USA

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The USA, land of the free and self-appointed protector of the world is an interesting amalgam of people, places and experiences. In many ways, it is a contradiction in terms. It’s united in so many ways, but the recent 2016 elections proved it’s completely divided. A so-called class-less society, there is an obvious split between rich and poor, black and latin. Yet there’s a patriotic fervor here like no other. It’s these tensions that make it an interesting study in humanity – the world looks to it for leadership, trends and ideas, yet they mock it for its exclusionary attitudes. Strange for a country that was a beacon of hope and attracted generations of new-comers to find freedom in the place that was originally (like Australia), a dumping ground for criminals and miscreants.

The best way to experience the United States is to split it up into manageable bite-sized chunks. Start with the obvious coastal cities and the bright lights of Vegas, and then start digging a little deeper to see what makes this such a weird and wonderful place to visit.

Texas Capitol Building, Austin

The Capitol Building in Austin bears more than a passing resemblance to the Washington Capitol, but at Easter, it has more of a connection with the White House. So Dallas Isn’t the Capital? For foreigners (us included), the prominence of Dallas in media growing up had us thinking that it would be Texas’ capital city, but like New York, where the actual...

Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous

You know it’s going to be good barbecue when past presidents would have it flown in to the White House for their own enjoyment.  From the exterior, Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous restaurant doesn’t give much away. Old painted advertisements on the side of the building hint at its location, but it’s actually secreted in a sketchy looking alley butting up against a...

Father Knows Best, Bushwick

As the waves of gentrification sweep further east towards the outer extremities of Bushwick, semi industrial spaces are making way for creative new venues and eateries like relative newcomer, Father Knows Best. This former garage is decked out in modern reclaimed wood furnishings, the walls covered in colorful paintings by local artists. By day, Father Knows Best is...

Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid

Memphis’ Bass Pro Shop in the Memphis Pyramid is the world’s largest fishing and outdoor retail outlet, treading an incredibly fine line between mega shopping experience and redneck wonderland.  So what’s with the Pyramid? The Mississippi and the Nile are two very different river systems, but both have a Memphis on their respective shores, so it made total sense to...

Hard Rock Cafe, Memphis

Most Hard Rock Cafes are locked in the eighties in terms of service, noteworthy memorabilia and menu but when it’s the Hard Rock Cafe in Memphis you’re going to see some real rock n roll treasures. Who ever goes into a Hard Rock Cafe just for the food? The booze, sure! Sadly this place doesn’t seem keen to deliver on either with lengthy queues to get a table and bar...

The Peabody Ducks, Memphis

New York’s Waldorf Astoria, Milwaukee’s Pfister, classic, stately hotels with legendary back stories and folklore but do they have a flock of red carpet-walking ducks? The Peabody does. The Peabody Hotel is one of Memphis’ oldest hotels, from an era where opulence and old money reigned supreme. This second manifestation was opened in 1925, after an earlier version...

Hiking Cold Spring

When the rat race gets too much, escape to one of the many green spaces around New York’s Hudson Valley. There are some beautiful hiking trails within an hour and a half of Manhattan. If you’re not sure you need to get out of town, the gauntlet run between the subway and the main concourse of Grand Central will surely remind you. Grand Central is a stunning place to...

Jacob Riis Park, New York

One of the best places to escape on a hot, sunny New York day is Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. With a wide, expansive beach, live entertainment, gourmet snacks and frozen margaritas, it’s worth the effort getting out here. Jacob Riis Park, Riis to the locals, is a length of beach from an art deco red brick pavilion built in the 1930s up to Fort Tilden, a former...

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Bourbon Street brings up romanticized imagery in the mind’s eye of brass bands, deep African-American spirituals and French street signage. That is just a small part of it. The reality is much closer to Vegas. It’s where people come to party. Really, really hard. And it’s seedy. Woah there! Wasn’t it supposed to be about great live shows and good times? I’m glad you...

The ultimate Christmas in New York bucket list

So much of what we associate with Christmas comes from movies set in New York. That makes it high on most people’ lists of places to visit over Christmas. From ice skating under the Rockefeller Christmas tree to visiting Santa at Macy’s, the only disappoint will be the lack of a white Christmas. That’s right, white Christmases are rare in NYC. Snow is always possible...