The best damn hamburgers in town, this place is an Austin institution. The decor is quirky diner with mementos from the restaurants 50+ years of service on the walls, seriously though, for a piece of genuine American culture, this is the only place to go.
The malts are awesome too...
6th st, 2 blocks down from Lamar, (you can walk from Whole Foods Market).
The Bahia Cabana is both a hotel (Days Inn) and bar on the south end of Ft. Lauderdale beach. My recommendation is more about the ambiance of the tiki bar than the accommodation, so don't go staying there based on my comments! "Beach Resort" is a stretch if you ask me.
It is truly one of the last remaining, typical Ft. Lauderdale beach bars. Famous for their "rum-runner" drinks (ok, who isn't?) it also is a relaxing and fun atmosphere to wind down your day. Sitting alongside Fort Lauderdale's largest boat marina, you can watch the day come to an end as people bring their boats back in, unload their fish (or suntan lotion) and discuss very easily with the locals.
If you go to their website, it looks like a dump I have to say, but do stop and have one drink if you're in the area. I guarantee you'll stay for two!
Straight from the heart of Boston comes young Alex with an interesting story and photo of Boston each week. BostonWeeklyPhoto, as he calls his blog, offers an insight to things you might miss if you stick to the guide books.
Alex has a little of everything - from the Robbins Memorial Flagstaff describing the story of how Squaw Sachem sold her land to the colonist John Winthrop for a few shillings and a woolen coat every winter for the rest of her life to the magnificent Bates Hall, part of the Boston Public Library and the first free municipal library in the world.
The comments left by his visitors are very interesting and a great source to find out more about this fantastic city.
The statue of the famous raising of the flag on Mt Suribachi, Iwo Jima, is walking distance from Arlington Cemetery and Rosslyn Metro. Go on Saturday and speak to Marine veteran Gordon F Ward, who fought and was injured on Iwo Jima, and now volunteers his time on Saturdays to speak to tourists and school groups about Marine history. There is also a great view back down the National Mall, with the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Building all in a line.
Arlington VA, near the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Saya is a simple Thai cafe that serves superb food. During several prolonged stays in Seattle, I think I tried everything on the menu - never found a dish I didn't like but the best by a country mile is Gai Yang. This is the tastiest barbequed Thai chicken ever. If you're in the neighbourhood, drop in - guarantee you won't be disappointed. I don't think I ever spent more than $7!
8455 212th St. Kent, WA 98031
A Gray Line bus tour, this allows you to spend a day away from the city in quaint and quiet Cape Cod. You get to stop at a great seafood restaurant and spend some time in Hyannis, where I recommend the crazy golf!
Another good day out is to catch the train to Salem to see all the tacky witch museums. It's hilarious how proud they are that they executed lots of innocent girls.
I have stayed in B&Bs in other parts of the world but this has been by far the worst experience. Although I was there for only 4 days, it felt like an excruciating 4 days because of the host.
Firstly, the host placed her dog in the kitchen during the day time and added a barrier at the kitchen doorway to discourage me from using her kitchen. She even warned me not to be friendly to the dog!
On the second day, the host was displeased that she found hair in the bath-tub. She specifically told me that "your hair is falling out" and subsequently told me to clean up the bath-tub after use. I was too shocked for words when I heard her say that. Talk about hospitality!
On the third night, I had an emergency medical condition during the night and needed to get to the nearest Emergency Room. I told her about my problem and asked if she could call a cab for me as it was already past 12:00 midnight. She said,"We don't call for cabs in New York at night." I sensed that she was obviously not willing to help and asked her to write me the address of the nearest hospital. At that point, she actually said, "It's kind of late now. Can I look it up and give you the address tomorrow morning?" I was stunned beyond words by the cold-heartedness of this person. Then she changed her mind and said, "Oh, I think I'd better give it to you now. I need to go out really early tomorrow morning." She scribbled the address on a piece of paper and left the room.
On this fateful night when I most needed to use the shower, I saw an officious printed note left on my bed by her. She duly informed me that the shower was out of order and there was no suggestion of an alternative solution to the problem. After I came back and contacted City Sonnet, they told me they could not do anything to compensate me.
I would definitely not recommend this B&B to anyone.
Rental Agent : City Sonnet
Address : 152 Bank Street #5B
I had a most wonderful experience staying at this B&B in Upper East for a week. My host Madeleine was a most delightful and obliging lady.
Housed in a building serviced by a doorman, the 2-bedroom apartment was spacious and I had a bedroom with a private bathroom (minus shower facilities). The host cleaned my room daily and the bathrooms were regularly replenished with clean towels. The modern kitchen was well-stocked and I could do my cooking whenever I felt like it.
This B&B was ideal for me as there was a lot of privacy yet it had a warm, homey feel to it which truly felt like a home away from home.
The rental agent - New York Habitat - have many appartments on their website: www.nyhabitat.com;
tel: (212) 255-8018
Downstairs is a busy self-service restaurant (and shop) open all day til late. Choose from fresh salads, Asian food, sushi and curries. Put your choice in a plastic box and pay by weight ($7.99 a lb). Eat there or take it over the road into Central Park. Delicious.
