OUR TRAVELS- Take on the USA.
Written by Katie Worth
The Big Apple Bucket list…
We started our trip in New York as it was my daughters dream to visit New York shopping! There are so many things to do in New York, covering everything from shopping, dining and city tours to admiring some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. We stayed at the 5-star Conrad Midtown which was the perfect location.
- Go and Visit a Broadway Blockbuster Catch an extra special Broadway show in New York’s iconic Theatre District. We saw “Beetlejuice” which is a fabulously funny and enjoyable show for the whole family. Then, enjoy “Ellen’s Stardust Diner” – home of the world-famous singing waiters.
- Tick off the Best Skyscraper Views There was lots of viewing platforms to choose from and for us the Summit One was the winner. Three levels of views, mirrors, balls, glass, inside, outside – just so much and a great location and great views. Top Tip – Book a time that will allow you to view the sunset across Manhattan, as this will be a sight and memory to last a lifetime.
- Take a Family-friendly Adventure Through Central Park Book on Frankie Legs pedicab tours around Central Park, hire a bike or reserve a horse carriage ride to leisurely appreciate some of the park’s most iconic sights, which include Strawberry Fields–a quiet corner dedicated to the Beatles’ John Lennon – and the enchanting Belvedere Castle. Or, rent a boat from the Loeb Boathouse and paddle around Central Park Lake. If you’re visiting in the colder months, be sure to go ice skating on the Wollman and Lasker Rink.
- Reflect at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum Gain a deeper understanding about the tragic events that took place on September 11, 2001 through compelling artefacts and stories of those affected during a 60-minute private guided tour. You’ll be able to take a poignant tour of Ground Zero and see the Reflecting Absence Memorial, the largest man-made waterfall in the world, and see collections and exhibitions at the 9/11 Museum.
- Private New York Fashion Shopping Tour Do you want to upgrade your wardrobe? One of the many prestigious city tours our Travel Specialists can arrange is a VIP shopping trip, where a professional stylist whisks you off to some of the best boutiques on the Upper East Side. You’ll have the choice of walking tours or a chauffeured limousine, heading to the likes of Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue to feel truly pampered in the crème de la crème of designer boutiques
We then flew to Las Vegas for 7 nights, which I was worried would be too long in this crazy city, but it was our favourite part of the trip and we were very sad to leave. We started at the Venetian we were very impressed with the huge suites, the magical opera singing gondola ride travelling down a canal with replicas of Italian streets and squares. We loved eating in all the different themed hotels and on our first full day we had breakfast at Mon Ami Gabri at the Paris, we then headed over to Caesar’s Palace to the “Forum” shops and Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and then to the Mandalay Bay to watch the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show. The show itself was spectacular and very clever which we all enjoyed. We spent days at the pool (Vegas was overcast so the heat was bearable) and also did some fantastic day trips, where you can see some of America’s most famous landscapes. See the Mars-like plains of Death Valley, take a trip to the Hoover Dam, or fly over the enormous Grand Canyon in a helicopter.
Next Stop Los Angeles… with lots of sunshine, little-to-no rain, and average temperatures hovering around a delightful 25 degrees. It took about 5 hours to drive to Los Angeles. There isn’t much along the way although we stopped at the Peggy Sue’s 50s Diner for lunch. We stayed at the stunning 5- star London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills Hotel, modern luxury with a very trendy expansive rooftop pool, private cabanas and unforgettable views of the city. We Window Shopped on Rodeo Drive, strolled the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Celebrity Homes tour. Enjoyed movie magic at Paramount, Universal and Warner Brothers Studios. We took a great hike around the breath-taking scenery of Griffith Park and up to the Hollywood sign. With balmy climes and miles of beautiful beaches, we also hit the shores and went to the famous Santa Monica Pier & Paradise Cove Beach Club in Malibu.
If you want to expend this trip further and you fancy a road trip my recommendations are to explore the beautiful wine region of Napa Valley while the grape harvest season is in swing. Many vineyards offer delicious gourmet picnics and wine-tasting as part of the tour. On the way back, stop off at Monterey or Carmel-by-the-Sea for whale-watching opportunities. And next on our bucket list is the breath-taking Yosemite National Park, best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.