Never have I ever had a White Christmas! Once again island girl problems but Hawai’i (Big Island) has snow on a beautiful mountain called Mauna Kea (but I’ve never been…yet). Since this was our first year away from our Family Christmas Parties back home we thought it would be a great adventure to head up east for our 1st annual Winter Family Vacation 2016. Planning our trip we used this great resource that the military offers called Armed Forces Vacation Club (AFVC) . This is the greatest resource so far that I stumbled upon. Friends/Family thought we were crazy that we were heading up North instead of going somewhere tropical (like norm), but when they heard we were road trippin’ it for 14hrs they thought we were nuts! We could’ve easily caught a plane tour destination but we were making it worth us moving to the mainland filled with numerous experiences that are new.
Upon our arrival we noticed that it had snowed lightly the night before but we were looking forward to fresh snow falling from the light gray skies. We stayed for a week in Pocono, Pennsylvania at this lovely resort called The Villas at Fairways. When we checked in we were informed about different activities for kids during the day, shuttle rides, restaurants and shops nearby. Our villa was comfy, cozy and big. We settled in and saw on our weather app that it was going to snow the next day.
The next morning Brian woke me up so gently telling me to look outside. As I sat up on our bed looking out the glass door to our porch, all I could see was miles of snow. It literally looked like a big fluffy white blanket outside. Oh it was magical like something from the movies. It was such a blessing to witness something so beautiful and unforgettable. Like I couldn’t have asked for a better time to experience snow for the first time in my life. I seriously just wanted to sip on hot cocoa and watch the snow fall for the whole week. Gosh I loved every moment of the snow.
We were so excited to get our warm clothes and head outside. Making snow angels and building a snowman in powdery snow was a MUST! We devoted our first full day (day 2) to outdoor fun and also getting a bite to eat at a restaurant called Wintergreens (yummy!).
DAY 3 We were so pooped from all the fun we had the day before that we stayed indoors majority of the day and attempted to build a gingerbread house. We decided to go to a grocery store and this other awesome store called odd lots. We also stopped by a flea market too where Brian bought this cool leather belt with a huge eagle buckle.
DAY 4 Since we were a couple hours drive from New York we decided on devoting a to the Big Apple. Of course I made a check list of places that we were going to visit because we didn’t know when the next time we would get to visit New York. Plus, I wanted to make it a bit kid friendly since William was with us, but he’s always excited anytime we go holoholo. We arrived to NY around 3pm and planned on staying there as late as we could handle.
DAY 5 The morning after New York we slept most of the day away and decided to stay in and watch Christmas movies. We admired the pictures and souvenirs that we got from NY. Being in New York during Christmas season made the buildings all around us very appealing (it was all the colorful lights). Although it was nice not being in the city for to long. Brian and I thought that we should do another day of us being in NY.
DAY 6 We drove to Staten Island and caught the S.I. Ferry to Manhattan instead of driving again into the city. It’s pretty pricy driving in Manhattan and also parking. But the ferry is free and we also got a treat to pass Lady Liberty. We got off in Manhattan and the exploring of the city continued.
We made sure to make our time worth it in New York. We were happy to experience the night life and day life there.
On our ferry ride back to Staten Island we wanted to adventure off more since the day was still young. We thought of Coney Island and headed to Brooklyn. When we arrived it was around 4pm and we didn’t see the lights to rides on, it was closed. But, like always we try to make the best of everything. We walked around the boardwalk and saw the Atlantic Ocean across the stretch of sand. Believe it or not we heard a guy yell “WARRIORS COME OUT TO PLAYYYYYYY” (do you know that movie?, its a must see). We were like “cool?!?!” but a little bit freaked out. We were also excited to stop by Wahlburgers to eat because we are HUGE FANS of MARK WAHLBERG, (duh) and the show of course.
DAY 7 Our last day of winter vacation and we couldn’t believe how quick time went by. Isn’t that something huh?, when you are having a blast, time goes by fast but when you actually want time to go by fast like driving for hours, long plane rides, work, homework and all that boring stuff it goes by slower than a turtle. Sheesh! The next day we had to be on the road before the sky starts turning pink so we started packing that way we didn’t need to do it all in the morning. For dinner we let William decide and of course he said PIZZA(his fav), so pizza we got! Thanks Guiseppe’s Pizza & Pasta it couldn’t fit through the car doors so we had to put it in from the rear door.
Next morning we put some gas, got some coffee and back to Ft. Benning we went. Overall it was a great family vacation even though we couldn’t be with our family back in O’ahu we sure did make our own memories.
Confession: After visiting New York I was felt like “BEEN THERE, DONE THAT” but we recently went back (blog post coming up soon) and I’m planning on going back again. There’s something about New York that keeps pulling me back.
Do you have a winter family vacation? Where? Share with me your stories! I want to know your first experience seeing/playing in snow or your experience in NEW YORK. Share, share, share. Me ke aloha -SIMPLY SHANA