Philadelphia’s food scene

Tourists associate the City of Brotherly Love with its most famous sandwich – the hg,lugtkmcheesesteak, created by South Philly hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri for his taxi driver clientele in 1930. But regional food choices in Philadelphia extend well beyond Pat’s or Geno’s, provolone or cheese whiz, with or without fried onions. Landmark delis, markets and noodle shops, still in business nearly a century after opening, pay tribute to the city’s colorful immigrant past; a few doors down, modern chefs and bakers riff on classic dishes, from Jewish gravlax to Korean fried chicken, that represent the city’s diverse range of cultural and ethnic groups. Have your cheesesteak – and eat one, too, from the rival stand across the way – but save some room for Philly’s other foodie delights.

That’s amore: Philadelphia’s Little Italy

Italians do it better, as they say: a rule that’s especially true in Philadelphia, home to the second-largest Italian-American population in the United States. The center of the action is South Philadelphia’s rustic 9th Street Italian Market. The largest operational outdoor market in the country is iconic – Rocky Balboa runs through it as part of

48 hours in Washington, DC

There’s so much capital, so little time…but with a weekend to spare you can wander the hfxmkzfNational Mall, see the best museums and monuments, snap a photo of the White House and even spend an evening in U St, Shaw, Georgetown or Columbia Heights to see how the city ticks. This itinerary demands a fast pace but rewards you with sensory explosions and a peek into the political heart of America.



  • The National Mall: The Mall is often called ‘America’s front yard,’ and thousands of visitors take their time off here to wander the 1.9 mile green heart of the nation. Most museums have free admission and open 10am to 5:30pm daily. Our museum and monument picks for day one are:
  • Lincoln Memorial: In a city of icons, the inspiration for the back of the penny stands out in the crowd. It’s the classicism evoked by the Greek temple design, or the way the memorial so perfectly anchors the Mall’s west end, or maybe just the stony dignity of Lincoln’s gaze and the power of his speeches engraved in the walls. Whatever; a visit here while

Sunday in Harlem

It’s Sunday morning in Manhattan, and you’re hungry for something more substantial than a bowl of organic granola or a fresh fruit platter on that Upper East Side corner. But where to fhmkdzego for food that’s hot, filling and served with soul? Jumping aboard the A–Train just minutes north to 125th Street, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in the table-bending weekend feasts on offer in historic Harlem.

Rise and shine at Amy Ruth’s

If you can’t wait until 11am for a table (when most places open), head to Amy Ruth’s (113 W 116th St), which opens on Sundays from 7:30am, and serves up some of the city’s best chicken and waffles. It’s less frequented by out-of-towners than Sylvia’s (below, which, admittedly, sees the occasional tour bus pull up for lunch), and delivers many crowd-pleasers including a smothered pork chop with fried eggs and grits, along with its much loved ‘Rev. Al Sharpton,’ a vast plate of fried chicken and waffles. Pace yourself and plan to loosen your belt a notch or two before the meal is through.

Sylvia’s: with added gospel


Things to do on a Grand Canyon Trip

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and over a mile deep. It was formed by erosion caused by the flow of the Colorado River. Of course, this did not occur over night. It has taken over 17 million years for the river to shape the canyon into the geological wonder it is today. It is hard to decide what to do or see at the Grand Canyon as the choices are almost limitless. This article discusses four things you can’t miss out on.

One of the most worthwhile Grand Canyon adventures is a mule ride. Mules are a hybrid between a horse and a burro. They are sure-footed with the size and capability of a horse. Visitors have been exploring the canyon by mule since the late 1800’s. Guides provide information about the stunning geologic formations, the history of the area and about the native Navajo people. A variety of rides are available such as the Canyon Vistas which travels along the east rim of the canyon. For the more adventurous spirit, overnight rides that follow the Bright Angel Trail,

I Had a Great Idea for Our Reunion

It was up to me and a few others to come with ideas for our 20th high school reunion, and I was frustrated that the other people on the planning committee were not doing much planning. They did not seem to get that we only had six months to plan. So, it was up to me to come up with something since I was taking it seriously and understood how little time we had. I got an email that advertised rentals and had a click here for party buses link in it. I followed it and I immediately knew that is something that we could do for the main reunion night. I just hoped that everyone else would think it was a great idea, too.

