Christmas is my most favorite time of year. I truly believe there’s magic in the air, and it’s even more special now that we have Logan. I think one of the best parts of having kids is that you get to share in these moments and see that wonder through their eyes.
We’ve been swamped this week with moving and unpacking our new home, but we’ve made a ton of progress for only moving this past Sunday. We’re almost done! A major driving factor for me (besides not liking to see so much clutter) is that we’re getting our tree this weekend. And I’m like a kid waiting to go to the store and pick out a toy when it comes to having to wait to decorate, ha.
We kicked off the holiday season with a trip to the New York Botanical Garden to see its annual Holiday Train Show when we were in NYC over Thanksgiving for two weeks. It was our first time going to the show and I can honestly say everyone had a blast from the adults (Myles, Logan’s godparents David and Christina, and I) to Logan. If you’re like us and are Train Show newbies, you are in for a treat! Artist Paul Busse and his team have created 150 landmarks — such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral — all out of leaves, bark and other materials found in nature. And adding to the enchantment of it all, the model trains that zip through the entire display! Logan was hooked. I loved seeing his little face as he took in the sights, especially the trains. It was nice because he was able to get and up close look at almost all of the landmarks and trains. Some of the bridges were obviously a little too high for him, but he could see them from the ground.
We leisurely meandered through the exhibit, and reached the end after about 70 minutes or so. Then we headed over to the Children’s Garden to make a train puppet for Logan, since you know he’s more in the “eating the crayons” phase as opposed to using them to draw, ha. Auntie Tina and Uncle Dave demonstrated their artistic skills and created this masterpiece, which will be hung in Logan’s new room.
Other fun for families included Christmas carols (both old, new and alternative) sung by a cappella musicians and showings of holiday classics like the Polar Express, It’s a Wonderful Life and Home Alone.
We ended the visit at the recently opened Hudson Garden Grill, located on Garden grounds. This full-service eatery offers a delicious menu created with locally sourced produce and ingredients from Hudson Valley farms. We enjoyed the honey butter monkey bread, salmon with the most delicious Brussels sprouts and bacon, and slow braised beef short ribs, with a wild mushroom risotto. Beyond delicious! Oh, and Logan also had an order of the cheesy grits with wild mushrooms. He was too full though after all the bread, salmon, short ribs and risotto he ate, so momma and daddy helped him finish that dish.
This was an awesome afternoon spent with great friends, and an event I would love to make an annual tradition! (Side note: we plan to come to NYC every year for Christmas, because it really is a sight to see at this time of year — and I want our kids to experience it all!)
Some things to consider before attending:
2. Avoid crowds by going early. We had a 1pm reservation and it ended up being the perfect time, because it was after Logan’s nap and it wasn’t crowded at all! When we were exiting the display the number of people seemed to have tripled and it was much harder to maneuver out.
3. Transportation. We drove since it was easier coming from my parent’s house on Long Island, but Dave and Tina took the Metro North from NYC right to the Botanical Garden. And while you can’t bring your stroller into the exhibit, there is ample space for your kid’s ride just out front the entrance.
4. Dining. If you don’t feel like eating at The Pine Tree Café or Hudson Garden Grill, Arthur Ave, The Bronx’s Little Italy, is just a short walk away. Myles and I went to Fordham University (that’s where we met and we can attest to the deliciousness of eateries there). Some of our favorites include Zero Otto Nove — love the skirt steak entrée and the pizzas, especially the Nutella, Palombo Pastry Shop (can’t go wrong with any of their cookies and hot chocolate), and Tino’s Deli — the sandwich menu is extensive, and there’s a great hot selection of pastas and other Italian specials.