Walking in Memphis

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My baby brother Matthew is currently a senior at Rhodes College in Memphis Tennessee. He graduates in May, and the plan was to head out then to visit. Unfortunately, I am going to be in a wedding the same weekend of his graduation. I knew I wanted to visit before his four years were up!

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Rhodes College

Family weekend proved to be the perfect excuse for a quick weekend trip to Memphis. My parents have both been up to visit several times, so they were the experts on our trip. I really did not do any research before heading up. It was kind of nice to just tag along and have everything planned out. This trip was mostly visiting with Matthew, and eating.

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Matthew picked us up from the airport and we headed for a quick driving tour of campus. We ended up at his adorable house right off of the campus. Seriously, this kid is living the life. His house is nicer than mine and I am a ‘grown up’. Matthew had one class so we headed to lunch without him. We went to a little place called The Local. It was very laid back and chill. They even had SEC network on, so we got to watch an old Gator game while we ate. They had a wide selection of beers and classic bar food.

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our view from the hotel

We then headed to our hotel which was right by the Mississippi River. We stayed at a Springhill Suites, and the location was perfect. You could walk to the river, as well as Beale Street. We walked to dinner at McEwen’s, my parents and brother’s favorite spot. We met up with Matthew and a big group of his friends for a delicious dinner. After dinner we wandered down to Beale Street. We really didn’t go anywhere on Beale, but we walked down the street taking in the sights. It really reminded me of New Orleans. The main reason I wanted to walk on Beale was so I could capture a photo “Walking with my feet, 10 feet off of Beale.” We were pretty wiped from a long day of travel, so we headed back to the hotel fairly early. Before getting back to the hotel we stopped at the Madison Hotel for a drink on their rooftop bar!

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The next morning we woke up for a walk along the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, I was fighting a nasty cold, so I was not the more pleasant person during our walk. The weather was overcast, and that just fed into my bad attitude. haha!

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We then made our way back to campus for Family Day events. These included a tailgate at Matthew’s fraternity house, a football game, and a tour of the campus. It was really nice to finally meet some of Matthew’s college friends.

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 The campus is absolutely spectacular. It is a very small school, which made touring the campus very easy. I still can’t believe this is where my baby brother goes to school. The above picture is from the library!

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We made our way to the football field, and WOW…talk about a night and day change when compared to the college football I am used to. I literally walked right onto the field. I am used to college football games with 90,000 screaming fans. This felt more like a high school football game.

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We left campus to go to a restaurant called The Beauty Shop. This restaurant is in an old beauty shop. It is really cool because you can sit in the dryer chairs! The cocktails here were fabulous. I had one that was fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and vodka…SO GOOD.

We finished the night at the boys house watching football and grilling. It was a nice, relaxing weekend exploring this new town my brother has called home for the past four years! I have a feeling I will be back soon!

Snapshots from the Brooklyn Bridge

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When I found out I would be returning to New York, my one must see was the BROOKLYN BRIDGE. It is such an iconic piece of New York and I was so sad when I missed it on my first trip. On our last day of the trip, my roommate decided to sleep in and I knew I had to get to the bridge. I hopped on the subway smack in the middle of Monday morning rush. I put my headphones in and for that subway ride I felt like a real New Yorker. One note about the subway in NYC…download the map on your phone it will make your life super easy!

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Again, I was lucky enough to go on a beautiful morning! Construction was happening on the bridge so I didn’t walk completely across. I snapped some pretty fun shots while walking and wanted to share them. It was so nice being able to walk the bridge alone and just take it all in. The one downside to going alone is I had no one to take my picture…so I was THAT girl taking a selfie on the Brooklyn Bridge…oh well!

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Here are a few more snapshots from my trip to the Brooklyn Bridge. I could not imagine a more perfect way to end my trip to NYC!

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I hope you enjoyed all my posts…next trip is in December California to visit family!

Chelsea Market and The Highline

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This day was one of the most beautiful days of our trip. The sky was blue, the air was cool, and I was ready for some adventures! We took the metro down to Chelsea Market. I wasn’t able to get down to this area during my last trip due to Hurricane Sandy, so I was pretty excited to visit.

