As I told you all earlier, Dusty organized a rather extravagant trip for us for my birthday. The trip actually took place a month and a half later, the weekend before Thanksgiving. The trip consisted of these extraordinary components:
1. Lauren, one of my best friends from college! We would be meeting her in Connecticut.
2. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on broadway, starring Daniel Radcliffe!
3. (A VERY last minute addition) Taylor Swift and NeedtoBreathe, at Madison Square Garden.
4. Miscellaneous and magical traveling adventures, including a tour of Greenwich, CT where Lauren had been living!
I can't quite explain my excitement. We love the Harry Potter series, which has become inseparable from Daniel Radcliffe as he is, now, the face of Harry Potter. And neither of us had seen Lauren since April, and NeedtoBreathe is my all-time favorite band, and New York is so fun, and Connecticut is beautiful, and the list could go on and on.
There was SO MUCH GREATNESS.
Too much, in fact, to document it all. So we're gonna hit the highlights. (but be prepared, there are a lot of highlights).
CONNECTICUT the wich of green.
We met Lauren at her church in Greenwich. It was a darling, friendly community of God-loving Baptists. :) It was wonderful to see where she had been encouraged and spiritually driven during her stay there. We got to see her in action, singing with the worship team. We also got to meet some of her dearest friends from her time in CT. It was such a gorgeous day!
We were also able to spend some time downtown on Greenwich avenue, which was really quaint (and very high-end!) and had some great shops and restaurants. Diane's Books was one of those quaint places.
Another super fun place was called Sweet Teez candy shop. We got some sour patch kids and swedish fish, as well as some AMAZING lavender ice cream.
We also got to go into a Tory Burch store (fancy!) and help Lauren pick out a few things, as she had gotten a wallet as a thank you/going away gift that she wanted to exchange. They gave Dusty an iPad to play with (what happens when high-end companies have a lot of bored men coming into the stores with their wives).
I think Two's Company was my favorite store we visited. Lauren had told me about it before, and it was really fun to be able to look around and see it in person! It was so beautiful. I wanted everything in there.
So, we set our eyes on their vast ornament collection, and decided to get a souvenir ornament from Two's Company!
We had a great amount of fun walking around Greenwich Ave. It was such a beautiful day, and there were so many little shops and places to see.
Lastly, Lauren took us out to the Greenwich coast. We had gotten Starbucks, and had a great time walking down along the sand, and taking silly pictures.
How to Succeed in business without really trying.
The show was incredible. It's one of the wittiest and most entertaining shows I've ever seen. Dusty and I actually saw Vanguard perform this show when we visited there on choir tour in High School, so it was really fun to be reminded of why we loved it! Daniel Radcliffe actually did an amazing job. I was totally starstruck; being in the same room as Harry Potter was WEIRD!
I smile just thinking about it, because I'm pretty sure I didn't stop smiling the entire time. I think a few squeals came out without my conscious permission. It was SO much fun! I would highly recommend it. :)
TAYLOR SWIFT and NEEDTOBREATHE!!
We bought our tickets 3 days before the concert. Needless to say, our spirits were high -- and so were our seats! We were the very LAST seats, as high as you could go. We sat up against the stadium wall. But we were happy campers.
On a side note, I have a t shirt for every concert Dusty and I have been together since getting engaged.
NeedtoBreathe was fantastic. Their new CD is my favorite yet -- they keep getting better and better. If you haven't heard them yet, here are some top songs that you should start with! (from newest CD to oldest CD).
1. Wanted Man
2. The Reckoning
3. A Place Only You Can Go
4. Won't Turn Back
5. Something Beautiful
6. The Garden
7. More Time
8. Don't Leave Just Yet
It was so exciting to hear them live. We had seen them once before for my birthday last year, when they were touring with Train. It was an amazing concert, but it was outdoors, and traffic was so bad that we missed the first part of them playing. It's my goal to meet them one day. I love their music, and it was SO fun to see them again. The best news we got (as we drove back to Lynchburg from New York) was that they'll be coming to play at Liberty in April!!!
Now for Taylor...
The noise alone was mind-blowing -- I suppose that's what happens when you're surrounded by thousands of pre-teen girls. It was AMAZING. And a little ear-splitting. But we had such a blast! She had such a great show put together.
Our guest star was Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls! They played Iris together, which was incredible.
It was pretty incredible. She did a great job, and we all had so much fun! The voices of so many people singing along was record breaking, I'm sure. It was definitely worth it, bad seats and all. It was quite the enchanting evening.
FOOD the most important overview of all.
We had so much good food, in both NY and Greenwich. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
In Connecticut: (Lauren was able to take us to some of her favorite places!)
My Favorite Place! (this title created a maze of confusion, as she was trying to decide where she wanted to take us.)
Lauren: I could take you guys to this really great place, that I love. Or I could take you to My Favorite Place, they were featured on the food network channel! Oh, or there's this other place that I've gone to a lot, they have really great sandwiches and stuff.
Me: Well...why wouldn't you take us to your favorite place? Let's go there!
Lauren: They're all good though, I dunno if I have a favorite. Should we go to My Favorite Place?
Me: Yes! Which place is your favorite?
Lauren: I dunno. But My Favorite Place is pretty good, let's just go there, you guys will like it.
Me: (extremely confused expression as we get into the car).
Everything fell into place when we pulled up.
New York City!
The opportunities for food in NY are pretty insane. We went for the standard, must-haves.
HOT DOGS! ...it was a big deal.
McGee's Pub! (the pub that MacLaren's is based on, from How I Met Your Mother!)
This was pretty exciting, as Dusty and I have declared HIMYM to be the best show since Friends.
The Shake Shack!
This was a pretty fun night, as after the Taylor Swift concert we got in contact with our friend Kenton from college who was now a photographer in New York! We figured out a place to meet, and ended up at the Shake Shack, near Times Square.
In case you're wondering, there is another Shake Shack in New York, that is featured in the movie Something Borrowed. So we were excited just for that, too. :) tourists to the core.
We had the BEST time. It was the perfect trip. We had some other miscellaneous stories...
The Worst Starbucks in the World.
So Dusty (being the man that I married, a.k.a awesome) risked missing the train to run back and tell them that they were awful, and that we needed new ones.
Meanwhile, Lauren and I waited anxiously in Grand Central, and we began to bond with the foreign train lady who worked at that gate. We began to go into all of the flaws of men, and she tells us that she packed up one night and left her husband without a word. I can't tell you how hilarious this encounter was. When Dusty got back (with minutes to spare), she hugged us goodbye, and we parted as friends.
Oh -- and the coffees he brought back? Just as bad.
At one point, as we were getting ready to cross the street, Rufus Wainwright came next to us. He was on the phone, and I don't even have a picture or an autograph to show for it -- but he was there, within reaching distance. I was SO EXCITED. I freaked out a little bit. It was a good moment. And I feel even more excited about it, because no one but me knows with absolute certainty that it was him -- and I didn't bother him, either. Just admired from afar.
So, that was the trip.
We got back to our hotel in Connecticut around 3am, after the concert. We were so exhausted. We were leaving to take Lauren to the airport at around 4:30am....so I slept for about an hour or so, while Lauren got ready to go. It was the most insane night ever. Less sleep than I even had in college!
But again, worth it.
After taking Lauren to the airport, I couldn't drive another foot. I was going to die. So, we pulled over in a Wal-Mart parking lot and slept for three hours. Not exactly the most refreshing of naps, but it did the trick! We went through a Dunkin' Donuts drive thru, and made our way back to Lynchburg. Sigh.
It rained the whole time -- and we just talked about what an amazing experience we just had. :)