Don’t Go Home to Visit Friends & Family, Meet Them Somewhere!

by Richard Furleigh

Going home to visit is a wonderful thing, getting to reconnect face to face with family and friends is a special time to say the least. The only real downside with this is you’re going back to a place that typically is unchanged and unless there is just some wonderfully amazing thing that you have to have in your life, there isn’t much more other than visiting those people that makes it worthwhile.

Instead why not have a destination visit home?

One of the ideas Kristen and I have been kicking around for a little bit is getting together with my parents (who still live in Texas) and rather than going to go visit them, having all of us meet up somewhere new! This idea struck us as we were talking one night and Kristen was lamenting the thought of going back to visit. “It’s not that I don’t want to see your folks, but your hometown is so lame.” In fairness, she is 100% correct on that one. “Why don’t we just go somewhere else and we can all meet up and hang out there?” And thus a grand idea was born.

Rather than have one set of people go to the other, have everyone meet up at a destination outside of their homes! Travel isn’t super cheap, so this lets us kill two birds with one stone in the sense of traveling to a place we want to visit, and getting to spend time with the people we love. On top of that, getting to experience new and exciting things with them will make the trip that much more memorable! I could go back to La Porte, or we have fun in Hawaii and talk about our lives there. Call me crazy but one sounds a lot more fun than the other.

Of course you want to take the time to get input from as many parties as possible before deciding where exactly you want to go. For example we have decided to go on an Alaskan cruise in the summer of 2018 with my family. Both my Mom and sister were excited about the possibility of seeing whales, Kristen gets to check another state off her list, my Dad loves boats and wants to visit Alaska really bad, and I’m looking forward to the off boat excursions that we can do in the wild north. So there is something for everyone to be excited about.

Are there any friend or family visits coming up for you? Try to change it into a group vacation instead! Rally the troops and find a place everyone can find something fun to do. It promises to be a much different time than a typical visit back to the homestead. Until next time Pengminions!

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Birthdays, Vacations, Visits, Oh My!

Hello Pengminions!
Yes, its true! I have missed you and I hope you have missed us but we are back! Having adventured to the BIG APPLE! Just in time for one of each of our parents to come visit us here at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. What a grand couple of weeks it has been. Birthdays have happened…the male half of this whole to be exact…vacations had, and parent visits. Whew and now we have rested just a bit and are here for you to recount tales for you and also get back to hitting the ground running on all things Soiree related!

Birthdays were had before the faire weekend in which the Faire Family gathered for a Heroes vs Villains party. Of course, it is much more fun to go as the latter so we spent some time researching characters. We brought our make up kit to PA with us in hopes of spending some time practicing those skills and haven’t made the time so to save money and add to my portfolio we decided to do make up versions of our villains. Without doing a practice run I am pleased with the outcome, its not perfect but with some practice beforehand next time I think it would work out :

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And mine was a more idea based rather than an attempt at recreation, a terminator~esque character…the gear started sliding because I did not wait long enough for it to get tacky before placing it on my face.
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For his birthday, which was a rehearsal day, (boo) we went for ice cream at Friendly’s and hit up a Toys r Us! Yupp, we are just a couple of big kids! Nerf guns are a thing here at the faire amongst many and he had been wanting one but knowing we have expensive endeavors coming our way he has done well to restrain his impulse to make such a purchase so I figured I would take him to pick one out, and he settled on a pair of minis that we could share and they are the cutest pair. (They were cheap and work swell) Check em out! 😀
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While there we found legos and decided to get into the holiday spirit until we get to Chicago and can make our Lego people us for the mug he bought me for my birthday.
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It was a fairly low key birthday but he doesn’t really want to be reminded hes *cough cough* 27 heeheehee, I’m sorry, as he says, “I’m 25 with experience.”

Right after bday shenanigans we whizzed through a faire weekend, little sleep and off to NYC for our much anticipated 3 day weekend!!!!!
Up at 3:30 am we had a quick bite in the kitchen, loaded the “van” and started making our way to NYC! (I’m going to put NYC all over the place because it has been one of the top places I have wanted to visit since forever!) We made it there around 8 am and set off on foot right after parking right outside of where our friend we were staying with lives. Thanks a million Phil!!!!
We started off by checking out this hole in the wall coffee shop I had found online because the Mr. in this group has a love of trying different coffees so I wanted to take him of my own free will because often I give him crap about it, but I can be supportive of his interests too even if I think it tastes like dirt. The place was called Beaner Bar and had a Mexican twist to traditional coffee giving it a spicy kick!

hotstuff espresso
“Cayanne pepper in coffee? Woo! That’ll clear the sinuses in a hurry!” ~ Mr.

Once we got our caffeine fix for the day we headed out to the subway to make our way into Manhattan! Oh the excitement!!!!! We set off to find the theatre that we planned to see ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ at later that night. We waited in a short line at the box office’s opening to get our hands on rush tickets which were a pretty good deal considering we paid less for two than a single cheap regular priced ticket. Once we made it to the theatre again later that evening we found out about the 20 for $20 deal they have where you show up 20 mins before the show starts and if there are still seats available for that show you pay the super low price of $20 to see the show. (This isn’t always available but when it is I would recommend giving it a shot especially if you are on a tight budget and really want to see a show) The more you know!!!! Will definitely keep this one in my hip pocket for next time we make our way into the Big Apple. After obtaining our tickets we ventured out into the City after pit stopping for an elastic ankle brace for myself to keep the walking from further injuring my foot I sprained earlier in the faire season. We make our way down to the High Line which is this intriguing park that was built using an old above ground railroad. After wandering this and checking out a driving range and fancy boats on a pier we stumbled upon the Chelsea Market! A gem that we knew existed in The City but did not even think to put on our list of destinations. Such a wonderful surprise and I wish we had brought a camera this day because it was too neat! Our phones from the drive up were fairly drained of battery so we needed to conserve energy to make sure we would find our way back to where we were staying at the end of the evening. As we made our way back to the theatre we stopped for food and sat down for an evening of magic! Even with Peter and the Starcatcher being understudies it was an amazing show. When we finally made our way back to Phil’s place we were greeted by friendly faces and enjoyed catching up with fellow alums from Texas State University who have made NYC their home. Then…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

