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USA 9th Edition

Here’s what the critics say about Frommer’s: “Amazingly easy to use. Very portable, very complete.” —Booklist “Detailed, accurate, and easy-to-read information for all price ranges.” —Glamour Magazine “Hotel information is close to encyclopedic.” —Des Moines Sunday Register “Frommer’s Guides have a way of giving you a real feel for a place.” —Knight Ridder Newspapers

USA 9th Edition

Here’s what the critics say about Frommer’s: “Amazingly easy to use. Very portable, very complete.” —Booklist “Detailed, accurate, and easy-to-read information for all price ranges.” —Glamour Magazine “Hotel information is close to encyclopedic.” —Des Moines Sunday Register “Frommer’s Guides have a way of giving you a real feel for a place.” —Knight Ridder Newspapers

Published by:

Wiley Publishing, Inc. 111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774 Copyright © 2005 Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, 978/750-8400, fax 978/646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Legal Department, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46256, 317/572-3447, fax 317/572-4355, E-Mail: [emailprotected]. Wiley and the Wiley Publishing logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates. Frommer’s is a trademark or registered trademark of Arthur Frommer. Used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc. is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. ISBN 0-7645-7460-4 Editor: Naomi Kraus with Christina Summers and Aliyah Vinikoor Production Editor: Heather Wilcox Cartographer: Roberta Stockwell Photo Editor: Richard Fox Production by Wiley Indianapolis Composition Services For information on our other products and services or to obtain technical support, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 800/762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317/572-3993 or fax 317/572-4002. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic formats. Manufactured in the United States of America 5

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Contents List of Maps 1

Planning Your Trip to the USA 1 2 3 4 5

When to Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Money Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Health, Insurance & Safety . . . . .6 Specialized Travel Resources . . . .9 Getting Around the United States . . . . . . . . . . .12 6 Planning Your Trip Online . . . . .17

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Frommers.com: The Complete Travel Resource . . . . . . . . . . . .18 7 The 21st-Century Traveler . . . . .19 Online Traveler’s Toolbox . . . . .21 8 Special Interest Vacation Planner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 9 Tips on Accommodations . . . . .29

31 6 7 8 9

Newport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Providence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83 Southern Vermont . . . . . . . . . .85 The White Mountains of New Hampshire . . . . . . . . . .93 10 The Maine Coast . . . . . . . . . . .97 Staying & Dining at the White Barn . . . . . . . . . . .101

The Mid-Atlantic 1 New York City . . . . . . . . . . . .107 Park It! Shakespeare, Music & Other Free Fun . . . . . . . . . . . .134 2 Historic Highlights of the Hudson River Valley . . . . . . . .137 3 Upstate New York Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140 Cooperstown: Checking Out Baseball’s Best Moments . . . .144 4 Highlights of the New Jersey Shore: Atlantic City & Cape May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .146

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New England 1 Boston & Cambridge . . . . . . . .31 Take Me Out to the Ballgame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 2 Cape Cod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 3 Martha’s Vineyard . . . . . . . . . .62 4 The Berkshires . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 5 Mystic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74 A Casino in the Woods . . . . . . .76

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The Southeast 1 Jefferson’s Virginia: Charlottesville & Monticello . . .219 Another Nearby Presidential Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223

107

5 6

7 8 9

A Vegas Resort in Atlantic City . . . . . . . . . . . . . .150 Philadelphia . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157 Side Trips from Philadelphia: The Amish Country, the Brandywine Valley & More . . .173 All Things Chocolate . . . . . . . .175 Pittsburgh & Western Pennsylvania . . . . . . . . . . . . .180 Baltimore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .185 Washington, D.C. . . . . . . . . . .196

219 2 Richmond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .225 3 Williamsburg & Colonial Virginia . . . . . . . . . . .227 4 The Shenandoah Valley . . . . . .238

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CONTENTS

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

5

A Side Trip to Warm Springs & Hot Springs . . . . . . . . . . . . . .243 Atlanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .244 Savannah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .258 Hilton Head . . . . . . . . . . . . . .267 Charleston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .272 Myrtle Beach & the Grand Strand . . . . . . . . . . . . .282 Wilmington & the Outer Banks . . . . . . . . . . . . . .285 Pinehurst: Where Golf Is King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .290

19 Memphis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .326

334 4 Miami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .369 Five Fabulous Historic Hotels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .378 5 Everglades National Park . . . .387 6 The Keys & Key West . . . . . . .389 7 Tampa & St. Petersburg . . . . . .398

The Gulf South 1 Birmingham . . . . . . . . . . . . . .413 2 Montgomery . . . . . . . . . . . . .421 The Civil Rights Trail . . . . . . . .423 Cruise through Mobile . . . . . .427

7

Charlotte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .291 The Blue Ridge Parkway . . . . .293 Asheville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .296 Great Smoky Mountains National Park . . . . . . . . . . . . .299 16 Highlights of Kentucky . . . . . .304 17 Eastern Tennessee . . . . . . . . .312 18 Nashville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .316

Florida 1 Walt Disney World & Orlando . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .334 FASTPASS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .338 2 Highlights of Northeast Florida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .358 3 Fort Lauderdale & Palm Beach . . . . . . . . . . . . . .365

6

12 13 14 15

413 3 Highlights of Mississippi . . . . .427 Visiting Jackson . . . . . . . . . . .432 4 New Orleans . . . . . . . . . . . . .437

The Midwest 1 2 3 4 5

Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .458 Cleveland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .482 Cincinnati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .493 Indianapolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . .498 Detroit & Highlights of Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . .506 6 Milwaukee & Highlights of Wisconsin . . . . . . . . . . . . .516

458

7 8 9 10

Five Cool (& Free) American Factory Tours . . . . . . . . . . . . .518 Minneapolis & St. Paul . . . . . .523 Kansas City . . . . . . . . . . . . . .534 Best Bets for Kids . . . . . . . . . .536 St. Louis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .544 Branson & the Ozarks . . . . . . .553

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CONTENTS

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The Northern Rockies & Great Plains 1 The Flathead & Montana’s Northwest Corner . . . . . . . . . .560 2 Glacier National Park . . . . . . .567 3 Bozeman & South-Central Montana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .570 4 Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument . . . . . . . .575 5 Jackson Hole & Grand Teton National Park . . . . . . . . . . . . .577 6 Yellowstone National Park . . . .585

9

7 The Black Hills & the Badlands of South Dakota . . . . . . . . . . .594 8 Idaho . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .601 9 Oklahoma City . . . . . . . . . . . .606 Ride ’em Cowboy . . . . . . . . . .609 10 Omaha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .611 It’s All Happening at the Zoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .613 Best Bets for Kids . . . . . . . . . .614

Texas 1 2 3 4

Dallas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .616 Fort Worth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .626 Houston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .632 Galveston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .640

10 Colorado & Utah 1 Denver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .665 2 Boulder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676 3 Rocky Mountain National Park . . . . . . . . . . . . .679 4 More Highlights of the Northern Colorado Rockies . . . . . . . . . .683 Hitting Colorado’s Slopes . . . .684 5 Colorado Springs . . . . . . . . . .693

11 The Southwest 1 2 3 4

Las Vegas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .728 Reno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .746 Phoenix & Scottsdale . . . . . . .753 Tucson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .766 Two World-Class Spas . . . . . .774 5 Central Arizona & Sedona . . . .778 6 Flagstaff & the Grand Canyon . . . . . . . . . . . .782 7 Monument Valley & Canyon de Chelly . . . . . . . . . .790

560

616 5 6 7 8

San Antonio . . . . . . . . . . . . . .643 Austin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .651 The Hill Country . . . . . . . . . . .659 The Trans-Pecos . . . . . . . . . . .661

665 6 Southwestern Colorado . . . . . .696 7 Salt Lake City . . . . . . . . . . . . .702 8 Park City: Utah’s Premier Resort Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . .709 9 Zion National Park . . . . . . . . .716 10 Bryce Canyon National Park . . .720 11 Capitol Reef National Park . . .722 12 Arches National Park . . . . . . .725

728 8 The Petrified Forest & Painted Desert . . . . . . . . . . . .795 9 Albuquerque . . . . . . . . . . . . .796 10 White Sands National Monument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .803 11 Carlsbad Caverns National Park . . . . . . . . . . . . .805 12 Santa Fe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .806 13 Taos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .816 Hitting the Slopes of Taos . . . .819

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CONTENTS

12 California 1 San Francisco . . . . . . . . . . . . .824 2 The Wine Country . . . . . . . . . .841 Find the New You—in a Calistoga Mud Bath . . . . . . . .844 3 The Northern Coast . . . . . . . .848 4 The Monterey Peninsula & the Big Sur Coast . . . . . . . . . .855 5 San Simeon: Hearst Castle . . .866 6 Lake Tahoe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .869 7 Yosemite National Park . . . . . .875

824

8 9 10 11 12 13

Burgers & Bullets at the Iron Door Saloon . . . . . . .876 Santa Barbara . . . . . . . . . . . .885 Los Angeles & Environs . . . . . .887 Seeing the Stars at Work . . . .897 The Disneyland Resort . . . . . .906 San Diego . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .909 Palm Springs . . . . . . . . . . . . .923 Death Valley National Park . . .928

13 The Pacific Northwest 1 Seattle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .932 A Sporting Town . . . . . . . . . .946 2 The San Juan Islands . . . . . . .951 3 The Olympic Peninsula & Olympic National Park . . . . . .955 4 Mount Rainier National Park . . . . . . . . . . . . .960 5 Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument . . . . . . . .962

932 6 Portland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .964 7 The Oregon Coast . . . . . . . . .975 8 The Columbia River Gorge & Mount Hood . . . . . . . . . . . . .981 9 Crater Lake National Park . . . .983 Two World-Class Festivals in Southern Oregon . . . . . . . .984

14 Alaska & Hawaii 1 Southeast Alaska . . . . . . . . . .986 Arriving by Cruise Ship . . . . . .988 2 Denali National Park . . . . . . . .997 3 Anchorage, Alaska . . . . . . . .1000

986 4 Honolulu & Oahu . . . . . . . . .1003 5 Maui . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1010 6 The Big Island . . . . . . . . . . .1017 Coffee Farms . . . . . . . . . . . .1022

Appendix A: The Best of the Rest 1 Arkansas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1023 Soaking in Hot Springs . . . . .1025 2 Iowa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1026 3 Kansas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1029 Rising from the Ashes . . . . . .1031

1023

4 North Dakota . . . . . . . . . . . .1032 The Park that Launched Them All . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1034 5 West Virginia . . . . . . . . . . . .1035 A Hotel Fit for Congress . . . .1037

Appendix B: State Tourism Offices

1039

CONTENTS

Appendix C: For International Visitors 1 Preparing for Your Trip . . . . .1043 2 Getting to the U.S. . . . . . . . .1047 3 Getting Around the U.S. . . . .1047

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1043

Fast Facts: For the International Traveler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1048

Appendix D: Useful Toll-Free Numbers & Websites

1052

Index

1055

List of Maps The USA—Major Interstate Routes 2 New England 32 Boston 38 Martha’s Vineyard 63 Newport 79 The Mid-Atlantic 108 Manhattan Neighborhoods 115 New York City: Midtown Accommodations & Dining 124 Atlantic City 148 Philadelphia 160 Downtown Baltimore 187 Washington, D.C. 198 The Southeast 220 Williamsburg Historic District 231 Atlanta at a Glance 245 Savannah 259 Charleston 273 The Blue Ridge Parkway 295 Nashville 318 Memphis 328 Florida 335 Miami Beach & South Beach 371 Key West 395 Tampa & St. Petersburg 400 The Gulf South 415 New Orleans 438 The French Quarter 443 The Midwest 460 Chicago 470 Cleveland 483

Downtown Minneapolis 525 Downtown St. Paul 527 Kansas City 535 St. Louis 545 The Northern Rockies & Great Plains 562 The Black Hills 595 Texas 617 Dallas–Fort Worth Area 620 Houston 634 Central San Antonio 647 Central Austin 655 Colorado & Utah 667 Downtown Denver 668 Downtown Salt Lake City 705 The Southwest 730 Phoenix, Scottsdale & the Valley of the Sun 754 Tucson 768 Central Albuquerque 797 Downtown Santa Fe 807 Central Taos 817 California 825 San Francisco 828 Los Angeles 888 San Diego Area 911 Balboa Park 915 The Pacific Northwest 933 Downtown Seattle 936 Portland 968 Alaska 987 Hawaii 1005

An Invitation to the Reader In researching this book, we discovered many wonderful places—hotels, restaurants, shops, and more. We’re sure you’ll find others. Please tell us about them, so we can share the information with your fellow travelers in upcoming editions. If you were disappointed with a recommendation, we’d love to know that, too. Please write to: Frommer’s USA, 9th Edition Wiley Publishing, Inc. • 111 River St. • Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774

An Additional Note Please be advised that travel information is subject to change at any time—and this is especially true of prices. We therefore suggest that you write or call ahead for confirmation when making your travel plans. The authors, editors, and publisher cannot be held responsible for the experiences of readers while traveling. Your safety is important to us, however, so we encourage you to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Keep a close eye on cameras, purses, and wallets, all favorite targets of thieves and pickpockets.

