8 of the Best Hotels in the U.S.

asiseeit_fayette_headshot1As couples and families prepare for their upcoming vacations to some of America’s biggest cities, the daunting task of choosing a quality hotel can be overwhelming. To help with your plans, here are eight of my favorite hotels from the Big Apple to ‘Vegas, Baby!’

New York City
Millennium Broadway Hotel

The Millennium Broadway is perfectly situated in Manhattan’s Times Square and Theater District. Just steps from the Millennium Broadway awaits the energy that is known as New York City. Yet with over six hundred newly decorated rooms, this hotel provides a quiet sense of peace and relaxation with its large, comfortable rooms. The four styles of guest rooms in the Millennium Broadway each offer an ideal place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing and shopping. With its warm décor, spacious rooms and suites, and numerous amenities, it’s no wonder that many repeat guests of the MillenniumMillennium Broadway Hotel Exterior Broadway call this hotel their ‘home away from home’ when visiting NYC. To add to the Millennium Broadway experience, most of the rooms offer spectacular views of the city, and all guests have access to the hotel’s fitness center on the sixteenth floor.
The Millennium Broadway Hotel also has two dining options within the hotel. The Restaurant Charlotte is quickly becoming one of the most popular restaurants in New York City, with its premiere dining experiences and breakfast options. The Charlotte Bar and Lounge is ideal for those looking for a light lunch or just as a place to relax with their favorite cocktail.
The Millennium Broadway is also connected to the historic Hudson Theater, which is a breathtaking venue for weddings and corporate meetings, with seating for nearly seven hundred. The upscale, family-friendly, Millennium Broadway Hotel is ideally located for those guests looking to hit the town to shop, dine, and sightsee, while providing unparalleled spacious comfort within.   


Miami Beach
Loews Miami Beach Hotel

The Loews Miami Beach Hotel offers its guests luxurious accommodations in the paradise setting of Miami Beach. Located in Miami’s famous South Beach, the white sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean invite hotel visitors to unwind and enjoy all that is Miami. Out the front doors of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel is the eclectic and wonderful Collins Avenue. Known for its art deco design, this strip is home to unique dining, premiere shopping, and seemingly unlimited sunshine.
LowesMiamiBeachWith nearly eight hundred guest rooms and suites, the Loews Miami Beach Hotel experience will be like none other on South Beach. The décor of the rooms is subtle, yet absolutely “Miami Beach”. With ocean and cityscape views, each room of this hotel will surely provide long lasting memories. Visitors have a choice of staying in the main hotel building or in the history-filled St. Moritz Tower.
And if lounging poolside or sunbathing on the beach isn’t relaxing enough, perhaps a visit to the onsite Exhale Spa is the answer. Dining at the Loews Miami Beach can be a fantastic experience. The Lure Fishbar, Preston’s, and Sobe Social are all restaurants that offer their own unique menus and atmosphere within the hotel. The Nautilus Bar and Grill and the Hemisphere Lounge also each serve up a lighter menu on a daily basis.


Chicago
The Langham Chicago

Located along the Chicago River, and within walking distance of most Chicago attractions and shopping, The Langham Chicago is the ideal hotel for visitors to The Windy City. The various room styles all have several things in common: views of the Chicago skyline from the large floor to ceiling windows and the luxurious comfort that makes up each room’s décor. With such amenities, it’s obvious why The Langham Chicago is one of the city’s finest hotels.the-langham-chicago
Dining at Travelle, the restaurant, bar and lounge located within The Langham Chicago is a fine dining experience. The menu is seasonal American cuisine, and the atmosphere is warm and relaxing. Visitors can even enjoy afternoon tea inside the hotel’s Pavillion.
At The Langham Chicago, the Chuan Spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, saunas & steam rooms, along with its 67-foot indoor pool all offer up a variety of luxurious accommodations for each of its guests fortunate enough to stay at this Midwest gem.


Boston
XV Beacon

Sitting atop Beacon Hill in historic Boston, the XV Beacon Hotel invites guests to experience luxury at its finest. Outside the XV Beacon’s front door, Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, and the shopping district of Washington St. are just minutes away. Within this Beantown boutique hotel are sixty-three neatly appointed rooms with personalized services that will have guests feeling like millionaires.
fifteen-beaconThe canopy beds and gas fireplaces found in each room at the XV Beacon add to the unique and luxurious surroundings of this Boston hotel. While the rooms are large enough to host small
get-togethers, they are also cozy enough to catch up on any needed rest & relaxation. World-class art work and antique furniture adorning the hallways add to the second-to-none experience of the XV Beacon.
The Beacon’s onsite restaurant, Mooo, is a traditional American steakhouse serving a variety of entrees. Mooo also is open for breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch. For private events Mooo has a dining area known as The Wine Cellar. This room is perfect for private parties or events, as guests will be in awe of the collection of wines from around the world. From its location to its upscale accommodations, XV Beacon is one of Boston’s best.


San Francisco
Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square

Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square is located along San Francisco’s famous waterfront. Its location is ideal when getting ready to explore the city.  The quality of service provided to their guests from the Fairmont Heritage Place makes this hotel stand out from all the rest in the region. From making dinner reservations to booking tickets for the many events that San Francisco has to offer, the staff will ensure your stay will be carefree and memorable. Fairmont-Heritage-Place-Ghirardelli-Square-condmominium-sales-management-in-San-Francisco
Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square’s accommodations in San Francisco include one to three bedroom rooms that are spacious and cleanly decorated. A full kitchen, fireplace, large TV and a dining area are all part of each room at the Fairmont Heritage Place. After a day of seeing the Bay Area, this hotel welcomes its guests home to relax with open arms.
The dining choices around the Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square are numerous (and growing). From fabulous seafood to classic southern cuisine, the restaurants in the area are some of the best around. Whether it’s a visit to McCormick and Kuleto’s, The Pub at Ghirardelli Square, or the original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop the experience is bound to please.


