Grandmas & Kids to NYC 4th annual trip

Monday, July 7, 2014

We usually make our annual Grandmas & Kids trek to NYC in the fall, but had to bump it up this year since our third little studerbaby is due in September and I'm figuring tri-state visits will be out of the question between newborn tending and basketball season.  

I plan our adventures using Tripit and this year decided that at the ages that the kids are, it would be both fun and possible to visit Coney Island, the High Line, and make a stop at Knoebels on the way home.  It was such a great trip this year - the best yet? - and I am continually grateful that I have this weekend to share the city with my country-raised kids and that is solely due to the fact that I have a Mum and Mom-in-law willing to make the trip with us each year.  I could not do it without their support and help!  (thank you!!)

We drove out this year again (second year now after two years of 7hr one way train rides the first two years!) and we try to leave by 6am to keep the kids snoozing for most of the ride.  We make a stop around Reading, PA for some breakfast and then get back on the road to head to our New Jersey hotel.

The most important thing about our hotel for the kids is that it has a pool, and our stay at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Nework Airport delivered on the pool requirements.  We checked in and freshened up a bit from our 5hour drive.  The grandmas are great for packing snacks and hotel treats on our trips.  Our room is fully stocked with snack bags, fruit, water, and granola bars for the weekend.  It really helps save on vending machine snacks (my kids get hungry approximately every 3 and a half minutes) and also are easy to transport in the diaper bag when we head out on our adventures.

From the hotel, we took the shuttle to Newark airport where we hopped on the Coach USA bus to Port Authority NYC for $28 (round trip adult and kids ride free).  Where we then got on subway to make the very long trip out to Coney Island in Brooklyn for the afternoon.  It was a long day of traveling with three kinds of transportation:  car, bus, subway; but the kids did great (and grandmas did too!)

After the very long subway ride all the way to the end of the line and an extreme meltdown from Gemma (she didn't want to neither walk nor ride in the stroller), we finally made it to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.  The aquarium is still undergoing some renovations from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but the kids loved the exhibits and we all enjoyed dancing and cheering at the sea lion show.  Since we visited on a Friday afternoon after 4pm, the entry fee is a donation of your choice, we made the visit extremely affordable.

Afterwards, we headed out to the boardwalk and the kids went bonkers over the sand and water.  I was startled by how clean and beautiful Coney Island looked, which I'm assuming is because of all the clean-up and reno that needed to happen after the storms last year.  Last time I was in Coney Island it was sort of dirty and littered - not somewhere I'd think someone could lounge peacefully near the ocean.  But when we arrived it was lovely, clean, and not very crowded at all. 

The kids ran up and down the beach chasing seagulls and even stood knee dip in the water joyfully giggling.  

We had dinner on the boardwalk at Nathan's to pay homage to the famous Coney Island hot dog (although our own Johnstown Coney Island hot dogs beat Nathan's dogs; no contest.)  The kids had a blast on the kiddie rides at Luna Park.  After another visit to the ocean, we hopped back on the subway for a long return to Port Authority to catch our USA Coach bus ride back to Newark to quickly fall fast asleep in our hotel.

On Saturday, we headed back into the city for our favorite brunch of NY bagels and cream cheese.  Then we walked the High Line from the most northern point at West 30th Street and 10th Avenue down to Chelsea Waterside Park at West 23rd Street.  The High Line was pretty but it was a really hot day and we were so grateful to get to the water playground to cool off.  The kids had a blast splashing, digging in the sand, and transporting bottles of water to and fro. 

We stopped at the Chelsea Waterside Dog Park before taking a short walk (with another playground and ice cream break along the way) to Chelsea Market to window shop and get back onto the High Line.  Walking back north on the High Line was more pleasant than the morning because it had cooled off significantly and the sun had started to set.  We loved the High Line water feature at 15th Street!  By the time we had trekked back up to the 30th street exit, the kids were zonked out in the stroller.  

But have no fear!  The kids were back up for our room service pizza party at the hotel followed by a visit to the indoor pool (it was freezing though!) My mom got in and swam with our fish-baby Gemma while Gigi hopped in and out and came to sit by me with towel blankets on the sidelines.  (Way to take one for the team, Abba!)

On Sunday we said farewell to Jersey and headed East toward home, but made an stop along the way at Knoebel's Amusement Resort to tire the kids out a little and to break up the long car ride.  Knoebel's was amazing and comes with a high recommendation from the Studers.  Parking and entrance into the park is free (!!) and we bought $40 worth of tickets for the kids to have more than enough fun on the kiddie rides.  They rode and played to their full hearts content that afternoon and it was a wonderful way to break up the long ride home from the city.  

The grandmas even rode a 'spooky house' ride with each kid which - as suspected - did not go over well with two little scaredycats.  But it was them that had insisted and we all had a good laugh about the 'spooky guys' and Gem still talks about the spooky house and that she 'don't want to do it' again.  

It was really such a great weekend and maybe the best Grandmas & Kids trip to NYC yet!  Thank you to Abba and Gigi who go along with my scheduled weekend of city exploring and stroller-pushing.  I would not be able to do this trip alone.  We are so lucky to be able to do this all together and I am so grateful that the kids get to experience a little piece of their city-loving mumma every year.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE Knoebels! We're making a trip this month. Also, I'm terrified of that haunted house. I straight up landed on my roommate's lap in college toward the end. I'm sure the kids had a great time!