Happy Holidays!

After a busy few months, we are heading off to New York City for the Christmas week. We are staying six nights at Hotel Giraffe, chosen because of the good reviews on Slow Travel. It is close to Union Square, the area where we spent a lot of time in the late 90s when Steve was doing consulting in New York.

In the mid 80s, when we were living in the Berkshires, and the late 80s, when we were on the sheep farm in northern Pennsylvania, we did a lot of trips to New York City (to get away from the insanity of the Macrobiotic Institute where we were studying in the Berkshires and to relieve the boredom of the sheep farm). We stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel, back when it was rundown and inexpensive. I remember it being about $125 per night. I loved that hotel. Now it has been redone and is a luxury hotel by Ian Schrager. When I checked for this trip, the cheapest room was $500/night. Gramercy Park is the perfect location; a quiet residential square with a fenced park in the center (only residents have a key to the lock), but close to all the action of Union Square.

In the late 90s, when our hotel was paid for by Steve’s client, we stayed at the lovely Inn at Irving Place, a couple of blocks south of Gramercy Park. We spent about one week a month there for a year and a half. I was not working, so I went with Steve on these trips. This hotel is perfect. It is two three-storey town houses, making a 13 room hotel. Very luxurious, very homey. Since then we have stayed there a couple of times, but they started using scented candles throughout the hotel and Steve and I both are allergic to fragrances, so another great hotel gets crossed off our list.

On our last trip a couple of years ago, a Slow Travel moderators party, we all stayed up in the Theatre District at The Iroquois Hotel. This is a lovely hotel and our room was very comfortable, plus the location is central, but I like to be closer to Union Square.

Union Square has our favorite restaurants – Zen Palate, upscale vegetarian Chinese, and Souen, a very good Macrobiotic restaurant. Now there is a Whole Foods there too. The best Barnes and Noble bookstore in the world is on the square. You are only blocks away from ABC Home and Furnishings, a store like no other I have ever been in. In a few stops on the subway, you are in the Village or Soho. Plus, since we have spent so much time there, everything has that nice familiar feeling for me.

On this trip we are going to see lots of friends from the Slow Travel community, have some nice meals out, do some shopping, lots of walking, see the play Spamalot, and go to the Thursday lunchtime Slow Travel GTG!

Meanwhile, we leave behind a perfect white Christmas scene in Santa Fe. We got a foot of snow on Wednesday.

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Happy Holidays everyone!!

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.