Have you ever done a slightly unconventional side trip? One that makes people look at you a little bit funny? Well, I did when I went to New York in June. Let me tell you a bit about it.
During my six day trip to NYC, I decided to spend one of those days travelling up Long Island to a place called Riverhead.
There were a mixture of reasons for this, but to be honest the main one was shopping. The next was affordability. After my travel buddy Emma departed on day four, I didn’t want to stay in our AirBnB in the ghetto by myself. I just so happened to find a reasonably priced IHG hotel right next to a giant outlet shopping mall so it was basically a done deal. I thought by the end of a busy 4 days I’d be ready for a bit of R&R by a pool somewhere.
My goal was the Tanger Outlets Riverhead. I chose this particular outlet village because of size, cost to get there and store list. It’s got a mixture of high end as well as high street type stores, and it was the only one with a Bath & Body Works, Old Navy, or Express. I’m not really a designer label kinda gal so this was much more my speed.
I took the Hampton Jitney, a coach which picked me up from 106th street and Lexington, which handily happened to be a level 10 block walk from my AirBnB. After just under two hours on the road it dropped me off right outside the entrance to Tanger Outlets. On my way back, I got the hotel shuttle to the new pickup stop at Calverton where the Jitney picked me up, and got off at the first Manhattan stop at 39th street.
To be honest, another draw to taking this trip was getting to go on the Jitney – another Sex and the City reference (name that episode, fellow fans).
The whole Jitney experience was overwhelmingly positive (except for one thing, see below) and I’m going to be writing more about that soon.
So… What happened?
This wouldn’t be a Rachel adventure without some sort of minor injury, right?
This is me attempting to ice my leg using my cool-ish water bottle and my jumper as a tourniquet after a Jitney armrest connected forcefully with my leg. Note to self: don’t try and walk around moving coaches.
Just as a point of interest for people who are as fascinated by giant bruises as I am, here’s the result of this particular escapade.
On with the story.
After arrival at the outlets at about 4pm, I walked through the entire car park (which was huge) to try and drop my suitcases off at my hotel. From looking at Google Maps, I assumed that there would be some way of walking through to my hotel from the outlets, as they are immediately adjacent. I couldn’t see anywhere obvious so I popped into shopper services to see if they could point me in the right direction.
Well, I ended up meeting two of the nicest ladies ever and I will be eternally grateful for their help. I spent almost half an hour in there, so to cut a long story short – there is no walkway between the hotel and the outlet centre. In fact, there isn’t even a pavement to the hotel. The very kind ladies not only lent me a phone to call the hotel to arrange a shuttle, but also let me store my suitcase in their office while I shopped. And gave me a discount booklet, which was free as I was Foreign. And they were so friendly!
Feeling much cheered by these nice ladies and relieved to have rid myself of my suitcases, I set off on my shopping adventure. The Tanger Outlets Riverhead shut at 9pm which gave me ample time to browse the >230 stores on this huge site. I’d never been to any shopping centre even half this big, so I was quite in awe of the whole experience. I’m not sure this map helps you with scale, but here we go anyway:
I spent my four hours well, and I did make a few purchases – but not as many as I was expecting, to be honest. There just wasn’t that much that I wanted. I also didn’t think stuff was that cheap, to be honest. I did manage to pick up the main things I came for though, including my new favourite possession: my Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling headphones. Thanks for the recommendation, Kerri! I got a refurbished pair at the Bose store and I love them.
I did buy some other stuff too, but I’m just not sure how interested people are in reading about that. Is that something you’d like to read? Or… not so much?
After shopping until I couldn’t look another stripy tee in the face, I caught up with my shuttle bus and my suitcase and drove around the corner to my hotel. Ridiculous. Anyway.
I stayed at the Hotel Indigo Long Island, which was nice enough but not as nice as the other Hotel Indigos I’ve stayed at. Mostly due to the staff, actually; they just weren’t that nice. Most unusual for a Hotel Indigo, I must say.
Still, my room was comfy and I basically watched trashy tv in bed and gloated over my purchases. There was a minor escapade in the morning due to my bathroom door managing to lock itself from the inside when I’d closed it from the outside the night before, meaning I couldn’t get into my bathroom when I woke up. That was a bit stressful as you can imagine, but I managed to MacGyver it open with the aid of the ice tongs and we all escaped unscathed.
The one thing I wish I’d done was go for a pre-breakfast swim in the pool; it looked lovely.
Those loungers look like the perfect place to sit and read a book, if you ask me.
Instead, I got back on the Jitney to continue my adventures in New York. More on that to come!
This whole Long Island Adventure sounds a bit strange, but I actually had a brilliant time. No, I didn’t buy a huge amount but I found it a valuable trip for other reasons instead.
I loved watching the changing landscape as we left Manhattan, drove through Queens, and out into the more rural areas of Long Island. It gave me a greater appreciation for the scale of New York City, the people who live there, and what life is like outside the bustling metropolis. I felt it was a more honest place than the city; none of the pretence, no glamorous veneer.
It gave me a chance to have a little breather, reflect on what I’d done so far, what I’d enjoyed and not enjoyed, and therefore what my plans for the last day and a half would be. My last precious hours in NYC wouldn’t have been half as good if I hadn’t had that space and time to plan in the hotel room in Riverhead.
I even enjoyed walking around the planted gardens they’ve got dotted around the site, clutching an ice-cold diet coke the size of my head, watching the sun set fiery orange over the pitched roofs. It was just such a contrast to the skyscrapers of earlier in the day (and ps my diet coke addiction is back with a vengeance).
I’m not sure it’s a trip I’d recommend to everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it and I’m glad I went. My left leg, less so…
Have you ever been on a slightly madcap adventure? Do share…