Plea to Americans

This post is going to be cliché, but it needs to be said. I urge all Americans to explore your country. It is amazing. It is almost unfair how much awesome stuff you have. Please appreciate it.
Here are some of my suggestions for things to do in America to better love and understand it.

See the USS Arizona.
See a Glacier.
Meet Mickey Mouse.
Be hot in death valley.
See the lights of Times Square.
See a baseball game.
See Old Faithful.
Experience the dark in mammoth cave.
Walk in the footsteps of the revolutionaries in Boston.
Go to the Wheatfield
See the white house.
Drive route 66.
See where Custer fell.
Eat gumbo in Louisiana.
See the sunset over the grand canyon.
See the liberty bell.
Eat from a truck.
See the constitution.
See the ocean.
Understand history at the ww1 museum.
See where Mississippi meets the ocean.
Have a taco in the south west.
Stumble upon something great in the mid west.
See the trees of Vermont.
Stand at the end of navy pier.
Eat until you pop in Vegas.
Watch the flag fly over Fort McHenry.
Stay in a haunted hotel.
Talk about roads by numbers not names.
Be soaked in rain in the north west.
Go to where the cowboy films are made.
Drive an endless straight road

Locating HP Lovecraft’s grave

Many people like to attend HP Lovecraft’s grave and many leave small tributes to one of the original fathers of horror fiction.

HP Lovecraft’s headstone is located in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence Rhode Island. It is located at 585 Blackstone Blvd in Providence. The cemetery itself is located quite close to Pawtucket in Rhode Island. The century is well maintained and has several significant historic graves. More on the cemetery’s history can be found at this helpful site. There is also a map of the cemetery which may be of help.

The grave marker for Lovecraft is small and can be difficult to locate in this large cemetery.

Some key directions which may assist you in locating the grave:
1. There is a small reflecting pond located in the middle part of the park. The grave is located several sections toward the river from this marker.
2. The grave marker for Lovecraft is located in his family’s plot, so his marker is not immediately visible from the path. You should look for the larger marker for “Phillips”.
3. The plot is located at the end of Avenue B at next to the large area set aside for Sprague. This is quite a large area and includes twin staircases which lead to a central garden area.
4. The grave is located between the streets of Willow (279), spruce (304), hemlock (286).

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Planning App – Worldmate

Just wanted to share a great app with you that I have been using. It is called Worldmate and allows you to simply email confirmations to their of flights, hotels and other travel information to a central inbox. The app then inserts the information into a itinerary for you. You can also add your own details such as events or activities. I have been using it for a few days and it has really helped to organise the trip. There is a free version or the paid (gold) version is only $2.99

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/worldmate/id317823888?mt=8

Multi- attraction passes

There are quite a few passes available on the Internet which offer discounts when purchasing multiple attractions. These passes can provide significant savings over purchasing attraction tickets individually, however there are a few things to consider prior to deciding to purchase these passes.

1. Do you actually want to see the attractions covered by the Pass? It may be a good deal,but only if you are actually going to enjoy those attractions. It may be that savings are still available even if you only see some of the attractions; just make sure you do the math.

2. Do you have enough time in the city to do those activities? You may want to see everything, but make sure you estimate how much time you have for each attraction.

3. Are there any other perks that make the passes worth more? For example, you may be able to skip lines, or be provided with VIP access to some attractions.

This in mind,I have purchased passes for both New York and Chicago from Citypass

Is a great deal and covers high profile attractions such as the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd aquarium in Chicago and Statue of Liberty cruise,, the Met and the American Museum of Natural History.

The citypass provides free entry to a range of key attractions and expedited entry. Well worth the money.

7 Week Countdown

It is now 7 weeks until our first flight.

It is important at this stage to have confirmed the major items, like flights, accommodation (at least when you are staying for several nights, or in high demand areas) and car rental or other transport.

You should also think about practical things and plan to purchase any items that you may need. For example, I have never seen snow or really had a big coat (I’m Australian), so I have ordered a new coat and some good hiking boots. Pre-planning has allowed me to buy at discounted rates on the web.

I am also ensuring that I have pre-paid as much as possible. This will help to overcome any volatility with the dollar and ensure that we are not struggling too much for cash while we are there.

Avoiding extra baggage charges

I live in Australia and while it is an awesome country, the USA has great deals available online that only ship to American addresses. Freight forwarding services provide a great option and have the added benefit of receiving and holding shipments while you are travelling.

The service I use is called MyUs.com. For a low annual fee they will provide you an address in the USA and hold parcels until you are ready to have them shipped to your home address.

This is a great service for travellers as you do not need to ensure someone is home to collect deliveries and if you are overseas allows you to collate packages and save on postage.

I used Visaprint and created some very cheap address labels to make it easier to post packages while travelling and can have items sent home after the trip.

Priceline

Priceline is a travel website which offers great deals on hotels, cars, flights etc.  The big difference with priceline is that it allows you to “bid” on hotels and rental cars.  You can offer to pay $30 per night in particular areas for a specified star level property.  You can then see whether any of the hotels take you up on it. You will not know the name of the hotel until your bid is accepted.

There are also lists of hotels at discounted rates which provide full details of the hotel and allow you to reserve the hotel.

Priceline has just introduced”express deals” which give you an idea about the services a hotel may offer at a set price, but doe snot specify the name of the hotel.  These deals are often excellent and a great alternative to bidding.

Benefits
You can save a heap on hotels
You can get hotels at a higher star level than you can otherwise afford
It is fun to see what hotel you end up with

Risks
If your bid is successful your account will be charged immediately
You may not like the hotel you get
You cannot cancel once you have bid