My Holiday Trip to New York

I have watched with envy several years in a row while my photo friends have gone on a holiday bus trip to New York City the first weekend of December. They have come back with incredible photos of the Holiday ready city that are just amazing and enviable.

I have wanted to see the Christmas decorations and merriment in New York since I was a child. Each year my Grandmother, a Bridal buyer would travel to NYC in December sending holiday filled post cards. So, each year my desire grew to see this amazing city in all its holiday splendor, and the desire just got bigger and bigger. 

So, I started saving, tucking a small amount away each month in my secret stash envelope with NYC HOLIDAY written on it in hopes that I could join the girls on this year’s trip. I really didn’t know if it was going to work out until the last minute, but it did, and I finally was able to accompany my friends on this trip.

Traveling with a group on a bus is not a bad way to go and helps keep the otherwise expensive NYC cost to a minimum.  4 of us shared a room that included a group rate, and the bus was nice because again traveling as a group there is also a group discount, making the overall cost very affordable. I gave myself a budget for food and I had one small planned purchase at B & H camera. The total the trip with Bus, room and food was just over $400 for two nights. That also included, other transportation in the city and some small incidental expenses getting to and from New York.

We arrived at the southside of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel parking lot to meet our bus from Venture Bus Tours at 11:30 pm. Yes, 11:30 PM. It was travel through the night, so I was able to catch some sleep before stopping for a break about 5:30 am. We could not arrive in the hotel before 7:00 am so the stop was important for a couple of reasons in addition to coffee and bathrooms.

Our Bus arrived at The Skyline Hotel at 50th and 8th at 7:30 am. 38 of us unloaded our things and because rooms would not be ready until later in the day, we would store our things in an empty ballroom. We could also freshen up and change before venturing out for the day.

The Skyline Hotel was not only a great hotel, but a great location for walking. Two blocks to a fabulous place for Almond/Chocolate Croissants and coffee called Pret a Manger. There are lots of locations in NYC, but we went to the one on 8th Street. Time Square, Radio City and Rockefeller Center were all within walking distance in addition to plenty of restaurants and places to see shows or buy tickets for shows.

We had two full days to see as much as we could of what the city had to offer before leaving on Sunday morning. Friday was overcast, and it drizzled on and off which made for a damp day but not uncomfortable. It was cold though, so layering is super important. After eating at Pret A Manger we walked to B & H Camera If you’re a photographer of any kind this place is a must see but go early as it gets crowded quickly and being Jewish owned, they close early on Friday and they are closed on Saturday.

From there we walked down to Macy’s at Herald Square. The windows outside of the store took my breath away, and if that wasn’t enough walking through the front door of the store is absolutely breath taking. If you don’t “Believe”, you will after you visit this store. My next trip I have to take the time to completely explore all that this store has to offer including Santaland check out the Guide to Santa Land in the link. You will need reservations for that.

And, FYI, Macy’s has an incredible campaign with Believe, Letters to Santa. For every letter written either on their website or dropped in a specific red mailbox at any Macy’s Store, a $1.00 donation will be made to “Make A Wish” up to a million dollars. I am not paid in any way for this campaign but I’m very passionate about it. So, go write a letter.

Alas, my friends were ready to move on. I could have spent the entire day exploring Macy’s, but that will be for another trip. We took the subway purchasing a $9.00 Subway pass to our stop which would put us close enough to walk to the Flatiron Building at 175 5th Ave.

*Tip: You’ll pay an extra $1.00 for your subway pass if you’re using your credit card.

We decided at that point to go back to the Hotel, check in and either drop off equipment, bags, change add layers, whatever we needed to do. We took an Uber to our lunch location, Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria close enough that we could walk to Central Park after lunch. I had the most amazing hot bowl of Pasta e´ Fagioli that was the perfect thing for a cold day.