See also my tip on tipping. In general terms we found service was excellent with waiters being very attentive. Unlike Western Australia whereby most waiters are young students working part time in the US it seems that many are middle aged and this is their career. Their wages are extremely low and therefore they survive on their tips. When tipping makes sure that you tip on the total bill that includes the tax.
One of the most challenging aspects for us was the tipping “culture” that pervades it seems, all aspects of American daily life. For us it became a dilemma as we were never sure who we should tip and how much. In some cases it was 10% of the bill and in other circumstances it was as much as 18%. Waiters are obviously tipped but we also found ourselves tipping reception clerks, the bell boy, the hotel maid, the guy who served us a pizza, tour operators indeed, anyone who did something for us.
On reflection, we realised “tipping” does have an impact in terms of maintaining cordial relations between people. It is also justified on the grounds that it ensures every employee has a stake in ensuring the business does well but I can’t help feeling it also justifies keeping wages down. An American told me waiters earn only $2.00 an hour. I don’t know whether this is completely accurate but it is a horrific statistic given that in Australia babysitters can earn much more.
So what is my tip? Make sure you factor in when budgeting that you will have to tip hospitality workers and keep sufficient cash handy for this purpose while you’re travelling.
You can find this phenomenon from all guides but to me it was a disappointment, ten old cars in the field, what's the point? Okay, they are Cadillacs and there is a story behind. Or... maybe happened that the story started later, check the list! a) Film "Cars" by Disney, b) song "Cadillac Ranch" by Bruce Springsteen, c) seen in "King of the Hill" d) another songs by John Stewart and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and e) music video and... the list is endless. And you never know what is coming, cars have been white, black, graffiti colored and they are overpainted occasionally.
It is in private land, but visiting (gate is unlocked) is tacitly encouraged.
This is a Tourist Trap, but some of them are just musts, and this is among them.
One of the musts on the Route 66 is this neon sign. On day light it was a little bit difficult to find, my motel's clerk didn't know it at all. I was very close, I knew about where it should, but I did not understand to look higher.
"Here We are On Route 66" was a phrase used on a post card that promoted travel on Route 66. The post card was made famous again recently when Michael Wallis, author of "Route 66: The Mother Road" placed a copy of it on the cover of his book.
Jerry McClanahan, who wrote the "The EZ66 Guide for Traveler's" describes the sign as "depicting a pink '59 Caddy headed into a Route 66 neon sunset." This sign can be seen over the entrance to the Gallup Chamber of Commerce in the middle of town.
Btw, Jerry's book was the best we found and I would like to recommend that to you, too. Remember the check editions, currently the third edition is valid (update 6th May 2013). There are updates on Jerry's pages, check them also.
The interstate highways in the U.S. are easy safe and efficient. That is the rub of it. Over the last few decades they have become a parade of every place exactly like every other place. So I recommend that you drive at least a portion of your trip in America on what are known as blue highways.
The American Automobile Association publish maps that designate scenic highways with blue dotted lines and they came to be known as the "Blue Highways".Now most road maps have scenic route marked.
You can combine this with a fun game. Try to find the coolest neon, find the coolest waitress, find the best pie. It is a great way to see the "Real America" William Least Heat-Moon wrote a great book on just this kind of travel. If you are coming to America it is a fantastic read.
I started to make my U.S pages because I drove the Route 66, passed eight states and I have been in some more, so I thought that I know something about U.S. But to be honest, the more I there roam the less I seem to understand. Or I understand that I know that I don't know. But I am a U.S fan and I will learn :)
If I would write only one review of U.S. it would be this one. There are a lot of places, with more interest may be, but this is the #1 to me in U.S. I waited to see it and I was not disappointed (like in some other places around), even more, I was entranced!
Spanish found this place 1540. Wrong, this place has been found a far before, but (we) European think that we found everything (think about Kolumbus, he didn't know where he was going, where he was, what he found and he even wrote the maps wrong and we say that he found the America! Let me laugh :)
Let's take again, Soldiers of Francisco Vasques de Coronado was the first Europeans visiting this place late summer 1540. He and his forces had traveled 6 months to reach this Hopi area and by the way he was guided by Hopi Indians. The first the see this miracle was Garcia Lopez de Cardenas.
The canyon is 277 miles long and depth is 6000 feet (more than a mile) and it's said to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Capital of the world, New York is a large city with the secret of a new surprise each time we visit it, no matter the frequency or the dept of the visit.
So far, I've been there five times, and keep hoping that, one day, I will discover New York. Though most of the sensations felt in New York are hard to express, my New York City VT page will grow. That's a promise.
