The Noble Trip To York

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While planning our trip to the United Kingdom I knew I wanted to start in London and end in Edinburgh, but I was not sure where we would stop in between. In fact, I basically looked at the map and thought, York looks about halfway…okay, done. My handy dandy  Fodor’s travel book, as well at the Internet, helped me outline an itinerary for York while staying in London. I knew NOTHING about York prior to our trip, so I needed all the help I could get, especially since I was the designated tour guide.

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Our first stop was Grey’s Court, which is a magical country cottage hidden between the Minster and the city walls. It’s a home that is over 900 years old and is now a restaurant/hotel. We had lunch and coffee and it was oh.my.gosh. amazing. Great food. Great service. Great ambiance. And, a great view. Everything we ordered was delicious and when we finished our waiter offered to give us a tour of the rooms and the property. Let me just say this; if you ever find yourself in York, book a room at Grey’s Court.

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No high chairs, but Luna enjoyed eating on the comfy couch
No high chairs, but Luna enjoyed eating on the comfy couch

Next stop was the York Minster and I swear to you this was the most interesting church I have ever visited. St. Peter’s Basilica is unbelievable, but there was something so captivating about the Minster. Maybe it was the lack of tourist, the stain glass exhibit or the underground rooms… whatever it was, it kept us there for hours. The boys got to climb the spiral staircases to the top in capture some amazing views, but it was “too dangerous for children” so Luna and I stayed down below.

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There was on room with dozens of these heads, each one different and so detailed.
There was on room with dozens of these heads, each one different and so detailed.

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poor baby was terrified to walk on the glass floor!
poor baby was terrified to walk on the glass floor!

We spent the rest of the day walking and touring. We went through the Shambles (old narrow street that was once all butchers and now touristy unique shops). We naively hiked to the top of Clifford’s Hill, only to learn that the tower was closed. We drank beer and cider at the Trembling House of Madness, a cozy pub adorned with dozens of stuffed animal heads and is apparently haunted, and did some shopping, of course.

The Shambles
The Shambles

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Day 2 we did some extreme walking. As soon as the sun was up we walked through the Museum Gardens before having breakfast in the gardens. After our huge meal, we spent a couple of hours walking the full loop of city walls. After that long walk (with a stroller) we earned a coffee break at the Perky Peacock, which is inside an older bridge tower. Then, off to the National Railway Museum! (Somewhere in here we went to the Yorkshire Museum..it lead much to be desired.)

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I am not typically interested in trains, but these trains were so very cool! We saw royal trains with complete designer bedrooms, living rooms, offices, kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms. Fancy overnight trains for very wealthy people. (Why can’t we all travel by train these days?), bullet trains, very old mail trains, enormous engines and so much more. Every single person told us that the museum was “must-do” in York, and I now agree.

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Our last night in York was topped off with one of their famous ghost tours. Yes, York is apparently the most haunted city in Europe. The tour was cheesier than I had hoped, and we froze our butts off, but whatevs, we did it. Next stop, Edinburgh!

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Cheers!

The Holiday Train Show

Husband and I have been attempting to get out to the New York Botanical Gardens for their annual Holiday Train show for weeks now. We finally made it out this past Sunday. We took the train…the real train, not the subway train, to the Bronx and found the Gardens to be raining and freezing. Boo. Not exactly cheerful weather, but the cappuccino’s in the café quickly warmed and cheered me up.

Grand Central Station...I love this place.
Grand Central Station…I love this place.
Making my way to train terminal...All Aboard!
Making my way to train terminal…All Aboard!
"Tickets!" I kept wishing Tom Hanks would check our tickets, and men would come dancing down the aisles while serving us hot chocolate.
“Tickets!” I kept wishing Tom Hanks would check our tickets, and men would come dancing down the aisles while serving us hot chocolate.

I honestly was not sure what to expect at the train show, and I can now honestly say it was phenomenal!!! It is is a wonderland of landmark replicas and over a quarter-mile of model train tracks. The whole show is inside, so it’s warm and dry. The staff is all dressed in train conductor costumes. The lines have interesting train facts posted every ten feet or so. And, I swear within the first ten minutes I heard two ten year old boys discussing their own ideas for building a train show, plus a grown man telling his little girl “It’s just so magical!” I agree; it is magical.

Just adorable
Just adorable
You learn something new everyday.
You learn something new everyday.
The Macy's building is a new addition to this year's show.
The Macy’s building is a new addition to this year’s show.

All of the replicas are made from only natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones. We had such a good time trying to guess every landmark without reading the labels.

Some of Manhattan's most iconic buildings.
Some of Manhattan’s most iconic buildings.
The 5th Avenue library, Penn Station, and the Brooklyn Bridge
The 5th Avenue library, Penn Station, and the Brooklyn Bridge

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Can you guess which museum this is?
Can you guess which museum this is?
Such much detail!
Such much detail!

The trains running throughout every scene are pretty cool too. There are late-1800’s American steam engines, modern freight trains, passenger trains, and trolleys chugging along the tracks and through each scene.

Central park
Central park
St Patrick's Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral

It was not perfect…the lines were long, and it was very crowded, but once we were in the midst of the show we did not care about anyone around us.

I truly loved this Holiday show and I know we will be returning next year. It’s just too good to miss! Big big thanks to the NYBG for sponsoring this post. If any of you are interested in seeing the show (you know you are) check here for tickets!

Cheers!