Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Italian American workers quietly began a New York City tradition on Christmas Eve 1931 when they decorated a tree on the construction site of Rockefeller Center. The twenty foot tall balsam fir was adorned with strings of cranberries and paper garlands made by their families. It was here on a cold Depression era night that they lined up to collect their paychecks.

Little did they know that this act of cheer would inspire generations of travelers like myself to make the pilgrimage to the city for a glimpse of what is now a landmark.

The first official tree went up two years later and an ice skating rink opened in 1936. This year’s tree is an 82 foot tall Norway Spruce from Queensbury, New York. It positively glows under 50,000 LED lights and a Swarovski crystal tree topper.

The trees are always handpicked and come from all over the country. Trucks, cranes and scaffolding are required to transport, place and decorate the annual tree which is dedicated with an official lighting ceremony the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

Seeing the holiday decorations was the main point of going to New York at Christmas and this iconic tree didn’t disappoint. However, I would note that going on a Saturday in December wasn’t ideal because there was an absolute crush of people in all directions through the touristy areas like Rockefeller Center.

I’m not a big fan of crowds but this was one of those “when in Rome” moments where I tried to just appreciate the experience for what it was. We would have loved a closer view but it really didn’t seem worth fighting the crowds for a different angle.

They estimate that 125 million people visit each year and it felt like about 25 million of them were there Saturday night.

I wondered later what it would be like really late at night or just before sunrise. Is it just as bad? I can’t help but wonder what it would be like in Rockefeller Center at daybreak.

Perhaps another time.

Meanwhile, I’ll be grateful to those construction workers some 91 years ago for thinking to brighten their worksite with a beacon of hope and holiday cheer.

A Christmas Whirlwind In New York City

Seeing New York City at Christmas has been on my bucket list since I was a kid, first seeing the Rockefeller Center tree on tv. When I mentioned that to my Pittsburgh pal Nichola earlier this year she said “let’s do it.”

Everyone needs that friend who makes adventuring a priority.

It was a whirlwind involving Nichola, her mama Patty, her college aged son and his girlfriend.

We hit the highlights but the list of wants that we didn’t touch was a mile long. Rest assured we are already talking about a sequel trip in warmer weather.

That’s the thing about a place like New York. There is so much to see in the way of iconic landmarks that it’s hard to get to all the cool off the beaten path stuff. Plus, there’s always something new to see

It would be amazing to spend time wandering neighborhoods and seeing what’s what.

Another time.

For now, I am home with lots of memories and stories to share with you. I also have a burning desire to sleep for a hundred years since rest wasn’t really a priority. Plus, I ate very little that was good for me so I was stoked to come home and make a veggie omelette and sautéed zucchini for dinner.

So check back for more on the holiday stuff, the observation tower we chose, lots of random pictures and many thoughts from a country mouse who had a fantastic time in the big city.

Plus, I have photos from the Phipps Christmas display in Pittsburgh and from the Christmas fun in Cambridge, Ohio. I’ll squeeze it all in soon!

Cork ‘N Bottle

The Cork ‘N Bottle is on the main drag in Cortez, Colorado. I couldn’t tell you a thing about the building but the sign is amazing.

My western adventure pal is a good friend. She understood the cue when she heard me gasp, slamming on the brakes for a quick picture.

Isn’t it fabulous?

Shiprock Bridge

Dramatic, isn’t it? We crossed this bridge on our way into Shiprock on our Colorado/ Four Corners adventure. All those straight lines make me much happier than is probably normal.

What small thing makes you happier than most people would understand or appreciate?

This Day

“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.” – Sarah Addison Allen

We are expecting rain here in southern Ohio today. I intend to use this day for rest and some much needed catch up work around the house. If I play my cards right, I’ll make time to cook something tasty and nutritious for this week’s lunches as well.

Not every day can be for adventures. Sometimes we have to stay home and recover – or better yet – prepare for what’s ahead! Enjoy this day, friends!

Alley View

Viewing a street from an adjacent alley is one of my favorite things to do. This alley runs behind the Hotel Millersburg in Millersburg, Ohio. This quaint town is the county seat of Holmes County in the heart of Amish Country.

I enjoyed this small town with its antique stores, tree lined streets and interesting old buildings. In the above picture you get a partial view of the Holmes County Courthouse, the crown jewel of the downtown.

It was built in 1880 and is grand. Here’s another view.

The clock tower is great

As much as I enjoy seeing the entire building, I like that alley view a lot. It’s just a glimpse but enough to make you want to see more. That’s the thing about adventuring – it gives you a peek of what’s out there and a reason to go explore!