When a family of five from the Lone Star state covers five states in 10 days, via planes, trains and automobiles, you discover a few things that don’t exactly fit inside the luggage home (especially considering the amount of shopping my teen girls accomplished along the way).
- Starry-eyed and excited to brush with fame, we lined up on the Today Show fence at the crack of dawn. Then, the heretofore-unknown-to-us “famous” Turtleman shows up for his appearance, and we see that you can have as much “live action” fun with him as the nice weatherman and the host with the great shoes.
- Times Square may have the most LED in town, but down the street, inside the lobby, around the corner, to the left, behind the magic curtain, in a dark corner, lie some of the best burgers in town, marked only by the smallest neon sign I’ve ever seen. Thanks for letting us in on your hideaway faves, Mekado Murphy.
- If Dad’s told us once, he’s told us a thousand times, you’ll love the pork dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai so much it’s worth the hour-long wait on an empty stomach. Sure ‘nough, father knows best.
- Show tunes rock on Broadway. Especially in third-row seats at the Winter Garden theater showing of Mamma Mia live. The experience of a dancin’ queen’s lifetime.
- Drugs not so much. As evidenced by a free and unfortunate side show on Fifth Avenue involving an out-of-control young woman, her bewildered boyfriend, half the NYPD and the ever curious public. (But we knew that.)
- A tree grows in Brooklyn (and Manhattan, too) – a tiny one thriving against all odds at the site of the World Trade Center 9/11 memorial – reminding us that life and love will always triumph.
- Though a vendor still has us scratching our heads over the question, “You’re from San Antonio? Say, what’s outside of Houston?” the High Line is the smartest, coolest thing NYC ever did.
- According to another nice cashier, one who sold us a Brown University sweatshirt at the bookstore in Providence, my middle daughter will, in fact, be accepted when she applies next year. (Just thought I’d put that in writing now.)
- Aside from ogling the Bush family compound and chowing down at the Clam Shack, there’s not actually much to do in the little piece of heaven that is quaint Kennebunkport. But you wouldn’t have it any other way.
- If you manage to climb to a rocky place atop a hill in Maine’s Acadia National Park where the sun first shines upon North America during daybreak every morning, you deserve as many buttery popovers as you want for lunch.
Forgive me if I can’t recall much about what we picked up on our quick stops in New Haven (Yale University) and Boston (Harvard) – after all, this was a college visit trip as much as a long-planned family vacation to visit relatives and friends – but I’m sure we got a little smarter by default just being there.