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Trip report

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
Trip report

Hi everyone!

During the first week of October 2013 my husband and I made a mini road trip from NYC to the Delaware Water Gap, the Catskills and back to New York City. After a week on the road we spent the second week of our vacation in New York City. We had a great time in the US and would like to share our experiences with the readers of this forum. Hope you'll enjoy it!

As we travelled across three different states on our road trip, I will publish this trip report on all three forums.

16 replies to this topic
Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
1. Re: Trip report

Sunday 29th of September: Groningen – AmsterdamNew York City

Our flight being scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight we didn’t have to get up too early today. Around 11 a.m. we took the bus to the station of Groningen and from there the 11:46h train to Amsterdam Schiphol. Unlike other times we have travelled by train, there were no delays this time and there was room enough for all passengers as well as their luggage. So far so good! But then we got a text message from our air carrier KLM saying, that our flight would be 1 ½ hours late. That meant 5 ½ hours waiting time at the airport, not a very tempting perspective. Having checked in online a day in advance, once at the airport all we had to do, was drop off our baggage. Well that sounds easier than it actually is. Instead of the drop off counters with an actual living person behind it, KLM has introduced machines for baggage drop-off lately. You place your suitcase in the machine, you scan your boarding pass and your baggage label is printed. Put the label on your luggage, press a button and your suitcase will disappear in a tunnel, hopefully on its way to the right plane. Sounds easy and efficient? Well it’s not. Figuring out how this new technology works is time consuming and a lot of passengers end up asking for help by an employee. Luckily we have some time to kill and are not in a hurry. After hours of waiting we are finally allowed to proceed to the gate and pass the security check. But then we have to wait again, because the plane has still not arrived. At 8:15 pm, more than 2 hours behind schedule, we are finally ready for take-off. Luckily the flying time is about 1 hour shorter than scheduled and when we finally land on JFK Airport in New York we are only 1 ½ hours late. Fortunately there are no lines at immigration and baggage collection and customs all go off very smoothly. We take the air train to the Federal Circle Station, where National Rental Cars is located. Within 10 minutes we got our rental contract. No endless tries to sell us extra insurances, upgrades or fuel plans this time. We do hire an EZ-pass though, a special device to pay for tolls automatically. Out on the parking lot we can choose between a huge Chevrolet Malibu and a tiny Nissan Cube. Considering our luggage we go for the Chevrolet, install our Garmin and off we go. Ten minutes later we finally reach our destination: The Hampton Inn JFK Airport Hotel. After sending a quick e-mail to friends and family at home, we finally hit the sheets. It is midnight local time (6 a.m. in Europe).

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
2. Re: Trip report

Monday 30th of September: New York – East Stroudsburg (PA)

