Saturday, September 11, 2010

Farewell to Summer Vacation

Flying the Friendly Skies

On Labor Day Weekend I took my middle son for a trip to Connecticut to see my Uncle Marvin. He will be 90 this December and this was the last weekend I could safely take a trip before I get busy at work. The last time I went for a visit, I took my eldest boy. I love the quality one-on-one time with my kids. It is also less stressful for all with only one child in tow.

Alex took this shot of the clouds outside his window
at 6:45 in the morning

Alex taking a bite of what he swears to be
the best pizza he has ever had!

We had a brief layover and plane change in Philly with enough time to grab breakfast. I had a croissant and Alex opted for a slice of pizza at 8:30 a.m. as he already had breakfast at home at 5:00 a.m.

Afternoon Visit

We landed in White Plains which has to be the smallest commercial airport I have ever been in.
I rented a car and drove through winding roads dotted with nice estate homes till we reached the highway to Norwalk, Ct. We were able to get checked into our hotel, freshen-up and make it to my Uncle's place in time for lunch.

We had a nice visit. There were several pianos in his complex and my uncle coaxed Alex into giving a few "concerts". I promised Alex as long as he would play piano "on demand", he could have pizza for every meal. He agreed but decided that Dunkin Donuts would be his choice for breakfast.
Taking Marv for a spin around his compound

As promised, pizza for dinner at Italia in Norwalk;
I opted for the Eggplant Rollatini

New York, New York
Saturday morning, after we had breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, we took a train from S. Norwalk, Ct to Grand Central Station. I had printed out maps the night before for directions to a few of the places we wanted to visit. Our first stop, Sony Wonder Labs was a walkable .6 miles. However, we doubled the distance by a wrong turn out of the train station.

During our brisk walk, Alex noticed that there appeared to be a coffee shop on every street corner. He remarked,
"No wonder New York is the city that never sleeps! There's a Starbuck's on every corner!"
Sony Wonder Technology Lab

When we finally arrived, we were able to get tickets (Free!) and were first in line for this hands-on technology museum. Alex had fun playing with lots of cool gadgets and had a chance to get "on camera" to report on the weather. He was filmed against a blue screen which made the blue graphic on his shirt into a "window".

Future Reporter?

Next stop: The American Museum of Natural History

This time we decided to take a cab!

Wall in the main entry hall

Feeling a bit small

Largest Collection of Real Dinosaur Bones

We were advised by a docent to go the the 4th Floor to see the Dinosaur exhibit. The museum is famous for having the largest collection of REAL dinosaur fossils in the world!

We also spent a bit of time in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. I was fascinated by the Ecosphere. This was an entire ecosystem in a sealed environment complete with tiny fish swimming around.

Another highlight were the scales that show what your weight would be on the Sun, Moon and other planets.
This is waaay cooler than Sea-Monkeys!

Diet be damned, Fly me to the moon!

Lunch at the Museum Cafe.

Next up: Central Park

Folk concert on the edge of the Central Park 22 acre lake

Central Park was the highlight of my excursion into the Big Apple. I had no idea how gigantic this park is! At approximately 843 acres, this park was much more magnificent than I had imagined.
Located directly across from the Natural History Museum, we simply crossed the street, made our way past the Pedi-cabs and followed a path down into what seemed like another world.

The small patch we visited, was complete with horse-drawn carriages, a wedding party, a folk concert, cyclists, runners, boaters, hikers and tourists. Next time I am back in the city, I will allot more time to visit this haven.

Back to Connecticut

Having promised to be back by dinnertime, we took a cab from Central Park back to the Grand Central to catch the train back to S. Norwalk. We enjoyed the hour-plus ride back being entertained by a group of middle-aged women that were getting their drink on. Between their shameless ogling of the attractive, young train-worker and their salty language, Alex got quite an earful. These "train-wreck"s provided a great reinforcement of his D.A.R.E. training of the dangers of drugs and alcohol!

The rest of the trip we spent visiting with my uncle.

Reviewing old photographs,

and on Sunday before we left, we picked up lunch.....PIZZA! from the highly-touted "Wilton Pizza". Alex enjoyed this tasty treat but still claims that Sbarro's is the best!

After some minor difficulties with my rental-car's Garmin Nuvi (we got a bit lost near the airport) and a souvenir ( Newton's Cradle) that triggered a baggage search, we were on our way back home!

On our final leg, one of the flight attendants was a former employee of mine from a decade ago.

Amazing how time flies!

Alex's hands were a bit shakey due to a long day of travel
and a caffeine-buzz. (I let him drink regular Coke)


Getrealmommy said...

Love the idea of a special trip with one of your children. What a gift to both of you!

Tara R. said...

That was a great adventure you and Alex had. I bet your uncle was thrilled to visit with you both, and for Alex to play piano for him.