U. S. A !
During May, I took a break from painting as we decided to visit America for 10 days! Our trip came about having decided to go and visit my brother who lives and works in North Carolina, so we thought why not extend this and visit a few other places too on the East Coast!
I thought I'd sum it up in a little blog piece with what we saw, where we went and a few recommendations!
We flew to New York, landing in the afternoon and took a classic yellow taxi ride to our hotel. We'd booked a hotel right in the centre of New York, round the corner from Times Square as we felt that way we could walk to everything we wanted to! After shoving our bags in our room, we ventured out into the busy city and walked round Times Square. It was great - noisy, busy, colourful! So much to see!
We spent 2 further days there visiting all the sites. We decided to walk everywhere (so walked about 13 miles a day!) visiting Ground Zero (which was incredibly moving), Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty in the distance, the Highline (an amazing disused railway which has been turned into beautiful gardens high up amongst the buildings!), Central Park and the Museum of Natural History (which is must - it was brilliant, we could have spent a whole day there plus they had a live butterfly exhibit you could walk through!), the Rockefeller Centre (incredible views looking over the Empire State) and Grand Central Station. We found a hidden pizza place (John's pizza) near Times Square which was in a converted church and did delicious gluten free pizzas, plus there was a massive Whole Foods where I bought so much food (I could have lived in there!).
Walking around New York you get such a good feel for the city and we got to see all the different areas! My main advice would be to plan where you want to go as there really is SO much to see - you could spend weeks there. Whilst we were only there for a few days we saw everything that was on our list and more and feel like we got a real feel for the city!
Highlight: The Highline (for me) was beautiful. Nature amongst the city, and it was planted in such way that you could still see it used to be a railway which I loved.
We then took a 4 hour train mourning down to Washington for 1 night. Sorry to be British here, but let's talk about the weather - it was so rainy! Humid and rainy! But we only had one night so donned our rain macs and headed on a massive walk round all the monuments in the rain. We walked up and down the mall visiting each one, starting with the Jefferson memorial, then making our way round to Martin Luther King's, Roosevelt, Lincoln and then down the mall. Each one was impressive in their own way and inspirational. So many had quotes which were incredibly inspiring and moving and standing at the Lincoln memorial looking down the mall was pretty spectacular.
After an afternoon walking round in the rain, the next morning as it was still raining we didn't fancy much more walking. So headed to the National Air and Space museum. This was amazing! With space rockets, landing crafts and a couple of plans flown by the Wright Brothers and Amilia Earhart.
Highlight: Some of the quote on the Martin Luther King memorial were just incredible. I was shocked at just how impressive the memorials were as a whole. But the main highlight was in the Space Museum I got to touch a piece of the moon!
North Carolina - Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill
After Washington, we hired a car and drove a further 5 hours south to North Carolina. I couldn't believe how straight the road was - it felt like one long road, lined with trees the whole way!
My brother lives near these, and we stayed with him for a few days, exploring the area. The are used to have a big cigarette and tobacco industry so there were old warehouse buildings now converted into offices, but with all the old branding on. Each town had it's own style and we spent time in each.
In Chapel Hill we walked round the University grounds, which were beautiful and so interesting to find out about American Universities.
In Durham we went to a baseball game one evening (which was such great fun!), walked round the town seeing what was the industrial side which has now all been converted, and visited the Duke University gardens which were stunning.
In Raleigh we went to an incredible independent cinema to see RBG (an inspiring film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg - a must watch), where you sat in reclining leather chairs and could order dinner to your seat. It was a rowdy cinema so we had clappers, and could whoop and cheer! We also visited an arts festival, and had a poem written for us by the Poetry Fox.
Highlight: The Rowdy cinema was great fun, but watching the mascot drive round on a go cart in an interval at the Baseball game was brilliant! (Plus spending time with my brother, obviously!)
We ended our holiday by spending 2 days at Carolina Beach - sitting on the beach, eating fish tacos, looking for sharks teeth on the beach and just relaxing. It was so lovely to end the holiday in a relaxing way after having such a busy beginning.
Highlight: The colours of the building here were amazing - there's something about bright building against blue skies that I just love! We also had the most delicious fish tacos I have ever had (Mahi Mahi, caught locally!), saw dolphins out to see and just being by the sea is always a massive highlight!
It was so lovely to explore the East Coast and to go from the cities down to the coastline. There's so much to see in America, I feel like we hardly scratched the surface, but it was a fantastic trip and I would definitely recommend it all!
If you want to know anything I haven't mentioned just let me know!
Next weeks blog will go back to painting!