Nathan always gets me the best birthday gifts. We are not exactly 'present' kind of people - I would rather experience something great than get one thing in particular. Each year he has upped the ante, and this year was no different. In January, he told me to pack my bags and find a friend because he wanted to send me to New York City. He knows I fell in love with New York when we visited a couple years ago, and while he is not a big city person he wanted me to go. I asked my friend Jackie and she immediately agreed to come - so our trip was born!
Side note: I didn't have my camera, so all pictures were taken on my iPhone.
My adventure actually started in Washington, DC, to help represent Tidewater and Tulle at a fun launch party for Elaya Vaughn Bridal by Kate Pankoke, a gorgeous bridal salon that recently moved from Chicago. We got to eat sushi, meet other area professionals, and participate in a Sketch n' Sip to get our creative juices flowing. The whole trip was a ton of fun (and introduced us to the amazing District Taco and SweetGreen), and was the perfect kickstart to my birthday adventure.
On Friday Jackie and I took the Greyhound to our AirBnB in New York, settling in for the night to prepare for a long weekend ahead. When we woke up we headed straight to The Bagel Store, a famous breakfast diner with rainbow bagels (this was Jackie's since they weren't gluten free friendly!) and tons of different cream cheeses in the heart of Brooklyn. After breakfast and an amazing hemp milk latte from Black Star Bakery, we explored Artists and Fleas, an artisan market in Williamsburg that had all things organic, homemade, gluten free, and innovative. We tried wheatgrass shots, sampled something called a ginger bomb, and talked with people who truly care about our world and their product in relation to it. It was incredibly inspiring and lit our hearts on fire.
Williamsburg itself is a beautiful area, and we got to walk the quaint streets, stopping for coffee at Devocion and of course sushi for lunch. We both fell in love with the brick storefronts and the high-end but completely welcoming stores and restaurants. After lots of exploring in the warm sun, we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge (which I didn't know was possible!) and encountered all the beauty of the Manhattan Skyline juxtaposed against the East River.
Once in Manhattan, we toured the 9/11 Memorial, rode the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram, and visited the beautiful St. Patrick's Cathedral on our trip around the city. For dinner we ran across an authentic Italian eatery, PizzArte, that served gluten free pizza and had us speaking Italian to our servers by the end of dinner. We ate light, because dessert was at Max Brenner Chocolates - and oh how incredible that was! Chocolate ice cream, s'mores, white chocolate ganache - we pretty much died and went to chocolate heaven. After dessert we picked ourselves back up and explored all the excitement of Times Square at night before crashing hard into bed.
Feeling a little sore the next morning, I took my first hot yoga class at Yoga to the People. It was hard but SUCH a good workout - and left us both feeling refreshed for another long day. For a brunch we discovered Hu Kitchen, which was my personal favorite. It serves exclusively Paleo food that is also grass-fed/organic/grain-free/absolutely delicious. I even picked up some Paleo chocolate to bring home!
The rest of the day was filled with more exploring and adventure. It astounds me to know we didn't even make it to Central Park (next time!) because between Strand Bookstore and its 18 miles of books, taking a trip to the 70,000 foot B&H Store with SO much Nikon equipment, and visiting Kleinfeld Bridal, we just didn't have enough time to see it all. Lunch at Koshe Poke absolutely hit the spot before we headed back home.
This blog is already long enough, but I have to say one more thing. The adventure itself was amazing, and I loved seeing all the sights of New York and falling in love all over again. But just as good as what we did and saw was who I got to go with. Traveling with a close girlfriend, one who not only shares my heart for adventure and foodie places but also can talk with me the. entire. time. about life and business and everything in between was a highlight equal to the trip itself. Needless to say, we're already planning our next trip back - and it will be well before I turn 27!