone for the “tour guide.”  All you could hear was the pre-recorded information and you couldn’t even adjust the sound on the headphones they provided.  It was so loud, it was annoying at times.

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Some of the sites we saw on the uptown & downtown tours were the beautiful brownstones, the famous Apollo Theater, Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building,  Harlem, the Met, Flatiron building, Central Park, Time Square, Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Little Italy and many others. The best part about city sightseeing this way is that you can hop on and off at any of their stops all day.

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Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side is a traditional New York style deli and was a great place to stop for dinner.  Of course, New York style pizza is on every corner and Ray’s Pizza is always a good choice.

If you are looking for something sweet – try to make a stop at Sprinkles cupcake shop.  They have a cupcake ATM machine that is super cool and the cupcakes are delicious!

For a different kind of shopping experience, go to Canal Street near Chinatown.  You can get unique NY souvenirs and t-shirts.  It is always fun to bargain with the street vendors and the shop keepers.

We were so exhausted from the day that we didn’t end up going to a Broadway show or even taking the boat tour by the Statue of Liberty this time.  Next visit for sure!

NYC is considered the “City that never sleeps” so you can go out day or night and see people and sights.  Just be safe.  If you can, try to plan to stay in NY for more than just one day.  There is just so much to see and do.  The Benjamin Hotel and The W hotel are my favorites.  They have great locations and awesome service and amenities.  Their rooms are big and they have either kitchens or refrigerators and microwaves which makes it easy for people with food allergies to travel.

We had such a fun day.  Hope you do too!  Keep It Suite!

Nashville Home of the Honky Tonks

Going to Nashville was an amazing experience.  Walking around and seeing all of the cool historical places in town made me feel like I was in a fun country city.

The Country Music Hall of Fame is a great place to start.  You can see all of the old records, instruments and entertainer’s costumes from Dolly Parton to Miranda Lambert.  You can even walk through the inside of a huge model guitar.

I wasn’t sure what a “Honky Tonk” was.  Honky Tonk Highway is on lower Broadway. There are lots of little Honk Tonks/bars with live music, a rocking stage and music party that lasts all day, everyday. Kids are are even allowed to go with their parents until 6:00 pm then it becomes adults only.  We saw some recording artists that were really good.  Legends Corner definitely was my favorite place. You never know, you might see someone famous.

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One of our other stops was the Grand Ole Opry.  It’s home of American music and country’s most famous stage. Make sure to book a backstage tour so you can see where all of the famous musicians get ready to perform.  Every performer since the very beginning has stood on the wooden circle from the original  Ryman  Auditorium. When you take the tour they let you stand on the circle by the microphone up on center stage.  It’s a great picture to have!

Image result for circle on stage in grand ole opry in nashvilleWhen you are done at the Opry, you can walk over to the Gaylord resort and you can eat in the glass hotel. It is a pretty amazing site inside the hotel.  Almost like a little city in a glass dome.Image result for gaylord hotel in nashville

More to come soon. Keep it suite!

 

Cape May, NJ

When you stay near Congress Hall in Cape May, everything is walkable to Washington Street mall.  There are a lot of boutique shops, coffee houses and restaurants.  It’s a great place to walk around, buy some sweets or souvenirs to bring home.

Cape May has a trolley tour that goes around town.  There is a driver and a local person who tells you all about the history, the great fire that destroyed most of the town in 1878 and the architecture.  It was great how she explained all the different styles and all of the Victorian houses, Bed and Breakfasts and Hotels.  Some have even been redone historically but are considered “Painted Ladies” due to the bright colors.  I loved seeing all the different styles – including turrets. widow’s walks and Italianate style.

A8427A1D-1226-474B-A419-321D8D34CD3B.jpegI loved driving around town and seeing the Cape May Point Lighthouse and the World War 2 lookout tower.  Keep it suite!

 

Grand Canyon and Sedona

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In November, I went to Arizona to visit some family. On our way to the Grand Canyon, we stopped in Sedona to see the incredible red rocks. After lunch, we drove to the South Rim of the Canyon. The view was breathtaking. We walked around the rim and down part of the Canyon before we went back up to have dinner at the Grand Canyon Lodge dining room. It was pretty amazing to see the canyon at sunset. Make sure you bring a jacket it got cold when the sun went down. Next time I hope to have time to stay over. Keep it suite!

St. Thomas

1491584353337St. Thomas is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is located past Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean. We stayed at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. It’s gorgeous and luxurious.  When you have to travel with food allergies, it is great to get a villa so you can cook and bring your food anywhere. The villa was overlooking the harbor so we could watch the cruise ships and boats coming and going right from the Villa. Everything was convenient.  It’s like a home away from home and makes it much easier to travel.

One of the most amazing things to do in St. Thomas was taking the gondola sky ride to Paradise Point overlooking the town of Charlotte Amalie and St. Thomas Harbor. I took lots of pictures because the view was amazing, so make sure to bring your camera!  When you get to the top observation deck, you can relax, have a cold drink or nice lunch, go shopping or use the free Wifi and outdoor charging stations.

Stay tuned for more on St. Thomas. Keep it Suite!

 

 

Living The Resort Life

bike riding Kingsmill.JPGAt Kingsmill Resort you can walk or even ride your bike to the spa and the fitness center which are both teen friendly.  The spa has a sauna, steam room, and relaxation room you  can use before and after your visit. There are also huge indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center with a great view overlooking the pool.   It was so exciting to be able to go to the spa with my parents. We even got to chill out in robes and have a special private lunch delivered to a special reserved table by the pool afterwards.

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pool by spa Kingsmill.jpg Every day there is something different to do. One day we tried jet-skis and paddle-boards which were ridiculously awesome on the quiet James River.

The funniest thing that happened was trying to go fishing with a bobber in a river.  We spent hours and didn’t catch anything because we found out later we were supposed to use a sinker or a weight. We still had fun but we definitely felt like swifties!fishing Kingsmill.JPG

I think the best part of going to resorts like Kingsmill is all of the family time and fun new  experiences.  If you get a chance, don’t miss out!  Keep It Suite!

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Kingsmill Resort

Kingsmill Resort is located outside of Williamsburg, VA along the James River.  We rented a condo that overlooked the river.  It was the perfect location near the pool, spa and fitness center. There was a large outdoor River Pool that has a water slide and a big lazy river. You can also have lunch there. I had fun doing the lazy river at night with my Mom and Dad. You can also bike around the resort. There are a lot of great long paved paths. We also ate at a cool restaurant called the James Landing Grille where we saw the sunset.  It is a great family resort  and only about 15-20  minutes to town. Keep it suite!