Acknowledgments This book has been created from dozens of Frommer’s guides covering the United States, and it simply couldn’t exist without the tireless efforts of our many talented writers. They deserve special recognition for spending countless hours hitting the pavement, inspecting hotels, sampling restaurants, chasing down information, and visiting attractions so they can offer you the best logistical tips. Thanks for a job well done year in and year out to: Lesley Abravanel, David Baird, Harry Basch, Elizabeth Canning Blackwell, Shane Christensen, Amy Donohue, Elise Ford, Jeanette Foster, Bill Goodwin, Mary Herczog, Edie Jarolim, Paul Karr, Lesley King, Don and Barbara Laine, Erika Lenkert, Herbert Bailey Livesey, Laura Miller, Marie Morris, Eric Peterson, Matthew Poole, Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince, Karen Quarles, Laura Reckford, Linda Romine, Karl Samson and Jane Aukshunas, Neil Schlecht, Brian Silverman, David Swanson, Mary K. Tilgman, and Charles Wohlforth. Special thanks also go to another group of contributors, who covered destinations especially for this guide: Amy Donohoe (Philadelphia), Karen Snyder (Atlanta), Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince (Carolinas and Georgia), Linda Romine (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi), Amy Eckert (Pittsburgh, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, and St. Paul), Beth Reiber (St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Oklahoma City, and Omaha), David Baird (Texas), Karl Samson (Oregon), Harry Basch (South Dakota and Reno), and Bill McRae (Idaho). Major kudos to on-staff contributors Christine Ryan, Ian Skinnari, Bethany André, Aliyah Vinikoor, and Naomi Kraus. Special thanks to editorial intern Erin Weaver for her assistance. This book also owes much to our on-staff cartographers: Roberta Stockwell, Elizabeth Puhl, and Nicholas Trotter.

Frommer’s Icons & Abbreviations This book uses three feature icons that point you to the great deals, family-friendly options, and top experiences that separate travelers from tourists. Throughout the book, look for: Kids

Best bets for kids and advice for the whole family

Value

Great values—where to get the best deals

Best

The best hotel, restaurant, or attraction in the city or region

The following abbreviations are used for credit cards: AE American Express DISC Discover DC Diners Club MC MasterCard

V

Visa

Frommers.com Now that you have the guidebook to a great trip, visit our website at www.frommers. com for travel information on more than 3,000 destinations. With features updated regularly, we give you instant access to the most current trip-planning information available. At Frommers.com, you’ll also find the best prices on airfares, accommodations, and car rentals—and you can even book travel online through our travel booking partners. At Frommers.com, you’ll also find the following: • • • •

Online updates to our most popular guidebooks Vacation sweepstakes and contest giveaways Newsletter highlighting the hottest travel trends Online travel message boards with featured travel discussions

1 Planning Your Trip to the USA I

f the United States has one defining quality, it’s variety. This vast area of some 3.6 million square miles—it’s 2,500 miles from New York to Los Angeles, and that again to Hawaii—has something for everyone. Although TV, suburban sprawl, strip malls, and chain restaurants have a hom*ogenizing effect, America hasn’t yet become a monolithic place. Each region still speaks with its own accent, enjoys its own favorite foods, and has its own political and social attitudes. Indeed, you sometimes wonder if we aren’t one nation but an amalgam of 50 little countries. We’ve seen New Yorkers floored by the laid-back pace of the West Coast (but ultimately thrilled by the “enforced” relaxation), and Southerners slightly frazzled by the Big Apple’s breakneck pace (but totally enthused by the vast number of shopping and dining opportunities in the space of a few square miles). Whatever you want to see, do, or eat, you’re likely to find it within the vast and diverse confines of the United States of America.

WHAT’S HERE & WHAT’S NOT It’s not easy to boil down the essence of such a huge, varied, complicated country. No doubt, some of you will look at the table of contents and raise an eyebrow at what’s missing. That’s sure to be the case with any guide professing to cover the entire United States. This book doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive. It’s simply not possible to cover every great destination in the country in one usable volume. We did, however, concentrate on a select group of destinations that will appeal to a wide cross-section of domestic travelers, be they road-trippers, business travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, or museum-lovers. This way, rather than glossing over lots of destinations with coverage that’s broad but an inch deep, we’ve been able to offer you in-depth, practical coverage you can really use. Take, for example, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket: We’d love to cover both islands, but we chose to focus on Martha’s Vineyard instead. Few travelers have time to visit both,

so we used the space to include more detailed and useful information on the Vineyard, which is larger and easier to reach. We’ve applied the same sort of logic to our destination choices throughout. And thanks to your feedback and our research, we’ve added coverage of several major new destinations to this edition, including Reno, Nevada; the Gulf South; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Omaha, Nebraska. In the end, we’ve come up with a list of destinations that’s representative of the very best America has to offer—cities, national parks, beaches, resort areas, and more. And because we recognize the diversity of American travelers and their interests, for the first time in this guide’s history, you will find at least some information on every single state in the Union inside these pages. And in a brand-new appendix, we highlight the best offerings of five states that would otherwise get the (undeserved) short end of the stick.

C H A P T E R 1 . P L A N N I N G YO U R T R I P TO T H E U S A

2

The USA—Major Interstate Routes Vancouver

B R IT ISH CO LUM B IA

Victoria

A LB ER T A

Lake Winnipeg

S AS KATC HEWAN

MANITOBA

Regina

Seattle

Winnipeg

WA 15

90

Portland

82

Missoula

84

Helena 90

OR

5

29

MT

ND

Billings

Fa

94

94

Boise

ID

Sheridan 15

Rapid City

Jackson

84 86 84

WY

15

80

Sacramento Reno

CA Las Vegas

CO

Colorado Springs

70

KS

25

OK

35

40

17 10

Albuquerque Phoenix

Mexicali

8

25

27

NM Lubbock

Tucson 10

19

El Paso

Wichita Falls

44

20

Dallas Ft. Worth

TX

10

45

Austin

PACIFIC

San Antonio

Chihuahua

Wo

35

10

Hermosillo

OCEAN

Wich

Oklahoma City

Amarillo

San Diego

Linc 29

Santa Fe

Flagstaff

40

Los Angeles

Lincoln

80

Wichita

AZ 15

Si

90

Denver

70

15

Santa Barbara

Sioux Falls

NE

Boulder

UT

San Francisco

25

Cheyenne

Salt Lake City

NV

80

SD 90

29

80

5

Fargo

10

Houst 37

Nuevo Laredo

MEXICO Monterrey Culiacan

Legend 95

Interstate Highway National Capital International Boundary State Boundary

AL

State (abbreviation)

Brownsville wnsville Matamoros

Matam

3

P L A N N I N G YO U R T R I P TO T H E U S A

Ontario New Brunswick

CANADA Quebec

ME L

29

argo

WI 43

Milwaukee

90

IA

70

MO

65

55

74

Indianapolis

IL

Kansas City

80 90

70

57

St. Louis

IN

65

AR Little Rock

30

Ft. orth

Memphis

40

40

LA 10

Asheville

65

55

85

40

Wilmington

20

Charleston

95

ATLANTIC OCEAN

16

Savannah 75 65

59

Mobile 10

Jacksonville

10

Tallahassee

10 75

Orlando

New Orleans

10

95

SC

GA

AL

Raleigh

NC

77

85

Atlanta

MS

Richmond

VA

Charlotte

26

20

Jackson

35

Houston

Tampa St. Petersburg

37

moros

81

Birmingham

55

New York City

95

NJ

85

KY 75

75

78

RI CT

95

81

Charleston

77

40

20

45

WV

24

TN 24

80

80

Atlantic City MD Baltimore DE 66 Washington, D.C.

68

79 64

84

Boston Cape Cod Providence

76

70

Louisville

Nashville

30

OH

Cincinnati

74

70

35

PA

Pittsburgh Philadelphia 83

77

71

70

71

55

44

75

95

81

rie

Cleveland

69

MA 84

90

E L.

Portland

93

91

Albany Niagara Falls 87

69

Detroit

94

90

29

ton

MI 75 96

NY

VT

87

Augusta

NH

89

ario Ont L. 90

Toronto

Chicago

80

Des Moines

coln

75

94

35

hita44

Lake Michig an

94

Ottawa

uron eH ak

35

St. Paul Minneapolis

29

95

Montreal

Quebec

Sault Ste. Marie L

MN

ioux 0Falls

perior e Su ak

4

FL 95 75

Miami

Gu lf o f M exi c o

200 mi

N 0

200 km

4

C H A P T E R 1 . P L A N N I N G YO U R T R I P TO T H E U S A

We hope you’ll discover your own America as you hit the road and start exploring. If you’d like more coverage of the destinations covered here, or if any of them prompt you to explore further—if you want to see Nantucket, say, after the Vineyard has charmed you—chances are good that we have a

more dedicated, in-depth guidebook for you; see the complete list of destinations covered by Frommer’s guides at the end of this book. Happy trails! Note: International visitors, be sure to check out appendix C as well for planning information tailored exclusively to you.

1 When to Go Climate differences are dramatic across the United States. When it’s shivering cold in New England, the upper central states, and Alaska, it’s sunny and warm in Florida, California, and Hawaii. When it’s raining cats and dogs along the Northwest coast, it’s dry as a bone in the Southwest desert. It can be a pleasant 75°F (24°C) on the beaches of Southern California in summer, yet 120°F (49°C) just a few miles inland. And there isn’t a nationwide high or low season. In summer, room rates are highest on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic beaches but lowest on the sands of hot-and-humid Florida (though not in central Florida, where rates can reach sky-high proportions) and in the sticky climes of the Gulf South. Winter snows virtually close the great Rocky Mountain national parks and the major tourism centers of the northern Great Plains, but they bring crowds to the nearby ski slopes. Alaska is usually well below freezing until summer, when the Midnight Sun smiles down on warm days, and higher hotel rates greet the tourist crowds. Hawaii is warm year-round, but the winter season brings massive amounts of rain with it, along with higher prices. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states have their summer beach season from June to Labor Day and their great fall foliage in September and October. Climate can vary wildly in these regions: One day can be warm and lovely, the next muggy and miserable. Winter storms are not an infrequent occurrence in these regions—New

England is practically famous for its nor’easters—though some MidAtlantic winters in the not-too-distant past have been remarkably mild (and others have been frigid—the unpredictability of the weather in this region is always a safe topic of discussion). Summer can be brutally hot and humid in the Southeast (and is also prime hurricane season), but spring and fall last longer there, and winter is mild—with snow the exception rather than the rule. The Gulf South summers are often exceptionally sticky and hot, though winters (except in the mountain areas) are generally mild, if rainy. Southern Florida’s best season is from January to April, though cold snaps can turn it nippy for a few days. The central states see harsh winters and scorching summers. Southwest weather varies from east Texas’s hot, humid summers and mild winters to Arizona’s dry, 110°F (43°C) summers and pleasant, dry winters. Nevada is similar, though it tends to get a bit chillier in winter. The mountains of Colorado, Utah, and the Northwest have dry, moderately hot summers and cold, snowy winters. The California coast is fine all year except early spring, when it rains; the Northwest coast is wet most of the time except July. The long and the short of it: Late spring and early fall are the best times to visit most of the country. See “Special Events & Festivals” in all the chapters that follow for more dates around which to plan your trip.

M O N E Y M AT T E R S

2 Money Matters ATMS The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine). The Cirrus (& 800/424-7787; www.mastercard. com) and PLUS (& 800/843-7587; www.visa.com) networks span the country; look at the back of your bank card to see which network you’re on, then call or check online for ATM locations at your destination. Be sure you know your personal identification number (PIN) before you leave home and be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank’s ATM; that fee can reach as much as $3 in some places. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. To compare banks’ ATM fees within the U.S., use www.bankrate.com. You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM. Keep in mind that credit card companies try to protect themselves from theft by limiting the funds someone can withdraw per day, so call your credit card company before you leave home. And keep in mind that you’ll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time. ATM cards with major credit card backing, known as “debit cards,” are now a commonly acceptable form of payment in most stores and restaurants. Debit cards draw money directly from your checking account. Some stores enable you to receive “cash back” on your debit-card purchases as well.

TRAVELER’S CHECKS Traveler’s checks used to be the only sound alternative to traveling with dangerously large amounts of cash. They were as reliable as currency but, unlike cash, could be replaced if lost or stolen. These days, traveler’s checks

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are less necessary because most cities have 24-hour ATMs that allow you to withdraw small amounts of cash as needed. However, keep in mind that you will likely be charged an ATM withdrawal fee if the bank is not your own, so if you’re withdrawing money every day, you might be better off with traveler’s checks. You can get traveler’s checks at almost any bank. American Express offers several denominations. You’ll pay a service charge ranging from 1% to 4%. You can also get American Express traveler’s checks over the phone by calling & 800/221-7282; Amex gold and platinum cardholders who use this number are exempt from the 1% fee. Visa offers traveler’s checks at Citibank locations nationwide, as well as at several other banks. The service charge ranges between 1.5% and 2%. Call & 800/732-1322 for information. AAA members can obtain Visa checks without a fee at most AAA offices or by calling & 866/339-3378. MasterCard also offers traveler’s checks. Call & 800/223-9920 for a location near you. If you choose to carry traveler’s checks, be sure to keep a record of their serial numbers separate from your checks in the event that they are stolen or lost. You’ll get a refund faster if you know the numbers.

CREDIT CARDS Credit cards are a safe way to carry money: They also provide a convenient record of all your expenses. You can also withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs, provided you know your PIN. If you’ve forgotten yours, or didn’t even know you had one, call the number on the back of your credit card and ask the bank to send it to you. It usually takes 5 to 7 business days, though some banks will provide the number over the

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phone if you tell them your mother’s maiden name or some other personal information. (Note: Businesses in some

U.S. cities may require a minimum purchase, usually around $10, before letting you use a credit card.)

