Monday, August 4, 2008

NYC - Day 1

I've been meaning to post about our family vacation to New York so I thought I'd break things down by each day since I'll probably never have enough time to write about the entire trip in one sitting. Anyway... Last year, hubby, the boys, and I, plus hubby's parents flew to San Diego for a family wedding. On the way home, we took a bump from Northwest and each of us received a $300 travel voucher for any NWA flight. After the first bump, hubby and Nicklas took a second one and ended up spending the night in Minnesota. So we essentially received $1800 in credit from Northwest (and people wonder why the airlines are going bankrupt?).

So this summer, we asked Nicklas to choose some place in the United States that he's like to visit. I was relieved when he said New York City since I have an Aunt who lives on Long Island and is always asking us to visit - thereby making the vacation a bit more affordable. One night at dinner, we all planned the one or two activities we wanted to do during our visit. Hubby wanted to go to a Yankees game since this is the last year for their stadium. I wanted to visit Fire Island and spend time at the beach. Seeger wanted to ride a train, and Nicklas wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. We were able to incorporate everything and more into our visit.

We flew out of Indy pretty early, arriving at LaGuardia around 9:30. Aunt Carolyn was gracious enough to pick us up and drive us back to her house. Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Bob live on the southern shore of Long Island in the small town of Bayport, about an hour from the city. I'd been to visit her two other times and the older I get, the more I appreciate the beauty of the area she lives in - lots of cute homes/bungalows and charming down towns with cool looking shops; all with a definite influence of being located on the shore but not too "Hampton-y". After settling in at aunt Carolyn's, we took a quick drive to the ferry stop in Sayville.

As you can see in this picture, Seeger looks like he's winking. He's not! The day before we left for our trip, his left eye became very swollen from what we think was a bug bite. It didn't really bother him but it looked terrible! I felt so bad for him (although he didn't seem to mind!) After a few days and several doses of Benadryl, it finally cleared up!

The day at the beach started as cloudy and cool (after several days of hot and humid, according to Carolyn) but by the time we got on the ferry, the sun started to shine through. Our ferry ride took us to Sailor's Haven and the Sunken Forest. For those not familiar with Fire Island, it is a barrier island south of Long Island that is several miles long but it’s width is very short, ¼ of a mile at most. Ferries from various towns in Long Island take tourists and day trippers to the various small towns on Fire Island but the permanent population is very small (less than 500, I think). Most Fire Island towns do not allow cars and a few towns are very popular with the LGBT communities.

When we first arrived at Fire Island, we had a quick snack and followed the boardwalk across the island to the beach. It was the third time the boys had been in the ocean and as usual, Nicklas spent most his time with hubby, playing in the waves while Seeger played in the sand. It fits their personality so well. Nicklas likes big adventures like battling with and disappearing under the waves (as long as dad is there to talk him into it) and Seeger hangs back with mom and chills out, playing with the sand toys, rolling in the sand, looking for seashells. Hubby and I also enjoyed burying the boys in the sand.

I was a little nervous about the beach – you never know what can happen with tides, currents and sharks oh my – but thankfully, there were lifeguards there. There were also lots of jellyfish and remembering the episode of Friends where Monica had to pee on Chandler, I freaked out about one of the boys getting stung. One of the lifeguards assured me that the jellyfish weren’t the stinging kind though (and he was gracious enough to not make fun of me for asking).

I had to post this picture because after posting it on Facebook, one of my friends asked me if we were at a nude beach. I didn't realize it until she said it but it does look like I'm naked. I can assure you I am NOT naked - just wearing a strapless bathing suit! After a few hours, we headed back to catch the last ferry from the Island, stopping to walk through a portion of the miles long boardwalk that winds through the Sunken Forest. The Sunken Forest is surrounded by sand dunes, giving it the appearance that it’s below sea level (not the case) which is how it got its name. It was beautiful see the birds and trees which are twisted and shaped by the constant spray of the saltwater.

This is a picture of the boys walking from the beach toward the Sunken Forest. Below is a picture of the forest. I definitely wasn't able to capture the beauty of the forest and its twisted trees.

After returning on the ferry, Aunt Carolyn picked us up we went back to her house for a yummy chicken dinner. Although I had brought a backpack of toys and activities for Nicklas and Seeger, they enjoyed spending the evening looking through the toys Aunt Carolyn let them play with that are leftovers from cousins Andy and Molly.

Day 2 of NYC coming soon!

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