Because of the jetlag we make an early start today. Unfortunately that means our first experience with New York traffic is during morning rush hour. Immediately after leaving the parking lot of our hotel around 7.30 a.m. we end up in a traffic jam. Trying to get up the highway, we find the drivers of New York to be not as relaxed and patient as their fellow Americans in the Western United States. Nobody seems to respect the speed limit and drivers are continuously changing lanes without signalling first, creating countless dangerous situations. I can’t tell you how glad I am, that Klaas is driving on this first day of our vacation. We are really happy we brought our Garmin with us, as it makes navigating the busy roads in and around NYC so much easier. The only problem we experience with the GPS is, that it has an absolutely dreadful pronunciation of English place and street names. For example instead of I 95 South it says something like I 95 Soot. Our GPS leads us around Brooklyn, over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to Staten Island and over another bridge into New Jersey. The weather is great and the view from the bridge is fabulous. We could even see the skyline of Manhattan as well as the Statue of Liberty. Our first destination today was the college town of Princeton in New Jersey. After a stroll over the campus of Princeton University we tried to catch a glimpse of the famous mural by Norman Rockwell in the Yankee Doodle Tap Room of the Nassau Inn. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite lunchtime yet and we weren’t brave enough to enter the restaurant without consuming anything. So we didn’t see the mural. Instead we got back to the car and drove further south to the Washington Crossing State Park on the Delaware River north of Trenton NJ. The park commemorates the crossing of the Delaware River by general Washington and his troops on Christmas day 1776. They then went on to surprise the British troops in the Battle of Trenton, which was a turning point in the Revolutionary War. The visitors centre of the park has a big collection of military items from the Revolutionary War era. Though interesting we didn’t want to stay inside too long, as the weather outside was simply gorgeous. We made a short stroll through the park to see the actual site of the crossing on the Delaware River. After that we followed the Delaware River to the north to the town of Lambertsville, where we had an al fresco lunch at the old train station. Lambertsville is a quaint little town full of art galleries and antique shops, so after lunch we went to discover the place by foot. By car we then crossed the bridge over the Delaware River entering Pennsylvania. Driving north we were on a mission to find the town of Ottsville. When I discovered this place on the road map of Pennsylvania a few month ago and found out it was named after its first postmaster mister Michael Ott, I just had to go there. Unfortunately the town isn’t very big and not very easy to find either, but with a few detours we finally got there. Entering the village there was a nice sign saying that the village was named after the Ott family. Of course Klaas took a picture of his wife standing in front of the sign. Our last stop before heading to East Stroudsburg, our final destination of today, was the Ringing Rocks County Park in Upper Black Eddy. The attraction of this park is an area full of big boulders surrounded by dense forest. Nobody really seems to know how the boulders actually got there. But that’s not the only mystery of this place and certainly not the reason we came here for. Our visit was due to the very unusual property these rocks have : when struck with a hammer or another rock, they sound as if they are metal and hollow and ring with a sound similar to a metal pipe being struck. After testing this weird phenomenon ourselves we got back in the car following the Delaware River to East Stroudsburg. Here we checked in at the Pocono Budget Inn & Suites. Although it was dinner time by now, we decided to go shopping first. Another 15 minutes’ drive brought us to the Premium Outlets in Tannersville, where we bought a few shirts at the Nautica shop and a brownie baking mould at Le Gourmet Chef. Back in East Stroudsburg we had a quick bite at Burger King and then did some more shopping at the local K- and Walmart: water, a belt, two pairs of jeans and a set of underpants. It was nearly midnight when we finally hit the sheets back at the hotel.

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
3. Re: Trip report

Tuesday 1st of October: East Stroudsburg (PA) – Milford (PA)

