Author Topic: I'm coming to America in 2012.  (Read 4375 times)

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Fluffy Cat

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2011, 07:23:13 PM »
3. Fly to Boston, then train to Salem.

Halloween in Salem - probably just the one night.  I realise accomodation will need to be booked EARLY.  No plans to stay in Boston, its just a changeover point.  Am I wrong?  Should I stop in for anything?


I'm going to miss you  :( but I'd say you're better off skipping Boston with your schedule.  Halloween in Salem should be a blast and its usually obnoxiously chilly in Boston at Halloween.  Now, if you want to come back in the springtime, let me know!
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Alida

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2011, 09:13:41 PM »
Ambitious trip! Sounds like a fun one!

I'm not sure you can get something in NYC for 200 - 250 a night that will be central for walking. Would you be comfortable taking the subway to get from place to place?


MMA is good, but it depends on what is in the gallery. I've spent hours there, and I've also left quickly (yeah, little kids sounding out foul swear words from their strollers? That was the year I stumbled into the tiny room full of Mapplethorpe pictures).

Sure, assuming the subway is easy to navigate. 
I'm very comfortable with public transport/trains in Sydney so don't see why it would be vastly more terrifying in NY (unless you all know something I don't??)

LOL! No, it's not at all terrifying, but I know people who, for some reason, think it's the scariest place on earth. Forget that school children navigate it quite happily every day (and at 5, my daughter knew the stops she needed like the back of her hand).

November is a great time to visit.

Alida

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2011, 09:14:46 PM »
The official White House page says you have to talk to your embassy in Washington, D.C. for the process.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

Yes - the extract I quoted above is from the Australian embassy website.  Its bluntly says it won't help.

That is just not cool :(

Maujer

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2011, 02:08:04 PM »
If you're looking for an affordable place to stay in NY, I'd look into the Pod Hotel (they have a few different options), The Jane (some rooms have shared bathrooms but it's a great area and rooms start at around $125), and the Holiday Inn Express on Union Street in Brooklyn (my parents stayed here twice while visiting me, neighborhood looks interesting in parts but it's not that bad).

nutraxfornerves

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2011, 02:28:45 PM »
San Francisco to Las Vegas is actually more like 9-10 hours, without any stops. 

I'd suggest going to Vegas via Yosemite National Park. There is a big caveat here. Look at this map. See the number 120 under the words "Yosemite National Park"? That is Tioga Pass, a road through the park that closes for the winter after the first big snows. It rarely closes before late October, but it may happen sooner. If the road is open, it would be about 6-7 hours to Las Vegas. If the road is closed, yo are back to 8-10 hours.

I forgot to note: Yosemite is about 4 hours from SF. You want to spend at least one night there, staying in the park itself, to really appreciate it. Lodging does book up so you should make reservations well in advance. I am going there next week. I made reservations last April and was unable to get my preferred dates. Lodging can be booked a year in advance.

Another good option would be to fly from SF to Vegas. Look at flights from Oakland as well--closer to Fremont & may or may not be cheaper.

The night tour of Alcatraz is pretty special.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 02:34:01 PM by nutraxfornerves »

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nutraxfornerves

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2011, 06:56:34 PM »
Another thing I forgot. You do not need a car in SF. In fact, it can be pretty cumbersome and expensive. Last time I was there--about 4 months ago--it cost us $45 per day to park at the hotel.  The city is compact & walkable. There is good transit & lots of taxis. (I usually have a car because I live close enough that the way to get there is to drive.)

You can get to Fremont by transit-- ask your relatives if they will pick you up at a station.

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wyozozo

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2011, 07:02:43 PM »
So depressed right now:

Quote
While the White House reopened to tours in 2005, visitors must commence security clearance procedures weeks in advance of a visit, with no guarantee that the visit will be approved.  This process is particularly complex and time-consuming for non-US citizens.  Unfortunately, the Embassy of Australia is not able to support this process for the large number of Australians who visit Washington every year.

Anyone know how I might be able to apply for a tour myself?  I know the odds of getting one are low - but they're lower if I don't apply!
I have done the White House tour and can actually say I wasn't that impressed. It was a lot of waiting in line for a not so exciting tour. So don't be too depressed.

One thing I will recommend for DC is the hop on/off tour buses. I learned a lot about our govt. and the city by riding one of those.



Winterlight

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2011, 01:03:36 PM »
For NYC hotels, I'd recommend the Gershwin- I stayed there this summer and it's clean, quiet and not hideously expensive. It's also right in Midtown and near subway lines.

 

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The703

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2011, 09:08:04 AM »
So depressed right now:

Quote
While the White House reopened to tours in 2005, visitors must commence security clearance procedures weeks in advance of a visit, with no guarantee that the visit will be approved.  This process is particularly complex and time-consuming for non-US citizens.  Unfortunately, the Embassy of Australia is not able to support this process for the large number of Australians who visit Washington every year.

Anyone know how I might be able to apply for a tour myself?  I know the odds of getting one are low - but they're lower if I don't apply!
I have done the White House tour and can actually say I wasn't that impressed. It was a lot of waiting in line for a not so exciting tour. So don't be too depressed.

One thing I will recommend for DC is the hop on/off tour buses. I learned a lot about our govt. and the city by riding one of those.

