July 2023: US East Coast Vacation

Hey, everyone! We’re back from our epic 23-day road trip across the East Coast of the US, and we can’t wait to share our experiences with you. It was a dream come true for our family of four, including two teens, son and niece, who are 14 and 17 years old. We flew from Geneva to New York City, where our adventure began.

The Big Apple, New York

  • Day 1 : We checked in at the Cambria hotel, a cozy and modern place near Times Square. We were amazed by the view from our room and the friendly staff. We took a walk around the neighborhood and enjoyed the lively atmosphere.
  • Day 2 : We started our day with a delicious breakfast at Macy’s, where we also did some shopping. Then we headed to Times Square, where we saw the famous billboards and street performers. We also visited the Rockefeller center, where we admired the architecture and the ice-skating rink. We had a picnic at Bryant Park, where we relaxed and played some games. In the evening, we went to the Empire State building, where we had a breathtaking view of the city lights. We ended our day with a slice of pizza at a nearby restaurant.
  • Day 3: We bought a City Sight Seeing buses ticket for 2 days, which allowed us to hop on and off at different attractions. We first went to Wall Street, where we saw the iconic bull statue and learned about the history of finance. Then we visited the 9-11 memorial, where we paid our respects to the victims of the tragic event. We also saw Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy movement took place. Next, we went to The battery, where we had a beautiful view of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty. We decided to take a ferry ride to get closer to the statue and learn more about its symbolism. In the evening, we went back to Times Square, where we enjoyed the nightlife and the entertainment.
  • Day 4 : We had a healthy lunch at Sweetgreen, a salad chain that uses fresh and local ingredients. Then we took a bus to Pier 36 NYC, where we boarded a cruise that took us along the East River. We saw the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge from a different perspective and learned about their history and engineering. We decided to get off at Brooklyn and walk across the bridge back to Manhattan. It was a fun and scenic experience that gave us a sense of accomplishment.
  • Day 5: We spent the day exploring Central Park, one of the most famous parks in the world. We rented bikes and rode along the paths, stopping at various landmarks such as Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Fountain, Belvedere Castle, and Sheep Meadow. We also visited the Natural History Museum, where we saw impressive exhibits of dinosaurs, animals, and space. We then went to Grand Central Terminal, where we marveled at the architecture and the clock. We did some more shopping at Macy’s, where we found some great deals.
  • Day 6 : We immersed ourselves in the cultural diversity of New York by visiting Little Italy and Chinatown. We tasted some authentic Italian food and gelato in Little Italy, where we also saw some colorful murals and quaint shops. In Chinatown, we sampled some dim sum and bubble tea, as well as browsing through some souvenir stalls and herbal stores. We also walked along 5th Avenue, where we saw some luxury brands and famous buildings such as St Patrick’s Cathedral and Trump Tower. We then explored Soho, where we saw some trendy boutiques and art galleries. We ended our day at Columbus Park, where we watched some locals play chess and practice Tai Chi.
  • Day 7: Our last day in New York was dedicated to the Highline, an elevated park built on an old railway line. We walked along the park, enjoying the views of the city and the Hudson River, as well as seeing some artworks and gardens along the way. We then visited Chelsea market, where we had a variety of food options from different cuisines. We also bought some souvenirs and snacks for our next destination. In the evening, we went back to Times Square for one last time, where we had fun taking pictures and saying goodbye to New York.

Outlet shopping and drive to Boston

We rented a car at Hertz and drove to Woodbury Premium outlet, where we found some amazing bargains on clothes, shoes, accessories, and electronics. We spent a few hours there before continuing our drive to Boston. We checked in at Residence Inn by Marriott at Boston, a comfortable and spacious hotel with a kitchenette.

The Historic City, Boston

  • Day 1 : We followed the Freedom Trail, a walking route that connects 16 historic sites related to the American Revolution. We learned about the events and people that shaped the history of the nation, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. We also enjoyed the architecture and the atmosphere of the old town, especially the North End, where we had some delicious Italian food.
  • Day 2 : We went to Burlington Mall, where we did some more shopping and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. Then we visited Harvard University, where we joined a guided tour led by a student. We saw the campus, the library, the museum, and the famous statue of John Harvard. We also visited Harvard Business School, where we took the iconic picture with the university’s sign. We then went to MIT, where we saw some impressive buildings and inventions. We also visited Bunker Hill, where we climbed the monument and had a panoramic view of the city. We then drove to Woburn Village, where we had dinner at a cozy pub.
  • Day 3 : We went to Lowell National Historical Park, where we learned about the Industrial Revolution and the role of immigrants in the textile industry. We saw some old mills, machines, and canals that were used to produce cloth. We also took a boat ride along the Merrimack River and saw some wildlife. Then we drove to Castle Island, where we had a picnic and a swim at the beach. We also visited Fort Independence, where we learned about its military history and saw some cannons and tunnels. In the evening, we drove to Cape Cod, where we met our friend who hosted us for the next three days.

