Viva! USA

Old Sep 20th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Viva! USA

We have had some fabulous holidays in the USA, what a fantastic country, we love everything about it, the people, the food, it's diversity and since we first visited in the early 80's we have found it very difficult to holiday elsewhere. I have several trip reports to share, probably too numerous to mention, some of the places may seem a little " touristy" to inhabitants of the USA, but after all, that's what we are, tourists.Every June I go with my husband (touring somewhere different each time) and every March I go to New York with a group of female friends.My husband likes to be close to nature, but I like the bright lights and music, so we try to incorporate both into our trips.Last year we decided to tour Arizona and Nevada. It was fabulous. We flew to Phoenix and stayed for 3 nights, visiting Scottsdale and the surrounding area. Next we moved down to Tuscon for a further 2 nights. We visited the Senora Desert Museum and drove through the very beautiful scenery. We went to visit Tombstone, yes, very touristy, but we loved it, as kids we all knew about the Gunfight at the OK corral and the story of the Earp brothers in Tombstone, but never in a million years did I think I would ever actually visit.It was surreal! We then moved on back up past Phoenix and on to Sedona. We had only ever read about Sedona and did not realise the real extent of it's beauty. We went hiking and visited the Church in the rock. Stunning scenery.We stayed for 2 nights, then on to Flagstaff to join the old Route 66. Not too keen on Flagstaff and it was quite cold due to it's elevation, so just 1 night there, next on to Kingman, a small town, but we took a detour to an old mining town called Oatman. Lovely little town in the middle of nowhere, with wild horses roaming around the streets, you could buy food to feed them,great,until they tried to eat my bag!Moved on then towards Hoover Dam and stopped off to explore. Very interesting as I had watched a programme on the History channel on how the dam was built and the amount of men who lost their lives in the process.We missed out on the Grand Canyon as we had visited about 8 years ago and had lunch with the native American Indians. So, it was then on to Vegas. Yipee! it's my time now. Although I loved all the stunning scenery of Arizona I need to be "entertained".We would have liked to visit Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon etc. but will visit another time. We had visited Vegas 15 years ago and were amazed at the amount of hotels that had been built since our last visit.We were determined to visit every hotel on the Strip during our 9 days. Some people say 9 days is far too long, but for me it was not long enough. We stayed at the Luxor, but tried almost all the buffets of the main hotels,but a couple of nights we waddled off to bed at 10p.m. with a slice of pizza,too tired to pick up a knife and fork. Also went to many shows, Tom Jones was at the MGM Grand. Brilliant, but crazy, as we can see him almost anytime here in the UK. but it seemed special.By the end of the holiday we were totally tired out. We had packed so much into our tour, but had seen so much.Can't wait for next year, we plan to tour New England with good advice from the Fodorites of course.
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 01:18 PM
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Glad you are enjoying your visits to the USA. I hope you come back soon.
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Where do you live?

It is nice to read your report. Thanks!
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 02:08 PM
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Thanks, and I second cabo - where do you live?
I'll bet there are lots of places we can recommend - and vice versa.
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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Always nice to read what others think of their visits to the U.S. Just a tiny bit of advice for future reports .. please break your report into paragraphs for easier reading Thanks !!

I'm glad you had a good time, we live in AZ and it's always interesting to see what people have to say.
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Old Sep 20th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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Hello mel710 - your enthusiasm is very infectious! I can feel how excited you were. Oh, how I remember visiting Tombstone and Oatman. You really got a good glimpse of the Old West. And isn't the Hoover Dam something? I remember my first visit there, practically blew me away, it was so big! And the story of the construction is neat. Did you take the tour down into the inner workings?

And all those days in Vegas and the buffets, lol!

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Old Sep 22nd, 2006, 03:53 AM
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Thanks for the comments, didn't break it down into paragraphs in case the thread would seem to go on forever, but will do in future.
Would be great to have suggestions for places to visit, but don't forget my husbands yearning for nature and my need for fun!
Glad you could feel the excitement in my report, as I get very excited just talking about it. I live in the North of England, between Manchester and Liverpool.Where I live there was an American Air Force base, which only closed down about 12 years ago. When I was a child there was a big American influence on our community, hence the interest in the USA?
Many people think England means London,and although the South and London are well worth a visit, there are also beautiful and very interesting places here in the North. We are just I hour away from the beautiful English Lake District and Yorkshire Dales,a little further is the Northumbria coast with it's imposing castles, one of which is the setting for the Harry Potter movies, then over the border is the stunning scenery of Scotland. To the West of us is Wales, with it's many castles and sweeping beaches.Of course, in between all this fantastic scenery are fun cities, where I can get my fix of fun!
We consider ourselves very lucky to live in this area, but also like to travel and see the world.Here is another brief travel report of the USA.
Earlier this year went to one of our favourite States-Florida-again! This time we stayed near Daytona for a couple of nights, then went on a Caribbean cruise on Carnival Glory, to Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.Very nice, but personally we prefer the Royal Caribbean ships. On our return we went up to visit St. Augustine.
What a beautiful place, very colonial and the very first city to be discovered in the USA, by the Spanish. Very interesting history, with the British having a finger in the pie, having been there for a period of approximately 35 years. We really don't like to be left out of anything do we?Ha ha!
Leaving St. Augustine we travelled back down to Orlando for a few nights,(yes, I'm a big kid and had to go see Shamu at Sea World) then on to Naples, another of our favourite places, didn't go to the Keys on this occasion, but have been before, they are stunning. We loved Key West, certainly had my fix of fun there!!
Next travel report will be Tennessee with stays in Memphis, Nashville, Gatlinberg and the smoky mountains- I'm drooling just thinking of our trip to Graceland, the home of the most exciting entertainer that ever lived.(my personal opinion).
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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I have just finished reading about the Oatman family massacre of 1851. A great survival story regarding the two family members who survived. I imagine Oatman, Arizona is named after them.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 12:43 AM
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Mel710:

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip here as much as I enjoyed my 2004 trip to your neck of the woods -- I spent about a week in Mellor and became well acquainted with the Marple station.

