PVIS Spring Break Blog

By: allyson klabe

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Friday, 10-Apr-2009 18:53 Email | Share | | Bookmark
We're baaaaaack

Under the lights at the Today show
A breezy morning on the plaze
Waiting for breakfast
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Well, the fun has come to an end. However, we definitely packed in one last day of excitement.
It just wouldn’t have been normal if the kids had the chance to sleep in, so they were awaken by another early wake-up call. All rooms were checked, and when they were given the all clear, the kids brought their suitcases and things down to the lobby for the final loading of the bus. Somehow they all seemed to make it, although I was stuck waiting for an elevator for fifteen minutes. There was no way, however, that I was carrying The Beast down eleven flights of stairs.
Once I hopped on the bus, we were off a couple blocks up the road to the Today show. There was already quite a large crowd assembled. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was because there was no Al, but the crew barely came outside yesterday morning. When the cameras did roll, the kids tried to wave hands, signs, and Peavis. Did anyone see any Sea Kings? Stomachs were growling, so we left after about 45 minutes and walked to a café down the street. The kids filled themselves with a variety of choices. Shortly after we all ate, Dennis met us once again.
We continued our tour of NYC by heading to Central Park. Unlike last year, the weather cooperated. We took a stroll through one small section of the massive park (anyone remember how many acres?) Chad and Packy entertained us along the way with their country/rock/rap singing. We visited one of my favorite spots in the park, the Alice in Wonderland statue. This was for our last group shot of the trip. We also took a look at the homes that are along the park, and learned just how much one might cost.
Following Central Park, we reboarded the bus and went back to Rockefeller Center. Although we’d been around that area three times already, the kids hadn’t heard all that it includes. We also took a look at the annual ice rink that is set up, and the seasonal decorations. We also walked through St. Pat’s Cathedral, where a Good Friday mass was taking place. Even from our quick in-and-out visit, we were able to view the amazing architectural features of the church.
Back on the bus and over to Greenwich. We took a walk around the village and saw the old homes and apartment buildings. We even got to see the building where Friends lived. The kids had a chance to explore Bleeker Street, visiting the little coffee, pastry, gift, and record shops.
Shopping was definitely on their minds. We battled light traffic to get back to midtown. Once there, I set the parameters for lunch and the shopping adventure. While the chaperones visited the Magnolia Bakery for some of their famous cupcakes, the kids visited A&F (“OMG! It has 3 stories!”), the NBA store, Juicy, and, of course, H&M. When we met back up with the students at FAO Schwartz, they were laden with bags from all.
Darnell picked us back up one last time, and it was onto the airport. JetBlue once again was very speedy in getting us through check in. The kids had some time to grab a bite to eat for dinner, and then we loaded the plane. Most of them were knocked out for the ride…the business of the trip settling in. When we walked through the Baggage Claim doors, it was clear they were happy to be home. Thanks to all the families for the warm welcome back.
I hope they all had a blast! I think this trip is a wonderful experience for the kids. I look forward to hearing all their comments! Thanks so much for allowing them to come. I contemplated calling everyone early this morning, for old times’ sake, but slept right through it.
(A rested) Miss Klabe

Thursday, 9-Apr-2009 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
A New Yorker's View

On the ferry
Lady Liberty
A few more ladies
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Another early morning kicked off our first full day in NYC. We made a quick trip cross-town to our breakfast (and tonight’s dinner) spot, Planet Hollywood. It left a little to be desired. Dennis, our NYC guide, met us at the restaurant to begin our tour.
Another quick trip cross-town (Dennis taught everyone the NY lingo), and amazingly, we arrived to the Ellis Island ferry with no line. We quickly boarded the first boat and were off along the Hudson. The kids had a great view (and lots of photos) of the Statue of Liberty. We were joined by Ridgecrest on the boat. We debarked at Ellis Island. While there, Dennis gave us lots of information about the immigration process. The kids seemed pretty grossed out when he described the tool used to check for eye disease. We took a look at the wall of names to see if our last names matched. Just one Klabe. We gave the kids a bit of time to look through exhibits before we boarded the boat back to Manhattan, where the line was now unbelievably immense.
Next, it was off to lunch at the South Street Seaport, which had a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge. After eating, we regrouped and headed into the financial district. Everyone took a stroll on Wall Street. Austin was in all his glory at the NYSE.
From Wall Street (and around the block a couple times) we headed to Ground Zero where the kids could see the rebuilding of the area. They seemed to be in awe of what had happened in the spots they were standing.
We added in a little ethnic flare to our next stop…Little Italy and Chinatown. We walked down the streets of both, and stopped at Ferrera’s for some authentic Italian pastries and gelato.
It was then back on the bus and over to Grand Central Station. After looking at the impressive building, we used it as a cut through to our hotel, where we changed for dinner and the musical. The kids cleaned up nice, especially the boys.
We all regrouped in the lobby and took a stroll up the street to Times Square and Planet Hollywood once again. This time the restaurant was a bit livelier. And, then, it was on to the show. We walked the streets one more time to get to Shrek. Most seemed to enjoy the show, especially the farting and burping scene. Let’s just hope there’s no re-enactments on the bus/plane tomorrow.
Following the show, we made our way back to Times Square where we squeezed ourselves into the middle of the street for a classic group photo. Then, finally, back to the hotel.
The kids are busily packing their suitcases, as we have to say goodbye to NYC and our trip tomorrow. If all goes smoothly in the morning, they should get some quality shopping time in before we head to the airport.
Because I won’t have access to the computer, the final entry will get posted when we are back safe and sound in LA. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Long Beach. I know your kids will be too. And, I’m sure they’re in desperate need of a home cooked meal.
Until tomorrow…or Saturday…
(A tired) Miss Klabe

