Planning A Dream Road Trip: Spotlight on New York CIty

Monday, September 14, 2015

If you are just starting to follow along on my journey to plan a dream road trip, start with the first post in the series here.

Okay, so a lot has changed in a week!  I talked it over with the hubby and there may have been a mild heart attack involved when he heard of my idea for the dream road trip.  (I told you....I always start big.  That's okay, because then when I break it down into what I think we can really do, it ends up sounding like a great idea to him in comparison! haha).  He's a little more practical than I am, and I'm more in the boat of "if you can dream it, it will come true".  We even each other out nicely, lol.

So, as I told you last week, I would be cutting that dream trip down to something more reasonable giving time constraints, money, and the fact that we'd be traveling with our (then will be) 6 year old.  Enter the new idea:  Our dream North East/ Canadian Road Trip!  Now that I have everyone on board for the trip that will be happening next June, it's time to plan plan plan!!!

I took most of our destinations that we had for the North East and Canada, through some more in there, and these are the cities that made the cut!

1. Fly to New York City ( family there) from Savannah (we live in Hilton Head)


2. Martha's Vineyard, MA

3. Boston, MA

4.  Portland, ME

5.  Bar Harbor, ME

6.  Montreal, Quebec Canada

7.  Adirondack, NY

8.  Watkins Glen, NY

photo by

9.  Rochester, NY  (family there)

10.  Toronto, Ontario Canada

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11.  Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada

12.  Fly home from Rochester, NY

Whew!  I'm excited just thinking about it!


 We had some obstacles along the way of figuring out where to start our trip.  I really wanted to start in Bar Harbor but we found that getting flights there would be too much work.  2 lay overs.   I'm okay with having one layover, but I don't want to do two...especially traveling with my son.  It makes for a super long day and too many things could go wrong with flights getting canceled, etc.

We thought about since we are doing a road trip, why don't we just save the cost of the flights and drive from SC all the way up there, making some fun stops on the way.  But then we're talking adding a lot more time to the trip and we figured we might be exhausted and cranky from being in the car that long before we even got our trip started!  So that idea was quickly thrown out.

My husband has family in NYC, my son has never seen it before, and it is easy and usually fairly cheap to get flights in and out.  Turns out it also works out well with the routing of our trip, soooo....we are starting the trip by flying into NYC!  I used to search for prices on flights and I found some pretty good deals.  Since I used to be a reservations agent for a major airline, I know that it pays to be flexible.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest days to travel.  Also, being open to leaving out of neighboring airports helps to lower prices too.  Where we live in Hilton Head going to Laguardia in NYC was more expensive than leaving out of Savannah (only about 30 mins away from out) into JFK in NYC.  I found flights for about $100 per flight per person.  So we're talking $300 to  NYC and $300 back to Savannah.  for 3 people.  Not bad at all!  I haven't bought them yet, hopefully soon.

Now I am trying to figure out how to cut down the costs of our rental car do to the trip.  Anyone have any suggestions besides Priceline's name your own price for rental cars?  I'm all ears.


Have I told you how  much I love the site  Remember this is where you can plan out the routing of your trip, add other cities along the route, add attractions, it tells you how many miles you're driving, how many hours it will take you (for the whole trip AND between each city!) annnnd it even tells you how much you'll spend in gas!  All of this for free!  I'm having way too much fun on this site.  This is what our trip will look like.

Remember how I said that I love reading information on the internet and travel guide books to get my information?  And I posted a link to some guidebooks from Amazon that I said I was going to get?  Well, I went to go do that, and I found another cool aspect to Amazon.  Do you know they have this thing called Your Kindle Unlimited and you don't even need a Kindle.  Just your computer or phone.  It's pretty much a FREE library of books that you can read on Amazon.  Thousands of books that they sell!  Including ALL of the travel books that I wanted!  For free!!  The Your Kindle Unlimited program is free for the first month, then $10 per month after that, however the books you can download and read, most of those are still free even after the initial trial month.  Beats buying them!  You better believe I put tons and tons of guidebooks in my "library".  (They have lots of regular books too, but I was excited about the travel guides!)  So if you guys are planning a trip, head over there and do the trial month to get access to all sorts of info on where you're going!

New York City

Okay, now that I shared all of these free things that I found (I can't help myself, I love this stuff), I feel like this is already a long post, but I haven't started talking about New York City yet!!

We are only planning about 2 nights here, and as I mentioned, my husband has family here so I'm sure a lot of the time will be spent hanging out and visiting with them.  Even though I'm from upstate NY, I've only been to the city once before.  (It's a long 6 hour drive from Rochester.)  So there are a few things I want to make time for amidst all of the visiting with family.

 I've never been to Central Park.  Can you believe it?  I think that would be fun to take our son to.  Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I never realized Central Park had so much to do there!  The architecture of the many bridges are gorgeous, they have little row boats ($15/ hr) that you can take out on the lake there in the park, a carousal ($3), a real zoo ($12 adults/$7 kids), playgrounds, bike rentals, and Victorian Gardens (June-Sept) which is an amusement park!  I could go on and on about the offerings at Central Park, but these are the things that we are interested in.