I phoned the company who sent the email to get more info. Not only do they allow you to have alcohol onboard, they also cater it to you, and you can get catered food, too. I did not think everyone would want a full bus that night on the bus, but they would love to have appetizers. Continue reading “I Had a Great Idea for Our Reunion”

24 hours in New York City

Twenty-four hours in New York is nowhere near enough, but if that’s all the time you’ve got, we’ve got a locally designed itinerary designed to help you make the most of every New York minute.


8am – Start your day on the Upper West Side with a pilgrimage to the granddaddy of New York Jewish delicatessens: Zabar’s (Broadway & 80th St). Grab a bagel with cream cheese and lox, a cup of coffee, and walk two blocks west to Riverside Park for a breakfast picnic overlooking the Hudson River.

8:30am – Stroll down Broadway to 72nd St, then head east to Central Park West; on the northwest corner is the Dakota Building, the 19th-century apartment block where John Lennon lived (and died). Just steps inside Central Park is his teardrop-shaped memorial park Strawberry Fields, with its famous ‘Imagine’ pavement mosaic. Keep heading east through the park to the stately red-brick Bethesda Terrace, where the beautiful ‘Angel of the Waters’ statue sits high above one of New York’s most famous fountains.

9:30am – Wander up and eastward through the park (passing the small model-sailboating crew along the Conservatory Water and the gaggle of kids climbing atop the nearby Alice in Wonderland sculpture), then exit onto Fifth Ave around 79th St. This puts you at the

Coast to Coast by Greyhound Bus

Tell someone about your bus trip, and stand back. The Question is on its way. Why would you do it? they will ask. Why would you ride on Greyhound instead of driving, or grabbing a train or plane?

A friend and I found out, a few winters back, that we each had a week to go somewhere, and where we really wanted to go was L.A. We were sick of security lines and cramped flights, and with gas prices reaching record levels, neither of us was up for a marathon drive.

“What about the bus?” we thought, poring over maps and schedules and making little puffs of mental exhaust. We weren’t sure if we could hack a 4-day ride from D.C. to the West Coast. But Greyhound’s 7-day Ameripasses let you get off and back on whenever you want — to try and break the ride up with a few nights in motels.

We would aim south for warm weather, and for exotic-sounding towns like Texarkana, Texas, and Las Cruces, N.M.  We would try to set foot in Mexico, and hope to get a quick glimpse of the Grand Canyon (which we had never seen).

And we wouldn’t come back until we had answered

Great literary bars in New York City

Booze and books have a natural affinity: both look great on a wooden shelf, both are designed to be consumed, and, for better or worse, writers have tended to gravitate toward certain booze-dens through the years.

Here are ten of New York City’s best bars with a literary past and present, ranging from dive bars to darkened Bohemian writers’ dens to somewhere only bestselling authors could afford more than a drink.

Pete’s Tavern (Flatiron)

This dark and atmospheric watering hole has all the earmarks of a New York classic – pressed tin, carved wood and an air of literary history. Pete’s Tavern first opened its doors in 1864, and the American author O’Henry was a regular here – the bar then known as Healy’s even appeared in one of his short stories. Today the pub draws in everyone from post-theater couples and Irish expats to no-nonsense NYU students.


Blue Bar – The Algonquin (Midtown)

Through the 1920s, Midtown Manhattan’s historic Algonquin Hotel was the meeting place of a group of well-known local writers, journalists and actors calling themselves the ‘Algonquin Round Table’. The regulars met almost daily at the bar – this included the likes of Dorothy Parker, George S. Kauffman, Robert Benchley,

Washington DC by bike

With its waterfront parks, off-street trails and growing web of bike lanes, Washington, DC, is a surprisingly brilliant place to be on two wheels. Where else can you get your daily cardio while zipping past some of the nation’s most iconic sights? (Hello there, Washington Monument! How’s it going, Lincoln Memorial?)