Houston
St. Regis Hotel

The spectacular St. Regis Houston is located in the center of the exciting city of Houston. Just minutes from the Galleria Houston, the home for luxury shopping and entertainment, the St. Regis Houston is the perfect hotel for visitors looking to explore all this city has to offer.
Long known for their top-notch service, The St. Regis Houston is a breath of true southern hospitality. From booking tickets to stregisHoustonlocal events to making dinner reservations, the staff at the St. Regis Houston make it their duty to have your stay be memorable.
Whether staying in the Superior room, featuring a king or two double beds, or choosing the Junior suite with its bedroom and separate living area, each room at the St. Regis Houston is large and well-decorated. For those looking to stay longer or with a larger group, perhaps booking the Royal or Presidential suite would be in order. These two accommodations are the hotel’s finest rooms which feature multiple bedrooms and separated living and dining areas.
The Remington Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week within the St. Regis Houston. Its menu is known throughout the Houston area for serving up the finest in American cuisine. The Tea Room offers afternoon tea on Fridays through Sundays, while the St. Regis Houston’s Wine Room is available to reserve for a unique private dining experience.

Savannah
Hyatt Regency Savannah

Location, location, location. That’s one of the many reasons to stay at the Hyatt Regency when visiting the historic city of Savannah, Georgia. Located on Bay Street the Hyatt Regency Savannah offers easy access to the city’s famous historic district. A tour through the city to explore the amazing homes and squares, or shopping and eating at some of the best establishments in the country are all within minutes of the Hyatt Regency Savannah. Guests can even take a ride on a riverboat or hop on the trolley for a history-filled tour of this magnificent city.HyattRegencySavannah
The Hyatt Regency Savannah has many rooms with views of the Savannah River and the famous River Street. The guest rooms are the type of place where visitors can choose to unwind or decide to get a little work done before hitting the town. One of the well-known perks of staying at any Hyatt Regency is the amazing comfort of the Hyatt Grand Bed. These beds are so comfortable guests may have to ‘make’ themselves get up to start their day…… (or not).
For breakfast or lunch the Hyatt Regency Savannah’s Windows restaurant is a fantastic choice, with incredible views of the Savannah River. The Vu Lounge is also located onsite. From cocktails to a light menu, the Vu is a great place to hang out or meet up with friends and family. And Perks is a little café located within the grand lobby of the Hyatt Regency Savannah, serving Starbucks coffee, along with a variety of salads, sandwiches and pastries.


Las Vegas
The Bellagio

Over the past decade Las Vegas has become more family-friendly than ever before. With activities, shopping, and entertainment for all ages, there’s no better time than now to visit “Vegas, Baby!” The Bellagio offers rooms ranging from Resort Rooms featuring queen size beds with city views to ten different types of suites with incredible views and all the accommodations you expect from Vegas.
BellagioFrom world-class entertainment, like “O” Cirque du Soleil, to a casino that is considered by many as the best in the world, The Bellagio has it all. With their state-of-the-art fitness center to their all-encompassing spa, this Vegas hotel will having you feeling your best when it’s time to take on the town.
Five-diamond awarded restaurants are a big part of The Bellagio. From a casual lunch or poolside snack to one of the finest dining experiences in the world, the dozens of onsite restaurants at The Bellagio are sure to amaze even the most hardcore foodie. And when it comes to shopping, the experience is perhaps none better than within The Bellagio, with shops like Fendi, Omega, and Tiffany & Co.

So as you plan for your next vacation and destinations are solidified, these are some “best bet” hotels that will make your getaway memorable for years to come.

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8 Great St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Cities in the U.S.

asiseeit_fayette_headshotWhen the middle of March arrives two things are a near certainty in the U.S.; one, winter is nearly over for most of the hearty souls living throughout the country; and two, everyone 
becomes Irish for a day (or in some cases, a week) for endless St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. To help you “Get Your Irish On” here are eight of the hottest, craziest, tradition-filled cities and what they have planned for their St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Boston, Massachusetts
The St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place in South Boston on Sunday, March 16th this year,
beginning at 1:00pm. With nearly three-quarters of a million people expected to attend, visitors are urged to take the “T” (Boston’s public transportation) into the city and maneuver from there. In Boston, think of the parade serving as this year’s ‘halftime show’ of the St. Patrick’s Day 
holiday. There will be plenty of celebrating on Friday night and Saturday throughout the historic pubs of Beantown, including severalStPats-Boston Pub Crawls and parties. Of course the celebration will 
continue in Boston, as in most cities on Monday; the actual St. Patrick’s Day, with plenty of “Wearin’ o’ the Green” and the tasting of green beer. So whether you celebrate with the ‘Southies’ or party it up near Quincy Market, Boston will surely welcome everyone Irish,
if even for the day.

Cleveland, Ohio
With its huge immigrant population, Cleveland has traditionally played host to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration to rival many cities even several times its size. Since 1867 Cleveland Cleveland_Ohio_St._Patrick's_Day_Downtown_2012has hosted a parade, and this year promises to be no different, as nearly 10,000 participants will march through downtown Cleveland on Monday the 17th. Those who can’t wait to get their holiday started can head to one of two historic Cleveland watering holes known as Flannery’s Pub or Pickwick & Frolic for some breakfast and a pint. After the parade, those celebrating the “The Luck of the Irish” can stay in downtown and stop by Moriarty’s or the Flat Iron Cafe for tasty beer and great tasting corned beef and cabbage. Various types of Irish music will heard throughout the city of Cleveland through the weekend, as area pubs will provide entertainment ranging from traditional Irish folk music to rock.

