Our decision to stay in New Jersey last night meant we had close to a full day in NY today, instead of arriving late afternoon.
After dropping off the car at Hertz in NJ, we found a cab who got us to our accommodation, Sohotel in Soho. Apparently New Jersey cabs don’t go to Manhattan very often. We had to use our GPS to get him here. After dropping our bags at the hotel we set off to get subway passes organised and decided to head south to the 9/11 site and Wall Street.
We then headed over to Staton Island, past the Statue of Liberty and straight back again. Not a bad sight seeing trip for a freebie.
We then headed back to the hotel, checked in and dressed for the show. A walk through the Times Square area to Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre. Brilliant. Late night. Lots to see and do tomorrow.
The day started with a drive to the Harvard Business School and a short wander around.
We decided to then head towards New York to cut down the drive tomorrow, ready to give the car back early and make the most of our time in NYC.
We took the local roads for part of the trip, and stopped in New London for a bit of a break, before continuing on. In the end we decided to continue all the way to New Jersey so we can drop the car in the morning and head over the river earlier than initially planned.
Roads are crazy. Either gridlocked or frantic. Nothing in between. The car has been great – around 6000 miles (but only a few hundred dollars in fuel) in 29 days – but I’ll be glad to give it back now that we’re here.
Tomorrow. New York City!
Not much in the way of photos today, but lots of memorable moments. As we headed northeast toward Boston we had frozen waterfalls, a house overtaking us on the highway while we were doing about 75mph (about 120km/h) and lots of frozen lakes and rivers.
When we arrived in Boston we didn’t head to the city centre, but to Harvard University, staying in Irving House at Harvard B&B.
We then walked through the uni into Cambridge (suburb) for a look around the shops, including the Harvard co-op shop (amazing), a drink and dinner. (No photos yet as it was dark) For dinner we picked out ‘Border Cafe’, a Cajun and Mexican restaurant, for no real reason. Once in there we realised we were on to something special. Great food at crazy cheap prices. I later looked it up on trip advisor. #1 of 436 restaurants in Cambridge. A lucky find!
As we suspected would happen, everything except the churches were closed in downtown Intercourse this morning. We had a short look around the town (while trying to find somewhere for breakfast), then headed east to Philadelphia.
The Amish don’t make little shacks to live in. This was typical of an Amish farm.
Leaman’s Place Covered Bridge south of Intercourse PA.
In Philadelphia we checked out the Liberty Bell, had a great tour of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the US constitution were written and signed, then did a street walk to check out the rest of the old city.
Since it was still early we decided to head north toward our next stop, which will be Boston tomorrow. We landed in Waterbury Connecticut, which means we were in 4 states today – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut (although we only set foot in 2 – we’ll be going back to NJ and NY later).
Interesting how quickly your perspective changes. Today reached about 42 degrees. To us that was quite a warm day (compared to what we’ve had). That’s about 5 degrees C. It’s going to be a cold night though. -2C already and its only 7pm.
As we set off today we had no firm plan, but knew it involved Gettysburg, then maybe Hershey and not-sure where-else.
The white on the road is not snow. It’s salt to de-ice the road.
After a brief stop in Gettyburg we continued on. Another Civil War museum isn’t really required at the moment.
Our next stop could have been a Griswalds at Wallyworld experience – we weren’t quite sure how it would go. We were heading at Hershey’s chocolate factory, but being Saturday we weren’t sure what we would be able to see. The web site said they were open, so off we went.
We arrived to one of the memorable experiences of the trip. Apparently we weren’t going to Hershey’s chocolate factory, but off Cocoa Ave, onto Chocolate World Way, Hershey’s Chocolate World. A full blown chocolate theme park with tours in a little chocolate-mobile and a gift shop that was as big as your average Coles store.
This is ridiculous.
A few kilos of chocolate later we were on our way again, into Lancaster County. Amish Country. Town of Intercourse. (Yes, you read that correctly!)
