Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fun Times

Seth and I have been having a lot of fun times lately, starting with last Saturday, November 12, which was the sixth anniversary of our dating. I have been having quite a stressful week: work had been quite busy and to top it all off, my car had a breakdown and had to go to the dealership for repairs which cost $881! Seth planned a fun day out for the two of us. 

We woke up and Seth made me a lovely breakfast of eggs and toast. I usually drink a Shakeology nutrition shake for breakfast, so this was a treat. We then got in the car and drove to Northampton where we pursued the Twist Fair, a craft fair we both enjoy. There was loads of cool stuff, so that would be great to purchase and other stuff that was just nice to look at (and too expensive to even think about). I got some really cool bath stuff at a place called Aubrey Elizabeth Apothecary. They had soaps that looked like what they smelled like -- the one that Seth got me is a blueberry poptart. I also got two products for my feet which are great. (One smells like red velvet cake, the other like cherry mint -- and it tingles!)

We then went to The Roost, a tasty cafe in Northampton with amazing grilled cheese sandwiches. I got a sweet grilled cheese and Seth got a savory one. Delicious! 

We then went home for a while to just hang out since we'd been out all day. We considered going to the Mount Holyoke dance concert happening that night because we do love dance, but I was feeling tired from such a crazy week. We had a nice quiet dinner out at one of our favorite Amherst restaurants, Pasta e Basta, and then came home to watch a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A lovely day!

On Wednesday of this last week there was more fun to be had. My colleague and friend, Barb, is a leader of the Women's Group at her Church. They were having an annual bake sale, which Barb, good lady that she is, helps coordinate. Barb has been having a challenging couple of weeks herself with deaths in the family, her dog getting sick (but she'll be okay), and her washer breaking down. Poor, Barb! I made some chocolate chip cookies for the bake sale to help out. There were four dozen. Although there would have been more if Seth and I didn't eat so many!

This weekend was the most exciting set of activities yet! For my Chanukah / Christmas gift, Seth got us tickets to see La Boheme in New York. So amazing. Seth and I love opera and go to see the Live in HD performances that they show at our local Cinemark movie theatre, but we've always wanted to go see the real thing.

On Friday, we took the Megabus to New York. Megabus is a discount bus that is quite nice. We were picked up at the local mall about 10 minutes away from our house, where we could leave our car overnight, and brought straight into Manhattan. The bus trip cost $16 for the two of us (so only $8 each) round trip, and the bus only stopped two times, once in Holyoke and once in Hartford, so it was pretty much a direct trip. We left Amherst at 11:50 p.m. and reached New York around 3:45p.m.

We decided to stay at the Broadway Hostel again, where we stayed last time we went into New York. It's at 101st and Broadway on the Upper West Side in a nice neighborhood and very cheap. We paid $120 a night with taxes. As luck would have it, we got upgraded from the dorm room we reserved to a personal room with a private bath. Quite nice.


At the hostel, we changed into our fancy opera clothing and took the 1 train to Lincoln Center. (All the subway signs were in that seminal font Helvetica -- I think I am obsessed with it! We played a game on the bus identifying as many uses of the font Helvetica as we could on our trip into the City.)


Despite my many trips into New York, this was my first time to Lincoln Center.

It is absolutely breathtaking. The opera house is so lovely.

As is the entire plaza.

We went into the Met Opera early to pick up tickets at will call and to browse the gift shop. We then walked around looking for a place to eat. We were hungry, so we settled on the very close P.J. Clarke's, which served what I can only refer to as pub-style food. After supper, we headed back for the opera.

The opera house was equally amazing inside as it was outside. Look at those chandeliers -- how unique!

Needless to say, La Boheme was extraordinary. The sets were beyond belief, the talent was unequaled, the spectacle was outstanding. The second act included what must have been at least seventy people on stage, a parade, and animal performers (a donkey pulling a cart and a horse and carriage). The third act included and outdoor set in which there was snowing. The first and final acts, took place in the garret where the artists live and featured and amazing roof line. Spectacular!

The second day, we decided to do the tourist thing. We went to Rockefeller Center. Seth was hoping to pick up a game that was getting released early at the Nintendo World Store, but the line was too crazy.

We did get to see them working on putting up the tree at Rockefeller Center. It's so huge, it arrives in parts and is assembled -- crazy.

We then walked over to Times Square, where Seth has been wanting to go again. We walked around (and purchased a hat for me, since my ears were way too cold).

We saw the theatres were some of the Broadway shows are playing.

We then hopped back on the 1 train and headed down to Christopher Street to meet Clela and her boyfriend, Ivan, in the West Village for some lunch. We got there early, so we wandered around a bit, poking around a cool independent book store, and getting Seth a giant cookie at a bakery. 

We had a lovely meal with Clela and Ivan at a very cute place at 50 Commerce Street in a lovely residential area of the City. It was great to see Clela and Ivan, and we made plans to them to visit us in Amherst in January -- fun times!

After that, we headed back uptown a little so that Seth could see the Empire State Building. He was disappointed that there wasn't much to do other than go to the top of the tower, so we left.

Before taking the Megabus back, we stopped off in the Lush store at Herald Square (the North America Flagship store of Lush apparently), to pick up some of their special holiday products. It was crazy in there, but I got a bunch of cool stuff.

Then after a quick stop to pick up some supper, we were back on the bus at 4:50 p.m. and heading towards Amherst for a 8:45 p.m. arrival. We had a great trip but were super glad to get back home to our comfortable house and lovely Lily!