It’s not often that a milestone birthday lands on a Holiday weekend, but as I began to plan for Charles’ dirty-30, I realized it landed on theSaturday of Memorial Day Weekend!  Of course this ignited the wheels in my head and they began spinning at full speed.  I knew I wanted it to be special, unforgettable, and not in Atlanta.  As I began to research all of my favorite destinations, I had to reel myself in and remember: it’s not MY birthday.  From there, the destination was simple.  Charles has one city that he loves more than any other in the continental US:  the one, the only, NYC.

From there the plans were easy: Hotel anywhere in Manhattan, but not next to times-square led us to a quint Doubletree in Chelsea.  Our last visit to the city did not include anything in Chelsea or its neighbor, the Meat Packing District, so there was a lot of ground to cover.  We explored the Chelsea Market and the Highline as well as every watering hole we could find for a quick beer or snack.  Establishments ranged from quaint brunch locations, to beer gardens, and rooftop “haunted hotels” cocktail lounges.

Of course we could not restrict ourselves to just two neighborhoods.  We wandered down to the Theatre District to see IF/THEN: a new Broadway Show featuring Idina Menzel (the voice of Frozen ’s “Let It Go”), and even waited in our first ever lottery for tickets for a shot to see NPH in Hedwig & the Angry Inch.  Unfortunately, as with most lottery’s, we did not win.  But defeat never tasted so good: we found an awesome dinner restaurant and Korean donuts for desert.

But perhaps our favorite adventure of the trip was our 10k run around Central Park.  Since we began running Charles has always said that he would love to be able to complete a 10k (6.26 miles) in under an hour.  This dream came out when we first started running and couldn’t make it a mile without walking.  As the trip drew near, and we realized Central Park perimeter was officially 10k, we knew we would give it a try.  Our first ever attempt to run 6 miles on a course we had never seen was a bit daunting.  But once we got 3 miles down, and realized how much energy was left in the tank, we both relaxed and realized this would be a “walk in the park”.  We finished in 59:16 – Officially crossing this goal off Charles’ bucket list on the Morning of his 30th.

The adventures go on and on, to include a trip on the Staten Island Ferry, Improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade, waiting in the longest line I have ever seen for the world’s best bagel, a trip to the beautiful Riverside Park, and finally the famous New York camera location: B&H Photo.  Where Charles got his birthday gift: A new camera body and lens.  This camera surpasses his old one in features as well as complexity!  But he took time to start teaching me how to adjust the shutter speed and aperture for the perfect picture.  It was a great way to pass time on Subway Rides together 🙂

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