We decided to stay in Parsippany, NJ and take the train into the City for the two days we had to sightsee. The first day was all on our own. The second day, we would be meeting at Chatham Imports before going to lunch with Joe and Connie.
The train ride into the City reminded us of the Polar Express, when the conductor came down the aisle to punch our tickets. We looked to see if he punched any words in them, but he didn’t. Our train destination was Penn Station, which is under ground. When we rode the escalator up to street level the first time, we were all breathless. The view was absolutely incredible. We were in New York City. On Fashion Avenue. Blocks from Broadway and Times Square. Un-be-liev-able!
We pretty much walked everywhere the first day. We ate at a McDonald’s that has appeared on Travel Channel shows, walked past the theater where we would be seeing Mary Poppins the following night, and walked into Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum to purchase tickets for our sightseeing bus tour. We figured the bus tour would be a good bet, since we could get a feel for the city without wearing Anna out. Unfortunately, their dry spell ended that day. We were given rain ponchos to wear while we were on the top level of the bus, but it was raining much too hard for them to keep us dry. Jon and I ended up sitting below, where the windows were fogged over, and there was little ventilation. Me, being claustrophobic, thought I was going to die. Every time the bus slowed down for a stop, water cascaded down the steps from the upper deck into the lower level. We eventually got off at a stop without knowing exactly where we were. We were just about to call a cab, when another bus pulled up that had a plastic cover over the front of the upper seats. It was the Brooklyn tour. The rain showers had let up by this point, so we jumped on and had a great tour of Brooklyn. When the tour was finished, we walked back to Penn Station to catch the train to our hotel. We would have to be on the ball the next morning so we wouldn’t be late for our meeting.
The weather was definitely better the following day, although trains were running late through the tunnel between New Jersey and New York due to flooding from the deluge the day before. We had to hurry from Penn Station to Chatham’s in order to get there in time. Thanks to the GPS on my Smartphone, we made it.
The office itself was pretty small, but everyone was very friendly. The secretary is originally from Iowa, and made us feel very welcome the way Midwesterners do. Connie brought us into the conference room, where Joe joined us a short time later. They asked the girls a ton of questions, just getting to know them, and making sure they were experiencing the City the way they were hoping to.
After hearing more about their company, Jonathan and I were invited to have a sampling of the vodka made from our corn. Chatham’s markets three flavors of organic vodka under the Crop label – plain, tomato, and cucumber. We learned the proper way to taste test without getting intoxicated before lunch. 🙂 It amazed me how the tomato and cucumber vodkas tasted just like fresh from the vine produce. We next tasted their organic gin, which is marketed under the Farmers Gin label. I had never tasted gin before, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The taste of juniper was very pronounced, but when we did the “spit” part of the taste test, the flavor of lemon filled my mouth. For fun, we were given tastes of Joe’s favorite Biscotti liqueur, which tasted just like the cookie. We chatted for a few more minutes, then we were off to lunch.
The girls in their rain ponchos before hopping on the bus