3 Health, Insurance & Safety you’re climbing at high altitudes, HEALTH The United States doesn’t present any unusual health hazards, provided travelers take reasonable precautions. Lyme Disease, carried by deer ticks, is a growing concern in the woodlands of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but you can seriously minimize your risk by using insect repellent and by covering up when hiking in the deep woods. Should you get bitten by a tick or notice a bulls-eye-shaped rash after hiking or camping, consult a doctor immediately. Another insect-related illness that’s become a nationwide issue is West Nile Virus, spread by mosquitoes. Again, use insect repellent and avoid swampy areas during the summer mosquito season, and you should encounter no problems. To keep from contracting rabies, avoid contact with wild animals, no matter how cute or friendly they appear. If you even think you may have been exposed, see a doctor at once. In the Rocky Mountain states and the high elevations of the Southwest, one of the biggest health concerns is altitude sickness. Don’t arrive in Denver planning to tackle the Rocky Mountains on the same day—the only thing that will happen is that you’ll end up short of breath, exhausted, or worse. The best way to avoid this is to ease your transition into high altitude climates, drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest; if you have breathing difficulties, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication to ease any difficulties. If you plan on visiting some of the country’s sun-soaked spots, limit the time you spend in direct sunlight and bring sunscreen with a high protection factor (at least 25). Apply it liberally— and often. This advice goes double if

where the air is thinner and it’s far easier to get a serious burn (even if the climate is actually cold). Skin cancer is one of the fastest-growing illnesses in the United States and it doesn’t take much time in the sun to do serious damage. Remember that children need more protection than adults do. The other natural hazards for outdoor enthusiasts include poison ivy (learn to recognize and avoid it) and hazardous wildlife (never approach a wild animal or feed it). To minimize risks, never hike alone, notify someone of your planned hiking route, always carry a first-aid kit, and check in with park rangers to get the lowdown on possible hazards in the area in which you’re hiking. If you’re hiking in forested areas during hunting season, be sure to wear brightly colored clothing. If you plan to head into the great outdoors, keep in mind that injuries often occur when people fail to follow instructions. Believe the experts who tell you to stay on the established ski trails and hike only in designated areas. Follow the marine charts if you’re piloting your own boat. If you’re rafting, wear a life jacket. If you’re biking or rock climbing, be sure to use appropriate safety gear. Mountain weather can be fickle at any time of the year, so carry rain gear and pack a few warm layers. Watch out for summer thunderstorms that can leave you drenched or send bolts of lightning your way. In the Southwest, a summer storm can easily cause a flash flood, so be cautious and keep your wits about you. When camping, always inquire if campfires are allowed in the area in which you are traveling. Some of the country’s worst forest fires in recent years were started by careless

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campers who didn’t follow proper safety protocols. Tap water is safe to drink throughout the country, though you can get bottled water pretty much everywhere if you prefer it. Water in the wild should always be treated or boiled before drinking it. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (& 800/ 311-3435; www.cdc.gov) provides upto-date information on health hazards by region and offers tips on food safety. If you suffer from a chronic illness, consult your doctor before your departure. For conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, or heart problems, wear a MedicAlert identification tag (& 888/633-4298; www.medicalert. org), which will immediately alert doctors to your condition and give them access to your records through MedicAlert’s 24-hour hot line. If you have dental problems, a nationwide referral service known as 1-800-DENTIST (& 800/336-8478) can give you the name of a nearby dentist or clinic. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage, and carry them in their original containers, with pharmacy labels—otherwise they won’t make it through airport security. Also bring along copies of your prescriptions in case you lose your pills or run out. Don’t forget an extra pair of contact lenses or prescription glasses.

SAFETY Although tourist areas are generally safe, U.S. urban areas have their fair share of crime. You should always stay alert; this is particularly true of large cities. If you’re in doubt about which neighborhoods are safe, don’t hesitate to inquire at the hotel’s front desk or at the local tourist office. Avoid deserted areas, especially at night, and don’t go into public parks after dark unless there’s a concert or similar occasion that will attract a crowd.

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Avoid carrying valuables with you on the street, and keep expensive cameras or electronic equipment bagged up or covered when not in use. If you’re using a map, try to consult it inconspicuously—or better yet, study it before you leave your room. Hold on to your pocketbook, and place your billfold in an inside pocket. In theaters, restaurants, and other public places, keep your possessions in sight. Always lock your room door—don’t assume that once you’re inside the hotel you are automatically safe and no longer need to be aware of your surroundings. Hotels are open to the public, and in a large hotel, security may not be able to screen everyone who enters. DRIVING SAFETY Driving safety is important too, and carjacking is not unprecedented. Question your rental agency about personal safety, and ask for a traveler-safety brochure when you pick up your car. Obtain written directions—or a map with the route clearly marked—from the agency showing how to get to your destination. And, if possible, arrive and depart during daylight hours. If you drive off a highway and end up in a dodgy-looking neighborhood, leave the area as quickly as possible. If you have an accident, even on the highway, stay in your car with the doors locked until you assess the situation or until the police arrive. If you’re bumped from behind on the street or are involved in a minor accident with no injuries, and the situation appears to be suspicious, motion to the other driver to follow you. Never get out of your car in such situations. Go directly to the nearest police precinct, well-lit service station, or 24-hour store. You may want to look into renting a cellphone on a short-term basis. One recommended wireless rental company is InTouch USA (& 800/872-7626; www.intouchusa.com).

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Park in well-lit and well-traveled areas whenever possible. Always keep your car doors locked, whether the vehicle is attended or unattended. Never leave any packages or valuables in sight. If someone attempts to rob you or steal your car, don’t try to resist the thief/carjacker. Report the incident to the police department immediately by calling & 911.

INSURANCE Check your existing insurance policies and credit card coverage before you buy travel insurance. You may already be covered for lost luggage, canceled tickets, or medical expenses. The cost of travel insurance varies widely, depending on the cost and length of your trip, your age and health, and the type of trip you’re taking, but expect to pay between 5% and 8% of the vacation itself. TRIP-CANCELLATION INSURANCE Trip-cancellation insurance helps you get your money back if you have to back out of a trip, if you have to go home early, or if your travel supplier goes bankrupt. Allowed reasons for cancellation can range from sickness to natural disasters. (Insurers usually won’t cover vague fears, though, as many travelers discovered who tried to cancel their trips in Oct 2001 because they were wary of flying.) In this unstable world, trip-cancellation insurance is a good buy if you’re getting tickets well in advance—who knows what the state of the world, or of your airline, will be in 9 months? Insurance policy details vary, so read the fine print—and make sure that your airline or cruise line is on the list of carriers covered in case of bankruptcy. A good resource is “Travel Guard Alerts,” a list of companies considered high-risk by Travel Guard International (see website below). Protect yourself further by paying for the insurance with a credit card—by law, consumers can get their money back on goods and services not received if they

report the loss within 60 days after the charge is listed on their credit card statement. Note: Many tour operators, particularly those offering trips to remote or high-risk areas, include insurance in the cost of the trip or can arrange insurance policies through a partnering provider, a convenient and often cost-effective way for the traveler to obtain insurance. Make sure the tour company is a reputable one, however: Some experts suggest you avoid buying insurance from the tour or cruise company you’re traveling with, saying it’s better to buy from a “third party” insurer than to put all your money in one place. For more information, contact one of the following recommended insurers: Access America (& 866/807-3982; www.accessamerica.com); Travel Guard International (& 800/826-4919; www.travelguard.com); Travel Insured International (& 800/243-3174; www.travelinsured.com); or Travelex Insurance Services (& 888/457-4602; www.travelex-insurance.com). MEDICAL INSURANCE Most health insurance policies cover you if you get sick away from home—but check, particularly if you’re insured by an HMO. If you require additional medical insurance, try MEDEX Assistance (& 410/453-6300; www.medex assist.com) or Travel Assistance International (& 800/821-2828; www. travelassistance.com; for general information on services, call the company’s Worldwide Assistance Services, Inc., at & 800/777-8710). LOST-LUGGAGE INSURANCE On domestic flights, checked baggage is covered up to $2,500 per ticketed passenger. If you plan to check items more valuable than the standard liability, see if your valuables are covered by your homeowner’s policy, get baggage insurance as part of your comprehensive travel-insurance package, or buy Travel Guard’s “BagTrak” product.

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Don’t buy insurance at the airport, as it’s usually overpriced. Be sure to take any valuables or irreplaceable items with you in your carry-on luggage, as many valuables (including books, money, and electronics) aren’t covered by airline policies.

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If your luggage is lost, immediately file a lost-luggage claim at the airport, detailing the luggage contents. For most airlines, you must report delayed, damaged, or lost baggage within 4 hours of arrival. The airlines are required to deliver luggage, once found, directly to your house or destination free of charge.

4 Specialized Travel Resources to slow walkers and wheelchair travelers TRAVELERS WITH and their families and friends. DISABILITIES Most disabilities shouldn’t stop anyone from traveling. There are more options and resources out there than ever before. The U.S. National Park Service offers a Golden Access Passport that gives free lifetime entrance to all properties administered by the National Park Service—national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges—for persons who are visually impaired or permanently disabled, regardless of age. You may pick up a Golden Access Passport at any NPS entrance fee area by showing proof of medically determined disability and eligibility for receiving benefits under federal law. Besides free entry, the Golden Access Passport also offers a 50% discount on federal-use fees charged for such facilities as camping, swimming, parking, boat launching, and tours. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm or call & 888/467-2757. Many travel agencies offer customized tours and itineraries for travelers with disabilities. Flying Wheels Travel (& 507/451-5005; www.flying wheelstravel.com) offers escorted tours and cruises that emphasize sports and private tours in minivans with lifts. Access-Able Travel Source (& 303/ 232-2979; www.access-able.com) offers extensive access information and advice for traveling around the world with disabilities. Accessible Journeys (& 800/ 846-4537 or 610/521-0339; www. disabilitytravel.com) caters specifically

Avis Rent a Car has an “Avis Access” program that offers such services as a dedicated 24-hour toll-free number (& 888/879-4273) for customers with special travel needs; special car features such as swivel seats, spinner knobs, and hand controls; and accessible bus service. Organizations that offer assistance to travelers with disabilities include MossRehab www.mossresourcenet. org), which provides a library of accessible-travel resources online; SATH (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality; & 212/447-7284; www.sath. org; annual membership fees: $45 adults, $30 seniors and students), which offers a wealth of travel resources for all types of disabilities and informed recommendations on destinations, access guides, travel agents, tour operators, vehicle rentals, and companion services; and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB; & 800/232-5463; www.afb. org), a referral resource for the blind or visually impaired that includes information on traveling with Seeing Eye dogs. For more information specifically targeted to travelers with disabilities, the community website iCan (www. icanonline.net/channels/travel/index. cfm) has destination guides and several regular columns on accessible travel. Also check out the quarterly magazine Emerging Horizons ($14.95 per year, $19.95 outside the U.S.; www. emerginghorizons.com); and Open

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World magazine, published by SATH (see above; subscription: $13 per year).

GAY & LESBIAN TRAVELERS The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; & 800/ 448-8550 or 954/776-2626; www. iglta.org) is the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry, and offers an online directory of gayand lesbian-friendly travel businesses; go to their website and click on “Members.” Many agencies offer tours and travel itineraries specifically for gay and lesbian travelers. Above and Beyond Tours (& 800/397-2681; www.above beyondtours.com) is the exclusive gay and lesbian tour operator for United Airlines. Now, Voyager (& 800/2556951; www.nowvoyager.com) is a wellknown San Francisco–based gay-owned and -operated travel service. The following travel guides are available at most travel bookstores and gay and lesbian bookstores, or you can order them from Giovanni’s Room bookstore, 1145 Pine St., Philadelphia, PA 19107 (& 215/923-2960; www.giovannisroom.com): Out & About (& 800/929-2268; www.out andabout.com), which offers guidebooks and a newsletter ($20 per year; 10 issues) packed with solid information on the global gay and lesbian scene; Spartacus International Gay Guide (Bruno Gmünder Verlag; www. spartacusworld.com/gayguide) and Odysseus: The International Gay Travel Planner (Odysseus Enterprises Ltd.), both good, annual Englishlanguage guidebooks focused on gay men; the Damron guides (www. damron.com), with separate, annual books for gay men and lesbians; and Gay Travel A to Z: The World of Gay & Lesbian Travel Options at Your Fingertips by Marianne Ferrari (Ferrari International; Box 35575, Phoenix, AZ 85069), a very good gay and lesbian guidebook series.

SENIOR TRAVEL Mention the fact that you’re a senior when you make your travel reservations. Although all of the major U.S. airlines except America West have canceled their senior discount and coupon-book programs, many hotels still offer discounts for seniors. In most cities, people over the age of 60 qualify for reduced admission to theaters, museums, and other attractions, as well as discounted fares on public transportation. Members of AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons), 601 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20049 (& 888/687-2277; www.aarp.org), get discounts on hotels, airfares, and car rentals. AARP offers members a wide range of benefits, including AARP: The Magazine and a monthly newsletter. Anyone over 50 can join. The U.S. National Park Service offers a Golden Age Passport that gives seniors 62 years or older lifetime entrance to all properties administered by the National Park Service—national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges—for a one-time processing fee of $10, which must be purchased in person at any NPS facility that charges an entrance fee. Besides free entry, a Golden Age Passport also offers a 50% discount on federal-use fees charged for such facilities as camping, swimming, parking, boat launching, and tours. For more information, go to www.nps. gov/fees_passes.htm or call & 888/ 467-2757. Many reliable agencies and organizations target the 50-plus market. Elderhostel (& 877/426-8056; www. elderhostel.org) arranges study programs for those ages 55 and over (and a spouse or companion of any age) in the U.S. Most courses last 5 to 7 days in the U.S. (2–4 weeks abroad), and many include airfare, accommodations in

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university dormitories or modest inns, meals, and tuition. ElderTreks (& 800/ 741-7956; www.eldertreks.com) offers small-group tours to off-the-beatenpath or adventure-travel locations, restricted to travelers 50 and older. Recommended publications offering travel resources and discounts for seniors include: the quarterly magazine Travel 50 & Beyond (www. travel50andbeyond.com); Travel Unlimited: Uncommon Adventures for the Mature Traveler (Avalon); 101 Tips for Mature Travelers, available from Grand Circle Travel (& 800/221-2610 or 617/350-7500; www.gct.com); and Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can’t Get Unless You’re Over 50 (McGrawHill), by Joann Rattner Heilman.

