TRAVEL DIARY: NEW YORK, Part 2

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  Cheesin' in Times Square!

Cheesin' in Times Square!

  St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

  The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

  NYC Views from The Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.

NYC Views from The Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.

  Freezing our faces off at Niagara Falls!

Freezing our faces off at Niagara Falls!

Last week, I covered "Part 1" of my trip to New York by sharing all of the details about the Opry City Stage... this week, it's ALL ABOUT THE FUN STUFF that I did in between the work stuff! This trip was a little unusual for me because I wasn't traveling and performing with my entire band - John and I were performing as a duo. But, that also made the trip really special because we were able to take advantage of our time there and have a mini-vacay in between all of the work stuff!


DAY 1 - Sunday, April 18: We flew into LaGuardia the night before. We arrived to our hotel in Times Square around midnight so after checking in, we went straight to bed. We love Choice Hotels and prefer to stay in them while touring. We stayed at the Cambria Hotel & Suites on 46th Street which is only about a 10 minute walk to Times Square! So, we woke up on the first day and walked directly across the street to Starbucks for breakfast. After, we went back to the room to shower and get ready for the first show at Opry City Stage. We were able to conveniently walk to the venue from the hotel. After soundcheck, we played our set, ate lunch at The Opry City Stage, then headed back to the hotel to change into comfy tourist clothes. Now, let's see what you've got NEW YORK CITY! Unfortunately, by the time we were done working and back at the hotel, it was about 4pm. So, we didn't have much time to really tour any of the places we stopped at on our afternoon adventure. But, while exploring we strolled past Rockefeller Center, Radio City, Carnegie Hall (I was really hoping to see a concert but unfortunately, nothing was really available for us to see while we were there), Central Park, 5th Avenue shopping, St. Patrick's CathedralGrand Central Station, The Chrysler Building, and The Empire State Building. We were able to walk to see all of these iconic places... we walked 9 miles that afternoon! For dinner, we rode the subway (so fun!) to Chelsea Market where we had burgers at Creamline. We intentionally set out to have dinner at Chelsea Market, however by the time we arrived, most of the restaurants had closed and Creamline was the only place open. Next time, I'd really like to try the carne asada tacos at Los Tacos in Chelsea Market... they looked so good! After dinner, we rode back to Times Square on the subway and enjoyed THE BEST CHEESECAKE at Junior's. By this point, our bellies were full and our feet were so tired so we turned in for the night and went to bed!

DAY 2 - Monday, April 19: Our morning was pretty much the same as it was day 1. Breakfast. Soundcheck. Perform. Lunch. Back to the hotel. Today, we hopped on the subway and rode all the way down to Battery Park... after we made a quick stop by Joe's Pizza to grab a slice for John! Side note: I LOVED taking the subway everywhere! It was really easy to figure out and it felt very clean and safe. I guess, because I didn't grow up with anything like that in my hometown, I really loved the whole concept and way of life. After arriving to Battery Park, we walked along The Battery where we could see the Statue of Liberty in the upper bay of the Hudson River. From there, we set out to explore Wall Street, The NY Stock Exchange, The 9/11 Memorial (we didn't have time to walk through the museum but I've heard amazing things about it!), and the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked half away across the Brooklyn bridge at sunset and the views of NY and Brooklyn were so beautiful! From there, we walked to Little Italy and stuffed ourselves with some of the best authentic italian food from Forlini's. Again, after dinner we were so exhausted that we made our way back to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

DAY 3 - Tuesday, April 20: Again, day 3 started out just like day 1 & 2 with breakfast, soundcheck, performing, and lunch. As soon as we finished the show, we immediately left the city and made our way Niagara Falls, NY because we were schedule to perform at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, NY the next day. Day 3 was a long day of traveling and (thankfully) uneventful!

DAY 4 - Wednesday, April 21: On this day, we performed for the students at Niagara County Community College. They were SO kind and warm to us! After performing, grabbed authentic buffalo wings at Duff's before driving to Niagara Falls to do some exploring! The Falls were absolutely beautiful. COLD. But, BEAUTIFUL! I really wanted to drive across the border to see the Falls from the Canada side (they say the view is a little better) but we discovered that John's passport had expired just before leaving! However, the view was just as breathtaking from the US side and I didn't feel as if we'd missed out on anything by not going to Canada. After visiting the falls, we drove to downtown Buffalo where we dined on some of the BEST BBQ I've ever had (... and I've had a lot of BBQ) at Dinosaur BBQ before catching a Buffalo Sabres hockey game. John and I both love hockey so we had a great time at the game! After the game... you guessed it, we headed back to the hotel for bed!

DAY 5 - Thursday, April 22: Most of this day was spent traveling back to NYC from Niagara. We didn't have to work at all this day. Our only reason for going back to the city instead of flying home to Tennessee from Niagara was because it was cheaper to spend an extra day in the city and fly back on Friday so we thought... why not? Let's go hang another day in the city! Once we got back to the city and checked into our hotel, we grabbed dinner at Lombardi's Pizza (America's first pizzeria) in SoHo. After dinner, we rode the subway to Times Square and caught the 8p showing of The Phantom of The Opera at The Majestic Theater. I grew up knowing and loving music theater so I really loved seeing The Phantom and to my surprise, John loved it too! After the play, we grabbed one more piece of cheesecake at Junior's to really seal the deal on a great trip. We had very early flights the next morning so we said of goodbyes to the city and settled into bed.


Overall, we had an amazing time visiting New York City and Niagara Falls... we're already planning another trip there, stopping to perform again at The Opry City Stage! Have you been to New York City? Did you visit any of the same places? Anything we need to see/eat/do on our next trip to the Big Apple? COMMENT below!