3/1/12

My Overnight Trip ALONE!

View of the Brooklyn Bridge from the boat
Ever since I had twins, I started taking trips by myself once a year. I'm not ashamed to admit that I need a break from motherhood sometimes. Every trip is different. Once I stayed in a hostel twenty minutes from my house for two nights, another time I crashed at my friend's apartment in Paris for six nights. Just depends on our mood and financial situation. A few weeks ago, NYCVP offered to send me on an overnight trip here in the city. Of course I said yes! I toyed with the idea of going with Rob, but thought naww. An alone trip is long overdue. I booked it through their website for Tuesday, February 28th.

While I could have taken my overnight trip on the weekend, I decided to take it midweek due to our schedules. This way we wouldn't need a baby sitter. All Rob had to do was put the kids down for bed and walk them to school the next day. Then, I could pick them up from school after I checked out from the hotel. Simple and easy. Taking it midweek also had its advantages. I felt like I got an extra Saturday this week (really trying to take advantage of leap year!)

Included in every trip booked through NYCVP is free admissions to some of my favorite NYC attractions. I got to choose between tickets to the top of the Empire State Building, Museum of the City of New York, or a NY Water Taxi's Statue of Liberty Flex Pass. Since I've never taken a cruise on a NY Water Taxi, I chose that! NYCVP also offers free tickets to either the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The American Museum of Natural History or Top of the Rock. Isn't that a fabulous bonus? I adore the view from Top of the Rock, so I chose that.

I had a perfect plan for my trip. I knew just what to do:

After Rob got home from work on Tuesday, I would take the New York Water Taxi’s Statue by Night Cruise. It leaves at 7:45pm and arrives back 1.5 hours later. From there, head uptown, to view the city from Top of the Rock. I loved the idea of seeing the city from completely different perspectives in one night. After that, I would check into The Manhattan Times Square Hotel. It's located only a few blocks away from Rockefeller Center so it felt super convenient. Then, I would relax, sleep in, and do NOTHING until I had to pick up my kids from school at 2pm the next day!

I was shocked that my trip went exactly as planned. Well, except for one small deviation . . .

I arrived early at South Street Seaport for the cruise, and people watched before boarding the boat. A couple a students where filming a movie. A group of girls asked me to take their picture. It was one of the girl’s birthdays. A mother and daughter talked about the weather. And of course there was a bunch of lovey-dovey couples waiting for the boat. I began second guessing my decision to take this cruise alone. I should be with Rob. Or at least one of my kids. Or a girl friend. I forged ahead regardless and walked on the cruise ship. Just call me Miss Independence! :)

There I was greeted by Jimbo, the director of the ship. He was one of those rare people I meet who seems to really love their job. He asked where everyone was from, said jokes, and made everyone on the boat feel welcome. From my experience, customer service is lacking big time in NYC. But not here! Whenever possible, Jimbo offered to take pictures for everyone on the ship. He took his time to pose the people just right and even had props sometimes. I couldn't say no to his cheesy photo ideas!

Photos by the very talented Jimbo.

Oh! If you happen to take this cruise, don't forget to bring some cash for tips at the end. Jimbo and his team work hard. I'm so glad I had some cash on me. I never usually do!

After the cruise, I headed uptown to see The Top of the Rock. The air was crisp. The sky was clear. A perfect February night. I've gone to the Top of the Rock plenty of times, but never alone. It was nice to take it in at my own pace. I read every poster that sparked my interest, watched a 12 minutes video about the history of building, and took as many pictures I wanted without feeling like I was holding anyone back. I truly am in love with this building! I found a window seat and stared out into the city for awhile. What would it be like to have a view like this from your office or home? I'm sure some people do. I imagined I was one of them.

view from my window seat on Top of the Rock.
Finally, at 10:30pm, I checked into The Manhattan Times Square Hotel. The people at the front desk were so nice. I dropped my bag off and for the first time broke away from my perfect plan. I was starving! I slipped into cafe down the street and in true NY fashion, ordered a Reuben sandwich. And then a slice of cheesecake to go. When I got back into my hotel room, I watched Letterman (an old favorite from my single days) while eating that huge slice of cheesecake in bed. I took a long shower and fell asleep. I had the whole king size bed to myself. Heaven.