Victorian Gardens has a ton of rides there that I think will be great for Jaxson to experience as his firsts.  They even have carnival games there too.

Central Park

Beautiful Bridge at Central Park

Row boat you can rent

Central Park Carousel

Victorian Gardens Amusement Park

Central Park Zoo

If we do a zoo, it would probably be the Bronx Zoo rather than the Central Park Zoo.  I hear it's one of the best, but having lived in North Carolina, we really do have one of the best zoos there.  It will be hard to change our minds, but I've never been and Chris has fond memories of going when he was a kid.

They have a 4-D ride/experience where it's set to a short movie for kids, and your seat will move to make you feel like you are going along with the movie.  Plus, there are a lot of sensory effects like feeling wind, seeing snow fall, etc.  I love these things and have experienced them in Disney, this would be my son's first experience with it and I can't wait to take him to do something like that.

Another thing I am excited about doing in NYC is, well...eating.  Down here in Hilton Head, you can't get a good bagel to save your life.  Now, there is a lot that Hilton Head is doing right, but bagels are just not one of them.  So this NY girl is ready to get her hands on the real thing again.  I've heard that the Bagel Hole in Brooklyn is pretty good, but we'll probably wait til we're there and get the family's opinion on this sure to be heated debate ;)

 Another thing we've got to have is a good pastrami sandwich.  Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan I hear has a great one.

  The other thing I'm really intrigued to try is this thing called a Cronut.  Apparently, there are impostors, but you must try them at the famed Dominique Anstel Bakery.  It's a cross between a croissant (love) and a doughnut (double love).  They only make one flavor per month.  And the flavors are kind of out there.  They've had Peanut Butter Rum Carmel, Rose Vanilla, Fig Mascarpone, and this month's flavor is Bergamot Jam and Earl Grey Ganache.  They sound so unique, I really want to try one.

Another thing I'm sure we will do there is visit the bar/nightclub that Chris' uncle owns.  It's fairly new and doing really well so it will be cool to see all of the work they put into it.  It's call the Black Rose.  They have live music, great drinks, and a cool atmosphere.  Since we will have Jax with us, I doubt we'll see it at night, but I definitely want to check it out anyways!  

The Black Rose- Chris' Uncle's Bar/Nightclub

This destination is set up a little different than I will be doing the rest.  Since we are visiting family here, a lot of what we are doing is going to be up in the air.  For the rest of the locations on our trip, I will list the activities, hotels, and restaurants that we will do by day.  That way I can see (and so can you) what our trip will really look like and get a feel for it!  

Okay, next Monday, stay tuned for a spotlight on Martha's Vineyard!  As always, if you've been to or live in NY and have any suggestions for us to see or do, please comment below!  Our plans are always open to add/or remove things.

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  1. This looks like a fun trip. My husband and I went to Niagara falls last year for our anniversary. One advice I have is to stay on Canadian side. If you have a US passport that is. It is so much more beautiful and more visible. Good Luck with your trip!

    1. Hi Maya! Yes, good advice! I'm originally from Rochester, NY which is only an hour and a half away from Niagara Falls. The Canadian side is definitely the way to go!

  2. This sounds like such a fun trip! I want to go on something like this too. Good luck with planning! :)

    1. Hi Crystal! Thanks, I'm excited for it! You should try a road trip too! Even if it's far away, it's still fun to plan! We aren't going til June!

  3. I remember going to central park when I was little. i loved it.

    1. Hi Jasmine! Aww fun! What was your favorite thing to do there?

  4. Hmmm Never heard of it but need to check it out. I love road trips!! Your trip sounds like it was awesome! I'm jealy :)

    1. Thanks Chrissa! I'm going next June. Yes, definitely check out roadtrippers...I may have wasted more time that I should on that site, but I love it, ha!

  5. This would be so fun!! When I was living in New England I had the chance to visit several of the places you mentioned often. They're all so pretty and different in their own ways!

    1. That's awesome! Which places did you visit?? So true about them all being different. I also like how it kind of ended up being big city places, with smaller towns (or at least less hectic towns) after the large cities for a bit of a break!

  6. This looks like an amazing road trip...I really want to see NYC! I am all about fashion, so it's on the bucket list! Thanks for sharing!
    Fashion And Travel

  7. I haven't been to NYC in a long time, but my absolute favorite restaurant when we last went was Carmine's. It is a super cool family-style Italian restaurant that makes you feel like you're a member of the mob or something with all of the old family portraits on the walls. The food is absolutely fantastic. Have fun!

    1. Oooo, that's a good suggestion. I love Italian food!

  8. I would love to visit all of the places you have listed above. I've never been to NY, but maybe one day. And every year I say that I want to visit some where that actually has color change in the Fall...i'm still waiting on that "one day'. :)

    1. How long have you been in Texas? I've been on the East Coast most of my life but lived in Vegas for 2 years. I missed being able to see the leaves change! You should definitely plan the trip!



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