Unfortunately the American Parliament hasn’t been able to reach an agreement on the federal budget yesterday evening. That means, starting this morning the government shutdown is a fact. All nonessential government institutions will be closed and their employees will be sent home without pay. As federally administrated museums as well as the National Park Service are considered nonessential, the shutdown is bad news for us tourists too. All the parks run by the NPS will be closed and we won’t be able to visit the Delaware Water Gap NRA as planned for today. According to the information I got on the internet this morning, all visitors centres, museums, campgrounds, parking lots and trails in the park will be closed. The big through-road, road 209, should be open though. Hoping to get more detailed information about the current situation in Delaware Water Gap NRA we stop at the Pennsylvania Welcome Centre before entering the park. There we are told, the visitors centres, boat launches, campgrounds and beaches would indeed be closed, but roads and trails would still be open to the public. Unfortunately this piece of information didn’t prove to be entirely true. When we entered the park on road 209, most of the smaller roads leading to trailheads and parking lots along the road were closed. So we weren’t able to see any of the parks beautiful waterfalls nor were we able to do any hikes. Instead we visited the privately owned Bushkill Falls Park situated a little bit north of the NRA. We thought the entry fee of 12.50 $ per person is a bit of a rip-off. Certainly if you consider that entering the Delaware Water Gap NRA is free. But of course we had not much choice. So we paid the fee and spent the next 1 ½ hours walking the trails of Bushkill Falls. The park features trails, boardwalks, bridges and stairs leading to different viewpoints of the main falls as well as to a series of other smaller waterfalls. Certainly the main falls are nice and pretty impressive too. The brochure, which calls them the Niagara of Pennsylvania, is strongly exaggerating though. The weather being sunny and warm again allows us to have lunch outside seated at a picnic table. We then return to road 209 in the Delaware Water Gap NRA still hoping to find a parking lot, where we could leave our car behind and go for a walk. I am in the driver’s seat today and I am pretty nervous. Some of you know, I just got my licence last year and I have never been driving a hired car before. Our Chevy Malibu being about twice as long as our car at home doesn’t make it any better. I just started to get used to the car and relax a bit, when suddenly there was a message appearing on the dashboard saying ‘low tire pressure’. I stopped the car immediately and Klaas went out to check on the tire. According to him the pressure was indeed pretty low, but we should be able to make it to the next gas station, which would hopefully have some kind of facility to refill the tire with air. Our best guess for a gas station was the town of Milford about 20 miles further on road 209. Reaching Dingmans Ferry the pressure had gone down even further, while road works forced us to leave the 209 and make a detour. With our tire almost completely flat we finally reached a gas station in Milford, where we could inflate our tire. Unfortunately the tire appeared to be punctured and in need of repair, as the air pressure started decreasing again almost immediately. But before we could take any further steps, we had to call National Car Rentals for instructions. Of course none of our two mobile phones would work out here and the public phone at the gas station was broken. Fortunately the people at the gas station were very helpful and let us use their phone to call National. They even wrote down their address, so Klaas could tell National our exact location. After listening carefully to our problem, the guy from National’s road assistance service found us a nearby company to repair our flat tire. Following the instructions of the gas station’s employee, we were able to find Kost Tires & Mufflers without any further problems. While Klaas was waiting for our tire to be fixed, I walked back to a motel I had seen on the way out here. At a rate of 77 $ I got us a nice little cabin with a front porch at Myer’s Country Motel. After a short inspection of the cabin I returned to Klaas and waited with him for our car to be fixed. Around 4 p.m. the car was ready to roll and we returned to our cabin. The rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing with a drink on the front porch of our little home, before having dinner at the Apple Valley Restaurant in Milford, where we ended the day with a juicy steak (Klaas) and half a rack of delicious baby back ribs (Franziska).

