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Anniversaries in Manhattan

Author: Karin McKenna
Date of Trip: October 2007

For the past two years, we have really enjoyed celebrating our wedding anniversary in Manhattan, staying at B & B Lodges (Bubba and Bean) for several days, a lovely townhouse at 1598 Lexington Avenue. This was very easy to arrange over the internet through Bed and, as our hosts, Jonathan and Clement were prompt in answering our emails and worked with us to find suitable dates. What a great City in which to celebrate and the B&B Lodge makes it so simple.

This lodge is easy to find and convenient (just one block from the subway), and a short walk to Central Park. We come in from Long Island on the railroad and take the subway to within a block of the Lodge. Jonathan and Clement are great hosts, fun conversationalists and happy to give helpful information and maps. They do everything they can to make your visit pleasant and special. There are funky little Hispanic restaurants in the immediate neighborhood which are fun and have tasty, inexpensive food. There are also many food shops for snacks or groceries and some even serve breakfast.

Everything you could possibly need is provided in the lodge, which boasts private baths and a full, completely equipped kitchen in each unit. We have been greeted both times with a chilled bottle of wine and a great food basket with all kinds of fruit, munchies, coffee, tea, and informational brochures.

This would be a great place for a family to stay as you could save money by cooking your meals (even just one or two a day) in the Lodge. The room we had last had a king-size bed and two singles, which would accommodate a couple and two children, even teenagers, nicely.

Each time we stay, we enjoy the City to the fullest, visiting sights such as The Statue of Liberty (evacuated this time by a suspicious package), Museum Row, Ellis Island, the Bronx Zoo (although a ways, also easy to get to on the subway), South Street Seaport Museum, etc. This time we especially enjoyed the Metropolitan Museum of Art, returning for a second day when it became apparent we weren’t going to be able to see everything we wanted to the first day. I wonder how many days you would need to really see it all? We found it a nice combination to meet under the big clock and take several of the guided tours through specific areas and just to wander around on our own through others. There are handouts at the information desk telling you which areas will be guided at what times. The docents are excellent. One that we had for Egypt has spent the last 22 years in Egypt for three months on archaeological digs, and was especially knowledgeable; however, all were very helpful, answered questions and volunteered extra information. I would also like to give this little tip: Admission is not free; however, the amount is only recommended and, if you feel you can’t afford the full admission, you can volunteer an alternate amount.

On previous visits, we have spent several days at the Museum of Natural History, again finding that you need more than one day to see it all. Both Museums have facilities for eating or, you can leave, eat your lunch, and return. Just make sure you keep your tickets.

One of the nice things about visiting Ellis Island is that you can look up specific information about any ancestors you might have that entered through this gateway as immigrants. So, take those names, dates, and any other information that you have and you might find out some facts about your own family that you didn’t know. We were able to find out the dates and name of the ships that our ancestors arrived on and even print out pictures of the ships. We also got names of other relatives that came. There is a wealth of information there and the exhibits are very well done and worthwhile.

We always make it a point to go to Chinatown for a great lunch or dinner. It’s fun to walk through the stores there buying special treats you can’t find anywhere else such as real almond cookies, spiced fruits and candies, herbal medicines, etc. We were there once for Chinese New Year and loved watching the “dragons” dance through the streets, and listening to the firecrackers and drums. Just watching the faces and eyes of the children observing all of this was a treat.

There are so many restaurants in the City to enjoy a delicious meal. And, with the microwave and oven in the B&B Lodge, you can take a “doggie bag” home from the restaurant and pop your food in for a midnight snack. We also like to stop as we’re strolling during the afternoon for a scrumptious Smoothie.

Although this year we went in the Fall, our anniversary is actually in August, which can be miserably hot in the City. However, not to worry, the air conditioning at B&B Lodge works great. It’s also a quiet place to stay, which is important for us “senior citizens”. We need our beauty sleep.

Another plus for senior citizens is less expensive travel costs on the subways and buses. Just take your medicare card along and go to the subway booth and you will travel for half price. There are also special senior citizen admission prices for most of the museums and sightseeing in the City.

We arrived very early in the morning at the B&B Lodge and left our backpacks with them for the day until we could check in after our sightseeing. They gave us a key to use later when our room was ready and our bags were waiting for us in the room when we arrived. When we checked out the last day, we left our backpacks with them again and picked them up when we were finished touring the City and ready to go catch our train. What a convenience for the visitors.

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