Tag Archives: United States

Awesome Road Trips Within Several Hours Of Major Cities

Awesome road trips don't take long to reach truly epic places, like Waterton Lakes near Calgary, Alberta, Canada (photo courtesy of http://www.cgpgrey.com/)

These days, you’re really busy with your career, and you don’t think you have time for travel.  Well, you are wrong.  You might not be able to jet halfway around the world and lounge on an exotic beach for six months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t discover the world that lies immediately outside your home base.

Travelers explore your city and the area around it every day, and they are wowed by what they find … and so can you. Resolve to begin exploring the territory within quick reach of your home turf, as many surprises await.

Before you hop in your car, tell loved ones when you expect to be back, and let them track your progress by having them download a GPS tracking app that allows them to see where you are at all times, and with a function that lets you tell your relatives that you’ve gotten home safely, even the most neurotic mother will be set at ease.

To give you examples of the awesome road trips you can have within a short distance of home, here are three sample itineraries from centres around the world…

From Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Waterton Lakes National Park

Most folks hit the Trans-Canada highway for weekend day trips away from this dynamic Canadian city to see the uber-popular Banff National Park, but few take the time to head southwest along the Cowboy Trail (Alberta Highway 22) towards Waterton Lakes National Park, a considerably quieter natural reserve that sits adjacent to Glacier National Park in Montana. Check in for the night at the posh and iconic Prince of Wales Hotel, and you can either elect to admire the beauty of Waterton Lake from there, or get right into the thick of it by taking an international boat tour that crosses the 49th parallel in its quest to show you the epic views present in this off-the-beaten track park.

From Miami, Florida, USA: Key West

When the lavish sands of South Beach start to get too hectic for your tastes, taking to U.S. 1 and heading south is the perfect antidote.  Cruising over the aquamarine waters and tiny cays of the southern Gulf of Mexico, your stresses and cares will melt away.  Find a secret beach along the way, or head all the way to Ernest Hemingway’s favourite abode of Key West, where the locals have a way of life that stands in stark contrast to the urban reality of Miami.

From London, England: Cornwall and Land’s End

When the humdrum of daily life in London has you at your wit’s end, escape in your automobile and explore rugged seacoast, secluded beaches and ancient castle ruins of Cornwall.  If you want to contemplate the nature of your existence, or are just looking for a moment of zen, head all the way to Land’s End, where you can stare out into the open Atlantic, where the next bit of land lies thousands of kilometres away.

The Open Road Is Calling

Even if you don’t own a car, renting one will allow you to steer you and your friends to adventures you could never anticipate until the moment you bust loose from your city.  Give Netflix a break this weekend … a wealth of experiences are lurking outside your established comfort zone!

Top Reasons To Visit The United States: America’s Best Aspects

If you are asking about the top reasons to visit The United States, then you’d be looking at a long list. There’s a reason why the United States is the most visited country in the world. And it’s not just because it is home to Hollywood stars. If you are among those people who are curious about what this country has to offer, here is a list of the most amazing features of America.

Best Place To VIsit In The United States

 1. Commerce and Shopping –The United States is the birthplace of many well-known brands and companies, in various industries. And they offer people not only impressive products and services to meet their wants and needs, but also abundant business opportunities. Some of the most powerful enterprises whose headquarters is found in America include Apple, Microsoft, Universal Studios, J. Crew, and Walmart to name a few.

2. Historical Sites – It may not be as ancient as Italy or England. But the country does house several monumental infrastructures and destinations that shaped the course of the world. There’s the town of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania where the great American Civil War had its turning point. And there’s the sites for the September 11 attacks, which scarred the world and launched one of the biggest wars in American history as well as precipitated one of its most depressing financial times.