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one of my favorite pics from the trip

We started in the Anthropologie which was stunning, I have never met an Anthropologie I did not instantly WISH I lived in. The rest of the market was super cool. We kind of did a quick walk through, but I would love to return and really explore all the individual shops inside the market! The market has desserts, wine, and a bookstore…just a few of my favorite things!

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If I ever lived in New York, I think I would want to live in this area. I loved the cobblestone streets, the markets, and the outdoor seating. While wandering through the streets we stopped into several stores. Oh my goodness! Stores here are PRICEY! I felt so poor looking at shirts that cost over $1,000! There were definitely some dream dresses found in a few stores. My favorite was Alice and Olivia…they had some serious swoon-worthy dresses. Any one want to fund my next shopping trip??

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The Highline

The best part about wandering is that you stumble upon some pretty great things! I had heard only wonderful things about The Highline, but I wasn’t exactly sure where it was in relation to Chelsea…luckily we stumbled right on to it. WOW! If you go to New York The Highline is a MUST. The Highline is a 1.45 mile stretch of greenery smack in the middle of a busy city. It was built on an old railroad and treats its visitors to some beautiful views. It was such a nice way to spend a perfect New York City day!

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NYC Eats

 

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Oh man! One of the best parts about traveling is getting to try fun new restaurants! My dad and I consider ourselves to be quite the food critics in our hometown, so I always find myself looking for eccentric restaurants that you can’t find anywhere else! I wish I took the time to document every single meal, but I did not want to be THAT person in the restaurant snapping away!

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Our first morning we went to Tavern on the Green and ordered a bagel and iced tea to enjoy in their courtyard. It was the perfect morning to eat breakfast outside in the park! I had looked up Tavern on the Green and saw it was pretty expensive, but the prices of the Green To Go was extremely reasonable! It was honestly one of the cheapest meals of the trip…plus you cant beat the view of Central Park.

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Before seeing Aladdin we went out for a fancy dinner. We went to this adorable Italian restaurant a few blocks from the theater. It was called Lattanzi. We had the most wonderful bottle of wine (the Pinot Noir). If you go here I recommend the Chocolate Mousse dessert…Oh my goodness! It was the most perfect pre show dinner!

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I was SO happy I had talked to my friend Chelsie Saturday morning. Her ex-bf used to live on the Upper West Side, super close to where we were staying so she was FULL of awesome recommendations! Alice’s Tea Cup is a place I had heard of before, but after Chels recommended it I knew we had to go. If I thought the Chocolate Mousse was good the night before, nothing can compare to the Chocolate with Sea Salted Carmel Scone. Ahhh! I wish I bought a dozen. I absolutely loved the quaint and homey atmosphere in this little restaurant. They have more tea offered than you could imagine! This was possibly one of my favorite food stops of the trip!

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The Smith was our LAST meal of the trip before heading to the airport. This was the location in Midtown. This place reminded my of a favorite from back home. The menu had some pretty exquisite choices, but I played it safe with a grilled chicken sandwich. We were also adventurous in trying their Agave Lemonade house soda. It was pretty sweet, but definitely enjoyable. It would be EXCELLENT in a cocktail!

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Agave Lemonade House Soda

My one complaint about eating in NYC? The PRICE. Seriously, I have never paid so much for food in my life. Our cheapest meal was our last night…we grabbed slices of pizza. (delicious).

I am already compiling a list of new restaurants to try in NYC! If anyone has any recommendations leave them in the comments!

Seeing a Show: Aladdin

I absolutely love musicals. Seeing a show on Broadway was definitely a highlight of my trip (if not my entire life thus far). My roommate and I went to see Aladdin. It was hilarious! The guy who played Genie made the entire show. He had an amazing voice and some of the best lines of the show. Aladdin was perfect, and so was the rest of the cast…They did an excellent job taking the Disney movie and putting it on the stage. My only flaw with the show was whoever played Jasmine was having an off night (I am hoping it was an off night and not just how it normally is). Seriously, she butchered A Whole New World. 1966909_10203256512029404_4386745178265877870_n

Prior to the show we made our way towards Broadway and enjoyed dinner at a little Italian restaurant. I loved being all dressed up in the city! The show was also right near Times Square so Abbey was able to see Times Square all lit up for the night!