We are waiting to find out if we are able to take a tour. We will have our almost 4 year old and 2.5 year old with us. Will it be super boring for them? I tried to talk DH out of taking them, but he is adamant that they go. I guess he will be the one to miss the tour when they act up and they need to be taken out. My BIL and his wife wanted to take one so they invited all of us to go. We should find out in the next 3 weeks or so if we are able to take it.



DavidH

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2011, 11:54:37 AM »
With respect to driving route 66 or Vegas to Boston, the US has some very intersting regions, great national parks, and you can see a part of the country that most visitors and many people who live here don't see.  The US is not just NY, Boston, Miami, SF, and LA any more than the UK is London or France Paris.  Driving just to get there you can cross the country in ~5-6 days, but realistically you'd want closer to two weeks to see things.  I can recommend Yellowstone National Park, Bryce and Zion national parks (both ~2-3 hrs from Vegas), the Badlands and Mt Rushmore, the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA, and others. 

If you wanted to see more of the country without a major drive, Washington DC to Florida is a couple of days, but you could stop in Williamsburg VA, Charleston SC, Savannah GA, and see a nice slice of the south.  There are tons of flights from Orlando, so you could fly from there to LA or to Hawaii.

Consider in Vegas staying near, but not on the strip if you want to save a bit of money.  There are some non-casino hotels near the convention center which is only a few minutes from the strip that can be very inexpensive at times.  On the other hand, the strip is a key part of Vegas and walking through the major hotels is part of the fun.  If you need some time away from that Red Rock National Conservation Area is about 15 min away and great for hiking and seeing the desert.

It sounds like a great trip and a lot of fun.

lolane

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2011, 07:22:23 PM »
I just wanted to post that the drive from SF to Vegas will probably take closer to 11 hours realistically (I grew up in the SF Bay Area and went to college in Las Vegas and it never took me less than 11 hours, and I wasn't driving slow.) As a PP mentioned, the drive could take you 9-10 with no stops, but there are some interesting stops to be made if you want. I personally love to stop in Baker, CA. It's a little tiny town in the desert, an hour or 2 outside Vegas. There is a Greek restaurant there with really delicious burgers (they're gyros are pretty good too.) I don't know the name, but it's on the main street of the town and there is no way you could miss it because the town is that small. Also, I think they have the world's largest thermometer or something in Baker as well.

ETA: While there are a couple of interesting stops on the way to Vegas I would still fly, rather than drive, if given the option. You can get amazingly cheap flights to Vegas from SF airport or Oakland airport (I've seen $49 per person tickets flying from Oakland on Southwest Airlines) if you book 21 days in advance. If you're not totally set on driving, I'd recommend flying. Virgin America generally has cheap flights out of SFO. Both airports can be reached rather easily on public transportation too.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 07:28:04 PM by lolane »

LovesWater

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2011, 11:41:24 AM »
Wow! That is a huge itinerary. Let's see if I have anything to add.

San Francisco to Vegas - agree with the rec to see Yosemite. I would call right now for reservations for this time next year. Curry Village is where I usually stay - it has a range of prices, from cabins to heated tents to (brrr) unheated tents. I would get 2 nights so you have a full day to explore.

Vegas - I am not strongly interested in most of the Vegas experience (although your Elvis wedding sounds fun!) but if I am there for some reason, one of the things I like is the Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour. It's just a little outside of town, so if you don't have a car here, skip it. But if you do, I love the tour, the chocolate, and the garden - cool & peaceful!  I also agree with the rec to see the Grand Canyon.

Minneapolis - I think it is a fine idea to stop here between Vegas and Boston.  The Twin Cities have a plethora of things to do. Here are a few that I can think of: Fort Snelling (living history), Mill City Museum (excellent museum, plus they are always baking cookies or bread for treats!), Minnesota History Center, St. Paul Cathedral, Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnehaha Falls, Bell Museum of Natural History (excellent dioramas), oh I know there is more, oh yes, St. Anthony Falls plus the surrounding historic district and the Lock. That's enough to be going on with!

Florida - specifically around Mouse Country (so I won't mention St. Augustine  :)) I recommend a swim in a springs, like Wekiwa Springs - I love the water, warm and soft. You can also rent a canoe for a couple of hours at most of the springs - they're everywhere! Blue Springs State Park is good for seeing manatees, but the season starts mid-November, so not sure if you'll see any - you might be a little early.  Blue Springs is better for manatee viewing, Wekiwa Springs is better for swimming and canoeing, but there are springs all over Florida. Also fun is Gatorland in Kissimmee, an alligator theme park (for something just a little different!)

Hawaii - it is definitely not too cold to swim in Hawaii any time of year. Although the waves do get bigger as winter comes on, but there are plenty of protected places to swim. Recommendations would depend on what island - will you be likely to stay on Oahu? Perhaps go to the Big Island to see some volcano activity?


It sounds like a fun trip, and very ambitious - I hope you and your DH have a fun time, whatever you choose!

katycoo

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2011, 07:40:48 PM »
Thanks for all the tips everyone!  Taking it all on board.

Re Hawaii - not really sure what we're doing there.  Probably not much - we want that to be our "Sit on the beach" break at the end with less running around touristy stuff.

wyozozo

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Re: I'm coming to America in 2012.
« Reply #43 on: October 12, 2011, 05:32:30 PM »
Quote
I can recommend Yellowstone National Park, Bryce and Zion national parks (both ~2-3 hrs from Vegas), the Badlands and Mt Rushmore, the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA, and others. 

Wall Drug.........you must stop at Wall Drug if you are driving through South Dakota!!!

I can also recommend Devil's Tower.