San Francisco, California
Though the west coast may not have the same history as its neighbors to the east, don’t be fooled; SanFran knows how to throw a St. Patty’s Day bash! Featuring its annual Irish Festival, localStPats_IrishDancers_SF Pub Crawls, downtown Block Parties, and parade, San Franciscans have wrapped their Irish arms around this holiday. With U2 cover band, ‘Zoo Station’, playingSF-GuinessGirl-StPats nearly all of U2’s 
popular songs in a concert at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall and the ‘Emerald Across the Bay 12k run’ being featured across the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco promises something for everyone this and every St. Patrick’s Day.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
People at the St. Patrick's Day Celebration in Myrtle Beach, SCFrom 11am to midnight on Saturday, March 15th the touristy town of North Myrtle Beach will transform itself into something just this side of Dublin, Ireland, (well, kind of) as it kicks off its

annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Authentic food and beer will be available from dozens of vendors, along with a Family (alcohol free) Fun Zone for kids of all
ages. Perhaps the best part of the festival is that all the music and activities are free. By the way, when viewing the parade, be sure to check out one of the more popular parts of it, as locals show off their decorated and suped-up golf carts cruisin’ down Ocean Blvd. Yeah, that’s what I said, golf carts. And I haven’t any beer yet.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Since 1771 the City of Brotherly Love has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with its annual
parade. And this year, in following with tradition, the parade is scheduled to be on Sunday, March 16th at 1:00pm. Beginning on Friday, March 14th revelers can begin a New York City Holds Annual St. Patrick's Day Paradeweekend of bar crawls, with several to choose from each day. One of the nice parts about these crawls is the free shuttle service called ‘The Erin Express’, which is runs all day through the City of Philly. Several concerts (some free) will be held throughout the city during the weekend along with neighborhood festivals and Irish dancers.

Savannah, Georgia
What is now considered the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States will kick things off on March 7th with what is known as the “Greening of the Fountain”. Locals gets things going a week early when the famous Forsyth Fountain is filled with green water. One of the most popular festivities in Savannah is the ‘St. Patrick St.Pats-Forsyth_Fountain-SavOn the River Festival’ along the banks of the Savannah River. Continuous entertainment on multiple stages along River Street and
fantastic Irish food and beverage vendors throughout the city make this one of the hottest
festivals in the country. Nearby Tybee Island (known as “Savannah’s Beach”) has its own
St.Patrick’s Day parade scheduled to take place on Saturday, while Savannah’s parade is scheduled for Monday, March 17th. From the sandy beach of Tybee Island to the historic squares of Savannah, the hospitality of the South is on full display during its St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Chicago, Illinois
You know Chicago takes its St. Patrick’s Day seriously when nearly a half-million people line the banks of the Chicago River and watch as the river turns into a vibrant green for the nearly five hours in the afternoon of Saturday, March 15th. A parade of floats, bands, and bagpipes
continue the afternoon of fun as revelers march up Columbus Drive. Those visitors to Chicago staying in ‘The Loop’ will be close to some of the best pubs Chi-town has to offer. ????????????????????????????????????????Fun-filled pub crawls are found throughout the city and many establishments will feature lively entertainment. From Irish-step dancers to sight-seeing cruises along the Chicago River, guests to Chicago will non-stop fun during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

New York, New York
The 253rd St. Patrick’s Day parade will take place on the holiday itself. For nearly 2 miles down Fifth Avenue, over 150,000 march in the annual parade. That’s right, 150,000 “marching” Irish! Local community groups, the NYPD & FDNY, along with special guests entertain millions along their path. After the parade, those wishing to continue celebrating the Irish will be able to gather at nearly any bar, on any street, in any borough of NYC. Many like to honor our Founding 
Fathers on this day with a trip to the historic Fraunces Tavern located down in the southern
mcsorleys-NYC_oldest bar in NYCsection of Manhattan. It is at Fraunces where legend has it that George Washington would often frequent for food and libations, and where he also gave his historic farewell to troops. Many
St. Patty’s Day partiers also feel a sense of, ummm, “responsibility” to visit NYC’s oldest bar on this celebration of everything-beer-holiday, and McSorley’s is the stop in the East Village.
Note- that when and if you get into McSorley’s be ready to drink many beers, and fast. If the workers don’t feel you are up to their expectations, you will be asked to leave. (No joke.) Throughout the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, area neighborhoods will feature Irish festivals with the smells and sounds of authentic Irish food and music floating throughout the city.

So there you have eight of the country’s most popular destinations for the St. Patrick’s DayTippHill_SYR-StPats
holiday. But make no mistake about it, these United States have town after town celebrating the Irish in their own unique way. From Dublin (Ohio) to the Home of the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame University, people love St. Patrick’s Day. Whether a town paints the largest shamrock in the U.S. on a nearby Interstate and serves green eggs and ham for breakfast around town, like those in O’Neill, Nebraska, or a neighborhood that receives special permission from the Department of Transportation to permanently ‘flip’ a traffic light along a popular Irish street, so that the “green light is always on top” like those on Syracuse, NY’s Tipperary Hill, American’s love their Irish heritage like no other ethnic background. Of course if every ethnic group would include beer in their celebrations, think of how much fun we could have almost every weekend of the year!

Things to do at America’s favorite Ballparks

ImageEvery summer tens of thousands make their way to their favorite ballpark every day to take in a few hours of America’s pastime. Whether you’re a season-ticket holder or just a tourist visiting for the weekend, the game itself often turns out to be just a good excuse to find some fun things to do for the day. So with that in mind, here’s a list of some of the most popular ballparks in Major League Baseball, and what to do before, during, or after the game.