We ended up getting Mezzanine seats (way on the left side) for under $100. I was very concerned that they were going to be absolutely TERRIBLE seats after reading some horrible reviews of the theater on Yelp! Honestly I did not find the seats to be bad at all. We had an excellent view of the stage and nobody sat in front of us!image4

Next time I am in New York I will definitely splurge and see another show. Top of my list right now is If/Then starring Idina Menzel. I legit might die if I actually saw her perform live. I would also see Wicked (I have seen the traveling show) and if they ever make Frozen into a show I am there!

9/11 Memorial and Museum

9/11 is history for my students, but for me it was truly the moment I realized that horrible people do exist in the world. I was in 6th grade and still pretty naive. If you are making a trip to NYC you owe it to yourself to make this a stop. The memorial is free and breathtaking. I could not think of a more beautiful and meaningful memorial. One of the sweetest things I witnessed was the white roses placed on a victim’s name on their birthday. We went on a rainy day, which made the occasion even more somber than it would usually be.

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the memorial

There is also a museum that I recommend. We booked our tickets in advance (you pick your arrival time). You can check out the website and book tickets here. I recommend arriving WELL before your scheduled time, because we ended up waiting in a pretty long line. Also be sure you are in the RIGHT line! Thankfully a nice man helped us find the correct line.

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gloomy day

The museum itself is incredible. I do not think I have ever been in a museum where everyone is so silent…everyone in the museum seemed to be in their own world, privately reflecting on this horrible tragic day.  It was very moving, and I would be lying if I said I did not cry (multiple times)…but I think it was something that needs to be seen. The memorial inside to the victims is probably the most emotional. The curator of the museum did an incredible job capturing the emotions felt through the day in a range of media (photographs, film, voice recordings and memorabilia).

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“No day shall erase you from the memory of time”

My favorite thing in the museum had to be this wall. It was here that they tried to recreate the blue sky of the morning of 9-11. I loved the quote that can be seen on this wall.

If you find yourself in NYC I truly urge you to visit this museum. Yes, it is extremely sad and you will leave the museum feeling very down, but while in the museum you are also reminded of the bravery and camaraderie the people of NYC showed that day. I was also able to buy the book I read my class every year on 9-11 in the museum store, so know when I read it to my class it will hold a little bit more meaning.

Empire State Building

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possibly my favorite shot from the trip

I am terrified of heights. The first time I visited NYC I saw the Empire State building from afar but refused to go to the top! This time around I decided to be brave and suck it up. We got extremely lucky and got to have the VIP Experience at the Empire State Building. A good family friend works on the 36th floor of the Empire State Building (how cool is that?) She hooked us up with this magical card.

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the magical card

All we had to do was flash this little card and we were escorted to the front of every line. This was the best thing ever because I absolutely HATE waiting in lines…and the line was probably a solid four hour wait. I wish you could just share this card with more people because I do not think I will EVER be able to do the Empire State Building without it. (I have been spoiled).

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the elevators 

Once we got to the first elevator, they CRAMMED us in. I should also mention I am a tad bit claustrophobic…so being crammed in an elevator going up 80 flights of stairs was not my idea of a fun time. Luckily we made it up…and then had to get on another elevator. Finally we made it to the top of the Empire State Building and were treated to some pretty spectacular views.

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There were a lot of people up top which made snapping pictures a little tricky. We walked around and took in the views. Then as we were making our way back the elevator the man saw our magic card and informed us that we got to go to the 102nd floor with it…JACKPOT!

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the view from 102

So up we went. There were maybe 5 other people at the top with us which made for a much more intimate experience. This is something you can also pay extra to do! There is not an open air space on the 102nd floorbut there are a lot of windows which makes taking in the view easy. We were extremely lucky to visit on such a beautiful day!

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heading up to floor 102!

If you find yourself in NYC I would definitely say splurge and pay a little more for whatever pass lets you cut the line…there is no way I would want to stand in that line. I am sure there are also certain times of the day when it is less crowded. We went smack in the middle of the day! Make sure you pick a pretty day to go! It would be so sad to get to the top of the building and not have a gorgeous view waiting for you!

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taking in the spectacular views