Plus, with the Capital Bikeshare scheme offering up thousands of bicycles, there really is no excuse not to practice some peddle power in the capital.

  1. Get yourself some wheels

For short jaunts around town, check out a bike from one of 350 stations offered by Capital Bikeshare. Locations are found all around DC, as well as in Arlington and Alexandria, in Northern Virginia, just across the Potomac. To use it, just go to any Bikeshare kiosk, select usage (24 hours for $8, or three days for $17), swipe your credit card, pick a bike, and off you go. The first 30 minutes are free; after that rates rise substantially. You can take as many trips as you like during your membership period.

If you plan on a long leisurely ride, however, head to a traditional rental outfit like Bike & Roll, which offers a range of bikes (road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids) as well as

How to cycle NYC like a pro

A perfect balance of urban landscape and green space, New York lends itself to one of the healthiest, most enjoyable outdoors pursuits – cycling. This may be a surprise to those who still envision the Big Apple as a gritty no-go zone for pedalers. In fact, New York has hundreds of miles of bike lanes and one of the largest bike-sharing programs in North America. New Yorkers and visitors alike are discovering the joys of zipping around on two wheels, and have helped transform this city into a bicycling haven.

Riding in New York is rather less frightening than you might think. Despite the busy streets and seemingly endless stream of yellow taxis, it’s remarkably easy to cycle here – particularly if you know where to go and how to best maneuver yourself.


1. Hook up some wheels

Whether you’re in New York for a week or you’re one of those lucky souls who gets to stay forever, it’s easy to get started.

For a quick jaunt across town, Citi Bike ( is the best option. Launched in 2013, this bike-sharing program provides hundreds of self-service kiosks scattered around the city. Here’s how it works: purchase a 24-hour or 7-day access pass

Washington, DC with children

Visiting DC with the kids? You’ve come to the right place! Not only does the US capital offer up valuable history lessons everywhere you look, but there’s plenty of hands-on fun for the wee ones, including interactive museum exhibits, exciting outdoor activities, fun shops and child-friendly eateries. The best part? Most of these kid-tested-and-approved attractions are free – unless of course you decide to buy yourself a souvenir.

Best museums for kids

  • Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Not to mention, dinosaurs, bugs and sea creatures – all at the National Museum of Natural History
  • To infinity and…the National Air & Space Museum!
  • Not just dusty text books and tattered flags, the National Museum of American History has some unexpected exhibits, including an impressive 23-room doll’s house
  • Teach your children the fine art of espionage at the International Spy Museum
  • Inspire your own little Woodward or Bernstein at the Newseum
  • Join the young crowd banging drums and exploring tipis at the National Museum of the American Indian
  • Seek out local secret, the National Building Museum and its hands-on zone where kids can stack block towers and drive toy bulldozers

Top child-friendly experiences

  • Visit the Lincoln Memorial, then chase ducks around the reflecting pool
  • See the pandas at the

Top 5 ways to capitalise your time in Washington, DC

One version of Washington, DC comprises marble, monuments and museums in the shadow of the Capitol dome. The other describes great restaurants, wild clubs, and more culture than a city this size deserves, plus a National Mall that’s the front yard and public podium of the American people. Here are the top 5 things you should do when you get here.

1. Meander on the Mall
We love Washington, DC for what lies beneath its majestic facade, but if beauty is skin deep, the District is still pretty hot thanks to these most recognisable landmarks. Whatever else DC is, she’s a capital first, and as such is dotted with the most potent symbols of the American narrative. Gleaming buildings, memorials and sculptures are scattered throughout town, but reach their greatest concentration here.

These icons combine with museums that house the country’s knowledge, monuments to heroes and a 1.9-mile scabby lawn to form the great public green of the American consciousness: the National Mall, heart of not just Washington, but perhaps the USA as well.