 

 

Wrigley Field- Chicago Cubs

Located in ‘The Windy City’, the beloved Cubs of Chicago have been searching for that elusive World Series visit since the 1945 “Curse of Billy the Goat”. Fans of the Cubs annually pack ivy-covered Wrigley Field to cheer on their “Cubbies”. Many visitors to theImage area head to Michigan Avenue to do a little shopping at what seems to be every imaginable retail store, as well as take in the numerous restaurants and taverns. For those looking for some culture, a stop at the Field Museum of Natural History or the nearby Art Institute is a must. Both are considered as one of the best in the country. If you’re looking for breath-taking views, a trip to the 462-foot high Tribune Tower or the cloud-shattering 1,451-foot Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) are sure to offer the perfect cityscape views. Of course no visit to Chicago is complete without a deep-dish pizza at the original Pizza Uno restaurant located on Chicago’s North side.

Yankee Stadium- New York Yankees

Located in the Bronx of New York City, the 27-time World Series champion Yankees are not only a fan favorite in every city they visit Imageduring the season, but they more or less own “The Big Apple” when it comes to baseball. Fans visiting the new Yankee Stadium have a variety of things to do in the area. Within minutes of the stadium is the famous Bronx Zoo. This 250-plus acre animal sanctuary contains a variety of birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. Many say that there is so much to do at the Bronx Zoo that it can’t be seen in just one day. The New York Botanical Garden is also located in the Bronx. Like the zoo, the Botanical Garden is also situated on 250 acres of lush NY real estate. Included on the floral site are 50 unique gardens, an ornamental Victorian-style greenhouse, and several family-friendly activities and events. If you’re looking for a place to grab a bite to eat or pre-game beer, look no further than Stan’s Sports Bar or The Dugout located within steps of the stadium for some traditional ballpark grub. Leaning a little toward the Italian side? Be sure to visit Giovanni’s for great pizza and Italian food. A restaurant known as The Feeding is where foodies head to for that Caribbean-vibe cuisine. Becoming more and more popular on a daily basis, The Feeding is the new “It” place around the ballpark. Inside the new Yankee Stadium sits a variety of restaurants and food courts offering a selection of food including BBQ, cheese steaks, and of course classic Nathan’s hotdogs and Carvel ice cream treats.

AT&T Park- San Francisco Giants

Out on the west coast sits San Francisco, California. For years this northern California city has long been known as a favorite place to travel to, as well as for its faithful sports fans. Built in the year 2000, replacing the former classic confines known as Candlestick Park,Image AT&T Park served as a breath of fresh air to the Bay Area. The Giants paid  tribute to some of its great former players by building the stadium on Willie Mays Plaza, and along the waterfront now referred to as McCovey Cove, in honor of long-time team favorite Willie McCovey. AT&T Park is located in what is known as the South Beach area of San Francisco. Being situated on the San Francisco Bay, though the days can be beautiful and warm, the nights quite often will get down-right chilly, so be sure to bring a jacket or sweatshirt to any evening game. Across from the ballpark is a fan-favorite hotspot called MoMo’s. Fans seem like to make it a pre-game and post-game stop. In fact some have been known for stopping there for pre-game fun, and never making it to the game itself! While at AT&T Park everyone insists that you don’t pass up the garlic fries or tomato mozzarella sticks. Being sold throughout the park, these fries and cheese sticks have become a stadium staple because of their deliciousness. Some fans making their way to and from the game along Market Street will often stop off at the SF landmark, Red’s Java House for a burger and beverage. Along Market Street and around the China Basin marina sit many charming stores selling everything “San Francisco”. Of course getting around this Pacific Coast city can be an experience in itself. Whether you take the public transportation known as the BART, hop a trolley car, or hail a cab, getting around San Francisco is a breeze.

Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia Phillies

ImageThe “City of Brotherly Love” is known for its significance in American history, being home to the famous movie-underdog Rocky Balboa, and also its no-holds-barred sports fans.  Through the beginning of this new century the baseball team in Philadelphia known as the Phillies has seen tremendous success on and off the field. In 2012 the team was ranked #1 in all of MLB, with attendance numbers well over 3 million. While the stadium offers up Philadelphia food favorites such as cheesesteaks and hoagies, the area around CBP is as diversified as the population. In Philly the baseball stadium is located in a complex with other stadiums like Lincoln Financial Field (home of the NFL- Eagles) and the Wells Fargo Center (home of the NBA- Sixers and NHL- Flyers). All of these are located in the heart of the city with parks, museums, and shopping galore seemingly surrounding the perimeter. Of course a trip to historic Philadelphia wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Liberty Bell, Freedom Hall, and Congress Hall. Located within the Independence National Historical Park area of the city sits nearly 20 blocks of historic neighborhoods, buildings, and monuments commemorating the historical significance of Philadelphia. Along the waterfront is the Tweeter Center and Navy Yard. The Tweeter Center on the Waterfront is an outdoor concert venue seating over 20,000 during the warm months of the baseball season. Down at the city’s Navy Yard progress meets history as newly renovated factories and businesses intermingle with quaint shops, restaurants, and parks through beautifully landscaped streets.

Busch Stadium- St. Louis Cardinals

Like the St. Louis Gateway Arch welcomes travelers into the Midwest, the new Busch Stadium welcomes baseball fans of all ages to the Home of the Cardinals. Built in 2006, Busch Stadium has played host to two World Series championship titles since its openingImage (2006 & 2011). Like most modern U.S. cities, St. Louis offers some incredible eating experiences. There is a section of the city known as “The Hill” that serves up some of finest Italian food in St. Louis. Another famous snack landmark in the city is Ted Drewes, which is where thousands swear you’ll find the finest frozen custard anywhere. Around Busch Stadium, Cardinal fans can find friendly pubs and city-famous thin crust pizza parlors. For visitors looking to experience the cool neighborhood, urban-vibe of St. Louis, a day at the Delmar Loop will offer up cool boutique shops, hip restaurants and cafes, and even a St. Louis celebrity themed Walk of Fame. There is fun for all ages that can be found in and around the city, ranging from the Six Flags St. Louis amusement park and St. Louis Zoo for the kids to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour and nightlife excitement found at the 42-acre Westport Plaza. Not only do the Cardinals have a winning tradition, but the city of St. Louis proves it knows how to do “fun” right.

