Ten Places In The United States That I Have Been To And Will Return

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Ten Places In The United States That I Have Been To And Will Return

“America ….. is the land of the richness of life, of the fullness of every hour in the day, the country which gives you the sense of carrying out a huge amount of activity, even though in fact you achieve very little, the country where solitude is impossible.” Italo Calvino

America is big and there is so much to see in the land of the free and home of the brave. The geography, climate, wildlife and people are extremely diverse. We have a brief history compared to Europe and the UK but it is interesting. Here are ten places in no particular order that I love to visit.

Washington DC is the capital of the country and our political center. That might not sound like the place to be be right now but it’s beautiful in the spring with the cherry blossoms in bloom, and in the fall with the leaves changing color. DC is a walkable city if you stay downtown.You have to do the basics. First there are the monuments – Lincoln, Washington, Martin Luther King, Jefferson and WWll. You can see them at night as well. Get your Capitol and White House Tour tickets before you come. It’s fun to just walk down the National Mall and see all the museums and monuments. The Smithsonian Institution has 19 museums all over the city. I also like Newseum, the Holocaust Museum, National Portrait Gallery and my favorite the National Gallery Of Art. Union Market has an amazing food scene and the food in DC is eclectic and delicious. If you have kids, the FBI and the Mint are fun to see.

People from Los Angeles love San Francisco. Their rich people are techies not Hollywood types. It is geographically tiny and you can walk everywhere.  Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is cool.  Riding the cable car is an excellent way to see the city.  Taking the ferry to Alcatraz Island is interesting.  You can walk along Fisherman’s Wharf which is really touristy. I dont recommend eating there.  Swan Oyster Depot is better for seafood. San Francisco is a foodie city so there are many  great restaurants. Go to the largest Chinatown in the US for dim sum and Japantown for sushi. The Ferry Building which has been converted to a market and food court is a great place for lunch. I love the newly renovated San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art. There are many interesting neighborhoods with walking tours. Bring a jacket- even in summer.

Amelia Island is a quiet barrier island, located in the Northernmost portion of Florida, not too far from the Georgia border. The island is one of the Sea Islands, a chain of coastal barrier islands stretching from Northeast Florida to South Carolina. It is great place to relax with southern hospitality. Amelia Island offers 13 miles of quiet, secluded beaches. The setting is quaint and beautiful, with many historical inns, beautiful seaside homes, hiking trails and a few resorts.The weather is mild year-round with an average winter temperature in the 60’s. You will find that the area is not overdeveloped, but rather reminiscent of the old days in Florida.

Chicago, Illinois has the the hospitality of a midwestern city with the  famous architecture and multiculturalism of New York. The food in Chicago is first class and the Art Institute is one of my favorite museums. The elevated Bloomingdale Trail and the Lake Michigan bike paths are fun when the weather is nice. I also liked the Architecture Cruise given by the Architectural Foundation which is a fun way to see the famous buildings. Chicago is home to the comedy club Second City (think SNL) and Steppenwolf Theatre Company (think Broadway). The best time to visit is spring and fall. 

The Big Island is also called Hawaii. I love the Kona side with its volcanic landscape and black sand beaches. The Hilo side has a lush tropical landscape and is definitely a day trip. Yes Hawaii is expensive because it is an island and everything has to be shipped in. If you have never seen an active volcano, go to Hawaii Volcano National Park. Stay after dark to see the glow from the Caldera. I usually never leave the black sand beach.

 As an ex New Yorker, when I visit New York City, I want to see and do it all. It’s a frantic schedule even for a New Yorker. It’s impossible to see it in one visit and you have to resign yourself to see and do what you can. The lines for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Empire State Building are long so get there early. If you are interested in the World Trade Memorial, get your tickets before you go.Times Square is always crowded with tourists. Get tickets for you shows in advance or go to TKTS booth in Times Square for discount tickets to day of shows. See a concert or ballet at Lincoln Center. There are walking tours in every neighborhood so pick neighborhoods that interest you. I grew up in Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn and recommend both as a way to relax in the city. The HIghline is an urban walking park which runs from 34th Street to the Meatpacking District, built on old elevated train tracks, is lovely on a nice day. NY is filled with excellent museums so budget some time for those. The Met is one of the biggest museums in the world and  has something for everyone so I recommend that. I love the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Food is a whole blog. NYC is filled with amazing restaurants and many different immigrant cultures who bring along great food. When I return, I must have pizza and egg rolls from any family run place, cannoli from Venero’s, bagels from Ess A Bagel and a hot dog from Grey’s Papaya . NYC was my last plane trip in the old world so I am particularly nostalgic. 

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Plan to be amazed by the intense color of the red rocks and the night skies filled with stars. There is a magical , spiritual quality to Sedona, Arizona . Sedona has a moderate climate and though it is hotter in summer and snowy in winter, you can really visit anytime. The natural beauty and energy vortexes make hiking, dining, spa and  personal growth experiences even better.