I hesitated a lot about which version of the picture should I publish - with or without the twin towers. Memories make people suffer, but erasing these memories seems a sort of treason. So, I decided to publish both versions, giving priority to people's feelings
Nickname: Bay State; Land Area: 7,838 square miles (20,300 square kilometers); Population: 6,547,629; Capital: Boston; Largest City: Boston
Officially called the Christ Episcopal Church, the Old North Church is the oldest surviving religious structure in Boston. It belongs to the parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
The church was designed by architect William Price, and was built in 1723 in the Georgian style of architecture. The design was inspired by many of the churches in London that were built by Sir Christopher Wren.
The church's steeple has been replaced twice. The original steeple was destroyed by a storm in 1804. Its 175-foot (53-meter) replacement was designed by architect Charles Bulfinch. That steeple toppled during a hurricane in 1954. The new steeple is an exact replica of Bulfinch's steeple, and it retains the original weathervane.
One of the most important events in American history took place at this church. On April 18, 1775, at the request of Paul Revere, the church's sexton, Robert Newman, and two other patriots hung two lanterns in the the church's belfry to warn patriots in Charlestown of the departure of British troops to Lexington and Concord. The lanterns were lit for less than one minute so as not to be noticed by the British. One lantern was to be lit if the British forces were to march on Charlestown by land, and two were to be lit if the British were to reach Charlestown by taking boats across the Charles River. The words that have become part of the American lexicon, "one if by land, and two if by sea" relate to this event and come from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride.
There is a plaque on the front of the Old North Church commemorating this event which reads: "The signal lanterns of Paul Revere displayed in the steeple of this church, April 18, 1775, warned the country of the march of the British troops to Lexington and Concord".
The Old North Church has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
down from Niagara you can go to Rocking Horse Ranch
in my spare times used to go there a lot for horse riding and it has grown greatly over the years, great fun
hope it helps your planning
Nickname: Equality State and Cowboy State; Land Area: 97,105 square miles (251,500 square kilometers); Population: 563,626; Capital: Cheyenne; Largest City: Cheyenne
I have not been to Wyoming since joining Virtual Tourist. Therefore, I do not have any pictures or tips about this state at this time.
Nickname: Badger State; Land Area: 54,314 square miles (140,700 square kilometers); Population: 5,686,986; Capital: Madison; Largest City: Milwaukee
This tip is not about any restaurants, but rather the numerous roadside cheese shops that are common throughout the state. There are hundreds of small shops that offer many varieties of Wisconsin cheese, as well as curds (a popular snack in Wisconsin), sausages, Wisconsin maple syrup, souvenirs of Wisconsin, and other locally produced products.
Wisconsin has a long history of producing quality cheese. There has always been an important dairy industry in the state (Wisconsin's motto is, after all, "America's Dairyland"), and cheese production has been a significant factor in the state's dairy industry. Nowadays, Wisconsin produces 35 percent of all the cheese made in the United States. The state has around 13,000 dairy farms and 1,260,000 milk cows. Ninety percent of the milk produced by those cows goes into the production of cheese.
Wisconsin's first cheese factory opened in 1841. By 1922, there were an estimated 2,800 cheese factories in the state. And in 1921, Wisconsin became the first state to grade its cheese for quality.
Although there are not as many cheese factories nowadays as in the early twentieth century, Wisconsin still has about 60 artisan cheese makers that produce over 600 varieties of cheese. Most of these cheese makers welcome visitors.
Many visitors' centers have pamphlets highlighting "Cheese Trails" that visitors can follow to visit cheese makers and some of the small roadside shops.
Nickname: Mountain State; Land Area: 24,807 square miles (64,250 square kilometers); Population: 1,852,994; Capital: Charleston; Largest City: Charleston
The West Virginia State Penitentiary has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was named "One of the Best 500 Places to Visit in the United States" by US News & World Report in 1996.
The West Virginia State Penitentiary was modeled after Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, but is only one-half the size of Joliet's prison. Designed in a castellated Gothic style of architecture, the building has turrets and battlements like a castle. The first phase of the prison was completed in 1876, and later additions in the 1920s doubled the size of the building.
Inmates were given jobs in the prison's backsmith, wagon shop, carpentry shop, brickyard, stone yard, paint shop, tailor, bakery, or hospital. The penitentiary later added a prison farm and coal mine where inmates could work.
A total of 94 men were executed in the penitentiary: 85 were hung between 1899 and 1949, and nine were electrocuted between 1951 and 1959. Others were killed by fellow inmates. It is said that the building is haunted by the spirits of those who died within its walls.
The West Virginia State Penitentiary closed in 1995 after the West Virginia Supreme Court held that the prison's five-foot by seven-foot (one-and-a-half-meter by two-meter) cells amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. The inmates were moved to other prisons throughout the state.
