Having spent the greater part of my 20s traveling and eating my way across Europe it seemed as though when I started having kids that I exited one life and entered into another. Eight months pregnant, I sat on the couch lulling my 16 month old to sleep and watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. My desire and intrigue for his interesting life, so unlike mine, intensified and I wondered how I could make it my own.
Then it dawned on me I could.
Just because I have children doesn’t mean that life stops or that I should be playing some kind of “waiting game.” Waiting for my children get older to do things does not appeal to me. If it means modifying the journey to fit our needs as a family, I’ll take it.
My older son Daniel, who is almost three, loves trains and is extraordinarily curious. My little guy, Johnny who is 18 months, loves anything if it involves movement. To experience life as the adventure it should be and to feel comfortable with new experiences and new food, we create our own everyday adventures using the Long Island Railroad.
Our first stop is Hildebrandt’s, an old time ice cream parlor, restaurant and confectioner. The restaurant is a quick walk from the East Williston train station and a perfect distance to stretch your legs after the ride. Walk through its doors and be drawn into the past. The long shiny counter begs you to perch on its swiveling stools.
While the menu is varied, we recommend, if nothing else, their delicious ice cream shakes. The boys are able to sit at the counter and watch as their treats are prepared. The whirling drone of the mixer heightens their excitement of the inevitable joy that is to be placed in front of them. The happiness is visible as the vanilla cream is poured into their glasses. Much too large for one little boy, we all split one. The cool cream hits your lips and continues its journey into your core. For a moment, you are transported back to a time when everything seemed right in the world. Daniel and Johnny are quiet as they slurp. Quiet is a foreign word to us, but welcome; we know it is caused by happiness. It’s not often I can please both boys at the same time. I think i’ll hold onto this memory just as long as they will.
We polish off the shake, buy a lollipop for the trip back and made our way back to the station. We all enjoyed the moment and look forward to the next one.
Find out all the places Merrie’s jumped off the train for a bite with her kids here.