Boston, Massachusetts is one of the most historic cities in the United States. I have been there many times and love the food, museums and the fact that is a slower paced city than New York.The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walk through historic Boston. It takes you through all the major sites and monuments relating to the city’s founding and the Revolutionary War. The trail passes through Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall so plan to stop for lunch.There are beautiful neighborhoods with their own vibe and history to walk through. I love the North End which is the heart of Boston’s Italian community. It involves waiting on a line for cannoli at MIke’s Pastry. You might also want to see a Red Sox game or visit Harvard. Museums in Boston are free to students which is another thing I love about the city.

A new England summer vacation had never occurred to me until my daughter went to camp in Maine. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts is not actually a place to lie out on the beach for eight hours with a drink in hand.The weather can be iffy. There are great restaurants especially if you are a fan of lobster and sea food. The Vineyard is divided into six towns each with their personal vibe, so explore them all, by foot, bike or if it’s raining –  car. If you bring a car, make sure to have a car reservation for the ferry in advance or purchased from a resident. 

I love skiing in Park City, Utah. Growing up as an East Coast skier, the incredible Utah powder is so wonderful. Whatever your level of skiing, you will find runs in Park City. I love Deer Valley. The resort is consistently ranked at the top when it comes to grooming, service, access, on-mountain food, lodging, dining, and kid friendliness. Park City was founded in 1884 after the silver boom of the 1860s, and its mining heritage plays a strong role in defining the Western flavor of the charming little downtown scene. There is an abundance of restaurants and bars to choose from. It is also the host of the world famous Sundance Film Festival which takes place in January every year. 

Sty safe,

JAZ

Best Things To Do In San Francisco,California With A Little Help From My Friends

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  Best Things To Do In San Francisco With A Little Help From My Friends

“One day if I do go to heaven~I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.” Herb Caen

My  favorite day in San Francisco involves Kabuki Hot Springs – shiatsu massage, hot and cold pools, and fresh crab salad at Swan Oyster Depot. In the afternoon, I head to City Lights Bookstore and eat a cannoli in Little Italy at Stella’s, Mara’s or the first bakery I see.   JZ

 I like Union Square. I know it’s touristy, but when I go there, I always find unique things in their shops – candles, teas, flavored chocolates, cards, household items – things that I don’t see anywhere else.  The shops are really fun. DGB

I never miss the exhibits at the Museum Of Modern Art And The Asian Art Museum. Both gift shops are irresistible. BE

 If you’re ever craving a bit of rustic fine dining (grass fed burger, perfect fries, best pork chop in the city, blue bottle martini) late at night  go to NOPA. San Francisco’s food options shut down fairly early, but NOPA is open late and where chefs go to eat after work. If you like Korean food, go to Toyose. It’s a bit of an adventure in that it’s in a garage…but it’s truly a great and authentic experience. People go there to eat Korean bar food (kimchi fried rice, fried chicken, pancakes etc.) and to drink Soju.  If you’re bar hopping in the mission late at night, go get a burrito at 2am at El Farolito right next to the 24th Street Bart Station.  You’ll see a line of drunk folk going out the door.  Take a walk at sunset on Baker Beach and admire the bridge and all the naked people. When I think of it, San Francisco can be boiled down to burritos and beaches…haha.  NH

Go see the Giants at Oracle Stadium… maybe the best of the new “old school” ballparks, and McCovey Cove is so cool (the Bay is just over the right field wall, and fans chase “splash homers” in kayaks).   CW

I loved  being able to walk everywhere. San Francisco is all hills and some of the views of the city are spectacular. CL

My favorite restaurants are Acquerello for Italian food, upscale, elegant, very skilled chef, attentive wait staff, an evening to remember;  House of Nan King for Chinese food – no reservations, lines out the door at rush hour – worth the wait Tarantinos Seafood –  wharf area, standard traditional fare, very fresh, best location.  Macys Mens Store is an  entire building –  5 floors . The stock shows very different taste – more upscale and better quality than L.A.   BH

I love to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge  and have lunch in Chinatown. It is the biggest Chinatown outside of Asia and the deeper into it you walk, the more authentic it is. BB

I love our mini-neighborhood of Hyde Street between Union and Green on Russian Hill.  Within a block we have Elephant Sushi, Za Pizza,  two Mediterranean restaurants (Frascati and Abrazo), two wine bars and the original Swensen’s ice cream shop. Jayne’s mother (my favorite aunt) once asked ‘Doesn’t anyone in San Francisco ever cook?  LM

One of my favorite spots in the City is the waterfront along the Ferry Building (and the Ferry Building itself). On any day, rain or shine, you can’t get a better view of the water than you do by walking along the Embarcadero, which brings you so close to the water itself. Gulls scream and the boats’ horns blast in the distance. The shops inside the Building include Heath Ceramics–a little curated outpost of the larger stores you can only find in San Francisco and Los Angeles. TFN

Fly safe,

JAZ