Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Weekend

The kids had the week off, and I'd accumulated a lot of vacation time already, so we took the Thursday and Friday off and headed up to visit the in laws in northern New Jersey. We just got back almost exactly three days later, and we crammed a lot of good stuff in those three days.

Geocaching - The main thing for Thursday was for Amp, Julia and I to go into New York City, have dinner, and see a show on Broadway. But that left a few hours in the morning before we needed to go, and there are still a lot of geocaches not far from their house that need getting. So Grace, Ines and I went out and walked for about a mile and a half in the woods, picking up three caches along the way, including one really nice one in a tree. It was a good thing we had Grace along for that one. It was an easily climbable tree, and Grace enjoyed it, except for a minor touch of apprehension when she looked down from the top for the first time...
Little monkey in a tree

Saks Fifth Avenue Windows - Costumes from Outlander. Having left home at around 2 and gotten into the city by 3, we had time to kill before taking Julia to Ellen's Stardust Diner for dinner. We knew one thing that we were going to do - check out the temporary window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue, which had about a dozen costumes from Amp's favorite show - Outlander. Between her love of the show (and books) and her experience over the last few years doing costume design for the high school musical productions, this was something she really wanted to see. While not 100% my cup of tea, I have to admit that the costumes were pretty cool.
Outlander costumes

St Patrick's Cathedral - right across the street from Saks is St Patrick's Cathedral. I'm not catholic in particular, or religious in general, but I do appreciate art and architecture, and churches, especially the big opulent ones, have magnificent detail in abundance. St Patrick's did not disappoint in that regard, as you could probably spend days if not weeks studying the ridiculous amount of detail in that massive space.
St Patrick's Cathedral

Heading from Saks and St Patrick's toward Broadway, we passed through Rockefeller Center, which was nicely decorated for the Easter season. We stopped to watch ice skaters on the rink for a little while.
Easter in Rockefeller Center

We got to the Stardust Diner at around 4pm, and there was a line halfway down the block. We got in line to wait, as this was an experience we wanted Julia to have. This is the place where the waitstaff all sing throughout your stay. I've been there once and Amp has been there a couple of times, and we knew Julia would love it. A 65 minute wait later, we were seated, and it did end up being worth it. Julia was enthralled. At one point, one of the guys was singing a song, and made extended eye contact with Julia, pointing at her as he sang. Afterwards, Julia said "I think he likes me...but I'm way out of his league". Amp and I almost fell out of our chairs we were laughing so hard.

The real highlight of the day (and trip) was Something Rotten at the St James Theater. We had great seats 5 rows back in the center of the mezzanine, very close to the stage. The St James is an ~1,100 seat theater, medium-smallish by Broadway standards, but was comfortable. The show itself, about the creation of the world's first musical (in Shakespeare's time, and in competition with Shakespeare), was absolutely hilarious, and well worth the hefty price of admission. Heartily recommended.
Something Rotten at the St James Theater

The last major part of the trip was a private horseback riding "party" for Julia, Grace, Isa and Ines. Isabel and Ines do horseback riding at a local farm, and they also specialize in therapeutic riding for handicapped kids. We had 5 or 6 people, 3 ponies and a horse, and an hour in the indoor riding ring for the girls to enjoy. To say they loved it would be an understatement.
Grace on Junie

Julia was a little apprehensive at first, but became comfortable enough pretty quickly, and had a wonderful time. This will probably be something that we try to arrange again in the future when we are up there. Grace is also asking about riding at some of the local farms near us in the Brandywine valley.
Julia on Vanessa

Even with some time to relax around the house, and sleeping in some, it still seems like we had a pretty full three days. Which we did. Now we are back home, and tomorrow, we have Easter dinner with Dave and his gang, along with Mom and Chris, which is something else to look forward to.

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