I am such a lucky woman!!!
A few weeks ago Jared shocked me with a surprised getaway. He gave me three days notice and then off we went to New York City.
Jared had a work conference that he had to attend during the day Monday and part of the day Tuesday and had decided to take me along. I thought it was so great that he planned the whole trip and even lined up sitters for the kids.
Monday while Jared was at his conference I headed out to go and see ground zero. It was a really neat experience for me and I really enjoyed walking the block and taking some time to ponder on the events of 9/11 and the lives lost and families affected. It was really touching and I was glad to have devoted some of my day to being down there. After that I spent quite a few hours wandering around the city and shopping. It was surprisingly fun to shop on my own, take my own pace, take no extra potty or snack breaks than needed, and have to deal with no tantrums. :) Monday evening we enjoyed delicious Indian food and spent time walking around Time Square and visiting the M&M & Hersheys stores - they're quite a sight to see.Tuesday morning was spent with more city exploration. I really am amazed when I walk through cities where you can't see anything beyond the vast see of skyscrapers. It's pretty awe inspiring and also makes me grateful for our beautiful mountains here at home. Jared joined me that afternoon and we headed out to Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty. What an inspiring site to see. I absolutely loved it and was touched as I thought about the experience that so many immigrants had coming to America and seeing Lady Liberty. So cool!
Later that afternoon we did a little shopping for the kiddos, and got ready for our incredible evening ahead. After freshening up we headed to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - Yummy! - and then on to see Wicked on Broadway. I LOVED the show and was so touched by the music and message of the story. I highly recommend this show to anyone who hasn't yet seen it! We talked about it for days and bought the cd which we've listened to over and over again.
After the show we headed to the Empire State Building. We hadn't yet visited there because of cloud cover and storminess and were thrilled that it had cleared up. The view from the top of the building of all the city lights amazed me. It was totally worth staying up late to see that site!
Jared took Wednesday and Thursday off work so Wednesday morning we rented a car and took a drive up to Palmyra. We only had one afternoon to do Palmyra in so we started with what was most important to us - the Smith family homestead and Sacred Grove. We had such a spiritual experience together in the grove both individually and as a couple. I was so touched by my time there and will never forget the spirit that I felt there. I was also thrilled that we missed the summer crowds - it gave us a wonderful opportunity to experience the grove in total serenity and have time for meditation and prayer. The grove was also still all leafed out and thankfully dry from the previously rainy days. It was beautiful! After our time there we were also able to visit the printing press that printed the first copies of the Book of Mormon and also the Hill Cumorah. Our experiences in Palmyra, although short, made for a very precious part of our getaway.
Thursday morning after breakfast we jumped back in the car to drive on to Niagara Falls. We took the ride on the Maid of the Mist boat to get an up close view. I never realized that the falls were in a horseshoe shape - it really felt like we were in the center of an almost complete circle of falling water and was so awe inspiring. I loved it! I also loved doing the Tunnel of the Winds. After paying your fees you receive a rain poncho and the most utterly stylish sandles you've ever seen. ;) Then you take a ride down an elevator carved out of the cliff on the island between the American falls and Niagara Falls. Once at the bottom you can walk along platforms at the base of the side of the American falls. The water runs over portions of the platforms and presents an up close view of the falls which was awesome! Jared & I especially loved the "hurricane" platform. I've never felt so much force coming down from water falling - it was amazing and so much fun to do with Jared. I felt like we were back in high school just hanging out and being goofy! If you walk all the way forward to the railing on that platform, you pretty much end up under the edge of one of the falls. The force of the water was so strong that I couldn't even look up. We thought it was so much fun that we went back to that platform multiple times and braved it over and over. I was shocked at how many people opted to skip that platform. It was definitely a highlight for me. (Note: It's definitely a good idea to wear their fancy sandles and to roll up your pant legs. I still got soaked part way up my thighs even with my pants rolled up to my knees and a poncho on on top. :))
That afternoon we headed to Rochester and caught our flights home. It was a rush of a trip, but one I'll never forget. I love that Jared went to so much work to surprise me and take me somewhere I've never been before.
Thanks, Baby! I love you!