Fenway Park- Boston Redsox

For many years, actually many generations, fans of the Boston Redsox baseball club had wondered if they too had been cursed, like the Chicago Cubs. Year after year the spring would offer hope, only to find the autumn cold bring expected misery to the faithful fans Imageof the Redsox. However in 2004 the “Curse of the Bambino” was broken with Boston’s first World Series victory in 86 years. Through all of the ups and downs of the Redsox drama, one thing had always been true- Redsox fans are arguably the most loyal in all of baseball. Getting from historic Quincy Market to the city’s Little Italy called The North End, or from the shopping district of Copley Square to the Home of the Redsox along Yawkey Way, traveling around Boston is easy with the use of the public transportation system known as the “T”. When at Fenway Park, baseball memorabilia shops, restaurants, and bars surround the 101 year old ballpark. Fan favorite watering holes include GameOn, the Boston Beerworks, and the Cask n’ Flagon. All three, and many more, are within a ground-rule double of Fenway Park. If you feel the need to get even closer than that then perhaps the Redsox version of tailgating is more your fancy. Every game day a section of street is blocked off along Yawkey Way. It is here that vendors serve up cold beer, hot pretzels and everything that makes you a Redsox fan for a day. Inside the relic of a stadium fans will see the famous Pesky’s Pole down the right field line and the Green Monster situated in left field. Not so widely known is a place built into the Green Monster known as the Bleacher Bar. Visitors to the Bleacher Bar will experience a ground-level view of the playing field from left field with a glass window that allows them to see out without players being able to see in.

Camden Yards- Baltimore Orioles

Though it’s been many years since the glory days of the 1970s Baltimore Orioles, the fan base for this mid-Atlantic region baseball club is as strong as ever. In 1992 the Baltimore Orioles moved out of their dated Memorial Park and into their new home. With that the team and the park rejuvenated the entire City of Baltimore. Located a couple blocks from Baltimore’s tourist-jewel known as the InnerImage Harbor, the stadium draws hoards of people into this revitalized section of the city. It is here that most visitors to Baltimore gravitate to. With dozens of restaurants and taverns, a variety of stores, and more entertainment than one could handle in a week, the Inner Harbor is really the only place you may need to visit around the ballpark. Max’s, Sliders, and Pickle’s Pub are just three hot spots for those looking for a fun pre-game meal. All three are located right around the stadium. Though Babe Ruth’s childhood home is no longer in its original spot (which is where left field of Camden Yards is now), a stop by the Babe Ruth Museum on Emory Street is definitely encouraged. Just follow the 60 baseballs painted on the sidewalk from the ballpark to the museum. Just a few blocks from Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor are a couple other cool areas known as Fell’s Point and Federal Hill. Both neighborhoods are lined with good food and fun libations.

Comerica Park- Detroit Tigers

Like so many of the new ballparks around the country, Comerica Park too has been the beacon to shed a new, fresh light on what Imagewas a dying urban area. In the year 2000 Tiger fans were shown that there can be so much more to do than just watch a game when you head to the ballpark. A ferris wheel that has you riding in baseballs and a merry-go-round that has replaced the decorated horses with yes, you guessed it, ‘Tigers’ are just two things that welcome visitors to Comerica Park. The state-of-the-art baseball stadium blends the modern conveniences of today with the yesteryear feel of decades ago. Located outside the Comerica Park area tourists should be sure to swing by the Henry Ford Museum to see where the American automobile began, the Renaissance Center which is full of shopping and restaurants, and the Hart Plaza to take in unique works of art as well as live entertainment.

Progressive Field- Cleveland Indians

For what used to be referred to as “The Mistake by the Lake”, the City of Cleveland has certainly reversed its fortunes in a way like no other city has ever done before. Since 1992 Progressive Field has been the home field for the Indians’ baseball club. Attendance to games has steadily risen, tourists frequent all that Cleveland has to offer, and with that, Cleveland continues to offer more. For thoseImage taking in a game with “The Tribe” for an afternoon or evening there are several establishments around Progressive Field that fans should consider. One of these spots is The Winking Lizard Tavern. Located just a block from the stadium, “The Lizard” is famous for its burgers and wings, and of course ice cold beer. Irish stew, fish n’ chips, and Guinness on tap are the order of the day at Flannery’s Irish Pub. Only a couple blocks from the ballpark, this classic Irish pub is a perfect stop anytime, game or no game. Three blocks from Progressive Field fans can enjoy the taste of Mexico at the Zocolo Mexican Grill. Cold Coronas, tangy burritos, and fish tacos can be enjoyed before or after any game. An area known as “The Avenue” is located right near the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in the Public Square district of Cleveland. The Avenue is a selection of shopping experiences, restaurants, hotels and movies all in one location. And yes, the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is where everyone that comes to Cleveland must visit at least once. This museum of hits and superstars is full of musical memories that seem to offer up something new every time a person visits.

