New York City – Holiday Edition

Other than making connections in New York, I had never actually been into New York City (and I don’t count the time we stayed overnight during a long layover because a travel agent had no clue how to do her job).

I thought Mom had always wanted to go to NYC to see the Christmas windows. She thought I had been dropping hints for a long time. We both thought this little jaunt was for the other, but regardless we had a good time. Despite the FRIGIDLY COLD TEMPERATURES! But I guess it wouldn’t be December in NYC without the cold.

We arrived a little early to the hotel, so we walked around as much as we could stand (which wasn’t long).

View of Central Park from our room

The Plaza

Walking to Rockefeller Plaza

 Rockefeller Center!

Top of the Rock!

It snowed overnight, which was BEAUTIFUL!

But it slightly dampened and tampered with the open-air double-decker downtown bus tour planned for that morning. But I made the best of it, shivering all the way!

These were probably cool shots, minus the ice on the partial enclosure.

Times Square

NY Public Library

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One of the Christmas Marts. We went to the one in Columbus Circle and I don’t know if they are all the same, but the one we went to was more of a flea market.

Brief glimpses of the Brooklyn Bridge

I’m not 100% sure what all of these buildings are, but I’m pretty sure the justice statue is from the NY City Hall building.

After zooming in, I could see this was the US Customs building.

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Charging Bull in Wall Street. The tour guide said it was “anatomically correct” and if you take a picture from the bull’s back, it is said to bring good luck. I’ll take his word for it. Not sure there is any superstition to putting one’s purse on the horns, but they ruined a good on the move shot!

We had to disembark at Battery Park for some inexplicable reason. The new bus would not arrive for 15-20 minutes, so we walked down to get a shot of the Statue of Liberty.

Was also able to see the Freedom Tower unimpeded by other buildings and ice on the windows. Hard to believe that was the site of so much devastation.

Our new guide pointed out a rich guy had to move to NYC, but didn’t want to leave his cape cod, so he moved it piece by piece and reassembled it on top of a building.

Our new tour guide was strangely obsessed with pointing out every hospital and medical center on our route, rather than the popular touristy sites, so not sure if any of these buildings are actually something, or just cool.

This is just something cool though.

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Empire and Chrysler (respectively)

Not sure, but the connected walkway is cool.

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I think this is Brooklyn.

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Rockefeller Plaza (from the ground)

Saks Fifth Avenue (finally some windows!)

More Christmas-y stuff!

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After the tour, (and after I regained feeling in my lower extremities) I walked around on the hunt for decorations!

Bergdorf Goodman

A cool building that was concave (did I say that right?)

Tiffany & Co.

I don’t know why I find this juxtaposition ironic.

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Ferragamo and Cartier

Several more…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just smack dab in the middle of all the sparkles.

And half a block away is St. Thomas Church.

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Back to the sparkles!

A walk through Central Park ended my adventure.

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The next day was even colder and kept us inside while we waited to go to the airport. But I experienced de-icing for the first time!

All in all it was a very merry adventure!!

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Getting to know Virginia – The Light of Truth Universal Shrine (aka LOTUS)

I googled “things to do in Virginia” and the LOTUS popped up. It is literally out in the middle of nowhere, through lots of winding rural roads, between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. But once you get there, it is a sight to see! Make sure you have GPS otherwise you’ll get turned around (as I did when the car GPS tried to take me a different way than the phone GPS suggested).

The LOTUS is a temple dedicated to all faiths. Sri Swami Satchidananda opened the shrine in 1986 to honor the Spirit that unifies all the world religions, while celebrating their diversity. He believed that every village should have a temple, and so he built this temple. He says that his religion, “Undoism” is the basic foundation of all religions and faiths. He says “What we practice is found in every faith, every religion. That means we want to be good and do good…We want our lives to be easeful and peaceful so that we can be useful. That is our religion…There is no need to give up your own [religion]. In fact, you should not…but at the same time, love the other fellow’s also.”

In a world so full of hate, this is a sentiment I can stand behind.

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I’m not sure what is up those steps, but I wasn’t in the mood to climb up to find out!

I did walk to the shrine and go in though.

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Virginia State Fair 2017

I WENT TO THE FAIR! I felt like a kid again! I went with my friend Susan, her daughters, and one of their friends and had a ball! Corn dogs, and funnel cake, and rides, and games OH MY! We missed the animals and giant pumpkins, but that just means I’ll have to go next year!

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Not only was the moon full and beautiful that night, but I later learned it was the Harvest Moon.

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This is my favorite shot of the night. It is everything that captures the fair for me. Games, food, and neon lights!

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Getting to know Virginia – Westmoreland Park take II

Because I missed a trip to Fossil Beach the last time I went to this park, I had to make another trip! I took a Friday off from work to hopefully avoid the crowds and there was hardly anyone there.

The trail was very nicely kept up through a forest of lots of different trees.

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Looks like this one was struck by lightning.

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A ghostly tree!

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Finally made it to the beach!

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But some of it was closed because of erosion. I have no doubt that is where all of the cool fossilized sharks teeth are, but I obeyed the law and kept my distance.

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I knew that the trail was going to be about 1.5 miles round trip, but what I didn’t know was that there was a really steep hill. The way down wasn’t so bad, but the way up was a little tough. You can’t really tell from this angle, but that is a hill. I should have taken it from the bottom looking up, but this is the top, looking down.

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I didn’t go in the visitors center, but there is a huge field behind it where you can view the Potomac River.

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Went back to the other beach to look for more sea glass, and it looked like a whole different park. There were maybe two people there, as opposed to the 200+ the last time I was there!

While I did find one small piece of sea glass, but no fossils, it was still a very nice day!