Being a Tourist

Jane/Susannah/Sadie here, wishing I had a clone … 

Not to worry, Wicked People. The bloggers here have not switched from cozy mystery to sci-fi, LOL! I’ve just been super busy.

But not too busy to take a few days with my husband and son, who was home on break, to go to New York City recently. Despite the fact that I only live a couple of hours from the city, when I want an urban experience I usually go to Boston. But New York is fun too–and it’s full of the exact kind of touristy stuff I lo-o-o-ve to do. So what are some of the things we packed into our 4 days?

The Statue of Liberty, of course. We weren’t able to get pedestal or crown tickets (tip: request them WAY in advance), but just walking around the island and listening to the audio tour was incredibly inspiring. Looking up at that green goddess, and really thinking about what she means, and seeing a whole lot of other people from a whole lot of different countries sharing my awe with respect and peace–well, the experience brought tears to my eyes. Not to get too political here, but seeing Lady Liberty up close gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, everything isn’t too broken.


Another stop on the trip? The Empire State Building. It took a long time to get through the ticket line, and then a long time to get through the security line (seriously–it’s like going through airport security. It was the same at the Statue of Liberty), but the view from the top, both from the enclosed 86th and open 102nd floors, was worth the wait! We were there on St. Patrick’s Day, hence the beautiful green lighting. Observant sleuths will note that this photo could not have been taken from the Empire State Building, because it is of the Empire State Building. This is actually taken from the Top of the Rock, the observation deck on top of Rockefeller Center. No celebrity sightings at the Rock, unfortunately.

And probably our favorite place? The Museum of Natural History. We spent about five hours there–we could easily have spent a few more, and if the new mummy exhibit had been open, we would have! Night at the Museum fans (secret confession time: I have a crush on Ben Stiller, but alas, no celebrities at the MNH either), these pictures are for you.

Museums and cultural attractions depend on our support–especially the small ones. I never, ever come away from a museum without at least one new creative idea, and it’s usually a lot more than that.

So…when was the last time you took in a tourist attraction? Or a museum near your home that you’ve never visited, or haven’t in a long time? Any places you can recommend?




24 Thoughts

  1. I confess I have never (yet) done that tour of NYC, Susannah! One of these days. And when our Sisters in Crime guest Nancy Martin posted a picture of the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, which she snuck a visit to while she was in Boston this weekend, I realized I hadn’t been there in decades, myself.

    I did spend some time at a great exhibit at, of all places, a rest stop off Rte 93 in New Hampshire. They have a HUGE mill wheel (like twenty feet tall) on exhibit with well-curated explanations of where it came from and how it worked. It’s fabulous!

    1. Edith, let me know if you want to go. I will gladly do it all again! There is a lovely little thing called an Explorer pass (most large cities have some version of it, including Boston) which allows you to see a certain number of top attractions at a discounted price. Have never made it to the Gardner but have always wanted to. And roadside attractions–don’t get me started. The quirkier, the better!

  2. Last summer we took an out-of-state cousin to the top of the Prudential Center in Boston (the views!) and for a ride on the Swan Boats (reliving childhood memories). Such fun!

  3. Although my grandmother lived in Manhattan for many years, and my sister and I used to visit, I joke that all I knew about the city was the big department stores and the museums. It was only as an adult that I had a chance to see the Statue of Liberty (as chaperone for daughter’s school field trip–we got to the head) and the Empire State Building (sister’s visit). My sister also dragged me to the House of Seven Gables last year, although I’ve spent nearly half my life in the greater Boston area. I saw Independence Hall in Philadelphia for the first time only because of visiting relatives. And most of what I’ve seen of Washington DC is due to my tireless Malice roommate Eve Sandstrom (JoAnna Carl). The Spy Museum there is fun, and Lincoln’s Summer White House, with its adjacent Civil War cemetery, is heartbreaking (don’t worry–I’d never heard of it either). I took myself to Monticello one year and it was amazing. So many wonderful places, so little time!

