A year before Will turned 13, my parents approached me with an idea: they wanted to gift each grandchild a special trip for their 13th birthday. Tom and I agreed that this was a fantastic idea, and a few months after he became a teenager, Will and my parents spent four days in Washington D.C.
When the time came for Hallie to choose her destination, Will tried to convince her to follow in his footsteps and pick Washington D.C. She quickly and repeatedly shut him down, however, as she already knew exactly where she wanted to go:
"I, am going, to BROADWAY."
Hallie left College Station - flying for the very first time as an unaccompanied minor - dark and early on Monday morning, and arrived in NYC to meet my parents around lunchtime. From that point on, they crammed as much fun as possible into nearly five days.
- Monday: Hallie and my parents took an Uber to their hotel, which both Hallie and my mom were convinced was haunted, and then after dropping off their luggage and regrouping, they walked around St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, FAO Schwartz, and Central Park. They met my cousin for dinner at Serendipity - where they indulged in Serendipity's famous frozen hot chocolate - and then rode the subway (one of Hallie's "must do" activities) to the M&M Store and Times Square.
- Tuesday: they took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and visited the Statue of Liberty Museum, and then came back to Manhattan to visit Ground Zero and One World Trade Center. They returned to Central Park for a carriage ride, and ended the evening at Hamilton.
- Wednesday: they started the day with breakfast at an Irish pub (for the second day in a row) and then browsed in Macy's, walked the High Line, visited the The Today Show, and ended the evening at Wicked.
- Thursday: they took a double decker bus tour, attended the St. Patrick's Day parade, relaxed at the hotel a little, and ended the evening at The Lion King.
- Friday: after packing up, they headed to Hallie's final surprise - the Friends Experience. I think she kept it together on the outside, but I know that on the inside she was losing her mind with excitement. I'm so glad she was able to visit this cool "museum", as the two things she associates most with NYC are Broadway and Friends. After Friends, they headed to the airport, tired but happy.
In no particular order (because for the life of me I can't get their 500+ photos in chronological order in the Google Photos folder), some of my favorite photos (and a couple of cute videos) from the trip:
I texted my parents after Hallie returned:
I can't even begin to thank you for the trips you've given Hallie and Will. I'm so grateful for all they were able to experience, and for the incredibly valuable time they got to spend with both of you.
My mom responded that they have enjoyed tremendously getting to spend time with and getting to know them both better. And my dad responded, "Just like in Wicked, we have been changed for good."
I'm so grateful to my parents for gifting Will and Hallie these wonderful trips and accompanying memories.
Side note: Will's trip kicked off the pandemic. Let's hope Hallie's trip will mark the pandemic's end.