Wednesday, December 27, 2017

East Coast Christmas Road Trip

Merry Christmas from Philadelphia! We thought we'd take advantage of living on the East Coast, so we made a little road trip excursion up north! 

On Christmas Eve, we drove up the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware till we arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where we first visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

From the Independence Visitor Center, we headed to Philly's City Center. 
Loved the beautiful buildings. 

Franklin and Washington

Philadelphia City Hall

Grabbed hot chocolate at the Christmas Village in JFK Plaza, and watched the Christmas Light show at the historic Macy's, a 50-year Christmas tradition. This Macy's also houses the one of the biggest pipe organs in the US.  

 You know you're in Philly when the City Hall Christmas tree is topped with a Liberty Bell. The tree looks pretty fantastic at night too.

America’s Garden Capital Maze.

Outdoor ice rink and light show on the beautiful City Hall building. What a fun day!

On Christmas morning, we drove up the road to Warren, New Jersey, where we stayed one night with the in-laws of A's sister. Their home was amazing, and they were wonderful, generous hosts!

So fun for the Greek cousins to spend Christmas together for the first time! We all enjoyed the Christmas party with Theo A and Thea N too.

Most of the party was spent in basement where we bowled (bowling shoes for every size!), played classic video games like Ms. Pac-Man and DigDug, and tried out the golf simulator! 

Party time! Z made instant friends with J's 2nd cousins.

Picture of Thea N and her two sisters-in-law (so great hanging out with cousin J's other auntie too).
We are grateful to our hosts for inviting us to join them on this very special Christmas.

The morning after Christmas, we left New Jersey and headed to New York. First stop, Liberty State Park from the Jersey City side to see Lady Liberty herself! It was so stinkin' cold!

Chilly view of the Big Apple.

After driving into the city and parking our car in the Hotel Pennsylvania garage in MidTown (we don't recommend either, the city driving or the hotel), we took the Subway to the 9/11 Memorial. The Freedom Tower is beautiful. 

Dropped by Trinity Church to take a break from the cold. Alexander Hamilton is buried here, so there were several people paying their respect in the graveyard.
 Turned out to be a very worthwhile stop; we enjoyed the beauty and warmth while listening to the pipe organ postlude as a service concluded. So cool!

Happy girl likes riding the Subway.

Next stop, Times Square! We could see them prepping for the New Year's Eve party and ball-drop. 

Dropped by the Radio City Music Hall and NBC Studios at 30 Rock.

The famous Christmas tree and ice rink at Rockefeller Center. No one was ice skating because the Zamboni was out clearing the ice. 

Fun seeing the classic herald angel decorations in Rockefeller Plaza, and the impressive window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue. We wanted to see this all at night, but it would have been too cold. Piggybacked through the city, and a stop in Bryant Park (what are the odds the Zamboni would be out at this ice rink too?!).

After a ridiculous 2-hour check-in at our hotel (across the street from Madison Square Gardens and Penn Station), we grabbed some delicious NY pizza. Nice view of the Empire State Building too. 

After a long night of loud honking and city noise, we narrowly escaped "the city that never sleeps" via Brooklyn Bridge. 

Snagged one last shot of the city before making the 6-hour drive back south.

Made one lunch stop at the historic Cantwell's Tavern in Odessa, Delaware. Such fantastic food, and in a settlement established in the 1660s to boot!

 Sunset over the impressive 23-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel back into Virginia Beach. Praise God for our smooth and safe travels!

Returned home in time to celebrate L's 35th birthday! Fun dinner at Rudee's waterside restaurant and a drive through the Oceanfront "Merry Mile" Christmas lights on the boardwalk. 

Winter sunsets have been beautiful!

Two mermaids ready for a little New Year's Eve party with some friends. 

Everyone tried to stay up till midnight, but only the reindeer and the kitty made it to the New Year. Happy 2018!