The holiday season is a wonderful time of year filled with anticipation for Christmas and the traditions that come with it. As we progress in our second year of marriage, we have had the pleasure of sharing our holiday traditions with each other and creating new memories as a family together. For 2017, we decided that shopping for Christmas presents was not something that we really wanted to do. With Derek traveling all year for work with not much time off, what we wanted most was just to spend some quality time with each other and a vacation was long overdue. After watching the movie “Christmas with the Kranks,” where a couple decides to forgo their exhausting holiday routines to get away on a cruise, we thought that nothing could be better than embarking on an adventure together.
With just days approaching Christmas, we looked at flights to various locations in the United States. We wanted to go somewhere that we had never gone together yet avoid the heavy snow that would come with mountains in the national parks of the northwest. We almost settled on the Florida Keys but finally decided to go with a trip to New York City and Philadelphia when Derek’s flight miles predicted round trip tickets for practically nothing. After our Aunt Jackie agreed to take care of Charlie for the ten-day vacation, we booked our tickets and set out on our travel plans.
Above: Charlie on the road to her holiday vacation house with Jackie.
Our itinerary included driving a rental car from South Bend to Chicago O’Hare where we flew to New York LaGuardia airport on December 22nd. We spent the next four days in NYC using hotel points at the Hampton Inn in Lower Manhatten Financial District and then drove a rental car to the Philadelphia International Airport on the day after Christmas. In Philly, we took an Uber into the city to our downtown Hilton Garden Inn where we had another six days to explore. On New Year’s Day, we took our return flight from Philadelphia to Chicago where we caught the Coach USA Bus from O’Hare to the South Bend airport that evening.
Above: A spontaneous musical performance with two strangers who sang Christmas Carols together in Chicago O’Hare Airport.
Above: Broadway and Fulton St, Lower Manhattan
Over the next several posts, the GameChangers will share photos and stories detailing the places we saw and the experiences we shared together. While we were able to see most of the tourist locations, we also found enjoyment in looking for things to do that were unique to our preferences. What we realized is that we really like to travel and that this journey won’t be the last of its kind. Looking ahead to the New Year, we will have to see what travels come our way for 2018.
Above: South Ferry Subway Station near our hotel in Lower Manhattan