JenSop: The Singing Travel Pro!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

New York and Philly!

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That Thursday morning, we didn’t get on the road as early as we wanted.  I had a good amount of work to do for the caroling business, so I spent the morning doing that.

This particular day was the day we were heading into NYC!  Miloš had been getting excited for his first time there, so I couldn’t wait to show him some of the highlights.

Eventually in the afternoon, we got on the road.  NYC is not far from us – just over an hour and a half.  But for some reason, we hit some crazy traffic on the Jersey turnpike (in a spot I wasn’t used to hitting traffic in), and it made us get to our hotel later than usual.  Surprisingly, the wait at the Lincoln Tunnel wasn’t bad at all – go figure!

Approaching the city

Approaching the city

We were booked at the Herald Square Hotel, and the room was fine for us.  Very small, but with a pretty bed and a really nice bathroom actually.  The thing that wasn’t great?  No window.  At all.  Just a fake one.  It made the room feel incredibly stuffy and as a result, it had a bit of a smell – sort of like a weird chemical smell.

Our room at the Herald Square Hotel

Our room at the Herald Square Hotel

After getting settled in our room, we got freshened up and headed out to dinner.  One of my good friends (Rebecca) gave us some suggestions, and we headed to Les Halles Brasserie.  There was a slight wait, so we decided to hang out at the bar and have a drink. There was good music playing and there was a fun upbeat atmosphere to the place – we liked it.

Les Halles Brasserie

Les Halles Brasserie

Our food was excellent!  The highlights to me were the shrimp cocktail appetizer – where the shrimp themselves were mutant-ly large.  (HUGE!)  And I ordered a crepe for dessert.  I felt kind of bad, because our server had to bring out an entire cart to the table and make everything there.  It was quite involved actually.  But let me tell you, that crepe was freakin’ fantastic!  It was made with Grand Marnier, and they set it on fire just before serving it.  Fancy and YUMMY!

After dinner, I took Miloš up Broadway towards Times Square.  We were going to be meeting Rebecca later for a drink, but we had some time to kill before that.  I guess because I’ve been in NYC so much, I’m kind of used to seeing things like Times Square and all the buildings, etc.  But it was really cool to see Miloš see all of that stuff for the first time.  It definitely put a smile on my face.  🙂

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Miloš in Times Square

Miloš in Times Square

Miloš & Jen - Times Square

Miloš & Jen – Times Square

After that – we headed back in the opposite direction, got changed at the hotel, then met Rebecca at a bar near our hotel.  It was nice to visit with her, but she had had a very busy week and couldn’t stay out late at all.  She did tell us where to go to have a good late night on the town, though!

So first, we tried Pianos.  It’s a bar/club downtown.  We hung out by the bar for awhile on the first level.  The music started out pretty good, but ended up getting more and more hip hop and rap heavy (not our thing), so we headed upstairs to the 2nd level.  We had a drink at that bar and hung out a bit there.

Partying at Pianos

Partying at Pianos

They were playing more traditional club music up on this level, which was fine with me (not my fave, but I do really like dancing so it works for me in that kind of situation.)  But Miloš is not really into dancing to club music, so after our one drink up there, we decided to head out and find somewhere else.

We walked up the street a bit and wandered into a random bar that looked kind of cool.  It had sort of a rock kind of vibe and retro decor. At the time, we had no clue what the name of the bar was, but I ended up doing some research at a later date and found out the name of the place was Local 138.  We spent the whole rest of the night there.  It wasn’t crowded, but they were playing great music – lots of motown and rock.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and ended up leaving for our hotel closer to 3am.

Rocking it out!

Rocking it out!

We crashed hard as soon as we got back to the room.

The next morning, we wandered all around the city some more, with another stop to Times Square, some excellent NY pizza for lunch, a trip up Broadway to Central Park, followed by a long walk down 5th Avenue.  The weather was pretty crappy – rainy and on the colder side.  But we had a great time nonetheless.  We headed out of the city a little before 4:00 to try to beat the traffic.

Here are some pics from the rest of the day!

Letterman!

Letterman!

Times Square

Times Square

IMG_2817

Central Park

Central Park

Trump Tower on 5th Ave.

Trump Tower on 5th Ave.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

New York City Public Library

New York City Public Library

After NYC, we headed straight to my sister’s house in Easton, PA for dinner.  My nieces loved that we were there to help them decorate the Christmas tree!  🙂

*******************

The next day was a Saturday and we headed to Philly.  We were going to be hitting the town that night for dinner and drinks with my cousin Rachel, and her fiance Dan.  (And fortunately, crashing for the night in their guest room.)  Before heading to their place in South Philly, we made a stop by the art museum, and I drove Miloš around Rittenhouse Square and along South Street.  We had a great dinner that night, and visited some fun bars, followed by an early morning diner meal after the night of drinking.  (‘Cause what else do you do when the bars close and you want somewhere to go?)

The next day, we headed out to get Miloš his first official Phillly cheesesteak sandwich.  (Went to Geno’s.)  Then we went to the Italian Market and got some super yummy cheeses at Di Bruno Bros.  They even had some Croatian cheese from Pag!

Next on the agenda was to sing a quick caroling gig for a charity house in the city.  We were contacted by a half-way house type place to see if we could send some singers to donate their time and voices to brighten the season for the residents.  Since I was going to be there already, I decided to do it, and two of my other singers also offered their time.  It was a really good experience.

Soon after, we left Philly and headed home.  (And had dinner at Red Lobster!  Yummy!)

Here are some pics from Philly…..

Miloš and Rocky!

Miloš and Rocky!

Philly art museum

Philly art museum

Philly art museum

Philly art museum

View from the top of the steps at the Philly art museum

View from the top of the steps at the Philly art museum

Foggy night in Philly

Foggy night in Philly

With my cousin Rachel at El Vez.

With my cousin Rachel at El Vez.

Hanging at the bar at El Vez

Hanging at the bar at El Vez

Finishing the night at Irish Pub

Finishing the night at Irish Pub

Philly cheesesteak time

Philly cheesesteak time

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And this year, I've started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm engaged to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

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