Dodger Stadium- Los Angeles Dodgers

In Southern California’s City of Angels, the LA Dodgers have easily been the most-admired and recognized west coast team since they relocated there from Brooklyn in the 1958. They play in Dodger Stadium which is located in an area of Los Angeles referred to Imageas Chavez Ravine. It is in this part of the world that the sun seems to shine every day, the palm trees sway in the Santa Anna breezes, and the Dodger faithful come out every summer and cheer on their team. Though getting around LA may not be as easy as the larger, older, east coast cities, it isn’t too bad if you have a plan. Located about a half-mile away from the stadium sits the world-famous Chinatown. With authentic shops and restaurants, LA’s Chinatown has a little something for everyone. Within a mile of Dodger Stadium is the beautiful Olvera Street. Set up in the mid-1900s as a tribute LA’s Mexican heritage, Olvera Street serves as an oasis in the middle of a bustling city with Mexican restaurants and shops. Finally, sitting just off Sunset Blvd. is Elysian Park. With over 600 acres of picnic grounds and hiking trails, visitors to Dodger Stadium can find a way to get away from it all after a tough home team loss. Around the ballpark are several restaurants and sports bars that fans regularly visit. Some favorites include Two Boots, where east coasters gather to reminisce about life along the Atlantic, and The Park, which is known for its dishes like wild salmon or grilled polenta. Dodger Stadium itself is a microcosm of the diversity that exists in the LA area. Food at the stadium ranges from sushi to hot dogs, and cold beer to mixed drinks and wine.

I’m quite sure there will be some that wished I had mentioned their favorite team and ballpark, but in all honesty it was nearly Imageimpossible to come up with the ten I’ve highlighted. Ask another writer to come up with their ten, and they would likely end up listing five or six different places than mine. The bottom line is simple. Get out to a major League Baseball city this summer and experience not only the game, but the energy around the area. Chances are that each subsequent city you visit will become your ‘new favorite’ to check out America’s pastime.

Summer Vacation idea links to DestinationsTravelMagazine.com

Here are a few links that may help you choose some summer vacation destinations. They are articles that I have recently had published in this beautiful Travel magazine. You can click SUBSCRIBE in the upper corner to receive FREE monthly updates to the magazine.
Enjoy!

 

MYRTLE BEACH, SC 
http://destinationstravelmagazine.com/March2012/#/76/

BOSTON, MA 
http://destinationstravelmagazine.com/April2012/#/Boston_54/

NEWPORT, RI 
http://destinationstravelmagazine.com/May2012/#/Newport_RI_74/

COOPERSTOWN, NY  http://destinationstravelmagazine.com/June2012/#/CooperstownNY_%2066/

 

Hail Caesar (salad) !

For a little over three years now I have been working on changing my diet and lifestyle, one day at a time. At my age I figured it was about time. It’s not easy, but the potential outcome is so very worth it. I started my “Journey to Better Health” in December of 2006 when I began working with the people at the now-defunct LA Weight Loss Center in Oswego, NY. They looked at my weight, age, and lifestyle and set up a realistic dietary plan for the next 365 days. They changed my eating habits and schedules, and I added exercise periods into my weekly schedule. Over the course of the next year I introduced myself to new foods such as turkey burger, fruits & vegetables, and salads (not the macaroni or potato variety either) as just some of my new daily foods. And over that same one-year period, through this diet plan and moderate exercise, I lost 65 pounds! My primary care physician saw all of my medical numbers improve tremendously, and I felt great, not only health-wise but psychologically too. 

Over the past few years my weight has fluctuated, maybe gaining a little of those 65 pounds back, but then stabilizing at my current weight. Weight maintenance is not easy. There are so many temptations that can throw you off, and I honestly have fallen off the ‘skinny wagon’ many times. Portion size, exercise, and the recognition that you don’t have to cut out any food completely are three mainstays that help me in my “journey”. 

I don’t consider what I’m doing as a “diet”. I look at it as more of a “lifestyle change”, or without meaning to sound too deep, an “awakening”. Gone are my days of four Diet Cokes a day. No more Friday nights of getting pizza and wings. And perhaps the biggest change of all is no more snacking after dinner until bedtime. The deletion of those things and many more bad habits, balanced with a healthier meal plan and exercise, are now the way I ‘choose’ to live my life. Without making these changes I was running the risk of shortening my life dramatically; and that was something I wasn’t ready to accept. (Heck, I’ve got to write for you people.) 

Many times people think of diets as a penalty or sentence. With the plan I was working with, and the way I look at food today, I now never think of food as a negative. In fact, I now enjoy cooking more than ever at home. I also have found that grocery shopping is a lot easier. Did you know that you can save time and a bundle on money if you shop around the perimeter of most grocery stores? That’s where you find the fruits and vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products. In the middle aisles are the Fritos, Apple Jacks, brownie mixes, and sodas. 

Eating out is not something that is impossible either when on a diet plan. Once a week I try to treat myself to eating out; whether it’s at a sit-down style restaurant, or fast-food. That’s right, I said “fast-food”. Eating healthy can be done anywhere. Over the past couple years I have jotted down the restaurants I’ve visited, up and down the Atlantic seaboard. And from local restaurants in Central NY to eateries found in between Boston and Key West, I’d like to tell you of some of my favorites. During this time one entrée has become my favorite to order when dining out – Chicken Caesar salad. I never was a huge salad eater and didn’t realize that something as simple as a Caesar salad could be prepared so many different ways, and have several different tastes. So, strap yourself in, and let me take you on a Chicken Caesar salad roadtrip. 

Starting first in our local area of Central NY, you can find a great Chicken Caesar salad at Oswego’s Press Box, Canale’s Restaurant, Ruby Tuesday, and the Port City Bakery. When it comes to fast-food restaurants, I’ve found that Quizno’s maybe makes the best fast-food Chicken Caesar salad around. With regards to some of the larger chain restaurants, I have found spectacular Chicken Caesar salads at Panera Bread, Cheesecake Factory, and the Olive Garden. There are only two places that I have visited that I wouldn’t place high on this list for Chicken Caesar salad, and that’s Applebee’s and Chicago Uno. Now that’s not to say that the restaurants general menus weren’t good. It’s just that I didn’t think much of the presentation and taste of their Chicken Caesar salads. 

