The first weekend in August NoVA Travelers sauntered off to NYC for a Broadway weekend. These short weekend jaunts to NYC have proved popular with the group and I always love spending time in the city myself.
We stayed at the 70 Park Avenue, a Kimpton property that is fast becoming one of my favorite hotels. What I love about this hotel chain is how special they make guests feel. They greet us by name, they give us a gift from the minibar everytime we stay, and they throw in freebies now and then like a full breakfast when we've had a rough day. Pretty good treatment for a customer that has averaged less than 10 stays in my first year with them. At the big chains like Hilton or Marriott you're a nobody until you've stayed 30 times. Because of this I will give Kimpton all of my business (and of course the travel group's business) whenever they have a property available in the city I happen to be traveling to. Here's a link if you're interested in learning more: http://www.70parkave.com/. They've got properties in most big US cities, with fabulous restaurants and really modern chic décor. The whole luxury boutique experience, including in room spa treatment is available.
Saturday Penny, Louise and I flew dca-jfk, took the subway to Grand Central and strolled the leisurely 2 blocks to our hotel. Although I had planned to highlight one of Manhattan's pizzerias for lunch, on the spur of the moment we decide to indulge and dine at Per Se for lunch. Per Se is the legendary sister restaurant of The French Laundry in Napa Valley. (Take a look at their amazing menus here: http://www.tkrg.org/upload/ps_menu.pdf) The other ladies ordered the lunch tasting menu while I chose the more expansive dinner tasting menu (might as well go all the way when you've come this far right?). The food was AMAZING. Course after course after course of deliciousness. The presentations were very lovely- we started for example with these adorable 'ice cream cones' where the cream was cream fraiche with chives and the scoop was salmon tartare. It sounds sort of strange but it was fantastic. I'm finding my appreciation for raw foods like tartare is increasing as I frequent posh restaurants and feel compelled to at least try every course set before me since I'm paying for it. There were delicate fish courses, robust entrees like beef and lamb, and no less than 3 dessert courses brought to us in succession. The courses are portioned perfectly- enough to enjoy but not enough to stuff you so full you can't enjoy the next. I took some great pictures to share (but that was with my cell phone camera which was eventually stolen in Zurich before I ever got the pictures transferred).
I'm a bit fuzzy on what we did after lunch but before dinner and Broadway and I'm going to attribute the loss of memory to the gourmet food induced stupor. I'm pretty sure it involved shopping in Chinatown as that's a usual staple on every NYC visit.
For dinner we dropped in on my favorite local restaurant- Paesano's - in Little Italy. If the fresh pastas and savory sauces weren't enough of a draw, we are always treated like royalty at this cozy house of pasta so they always get our business.
After dinner we made our way over to Broadway area to take our seats for '9 To 5'. The play was outstanding and I didn't know until I arrived that the actress from the West Wing (Allison Janney) had one of the lead roles. She was very good, as were her fellow cast members. One thing I found interesting is that they weren't just playing the characters but were playing the actresses who played the original characters in the movie. You know how Lily Tomlin has a distinct way of dressing in those long jacketed pantsuits that can't just be dictated by the screenplays she's in because she wears them in EVERY movie? Or how Dolly Parton has her distinct accent that persists through every movie because it's not part of the role, but her own persona? Well the cast picked up all of these subtle and not so subtle character traits when performing. I can't decide whether the play would have been better or worse if the cast had made the roles their own.
After a great night's sleep back at the 70 Park Avenue, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and then spent the *very* rainy Sunday at the Met. I've always wanted to visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and here we had the perfect rainy day that dictated we spend our time indoors. The museum was a hit according to all and a nice finishing touch to our weekend.
Sunday evening we were supposed to head back to DC on a particular flight but made it to the airport 5 minutes after the check-in time (we got there 40 minutes ahead of time and policy at JFK now dictates 45 minute cut off for check-in). It was the first, and hopefully last, travel group disaster. I had to cough up $50 per member for the change fee to put us on a later flight and the only available flights were out of LaGuardia so we had to cab it over there from JFK as well. But I took care of my members and we returned to DC no worse for the wear.
NoVA Travelers typically schedules a Broadway trip each spring, and sometimes again in the summer if there is enough interest.