The Seaside Retreat, Cape Cod

We spent 3 days with our friend who lives in a beautiful house near the beach. He showed us around and introduced us to his family and friends.

  • Day 1 : We went to Highland Lighthouse, where we climbed to the top and had a stunning view of the ocean and the cliffs. We then visited Province Lands Visitor center, where we learned about the natural and cultural history of Cape Cod. We also saw some exhibits of whales, seals, birds, and plants. We then drove to Provincetown, where we visited the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. We learned about the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620 and their interaction with the Native Americans. We also saw some artworks and artifacts related to the town’s history and culture.
  • Day 2 : We joined a whale watch tour, where we boarded a boat that took us to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. We saw some amazing sights of humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, dolphins, and seabirds. We learned about their behavior and conservation from a naturalist on board. It was an unforgettable experience that made us appreciate the beauty and diversity of life on Earth.
  • Day 3 : We went to Wellfleet town Pier, where we rented kayaks and paddled along the bay. We saw some oysters farms, marshes, islands, and wildlife along the way. It was a relaxing and fun activity that allowed us to enjoy nature and exercise at the same time.

Drive to Philadelphia

We said goodbye to our friend and thanked him for his hospitality. We drove to Philadelphia, where we checked in at Hilton Garden Inn at Philadelphia Center City.

The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia

We spent one day in Philadelphia, where we explored its rich history and culture.
We visited The Franklin Institute, where we saw some interactive exhibits on science and technology. We learned about electricity, astronomy, engineering, anatomy, and more. We also saw a giant heart model that we could walk through. Then we went to see the Rocky statue and steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We posed for some pictures and ran up the steps like Rocky Balboa did in the movie. We then visited Independence Hall, where we saw where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. We also saw Liberty Bell, where we learned about its symbolism and history. We ended our day with a steak sandwich at Pat’s King of Steaks.

Drive to Washington

We drove to Washington D.C., where we checked in at Hyatt Place at Washington D.C./National Mall.

The Capital City, Washington D.C.

We were amazed by the number of museums, monuments and attractions that this city has to offer. We visited the Smithsonian Institution, which has 19 museums and galleries, including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We also saw the start of Route 66, the iconic highway that crosses the country from east to west. We took a picture with the sign that says “Begin Historic Route 66”.

One of the highlights of our stay in D.C. was seeing the Lincoln Memorial, a majestic monument that honors the 16th president of the US, Abraham Lincoln. We learned about his life and legacy, and read his famous speeches engraved on the walls. We also enjoyed the view of the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument from there. Another must-see attraction was the White House, where the president lives and works. We joined a guided tour that showed us some of the rooms and gardens of this historic building. We also saw the Capitol, where the Congress meets and makes laws. It was impressive to see the dome and the statues that represent different states.

One of the most fun places we visited was the International Spy Museum, where we learned about the history and techniques of espionage. We saw gadgets, weapons, disguises and vehicles used by spies from different countries and eras. We also tried some interactive exhibits that tested our skills as spies. We had a blast pretending to be secret agents for a day.

On our last day in D.C., we drove to National Harbor, a waterfront destination that has shops, restaurants, entertainment and a giant Ferris wheel. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon strolling along the Potomac River and watching the sunset from the top of the wheel.

Back to New York and Geneva

We said goodbye to D.C. and headed back to New York City, where we caught our flight back to Geneva. We were sad to leave this amazing country, but also happy to have made so many memories and learned so much. It was an unforgettable trip that we will always cherish.

Final Thoughts

We had an incredible time on our East Coast vacation. We saw so many beautiful places, met so many friendly people, and experienced so many different things. We made memories that will last a lifetime. We are so grateful for this opportunity and we hope to come back someday. Thank you for following our journey and we hope you enjoyed reading our blog posts. Until next time, bye!

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