The rooms at the Manhattan Times Square Hotel are very basic, yet comfortable enough. Great location. Has a swimming pool!

The next morning I woke up still full from my late night dinner. Plus it was raining really hard. That made it all the easier stay in bed until 1pm! I splurged on an On Demand movie from the hotel's TV: The Descendants. I bawled my eyes out the entire movie. It was so cathartic! Partly because it brought back memories of my mother's death, partly because it brought back memories of living in Hawaii for 3 years. After the movie, I wrote Rob a bunch of overly sentimental text messages like, "I'm so lucky to be a mom and a wife!" To which he responded: "What r u talking about?" Ha!

I then decided to lighten my mood by splurging on another On Demand movie: Young Adult. Loved this movie too. The characters development is so wonderful because they all felt so relatable. When it was over, Rob received no sentimental texts. Although I was tempted to defriend all my past boyfriends from Facebook after watching it. All 2 of them. bahahaha.

By then it was 12pm, and check out was 1pm. So I sat at the desk in my hotel room for a good 25 minutes just looking out the window. Watching the rain fall. Taking a few pictures of the pigeons on the building. Watching the people with their umbrellas. A mom with a stroller.

The view from my hotel room. 
Then I took a long shower, packed up my things, checked out, and headed uptown to pick my kids up from school. My vacation was over. It was just what I needed!

Thanks NYCVP for sponsoring my vacation! You are so easy to work with!

Have you ever taken a vacation by yourself? I love that vacations by myself don't have to be overly planned or fussy. I set the pace and go for it. I recommend it!

31 comments:

  1. Aw, I bawled my eyes out at The Descendents too. My hubs and I lost our best friend (who was from Hawaii) last year and we squeezed hands while we reminisced about her and the islands (we lived there two years ourselves..).

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  2. I have thought - often - about doing just this. I really should. I've been a mother for almost 21 years!!!

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  3. Kind of akin to Virginia Wolf's Room of One's Own, I think. We all need some "room" sometimes!

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  4. I came over from A Cup of Jo and when I initially read the title of her post "would you ever take a vacation by yourself?" my answer was a quick no ( I really don't know why though). Then I started going through all your vacation posts and fell in love with this idea right away. I read some to my husband and he suggested I do the same once our twins are born. I have a 2 year son and am pregnant with twins due this july... it sounds weird but I already feel invigorated by the thought of taking a solo vacation (or stay-cation).

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  5. You are brilliant!
    I was pretty independent when I was younger - went on several trips alone, including one to Paris, for 2 weeks when I was 22 (and I didn't know any French)!
    The only alone trips I have had since my son was born have been business trips. But I admit, having a hotel room to myself for a night or 2 always makes me a bit giddy :)

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  6. How great! It sounds like you had a wonderful time! I am in much need of a solo vacation...but I'll have to settle for a solo concert going experience! :) I love your blog!

    www.meawhitbrown.blogspot.com

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  7. I love traveling alone! I studied abroad for a semester in Paris and spent so many days wandering streets and museums alone. I'm glad I have someone to share things with, but sometimes it's so lovely to go at your own pace, and not worry about what the other person (or people! want to do - just as you said.

    Thanks for the post!

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  8. I thought taking a night off alone made me the worst Stay-At-Home-Mother ever! But after coming out of the theatre having seen a film alone and guilt-free, I realised how silly I'd been for keeping it all in. I came home and my partner agreed, I needed some alone time. As a matter of fact, he enjoyed the time with our sons.

    From your smile it looks like you had a fab time :)

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  9. Oh I soooo Relate to this post...funny thing..3 yrs ago..before I had a baby..I remember gasping because my step sister left her toddler with her husband for an entire WEEKEND GASP!! now...3 yrs later, and a mommy of a 2.5 yr old...I just booked my fist mommy vacation..and I CANT WAIT!!!!!! Thank you for speaking truth ;)

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  10. Just found your blog through Oh Happy Day, and loved this front page post! Taking an overnight trip in your own city is such a great idea, and nice change to unwind and see the city in a new way. I've taken lots of vacations by myself, but your post reminded me I'm long overdue for one!

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  11. heavenly, Mom or not this is what everyone woman needs once in a while!