Whether you’re a sceptic or fervent believer in the American dream, that story informs the nation’s vision of itself, and you can’t find more concrete symbols of this abstract

New York’s biggest borough comes into its own

Long overshadowed by its smaller, but better known sibling to the west, Queens is finally emerging from the shadows of Manhattan to take its place as one of New York’s most fascinating boroughs. In recent years, Queens has seen the rise of microbreweries, boutique hotels, a reinvented seaside and a burgeoning art scene – all of which has given a big boost to local pride.

The biggest borough by size, Queens is home to over two million people, which would make it the fourth largest city in America if it were uncoupled from greater New York. More impressive than its population, however, is the borough’s unrivaled ethnic diversity, with residents from every corner of the globe. If ‘all the world’s a stage’, head to Queens for front-row seats.  Or check out our video on Uncovering Queens, and all it has to offer to travellers.


Taste makers

In the last few years Queens has seen an explosion of craft brewers and beer pubs. Brewmasters, with ambitions both large and small, have shaken up New York’s biggest borough, and if you’re after what’s new and cutting-edge in the brewing scene, Queens is the place to be. Tucked away in a once-industrial area near the Pulaski

Weekend in Seattle

Seattle, in the air-conditioned northwest corner of the United States, has a reputation as a rainy place. Yet, in actuality, the city’s rain is a fine mist, rather than the downpour of many other places. It actually rains less in Seattle than in New York.

And in summertime, due to its northern latitude, the city enjoys longer days of sunshine than most places in the United States. From mid-July through September or mid-October, visitors can expect glorious sky-blue days and the deep golden rays of evenings that seem to last forever.

Situated on the eastern shore of the United States’ greatest inland body of salt water, Puget Sound, the city has a maritime feel to it. Whales course through the waters just off downtown, salmon leap at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, where sailboats and commercial vessels climb between the Sound and the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and bustling ferries transport visitors and locals alike to islands and the Olympic Peninsula to the west.

Seattle is also a waypoint for hikers, bikers, climbers, skiers and others who enjoy the rocky trails or snow of the Cascade Mountains (just an hour east) and the Olympic Mountain Range (two hours, including a ferry ride, to

How I Awakened a Sleeping Volcano

Mount St. Helens, a volcanic peak in the Cascade Range of southwestern Washington State, has fascinated me since I was working for the Forest Service in the 1980’s.

The Cascade Range is a mountain region renowned for its chain of tall volcanos. They run north-south along the west coast of North America from British Columbia to the Shasta Cascade area of northern California. Mount St. Helens (8,364 feet; 2,550 m) is located 96 miles (154 km) south of Seattle, and 53 miles (85 km) northeast of Portland, Oregon in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest (named for the founder of the U.S. Forest Service).

Dormant since 1857, Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980 in one of the greatest volcanic explosions ever recorded in North America, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale. The north face of the mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. Almost 230 square miles (600 km²) of forest was blown over or left dead and standing. My co-workers joked that the explosion was merely Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) lighting his 115th birthday candle.

On a bright September morning, more than two decades later, my first stop on a Pacific Northwest trip had to be to Gifford’s birthday candle. The

American Road Trip: Top 10 Must-See Destinations

There are few places on earth that can boast to be as diverse in culture, climate and landscape as America. From sunshine states like Florida, to the more formidably frozen Alaska, there is bound to be a place that captivates your heart and resonates with your soul.

Getting to find this place, however, may be no easy feat – America stretches over 9,857,306 km² meaning it can take years, if not a life time, to explore properly. Most road trippers have just a few months, stretching to a year at most, to explore this vast land, meaning tourists often miss out on the many faces of America.

Planning your road trip so each city you visit shows a unique side of the United States can be a long and challenging process, so we’ve rounded up 10 cities which will give you a glimpse into all aspects of American culture.


What would a trip to America be without stopping by in Florida? Of course, you should visit Orlando, Disney World and Universal Studios, but make sure you also check out the lesser known Florida Keys, five islands with coral reef diving, star-bathed parties and sun-soaked beaches, party on Miami Beach and take a gondola

Following in the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark

Everyone has people they admire. Some like sports heroes, while others obsess over film stars. Me? I admire your travel writing work. In fact, I’m truly jealous of it.