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
4. Re: Trip report

Wednesday 2nd of October: Milford (PA) – Phoenicia (NY)

Today will be a driving day. Our destination for tonight are the Catskill Mountains in New York State. We won’t take the most direct nor the quickest way to get there though. Instead we chose a scenic route along the Upper Delaware River and then right across the Mountains into the heart of the Catskills. In order to get a good start of the day, we decide to have a hot and hearty breakfast at the local Village Diner. It is one of these lovely, old fashioned places with pictures of stars from the 50’s and 60’s on the wall. Klaas goes for pancakes and eggs, I have two eggs, crispy bacon and hash browns. Mmmmh! After refuelling the car we leave Milford crossing the Delaware River at Matamoras and entering the State of New York again. On highway 97 north we follow the Upper Delaware River to the trailhead of Tusten Mountain Trail north of Barryville. The road is very scenic and offers beautiful views of the densely wooded and sparsely populated Upper Delaware Valley. We even see one of the bald eagles, that inhabit the area. Unfortunately fall colours here are still far from peaking though. We leave the car at an otherwise completely deserted parking lot by the riverside, put our hiking boots on and grab a map from the box at the trailhead. The 3-mile loop trail to the top of Tusten Mountain is well marked and not very difficult. After ¾ hour walking through dense forest we reach the top of the mountain. Unfortunately the view from the top is a bit disappointing. Trees and bushes have grown higher over the years and are blocking the view. On top of that it is pretty hazy today and and the sun is shining the wrong way making it difficult to take decent pictures. Back down at the parking lot we are no longer alone. There are a few fishermen on the river bank and a couple of kayakers on the river. After a short break we return to highway 97 and continue following the river to the town of Hancock (NY). From there we take first highway 17 and then 30 East to the Pepacton Reservoir. The trees around the reservoir are far more colourful than any of the forests we have seen so far. Hoping to find a parking spot, where we could have lunch and take some pictures of the colourful fall foliage we leave the main highway and take a narrow and winding road into the mountains. While we are climbing higher and higher the colours of the leafs get more and more spectacular. There is just one problem: there is no adequate spot to get out of the car and take some pictures. The road we are on is not on the map and as we have no idea, where we are heading to, we decide to use the GPS to get us back on track. In a big loop it takes us back to Highway 30 and the Pepacton Reservoir. After this little detour we continue driving on highway 30 in direction of Margaretville. Not far from the end of the reservoir we finally find a rest area, where we can take some pictures and eat our sandwiches. Without any further stops we follow Highway 30 to Margaretville, where we take Highway 28 East, which takes us to the town of Phoenicia in the very heart of the Catskill Mountains. At Phoenicia Lodge we hire a cabin with kitchen and parlour for two nights. Accommodations in this area are scarce and pricy. So even though our cabin is way over budget at 120 $ plus tax a night, we accept to pay the price. The rest of the afternoon we spend discovering Phoenicia’s Main Street, having dinner at Sportman’s Alamo Cantina. I feast on a kale and chicken salad, while Klaas has a chorizo burger. Back at our cosy cabin we enjoy a cup of tea, before going to sleep.

