If I can make it there – NYC Trip Day 4

We got up this morning with the idea of using another one of our City Pass tickets to take a boat ride out to the Statue of Liberty and then over to Ellis Island. Lucky for us we were the only people with that idea, so we were able to just hop right on the boat and see everything. Just kidding there was like a 3 hour wait. So we waited in about the longest line I have ever seen to hop on the ferry over to lady liberty.

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Once we finally got on the ferry over to Liberty island it was a nice ride. We decided to stay below instead of being out in the sun on the upper deck. We had just about enough sun while waiting for the ferry.

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This french chick was much larger than she looks. I was surprised.

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In the picture below it looks like she is about to give that cloud some freedom.

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Long story short we walked around the statue a lot, took a lot of pictures, and were basically exhausted. We skipped Ellis Island, we will see it when we go back for Jennie’s 60th birthday.

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Once back in the city we had lunch and then headed back down to ground zero. We took a few more pictures and visited the 9/11 memorial center. I also saw Steve Nash walking down the street with his kids.

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Our hotel was about a block from Wooster St. Social Club, which is the tattoo studio for the TLC show New York Ink.

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We walked down to it, but then chickened out about going inside. Jennie wanted to get a pretty sweet UK tattoo, but I wouldn’t let her.

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The next day was our final day in NYC.

Manhattan keep on makin’ it – NYC Trip Day 3

We woke up very early this morning to make our way down to Times Square to be one of the 100s of annoying people trying to get on TV during the taping of Good Morning America. Once we got down there we were greeted by a couple GMA interns who informed us that the show was taping in Central Park this morning as part of their summer concert series. They gave us their last couple VIP bracelets that would allow us to get to the front of the concert and bypass security. I guess the word had already spread of our Time Square billboard stardom (CALLBACK!!!)

Once we got to Central Park, we found the concert and walked right up to the front.

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We stood around for a bit until the anchors got there and started to do their thing.

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I will have to admit it was a lot of fun just watching how the whole show worked behind the scenes. It seems like a ton of work to throw that together every morning. George Snuffleupagus did a segment in which we were right behind him.

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So that was our moment to shine!

Oh yeah, some country girl played some country music at some point.

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After the concert we decided to head over to Rockefeller Center and head up to the Top of the Rock. It was a lot of fun and some great views of the city.

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Unlike the Empire State Building, this outdoor observation deck had some glass all the way around it. So it also made for some great photo ops.

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After our fun on the Top of the Rock we got some tickets to the NBC studio tour. This allowed us to see the SNL stage as well as where they tape Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They didn’t let us take any pictures, but it was awesome to see those sets. It was pretty awesome though, I did get my picture with Matt Lauer of the Today Show. All those TV guys are shorter and flatter in real life.

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We wanted to squeeze one more thing in before we called it a night. It started raining pretty bad so we thought maybe a museum might be in order. So we head to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). With all the rain and the fact it was free on Fridays, we weren’t the only ones going there. It was very close quarters, but we enjoyed seeing the art.

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Tomorrow we check out some huge french lady.

No Sleep Til Brooklyn – NYC Trip Day 2

Today this was Jennie’s actual birthday, so we had some serious celebrating to do (or walking…I forgot which we ended up doing). Last night before bed we decided to get the NY CityPass. If you are going to NY and are going to spend some time and see the sites I would suggest getting it. Our first stop was the Empire State Building.

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The lines weren’t long and it seemed like we made it through pretty quickly. We had great views of the city from all angles.

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Our tour guide, a cab driver from the city, told us about everything we were seeing. He was pretty small and actually fit inside a small plastic phone looking thing. Jennie is holding him up to her ear below.

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The next stop on our trip was Times Square. Want to know why it was called Times Square? Me too.

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We were heading to Times Square to hit up the TKTS ticket booth for some discount Broadway tickets. We had hoped to see Wicked, but that wasn’t happening. The only tickets for that show were about 250 bucks each. So we ended up getting tickets to Sister Act.