After all, you and your friend, William Clark, took on every travel writer’s dream assignment – exploring the great frontier for none other than Thomas Jefferson, who was then the president of the United States. You mapped unknown frontiers, met the local natives and wrote about all you saw. What could be better than that?

While most travel writing is quickly forgotten, your journals have lived on in history. In fact, America is commemorating the bicentennial of your Corps of Discovery right now. Congress established the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in 1978, and communities along the route have planned activities to honor the expedition. It’s obvious that your writing and explorations have become an important part of this nation’s history.

However, since two centuries have passed since you inscribed your journals, they’re a bit out of date. Having dabbled in a bit of travel writing myself, I thought I’d give you an update on some of the places you explored.

But first, a confession: I didn’t start in St. Louis, Missouri, where your

A Weekend In Tacoma, Washington

Why go to Tacoma when Seattle is the big-name city in Washington State? Well, Tacoma has a lot to offer, and in recent years has undergone a massive revitalization, which is still ongoing.

Washington’s second-largest city, with about 200,000 residents, is located on Commencement Bay on lower Puget Sound, 36 miles (58 km) south of Seattle. It was named the Northern Pacific Railroad’s transcontinental western terminus in 1873, putting the city on the map. After the railroad came, prosperity followed and the residents started calling their home the “City of Destiny.”

Getting to Tacoma is easy from the Sea-Tac Airport, as it’s just an 18-mile (29 km) drive. You may want to rent a car to visit outlying areas, but if you plan on staying in the city center, a shuttle or taxi ride might be the way to go.

By 2005, the waterfront area was revitalized and the city was chosen to host the Tall Ships 2005 festival. This festival, which travels to different coasts and different cities each year, is a boon to any port it visits, as thousands of tourists and residents come to view the gorgeous vessels. This was the first time Tacoma hosted, and the festival was a

Fun things to do in New York City’s green spaces

When the sweat’s dripping down the back of your neck and the sirens and concrete canyons get all too much, New York’s parks offer up open skies and flat, green – ahhh, just gimme some – space. Central Park may be the lungs of the city, but when summer rolls around, festivals, gigs, games and screenings transform green spaces all over the five boroughs into its kitchen, classroom and concert venue, too.

From indulgent food festivals to catching the New York Philharmonic perform for free, here are some ways you can get more from your New York park than benches and ice cream.

Watch movies with the ultimate backdrop in Brooklyn Bridge Park

In the shadow of Brooklyn Bridge, this park becomes a go-to spot for dance parties, picnics and sports when the days get longer and memories of the harsh New York winter recede. However, what makes it truly special is its annual season of free movie screenings during July and August. The backdrop cannot be beaten, the skyscrapers of the Financial District towering over the water and that most famous of bridges stretching out across the East River. Previous screenings have included everything from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Beetlejuice. Check for film times and make

Monuments & Memorials: Remembering in Washington, D.C.

Despite the buzzing pace and constant change that defines much of Washington, D.C., I wanted to delve into the heart of this city where time slows down and the past is revered.

My journey through history begins at the National Mall, a sweep of grassy land stretching over 2 miles (3.2 kilometers). Bordering the U.S. Capitol  to the east and with the Lincoln Memorial defining its western edge, “The Mall” is in close proximity to numerous monuments and museums.

The Washington Monument, the tallest silhouette in the skyline, is prominent from a distance and magnificent up close. At more than 555 feet (169.3 meters), the stone obelisk towers above me. On this particularly windy day, the flags encircling the structure  snap fiercely to attention. Dedicated in 1985, more than  30 years after construction began, Robert Mills’ design included stones donated from a variety of cultural, social and professional groups as well as foreign nations. The stature of the piece is quite telling as it commemorates the nation’s first president, George Washington, who, as Henry Lee stated, was “”first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

I detour to Constitution Gardens, a 52-acre (210,440 m2) park adjacent to The