Dinner tonight was (again) one of the best so far. A smokehouse with beef brisket and the best pulled pork ever. Yum.
Out last day in Washington, so lets try to wrap up all the things we haven’t made it to yet.
Smithsonian Air and Space. So much to see and do.
Life size replica of Voyager. Looks so flimsy.
Wright Bros plane.
Replica of Hubble Space Telescope
Next was playing in the frozen water feature…
then on to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
We managed to fit in the Spy Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, before getting more culture, this time in the form of the Ballet. Nutcracker, performed by the Washington Ballet. A big highlight for Lauren.
Finally ‘home’ to Arlington. Did I mention previously that Rosslyn Metro station at Arlington has one of the largest escalators you’ll ever see.
Big day. We must be getting used to the cold. The maximum today was -2 and we didn’t feel it was cold! It snowed a bit, but no wind!
Washington: Amazing city. So much to see and do. So much free stuff. Metro system A+. Time to move on tomorrow.
Today was our day of American History and world culture.
Metro into town and straight to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. So much to see, but again we had to keep moving.
Next was a stroll through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, complete with ice rink, and then the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art. This is one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever been in. And the art was OK too. Raphael, da Vinci, Van Gough, Renoir, Monet, Degas, and a few other up-and-comers.
The evening was spent at the Kennedy Center, a performing arts centre, watching their free concert. Today’s performance was Pan American Symphony Orchestra from Argentina, performing for the National Argentine Tango Day Celebration. Very cultured of us. And they were amazing!
Dinner at a Thai place in Foggy Bottom then back to do some washing.
So this is what cold feels like. Woke up to 21 degrees. Sounds fine except that’s Fahrenheit. Minus 6. Minus 13 with wind chill. Cool.
First stop was Georgetown via some interesting looking suburbs of Washington while we could get there by the Bug Bus (Hop-on-hop-off). After a stroll around we headed back to downtown where we had a lunch of soup and chili, then Madame Taussards.
What’s Albert doing here?
We then split up with the girls going to the Whitehouse, while the boys went on a photo shoot of some of the areas we hadn’t been able to get to from the bus. First set of locations was the whitehouse from as many angles as possible, then up to the Washington Memorial.
Looking toward the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Memorial. If that looks like ice on the water, well, I said it was cold. And this was at 3:30 in the afternoon! The temperature made it to 33 degrees or just below 1 degree in real speak.
From here we caught the Big Bus back to Arlington via the Pentagon (No photos worth publishing of the Pentagon – it looks like a jail.) and past the Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial on our walk back to the hotel. This is one of the more impressive memorials we’ve seen.
An earlier arrival back at the hotel where we can get some well deserved rest.
And a sidenote: Lauren got her HSC results today. Brilliant! A well deserved set of results for 13 years of hard work.
The day started with a bolt through Arlington Cemetery to meet our Hop-on-hop-off bus. We then toured around for a while, getting out bearings, then hit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It would be easy to spend all day here, but a few hours had to suffice. If any of this looks familiar, think ‘Night at the Museum II’.
Our next stop was the National Holocaust Museum, but on the way our walk was briefly interrupted as a motorcade of about 6 motorbikes, 6 black SUVs, an armoured truck and a very presidential looking limo. When we showed the photos to a hop-on-hop-off guide later in the day he confirmed that it would have been the president. Only the president gets the armoured truck. So we saw the Trumpster – sort of.
We then continued on to the National Holocaust Museum. A very sobering experience. Again, you could spend all day if you had the time.
Lastly was the night tour. By this time the temperature had dropped to a rather chilly 2 degrees C, and the wind blowing in from the north at a dull howl. And we were on an open top bus. Hmmmm.
By the time the tour finished it was -2 degrees (-10 if you include wind chill!). Metro back to Arlington and time to get inside and get warm, before getting out in it again tomorrow, when the forecast maximum is 1 degree.