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.

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...

Boston Tea Party Museum

It’s the middle of winter and raining and instead of nursing a coffee, we’re heading to the Boston Tea Party Museum. The Boston Tea Party, a rebellion between the colonists and the British over extra taxes being placed on bales of tea is the event that kick started the American War of Independence. What was basically an ambush where the aggrieved locals dressed as...

Review: Minetta Tavern, NY

Michelin star winning burgers and its Italian heritage has made Greenwich Village mainstay, the Minetta Tavern a hot spot for casual dining for the fine dining set. As local Greenwich Village residents, the Minetta Tavern has been on our list of places to try since first moving to the neighborhood three years ago. Its position on a crowded corner of McDougall and...

Castillo De San Cristobal, Old San Juan

Its cannons may inspire imagery of marauding pirates, but the Castillo De San Cristobal has played a strictly defensive role in protecting the tropical walled city of San Juan. Finished in 1783, the baroque fort is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the new world. The stronghold of Castillo De San Cristobal overlooks the whole of Old San Juan from the...

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Arlington Cemetery provides a moving memorial to fallen heroes and space for quiet contemplation. What do the men of Band of Brothers’s Easy Company, astronauts, former presidents, Hollywood actors and a jazz great all have in common? They’re all buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Arlington’s esteemed internees include Lee Marvin, Glenn Miller...

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery, San Juan, PR

Views abound at the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan. It’s a shame that the residents don’t even get to see them. Ever heard the saying, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven? Well nowhere does this feel truer than in Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery. In terms of a tomb with a view, there’s not a dud space in the house. Puns...

Review: Mother of Pearl cocktail lounge

Mother of Pearl is a cocktail bar in New York’s East Village. There is no shortage of quality cocktail bars in New York. To stand out from the crowd, each has their shtick: hard cover recipe books sold internationally, hidden speakeasies, copper Moscow mule cups – Will Ferrell themes. You need to have a story to go with those $15 cocktails and when you crack...