My friends Ale and Francesca are headed to America for the first time! Here are great things to do and see along the way.
But first, important things to know!
- Speed limits are different than Italy. You are in miles per hour now. Make sure you read the right numbers.
- It’s ok to go about 5-10 mph above the limit. Go about as fast as the rest of the cars, but NOT the fastest car. There is no Tutor System. American police will pull over speeders. Tickets can be expensive.
- With two of you in the car you might be able to use the high occupancy vehicle lanes. These are to encourage people to share a car to save gasoline. Look for the signs that say how many people per car. If you are by yourself in the car, don’t use them unless it is after the hours of use.
- Stop at all stop signs.
- Yield at yield signs.
- Stop at red stop lights, although if you are in the right lane turning right, you can usually turn right after you stop and no traffic is coming from your left.
- Use your blinker to change lanes.
- Don’t tailgate.
- It is good to look at other drivers to see what they will do.
- It’s ok to pass on the right, because slow people sit in the left lane, but the middle lane is best.
- Every other car you see will be a Ford F150 pickup truck. The rest will be Honda and Toyota. Not too many Fiats.
- OK, pretty much everything that you do while driving in Italy, do the opposite in the U.S.
- Tipping – Good service is 10-15% of your bill. Most servers make their living on tips, so take care of good servers. It is also ok to leave a tip for your hotel maid.
- Traffic on Interstate 95 (“I-95”) is busy from 0600-0900 and 1600-1900 every day.
- Make sure you visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Cheers Bar (like from the TV show), then walk over to Long Warf to see the New England Aquarium.
- Don’t leave Boston without trying clam chowder (you must say “Clam Chow-dahh”). Legal Seafood is one of the best places to get it, and it is a romantic dinner for Ale and Francesca. It is also probably the best place to get a lobster dinner. If you chose Copley Square Legal Seafood you can go sight-seeing there too. Newport Creamery is another place with terrific chowder. Ask for it in a bread bowl.
- Also near Faneuil Hall Market is the Freedom Trail. When you reach the graveyard where Samuel Adams the patriot is buried, you can go across the street and drink a Samuel Adams beer.
- Other places to eat: Have breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. They are everywhere. Try the coffee! Sorry, no espresso. Only Americano.
- Buy a Boston Redsox team baseball cap. Wear it in New York just for fun, but you will get yelled at!
- The Liberty Bell is a famous landmark to go see.
- The plan to become America was hatched in Boston, but became true at Independence Hall.
- If you can’t find good food in Philly, you’re not trying. Here’s a list of 50 best things to eat in Philadelphia. I would go to Federal Donuts for fried chicken, and make sure you have a Philly cheese steak sandwich.
New York City is crazy. Here’s a guide to seeing the sites. Go to Times Square at night to see the lights, and have a kiss there. Hopefully you can find a street hot dog too. Both will be great :-)))
- It’s hard to know where to start but getting a place in Crystal City is a good start. Lots of good restaurants. If you want a good steak without spending a fortune try Ted’s Montana Grill. If you want something simple and fun go to Taj of India. There are also plenty of good sushi restaurants, like this one. And of course, there is good shopping and restaurants at the Pentagon City Mall.
- Here’s a page listing the information on Washington D.C. monuments.
- If you don’t go and see the National Air and Space Museum, I will be disappointed. Take the Metro subway to L’Enfant Plaza and walk toward the National Mall. The other museums are very good too, and all free.
- After that, hopefully it will be evening and not too hot. When you leave the Smithsonian, walk down to the Lincoln Memorial. Then continue around the Mall to the Viet Nam memorial, then the Whitehouse, and then circle back to the Capitol. When you are tired (this takes about 2-3 hours), you can catch the nearest Metro station at Capitol South or Federal Center, and ride back to your hotel. Here is a handy map.
- Oh, and here’s the Metro subway map in Italiano!!
- The Pentagon has tours but they have to be requested a long time ahead. You can still walk over (or take the Metro to the Pentagon stop) and walk around outside. There is a memorial on the back side of the Pentagon to those who were killed by the terrorist airplane crash on 9/11.
- If you have time, visit Arlington Cemetery. It is only a stop or two away from Crystal City on the blue line. See the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with some of Spenser’s Army friends guarding it.
Florida – You will already be enjoying the sun and beaches in Florida. So here are some good places to eat on your journey:
- Waffle House (Don likes pecan waffles, LeAnn loves hash browns smothered and covered, with cheese grits)
- Krispy Kreme Donuts (Bonus points awarded if you are there when the “hot now” light is on. Ask for a donut right off the machine!!)
- Cracker Barrel (Lydia loves chicken n’ dumplins, and make sure you try the “sweet tea”)
- Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and waffle fries are great for lunch!
- Gas stations. Like Italy, lots of places called “truck stops” have pretty good food while you are getting gasoline. Love’s, Pilot, and Flying J are all pretty good. The bathrooms are usually clean too. Look for places that have lots of cars and trucks.
- If you see boiled peanuts, buy some and eat them with a Dr. Pepper to drink.
- It’s a good time to be driving in Florida. Gas prices are very low, about .40 Euro per liter ($1.80/gallon). Here’s a site to find cheap gas.
More updates coming!! Have a safe flight…