FAMILY TRAVEL If you have enough trouble getting your kids out of the house in the morning, dragging them thousands of miles away may seem like an insurmountable challenge. But family travel can be immensely rewarding, giving you new ways of seeing the world through smaller pairs of eyes. To locate those accommodations, restaurants, and attractions in the major cities that are particularly kidfriendly, refer to the “Kids” icon used throughout this guide.

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Familyhostel (& 800/733-9753; www.learn.unh.edu/familyhostel) takes the whole family, including kids ages 8 to 15, on moderately priced domestic and international learning vacations. Lectures, field trips, and sightseeing are guided by a team of academics. Recommended family travel Internet sites include Family Travel Forum (www.familytravelforum.com), a comprehensive site that offers customized trip planning; Family Travel Network (www.familytravelnetwork.com), an award-winning site that offers travel features, deals, and tips; Traveling Internationally with Your Kids (www. travelwithyourkids.com), a comprehensive site offering sound advice for long-distance and international travel with children; and Family Travel Files (www.thefamilytravelfiles.com), which offers an online magazine and a directory of off-the-beaten-path tours and tour operators for families. Frommer’s and the Unofficial Guides both publish a “With Kids” series that features some of the major tourist destinations in the United States.

WOMEN TRAVELERS More and more hotels in the United States are ratcheting up security measures for women traveling alone on business or for pleasure. Some are even offering secure “women only” floors, with the added perk of spa services.

On Your Own or with a Furry Friend Prefer to do your traveling alone? So long as you avoid all-inclusive resorts and vacation packages (which base their prices on double occupancy), you likely won’t face the dreaded “single supplement,” a penalty added to the base price of a room or package. For more information, check out Eleanor Berman’s latest edition of Traveling Solo: Advice and Ideas for More Than 250 Great Vacations (Globe Pequot), a guide with advice on traveling alone, whether on your own or on a group tour. (It was last updated in 2003.) If, like John Steinbeck, you want to take your dog (or cat, or whatever) with you for companionship on your travels, many hotels across the U.S. will be happy to roll out the welcome mat for your pet. For travel tips and advice on traveling with Fido or Fluffy, head online to www.petswelcome.com, www.pettravel.com, and www.travelpets.com.

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Check out the award-winning website Journeywoman (www.journey woman.com), a “real life” women’s travel information network where you can sign up for a free e-mail newsletter and get advice on everything from etiquette and dress to safety; or the travel guide Safety and Security for Women Who Travel by Sheila Swan and Peter Laufer (Travelers’ Tales, Inc.), offering common-sense tips on safe travel.

BLACK TRAVELERS The Internet offers a number of helpful travel sites for the black traveler. Black Travel Online (www.blacktravel online.com) posts news on upcoming events and includes links to articles and travel-booking sites. Soul of America (www.soulofamerica.com) is a comprehensive website, with travel tips, event and family reunion postings, and sections on historically black beach resorts and active vacations. Agencies and organizations that provide resources for black travelers include: Rodgers Travel (& 800/ 825-1775; www.rodgerstravel.com), a Philadelphia-based travel agency with an extensive menu of tours in destinations worldwide, including heritage and

private group tours; and the African American Association of Innkeepers International (& 877/422-5777; www.africanamericaninns.com), which provides information on member B&Bs in the U.S. For more information, check out the following collections and guides: Go Girl: The Black Woman’s Guide to Travel & Adventure (Eighth Mountain Press), a compilation of travel essays by writers including Jill Nelson and Audre Lorde, with some practical information and trip-planning advice; The African American Travel Guide by Wayne Robinson (Hunter Publishing; www.hunter publishing.com), with details on 19 North American cities; Steppin’ Out by Carla Labat (Avalon), with details on 20 cities; Travel and Enjoy Magazine (& 866/266-6211; www.travel andenjoy.com; subscription: $38 per year), which focuses on discounts and destination reviews; and the more narrative Pathfinders Magazine (& 877/ 977-PATH; www.pathfinderstravel. com; subscription: $15 per year), which includes articles on destinations all over the world as well as information on upcoming ski, diving, golf, and tennis trips.

5 Getting Around the United States an airline employee and she’ll probably BY PLANE For long-distance trips, the most efficient way to get around the United States is by plane, even in these days of increased security and poor airline service. See appendix D at the end of this book for a list of airlines, with their toll-free numbers and websites. GETTING THROUGH THE AIRPORT

With the federalization of airport security, security procedures at U.S. airports are more stable and consistent than ever. Generally, you’ll be fine if you arrive at the airport 1 hour before a domestic flight; if you show up late, tell

whisk you to the front of the line. Bring a current, governmentissued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport. Keep your ID at the ready to show at check-in, the security checkpoint, and sometimes even the gate. (Children under 18 do not need government-issued photo IDs for domestic flights.) In 2003, the TSA phased out gate check-in at all U.S. airports. And e-tickets have made paper tickets nearly obsolete. Passengers with e-tickets can beat the ticket-counter lines by using airport electronic kiosks or even online check-in from your home

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computer. Online check-in involves logging on to your airline’s website, accessing your reservation, and printing out your boarding pass—and the airline may even offer you bonus miles to do so! If you’re using a kiosk at the airport, bring the credit card you used to book the ticket or your frequent-flier card. Print out your boarding pass from the kiosk and simply proceed to the security checkpoint with your pass and a photo ID. If you’re checking bags or looking to snag an exit-row seat, you will be able to do so using most airline kiosks. Even the smaller airlines are employing the kiosk system, but always call your airline to make sure these alternatives are available. Curbside check-in is also a good way to avoid lines, although a few airlines still ban curbside check-in; call before you go. Security checkpoint lines are getting shorter than they were during 2001 and 2002, but some doozies remain. If you have trouble standing for long periods of time, tell an airline employee; the airline will provide a wheelchair. Speed up security by not wearing metal objects such as big belt buckles. If you’ve got metallic body parts, a note from your doctor can prevent a long chat with the security screeners. Keep in mind that only ticketed passengers are allowed past security, except for folks escorting disabled passengers or children. Federalization has stabilized what you can carry on and what you can’t. The general rule is that sharp things are out, nail clippers are okay, and food and beverages must be passed through the X-ray machine—but that security screeners can’t make you drink from your coffee cup. Bring food in your carry-on rather than checking it, as explosive-detection machines used on checked luggage have been known to mistake food (especially chocolate, for some reason) for bombs. Travelers in the U.S. are allowed one carry-on bag, plus a “personal item” such as a purse, briefcase, or laptop bag. Carry-on

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hoarders can stuff all sorts of things into a laptop bag; as long as it has a laptop in it, it’s still considered a personal item. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a list of restricted items; check its website (www.tsa.gov/public/index.jsp) for details. Airport screeners may decide that your checked luggage needs to be searched by hand. You can now purchase luggage locks that allow screeners to open and re-lock a checked bag if hand-searching is necessary. Look for Travel Sentry certified locks at luggage or travel shops and Brookstone stores (you can buy them online at www.brookstone.com). These locks, approved by the TSA, can be opened by luggage inspectors with a special code or key. For more information on the locks, visit www.travelsentry.org. If you use something other than TSAapproved locks, your lock will be cut off your suitcase if a TSA agent needs to hand-search your luggage. F LY I N G F O R L E S S : T I P S FOR GETTING THE BEST A I R FA R E

Passengers sharing the same airplane cabin rarely pay the same fare. Travelers who need to purchase tickets at the last minute, change their itinerary at a moment’s notice, or fly one-way often get stuck paying the premium rate. Here are some ways to keep your airfare costs down. • Passengers who can book their ticket long in advance, who can stay over Saturday night, or who fly midweek or at less-trafficked hours may pay a fraction of the full fare. If your schedule is flexible, say so, and ask if you can secure a cheaper fare by changing your flight plans. • You can also save on airfares by keeping an eye out in local newspapers for promotional specials or fare wars, when airlines lower

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Travel in the Age of Bankruptcy Airlines go bankrupt, so protect yourself by buying your tickets with a credit card, as the Fair Credit Billing Act guarantees that you can get your money back from the credit card company if a travel supplier goes under (and if you request the refund within 60 days of the bankruptcy). Travel insurance can also help, but make sure it covers “carrier default” for your specific travel provider. And be aware that if a U.S. airline goes bust midtrip, a 2001 federal law requires other carriers to take you to your destination (albeit on a space-available basis) for a fee of no more than $25, provided you rebook within 60 days of the cancellation.

prices on their most popular routes. You rarely see fare wars offered for peak travel times, but if you can travel in the off-months, you may snag a bargain. • Search the Internet for cheap fares (see “Planning Your Trip Online,” below). • Join frequent-flier clubs. Accrue enough miles, and you’ll be rewarded with free flights and elite status. It’s free, and you’ll get the best choice of seats, faster response to phone inquiries, and prompter service if your luggage is stolen, if your flight is canceled or delayed, or if you want to change your seat. You don’t need to fly to build frequent-flier miles—frequentflier credit cards can provide thousands of miles for doing your everyday shopping. • For many more tips about air travel, including a rundown of the major frequent-flier credit cards, pick up a copy of Frommer’s Fly Safe, Fly Smart (Wiley Publishing, Inc.).

BY CAR The most cost-effective, convenient, and comfortable way to travel around the United States is by car. Many highlights of the country just can’t be seen any other way. The interstate highway system connects cities and towns all over the country; in addition to these high-speed, limited-access roadways, there’s an

extensive network of federal, state, and local highways and roads. Note: To help you plan your driving routes, check out “The USA–Major Interstate Routes” map at the beginning of this chapter, and the “USA Driving Distances” chart on the inside back cover. If you plan on driving your own car over a long distance, then automobile-association membership is recommended. AAA, the American Automobile Association (& 800/2224357; www.aaa.org), is the country’s largest auto club and supplies its members with maps, insurance, and, most importantly, emergency road service. The cost of joining runs from $55 for singles to $85 for two members. If your destination is too far from home to drive, but will require a car once you arrive, see appendix D at the end of this book for a list of car-rental agencies, with their toll-free numbers and websites. These national companies have offices at most airports and in many cities. You must have a valid credit card to rent a vehicle. Most also require a minimum age, ranging from 19 to 25 (some companies that will rent to the under-25 crowd will nevertheless assess under-age driving fees of up to $25 per day extra), and some also set maximum ages. Others deny cars to anyone with a bad driving record. Ask about rental requirements and restrictions when you book to avoid problems later. Car-rental rates vary even more than airfares. The price you pay depends on

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the size of the car, where and when you pick it up and drop it off, the length of the rental period, where and how far you drive it, whether you purchase insurance, and a host of other factors. A few key questions could save you hundreds of dollars; you should comparison-shop and be persistent because reservations agents don’t often volunteer money-saving strategies. • Is a weekly rate cheaper than the daily rate? If you need to keep the car for 4 days, it may be cheaper to keep it for 5, even if you don’t need it that long. • Does the agency assess a drop-off charge if you do not return the car to the same location where you picked it up? Is it cheaper to pick up the car at the airport instead of a downtown location? • How much tax will be added to the rental bill? Local tax? State use tax? Some state’s rental-car taxes can top 25% of the base rate, so be sure you know exactly how much you’ll be paying in total before making a decision. Recently, many online booking sites have begun posting the total rental price of a car instead of just the base rates. • What is the cost of adding an additional driver’s name to the contract? Before you drive off in a rental car, be sure you’re insured. Hasty assumptions about your personal auto insurance or a rental agency’s additional coverage could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars—even if you’re involved in an accident that was clearly the fault of another driver. If you already hold a private auto insurance policy, you are most likely covered for loss of or damage to a rental car, and liability in case of injury to any other party involved in an accident. Be sure to ask whether your policy extends to all persons who will be driving the rental car, how much liability is covered in case an outside party is injured in an

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accident, and whether the type of vehicle you are renting is included under your contract. The basic insurance coverage offered by most car-rental companies, known as the Loss/Damage Waiver (LDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), can cost as much as $20 per day. It usually covers the full value of the vehicle with no deductible if an outside party causes an accident or other damage to the rental car. In many states, you will probably be covered in case of theft as well (ask before making any assumptions). Liability coverage varies according to the company policy and state law, but the minimum is usually at least $15,000. If you are at fault in an accident, however, you will be covered for the full replacement value of the car but not for liability. Some states allow you to buy additional liability coverage for such cases. Most rental companies require a police report to process any claims you file, but your private insurer is not notified of the accident. Most major credit cards offer some degree of coverage as well—if they were used to pay for the rental. Terms vary widely, however, so be sure to call your credit card company directly before you rent. If you’re uninsured, your credit card provides primary coverage as long as you decline the rental agency’s insurance. That means the credit card will cover damage or theft of a rental car for the full cost of the vehicle. (In a few states, however, theft is not covered; ask specifically about state law where you will be renting and driving.) If you already have insurance, your credit card will provide secondary coverage— which basically covers your deductible. Credit cards will not cover liability, the cost of injury to an outside party, and/or damage to an outside party’s vehicle. If you do not hold an insurance policy, you may seriously want to consider purchasing additional liability insurance from your rental company,

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even if you decline collision coverage. Be sure to check the terms, however: Some rental agencies cover liability only if the renter is not at fault; even then, the rental company’s obligation varies from state to state.

BY TRAIN Long-distance trains in the United States are operated by Amtrak (& 800/ USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com), the national rail passenger corporation. Be aware, however, that with a few notable exceptions (for instance, the Northeast Corridor line between Boston and Washington, D.C.), intercity service is not particularly fabulous. Delays are common, routes are limited and often infrequently served, and fares are seldom much lower than discount airfares. That said, if time isn’t an issue, train travel can be a very scenic method of traveling the country. If you choose to travel by train, do it for the experience, not the convenience. There are discount rail passes sold to U.S. residents who want to see the country by rail. Rail travelers can buy a North America Rail Pass, good for up to 30 days of unlimited travel in economy class on Amtrak (& 800/ USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) in the U.S. and Canada, except on the Acela Express trains and the Auto Train that run on the East Coast. Meals and sleeping accommodations are extra.