Heading into New England I have found several great Chicken Caesar salads at some Boston establishments. Topping the list was Dolce Vita Ristorante in Boston’s North End and sitting 52-floors above Boston’s Back Bay is the Top of the Hub Restaurant in the Prudential Building. Not only their Chicken Caesar salad very good, but the view is breathtaking. I also have found several good Chicken Caesar salads in the Quincy Market district, including Ames Plow and Cheers. 

Into Florida Chicken Caesar salads continue to impress at several restaurants that I’ve visited. I found one of the most unique presentations at Disney World’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Their Turf Club restaurant makes a very tasty Chicken Caesar salad by giving you whole stalks of romaine lettuce and the other ingredients on the side. In the culinary world I think they would call this a “de-constructed” Chicken Caesar salad. Cool, very cool. But perhaps the best Chicken Caesar salad I have had at any restaurant is the one served at the ESPN Club at Disney World’s Boardwalk. One word- Perfect! Perfect size, perfect taste, perfect amount of dressing….you get the idea. And oh by the way, whenever possible be sure to order the Caesar dressing on the side. 

Finally as we finish this leafy roadtrip we come to the end of the line, literally. Key West. In the country’s southernmost city I have enjoyed many Chicken Caesar salads. (And I don’t think those were the margaritas talking either.) On the famous Duval and Front Streets of Key West sit some fantastic restaurants. Fogarty’s, Island Dogs, The Rooftop Café, Caroline’s, Red Fish Blue Fish, and The Grand Café all rest high on my list for great tasting Chicken Caesar salads and one-of-a-kind atmospheres. After all it’s Key West. What’s not to enjoy? 

Now I know that you may be thinking, ‘Is this poor guy a slave to Chicken Caesar salad the rest of his life?’ But that’s really not the case. When I go out I often will mix it up with wraps and light sandwiches for lunch, and fish or poultry for dinner. Having a Chicken Caesar salad is something I choose, and enjoy. 

So whether you’re in the midst of making some changes for yourself or know someone that is, the bottom line is- don’t punish yourself. Rather, relish the idea of getting the opportunity of trying new things. You’ll be amazed at the results. I know that if my dad were alive today he wouldn’t believe what my daily diets looks like. I was always the picky eater of the family. You know, pizza, burgers, steaks, and potatoes, …lots of potatoes! 

Please don’t think of what I’ve done over the past few years as being easy, it’s not. But also don’t think of it as being impossible either. As the old motto goes- “Heck, if I can do it…..”  It simply comes down to a matter of what you want for a quality of life. And for me, that made all the difference.

Hot Fun in the Summertime!

Central New Yorkers have weathered through another winter and unpredictable spring, and are poised to welcome Summer with open arms, ready-to-spend wallets, and a desire to wear bathing suits whenever and wherever possible. Summer is special in the northeast with our four distinct seasons, and from Memorial Day to Labor Day we attempt to squeeze every available sun-shining moment into our schedules.

So without further delay (because I think the sun is coming out), here are some ideas for your summertime fun in and around the Central New York area. Every Saturday morning Syracuse has its Regional Market. Now this is open nearly all year round, but it’s a nice way to spend a summer Saturday morning as you stroll through locally grown fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers. The Regional Market is open until 1pm on Saturdays. My wife and I usually start our Saturday out that way a couple of times during the summer. From there we head a few miles to the south, to the Armory Square area. This section of Syracuse boasts several restaurants, quaint pubs, and specialty stores and boutiques. Rachel and I enjoy lunch and a pint at The Blue Tusk.

During the last weekend in July the City of Oswego shows off its lakefront beauty with its Harborfest celebration. From Thursday to  Sunday the city is transformed into a carnival atmosphere, mixed with great food, second-to-none free concerts, and traditionally Chamber of Commerce weather. Whether you want to taste regional wines, buy locally created crafts, take in a concert from top name acts, or just appreciate how lucky Oswegonians are to live alongside Lake Ontario, Harborfest weekend is a date you don’t want to miss.

Speaking of wine tasting, Central New Yorkers are blessed to have some of the world’s finest wines within a short drive. I enjoy taking a day, or sometimes even a weekend, and skipping from winery to winery between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. Part of the Finger Lakes Wine Trail, these wineries have fun employees, great tasting wines, and many now have overnight accommodations and restaurants. I prefer staying at The Inn at Glenora at the south end of Route 14 or Belhurst Castle, located at the north end of Route 14 in Geneva. Some of my favorite lunch and dinner locations are Fox Run Farms Winery (found on the west side of Seneca Lake), Stonecutters (located in Belhurst Castle), and Sheldrake Point (along the west side of Cayuga Lake). As far as wine tasting goes, I have my favorites, but wine tasting is like that of music or food taste- it varies with each individual. That being said if you haven’t experienced the Finger Lakes Wine Trail some must-see stops are Swedish Hill, Hazlitt’s, Bagley’s Poplar Ridge, and Fox Run Farms. You can find great interactive maps and descriptions by Googling ‘Seneca Lake Wineries’ or ‘Cayuga Lake Wineries’.

More family-oriented travels may see you spending the day at Rochester’s SeaBreeze Amusement Park, along Lake Ontario or the Darien Lake Amusement Park, located midway between Rochester and Buffalo just off the Thruway. Located in Sterling, NY (near Fair Haven) is the Renaissance Faire. Open for only a handful of weekends each summer, the RenFaire takes visitors back to the Middle Ages with Jesters, Joustings, and fried turkey legs.

