Wow,  here are were at Day 5.  Part of us wondered how we had made it and the other part wondered how the previous 4 days had gone by so fast.  The last day of vacation is always bittersweet.  We find that we are so thankful for the adventures, the quality time spent together and the new experiences that we shared.

On the other hand, we share feelings of gratefulness that we love our simple life together that we get to return home to... not to mention sweet Hopsen.  Ultimately, as each of our travels comes to an end - we realize just how blessed we are.  Blessed to have the opportunities to travel together and blessed that we've created a life together that we love going home to.   

Our alarm went off bright and early on our last day in New York City.  We had to make the most of it, and Jess had been waiting all week for the Today Show.  We packed everything up and checked our bags with the bellman to store while we were off on our morning adventure.  We are notorious for checking bags with the hotel when we arrive and leave on trips.  We like to maximize our time and make the most of it, without lugging our bags around.

When we were going through our list of questions talking with locals about the lighting of the tree, we were informed that the tree lights stay on once they are on.  This meant that even if we didn't get to see them the night they were lit, we'd still had the opportunity to see it all lit up the following day.  We however, wanted to make sure that we saw them when it was still dark out... so waking up early for the Today Show was the perfect excuse.

Jess loves the Today Show.  It's part of her daily routine and she's waited patiently for the day to visit in person.  Being a former tv news reporter,  Dave loves broadcast journalism and seeing it on one of its biggest stages was something that he was looking forward to.  We did our research on tips for visiting Today and made sure to RSVP online beforehand.  This prevents you from having to do it the morning of and once through security, you're able to go right through.

The live show starts at 7 a.m., but Today suggests getting in line by 6:30.  We showed up around 6 and there was already a decent line.  The thing is, the earlier you are there - the better spot you will get during the show.  The crowd depends on the day of week and any special guests the show might be having.  Mondays and Fridays are typically busier days.  It's a live show which is fun... anything can happen. 

Another tip we found when searching details of visiting the show was to follow Alex on Twitter (@AlexonthePlaza).  He’s the guide to the plaza and shares the inside scoop.  He has an awesome job, and the personality for it.  Alex was great at greeting people, making guests feel welcome and even offered to take our picture.  

One of the best parts of the morning was Jess getting to shake Al Roker's hand.  He was so friendly and came out early to greet everyone on the plaza.  He started at one end and worked his way down the crowd.  Thank you Al for making us feel special in your neck of the woods.  

We visited on the day before Savannah Guthrie's last day (Friday) before leaving on maternity leave.  It was fun to get to see all of the anchors in person.  Al is shorter than we pictured and Savannah is much taller... and the woman totally rocks her heels while being pregnant.  Jess was a little star struck from seeing all of her morning friends in person.  We also go to see Charlie, Today's Puppy with a Purpose.  It was a great morning.  We both really enjoyed the entire experience.  It was neat to see the magic behind what Jessica watches every morning.  

Although Dave enjoyed the morning, he thinks once you've seen it... you've seen it.  Jess on the other hand, would wake up early every morning to see the show live if she could.  After most of the show took place, we left for one final walk around Rockefeller.  We took in our last sights of the tree along with the elaborate window displays down Fifth Avenue.

We had one last chance to grab a coffee from a local spot in New York, which was much needed after our early morning and travels ahead.  We wanted to take a couple of things back with us, so we headed back to the Food Hall at the Plaza.  Jess grabbed a latte from Épicerie Boulud while Dave stocked up on some items from a bakery to take home.  Épicerie Boulud is Chef Daniel Boulud's eat-in and take-out café, yet another unique place in the Plaza with superb options. 

We walked through the park and talked about how much we had enjoyed this trip.  We couldn't get enough of Central Park, it was stunning.  The best thing about a vacation during the holiday season is that you still have the excitement of the holiday to look forward to once arriving home.  Our time was coming to an end and we were trying to soak in every last second.  

There was only one more thing on our must do list before leaving New York... lunch at Carnegie Deli.  This was special not only for the fact of appreciating the history, but while planning our trip to NYC earlier in the year we learned that Carnegie Deli would be closing on December 30, 2016.  This would in fact be our once in a lifetime opportunity to visit.

Carnegie Deli is a special place, and one that has carried a lot of tradition with it along the way.  We had a great server who had been there for 13 years, someone who you could tell was sad to see this chapter coming to an end.  Dave loved this experience... so much meat.  The food was much more Dave's style, and he loved it all.

It was one of those places that we wanted to see, and learning that it would only be there for one more month made it even sweeter.  We both enjoyed being able to take in some of its history.  Oh, if walls could talk.

Our hotel was just across the street and we had planned on grabbing our bags and then departing from the hotel for the airport following lunch.  This worked out perfectly.  We really felt like we were able to maximize the time that we had before leaving.

We paid a $50 flat fee for a cab to take us to the airport.  The ride included terrible traffic around Trump Tower, diving through barriers in a tunnel to pass other vehicles and a cab driver that we weren't sure could read speed limit signs.  Upon arriving at the airport, Dave asked Jess if she was okay... Neither of us could really believe the ride we had just ventured - did he really drive over those barriers in the tunnel?

We survived.  We made it back to LaGuardia with plenty of time to spare.  We never like to cut it close at the airport.  New York City in 5 days at Christmas was an experience.  We look back and still don't know how we fit so much in.

We wanted to see, do and taste it all... and we did a pretty good job.  We have memories that will last a lifetime and a list of things we want to do when we go back someday.  Thank you, New York for sharing your magic with us.  Together in New York at Christmas was such a dream.

And... We made it on the TODAY show! 

And, yes.
We did stop at Hooters for dinner outside of Nashville on our way home from the airport.

To see more posts about our trip to New York City at Christmas, see below...
Even though it seemed a little unofficial, go ahead and RSVP for the Today Show online.  It helps you move through the line quicker the morning of your visit.  Don't waste your time making a sign.

If you are really wanting the full experience, get there early!  Even if it's just a normal show (without any concert or special event), the line backs up early.  The earlier you arrive, the closer you will be. 

You might be able to get a little closer if you don't mind standing behind people, but we preferred to be right in front which is what we would recommend to anyone going.

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