The next morning we hit the ground a’runnin! We made our way out to Times Square for the opening of another theate box office where we managed to get our hands on rush tickets for ONCE! Ahhhh! MAY! ZIIIIING! We bumped into our faire friends who also had the same idea, while in line to get tickets, and were able to get our pair right by theirs. Until the show we wandered off to Central Park where we walked around, checked out the Central Park Zoo, found a spot for a lil nap in the sun, came across a castle and didn’t even get through half the park before looking for the MET! When we finally found our way inside we had about 45 mins to peruse the giant establishment. (The quickest tour through a museum ever for the both of us)
A small bench area in Central Park, so gorgeous!!

Once we left we set off for food finding, coffee possibilities, and making our way closer to the theatre. Food ended up being more expensive than we initially hoped for. Restaurants advertising specials but aren’t entirely clear what it entails and so we learned that we should make sure to ask specifics on these before we order. Oh well it was some pretty good pizza anyway. We were unable to spot a place worth visiting for coffee so we just wandered on down to the theatre. Inside we went and….

*MAGIC HAPPENED*

That is all I can say about the show because it would take way too long to dote on it. Go see ‘Once’ if you have the chance is my advice to you all you will not regret it!

When we left the theatre it was dark and Times Square was LIT!!!! We wandered a bit and tried to find a restaurant with a roof top view but failed miserably on this mission. Next time we will have to get suggestions from people that know the City or research and reserve ahead of time. Earlier in the day we spotted Dallas BBQ who’s menu was reasonably priced and curious on whether or not their bbq was truly up to Texas standards we stopped in and if you are in NYC and hankering for some good ol Texas bbq this one will satisfy your craving til next you make your way down south for the real thing. We shared a platter that included steak, ribs, and shrimp. Also, can’t forget the goblets that contained the alcohol. Yupp, Texas Sized!!!
Our night didn’t end there! Though it would have been a good one to end on we Googled KARAOKE and found this hole in the wall place that had private rooms with your own mics, song books, and tv! We spend a whole hour singing our lungs out and wish we didn’t have to leave. So we add to our goal of Karaoke Round the World. NYC-Check! 😀
It was a looong day, by the time we made it back to the apt if was about 3am.

zzzzzzz

He got sleepy on the train, hehe.

The next and sadly final morning of our trip we didn’t hop right out on the adventure train. We spent some time chatting with Phil catching up on what has been going on since graduation. Before heading out we packed the car up so that when we got to leaving we wouldn’t have to make sure anyone was there if it was an inconvenient time for them.

Off we went to set our eyes on The Statue of Liberty!!! On our way we walked down Wall Street and saw the Trump Building and all the business dressed people walking down the street to their jobs and grabbing food from the street cart vendors. We sat and had lunch/breakfast by the water and made our way to the ferry that would take us to Staten Island and passed by the Lady. I was impressed by how small she seemed from the ferry. I had pictured her much bigger based on photos but with the skyline of the City right behind her she looks very small in comparison. If you plan on going up into the Statue of Liberty make sure to get your tickets way in advance. You must order them ahead of time and you must have one to go. A week before our trip we looked them up online and they were sold out for all 3 days we were going to be in the City so once you decide what dates you are going and if that is something you want to do going on a whim won’t be an option unfortunately 😦

The Lady

After the ferry ride we made our way close to where our friend Phil works to catch a spot of coffee at Bluebird and catch up a bit more before he went into work and we were off to our job again. It was another hole in the wall joint that was for the most part purely coffee and espresso without many syrups/flavor add ins. Of course Richard didn’t mind this but I was a little disappointed. It was a very pretty latte though and Richard happily bought a bag of coffee on his way out.
We said our farewells and set off to catch a glimpse of ground zero before leaving the City. It was a long journey but on our way we stumbled upon Katz’s Delicatessen where a scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed and popped in for dinner! If you don’t mind paying a pretty penny for the food it is very good. After filling up on pastrami (I tried something new and liked it) and we both tried an egg cream for the first time (its kind of like a float…kinda?).

Our journey was almost over…We stopped for a while, staring up, talking and sharing moments looking at 1 World Trade Center that is still being built. No words can explain how that feels.
1WTC
And a picture doesn’t even begin to capture the beauty of the building.

On our way out of the City we decided on one more stop….Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain! Yes with a F! It was an adorable old timey place where the workers dressed the part and all the soda and ice cream were hand made!
old school
Lovely date to set us on our way!

NYC was a glorious experience. As soon as we got there the sounds of the City were present ever enveloping… Jack hammers and man holes being worked on that obviously housed the Ninja Turtles, and the neighborhoods with houses that have the steps leading to the front door made me giddy as a clam!

Thank you for reading the novel that I leave here for you. If you want to know more about anything we did on our trip feel free to send us a message we would be happy to answer or help you out on your own NYC adventure!
I have made up an album of all the pictures from our adventure that you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/kristen.furleigh/media_set?set=a.3383542485493.1073741826.1777433337&type=3

Til next time Pengminions!
❤ Kristen B.