On the same trip I headed up to the Lakes District, saw the Peaks District, York, Manchester and Chester. Lucky me, I was able to stay with friends for almost the whole trip. It was a nice contrast to London.

Come see some more of us soon!
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 01:04 AM
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Glad to see that somebody enjoyed AZ. Besides the Grand Canyon, most people would tell you to avoid AZ, especially PHX.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 02:27 AM
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Thanks for your enthusiastic report.

I hope you have many more happy trips to the US. Welcome, welcome, welcome.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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Mel:

yes America is a gorgeous country. I wish Americans would appreciate it more and not come in here bashing that there isn't anything that is that spectacular about it.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 04:31 AM
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So glad you like this country. So very glad you enjoyed your trips. And, those "touristy" places? Well, WE have all been there, too.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Will look up some history on the Oatman family, George.I can't imagine that anyone would not like the USA,(especially AZ) maybe some locals take it for granted, but shouldn't, I can't wait to return next year, New York in March, then New England in June. CAN'T WAIT!!They say there is not very much history, but I think American history is very interesting and almost every state has a different history,also so many places are featured in the movies, it's great to watch a movie and to think you have actually been there.Tombstone and Oatman took me back to all the Western movies of my childhood.
Anyway I would like to write a trip report on our fabulous visit to Memphis and Nashville. We arrived in Memphis for 8 days, staying at the Memphis Marriot. We loved Memphis, though much smaller than expected and in places we thought there was a bit of a time warp, but nothing wrong with that, I felt a bit like Marty McFly. There was a huge barbeque going on by the river which was very enjoyable and we absolutely loved Beale St.it came alive at night and we had some raucous nights in the soul/blues bars.One sticks out in my mind, it was called Elvis' Memphis.
You sat in semi-circular booths facing the stage and there was a rock'n'roll band playing. They were very young and dressed in 50's gear, they were great and the guy playing the double bass actually jumped onto the side of the bass whilst still playing it. Wow! how fab was he!!
Obviously we had a visit to Graceland. The main museum and memorabilia shops, Heartbreak Hotel and Elvis' private jet are all on one side of the road, whilst Graceland itself is across the street,up a slight incline, nestling in the trees. Walking inside was such a thrill, with the house being exactly how he left it. There is a photo of Elvis at the bottom of the stairs, when he had blond hair. You are not allowed to go upstairs as a mark of respect.
Out the back is his fathers offices and a garden where Lisa Marie played as a child, then the swimming pool, then the memorial garden, where Elvis, his parents and grandparents are buried, very sad, but beautiful.
After our visit to Memphis which also included a visit to Sun studios we moved on to Nashville and stayed in the Opryland Hotel. Very nice, rather like a large conservatory, but it was quite a distance out of town, but not a problem.We spent many nights at the Crazy Horse saloon in Nashville and watched some superb bands,the Bluegrass bands were my favourites.
From Nashville we decided to go to see the smoky mountains and decided to do the trip in one day (huge mistake). We started out at 6 a.m. and headed for Pigeon Forge ( would loved to have visited Dollywood, but no time) we then went on to Gatlinburg which reminded us very much of a little place called Ambleside in the English Lake District. We had lunch there and wished we had booked an overnight stay. We then started the incline over the smoky mountains. On starting our slow drive, something ran in front of our car, on closer inspection it was a baby black bear, so cute. I felt like following him into the woods, just to give him a cuddle, but seeing that one of his paws was almost the size of my head, I decided against it.We drove on up to the summit and the views were spectacular, we stopped off at a log cabin complete with porch and rocking chair, got some great photos.
Then we continued over and down into Cherokee, where we were delighted to see a native American Indian in full feather regalia, more great photos!
We enjoyed looking around the craft shops, but were quite disappointed to see a small zoo with 2 bears in a concrete pit. Nooooo!
Back over the mountains and the drive back to our hotel in Nashville. What a long day, next time we will spend longer in Gatlinburg and the spectacular smoky mountains.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 04:18 PM
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Wow, me1710, what a wonderfully enthusiastic post, I loved it! We were near your neck of the woods, Chester, Windemere, York, Haltwhistle last year and I adored it! Would go back also! I am a true blue Anglophile ;-).
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Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 12:04 PM
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Glad you enjoyed the UK Judyrem, you certainly travelled in the footsteps of the Romans with your visits to Chester and York. We intend to visit every state in the US, think we have visited about 19 so far.So much to see, so little time!!Will have to stop visiting our favourite states more than once.Have fun on your travels, we do.!!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 03:59 PM
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Hey Mel,

I think you should consider the areas near Denver, CO or Seattle, WA if you've never been. They definately combine a mix of nature and fun city life.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 06:27 PM
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"Glad to see that somebody enjoyed AZ. Besides the Grand Canyon, most people would tell you to avoid AZ, especially PHX."

I'll second that opinion about Phoenix, and hell, I LIVE there.

For anyone (reasonably athletic) visiting the Sedona area...consider renting an offroad bike and exploring some of the trails in the area. You'll see some lovely terrain and possibly some interesting wildlife. It's quite an experience!


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