America ist wunderbar

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Pitsu
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America ist wunderbar

Postby Pitsu » Jan 2 2013, 15:53

America ist wunderbar. Particularly her wild nature. Particularly when it is not too wild. ;|

Anyway, me and two friends have reserved 6 weeks from July to spend on US NE and West national parks. The West is already pretty planned with rough schedule: San Francisco - Yellowstone - Monument Valley-Petrified forest/painted desert- Grand Canyon-Death Valley-Redwood observatories-SF airport. Eastern part is much more open with only Niagara in must see list.

Does anyone have experiences or rumors what are worth seeing but easy to miss? The NE region shouldn't go west from Chicago and south from Kentucky/Virginia.

For those who live on spots where we stop, i would not mind having a beer together.

Oh, and happy new Year to everyone!
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Postby Corribus » Jan 3 2013, 1:56

From your existing list, I take it you are most interested in nature places rather than sites of interest of the manmade variety? Most of the big national parks are in the west, but the east coast has beautiful areas as well. I would suggest:

Hiking part of the Appalachian Trail.

Fingerlakes (New York) are beautiful, and I hear Arcadia (Maine) is as well, though I've never been there.

The Greenbriar/New River Gorge in WVa is gorgeous.

Shenandoah Valley in VA is a nice national park.

Hershey Park is worth a visit, though that's a bit different than the other parks you've listed. :) Much of Central Pennsylvania Appalachia is stunning and filled with State Parks that are worth going to, but I can't remember any names off the top of my head.

Mammoth Cave in Kentucky would be an absolute must see if you can make it down there. Definitely the most amazing natural site in the east coast.

Well, there are some ideas for you. Most of the parks in the east are just forests and hills. Beautiful yes, but not striking in the way many of the western parks are. Speaking of western parks - one think you don't have listed is the Big Sur coast. If you've got time, rent a car and take a drive down Highway 1 from San Francisco going towards LA. Once you get past Carmel it's some of the most beautiful driving you'll ever do. It's worth the 2 hour or so drive and the cost of 1 day rental car.

EDIT: Oh, how could I forget! You should visit some of the Civil War battlefields. Especially Gettysburg! It's definitely worth a day trip. They've done a great job preserving the town and battlefield, and have an excellent visitor center. You can practically relive the entire battle. Antietam (in MD) is nice as well. Also, I've never been to Saratoga in NY but I've heard it's really been preserved well, too - though that's a different war. :D.
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Pitsu
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Postby Pitsu » Jan 3 2013, 9:13

Thank you very much! :-D These are exactly the tips i liked to hear and we'll have more thorough look on them.

Yes, we are more interested in natural than man-made wonders, but the latter are OK too. Watching trees and stones may get boring after some time.

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Postby Kristo » Jan 3 2013, 20:41

Northern Michigan (both the lower and upper peninsulas) is really pretty to just drive around in summertime and early Fall when the leaves start to change color. If you play golf, there's a ton of that up there too. Mackinac Island makes for a fun day trip. No cars are allowed there except for emergency vehicles. It's like a trip back in time to the 19th century, except that everyone has a satellite dish.

Since you mentioned Chicago, I have to recommend coming to see the Willis Tower (a.k.a the Sears Tower). It's the tallest building in America, no matter what those pesky New Yorkers say. :D I work right nearby, so I see it every day. On a clear day, you can see four different states from the Skydeck. If you visit on a weekday, we could certainly meet up for lunch or something.
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Postby Corribus » Jan 4 2013, 2:52

You live in Chicago too, eh? Small world. I work in the city as well, although closer to Midway airport. My wife works about two blocks from the Hancock bldg though.

Btw Pitsu if you're considering other sites than natural wonders, I'd suggest a trip to see Independence Hall in Philly - it's a World Heritage Center. Plus Philadelphia rocks! You can go see where I went to University. :D

By the way, I also second a trip to Michigan. We love going to the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Some of the dunes along the lake are really cool. Beautiful in Fall, as Kristo said. There are wineries there too, although if you're going to California you'd be better served going to Napa Valley. Hell you could spend a whole week taking quality day trips from San Francisco.
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Postby Pitsu » Jan 4 2013, 7:04

We are going to rent a car anyway and therefore priority is to visit sites not reachable with ordinary public transport or taxi. On the other hand, we cannot totally avoid cities anyway.
Current schedule estimates us to be in Chicago ... 4th July :D A day or two later could work better, but this one date may be more fun to spend in a city.

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Postby Angelspit » Jan 4 2013, 13:54

Niagara Falls is much better on the Canadian side, it's not a personal bias but a well-known fact. I'm not sure if crossing the border would be a logistic issue, but that's something to keep in mind.

I second Corribus' suggestion for Highway 1. It's well worth a car rental.
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Postby Corribus » Jan 4 2013, 23:47

Angelspit wrote:Niagara Falls is much better on the Canadian side, it's not a personal bias but a well-known fact.

This is true. Also, a short drive up to Niagara on the Lake is well worth it. It's about 30-45 minutes as I recall. Beautiful little town and of course the lake's not too shabby either. Don't forget to pick up some Ice Wine while you're there. You won't find any better in the world. :)
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Postby Kalah » Jan 5 2013, 0:36

Ice wine? Sounds like my kind of place. :)
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Postby markkur » Jan 6 2013, 15:15

If you go to Monument Valley; I would highly recommend bopping over just past "4-corners" to Mesa Verde National Park in S.W. Colorado.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa_Verde_National_Park


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