  4. My grandparents lived in Manhattan, too, Sheila, and I’ve seen all the department stores and museums (well, maybe not all the museums) and have returned many times to tourist and see shows as an adult. (Plus I lived and worked there for ten months in 2009.) But in all that, I have never been to the Statue of Liberty, which I have seen from every possible side and angle, except on the island.

    My husband and I are great tourists–everywhere but Boston. Everywhere we go, we say, “we should do this when we’re home,” but aside from visits to the Museum of Fine Arts, and even rarer ones to Fenway Park, we don’t. At least now having a grandchild, we’re reliving a child’s Boston–zoo, Children’s Museum, swan boats.

  5. Last week I spent a day with a friend at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Easy train ride down. For Women’s History Month, they had a great presentation of a historical “spoof” on Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance with a lecture about it. It was about Alice Paul and her work for Women’s Right to Vote. Great historical perspective and worked very well.

    1. I love to travel by train! I was at the National Constitution Center in Philly a couple of years ago. So interesting. Did you get a chance to stop at Reading Terminal Market? Best food in the city–and SO many choices.

      1. Goodness, I adore the Reading Terminal Market–everyone should stop there! I used to be able to walk there from work, and now every time I’m in the city I have to stop in, and usually come out with more than my suitcase will hold.

        I have at least been to the Tom Thumb Museum in my current hometown.

  6. Hi, Susannah. Sounds like you made good use of your NY visit. For me, the great thing about living in NY is that you never run out of interesting things to see and do. The hard thing is that even if you live here, getting there and back can eat up most of a day! I do play tourist as often as I can, though, and try to stack up events- dr appt in Manhattan and then a museum. With a quick lunch in between! The famous places are famous for good reasons, but I’m happy to share some less famous ones with anyone. And I loved Boston when I went to college in the area. ALL of the Freedom Trail. The Gardner. The Museum of Fine Arts where I had some class assignments. Concord! (Yes, I was always a history nerd)

    1. Triss, you are a girl after my own heart. I’m also a history nerd. We went to all the big attractions this time, but I’m planning to go back more often to see some of the less-famous places (cell phones with GPS make it super easy to get around now, and know which train to take, etc.).

  7. There are so many touristy things here in Southern CA I have never done. Heck, I have yet to go to the CA Mission that’s about 30 minutes from my front door. I keep thinking I need to change that, but yet I never do.

    1. Maybe you can run there, LOL! But seriously, I recommend taking a weekend morning or afternoon once in a while to explore your own surroundings. I always feel energized when I do, especially if I drag a friend or family member along with me 🙂

  8. I’m originally from NYC and oddly enough I didn’t take advantage of many of the attractions when we lived there. I guess I was just so used to them being there that I felt I could go whenever.
    We live in NC now and recently we visited the Carolina’s Aviation Museum where U.S. Airways flight 1549 from NY to Charlotte, NC is housed. That’s the one that the movie Sully with Tom Hanks is based on; the plane that landed in the Hudson River because it struck a flock of geese. That part of the exhibit was very interesting to see. I love museums and really try to support them. We are soon going to visit the African American cultural museum in DC. I’ve heard it’s fabulous!!

  9. Having lived in New England and now Pennsylvania, I’ve managed to see most of the things mentioned here, except in NYC I’ve only hit several museums. Having the wonderful reason to travel across the country to visit our daughter in AZ means the opportunity to stop at various things along the way. There are a lot of Indian ruins in AZ and there is Meteor Crater. I also loved the little, mostly unknown, tourist places in small towns along the way. There are a lot of really neat things to see if you keep an open mind about what is interesting.

  10. The last tourist attraction for me was the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. wonderful day with a dear friend, footloose and fancy free in Beantown for the day. What a fun post, Susannah! 🙂

  11. Looks like you had a great time in the city. The last place I went to and was a tourist was Florida. I really enjoyed the Tampa Zoo.

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