A little further north and the Big Apple

Sarah and my favourite
 Cracker Barrel breakfast

After the disney experience it was time for a whole new experience …driving. Obviously the 1000s of miles I have navigated while Ian has driven over here paid off. Driving on right felt as natural as driving at home it is funny how easily one can adapt when immersed in experiences. We set off from the Avis rental agency at the Hilton Hotel at downtown disney, all very smooth and within minutes we were on the interstate (I90) and headed north to Charleston South Carolina. We had a break at first Cracker Barrel we came across and my eggs in a basket were sensational and really hit the spot.

One of many stately homes Charelston

The drive was uneventful apart from driving through some of the heaviest rain I have ever seen when we were about 80 miles from Charleston, of course it was on the section of road that was two way traffic (used to that as that all we have at home) fortunately I was able stick to the tailgate of a semi ahead, if he made a mistake I was going to be making the same one as he was all I could see. Eventually the rain cleared and we found ourselves in Charleston at about 6pm just time to find a hotel and get some rest.

The following morning we headed into downtown to the Charleston City Markets to take a carriage ride around Charleston with Old South Carriage Tours. This was the best 90 minutes of the day we were able to hear about the history, the homes and Charleston in general. Charleston is a place certainly worthy of more time to explore, such a rich history but also a pretty place to visit.

After our tour and with more storms threatening we headed for our next over night stop at Dunn North Carolina, this was just a stopover so we didn’t explore further than to have dinner at the Brass Lantern Steak house this was good but as usual the serves are way too big, could have fed a family off my plate.

The next planned tour was the plantation of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation near Charlotte North Carolina. This was an outstanding tour made even more special by our guide that took us through the house and provided us with so much information about this amazing man. This man was so forward thinking, an early adopter and in his words ‘a farmer’. He may have been;

  • Representative to House of Burgesses from Albemarle County – 1769-1776
  • Delegate to Continental Congress – 1775-1776 and 1783-1784
  • Appointed Minister to negotiate treaties with Barbary States and various European nations – 1784
  • Member of Virginia House of Delegates – 1776-1779
  • Governor of Virginia – 1779-1781
  • Minister Plenipotentiary to France – 1785-1789
  • US Secretary of State – September 26, 1789 – December 31, 1793
  • Vice President of the United States – March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
  • President of the United States – March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809

Not to mention writing Declaration of Independence but whenever asked for his occupation he always listed farmer.

We checked in to our hotel nearby with score of 2 for 2 on great tour to give us a snapshot of life in the south. 

Day four of our little road trip found us in the Amish district in Pennsylvania we took a little drive around the district, up and down the lanes and saw many of the Amish people going about their business. This is my third visit here and it gets prettier every time. We stayed in Lancaster and just a few yards down the road we booked for a tour of the farms, an Amish home and a couple of their Amish business run from farms.  The tour was very informative and provided a great insight to the lives of the Amish and how they assimilate with ‘the english’ the name Amish give to everyone that is not Amish. We made some purchases at the two businesses and really enjoyed the tour of the farm and the house, although seen one farm see them all. 

Now the last two hours of the drive into Newark to return the car, then catch train from Newark airport to Penn Station Manhattan.  The train ride was okay and Penn station is as always hot and crowed and confusing but never the less we found our way out grabbed a cab and were checked into the Chelsea Savoy on corner 23rd and 7th Ave by about 6pm. The kids had checked in earlier and had already been to Outback steak house (just up street) for lunch. We decided we too would go there for our dinner which was good. A good night sleep was in order. We made a leisurely start to the day headed to Macy’s just a few blocks away for a browse and then off to to pick up Hop on Hop off bus ticket, we decided to take the downtown loop for the rest of the day. This was okay although it kept raining on us and guide was less than informative. 

Day two we had tickets to a Yankees versus Texas Rangers baseball game at Yankee stadium. We were meeting up with others at the game. Before we headed to the game we spent the morning in Macy’s and generally wandering around.

At midday it was time to get the subway system worked out and get to the game. After one false start I now have the subway sort and it is definitely the best way to get around.

We arrived at Yankees Stadium 30 minutes after leaving our hotel. The stadium is unbelievable and we have nothing that compares to how well they handle big crowds. Food and drink and bathroom facilities are plentiful and there is little waiting at anytime.

The game was great and we had the best seats. Yes we had hotdogs, fries covered in cheese and ice-cream out of little baseball caps. The trip home was uneventful after we waited for about 20 minutes for the crowds to clear in the subway station. The subway trains are so clean they leave ours for dead. Our stations are cleaner but their carriages are spotless. There is a subway station on almost every corner block.

Our last day in New York we did the Brooklyn loop on our hop on hop off tour took a walk through central park and visited the underground Apple store. As everyone going separate ways Saturday we had dinner at a great BBQ place near our hotel Hill Country BBQ. Sarah and Dan heading home tomorrow, Charlie and Megan headed to San Francisco and LA before heading home in a few days. We on the other hand are embarking on another road trip to take in one of the main purposes of the trip taking mum to Niagara Falls.

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