My husband had two free nights at an SPG hotel that he had to use or lose by the end of September. So we packed the little ones and pointed our car northbound on I95 towards New York City for a weekend getaway. Travelling with small children is always an adventure and this trip didn't disappoint.
I should add that we've travelled a lot with our children. Arlo is 2.5 and has been on at least 25 airplane trips and a half dozen road trips. At 10 months, Elsa has been on four or five airplane trips and four or five road trips. All that travel exposes them to lots of different experiences, people and places, but it does jack with their routine and allow for bad habits to sneek in. After returning from a trip we inevitably have to force both kids out of our bed and that is never a pretty process.
We drove to NYC Friday evening around bedtime, hoping that both children would fall asleep and give us a pleasant three and a half hour drive up. Arlo cooperated but Elsa either didn't get the memo or simply rejected it outright. The girl has some lungs and she used them during a full hour of the middle part of the trip. We rolled in to the Westin Hotel in Times Sqaure at around 12:30am, checked in, and climbed in to our king size bed. I wished I had had my camera ready when, from the bed, I spotted Arlo eating an apple and gazing out the window at NYC. Eventually he climbed in too and we all drifted off to sleep in their glorious Heavenly Bed.
Saturday we had two big outings: a midday excursion to Central Park so Arlo and Elsa could play outside, and a late afternoon excursion to The Spain Restaurant for dinner. Lunch we ate at the park - a mix of hotdogs and pizza. We maximize nap time by giving one adult a break. While Elsa napped in the morning, I hung in the hotel room with Arlo and quietly played while Keith got a workout in. During their afternoon naps, I escaped to a deep tissue massage while Keith watched the kids. Our dinner was great - a feast of chicken, rice, and a seafood platter (muscles, shrimp, lobster).
Saturday night we stayed at the W on Lexington, where we had two adjoining rooms and a suite. With our bellies full from dinner, we tucked both babies in to bed in separate rooms and Keith and I enjoyed a movie in the living room portion of the suite. Unfortunately, we were unable to resist the siren call of the hotel's $8 M&Ms.
Sunday brought a rainy drizzle, but we still managed to get out and have some fun. Keith watched the babies in the morning while I got to take an amazing yoga class at Jivamukti Uptown studio (AMAZING - I highly recommend Zoe, who taught my class). After class, they picked me up and we drove over to a street fair. We rigged an umbrella over their stroller to keep them dry and warm and huddled ourselves together under a second umbrella. Again, we feasted - $1 chippatis and a plate of amazing Indian food, buttery corn on the cob. We bought t-shirts and hand knitted hats and a cool toddler t-shirt that says "anarchy in the pre-k".
Tired and a bit weary from the rain and travel, we decided to save the Children's Museum of the Arts for the next trip and loaded up the car and headed south to our suburb of Washington, DC. We stopped for dinner on the outskirts of Newark, New Jersey at this faux-Australian restaurant that made a killer grilled cheese for me, steak and steamed broccoli for Keith, shrimp and fries for Arlo, and spaghetti for Elsa. Our bellies full, we climbed back in our car. This time, both children slept the whole way, allowing Keith and me to enjoy our James Patterson book on tape.
As we strolled down the halls of Arlo's preschool this morning, the school principal nodded hello to us. Pointing to the handknitted hat we purchased at the street fair that he now had on his head, Arlo told the principal "My new hat." And then, as if he was 2.5 going on 15, he added, "I got it in New York."