One of the nice things about traveling is not only visiting some amazing places, but also seeing family and friends that we don’t get to see very often. Chris is originally from New York and still has several family members there, but he hadn’t been back there since before I knew him. We had a wonderful visit with his sister Laurie and her husband Steve and also our nephew Ryan who has really grown up!
It was so nice to catch up with all of them. The boys enjoyed playing some games one afternoon with Laurie and Ryan.
We also got to visit with Johnnie, a man that was like a father to Chris when he was growing up. We surprised him one afternoon showing up unannounced. It took him a few minutes to realize who we were, but once he recognized Chris his whole face lit up and he had tears in his eyes. What a sweet man and I’m so glad we were able to see him while we were in New York.
Anyway, if you know me you know I’m not a fan of cities. Visiting New York City has never been high on my bucket list. I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how much fun it is to visit NYC. I had a common misconception that New Yorkers were rude and unfriendly. I could not have been more wrong! We found them to be so helpful and friendly, even going out of their way to help us navigate the subway system or find our way around town.
We spent 2 days exploring the city. This post will cover our first day when we visited the Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial. Several months ago I learned that Crown Access tours to the Statue of Liberty sell out way in advance so I reserved these tickets back in January. Do you know how hard it is to decide in January which day and time in May we would like to visit Lady Liberty? I prayed about it, asking God to help me pick just the right day when the weather would be nice the week were planning to go. And you know what? The date/time I picked just so happened to be the most beautiful weather we had during a week that rained most days. Needless to say I was very thankful for answered prayers.
The tour included a boat ride over to Liberty Island where we could visit the statue museum, walk around the grounds listening to an audio tour and climb up inside the statue not only to the pedestal, but all the way up to the crown. This was so cool!
The Statue of Liberty is part of the National Park Service so there were a couple of park rangers at the crown to answer questions. As we started back down they made sure we noticed that we could see the eyes, nose and mouth inside the statue.
A little bit of information if you plan to do this: it is 354 steps in a tight, enclosed area to climb up to the crown. Children must be at least 48 inches tall and cannot be carried. We booked our tickets at this website: Statue of Liberty Tickets.
After we came back down we toured the museum that had many displays explaining the process of building the statue.
Then we walked around the grounds a bit before catching the boat that would take us to the next stop on the tour: Ellis Island.
Here we learned about the process that immigrants went through after landing in NYC.
The immigrants had to declare their destination and we were surprised to see our hometown of Fernandina, Florida made one of the lists.
I am so glad we took this tour, it ended up being one of the highlights of our visit to NYC.
Later we walked over to see the 9/11 Memorial. This was a beautiful tribute to so many lives lost, and brought back a lot of memories of that day back in 2001. Our kids were not born yet, but we told them all about what we were doing that morning when we first heard the news. How sobering to come to the spot where this occurred.
There are 2 of these memorials, one for each of the Twin Towers. The names of all the victims are engraved along the sides and the interior is a continuous fountain, like a fountain of tears falling into the hole in the ground.
I don’t really know what to say about this or how to describe it. It was such a sad time in our nation’s history and it was very emotional.
We had a very busy week in New York, between visiting with family and sightseeing. I have one more post about our 2nd day in the city when we visited Times Square and Central Park. Stay tuned for more on that later.