Andy's American Odyssey - We're Here!

Myself, my wife and our two boys (will be 13 and 15) are planning a 3 week trip to the USA next August. We'll be staying with relatives in Lexington Park (Maryland) for a week, but would like to travel around a bit to (probably) 2 other areas to get a 'feel' for the country. We're more into the natural wonders than the Disney / Celebrity thing and would like a mix of city and country. Budget will be adequate but sensible and I'm quite happy with hiring cars and driving, although we don't want a road-trip type holiday.

In short, where should we visit to get a 'Flavorsic of the U S of A'?

Patches for my favourite suggestions.

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AndyGadget (author) 6 years ago

We arrived in NYC lunchtime yesterday and are now ensconced on the 14th floor of a hotel in the Chelsea 28th St flower district and we're watching the storekeepers putting out their displays on the sidewalk for the day.  (See, I'm picking up the lingo;¬)
Bear in mind here that back in Blighty we live in a village of around 100 houses, surrounded by gently rolling hills and fields - NYC is a bit of a culture shock, but in a really good way. We're stunned by the verticallity of the place.  We're looking UP all the time as we get a glimpse of a landmark building through other buildings. 
Cold drinks were the order of the day when we arrived hot and sweaty after lugging out baggage around the Airtrain, LIRR and to the hotel from Penn station, then a walk around the neighborhood and chill out in Madison Square park before excellent pizzas in a Broadway diner.

We had a good night's sleep after our 22 hour day yesterday (not too many sirens in the night) and off to the Empire State building and Macy's today and maybe a museum, then Times Square this evening after dark.

NYC - Incredible place.

(I'm not going to post an ongoing blog on our travels, but may post back from time to time, if anyone's interested.)
kcls AndyGadget6 years ago
How's the city treating you? Quite the place isn't it. A great place to go is the Intrepid Museum. It is quite the fun place to go when visiting. Good luck!
AndyGadget (author)  kcls6 years ago
NYC is Amazing - Such a mix of Everything and never stops moving (even when you're standing still, with the vibration from the subway underfoot).
We've walked miles, been riding the subways, been to parks, museums, up Extremely Tall Buildings; stood in the longest line I've ever been in yesterday for the Ellis and Liberty Island ferry and just stopped back at the hotel for a breather before we go out tonight to Little Italy for a meal.
Watching NY1 on TV is great.  More than once we've been places where they've had a newsteam and seen the report they were filming later in the evening.  Doesn't come much more local than that!
I thought New Yorkers had a reputation of rudeness, but we've found everyone here very polite and welcoming.  We've seen a few 'characters' and it was amusing watching a couple of people going through the trash bags of the local flower shops and walking off with armfuls of foliage. 
Last full day here in NYC as we're catching the Amtrak from Penn and going down to Washington DC for the next phase of the holiday tomorrow. 
kcls AndyGadget6 years ago
Yep, NYC is quite the exotic place. Funny thing is, I've lived right near it for a year and visited it countless times, and I've never even been to the statue of liberty! There are some very nice people there, and it gets nicer and nicer as you move upstate. Glad to hear you are having a good time!
I've been in NYC for most of my life, born and raised in Brooklyn, and I've been to the Statue of Liberty only once, to show tourists around. It does get nicer the further away from the city you get.
How large (square km) is NYC?
AndyGadget (author) 6 years ago
Hi All.  We're off the Saturday after next and just about got everything sorted.

We're flying to JFK in NYC, staying in Midtown for 5 days then Amtrak down to Washington DC. Picking up a hire car and driving to relatives on the coast near Lusby, MD. 
Few days there to chill out and then driving across to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenendoah Valley for 5 or 6 days.  Then back to the relatives and a few local day-trips before going back to DC and Amtrak  up to NYC for the plane.

A question;   We want to take in a local baseball match and looking at the schedule HERE, they are shown as being over 3 or 4 days.  What's going on here?  Do they play a match each day?   (If it was cricket I could understand - that goes on until it rains ;¬)

Too bad it won't be in Sept instead, as there is a Maker Faire in Queens, NYC I will be making every attempt to attend.

If you keep using all those weird words and phrases, Andy, people are going to know yer a furriner :-)

  • "hire car" ==> "rental car"
  • "match" ==> "game"

As Yoko said, teams play one game per day (double-headers are almost non-existent nowadays :-( ), but they usually have 3-4 game stands before changing opponents or travelling.

If you go to a Major League game, the tickets will be much more expensive ($25 each, or more), but you will see a much more "professional" (consistent) level of play. I highly encourage you to follow your first instinct and take in the Baltimore Minor League team. The venue will be smaller and more intimate, the tickets (and concessions!) will be cheaper, and everyone there will be invested in the game, not making a fashion statement :-/

AndyGadget (author)  kelseymh6 years ago
Thanks Kelsey (and Yoko). I knew the common differences in the language but I didn't realise quite how much the idiom differed until I started looking at American websites in detail.  ("Two nations separated by a common language" as GBS wrote.)

I looked at the price of tickets at the Yankees stadium - Ouch!  The minor league team appeals more and we'll make a night out of it with our relatives.  After all,  the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs are the winningest team in the league!

Kelsey, I see you've spelled 'travelling' with a double 'l'.  I've always seen it from that side of the pond spelled with one.  Do you use both ways over there?
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