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Trip Report Lcuy's 2005 College Tour-Chicago, Boston, NYC, and Portland Oregon.

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I combined a Northeast college tour for younger daughter with a visit to Portland Oregon. My report is really long, so here is a quick summary:

Day one: Honolulu to Chicago. Stayed at City Suites Hotel. Loved this little hotel! Good pizza dinner at Lou Malnati’s near DePaul Univ.

Days 2, 3, 4: Boston, the Onyx Hotel, near Fleet center. Nice hotel, surprisingly good location.

Days 4, 5, 6: NYC, Edison Hotel. Although we expected a budget hotel, we were not happy here. Very noisy and had an awful bathroom. Excellent location though. Best meals were at Le Monde, near Columbia U and Sophia’s in the Edison Hotel. Saw Movin Out.

Days 7-18: Portland, Oregon. Had reservations at 5th Ave Suites, but ended up staying the whole time in my friend’s new house. Many great meals: Wildwood, Typhoon, Nuestra Cocina, Mothers Bistro (once for lunch, once for breakfast), Esparza s Tex-Mex, Todai, Crema, Bar Pastiche, Zell’s, Sub Rosa, PIX and Elephants Deli-both the NW 23rd and NW 7th locations. Also attended the Hawaii Club luau at Lewis & Clark College.

The long version:

At the last minute, my high school senior decided she did want to do a college tour. When I say last minute, I mean really last minute. All her applications were in, and the acceptance letters were due the weekend after the trip. We knew wed be touring schools that might be rejecting her the next week. We also knew this would be a crazy trip, trying to tour eight colleges in seven days.

We had first class upgrades on United from Honolulu to Chicago. It was nice having the extra room, but UALs first class has to be the worst in the industry. Nothing but golf magazines (“What do you expect”, the FA quipped. “We're in Bankruptcy”), plastic cups and plates, and the seats didn’t even have footrests.

Our flight left HNL at 5pm and got into O’Hare at 5am. We caught the El to the Belmont stop, where the City Suites hotel was two buildings from the tracks. I had visions of trains shaking us all night, but we never heard or felt a thing. The hotel was adorable...looked like it was straight out of the 1940's , but had obviously been renovated recently. For $139 a night, we had two double beds and a little living room with a sofa bed. The rooms and bath were immaculate and they had Aveda bath products. I really loved the heated bathroom floor. They had bagels, donuts, and coffee and tea in the lobby all day. Best of all, they let us check in at 6:30 in the morning.

We toured both Loyola and DePaul University that day. Luckily both were right on the El, as it was snowing..big wet snow..and very windy. We managed to do some shopping for a prom dress on the Magnificent Mile, then cabbed back to Lou Malnatis (near DePaul) for dinner. Wed asked several people to recommend a good place for a real Chicago pizza and 3 out of 4 named this one. Yummm. We ve never had pizza like this!

A quick train took us back to our hotel, where we slept well until 4 am. We had a 7 am flight to Boston. Due to a late train, and also getting into the wrong line, we came very close to missing our flight. In addition, we couldnt check our bags and I ended up losing my favorite Swiss army knife at the security checkpoint. Always wondered how people could be so stupid as to bring knives. Now I know- I always check my bags, so never even thought about it being in there.

It was cold and wet in Boston. Everyone kept saying, “you should have been here for the great weather last week” which did not make us feel any warmer. Took a cab from the airport and we were again allowed to check into our hotel very early. I had worried that the Onyx hotel was in a neighborhood that would be deserted at night. It turned out that there were several Irish Pubs and other restaurants all around it, and we were about a 60 second walk from the T station and the Fleet center. The Onyx is part of the Kimpton chain...very reasonably priced boutique hotels. We were on the third floor at the end of the hall. Completely quiet. Very, very comfortable beds with down duvets. Helpful, friendly staff.

We were amazed at how dogs are loved in Boston. Dogs are allowed on the trains and busses. Our hotel allowed dogs in certain rooms, and they had a dog bowl in the entry with the names of the current canine guests displayed.

Toured Boston College that morning. Got into a little spat with my daughter, so rather than go to my carefully researched lunch spot, we just ate at a dumpy looking sandwich place opposite the school. Turned out to have awesome food!

Hit Filene's Basement, H&M, and Bloomingdales on our way back to the hotel, then had room service for dinner.

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