Reservations are generally required and should be made for each part of your trip as early as possible. The passes cost $700 in peak season for an adult; $500 for kids ages 2 to 18; off-peak prices (in winter and early spring) carve about $200 off the peak prices. Regional passes and passes for travel solely in either California or Florida are also available. Amtrak also offers rail/fly packages that allow travelers to fly to their destination in one direction and to take the train in another.

BY BUS Although bus travel is often the most economical form of public transit for short hops between U.S. cities, it can also be slow and uncomfortable—certainly not an option for everyone (particularly when Amtrak, which is far more luxurious, offers similar rates). Greyhound/Trailways (& 800/2312222; www.greyhound.com), the sole nationwide bus line, offers several pass and discount options geared to domestic travelers. The Domestic Ameripass offers from 7 to 60 days of travel on Greyhound lines throughout the contiguous United States. Prices on the pass are adjusted seasonally, but in the summer of 2004, a 15-day pass cost $287 for adults, $144 for kids under 12; a 60day pass cost $535 adults, $268 kids under 12.

Other Transportation Options Traveling the U.S. in a recreational vehicle (RV) is an increasingly popular way of seeing the country. One good RV rental agency with locations all over the country is Cruise America (& 800/671-8042 for rentals; www.cruiseamerica. com). It would take dozens of pages to thoroughly discuss the ins and outs of RV travel, so if you’re thinking of hitting the road this way, check out Frommer’s Exploring America by RV. If you’re more of the Easy Rider sort and have dreams of cruising the country on a motorcycle, know that you’ll need a special motorcycle license and that almost every state also requires that riders wear a helmet. The best outfit for renting a bike nationwide is EagleRider (& 888/900-9901; www. eaglerider.com).

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6 Planning Your Trip Online SURFING FOR AIRFARES The “big three” online travel agencies, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, and Orbitz.com, sell most of the air tickets bought on the Internet. Each has different business deals with the airlines and may offer different fares on the same flights, so it’s wise to shop around. Expedia and Travelocity will also send you e-mail notification when a cheap fare becomes available to your favorite destination. Of the smaller travel agency websites, SideStep (www.side step.com) has gotten the best reviews from Frommer’s authors. It’s a browser add-on that purports to “search 140 sites at once,” but in reality only beats competitors’ fares as often as other sites do. Also remember to check airline websites, especially those for low-fare carriers such as Southwest, JetBlue, AirTran, or WestJet, whose fares are often misreported or simply missing from travel agency websites. Even with major airlines, you can often shave a few bucks from a fare by booking directly through the airline and avoiding a travel agency’s transaction fee. But you’ll get these discounts only by booking online: Most airlines now offer online-only fares that even their phone agents know nothing about. For the websites of airlines that fly to and from your destination, see appendix D. Great last-minute deals are available through free weekly e-mail services provided directly by the airlines. Most of these are announced on Tuesday or Wednesday and must be purchased online. Most are only valid for travel that weekend, but some (such as Southwest’s) can be booked weeks or months in advance. Sign up for weekly e-mail alerts at airline websites or check megasites that compile comprehensive lists of last-minute specials, such as Smarter Living (http://smarterliving.com). For last-minute trips, site59.com and last

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minutetravel.com often have better U.S. air-and-hotel package deals than the major-label sites. A website listing numerous bargain sites and airlines around the world is www.itravelnet. com. If you’re willing to give up some control over your flight details, use what is called an “opaque” fare service such as Priceline (www.priceline. com) or its smaller competitor Hotwire (www.hotwire.com). Both offer rock-bottom prices in exchange for travel on a “mystery airline” at a mysterious time of day, often with a mysterious change of planes en route. The mystery airlines are all major, wellknown carriers—and the possibility of being sent from Philadelphia to Chicago via Tampa is remote; the airlines’ routing computers have gotten a lot better than they used to be. But your chances of getting a 6am or 11pm flight are pretty high. Hotwire tells you flight prices before you buy; Priceline usually has better deals than Hotwire, but you have to play their “name our price” game. If you’re new at this, the helpful folks at Bidding ForTravel (www.biddingfortravel. com) do a good job of demystifying Priceline’s prices and strategies. Priceline and Hotwire are great for flights within North America. Note: In 2004, Priceline added non-opaque service to its roster. You now have the option to pick exact flights, times, and airlines from a list of offers—or opt to bid on opaque fares as before. For much more about airfares and savvy air-travel tips and advice, pick up a copy of Frommer’s Fly Safe, Fly Smart (Wiley Publishing, Inc.).

SURFING FOR HOTELS Shopping online for hotels is generally done one of two ways: by booking through the hotel’s own website or through an independent booking

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Frommers.com: The Complete Travel Resource For an excellent travel-planning resource, we highly recommend Frommers.com (www.frommers.com), voted Best Travel Site by PC Magazine. We’re a little biased, of course, but we guarantee that you’ll find the travel tips, reviews, monthly vacation giveaways, bookstore, and online-booking capabilities thoroughly indispensable. Among the special features are our popular Destinations section, where you’ll get expert travel tips, hotel and dining recommendations, and advice on the sights to see for more than 3,500 destinations around the globe; the Frommers.com Newsletter, with the latest deals, travel trends, and money-saving secrets; our Community area featuring Message Boards, where Frommer’s readers post queries and share advice (sometimes even our authors show up to answer questions); and our Photo Center, where you can post and share vacation tips. When your research is done, the Online Reservations System (www. frommers.com/book_a_trip) takes you to Frommer’s preferred online partners for booking your vacation at affordable prices.

agency (or a fare-service agency like Priceline; see below). These Internet hotel agencies have multiplied in mind-boggling numbers of late, competing for the business of millions of consumers surfing for accommodations around the world. This competitiveness can be a boon to consumers who have the patience and time to shop and compare the online sites for good deals—but shop they must, for prices can vary considerably from site to site. And keep in mind that hotels at the top of a site’s listing may be there for no other reason than that they paid money to get the placement. Of the “big three” sites, Expedia offers a long list of special deals and “virtual tours” or photos of available rooms so you can see what you’re paying for (a feature that helps counter the claims that the best rooms are often held back from bargain-booking websites). Travelocity posts unvarnished customer reviews and ranks its properties according to the AAA rating system. Also reliable are Hotels.com and Quik book.com. An excellent free program, Travelaxe (www.travelaxe.net), can help

you search multiple hotel sites at once, even ones you may never have heard of—and conveniently lists the total price of the room, including the taxes and service charges. Another booking site, Travelweb (www.travelweb.com), is partly owned by the hotels it represents (including the Hilton, Hyatt, and Starwood chains) and is therefore plugged directly into the hotels’ reservations systems—unlike independent online agencies. It’s always a good idea to get a confirmation number and make a printout of any online booking transaction. In the opaque website category, Priceline and Hotwire are even better for hotels than for airfares; with both, you’re allowed to pick the neighborhood and quality level of your hotel before offering up your money. Priceline’s hotel product even covers Europe and Asia, though it’s much better at getting five-star lodging for three-star prices than at finding anything at the bottom of the scale. On the down side, many hotels stick Priceline guests in their least desirable rooms. Be sure to go to the

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BiddingForTravel website (see above) before bidding on a hotel room on Priceline; it features a fairly up-to-date list of hotels that Priceline uses in major cities. For both Priceline and Hotwire, you pay upfront, and the fee is nonrefundable. Note: Some hotels do not provide loyalty program credits or points or other frequent-stay amenities when you book a room through opaque online services.

SURFING FOR RENTAL CARS

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company websites (SideStep is great for ferreting these deals out), although all the major online travel agencies also offer car-rental reservations (Travelocity, with its Total Price). Priceline and Hotwire work well for car rentals, too; the only “mystery” is which major rental company you get. The car-rental specialty site, Breeze Net (www.bnm. com), can help you compare prices and find car-rental bargains from companies nationwide.

For booking rental cars online, the best deals are usually found at car-rental

7 The 21st-Century Traveler INTERNET ACCESS AWAY FROM HOME Travelers have any number of ways to check their e-mail and access the Internet on the road. Of course, using your own laptop, a PDA (personal digital assistant), or electronic organizer with a modem gives you the most flexibility. But even if you don’t have a computer, you can still access your e-mail and your office computer from cybercafes. W I T H O U T YO U R O W N COMPUTER

It’s hard nowadays to find a city that doesn’t have a few cybercafes. Although there’s no definitive directory for cybercafes—these are independent businesses, after all—two places to start looking are at www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com. Aside from formal cybercafes, most public libraries in the United States offer Internet access free or for a small charge. Avoid hotel business centers unless you’re willing to pay exorbitant rates. Most major airports now have Internet kiosks scattered throughout their gates. These kiosks, which you’ll also see in shopping malls, hotel lobbies, and tourist information offices around the world, give you basic Web

access for a per-minute fee that’s usually higher than cybercafe prices. The kiosks’ clunkiness and high prices mean they should be avoided whenever possible. To retrieve your e-mail, ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if it has a Web-based interface tied to your existing e-mail account. If your ISP doesn’t have such an interface, you can use the free mail2web service (www. mail2web.com) to view and reply to your home e-mail. For more flexibility, you may want to open a free, Webbased e-mail account with Yahoo! Mail (http://mail.yahoo.com) or Hotmail (www.hotmail.com). Your home ISP may be able to forward your e-mail to the Web-based account automatically. If you need to access files on your office computer, look into a service called GoToMyPC (www.gotomypc. com). The service provides a Webbased interface for you to access and manipulate a distant PC from anywhere—even a cybercafe—provided your “target” PC is on and has an always-on connection to the Internet (such as with Road Runner cable). The service offers top-quality security, but if you’re worried about hackers, use your own laptop rather than a cybercafe computer to access the GoToMyPC system.

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W I T H YO U R O W N COMPUTER

Wi-fi (wireless fidelity) is the buzzword in computer access, and more and more hotels, cafes, and retailers are signing on as wireless “hot spots” from where you can get high-speed connection without cable wires, networking hardware, or a phone line (see below). You can get wi-fi connection one of several ways. Many laptops sold in the last year have built-in wi-fi capability (an 802.11b wireless Ethernet connection). Mac owners have their own networking technology, Apple AirPort. For those with older computers, an 802.11b/Wi-fi card (around $50) can be plugged into your laptop. You sign up for wireless access service much as you do cellphone service, through a plan offered by one of several commercial companies that have made wireless service available in airports, hotel lobbies, and coffee shops, primarily in the U.S. T-Mobile Hotspot (www.t-mobile. com/hotspot) serves up wireless connections at more than 1,000 Starbucks coffee shops nationwide. Boingo (www.boingo.com) and Wayport (www.wayport.com) have set up networks in airports and high-class hotel

lobbies. iPass providers (see below) also give you access to a few hundred wireless hotel lobby setups. Best of all, you don’t need to be staying at the Four Seasons to use the hotel’s network; just set yourself up on a nice couch in the lobby. The companies’ pricing policies can be Byzantine, with a variety of monthly, per-connection, and per-minute plans, but in general you pay around $30 a month for limited access—and as more and more companies jump on the wireless bandwagon, prices are likely to get even more competitive. If wi-fi is not available at your destination, most business-class hotels in the U.S. offer dataports for laptop modems, and a few thousand hotels in the U.S. now offer free high-speed Internet access using an Ethernet network cable. You can bring your own cables, but most hotels rent them for around $10. Call your hotel in advance to see what your options are. In addition, major Internet Service Providers (ISP) have local access numbers around the world, allowing you to go online by simply placing a local call. Check your ISP’s website or call its toll-free number and ask how

Digital Photography on the Road Many travelers are going digital these days when it comes to taking vacation photographs. Not only are digital cameras left relatively unscathed by airport X-rays, but with digital equipment you don’t need to lug armloads of film with you as you travel. In fact, nowadays you don’t even need to carry your laptop to download the day’s images to make room for more. With a media storage card, sold by all major camera dealers, you can store hundreds of images in your camera. These “memory” cards come in different configurations—from memory sticks to flash cards to secure digital cards—and different storage capacities (the more megabytes of memory, the more images a card can hold) and range in price from $30 to over $200. (Note: Each camera model works with a specific type of card, so you’ll need to determine which storage card is compatible with your camera.) When you get home, you can print the images out on your own color printer or take the storage card to a camera store, drugstore, or chain retailer. Or have the images developed online with a service like Snapfish (www.snapfish.com) for something like 25¢ a shot.

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Online Traveler’s Toolbox Veteran travelers usually carry some essential items to make their trips easier. Following is a selection of handy online tools to bookmark and use. • Airplane Seating and Food. Find out which seats to reserve and which to avoid (and more) on all major domestic airlines at www. seatguru.com. And check out the type of meal (with photos) you’ll likely be served on airlines around the world at www.airlinemeals. com. • Intellicast (www.intellicast.com) and Weather.com (www.weather. com). Gives weather forecasts for all 50 states. • Mapquest (www.mapquest.com). This best of the mapping sites lets you choose a specific address or destination, and in seconds, it will return a map and detailed directions. • Subway Navigator (www.subwaynavigator.com). Download subway maps and get savvy advice on using subway systems in dozens of major cities in the United States. • Time and Date (www.timeanddate.com). See what time (and day) it is anywhere in the world. • Visa ATM Locator (www.visa.com), for locations of PLUS ATMs worldwide, or MasterCard ATM Locator (www.mastercard.com), for locations of Cirrus ATMs worldwide.

you can use your current account away from home, and how much it will cost. If you’re traveling outside the reach of your ISP, the iPass network has dialup numbers in the U.S. You’ll have to sign up with an iPass provider, who will then tell you how to set up your computer for your destination(s). For a list of iPass providers, go to www.ipass.com and click on “Individual Purchase.” One solid provider is i2roam (www.i2 roam.com; & 866/811-6209 or 920/ 235-0475). Wherever you go, bring a connection kit of the right power and phone adapters, a spare phone cord, and a spare Ethernet network cable—or find out whether your hotel supplies them to guests.

