Travel review: USA west coast v east coast

As travellers with a serious case of wanderlust, dad and I used to wonder why so many Americans didn’t have a passport. However, when we started to travel around this vast country, we started to understand that it is a country of so many vistas, so many climates and so many contrasts

There are so many different places to explore within the USA that there’s no need for Americans to leave their own borders. As dad and I traveled more in the USA, we’ve come to appreciate the nuances and character if the different areas of the country

The east coast is closer to the UK and most Brits would probably be introduced to the USA with a visit to East Coast destinations like New York or in our case, Orlando. Yup, dad and I are definitely big kids!

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Travel review: JetBlue

After a lovely time in New York, dad, ‘future mom’ and I flew to the west coast

Our favourite airline overall is Singapore Airlines for their modern planes and top class service. However, JetBlue is a close second favourite

 JetBlue is regarded as a budget airline, which makes it even more incredible. Dad and I are used to the European model of budget airlines, where they charge you for literally everything extra. In return for cheap flights, you’re expected to put up with minimum standards in return

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Travel review: One World Observatory

After a brief break, I’m resuming my review of dad’s, ‘future mum’s’ and my trip to the USA last summer

In my and dad’s lifetime, the attacks on New York on 9/11 were one of the ‘where were you you’ moments. The collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and surrounding buildings left a huge gaping scar in the middle of lower Manhattan

There have been many arguments as to how to redevelop this site and the resulting delays have left a hole in the heart of the city though interestingly, many images on things like postcards have continued to carry the Twin Towers on them since the attack

Finally, things are moving and the first tall building to emerge has been the Freedom Tower, built to an exacting 1776 feet to reflect the USA’s year of independence

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Travel review: Pies & Thighs, Brooklyn

One of dad and my favourite TV programs is Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Channel, where Guy Fieri drives around America visiting less high brow eateries and uncovering local gems

Tying in nicely with our love of fried chicken and our visit to New York, we looked up one of the restaurants featured in the program on our trip to New York last summer. Pies and Thighs specialise in fried chicken and huge pies. They have a couple of branches but we chose their location in Brooklyn as it was closer to our hotel


We chose to have brunch there and arrived early as there’s a no reservation policy. It isn’t the largest restaurant and we were glad to be early arrivers as there was a healthy queue of hungry diners by the time we left Continue reading

Travel review: Staten Island ferry

There are very few truly free things in life but in New York, you can experience one of them. The Staten Island ferry plies a commuter route between Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan Island and Staten Island and it costs absolutely nothing to ride on it

It’s famous as the best way to get a free view of the Statue of Liberty, which is west of the route that the ferry travels. However, this is the reason most tourists go on the ferry, so there will be a bit of a rush if you’re boarding from Manhattan. Dad and I find it best to wait for the return journey when people have got bored on that view and it’s less crowded on the side of the boat facing the statue

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Travel review: Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s iconic sights, connecting lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. The cable-stayed bridge spans the East river and the best tourist view is from South Street Seaport, where you can appreciate the beauty of the bridge

It opened in 1883 and the foundations of the bridge are so deep in the river that this was where the diving disease of the bends was first diagnosed in workers building the bridge. It has in the past carried trains and streetcars. However, today, it has 6 lanes of roadway and and elevated pedestrian and bicycle walkway suspended above the roadway Continue reading

Travel review: New York Penn Station

New York Penn station was my and dad’s first introduction to Manhattan on our first visit to the Big Apple. To keep costs down, we stayed at a hotel near Newark Airport and took the New Jersey transit train to Penn station, a 25 minute journey

Firstly, to my non-USA readers, this station is huge, occupying several city blocks and spread over several floors. It can be hard to get your orientation as to which exit to head for but its bounded by 7th Ave to the east, 8th Ave to the west, 31st St to the south and 33rd street to the north. The signposting is generally good within the station though dad and I found that the odd route to some subway lines does suddenly disappear

Next fact to note is that the whole station is underground, so you won’t be able to spot it by any grand external facade. However, sitting on top of it is iconic Madison Square Gardens, so just aim for that instead  Continue reading

Travel Review: New York, the Big Apple

I’m continuing my review of my holiday with dad and ‘future mom’ to the USA last summer. After starting in New Jersey, we headed up to New York for a few days

We were all veterans of the Big Apple (interesting article here as to how it acquired that name) but wanted to see a few of the new attractions like the Freedom Tower Observatory and Highline as well as allowing dad to share some of his favourite food with ‘future mom’ as it was their first visit together

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Travel review: Penang restaurant, Princeton

Dad and I are finishing off our series of New Jersey reviews by sharing the restaurant that serves the best Malaysian food outside of Malaysia

There is a chain of restaurants with the Penang name in New Jersey but this one on Nassau Park Boulevard just off US1 in Princeton is independent from them

They have Chinese chefs in the kitchen but they understand the important points about Malaysian flavour profiles. The menu is littered with classic Malaysian hawker dishes (read a little guide about Malaysian hawker food here) Continue reading