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
5. Re: Trip report

Thursday 3rd of October: Phoenicia – Giant Ledge – Kaaterskill Falls – Woodstock – Phoenicia

Today we have the whole day to discover the Catskills. Although still a bit chilly in the morning the weather is beautiful and sunny, a perfect day for hiking. And that’s exactly what we plan to do today. After a self-made breakfast with cereals, milk and tea at our cabin, we get in the car driving to Big Indian. From there we take County Route 47 to the well indicated Giant Ledge trailhead. Fall foliage is almost at its peak around here, so we hope for good views from the top of Giant Ledge. The hike to the top is about 1.6 miles long with an elevation gain of 1100 foot. The trail is steep, uneven and rocky with a few flatter easier parts in between. Walking through dense forest we don’t have any views on the way up. But when we finally reach the top and step out of the forest and onto the bare rocky ledge, we immediately know it was worth every drip of sweat we lost on the way up here. The panorama that opens in front of us is absolutely stunning: Mountains covered by trees showing the most spectacular fall colours wherever you look! I can honestly say, I haven’t seen anything quite like it in my life before. Seated on a rock we marvel in silence at this truly fantastic view. And when we finally start walking back down to the car, we just know, whatever we do this afternoon, it won’t get any better than what we just experienced. Our second destination today are the Kaaterskill Falls located between Haines Falls and Palenville in the northern part of the Catskills. The Kaaterskill Falls are probably the most famous and most visited waterfalls in the Catskill Mountains. It is the highest two-tier waterfall in the whole of New York State. Actually the two parts of the the falls together are even higher than the Niagara Falls. The water volume is much lower though, especially at this time of the year, when the falls are nothing more than a trickle. Though not at their best, the falls are still heavily visited today and we are lucky to get a spot at the parking lot situated along the road about a mile from the falls. The first stretch of the trail leading to the falls follows County Route 23A, a pretty dangerous part of the trail given the fact that the road is very narrow and heavily used by cars, buses and trucks. When the trail separates from the road it follows the creek uphill for about ½ mile before reaching the falls. Although not recommended some people climb up to the plunge pool between the two falls. But the scramble to get up there is so steep with loose rocks lying around everywhere, they are not only putting themselves at risk, but also the people standing at the bottom of the falls. Loose pieces of rock could easily start to roll downhill, injuring people standing at the bottom. Luckily no such accident happens, while we are there. After taking a few pictures of the falls we return to the car at the trailhead. Crossing more beautifully coloured forests we drive back to Phoenicia and then on to Woodstock, the third destination of today. Although actually held about 50 miles further south, the famous Woodstock Festival of 1969 is named after this town. And some of its inhabitants still seem to live in the 1960’s. Most of the businesses along the two main streets in town are either art galleries, organic food stores or shops selling things like new age books, vegan shoes or incense sticks. Even the real estate agency has a sign with a Buddah figure hanging above the door. We have a good look around, drink a coffee and share a brownie at a local bakery and do some shopping at the whole foods supermarket for breakfast tomorrow. It is late afternoon, when we return to our cabin in Phoenicia. The plan is to have dinner at the Peekamoose Restaurant in Big Indian, but when we arrive there, the place is packed with people attending the beer tasting festival of a local brewery. So we end up having a pizza at Brio’s in Phoenicia.