10 Columbus Circle; tel: 212 823 9600;
Accordion music, fountains and a cheery greeting of “Bonjour” from the hotel staff greet you as you head towards the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas.
The tower is not quite as tall as the original, in fact it is exactly half the size, however it has been reproduced with a superb eye for detail. An elevator whisks you to the observation deck, 460 feet above the Strip where there are fantastic views across Vegas, taking in a 360 degree panorama that includes the Strip, the city and the mountains in the distance and, in the evening, wonderful views across to the Bellagio fountain display.
The observation deck is quite small (holding about 30 to 40 people at a time) so you may have to queue to get in and, needless to say, it is not for those at all nervous of heights.
Cost of entry was approximately 12 dollars each when we visited. A little pricey maybe but worth it for the views
At the Paris Las Vegas, 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd
A county park that bisects the peninsula south of the main city, San Bruno mountain is accessible by car and has loads of walking and biking trails. The Saddle Trail goes through woods and leads to fantastic views of the city.
It's particularly convenient for the airport, which is why if you've got a couple of hours to kill before or after a flight it's a great antidote to the stress of air travel. Parking is $5.
Guadalupe Canyon Parkway;
For directions see www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/smc/department/home/0,,5556687_12313315_12345092,00.html#Directions
It is a National Park, and adjunct to the Kennedy Center (similar to Prince Albert Hall). It is a 'no frills' (sit on the grass - and bring a blanket and your picnic dinner) park, which has various artists (Janice Ian, Joan Baez, The Kingston Trio, others) on offer during the summer months. Conveniently located to The Wolf Trap Motel (in Vienna, Va - the subject of another posting), as well as other motels in the area.
The national parks are a great deal - as are the museums. Unlike Europe - most do not charge an admission fee.. or at most it's nominal. A good deal for 'over 62'ers' is a 'golden age passport'. For a 'one time' fee of $10, it grants lifetime admission to all national park facilities for free to citizens and legal residents - along with companions, friends, etc. Now you can't beat that in europe!
Near Vienna, Va - go out 'route 7 or Dulles Access Road - take Wolf Trap exit. Also accessable thru Vienna via local streets - ask locals for directions.
San Francisco has 42 hills, many of them are so steep that streets become stairways. Adah Bakalinsky has written a great walking guidebook, Stairway Walks in San Francisco. It covers more than 350 stairways in 24 walks with maps. Some are in popular tourist neighbourhoods and some are off-the-beaten path.
The Waterstones/Amazon.co.uk link is for the 5th ed. (2004). A 6th ed. is scheduled for publication in late 2006 in the States.
The Amazon.com link lets you preview a few pages.
The world's last surviving cable car powerhouse and carbarn (1887) houses a free cable car museum.
In addition to historic cable cars (including an original 1873 cable car), displays, informational video and souvenirs, you can watch and hear the motors and sheave wheels moving the cables underneath the three remaining cable car lines of one of America's few moving National Historic Landmarks (1964).
1201 Mason St (at Washington St), Nob Hill, San Francisco;
tel: (415) 474 1887
To get there ride Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable cars to Washington and Mason car stop;
Cha Cha Cha is a restaurant on Haight Street. The food is Caribbean - my favorite is the red snapper wrapped in banana leaves with black beans and plantains - but no matter what you eat, or even if you're not hungry, DO NOT MISS the sangria (just make sure you don't have to drive afterwards).
As the Frommers website says, Cha Cha Cha is not a meal, it's an experience. Moderately priced. No reservations. Weird people, weird neighborhood, great food and wine (not a full bar).
1801 Haight Street (nearest intersection: Schrader street) - a few blocks from Ashbury and half a block from Golden Gate Park;.
tel: (415) 386-7670
public transport: bus 71 stops less than a block away
The Inn is situated overlooking Washington Square Park, which is halfway between touristy, tacky Fisherman's Wharf and Downtown. We managed both with a 15 minute stroll in either direction. The park is frequented early morning and late afternoon by large groups of Chinese men and women doing tai chi, which was very restful to watch. The Inn is in a residential area with good restaurants, bars and independent shops nearby. It is also a short, but exceedingly steep walk from the hotel to the Coit Tower, which offers great views of the city and bay area. Breakfast was great, especially the fresh muffins. Highly recommended.
It's a boutique hotel in the Soho district of New York. Not cheap but miles better than the massively overrated Soho Grand. Has the most amazing rooftop bar with views across Manhattan. You can book direct but it's worth trying a few websites to see if you can get a discount.
One of the pleasant surprises about visiting San Francisco is that it has fantastic food. Not indigenous US food, but the food-culture imported by its immigrants from south of the border. Taquerias provides authentic, very tasty, cheap Mexican-style food to locals everywhere - especially in The Mission District. The best one is El Toro Taqueria on Valencia St. It is vegetarian-friendly (ie: it definitely doesn't cook beans in lard).
El Toro Taqueria: 598 Valencia St;
tel: (415) 431-2535;
Here's a photo: www.flickr.com/photos/bryceedwards/134769479/
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