USING A CELLPHONE Just because your cellphone works at home doesn’t mean it’ll work elsewhere in the country (thanks to our nation’s fragmented cellphone system). It’s a

good bet that your phone will work in major cities. But take a look at your wireless company’s coverage map on its website before heading out— T-Mobile, Sprint, and Nextel are particularly weak in rural areas. If you need to stay in touch at a destination where you know your phone won’t work, rent a phone that does from InTouch Global (& 800/872-7626; www.intouchglobal.com) or a carrental location, but beware that you’ll pay $1 a minute or more for airtime. If you’re venturing deep into national parks, you may want to consider renting a satellite phone (“satphone”), which is different from a cellphone in that it connects to satellites rather than ground-based towers. A satphone is more costly than a cellphone but works where there’s no cellular signal and no towers. Unfortunately, you’ll pay at least $2 per minute to use the phone, and it only works where you can see the

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horizon (in other words, usually not indoors). In North America, you can rent Iridium satellite phones from Roadpost (& 888/290-1606 or

905/272-5665; www.roadpost.com). InTouch USA (see above) offers a wider range of satphones but at higher rates.

8 Special Interest Vacation Planner Here’s a sampling of companies that offer escorted adventures and tours, and some suggestions on where to go to enjoy your favorite activities. For information on the individual states mentioned below, see the appropriate destination chapter in the book.

ADVENTURE-TRAVEL COMPANIES Scores of “soft” and “hard” adventuretravel companies have sprung up in recent years. Most travel agents have catalogs that list upcoming trips. More than 500 different tour operators are represented in the Specialty Travel Index Online at www.specialtytravel. com. Another good source of up-todate information is the monthly Outside magazine, available on newsstands throughout the country, or online at http://outsidemag.com. Mountain Travel—Sobek (& 888/ 687-6235 or 510/527-8100; www.mt sobek.com) is perhaps the granddaddy of adventure-travel companies, guiding its own trips and acting as an agent for other outfitters. It began with river rafting, which is still its strong suit. Backroads (& 800/462-2848 or 510/ 527-1555; www.backroads.com) originally sold bicycle tours, but now has walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, trail running, and other trips. It’s especially noteworthy for having options catering to adults traveling solo. Bicycle Adventures (& 800/4436060 or 360/786-0989; www.bicycle adventures.com) offers biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing, as well as other multisport options in the West Coast states, the Rocky Mountain states, and Hawaii. Tours are tailored to ability levels; some are designed for families, others for solo travelers. The

venerable Sierra Club (& 415/9775500; www.sierraclub.com) offers a number of trips each year. These and other operators plan their adventures at least a year ahead of time, so ask them or your travel agent for their schedules and catalogs as far in advance as possible.

WHERE SHOULD I GO FOR . . . ? BEACHES Miami (chapter 5) and Southern California (chapter 12) have the best beaches in the continental United States, though they all pale in comparison to the spectacular sands on all the islands of Hawaii (chapter 14). The entire Atlantic is lined with sand where you can sun and swim in the summer, and you’ll find no shortage of resorts and beach motels. If you try hard enough, you can even find a little undeveloped solitude at the Cape Cod National Seashore near Provincetown, Massachusetts (p. 60) and at Cape Hatteras National Seashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks (p. 288). The Maine coast (chapter 2) is gorgeous, but too cold for actual swimming. The same goes for the lovely, dramatic scenery in Northern California (chapter 12) and along the Oregon coast (chapter 13). BIKING Biking is a great way to see the country up close and personal. Except for the interstate highways, you can bike on most roads in the United States. Among the best are the Maine coast, Cape Cod, and the hills of New England—especially Vermont (chapter 2); Virginia’s rolling Shenandoah Valley (chapter 4); the combined Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina (chapter 4); the Outer Banks of

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North Carolina (chapter 4); the dramatic California coast (chapter 12); the Oregon coast (chapter 13); the San Juan Islands near Seattle (p. 951); and the road circling the Big Island of Hawaii (p. 1017). Exceptional mountain biking is also available in most of West Virginia’s state parks (p. 1035). Biking is an excellent way to see some of the national parks, especially Shenandoah (p. 238), Yosemite (p. 875), Yellowstone (p. 585), Grand Tetons (p. 577), and Glacier (p. 567). An ongoing nationwide program is converting some 50,000 miles of abandoned railroad beds into biking-andwalking paths. For a list, contact the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 1100 17th St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005 (& 202/331-9696; www. railtrails.org). Several companies and organizations offer escorted bike excursions, including Backroads and Bicycle Adventures (see “Adventure-Travel Companies,” above). American Youth Hostels (& 202/783-6161; www. hiayh.org) has trips for its members. CrossRoads Cycling Adventures (& 800/971-2453; www.crossroads cycling.com) offers nationwide excursions, including California to Massachusetts and Maine to Florida. BIRDING The entire East Coast is on the Atlantic Flyway for migrating water birds and waterfowl. You can see them all the way from the Maine coast (chapter 2), particularly Monhegan and Machias islands, to the Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod, and on south to Maryland’s eastern shore, where Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Maryland– Virginia line is the best bet (& 757/ 336-6122). Shorebirds also migrate along the Pacific side of the country, with good viewing anywhere along the Washington and Oregon coasts but especially in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon.

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Once endangered, the bald eagle is now widespread across the country. Dozens make their winter home at Lake Cachuma near Santa Barbara in California. In January they flock to the Skagit River north of Seattle to feast on salmon, and you can even spot them while riding a Washington State ferry through the San Juan Islands (p. 951). In September, look for them along Alaska’s southeastern coast (chapter 14). Alaska also has many other birds not found in the lower 48 states. In the Arizona (chapter 11) desert, Ramsey Canyon Preserve is internationally known as home to 14 species of hummingbird, more than anywhere else in the United States. San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is another good spot in Arizona, with more than 300 species. For tropical species, head to Florida (chapter 5), especially to Everglades National Park (p. 387). Hawaii’s (chapter 14) tropical birds are found nowhere else on earth, including the rare o’o, whose yellow feathers Hawaiians once plucked to make royal capes. Large colonies of seabirds nest at Kilauea National Wildlife Preserve and along the Na Pali Coast on Kauai; and Molokai’s Kamakou Preserve is home to the Molokai thrust and Molokai creeper, found nowhere else. For information about escorted bird-watching trips, contact Field Guides (& 800/728-4953 or 512/ 263-4795; www.fieldguides.com) or Victor Emanual Nature Tours (& 800/328-8368 or 512/328-5221; www.ventbird.com). The National Audubon Society (& 212/9793000; www.audubon.org) runs superb bird-watching programs for both aspiring and experienced naturalists. CANOEING & KAYAKING There’s a wide variety of rivers, streams, lakes, and sounds for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts. In fact,

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most cities with rivers running through them now have a contingent of outfitters. Out in the hinterlands, some of the best paddling takes place along Maine’s coast (chapter 2) or through its 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a series of remote rivers, lakes, and ponds. In summer, it’s hot and humid in Florida’s Everglades National Park (p. 387), but winter offers great opportunities along a maze of wellmarked trails. You can rent canoes at the main park center at Flamingo. The peaceful lakes of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area north of Minneapolis are another good choice. Puget Sound’s San Juan Islands (p. 951) near Seattle are enchanting when seen by canoe or kayak. San Juan Kayak Expeditions (& 360/ 378-4436; www.sanjuankayak.com) and Shearwater Adventures (& 360/ 376-4699; www.shearwaterkayaks. com) both have multiday trips to the islands, and biologists and naturalists lead educational expeditions sponsored by the nonprofit Sea Quest Expeditions (& 360/378-5767; www.seaquest-kayak.com). For a truly unique kayaking experience, you can paddle among the humpback whales taking their winter break in Hawaii. Contact South Pacific Kayaks (& 800/776-2326 or 808/ 661-8400; www.southpacifickayaks. com). For general information, contact the American Canoe Association, 7432 Alban Station Blvd., Suite B226, Springfield, VA 22150 (& 703/4510141; www.acanet.org), the nation’s largest organization, for lists of trips and local clubs. CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELDS The Civil War started in 1861 at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina (p. 275). Battles raged all over the South during the next 4 years. Gen.

Ulysses S. Grant took Vicksburg, Mississippi (p. 429), after a long siege, and Gen. William Tec*mseh Sherman burned Atlanta (p. 244), but the most famous fighting took place within 100 miles of Washington, D.C. (p. 196). This area has more national battlefield parks than any other part of the country. It won’t be in chronological order, but you can tour them by starting at the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and The Wilderness in and near Fredericksburg, Virginia (chapter 4). Proceed north to the two Battles of Manassas (or Bull Run) southwest of Washington, then north across the Potomac River to the Battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg, Maryland. From there, go northwest through Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to the Battle of Gettysburg (p. 179), the turning point of the war, in southcentral Pennsylvania. Gettysburg is perhaps the most moving and well preserved of the battlegrounds. You’ll also pass several battlefields driving through the Shenandoah Valley (chapter 4). FALL FOLIAGE Fall in New England (chapter 2) is one of the great natural spectacles on earth, with rolling hills blanketed in brilliant reds and stunning oranges. The colors start to peak in mid-September in the Green and White mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, and then bleed down into the Berkshires of Massachusetts. The colors move progressively south down the East Coast, through New York’s Hudson River Valley (p. 137), into October, when bumper-to-bumper traffic jams Virginia’s Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park (p. 238). The precise dates for prime viewing vary from year to year, depending on temperatures and rainfall, but the local newspapers and TV stations closely track the coloration.

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Fall is also quite spectacular in the Rockies, especially in Colorado (chapter 10); in West Virginia’s mountains (p. 1035); and in the Wisconsin Dells (p. 521). Tauck World Discovery (& 800/ 788-7885; www.tauck.com), Maupintour (& 800/255-4266 or 913/8431211; www.maupintour.com), and several other escorted tour operators have foliage tours; see your travel agent. FISHING The United States can boast of record-setting catches and has every type of fishing invented—from surf-casting off Cape Cod or Cape Hatteras to flicking a fly in Maine or Montana. Fly-fishing camps are as prolific as fish in the Maine woods. Grant’s Kennebago Camps in Oquossoc has 18 of them, built on Kennebago Lake in 1905. Over in Vermont, Orvis (& 800/548-9548) runs one of the top fly-fishing schools in the country. See chapter 2 for more on New England fishing. The nation’s other great fly-fishing area is in the Montana and Wyoming mountains near Yellowstone National Park (p. 585), made famous by A River Runs Through It. The top river out here is Montana’s Madison, with headquarters starting in the park, but cutthroat trout make the Snake River over in Wyoming almost as good—and the resort of Jackson Hole offers luxury relief within casting distance (see chapter 8). Most ports along the nation’s seaboards have deep-sea charter-fishing fleets and less expensive party boats (all you have to do is show up for the latter). The best tropical strikes are in the Florida Keys (p. 389) and off the Kona coast of the Big Island in Hawaii (p. 1017). Alaska (chapter 14) is famous for summertime salmon and halibut fishing, with the biggest in the Kenai River and on Kodiak Island, which has the state’s best roadside salmon fishing.

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FLOWERS & GARDENS Flower lovers have many opportunities to stop and smell the roses, especially in Portland, Oregon (p. 964), which calls itself the City of Roses. Many other cities have gardens of note, including Atlanta, Boston (p. 31), Denver (p. 665), New Orleans (p. 437), New York (p. 107), Seattle (p. 932), and Tucson (p. 765). Longwood Gardens in the Brandywine Valley (p. 177) is noted for its greenhouses as well as its grounds. The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina (p. 297), has a walled English garden on its 25 acres. Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, South Carolina (p. 275), is famed for its azaleas, camellias, and 60-acre cypress swamp. If you like gardens from the Elizabethan era, head for Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia (p. 227). It’s also a spectacular sight to see the commercial flower farms of Washington State’s Skagit Valley. In the spring, tulips and daffodils carpet the farmlands surrounding the town of La Conner with great swaths of red, yellow, and white. In March and April, the town hosts an annual Tulip Festival; the countryside erupts with color in a display that matches the legendary flower fields of the Netherlands. See chapter 13 for more on Washington. You may also be interested in seeing wildflowers in bloom out West. Springtime brings glorious color to the Texas Hill Country (p. 644), just north of San Antonio. The deserts of New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California (chapters 11 and 12) are also magical in the spring. Two of California’s prettiest viewing areas are Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, near San Diego, and the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, in the high desert near L.A. There are also beautiful spring blooms in the Washington Cascades, especially in Olympic National Park (p. 955) and throughout the Rocky Mountains (chapter 10).

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A few travel companies have escorted tours of gardens, others include them on their general sightseeing excursions, and still others organize trips for local botanical gardens or gardening and horticultural groups. Check with those in your hometown for upcoming trips, or try Maupintour (& 800/255-4266 or 913/843-1211; www.maupintour. com). GOLF & TENNIS You can play golf and tennis almost anywhere in the country, although the southern tier of states, where the outdoor seasons are longest, offer the best opportunities. In the Southeast, top golfing destinations are the North Carolina Sandhills; Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (chapter 4); and almost anywhere in Florida (chapter 5). You can get information about most Florida courses, including current greens fees, and reserve tee times through Tee Times USA (& 888/465-3356 or 904/439-0001; www.teetimesusa.com). This company also publishes a vacation guide that includes many stay-and-play golf packages. In the Southwest, the twin desert cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona (p. 753), have some of the country’s most luxurious golf resorts. The same can be said of Palm Springs and the Monterey coast in California (chapter 12). And Hawaii (chapter 14) has some of the most famous and most unique courses in the world. Most of the nation’s top golf resorts also have excellent tennis facilities. For the top 50 tennis resorts, see Tennis magazine’s rankings each November. Good choices include the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne in Key Biscayne, Florida (p. 381), Tampa’s Saddlebrook Resort–Tampa (p. 408), and Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head, South Carolina (p. 269).