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We also had the chance to get our names, faces, torsos and what not in lights. If you bought something at American Eagle they would take your picture and throw it up on their huge screen in Times Square. So Jennie got a couple discount t-shirts and we got our picture taken. After signing a couple autographs we moved on.

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After some rest back at the hotel it was time to head to our Broadway show. See it even says it on the sign, BROADWAY.

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The show was good. I think we both were expecting some of the songs from the movie, but it was all new music. Still very fun to watch. After the show we got some pizza from one of the pizza places they featured on last season’s celebrity apprentice.

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After the pizza I answered a couple questions from a random teacher on the streets. While doing that a cab came by and picked us up. We headed back to the hotel and went to bed.

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It was the greatest birthday Jennie has ever had ever. Tomorrow we make our national television debut.

Empire State of Mind – NYC Trip Day 1

For Jennie’s 30th birthday I surprised her with a trip to NYC. Let’s just say she was surprised, maybe not in a good way, but I was determined to make her love NYC just as much as I do.

We headed out on Wednesday morning about 10.

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We got to the airport and scanned the credit card to check in, it asked if we wanted to upgrade to first class,  it wasn’t that expensive, so we did it. It’s vacation!

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Then we enjoyed a little breakfast, hopped on the plane and headed to NYC.

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The flight there was uneventful and no one famous (other than us) was in first. Flights that short, the upgrade to first probably isn’t worth it. I am sure longer flights are more expensive though.

We took a cab from the airport to our hotel, the Sheraton Tribeca. Something I was wondering was what TriBeCa stood for. Anyone here know? Anyone? It stands for “Triangle below Canal Street”.

We rested for a bit then took a walk down to the WTC site. The new tower is big and almost looks complete. The memorial is set to open this Sept. You couldn’t see much of it, but it does look like it will be very nice.

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From there we walked on down to a dock area and took a look at the Statue of Liberty.

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From there we walked on down to Bowling Green park which is in the financial district.

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The north end of the park has the famous Charging Bull sculpture.

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That was it for day 1, we did quite a bit of touristy stuff for just getting in the city about 2 pm.

 

Canada-Part 3: Ottawa

Wednesday, June 15th- North Bay
We hit the road this morning for the long haul to North Bay. Our final destination is Ottawa, but we did not want to make the entire drive in one day (especially with Brody). On the way out of Timmins, we stopped at a Giant Tiger store and I got a t-shirt and sweatpants. We also stopped to see the grave site of Paul, Mamere’s late husband. To pass the time, we played some trivia games on my iPad. My favorite was Family Feud. The drive took about 7 hours including all the stops, so we were ready to get here.

Family Feud

We rested and had dinner at a pizza place. Then we went to the shore to see the sunset and take some pictures. It was very pretty. Brody got to step in sand for the first time, but he didn’t care for it too much.

We will hit the road again tomorrow. It will be the last day of driving for us. Yay! Well, riding for me, driving for Chad. Thanks for doing all the driving, Chad!

Thursday, June 16th- Ottawa
This morning, we made the final drive to Ottawa. It took about 6 hours, I guess. It seemed like we stopped quite a bit but I don’t know. I got my second helping of poutine. It seems to be on the menu of every restaurant here. I’m just glad we’re done driving. We got to Chad’s uncle’s house, Gilles, where I met him and his wife Susie, their daughter Lisanne, their son, Alain, and his wife and daughter, Mel and Emma. We had a wonderful home cooked dinner and played outside with the kids. Emma is so cute. She speaks more French than English, so I didn’t know most of what she was saying. I got to ride in the back seat with her and she was teaching me words in French, but her mom said they weren’t right. Alain and Mel are letting us stay in their home. It’s very pretty. We took it easy tonight, but I think tomorrow will have more in store.