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
6. Re: Trip report

Friday 4th of October: Phoenicia – Newburgh (NY)

As we plan to do some more shopping tomorrow, we want to spend the night in the vicinity of the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley today. Unfortunately affordable accommodations there seem to be scarce. So we start the day by searching the internet and find a fairly priced Howard Johnson not too far away from Central Valley in Newburgh NY. As this seems to be one of the only affordable options left, we decide to book ahead for tonight. After another breakfast in our little cabin we check out and start driving in direction of New Paltz. New Paltz is a town south of the Catskills on the Interstate 87, famous for its historic Huguenot Street with several houses dating back to the early 18th century. We don’t take the interstate though, but prefer the small county roads to get us to New Paltz. With a little help of our GPS we find the town of New Paltz and the visitor center of Historic Huguenot Street. A tour of the historic homes is just about to start and we join it. During the tour we learn a lot about the original settlers and founders of New Paltz. They were Huguenots, French-speaking Protestants from what is now Northern France and Southern Belgium. Seeking freedom from prosecution in mostly Catholic France they came to America in the 1660’s. Purchasing some 40’000 acres of land from the Esopus Indians in 1677 they started their first settlement on the banks of the Wallkill River. While their first homes were made of wood, what we see today are stone houses built by following generations of the first settlers in the early 18th century. Most of them have been enlarged and remodelled over time, but still have some original features. Our tour guide shows us the interior of several of this old houses and tells us the story about their inhabitants. What makes these houses especially interesting for us, is that most of them have some Dutch colonial features to them, as the French Huguenots borrowed a lot of style elements from their mostly Dutch neighbours. Most of them used Dutch colonial style furniture. We even saw a typical Dutch ‘bedstee’, a bed hidden in a cupboard found in most of the old Dutch farmhouses. After this interesting excursion into the past we leave the town of New Paltz and take the scenic byway to Minnewaska State Park. While it had been cloudy all morning and we were even afraid of getting some rain, the sky has cleared up a bit by now. Every now and then the sun gets out highlighting the beautifully coloured leafs on the trees in Minnewaska State Park. Minnewaska SP is part of the Shawangunk Mountain Range and the scenic byway across the park climbs one of its mountain ridges offering spectacular views of the Hudson Valley and the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately it is too hazy to take good pictures. We follow the scenic byway to the town of Ellenville, where we buy a sandwich for lunch. Then we continue to Sam’s Point Preserve, a park situated just south of Minnewaska SP. Once we payed the 10 $ parking fee and registered at the visitor center, we sit down at one of the picnic tables and have a late lunch. It is almost 3 p.m. when we start the 5.5 miles roundtrip hike to the Verkeerder Kill Falls. The first part climbs uphill through a densely wooded area with beautifully yellow and orange coloured trees. After 0,6 miles we reach Sam’s Point, which sits on top of a cliff with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trail then crosses a plateau-like landscape covered with dwarf pine barrens and blue berry shrubs, which turn beautifully red in the fall. Even though it is still pretty hazy and there are dark and threatening clouds all around us the views from the trail over the Shawangunks and across the valley to the cliffs of Minnewaska SP are spectacular. Actually they are probably more spectacular than the falls at the end of the trail, as Verkeerder Kill Falls are nothing more than a trickle at this time of the year. With threatening thunderstorms at the horizon it is hot and humid up here on the plateau. And the low-growing shrubs and dwarf pines don’t supply much shadow either, making this hike harder than we first thought. After 2 ½ hours walking we are finally back at the car. If we want to reach our hotel in Newburgh before dark, we’ll have to leave now. Luckily Newburgh is only about 1 ½ hours drive and with a little help from our GPS the hotel is found easily. Although situated near the airport and right next to the highway, we don’t have a noise problem in our room. After a cool drink at the hotel we drive around the corner to the Walmart Supercenter for some more shopping. But first we have dinner with ribs (Klaas) and steak (Franziska) at Applebee’s. The following shopping session at the Walmart of Newburgh is a bit disappointing. Lots of the shelves are almost empty and pants of all sizes (except for mine of course) are lying around in big chaotic piles. We do end up buying two pairs of jeans for Klaas, socks for Franziska, a new Rand McNally road atlas and a bottle of barbeque sauce, but still couldn’t find the much needed underpants for Klaas and denims for Franziska. Hopefully we do better at K-Mart and the Premium Outlets tomorrow, but for today it’s bedtime.

