Chicago is a great location for a quick weekend trip. It is very easy to get to from MSY (3 different carriers fly non-stop). Plus, the flight is under two hours. We left on the first flight Friday morning (flying United – we ended up getting upgraded to exit row seats for free which was nice) and were at our hotel by 9:00 a.m.
We just took a cab from the airport, which cost around $40-$50…Taking public transportation from O’Hare is supposed to be not too difficult and only $2.50 a person, so that is a definitely cheaper alternative. Another positive with having a quick non-stop flight, you can leave your destination in the afternoon and still get back to town at a reasonable hour.
There is plenty to do in Chicago to keep you entertained for a long weekend. There are many restaurants, ranging from the ultra high end to casual joints. For entertainment, there are plenty of options…Museums, zoos, an aquarium, sporting events, shows, etc. Chicago also has several Blues Clubs and Piano Bars for night activity. We were pretty busy while we were there and still did not get to do a lot of stuff I would have liked to have done.
As with all the retro review, I typed it up several years ago. I’m finally getting around to posting it along with some other new stuff on trip planning.
We left on a Thursday morning and flew Jet Blue non-stop to NYC. Alyce and I both really liked flying Jet Blue; you get to check one bag free, each person gets their own Direct TV free of charge, and you get unlimited free drinks and snacks. Also, this was the first time I had flown anywhere non-stop in a long time, and it was very nice – especially on the way home. I think from here on out, I’ll search for direct flights and pay the difference as long as it is not too much more expensive than the cheapest option.
We flew into JFK and had no trouble catching a cab to the city (which cost about $50 and took about 45 minutes). We stayed at the Hampton Inn – Times Square North. The hotel itself was nice enough and reasonably priced for its location. If you’re looking for over the top luxury, look elsewhere; but the location could not be beat for what we did on the trip. Almost everything we did was within close walking distance.
We got around in the city mostly by walking and subways with the occasional cab ride mixed in. Finding your way is pretty easy as the streets are numbered from South to North and the avenues from East to West, so you can always get your bearings straight by walking a block if you get mixed up. The subways were not confusing either – as long as you have your route planned out. Also, neither of us felt unsafe at any point of the trip (riding the subways or walking around at night)…though we did stay in the more populated areas of Manhattan.
On the timing…We went a week before Christmas, and I think it is a cool time to visit NYC. There were Christmas decorations everywhere, and we saw the big Christmas tree and skating rink outside Rockefeller Center (we went on our first day, Thursday, and it was infinitely less crowded than it was on the weekend). NYC at Christmas is definitely something to see, especially if you are big into Christmas (which Alyce is). Having said that, next time we go back it will probably be in the Spring/Early Summer. It was very cold (20’s and windy), and we luckily missed out on the massive snowstorm that hit NYC a week later and screwed up flights/local transportation/seemingly everything in that area. So that is obviously a risk you take going to the Northeast in the winter.
We really enjoyed Anguilla. It is a flat (Coral) Island and is known for its great beaches and fine dining options. Anguilla is relatively “new” in terms of Caribbean tourism, so it is not overly developed – which is nice.
We went in May, which is actually the beginning of low season in Anguilla (and the Caribbean in general). I like going at that time of the year because it is before hurricane season (and heart of summer) – so you don’t have to worry about that. But it is low season, so you avoid the high season rates.
I typed this up a couple years ago after we got back from Napa. It’s long, but I had some friends that would be travelling there soon. Plus, I like having the reports (same as now with the wrap ups). We have since been back to Napa, so it is fun to go back and read the report.
We should be back to current stuff tomorrow. Here is Napa 2010 with some pictures from Alyce’s facebook account:
Napa – May 2010
I enjoyed this trip more than I was expecting too. Going into it I was excited about all of the eating out plans and thought touring/tasting the wineries would just be a filler during the day to get to the meals…I was wrong.
We’re tight on time right now, but I had typed up reviews of our trips in the past. So this can serve as some interim entertainment
British Virgin Islands – June 2009 (Honeymoon)
We went to the British Virgin Islands for 15 nights on our honeymoon. We stayed on two different islands (for a week each), in addition to a night spent on St. Thomas the day we arrived.
On the whole, we loved the BVI’s. We always felt safe on the islands. They were not overly touristy. Plus there were plenty of things to do when you actually are looking for something to do.