If you have a weekend or a few days to spare, expand your travels to Niagara Falls. Whether you stay on the U.S. side or venture to the Canadian side, one of the great wonders of the world never disappoints. (Remember- a passport in now needed when traveling to Canada.) Besides that big waterfall that everyone goes gaga over, both countries boast casinos and plenty of entertainment. On the Canadian side they have the famous Clifton Hill, otherwise known as the ‘Hill of Fun’, with resturants, attractions like Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, and the Hershey Chocolate store. Of course don’t forget an unforgettable ride on The Maid of the Mist, as you get closer to the falls than you ever thought imaginable.

Heading north from Central New York, one fun stop can include Lake Placid, with a trip to the summit of Whiteface Mountain and a casual walk down their wonderful Main Street along Mirror Lake. Again crossing the border, the City of Kingston, Ontario, Canada is a great weekend getaway! This quaint Canadian city offers tons of food and shopping along its famous Princess Street and Ontario Street. A little closer to home are the Lake Ontario towns of Alexandria Bay and Sacketts Harbor. Both are perfect for that much needed day-trip. Whether traveling by boat or car, these lakeside towns offer breathtaking views, fun shopping, and a variety of restaurants and taverns.

If you feel like traveling a little to the south and east, a great day trip or weekend getaway can be found in Cooperstown. Known of course for its Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown also is home to the Farmer’s Museum, Fenimore Cooper art museum, and the Leatherstocking golf course alongside the Otesaga Resort. If horseracing is more your guilty pleasure, check out Saratoga. During the summer months Saratoga comes alive with thoroughbred horse racing and an atmosphere of yesteryear. Saratoga is also home of SPAC (the Saratoga Performing Arts Center), which brings in top name talent in the music industry for great concerts in a perfect setting.

Central New Yorkers are also fortunate to only be about five hours away from two of the greatest cities in the world- Boston and NY City. Whether strolling along Newbury Street in Boston or along Broadway in NYC, or taking in views at the top of the Prudential Building in Beantown or the Empire State Building in the Big Apple, these two cities speak for themselves- Fun, fun, fun!

Throughout the summer and autumn look for future columns as I travel to many of these locations and offer up what’s hot and what’s not. And I invite you to ‘Leave a Response’ to this and future columns with stories of your own, as you travel around this summer at https://edfayette.wordpress.com .

Weekend getaway to Boston

Though there are still flurries in the air and the temperatures struggle to climb into the thirties. I have a great idea for your next weekend getaway. About five hours west on the NY State Thruway and the Mass Pike sits the historic city of Boston, Massachusetts. Perhaps there is no city in America that offers so much cultural diversity and historic significance. If there were ever a city that I would want to live in, hands down it would be Boston…and that, from a Yankee fan!

My wife and I recently spent a weekend in Beantown, home of the Redsox Nation. Staying across the street from Boston Commons put us right in the heart of this bustling city. We were one block from the architecturally rich Beacon Hill; a half-block from the city’s Theatre District, one block from the open air market known as Downtown Crossing; and only a five minute stroll from the wonderful Faneuil Hall district. We stayed at the elegant Boston Hyatt and enjoyed one of their 498 rooms that perhaps possess the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in on the road. Their restaurant, Avenue One, is pure dining elegance, with live entertainment often performing throughout the week. The check in and check out process was simple and hassle-free, while their concierge offered great ideas and suggestions to a few of our sightseeing questions.

 After we got settled into our hotel room we strolled a few blocks to the BankNorth Center (home of the basketball Celtics and hockey Bruins). I, like many, still refer to it as The Boston Garden. While there we experienced what a Friday rush-hour is like for those that work in the city. It was just passed five-o’clock and thousands were making their way to catch their train out of town. The atmosphere was like that of a beehive full of honey. On our first night in Boston we had dinner at a neat restaurant known as Zuma Grill. The Tex-Mex restaurant had a great atmosphere and an inviting, authentic menu. Topping off our first evening was a trip to the Purple Shamrock pub near Quincy Market for a late-night pint. I think there’s some rule that says when visiting Boston you must visit a pub.

On Saturday we walked Boston’s Freedom Trail; a two and a half mile walking tour through the two hundred thirty year-old city. The tour took us to the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, Bunker Hill, and history-rich Boston Harbor. We enjoyed a mid-day lunch and beverage atop the Prudential Building. Fifty-three stories up is a ‘must-see stop’ known as the Top of the Hub restaurant. The view was spectacular as we overlooked the wonderful city and Charles River. My sandwich was excellent, and my wife enjoyed a well-presented salmon entree. While in the area we also shopped around the high-end Copley Mall and the impressive Stores at the Prudential. An evening stop at Cheers allowed us to take in a little more charm of the city and its people, while enjoying a nice meal.

 Sunday was another beautiful day, and we visited the city’s North End for a taste of Italy. The neighborhood overflowed with the sights, sounds, and smells one would expect from an Italian village. As we visited the attractions of the community, we enjoyed a great afternoon lunch at a quaint Italian restaurant named Il Villagio. Before leaving the North End we were told to be sure to visit Mike’s Pastry. With three to four lines deep it was easy to see why we were directed there. Their authentic Italian cookies and pastries were absolutely out of this world! You can visit their website and even place your order at: www.mikespastry.com

So this spring, if you find the urge to experience a fun-filled, big city weekend getaway, Boston should be at the top of your short list. There is a lot of truth in the Dave Loggins classic song, “Please Come to Boston (for the springtime)”, and a lot of history to take in during your stay.

The fact that you could be eating at the very same table that Ben Franklin had once dined at, standing on the very same cobblestones that Paul Revere once rode on, or leaning against the very same outfield wall at Fenway Park that Carl Yastrzemski once made great catches against is a pretty impressive series of thoughts, all of which can be done during a weekend in Boston.

The city is Boston, and its slogan says it all: “Boston- The city where you’d want to live.”