MOUNTAIN BIKING If mountain bikes are your thing, you’ll find plenty of dirt roads and backcountry pathways to explore. Many national parks and forests have a good selection of trails—Acadia National Park’s (p. 101) carriage roads, for example, are unique. You can also take guided tours through 60 miles of connected trails in the Sebago Lake area, near the New Hampshire border, with Back Country Excursions (& 207/ 625-8189; www.bikebackcountry. com), which operates a mountain-biking playground called the “Palace” in Limerick, Maine. Out in Colorado (chapter 10), ski areas often open their lifts to bikers in the summer. Winter Park is considered the state’s mountain-bike capital (& 800/903-PARK or 970/7264118). The state’s single best route, the 30-mile Tipperary Creek Trail, ends at Winter Park. Another popular area is the Bryce, Zion, and Canyonlands regions of southern Utah (chapter 10). Contact Rim Tours (& 800/ 626-7335; www.rimtours.com) or Kaibab Mountain Bike Tours (& 800/451-1133; www.kaibabtours. com), based in the town of Moab. West Virginia (p. 1035) is a top destination for mountain biking; especially good spots are Canaan Valley Resort and Backwater Falls State Park. The companies mentioned under “Biking,” above, also offer mountainbiking expeditions throughout the country and abroad. NATURE & ECOLOGY TOURS Not just for bird-watchers, the National Audubon Society (& 212/ 979-3000; www.audubon.org) has its Ecology Camp on Hog Island off the Maine coast and another in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming, and it sponsors ecology excursions to such places as California’s Death Valley. The Sierra Club maintains base camps in the

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Rockies and sponsors a wide variety of nature- and conservation-oriented trips (& 415/977-5630; www.sierra club.com). On a tour sponsored by a conservation association, you’ll learn more about our national parks than you could just by driving through them. To find out what’s available, contact the individual park you plan on visiting. RIVER RAFTING The most famous place to run the rapids is the Grand Canyon (p. 784), with steep walls that tower above you as you race down the Colorado River. It’s also the most popular spot, with bumper-tobumper rafts in summer. You may have less unwanted company on the Colorado upstream in Utah—which also has good rafting on the Green River. Call the Utah Travel Council (& 800/200-1160 or 801/ 538-1030) and ask for a copy of Raft Utah. The Snake River south of Yellowstone National Park near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is also a best bet. The Snake River flows into Idaho, where its wild Hells Canyon offers exciting rides—as do the Salmon and Middle Fork rivers. For more information, see chapter 8. The New River cuts a dramatic, 2,000-foot-deep gorge through the Appalachian Mountains inside New River Gorge National River Recreation Area (p. 1037), near the town of Beckley, West Virginia, making it the most scenic rapids route in the east. SCENIC DRIVES There are so many wonderful driving tours that it’s impossible to offer anything like a comprehensive list, but here are just a few favorites. In New England (chapter 2), the dramatic Kancamagus Highway (N.H. 112) cuts through New Hampshire’s White Mountains between Lincoln and Conway. Nearby is the privately owned Mount Washington Auto Road, to the top of one of the tallest peaks in the east. The loop road

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in Maine’s Acadia National Park is another beauty. In the Southeast (chapter 4), you can’t beat Virginia’s Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, which continues south to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains near Asheville. You’ll traverse a wild and undeveloped portion of Monongahela National Forest on the Highland Scenic Highway in West Virginia (appendix A), a drive that’s especially beautiful during fall foliage season. The Historic Coastal Highway stretches along the eastern coast of Florida, offering up prime ocean views and lots of wildlife. In the Gulf South (chapter 6), the Natchez Trace Parkway winds through forested beauty in the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama on the way from Natchez to Nashville. Another good option in this region is the stunning beauty (including trees, rock formations, and waterfalls) along the Red River Gorge Highway in Kentucky. For picture-perfect views of marshlands and their accompanying wildlife, look no further than the Creole Nature Trail in Louisiana. In the Great Plains (chapter 8), a driving tour of Glacier Country in Montana puts you on Going-to-theSun Road through Glacier National Park, one of the great summertime drives in the country. Over the border in Wyoming, the Beartooth Scenic Byway (U.S. 212) from the northern part of Yellowstone National Park east to Red Lodge climbs over 10,947-foot Beartooth Pass, from where you can see mile upon mile of Wyoming and Montana mountains. Custer State Park in the South Dakota Badlands offers not one, but three scenic auto routes, though if you have time for only one, make it Iron Mountain Road. In Colorado, a driving tour of the Western Slope follows the Million Dollar Highway (U.S. 550) across 11,008-foot Red Mountain Pass, an

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unforgettable drive. The San Juan Skyway, a 236-mile circuit that crosses five mountain passes, takes in the magnificent scenery of the San Juan Mountains, including some wonderful Old West towns. And visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park should not pass up a drive on the exceptionally scenic Trail Ridge Road, especially in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom and wildlife is out in force. In the Southwest (chapter 11), the Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway winds itself through the trees of Kaibab National Forest before landing at the scenic northern edge of the Grand Canyon. In the Arizona desert, the drive from Phoenix through Prescott and Sedona includes huge red rocks and the cool oasis of Oak Creek Canyon. The desert’s most spectacular scenery is in Monument Valley on the Arizona–Utah border in Navajo and Hopi country and the nearby Canyonlands. Out in California and the Pacific Northwest (chapters 12 and 13), driving doesn’t get any more dramatic than it is along the California and Oregon coasts. Up in Alaska (chapter 14), one of the world’s great drives begins in Anchorage and leads roughly 50 miles south on the Seward Highway to Portage Glacier; chipped from the rocky Chugach Mountains, the Turnagain Arm provides a platform for viewing an untouched landscape full of wildlife. Out in Hawaii (chapter 14), the drive from Honolulu to Oahu’s Windward coast on Highway 61 offers an unparalleled view down from the near-vertical Pali cliff. The narrow, winding Hana Road on Maui will reward your driving skills with wonderful seascapes. For a comprehensive list of the major scenic byways and roads in the U.S., check out the U.S. Department

of Transportation’s America’s Byways website at www.byways.org; while you’re online, be sure to request their free America’s Byways map. SKIING New England may have started downhill skiing in the United States, but for the best, forget about the East altogether and head for the deep powder out West. Colorado (chapter 10) is endowed with more than two dozen ski resorts, including world-renowned Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, and Wolf Creek; Utah (chapter 10) is home to Alta, Beaver Mountain, Snowbasin, Park City, and Deer Valley; and Taos (p. 816) in New Mexico has wellknown slopes. In California’s Sierras, Lake Tahoe (p. 869) is home to Alpine Meadows, Heavenly Resort, and the famous Squaw Valley USA. And there’s Jackson Hole (p. 577) in Wyoming, plus the Big Mountain and Big Sky resorts nearby in Montana (chapter 8). New England (chapter 2) does have good cross-country skiing, especially at the Trapp Family Lodge CrossCountry Ski Center (& 800/8267000 or 802/253-8511) in Stowe, Vermont, and the entire village of Jackson, New Hampshire, which is laced with a network of ski trails maintained by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (& 603/383-9355; www.jacksonxc. com). Moving south along the East Coast, you’ll find good options in Lake Placid, New York (chapter 3) and Snowshoe in West Virginia (appendix A). Out West, many of the downhill resorts mentioned above have crosscountry trails as well. The best are in Yosemite (p. 875), Yellowstone (p. 585), and Glacier (p. 567) national parks. The rims of the Grand Canyon (p. 784) and Bryce Canyon (p. 720) national parks also present some unusual skiing venues. WHALE- & WILDLIFE WATCHING The best whale- watching on

T I P S O N AC C O M M O DAT I O N S

the East Coast leaves from Provincetown on Cape Cod (p. 60), where some boats sight humpbacks and finbacks with a 99% success rate from April to November. On the West Coast, you can see Pacific gray whales during their spring and fall migrations from Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco; Depot Bay and other points on the Oregon coast; and the San Juan Islands near Seattle, which also have orcas. See chapters 12 and 13 for more information on these areas. The port of Sitka (p. 991) in southeastern Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park, and nearby Seward are great spots to watch humpbacks feeding in summer—plus a profusion of seals, otters, and other marine mammals. For many humpbacks, the fall migration takes them south to sunny

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Hawaii (chapter 14), where they frolic in the warm waters from December to May. They are best seen here from Maui’s west coast. For wildlife watching, you can see moose in Rocky Mountain National Park (p. 679) in Colorado, maybe a bear in the Great Smoky Mountains (p. 299), or alligators and other critters in Florida’s Everglades (p. 387). But the best places to spot a variety of animals are undoubtedly the national parks out west and in Alaska. Without question, Yellowstone (p. 585) offers some of the top opportunities, with an abundance of elk and bison. Some of them will walk right up to your car. Glacier (p. 567) has this and more— mountain elk and the occasional grizzly bear. Alaska’s Denali (p. 997) national park offers visitors a great chance to see grizzlies and other types of bears.

9 Tips on Accommodations The United States has a wide range of accommodations: from roadside chain motels, to park lodges, to rental condos, to mammoth themed resorts, to historic inns (where George Washington really did sleep!). And there are tons of excellent campgrounds located all over the country. For a list of the major hotel and motel chains’ telephone numbers and websites, see appendix D. In the individual chapters in this book, we also provide information on local reservation services, if available. Most state tourism offices put out directories or other information on available accommodations—contact them and they’ll be happy to send you the information. Much of the information is also available on the states’ tourism websites. A list of all 50 state tourism bureaus is available in appendix B. If you prefer the intimacy and character of a bed-and-breakfast, there are several reservation agencies and online websites that deal solely with B&Bs. A

few of these B&B-only websites include Inntravels.com, Bed & Breakfast Inns Online (www.bbonline. com), North American Bed & Breakfast Directory (www.bbdirectory. com), and BedandBreakfast.com. For historic lodging in the United States, look no further than the Historic Hotels of America (& 800/6788946; www.historichotels.org), operated in conjunction with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We’ve noted several hotels rich in American history throughout the book. For information on campgrounds and RV parks in the United States, pick up the comprehensive Frommer’s RV & Tent Campgrounds in the U.S.A. You can also contact the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (& 703/241-8801; www. gocampingamerica.com); or KOA (& 406/248-7414; www.koa.com), which operates numerous campgrounds and RV parks all over the country.

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LANDING THE BEST ROOM Somebody has to get the best room in the house. It might as well be you. You can start by joining the hotel’s frequentguest program, which may make you eligible for upgrades. A hotel-branded credit card usually gives it owner “silver” or “gold” status in frequent-guest programs for free. Always ask about a corner room. They’re often larger and quieter, with more windows and light, and they often cost the same as standard rooms. When you make your reservation, ask if the hotel is renovating; if it is, request a room away from the construction. Ask about nonsmoking rooms; rooms with views; and rooms with twin, queen- or king-size beds. If you’re a light sleeper, request a quiet room away from vending machines, elevators, restaurants, bars, and discos. Ask for a room that has been most recently renovated or redecorated. If you aren’t happy with your room when you arrive, ask for another one. Most lodgings will be willing to accommodate you if they have a room available. In resort areas, particularly in warm climates, ask the following questions before you book a room: • What’s the view like? Cost-conscious travelers may be willing to

pay less for a back room facing the parking lot, especially if they don’t plan to spend much time in their room. If, on the other hand, you can’t do without that view of the ocean, the skyline, the Strip, whatever, then be prepared to pay extra for it. • What’s included in the price? Your room may be moderately priced, but if you’re charged for beach chairs, towels, sports equipment, and other amenities, you could end up spending more than you bargained for. • Is there a resort or energy fee? These are recent and particularly heinous schemes (anywhere from $5–$20 per day!) dreamed up by hotel executives trying to make an extra dime off travelers. They ostensibly cover items (local calls, a bottle of water, a newspaper, the electricity in your room) that used to be free, but that you’re now being charged for. And these extra charges are never included in the quoted rate. You’ll find this sort of gouging mostly at resorts in the major resort destinations such as Florida and Hawaii, but we’ve seen even small chain hotels in some of these areas assessing this fee.

2 New England ne of the greatest challenges of traveling in New England is choosing from O an abundance of superb restaurants, accommodations, and attractions. Do you want the mountains or the beach? Shining cities or quiet vistas? In this chapter, we give you an overview of one of the most historic regions of the United States, and still one of the most vital. We start in Massachusetts with Boston; go out to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard; swing through the Mystic seaport in Connecticut and then around to Rhode Island’s glamorous Newport and revitalized Providence; and return to Massachusetts to the Berkshires. We head inland to the natural glories of southern Vermont and New Hampshire’s White Mountains, then up the rocky, majestic Maine coast.

