East Coast Road Trip: New York

Boston → Cape Cod → New York → Philadelphia → Virginia Beach → Charlotte → Nashville

After a relaxing – yet windy – time in Cape Cod, we were ready for some excitement. And what better place for that than the biggest city in the country?

We dropped off our rental car back in Boston and then hopped aboard the Amtrak for the first time ever. After our Amtrak experience, Matthew and I have become HUGE advocates of the Amtrak – what a laid-back way to travel across the states! The Amtrak took us all the way from Boston, along the coast of Rhode Island and Connecticut until we reached New York.

The fall colors along the way were unreal.
And when we reached New York, my jaw dropped at the sight this giant city I had never been too.

Right before sunset, the Amtrak dropped us underground in the middle of Manhattan. We walked a few blocks from Penn Station to get to our hotel, which was just 2 blocks from Times Square.

After checking the weather on the way over, we knew it was sadly supposed to rain for the majority of our time in New York. But our first night was rain-free and we were determined to make the most of it. So, we dropped our stuff in the tiniest room we’ve ever stayed in (it must have been no bigger than 300 square feet) and headed south.

We took in the sights of the city – from the tallest buildings I’d ever seen to the restaurants that were begging for our attention on every corner. We kept walking until we got to the High Line, a 1.45-mile elevated linear park that was probably the cleanest part of the entire city. From the High Line, we could see the skyscrapers lit up for miles. It was a good start to our New York adventure.

After walking the High Line, we made our way back up north to search for food. Surprisingly, we had no problem quickly picking a place, as we were both craving Thai food. We stopped in at Zoob Zib Thai and were very satisfied with the drunken noodles, Panang curry, and Thai tea. After dinner, we headed towards Times Square, where I saw all the lights and the craziness of it all for the first time.

When we woke up in our tiny hotel room the next morning, it was pouring outside.
Since we knew it was going to rain before we got there, we had picked up ponchos to avoid getting soaked. If we didn’t look like tourists before, we definitely looked like tourists now.
But we weren’t going to let the rain stop us. We decided to make the most of it by choosing cozy things to do – from spending time at a local coffee shop to having a long, boozy brunch at Dudley’s. The hardest part was finding places that would allow us to hang out inside (thanks to COVID).

After coffee & brunch, we continued walking south, through the pouring rain, until we reached the Brooklyn Bridge. The rain stopped for a few minutes for us to take it in. Then, we walked towards the Battery to see the Statue of Liberty and to the World Trade Center and beyond. As we began walking back to our hotel, we stopped to get cookies at the famous Levain Bakery. We stopped in Washington Square Park to enjoy them until the squirrels started coming for our cookies. And finally, we stumbled upon a Trader Joe’s to pick up beer to drink the rainy day away in our little hotel room.

The beer lifted us up and stirred up some courage for us to go back out into the cold rain to find some of the New York pizza everyone raves about. We decided to go to John’s of Times Square, a church-turned-restaurant next to Times Square. When we got there, we were surprised to see that we were the only ones in the huge space. We picked a comfy corner table, ordered a huge pizza, and enjoyed a private date night in the beautiful church. A much-needed end to a very rainy day.

The next day, it continued to rain. But we were determined to see the rest of the city. So, we put our ponchos back on and headed out to get coffee and bagels at none other than The Best Bagel & Coffee. From there, we made our way to Central Park, which was even bigger and more beautiful than I imagined. I wish it had been sunny and warm enough for us to sit down and have a picnic, but the weather was definitely against us. But hey, the rain made for some cool photos.

When we finally had enough of the rain and got hungry again, we closed our trip in New York with – you guessed it – more carbs, aka beer & pizza at one of the bars, Beer Authority, near our hotel. Without meaning to, we had timed our stop with their happy hour, which meant discounted beers and half-price pizzas. Score.

I can’t say that we were sad to leave the city.
In fact, we were overjoyed to get back on the Amtrak and leave the rain behind.
But I can say that despite the terrible weather, I am so thankful that I was finally able to experience New York City. What a time.

Next stop: Philadelphia.

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