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
7. Re: Trip report

Saturday 5th of October: Newburgh – New York City

Today is our last day on the road, as tonight we will be back in New York City and return the rental car. But before that, we have some more shopping to do. We start at the K-Mart in Vails Gate, a community a few miles south of Newburgh. Unfortunately the town of Vails Gate as well as its postal code is unknown to our Garmin, so all we have to help us navigate is a little detailed road map of New York State. Ending up at an intersection, where 5 different roads meet, we have to try at least 3 of them, before we finally end up on the one leading to the K-Mart. But it was worth searching for, as it is a very well sorted and neat shop and more importantly it sells everything we were looking for. Klaas finally gets his desperately needed underpants, a belt and a pair of black jeans. For myself I buy a couple of denims as well as a sweat shirt. Our next shopping destination is the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley. With more than 200 outlet stores, this is a true shopper’s paradise. On this Saturday morning at least half of the population of NYC seems to be shopping here. When we arrive at the outlet center around 11 a.m., we can hardly find a spot to park our car. Luckily I did my homework beforehand, printed a map of the center and highlighted the stores we don’t want to miss. In the first few stores we visit all we do is browsing. But when entering the Columbia shop, we can no longer resist the beautiful and quite reasonably priced outdoor wear, they are selling there. I purchase two fleece shirts for skiing for myself, while Klaas can’t resist a super light rain jacket. A few stores further I also get a new pair of black shoes, before we share a Philly-cheese-steak-sub at the food court. It is almost 2 p.m. when we finally get back on the road. Interstate 87 South takes us to the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River. After crossing the bridge we leave the interstate and drive north to Sleepy Hollow, a small community situated on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Our destination is the Kykuit Rockefeller Estate, a big mansion full of art work surrounded by beautiful, landscaped gardens. Unfortunately we are not the only ones with this destination. There is stop and go traffic all the way from the exit at the Tappan Zee Bridge to Sleepy Hollow and we have to park at the overflow parking. When we finally reach the ticket counter, we are told there are no more tickets available for today and we should have booked online. What a terrible disappointment! Given the fact, that it is already 3 p.m., we decide not to try and visit anything else, but to drive straight back to the rental company at JFK Airport. With a little help of the GPS Klaas takes us safely back to the airport, where we return the car at National Car Rentals. After a quick check-up, they tell us we are good to go. We are a bit surprised, that we don’t have to pay anything for the tire repair earlier this week, because we thought, that tires weren’t covered by insurance. The employee at the counter assures us though, that we won’t have to pay for the tire. We take the air train to Howard Beach Station, where we intend to take the subway to our hotel on Manhattan. Getting around the airport the air train is free, but as soon as you leave the airport and take the subway or bus, you have to buy a ticket for the airtrain. The ticket coasts 5 $ plus a 1 $ fee for the metrocard it’s loaded on. With the help of an airtrain employee, we finally manage to purchase such a ticket from one of the machines at Howard Beach Station. Now all we need are two 7-day unlimited rides metrocards for the subway. You can buy them from a ticket counter at Howard Beach Station, but they only take cash. As we want to pay with creditcard, we have to buy them from a machine. However of the 4 machines in front of us only 2 sell unlimited ride metrocards. On top of that it is not possible to reload the metrocard we just purchased for the air train with an unlimited rides ticket. We have to buy two new metrocards with each an additional 1 $ card fee on top of the actual price for the 7-day unlimited rides pass, which is 30 $ per person. Finally you can’t buy two metrocards at the same time, so we had to repeat the procedure using a different credit card each time. If there was an award for making things complicated, buying airtrain and subway tickets at JFK Airport would certainly make a fair chance of winning. Our next challenge is getting the luggage across the barriers, which are far too narrow for big bags and suitcases. Luckily our bags are just the right size and with a bit of squeezing we manage to get them to the other side. Exhausted we finally reach the platform of the A-train to Manhattan, only to find out there are no subways between Howard Beach and Euclid Avenue and we have to take a shuttle bus instead. The bus takes us to Euclid Avenue where we have to carry our bags down a flight of stairs in order to get to the platform. We can then take the A-train to Jay Street Metro-Tech in Brooklyn, where we change to the F-train, which takes us to East Broadway Station on Manhattan. Luckily our hotel, the Howard Johnson Manhattan Soho, is only a 5-minute walk from the subway station. Despite its name suggesting a location in Soho, the hotel is actually situated in Chinatown. The hotel is brand new, well designed, very modern and clean. Surrounded by the hustling and bustling of Chinatown, it feels a bit like a quiet island in the middle of a stormy sea. Our room is on the 6th floor, very small and has a view of the courtyard in the back of the building. No luxury, but new, clean and perfectly adequate for us. Except for sleeping we won’t spend much time in this room anyway. After a quick shower (it was very hot on the subway) and a bit of rest, we take the subway into Midtown for a first impression of NYC. At Times Square we marvel at the huge screens showing commercials and have a quick look at the M&M Shop. By now it’s almost 9 p.m. and we start working up an appetite. Klaas being a big fan of the Hard Rock Cafés, we decide to have dinner at their Times Square location. It is very busy and we are told, there would be a 30 to 40 minute wait for a table. But in fact the wait is much shorter, as we are not even able to order a drink at the bar, before we are called back to the reception to be seated. As an appetizer we share a plate of nachos so huge, we aren’t able to finish it. Then Klaas has his all-time favourite pulled pork sandwich, while I enjoy a smokehouse chop salad. Of course no visit to a Hard Rock Café is complete without a visit to their shop, in order to get one of their collector’s items. This time Klaas goes for a baseball cap. It is after midnight, when we finally get back to the hotel and hit the sheets.

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
8. Re: Trip report

As the second week of our trip was entirely spent in NYC, you'll find the remainder of this trip report in the NYC forum.

Groningen...
posts: 516
reviews: 7
9. Re: Trip report

Forgot to publish the link to part 2 of this trip report in the last post:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k7002334…

Teaneck, NJ
Destination Expert
for New Jersey
posts: 6,495
reviews: 14
10. Re: Trip report

I think yours is the first trip report posted in the NJ forum that I've seen. In between the major cities of Philadelphia and New York City, people more or less pass through our state, thank you for posting it.

A couple of things:

- your reference to "American Parliament " gave me a chuckle. We refer to our "Parliament" as the "Congress"

- your Garmin tale gave me more than a chuckle -- you brought yours from Sweden and it spoke with a Swedish accent! Of course -- and who would have thought about it beforehand? If you were going through parts of the Midwestern USA you'd have gotten some Swedish and Norwegian names (weren't they one country in the 19th century?) In NJ the only Swedish place name that comes to mind is, well, Swedesboro historicswedesboro.com/about/…

Sorry to hear that the government shutdown affected your trip.

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