Thursday, 9-Apr-2009 04:24 Email | Share | | Bookmark
New York, New York

Camden Yards
Ms O and her fear
In the aquarium
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We let the kids sleep in this morning…to the late hour of 6:30. After dining on our last buffet breakfast in DC, we all returned to our rooms to pack up. There must have been some excitement in the air because the kids did this in record speed. The chaperones gave a check of the rooms, which were in pretty good shape, and everyone met back up to board the bus. We thought everyone had all their things…we were wrong. A couple didn’t give a thorough enough scour of their rooms and are without some personal items. But, spirits were still high as we headed to Baltimore.
Traffic was surprisingly smooth on the Beltway, so we got into the city a little ahead of schedule. We were able to stop at Camden Yards and get a semi-close view of the stadium. Most ventured into the gift shop to get out of the “cold” and look at some Oriels’ souvenirs.
By the time we pulled up to the National Aquarium we were able to enter a little early. The students had the chance to explore the sea’s creatures. Ms. O even stopped to pose for a picture with an octopus…sort of. We then went to the crowd-pleasing dolphin show, where a few of our front row spectators got a little wet. After regrouping, we took a walk around the Inner Harbor to grab some lunch. Most heeded our warning to avoid eating 3 pounds of fudge. Chad entertained us all with his newly developed Southern accent.
Once everyone was settled back on the bus, and another classic 80’s movie was popped in, we were on our way to NYC! Traffic moved well, and we made great time. The kids gave a little cheer when we passed through Delaware. It was smooth sailing until we hit the Lincoln Tunnel traffic. A second movie kept the kids occupied. We celebrated our entrance to New York by playing the traditional Frank Sinatra song, and annual PVIS tradition.
Bubba Gumps in Times Square was our first stop of the evening. They have a wonderful staff who didn’t seem to mind we were forty-five minutes late for our reservation. The themed restaurant offered a friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere. The servers complimented me on the wonderful behavior of the students. “We never get a group so respectful, kind, and appreciative.”
It was then onto 30 Rock. Everyone braved the elevator ride to the 67th story. Even Clair and Packy ventured onto the observation deck. Many pictures of the NYC skyline later, and a run-in with former PVIS (and Spring Break trip veteran) students, we took the elevator back down to ground level.
A quick trip around the block brought us to our new hotel. The students are all settled and taped in once again. With an early wake-up call, I only hope they’re tucked in bed.
Until tomorrow…
(A proud) Miss Klabe

Wednesday, 8-Apr-2009 03:24 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Our final day in DC