Nowadays, 90-minute tours of the penitentiary are available, and allow visitors to experience "Life on the Inside." However, the most popular tours are nighttime ghost tours and hunts. Since the penitentiary closed, there have been sightings of apparitions and reports of voices and unexplained sounds. It is widely considered to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. As a result, several popular television programs dealing with ghosts and the paranormal, including Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, Most Haunted, and Ghost Stories have filmed episodes here. This, in turn, has made the West Virginia State Penitentiary a must-see destination for those interested in the paranormal.
Nickname: Evergreen State; Land Area: 66,582 square miles (172,400 square kilometers); Population: 6,724,540; Capital: Olympia; Largest City: Seattle
Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydroelectric dam in North America. It is also the largest concrete structure in the United States, containing 12,000,000 cubic yards (9,175,000 cubic meters) of concrete. It is 5,223 feet (1,592 kilometers) across, and 550 feet (168 meters) high.
The dam is the largest producer of electric power in the United States, and the fifth-largest producer of electric power in the world. Generating almost 2,000,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, it supplies inexpensive power to most of the Pacific Northwest. All this power is produced by 33 hydroelectric generators housed in four power houses.
During the Second World War, the enormous amounts of electricity generated by Grand Coulee Dam significantly helped the Allies win the war. Nearby plants produced aluminum which was used in the manufacture of aircraft. Production of aluminum requires large amounts of electricity, amounts that were practically non-existant in the world at the time. Because of Grand Coulee Dam's power, the United States was able to out-produce the Germans and Japanese in aircraft.
In addition to producing hydroelectric power, the water backed up by Grand Coulee Dam irrigates 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of farmland in the arid interior of Washington State.
The dam also created Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, a reservoir stretching 150 miles (241 kilometers) from the dam to the Canadian border. The reservoir has 125 square miles (324 square kilometers) of surface area, and 600 miles (966 kilometers) of shoreline. The reservoir offers many outdoor recreational possibilities, such as boating, waterskiing, swimming, and fishing.
Grand Coulee Dam was constructed by the United States Bureau of Reclamation between 1933 and 1942, during the height of the Depression. It provided work for around 8,000 men who would have been otherwise unemployed. Housing had to be constructed next to the work site to house the workers. The houses built then make up today's town of Grand Coulee.
Nickname: The Old Dominion State; Land Area: 39,598 square miles (102,600 square kilometers); Population: 8,001,024; Capital: Richmond; Largest City: Virginia Beach
The home the nation's first president, George Washington, Mount Vernon was constructed between 1741 and 1742. The estate, which was originally owned by George Washington's brother, Lawrence, was inherited by George Washington when his sister-in-law, Anne Fairfax Washington died in 1761.
Mount Vernon was a 500-acre (202-hectare) plantation which consisted of a border of deep woods, rolling meadows, cultivated fields, and groves of trees. After acquiring the property, George Washington made improvements which included a pleasure garden and a kitchen garden. It was a self-sustaining plantation, meaning that nothing was bought that could be produced on the grounds.
Nowadays, Mount Vernon is a museum dedicated to the life of George and Martha Washington. The museum has a collection of over 30,000 objects that were owned by the Washingtons. The artifacts are divided between the Curatorial Collections, which includes physical objects such as sculptures, ceramics, glassworks, textiles, cooking utensiles and tools, and George Washington's famous dentures; and the Library/Archives, which includes papers, manuscripts, rare books, and prints. After the death of George Washington, most of his possessions were distributed to various heirs and scattered across the country. The museum has worked hard to re-acquire much of the Washington memorabilia over the years. The Washingtons are buried on the property, and it is possible to view their graves when visiting Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon is located along the Potomac River, 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Washington, D.C.
Nickname: Green Mountain State; Land Area: 9,249 square miles (23,950 square kilometers); Population: 625,741; Capital: Montpelier; Largest City: Burlington
Today's Maple Grove Farms had its beginnings in 1915 when Helen Gray and Ethel McLaren experimented with making maple confections on the family farm. Their candies were so good that friends and family kept them busy making candy. Their enterprise soon expanded due to word-of-mouth business. Nowadays, Maple Grove Farms is the largest packer of maple syrup in the United States and the largest producer of maple candies in the world.
Visitors can take a tour of Maple Grove Farms to see how maple candy is made. Costing only one dollar, the tour is one of the greatest travel bargains anywhere. Visitors watch as maple syrup is boiled down to leave maple sugar, which is then poured into molds to set. At the end of the tour, free samples of maple candy are available in the gift shop. Visitors can also sample pure Vermont maple syrup and taste the different grades: Fancy, Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C.
In addition to maple syrup, Maple Grove Farms also markets maple candy, all-natural pancake mixes, gourmet cheeses, gourmet meats, desserts and snacks, and dressings and marinades.
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