This is going to be a long post with photos, so read more after the jump.
First stop: Manassas, VA & Washington, DC
The main reason of my visit to USA was to visit a good friend of mine who’s living in Manassas, VA. Manassas is a small town about 1 hour from Washington D.C. So my friend drove me to D.C on 2 out of 4 days I was there. During the other couple of days we went to Alexandria in Virginia (pictured above), which is an old town with really nice houses, and I also went to Leesburg Premium Outlets on my first day.
In Alexandria, most of the houses display really nice looking wreathes in front of the door. People of Alexandria are really creative with their wreaths, my favourite is the one with all the granny smith apples, so cute! I even passed by a wreath-making workshop place.
We also passed by this really narrow home (the blue one), called “The Spite House”. Why is it called Spite? Read the story and see some photos of the inside of the house here.
Second stop: New York City, NY
We took a bus to New York, and when I got off the bus I was so amazed with how tall the buildings are. I mean, Sydney has tall buildings, I just didn’t know that buildings could get that much taller, and bigger, and with so many windows. I was lucky to be able to stay in the heart of Times Square. We stayed in Room Mate Grace Hotel in the Theatre District. Many people told me how expensive staying within New York City is, and some of them had to find accommodation New Jersey to be able to travel cheap. But I got the same rate in Room Mate Grace as most of the hotels in Secaucus. The rooms are really small, but it was neat, clean and comfy.
I LOVE Grand Central Station. I’ve always has fascination towards trains and train stations. But I gotta say, Grand Central Station is now my number one favourite. Coming from Australia, I find that lots of the things in U.S are very cheap! I ate a whole lobster for $19 (and yes, I ate the whole thing by myself. I’m that greedy for lobsters!). While I remember the last time I went to a Crab house in Sydney, I paid $20 for a lot less than that. Gosh, I’m gonna miss the lobsters!
If you go to NYC, make sure that you visit The High Line Park. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. You can see pretty nice city views from there. Afterwards, you HAVE to visit Chelsea Market, which is just walking distance from The High Line. And make sure that you go there hungry, because you will want to eat a lot of things in there (at least I did!). They describe themselves as “greatest indoor food hall of the world”. Other than food they also have flea markets selling quite a lot of products from local artists.
Last day: Brooklyn, NY
I actually regret leaving Brooklyn till the last day. I didn’t realise how awesome Brooklyn is! If I had known, I would have dedicate 2 days just to be in Brooklyn. I didn’t actually plan to go to Brooklyn at all, but I really wanted to go to the Brooklyn Flea Market which was recommended by one of Design is Yay’s readers (thank you!). I’m glad that I did! Brooklyn is so different from New York City. It reminds me a lot of Brunswick St in Melbourne.
I very much recommend Brooklyn Flea Market when you’re there. One side of the indoor market were people selling second hand stuff and and artists selling their products, and the other side were food. a lot of food (they even have Ramen Burger!). Unfortunately I’ve eaten somewhere else and was really full.
Some Highlights of the trip
- Capitol Building Tour : The inside is so beautiful! I don’t think a trip to Washington D.C would be complete without doing one of the national buildings tour, wouldn’t it? I would love to go for the White House tour but I wasn’t so fond of the complicated process of getting my background checked. Umm, not that I have anything to hide. Haha!
- Georgetown Cupcakes : Yes, I queued up for 30 minutes just to eat a cupcake. To be honest……, I have had better cupcakes. But I used to watch D.C Cupcakes shows on TV, so it was more of an experience, and just to be able to say “I have eaten their cupcakes!”
- Alexandria, VA : Spare one full day for it. If you love looking at beautiful country houses and strolling around little quiet but beautiful town, this is a must-visit. I enjoyed my time there very much.
NEW YORK CITY, NY
- The Halal Guys : I cannot describe enough how delicious their Gyro on Rice is. If you don’t like lamb (Gyro = lamb), you can have chicken. You can also ask for mix meat! There are other Halal food carts that stationed around the real Halal Guys. The real one is on 53rd & 6th, with a line of customers.
- “Book of Mormon” on Broadway : This is not an ordinary Broadway show. Even if you don’t like musicals, you will definitely enjoy watching Book of Mormon. They are created by the guys behind South Park, so it’s guaranteed to make you laugh. They are currently the most popular and also the most expensive show on Broadway. And if you’re thinking of getting the tickets from the TKTS Booth (the ticket booth to buy half priced broadway shows on the same day), don’t bother. They are way too popular to have any tickets left for TKTS.
- Chelsea Market : Be there and be hungry. Also, the whole lobster that I was talking about was from The Lobster Place inside Chelsea Market.
- Papyrus and Paper Source : LOVE these shops. Paper and Stationery nerds everywhere will love these shops. They have many shops across the country, so wherever you go in the U.S you can look for them.
- The High Line : go there for a stroll in the morning before going to Chelsea Market. Or after, to walk off the calories you just ate!
- Peter Luger Steakhouse : Best steak I’ve ever eaten in my life.
- Brooklyn Brewery : they have a huge range of beer. Love their amber ale!
- Blue Bottle Coffee : I could find decent coffee in U.S, but GOOD coffee was apparently hard to find. Blue Bottle is by far the best.
- Brooklyn Flea Market : An indoor flea market selling second hand goods, handcrafted stuff and goods by local artists