Friday, June 17th- Ottawa
This morning we went to Gilles and Susie’s for breakfast. It was quite a spread, complete with veal sausage. Then, we left for our day out. We first stopped to where we could look over the water to see Quebec.

View of Quebec

 

We then went to the market area. It had outdoor stands as well as a lot of shops. Ashley and Brock tried a beaver tail, which was a pastry kind of like a funnel cake. We walked around a lot and went to the Parliament. Susie told us they were getting ready for Canada Day. Prince William and Kate are supposed to attend.

Chad and Jennie in front of Parliament

 

Parliament

We stopped back at the house for some lunch and to drop Brody off for a nap. Then, we headed to the mall to do some more shopping. I got a couple things from Roots, a Canadian retail store.

Tonight, we came back to Alain and Mel’s for dinner. They had great food and dessert. We took a few pictures, but unfortunately not with our camera again. Emma danced for us and Brody joined in a little. They were so cute.

Saturday, June 18th- Ottawa/Home
This morning, we said our goodbyes to everyone and made the trip home. The airport provided my last Tim Horton’s treat for a while. I don’t know how many times we ate there during the week. We flew from Ottawa to Chicago, then to Nashville. The ride to Chicago was a little bumpy and did not feel well, but it didn’t last long.

I am glad to be home, but the trip was so fun. I am so glad I got to meet everyone. It is nice to now put the faces with the names. Everyone is so lovely and I am excited to get to visit again. THANK YOU to all of you who made me feel so welcomed and comfortable! And THANK YOU Jerry Webb for planning this whole trip!

Canada- Part 2: Timmins

Monday, June 13th- Timmins
Today we hit the road and took the boring trip from Sudbury to Timmins (home of Shania Twain). It seemed to take forever, but it really only took about 5 hours with a couple stops.

On the way to Timmins from Sudbury

We checked in to the beautiful Cedar Meadows resort and spa. We won’t be taking advantage of the spa though.

Chad and Jennie at Cedar Meadows

We went to Chad’s uncle Paul’s house where he had dinner for us. A lot of family were there. I met Paul, his wife Lisanne, and kids Kelsey and Nick; uncle Peter and his wife Aline. Their son, Richard, his wife Abby, and their kids Reece and Elyxiana (that probably isn’t spelled correctly) came too. I also met uncle Ray, his wife Julie, and Chad’s Mamere (grandmother). They had so much wonderful food for us. We spent the evening outside and it was so nice. Some even went swimming. Chad and Brock also played video games with Nick and Kelsey. Everyone was so welcoming and kind. It was a really fun time with family.

 

Tuesday, June 14th- Timmins
We slept in this morning until about 9:15 and then Chad and I went for a run. It was nice (and needed because of all the food). The scenery and weather were great. We then went back to get ready and left to pick up Mamere for lunch. Paul met us all there too. After lunch, Mamere suggested taking Brody to the lake nearby to see the ducks. What a good idea! He loved them. He chased them and giggled. He would have gotten in the water if Ashley hadn’t stopped him.

Brody watching the ducks

This afternoon, back at the resort, we went on a wilderness tour, which was a tractor ride around the property. It was a lot of fun to see the animals, but it was really fun to see Brody’s reaction. He was very interested but not quite brave enough to get too close or touch any animals. He acted like he wanted to, but he wouldn’t. We saw a reindeer, swans, elk, moose, and bison. We even got the elk to eat right out of our hands. It was neat.

Ashley with Brody looking at a moose

 

Chad with bison
Chad and Jennie with a moose
Jennie feeding an elk

This evening, we went to Paul’s again and ordered pizza from Don’s. Abby had suggested it last night and everyone raved about it. They told us that it was Shania Twain’s favorite pizza place. It was really good! Then, we went to Mamere’s home for a while and visited Ray and Julie’s house as well. We went back to Paul’s for a bit and said our goodbyes until next time. I can’t get over how sweet everyone was and how comfortable they made me feel.

 

Jennie, Chad, Mamere, Ashley, and Brock