Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Good Summer Vacation

We didn't know what to expect on our first cruise other than a small cabin and lots of mediocre food. Now we have very high and excited expectations for a second one. The trip was a perfect ten. Accommodations and service better than a good hotel, food quality and variety amazing for all-you-can-eat caliber, and entertainment endless. Our vacation pennies were spent wisely.

Back during snow season we started tossing the idea around of going on a warm weather cruise with our friends, Aaron and Angela. That idea began to sound better and better so we made it happen! The cruise was a 4th anniversary celebration for us and a pre-baby #2 escape for them. After the boat ride we also cashed in on an overdue Christmas gift to each other, a trip to NYC.

Off we went on a five night adventure... up the New Jersey Turnpike, past the NYC skyline, across the Atlantic, to Bermuda...

Wow factor views don't always require variety in the scenery
The ship wasn't short on entertainment. We watched a parade from our cabin window on the first night
And discovered different nooks and rooms every day

Took our own free-of-charge-formal picture
It overwhelms me now to think of all the entertainment provided on the ship. Big shows every night, trivia, dance lessons, ping pong, putt-putt, stretch class in the morning, midnight dance and buffet, love and marriage game show, etc.........
And the little cabin wasn't a problem at all. It was plenty spacious even when shared with our towel animals

While in Bermuda, which is very clean and relatively low-key, we walked around St. George and the Naval Dockyard. Saw some very old churches, watched Matt climbed a tree, ate lunch in a very Americanized restaurant, enjoyed views of the beautiful water, snorkeled in Tobacco Bay, attempted to get into Fort St. Catherine , watched a glass blowing demonstration, sampled rum cakes (delish), and tasted a Dark & Stormy (nasty) at the Frog and Onion.

Once back in New Jersey and off the boat we drove directly to Carlo's Bakery, home of The Cake Boss! Everything in there looked and smelled scrumptious. Our cupcakes, biscotti and cannoli were delicious, but I sure wish we could have sampled it all.

And what did we do next? Headed to another restaurant of course! (It's tough weening yourself off the buffet lines...) The weekend Matt and I met, over seven years ago, I quickly learned from him that Carmine's has "the best food in the wooooorld." He's talked about it at least once a month since. It was my immense pleasure to finally sit down with him over a gigantic platter of spaghetti and dig into his idea of culinary perfection :o)
After lunch we walked around Times Square and were approached by what turned out to be a CBS Page asking if we wanted to be in the Late Show audience that afternoon - heck yeah! It was a first time experience for all of us and was loads of fun. Our third row seats gave us excellent views of David, Paul, the orchestra and... AND... AND... HARRY CONNICK JR! I don't think we can be seen, but this is the episode. After that fun we meandered around the city a bit more before heading to our hotel room to eat a big greasy delicious New York City cheese pizza.

The next morning we made it over to the 30 Rock plaza to hear Rascal Flatts perform for the Today Show's summer concert series. We had an excellent view (directly beside the stage on the right, underneath the Dean & Deluca sign), but didn't make the national TV camera cut this time either.
That afternoon we strolled around the streets with and without direction. Stumbled upon some neat places and purposefully found others. After walking through the charm of Soho and chaos of Chinatown, we stopped to have lunch in Little Italy at an outdoor cafe.

We continued walking through the afternoon and oohed and aahed over a city lifestyle we'll probably never live. Before we knew it, the clock tolled "time for early dinner" before our drive back home. Thanks to Google and smart phones, we found a really neat place called The Primeburger... where the food is fried, oldies are always goodies, and everyone has their own 40+ year old chair with attached food tray. Goodbye New York. We are intrigued by you so much. We'd hate to live within your hectic parameters, but we look forward to visiting you over and over again...
Our summer vacation was good.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where Did We Go?


(More to come...)