Flowers? Done that! Spa gift certificate? Sent it! Agonizing over that perfect gift for Mother’s Day, which falls on May 13th this year? How about a getaway for some mother/daughter bonding?
My mom loves New York City. We used to visit together annually when I lived in the United States, so my mom was beyond excited when I asked if she wanted to meet me there for a quick getaway. “What are we going to do there?,” my mom wanted to know. “We’ve been there so many times!” I promised I would find us new and exciting things to do and here are my recommendations:
Have a proper afternoon tea. A timeless and elegant tradition, afternoon tea at The Plaza Hotel has made an appearance in many a “chick flick.” What girl wouldn’t want to get dressed in her afternoon finest à la Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars? So I booked a reservation for my mom and I and off we went to The Plaza where we were greeted with a glass of champagne. “To a fun weekend!,” I said as we clinked glasses.
There are four menu choices: The Classic, The New Yorker, Chocolate Tea, and Eloise Tea (perfect for little girls). I chose The Classic and my mom chose The New Yorker. White-gloved waiters elegantly poured our tea into bone China cups and our tea sandwiches, scones, and pastries were beautifully presented on three-tiered silver trays.
Everything was delicious; I split my Maine lobster with sturgeon caviar in half to share with my mom and we both agreed it was to die for! My mom loved the chocolate cupcake, fawning over the white chocolate chip adorned with the Plaza insignia on it. It was so fun pointing out all the little details to each other!
Indulge in some retail therapy. Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Bvlgari… 5th Avenue is the ultimate shopping mecca! Pop into the shops and ogle the season’s latest fashions. Afraid of being able to resist whipping out the credit card for that amazing pair of shoes? 5th Avenue also makes for great people-watching; its sidewalks are like a catwalk of New York’s trendiest.
Relax at a spa. Manhattan should be called Spahattan – there’s practically a spa on every block! We were lucky we happened to visit during Spa Week, where a long list of spas offer various treatments for just $50. (The next Spa Week is in October). One of our favorite spas is Bliss Spa; swing by for an excellent foot rub to soothe your aching soles after all that retail therapy.
Get a new perspective on NYC on the High Line. The High Line is a relatively new public park on Manhattan’s West Side running from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street. The park is built on the historic freight rail line elevated above the streets giving you a unique perspective over Manhattan’s streets – literally. The High Line crosses right over the top of some of NYC’s busiest streets and you can take a front row street to watch all those yellow cabs zoom by.
If your mom loves gardening like mine does, download the Monthly Bloom Guide and challenge your mom to see how many blooms she can name! Also, keep an eye out for the miniature sculptures in unusual places all along the High Line. These are part of the Lilliput exhibition, which opened on April 19th and will remain on view through April 13, 2013.
Explore Chelsea Market. If you walk the High Line “backward” starting at 34th Street like we did, you’ll end just a few blocks from the famous Chelsea Market. Built in the former National Biscuit Company factory complex where the Oreo was invented and produced, Chelsea Market is an urban food court with every kind of food under the sun. You’ll find artisanal cheese, bakeries selling intricately decorated cupcakes you almost don’t want to eat, and even a raw bar inside of the Lobster Place where you can try oysters on the half shell or have a lobster freshly steamed.
Bop around Bleecker Street. Bleecker Street is known for its cool cafes, eateries, and vintage shops selling everything from vintage frocks to vinyl records. If you spot the line of people wrapping around the corner, you’ve found Magnolia Bakery. All those people are queuing for NYC’s most famous cupcakes. If you’ve never tried one, you should – they are to die for! If you like tea – and want a remembrance of afternoon tea at The Plaza – pop into David’s Tea for loose leaf teas you can steep at home. You might even get lucky and see some of the awesome street musicians putting on a show.
Escape the City in Central Park. Remember how my mom loves gardening and flowers? When I spotted the beautiful tulips in bloom on my morning runs, I knew she’d enjoy a walk in the park. The Central Park Conservancy has made its inaugural Conservancy Bloom Guide available, making it easy to tour the park by bloom location.
Both animal lovers, I never feel too old to visit the zoo! The Central Park Zoo is a great way to spend a few hours. Our favorite exhibits were the penguins, the sea lion feeding, and the polar bear.
Brunch like a New Yorker. Where will you find New Yorkers on a Sunday morning? At brunch, of course! And Sarabeth’s knows brunch; it often finds itself on NYC’s best brunch lists. You’ll find a line out the door with people even braving the cold temps for a prime spot outside overlooking Central Park. The Farmer’s Omelet with a side of homemade pork and apricot sausage had me convinced just why Sarabeth’s has all those awards.
Find luxury at the Four Seasons. Sex and the City’s Mr. Big only would stay at the Four Seasons. There must be a reason Mr. Big preferred the Four Seasons and we wanted to find out! Our large deluxe city view room was more than enough space for my mom and me. We would meet downstairs in the spa after my morning run and relax in the whirlpool and sauna for a bit before heading out each day. When we were too tired to venture out one evening for dinner, we enjoyed relaxing by the fire in big cozy chairs and dining on TY Lounge’s special burgers: Ahi tuna with miso glaze for me and the special blend beef burger for my mom. Both were excellent.
I had promised my mom I would find us new things to do in NYC and she was not disappointed! We covered areas of Manhattan we had not previously been and discovered a whole new side of the Big Apple.