A piece of Gettysburg shrapnel
Not sure if this is what cannons were meant for
On top of the tower
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It was an early morning today, but the kids all made to breakfast on time. Once we got our things together and made our daily gift shop purchases, it was onto Gettysburg. It seemed that some were able to squeeze in some extra shut-eye on the bus.
When we arrived we were joined by our guide, Phil, who was full of energy for a chilly Tuesday morning. As Darnell maneuvered the streets of Gettysburg, Phil described the three-day battle that took place there. We were able to see the battlegrounds first-hand, and get a glimpse into that part of our American history. The students climbed to the top of a 75-foot observation tower built almost 150 years ago. In the wind. They explored both Little and Big Round Tops, rubbed Civil War cannons, and saw the hundreds of monuments erected on the historic site. Now, let’s just hope they took it all in to ace Mr. Barks’ and Mr. Wanmer’s Civil War exams!!
After exploring the battlefields and gift shop, we headed over to the Dobbin House for a home-cooked lunch. The ladies in authentic attire served up salads, sandwiches, soup, pasta, and, of course, desserts. With all that in our bellies, we went back on the bus and into the city. Who knew that a brief “snowstorm” would cause such excitement on the bus?
A couple hours and one classic 80’s movie later, we pulled up to the first Smithsonian of the afternoon. Our IMAX movie was in the Natural History Museum. Ms. O was a bit freaked out by the 3D octopus that appeared in front of her face (sorry, Ms. O), but hung in there with us. The students had some time to explore the exhibits, and then we met back outside in the cold to decide on our next stop…the American History Museum or the Air and Space Museum.
About two-thirds of the group chose the AHM, so Mrs. McMahon and Ms. O accompanied that group, while I took the others to the Air and Space. The ones that went to AHM were able to get a look at Dorthey’s shoes, Dumbo, and Julia Child’s kitchen, among the many other displays.
Many in my group decided to take a flight simulator ride when we got to the ASM. Since Andrew didn’t have a partner, I agreed to be his co-pilot. While his flying skills have a lot to desire, we couldn’t stop laughing as we flipped upside down over, and over, and over, and over again. I’m not sure whether he was trying to make me sick and have nickles fly at my head, or if he really doesn’t know land from water. (Maybe I don’t want to know the answer.) In any event, it was a blast…thanks, Andrew, for the laughs!
Once the two groups rejoined, we braved the heavy DC rush hour traffic on our way to dinner. Fuddruckers was slightly crowded, but we all were able to get some food in our stomachs. Because we did a little switching yesterday, our “night tour” changed a bit. We visited the Kennedy Center, where the students were able to see the Hall of States and the Hall of Nations featuring the flags from each state, and from each country that the US has diplomatic relations. We braved the winds once again to go out on the observation deck for a nighttime view of the city.
Our final stop of the day was the Iwo Jima US Marine Memorial. The students seemed to be getting a bit restless, so I made this a quick stop, then back to the hotel. After lecturing on proper packing and hotel clean-up techniques, they were sent to their rooms to begin the process. We’ll be sweeping the rooms in the morning to make sure that (hopefully) no items are left. A daunting task: 4 8th graders’ to a room x 9 rooms x 3 days worth of DC memorabilia. If we “forget” a couple of these hats or fifes, the chaperones won’t be too upset.
Our room is picked up and suitcases ready to zip up in the morning. I only hope the kids’ are.
Until tomorrow…
(A slightly dizzy) Miss Klabe

Tuesday, 7-Apr-2009 03:02 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Another day down

Just a little rain
The petting zoo
In front of the house
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Surprisingly, everyone was bright-eyed and ready to go this morning at breakfast. Looked like they all (chaperones included) got some quality sleep on the comfy beds. After getting some food in our stomachs, we jumped on the bus.
My brilliant plan of switching the day’s events to avoid the afternoon showers looked like a good one…until we pulled up to Mount Vernon. The skies opened and we got a bit wet. Those who followed the advice to bring jackets/ponchos/umbrellas were safe from the showers, but the others were a little soaked. They were troopers, and seemed to enjoy the sites. Chad was especially excited to be able to touch the same banister that Washington touched. We finished our tour with a visit to the grounds, including the Washington’s tombs and the farm animals. After seeing the kids so excited over baby lambs and roosters, I’m thinking I may need to add a petting zoo to the itinerary.
It was then back to the bus and on to Arlington National Cemetery. The sun came out as we hiked up to the gravesite of Audie Murphy to set the wreath. The group got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Kennedy gravesites, Challenger Memorial and USS Maine Memorial. Grace was lucky to be able to get a hug from Mom and Dad and her little bro, who all joined us for the rest of the Arlington tour.
After refueling at lunch, we headed to Capitol Hill. We got a first-hand view of where the inauguration took place, and just how massive it must have been. Unfortunately the timing and closures did not allow us to go into the visitor center, so we opted for a walking tour of the area. We made the loop around to see the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. We completed the trip around to meet back with Darnell.
Another change I made, we went over to the Jefferson and FDR Memorials. We were able to get a great view of the cherry blossoms along the tidal basin. From there we jumped back on the bus and went to the newly opened Pentagon Memorial. From there, we did a quick drive over to Ford's Theater and the Peterson House to view where Lincoln was killed and passed away.
Our last leg of the day was the Pentagon City Mall for dinner, and a little shopping for some. Parents, believe me, we’re trying to persuade your children not to get ripped off by purchasing DC caps and sunglasses. But, there must be something so tempting about them.
It was then back to the hotel, where we said goodbye to my mom (thanks, Mom, for helping so much…I love you!) Our “cleaning crew” for the day did the nightly bus sweep, and then it was up to bed. We just checked the rooms, and they’re all tucked and taped in. They are excited at the prospect of snow in Gettysburg tomorrow.
Until tomorrow…
(A now dried out) Miss Klabe

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