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  12. This is possibly one of the most inspiring blog posts I've read in a while. I'm just overwhelmed with the simple perfection of this overnight getaway. Seriously, it may sound like I'm exaggerating but it just touched me. Maybe it's time I did one of these myself...

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

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  13. Before I met my husband I backpacked through Europe alone which was an amazing experience which I will always feel proud of but now I like having a travel companion to take pictures with and be able to talk about the trip later with.

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  14. what a great idea-some time out! I'm sure more mums will be inspired to do somthing similar

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  15. I loved this post! Amazing that you took a night to yourself. And Iaughed out loud at your husband's reply to your text. My husband always does that!

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  16. Gyða GunnarsdóttirMarch 30, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    ohhhh I love this post. You are such a great writer Sharon. Wow now I really want to go to NYC. While I was reading your post I was reading aloud to my husband of all the things I want to do in NYC.
    You are the best. xoxo.

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  17. I love this post. I can just imagine your giggle when Jimbo took your picture with that lifesaver. I miss you! :)

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  18. When my husband is in San Fran I go with him occasionaly. I cruise around the city alone and I LOVE it, no one to tell me I have to hurry, slow down, can't eat at a cookie shop for lunch or have a Tartine eclair for dinner, I even biked the Golden Gate Bridge alone. Loved it! Great Post.

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  19. I love this tradition. You need it for your sanity!

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  20. That is awesome, Sharon. My best friend lives in NYC and I really need to plan a solo trip out. Ryan is all for it; strangely it's me who drags my feet. Although I do need a break, I think I'm a little too attached to my children! I feel like I give them the best care, and I hardly know myself without them, so the idea of leaving them for several days makes me a bit uneasy. But your independence always inspires me, so one of these days I WILL make it happen. When is the best time to visit NYC for your first time? Love ya!

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  21. I am so jealous of you right now! I have never taken solo vacations after getting married, but sometimes I dream of being on a hotel room, just like that, with silence as my only companion. Amazing, the things you start to treasure after having kids!!

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  22. Yes I went away once to Bowen Island - a lovely island a 1/2 ferry ride from Vancouver. It was sooo quiet, almost too quiet. I didn't know quite what to do with myself but the biggest treat was having a long brunch wit a newspaper and a coffee, for 2 hours, without being interrupted. Perfection. Sounds like a true NYC night away you had and well deserved I imagine!!

    www.simplystylishmom.com

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  23. Danny and I saw The Descendents in the theater and I looked like an idiot when I came out! We both cried our eyes out.
    I need a vacation. We are actually thinking of coming to NYC this summer! You think we would all fit in your apartment?! I don't know how I would do NYC with a one year old that needs naps..

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  24. This sounds brilliant! I've been debating a work-related conference that would require my traveling alone. You may have just sold me on the expense of having my own room! This sounds like a perfect, mini escape and I love that you stayed and explored NY in a new way. Brilliant idea! Your text exchange totally made me laugh. I can imagine the same exchange between my hubs & I. Love it!

    agratitudejourney.blogspot.com

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  25. Good for you Momma! I love how you wrote the story, you really are a fantastic writer. I think enjoying doing things on your own is a thing that must be learned but once you do, it is very rewarding.

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  26. I agree. SUCH a great idea. When I have more kids I may have to implement this for myself!

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  27. What a great post. Thanks for the insight!

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  28. Unfortunately, I've never taken a solo, overnight trip. I've adventured out on plenty of day trips, but am admittedly nervous about spending the night on my own (I have no real reason). Saying that, spending a night in a city, enjoying a comfy hotel bed, sounds wonderful!

    When I do travel alone (to visit family or friends) I love being in airports alone. I don't have to worry about anyone but myself and I can people watch as long as I want to.

    p.s. I love Rob's response to your emotional text! Ha!

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  29. This is SUCH a brilliant idea! I always go on a yearly trip with my mom and sister, but this might have to be a new tradition as well. Looks like an awesome getaway.

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  30. You're so kickass! I just finished one of the most important papers of my graduate career (so far), and I'm 100% rewarding myself with your old blog posts. Ahh..., "NYC Taught Me" my own little indulgence.

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  31. Loved this post - just came across your blog today while jumping from blog to blog. I am a mom who is headed to NYC solo in just a couple of weeks. So, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for the city...unique restaurants or shops that are a must?? Thanks:)

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