3. Leisure Activities and Facilities – The country is also not lacking in places where people can have fun, cool down and have a relaxing time. For those who are young at heart, Anaheim’s Disneyland would certainly be a treat to visit. And those looking to let loose will be excited to step into the intriguing landscape of Las Vegas which offers non-stop entertainment from gaming to broadway-style shows. Holidays to Las Vegas are a must on an USA trip itinerary. In case you are interested in learning more about culture and art, you would certainly find the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for a great addition to the top reasons to visit The United States.

4. Natural Wonders – Now in spite of its urbanized setting, there are still parts of the United States that make it an effortlessly beautiful destination. There are many locations including the Florida Keys, Denali National Park, and the Preserve of Alaska. We can also add in the Niagara falls, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and the Hawaiian archipelago. If you decide to visit the Hawaiian archipelago you can choose to stay in the Maui Villas, which offer a variety of amenities..

These top reasons to visit The United States make just a small part of what people from here and who had been here would point out as relevant. Further research on the matter should enlighten you more on what this nation has to offer.

Philadelphia Travel Guide

The Philly Skyline on a sunny day

“The City of Brotherly Love”, the pride and joy of Rocky Balboa, the 5th largest city in the United States, and the heavenly site of my birth, Philadelphia! Philly, as it is more commonly known, is one of the oldest cities in the country and has more cool stuff to check out than any long weekend can offer. You’ve been waiting for it, I’ve been slacking on it, but now, it’s time. Here’s the Philadelphia Travel Guide!


The first Europeans to stake claim on the Delaware Valley where Philadelphia is located, were the Swedish believe it or not in the early 1600’s. It remained under their control until the 1680’s when William Penn was awarded the territory of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania stands for Penn’s woods) by King Charles the II of England in 1681. Penn, who decided to leave England because of religious persecution, established the Pennsylvania territory as a place for people to practice whatever religion they chose freely, a truly progressive idea for the time.

He wanted to create a town that would be a center for government, but wouldn’t be overcrowded with residential and commercial properties and would boast a multitude of parks and gardens. Penn’s unique grid-layout city at 90 degree angles was the first major US city to be planned as such. By the early 1700’s, Philadelphia began to boom, and one famous resident, Benjamin Franklin, is credited with so many urban advancements, that it’s almost unthinkable to believe one man did so much for one place (think post office, fire brigade…electricity!)

Philadelphia was the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and served as the nation’s capital from 1790 until 1800 while Washington D.C. was under construction.

Today, Philadelphia has expanded to be the 5th largest city in the country with a population of over 1.5 million people.

Where to Stay in Philadelphia

Philadelphia sprawls over a large land area, but it also has one of the biggest downtowns in the USA. That being said, you will most likely opt to stay in downtown, known as Center City. This core has many different neighborhoods and is generally accepted as being from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River (pronounced SKook-ill) and from South Street to Fairmount Avenue.

Some nice areas to stay are in Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square, Olde City, Fairmount and Fittler Square, all of which offer good dining options, nightlife and walking distance to the lion share of the city’s best museums and attractions.

What to See in Philadelphia

If museums are your thing, and even if they aren’t, there are some must-sees in Philadelphia. Firstly, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is famous in its own right. The iconic neo-classical façade looks like a massive Greek temple, and it overlooks the city from its perch atop a small hill in an acropolistic fashion. It is affectionately known as the “Parthenon on the Parkway” and its steps are world famous for the scene in Rocky where he runs up and thrusts his hands up in pride. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the country and has countless works from modern masterpieces to ancient treasures. Don’t forget to check out the amazing collection of arms and armor.

The Franklin Institute is another museum in Philadelphia, and probably the best science museum in the country. It is dedicated to none other than Ben Franklin himself and guards some of his most interesting inventions, huge exhibits on trains, planes, medical advancements and space. There is a one-of-a-kind spherical IMAX theater that plays science related movies, as well as Hollywood blockbusters. The planetarium does laser light shows to soundtracks on the weekends for such bands as Pink Floyd, Metallica and Radiohead just to name a few.

Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the coolest things to see in Philadelphia! Located in Fairmount, Eastern State looks like a medieval castle plopped into the middle of a city. It was an operational jail from 1829 until 1971 and one of the first of its kind where reform was focused on instead of punishment (even though it looks like people were tortured there from the outside!). Famous inmates included Al Capone and Willie Sutton. You can take a tour seven days a week, from 10 am to 5 PM.

Historic Jails in America

Independence Mall

Located just west of Olde City, Independence Mall is home to Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed), the Visitor’s Center, Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell. Basically everything you could possibly want to learn about the founding of the United States with the artifacts to go along with it!

Where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Magic Gardens
Located at 10th and South Street, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens are amazing; three urban plots completely covered in mosaic glass and other interesting thingamajiggers. They are the work of Isaiah Zagar and what started as just a personal project is now a gallery, museum and outdoor labyrinth where you can wander around and marvel at the mosaics. They are made from everything from classic tiles and glass to old bike wheels and other urban relics.

Philadelphia Zoo

The first zoo in the United States, the Philadelphia Zoo opened its doors in 1874. It’s just a couple of miles from downtown making it an easily accessible attraction that you can spend an entire day at it with its sprawling grounds and interested animals and exhibits. One of the coolest things to do is actually buy a ticket for the Zooballon, a giant helium balloon that rises 400 ft. above the zoo for commanding views of the Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia skyline (don’t worry, it’s tethered!)

What to eat in Philadelphia

Well this one is basically a no brainer, obviously when in Philadelphia, you have to eat a Cheese steak! You’ll hear a lot about two places, Geno’s and Pat’s which are in South Philly, but don’t waste your time or money. The best cheese steak in Philadelphia is Steve’s Prince of Steaks, which lucky for you, just opened a  new location at 16th and Chestnut right in the heart of downtown.

cheesesteaks in philadelphia

After you’ve sampled a cheese steak  you are free to enjoy the rest of the burgeoning food scene in Philadelphia, one that’s been getting a lot of international attention. There are a wealth of amazing places to enjoy, with a high concentration of them in downtown.

For breakfast/brunch, don’t miss Honey’s Sit and Eat in the Northern Liberties section. This place has an awesome brunch and ambiance that will leave you feeling almost as hip as the hipsters running it.  You can find it at 800 N 4th St. Another hipsterific place to grab a coffee and the best fresh donuts you’ll ever have is Federal donuts at 1632 Sansom St.

For lunch, you have to go to Reading Terminal Market. Located right in downtown at 12th and Arch. This is the farmers market that other farmers markets strive to be. Encompassing an entire city block, Reading Terminal Market has amazing, fresh made-to-order food at countless stalls. There are also multiple stalls run by true Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) who come in and sell their meats, breads and sweets. You could honestly eat every single meal here for a month and never grub at the same place twice, nor have a bad meal.

For dinner, some great places are The Continental (modern tapas), Han Dynasty (Szechuan style Chinese) El Vez (Mexican) Bellini Grill (Italian and a BYOB) and Audrey Claire (Modern Farm to Table, BYOB and Cash Only)

Where to drink in Philadelphia

Philly has some pretty solid nightlife and there is no shortage of watering holes. Some of the best bars with great cocktails are Franklin MortgageButcher Singer and The Ranstead Room. For great all around bars, head to Time, Fado, McGillin’s (oldest bar in Philadelphia) Ladder 15 and Buffalo Billiards.

If you’re looking to cut a little rug, then Philly has some clubs to get your booty grooving including Lit Ultra Bar, Whisper and Z Bar.

Philadelphia is really a great place to spend a few days and is very stress-free to get to. The Philadelphia International Airport is easy to navigate, has flights from virtually everywhere, and is served by both public buses and a train that goes directly downtown. Philadelphia is also only 2 hours south of New York City by bus (faster on the train) and 3 hours north of Washington D.C. making it the perfect place to base explorations into the mid-Atlantic region or northeast.

I hope my Philadelphia Travel Guide was useful to you and that it makes your next trip to the City of Brotherly Love a memorable one!