1 Boston & Cambridge Boston embodies contrasts and contradictions—it’s blue blood and blue collar, Yankee and Irish, home to budget-conscious graduate students and free-spending computer wizards (still!). Rich in colonial history and 21st-century technology, it’s a living landmark whose unofficial mascot is the construction worker. A new highway, a dramatic new bridge, and new buildings of all sizes are altering the landscape of eastern Massachusetts. Take a few days (or weeks) to get to know the Boston area, or use it as a gateway to the rest of New England. Here’s hoping your experience is memorable and delightful.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Most major domestic carriers and many international carriers serve Boston’s Logan International Airport (& 800/23LOGAN; www.massport.com), across the harbor from downtown. Access to the city is by subway (the “T”), cab, and boat. The subway is fast and cheap—10 minutes to Government Center and $1 for a token (good for one ride). Free shuttle buses run from each terminal to the Airport Station on the Blue Line of the T from 5:30am to 1am. The Blue Line stops at State Street and Government Center, downtown points where you can exit or transfer (free) to the other lines. A cab from the airport to downtown or the Back Bay costs about $18 to $24. The ride into town takes 10 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic and the time of day. The trip to the downtown waterfront (near cabstands and several hotels) in a boat takes 7 minutes. The free no. 66 shuttle bus connects all terminals with the Logan ferry dock. The Airport Water Shuttle (& 617/330-8680) runs to Rowes Wharf on Atlantic Avenue Monday through Friday from 6am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 8pm. The one-way fare is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, and free for children under 12. Harbor Express (& 617/376-8417; www. harborexpress.com) runs from the airport to Long Wharf Monday through Friday from 6:30am to 9pm (to 11pm on Fri), less frequently on weekends. The one-way fare is $8 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 12, and $1 for children under 6.

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CHAPTER 2 . NEW ENGLAND

By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL or 617/482-3660; www.amtrak.com) serves all three of Boston’s three rail centers: South Station, on Atlantic Avenue; Back Bay Station, on Dartmouth Street across from the Copley Place mall; and North Station, on Causeway Street near the FleetCenter. Each train station is also a rapid-transit station (& 800/392-6100 outside Massachusetts, or 617/ 222-3200; www.mbta.com). A commuter rail serves Ipswich, Rockport, and Fitchburg from North Station, and points south and west of Boston, including Plymouth, from South Station. By Car Boston is 218 miles from New York; driving time is about 41⁄2 hours. From Washington, it takes about 8 hours to cover the 468 miles; the 992-mile drive from Chicago takes around 21 hours. Driving to Boston is not difficult, but if you’re thinking of using the car to get around town, you won’t need one to explore Boston and Cambridge. The major highways are I-90, the Massachusetts Turnpike (“Mass. Pike”), an east-west toll road that leads to the New York State Thruway; I-93/U.S. 1, which extends north to Canada; and I-93/Route 3, the Southeast Expressway, which connects with the south, including Cape Cod. I-95 (Mass. Rte. 128) is a beltway about 11 miles from downtown that connects to I-93 and to highways in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York to the south, and New Hampshire and Maine to the north. The Mass. Pike extends into the city and connects with the Central Artery (the John F. Fitzgerald Expwy.). VISITOR INFORMATION Contact the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2 Copley Place, Suite 105, Boston (& 888/SEE-BOSTON or 617/536-4100; 0171/431-3434 in the U.K.; www.bostonusa.com). It offers a comprehensive information kit ($6.25) with a planner, guidebook, map, and coupon book; and a Kids Love Boston guide ($5). Free smaller planners for specific seasons or events are often available. The Cambridge Office for Tourism, 18 Brattle St., Cambridge (& 800/ 862-5678 or 617/441-2884; www.cambridge-usa.org), distributes information about Cambridge. The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, 10 Park Plaza, Suite 4510, Boston (& 800/227-6277 or 617/973-8500; www.mass vacation.com), distributes the Getaway Guide, a free magazine with information on attractions and lodgings, a map, and a seasonal calendar. The Boston National Historic Park Visitor Center, 15 State St. (& 617/ 242-5642; www.nps.gov/bost), across the street from the Old State House and the State Street T, is a good place to start exploring. National Park Service rangers staff the center and lead free tours of the Freedom Trail. The audiovisual show provides basic information on 16 historic sites on the trail. The center is wheelchair accessible and has restrooms. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm. The Freedom Trail begins at the Boston Common Information Center, 146 Tremont St., on the common. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 5pm, Sunday from 9am to 5pm. The Prudential Information Center, on the main level of the Prudential Center, is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (& 888/SEE-BOSTON or 617/536-4100) operates both centers. GETTING AROUND When you reach your hotel, leave your car in the garage and walk or use public transportation. Free maps of downtown Boston and the transit system are available at visitor centers around the city. Where and other tourism-oriented magazines, available free at most hotels, include maps of

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central Boston and the T. Streetwise Boston ($5.95) and Artwise Boston ($5.95) are sturdy, laminated maps available at most bookstores. By Public Transportation The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA (& 800/392-6100 outside Massachusetts, or 617/222-3200; www.mbta.com), is known as the “T,” and its logo is the letter in a circle. It runs subways, trolleys, buses, and ferries in Boston and many suburbs, as well as the commuter rail. Its website includes maps, schedules, and other information. Newer stations on the Red, Blue, and Orange lines are wheelchair accessible; the Green Line is being converted. All T buses have lifts or kneelers; call & 800/ LIFT-BUS for information. To learn more, call the Office for Transportation Access (& 617/222-5438 or TTY 617/222-5854). The Boston Visitor Pass (& 877/927-7277 or 617/222-5218; www.mbta. com) includes unlimited travel on the subway and local buses, in commuter rail zones 1A and 1B, and on two ferries. The cost is $7.50 for 1 day (thus tokens are cheaper for fewer than six trips), $18 for 3 days, and $35 for 7 days. The $17 weekly combo pass covers subways and buses but not ferries, and is good only Sunday through Saturday. You can buy a pass in advance by phone or online, or when you arrive at the Airport T station, South Station, Back Bay Station, or North Station. They’re also for sale at the Government Center and Harvard T stations; the Boston Common, Prudential Center, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace information centers; and some hotels. Red, Blue, and Orange line trains and Green Line trolleys make up the subway system, which runs partly aboveground. The local fare is $1.25—you’ll need a token—and can be as much as $3 for some surface line extensions. Transfers are free. Route and fare information and timetables are available through the website and at centrally located stations. Service begins around 5:15am and ends around 12:30am. A sign on the token booth in every station gives the time of the last train in either direction. T buses and “trackless trolleys” (buses with electric antennae) provide service around town and to and around the suburbs. The local bus fare is 90¢; express buses are $2.20 and up. Exact change is required. You can use a token, but you won’t get change. Important local routes include no. 1 (Mass. Ave. from Dudley Sq. in Roxbury through the Back Bay and Cambridge to Harvard Sq.), nos. 92 and 93 (between Haymarket and Charlestown), and no. 77 (Mass. Ave. from Harvard Sq. north to Porter Sq. and Arlington). Two useful ferry routes (both included in the T visitor pass) run on the Inner Harbor. The first connects Long Wharf (near the New England Aquarium), the Charlestown Navy Yard—it’s a good final leg of the Freedom Trail—and Lovejoy Wharf, off Causeway Street behind North Station. The other runs between Lovejoy Wharf and the World Trade Center. The fare is $1.50. Call & 617/ 227-4321 for information. Taxis are expensive and not always easy to flag—find a cabstand or call a dispatcher. To call ahead, try the Independent Taxi Operators Association (& 617/426-8700) or Boston Cab (& 617/536-5010 or 617/262-2227). Boston Cab can dispatch a wheelchair-accessible vehicle; advance notice is recommended. In Cambridge, call Ambassador Brattle (& 617/492-1100) or Yellow Cab (& 617/547-3000). FAST FACTS If you need medical attention, your hotel concierge should be able to help you. Hospital referral services include Brigham and Women’s (& 800/294-9999), Massachusetts General (& 800/711-4MGH), and Tufts

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New England Medical Center (& 617/636-9700). An affiliate of Mass. General, MGH Back Bay, 388 Comm. Ave. (& 617/267-7171), offers walk-in service and honors most insurance plans. Downtown Boston has no 24-hour drugstore. The CVS at 155–157 Charles St. (& 617/523-1028), next to the Charles/MGH Red Line T stop, is open until midnight. The CVS at the Porter Square Shopping Center, off Mass. Avenue in Cambridge (& 617/876-5519), is open 24 hours. On the whole, Boston and Cambridge are safe cities for walking. As in any urban area, stay out of parks (including Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Esplanade) at night unless you’re in a crowd. Areas to avoid at night include Boylston Street between Tremont and Washington, and Tremont Street from Stuart to Boylston. Try not to walk alone late at night in the Theater District and around North Station. Public transportation is busy and safe, but service stops between 12:30 and 1am. The 5% sales tax does not apply to food, prescription drugs, newspapers, or clothing that costs less than $175; the tax on meals and takeout food is 5%. The lodging tax in Boston and Cambridge is 12.45%. SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS Every March 17, a 5-mile parade salutes both St. Patrick’s Day and the day British troops left Boston in 1776 (& 800/ 888-5515). Patriot’s Day, the third Monday in April, features re-enactments of the events of April 18 and 19, 1775, which signified the start of the Revolutionary War, as well as the running of the Boston Marathon; call the Boston Athletic Association (& 617/236-1652; www.bostonmarathon.org). The Boston Pops Concert and Fireworks Display, held at Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade during Boston, Massachusetts, Independence Week, culminates in the famous Boston Pops’ Fourth of July concert. The program includes Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with actual cannon fire that segues into the fireworks. Call & 617/727-5215.

WHAT TO SEE & DO IN BOSTON If you’ll be in town for more than a couple of days, consider purchasing a BosTix (& 617/262-8632; www.bostix.org) that offers discounts on admission to many area attractions. It’s not worth the money ($9) for single travelers, but couples and families can take good advantage of it. A CityPass is a booklet of tickets to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Kennedy Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, and Prudential Center Skywalk. The price (at press time, $30 for adults, $19 for children 3–17) represents a 50% savings for adults who visit all six attractions, and having a ticket means you can go straight to the entrance without waiting in line. The passes, good for 9 days from the date of purchase, are on sale at participating attractions, at the Boston Common and Prudential Center visitor centers, through the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (& 800/ SEE-BOSTON; www.bostonusa.com), and at www.citypass.com. T H E T O P AT T R A C T I O N S Faneuil Hall Marketplace Since Boston’s most popular attraction opened in

1976, cities all over the country have imitated the “festival market” concept. The complex of shops, food counters, restaurants, bars, and public spaces is a magnet for tourists and suburbanites. The five-structure complex sits on brick-andstone plazas that teem with crowds shopping, eating, performing, viewing performers, and people-watching. Quincy Market is the central Greek

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Revival–style building; its central corridor is an enormous food court. On either side, glass canopies cover full-service restaurants as well as pushcarts that hold everything from crafts created by New England artisans to hokey souvenirs. In the plaza between the South Canopy and the South Market building is an information kiosk. Faneuil Hall itself—nicknamed the “Cradle of Liberty”— sometimes gets overlooked, but it’s worth a visit. National Park Service rangers give free 20-minute talks every half-hour from 9am to 5pm in the auditorium. Between North, Congress, and State sts. and I-93. & 617/523-1300. www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com. Marketplace Mon–Sat 10am–9pm; Sun noon–6pm. Food court opens earlier; some restaurants close later. T: Green or Blue lines to Government Center, Orange Line to Haymarket, or Blue Line to Aquarium or State.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) designed her exquisite home in the style of a 15th-century Venetian palace and filled it with European, American, and Asian painting and sculpture. You’ll see works by Titian, Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt, Matisse, and Mrs. Gardner’s friends James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. The building holds a hodgepodge of furniture and architectural details imported from European churches and palaces. The pièce de résistance is the magnificent courtyard, filled year-round with fresh flowers from the museum greenhouse. 280 The Fenway. & 617/566-1401. www.gardnermuseum.org. Admission $10 adults (Sat–Sun $11), $7 seniors, $5 college students, free for children under 18 and adults named Isabella (must show ID). Tues–Sun and some Mon holidays 11am–5pm. T: Green Line E to museum.

John F. Kennedy Library and Museum The Kennedy era springs to life at this dramatic library, museum, and research complex overlooking Dorchester Bay. It captures the 35th president’s accomplishments in sound and video recordings as well as fascinating displays of memorabilia and photos. A visit begins with a 17-minute film about Kennedy’s early life. The exhibits start with the 1960 campaign and end with a tribute to Kennedy’s legacy. There’s a film about the Cuban Missile Crisis, along with displays on Attorney Gen. Robert F. Kennedy, the civil rights movement, the Peace Corps, the space program, First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and the Kennedy family. Columbia Point. & 877/616-4599 or 617/929-4500. www.jfklibrary.org. Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors, college students, and youths 13–17, free for children under 13. Surcharges may apply for special exhibitions. Daily 9am–5pm (last film at 3:55pm). T: Red Line to JFK/UMass, then free shuttle bus, which runs every 20 min. By car, take Southeast Expwy. (I-93/Rte. 3) south to Exit 15 (Morrissey Blvd./JFK Library), turn left onto Columbia Rd., and follow signs to free parking lot.

Museum of Fine Arts Best One of the world’s great museums, the MFA works constantly to become even more accessible and interesting and is especially noted for its Impressionist paintings (including 43 Monets—the largest collection outside Paris), Asian and Old Kingdom Egyptian collections, classical art, Buddhist temple, and medieval sculpture and tapestries. The American and European paintings and sculpture are a remarkable assemblage of timeless works. Pick up a floor plan at the information desk, or take a free guided tour (weekdays except Mon holidays at 10:30am and 1:30pm; Wed at 6:15pm; and Sat at 10:30am and 1pm). Note that the MFA’s admission fees are among the highest in the country. A Boston CityPass is a great deal if you plan to visit enough of the other included attractions. 465 Huntington Ave. & 617/267-9300. www.mfa.org. Admission $15 adults, $13 seniors and students when entire museum is open ($13 and $11, respectively, when only West Wing is open), $6.50 youths 6–17 on school days before 3pm, free for youths 6–17 all other times. Admission good for 2 visits within 30 days. Voluntary contribution ($15 suggested) Wed 4–9:45pm. Surcharges may apply for special exhibitions. Free

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admission for museum shop, library, restaurants, and auditoriums. Entire museum Sat–Tues 10am–4:45pm; Wed 10am–9:45pm; Thurs–Fri 10am–5pm. West Wing only Thurs–Fri 5–9:45pm. T: Green Line E to Museum or Orange Line to Ruggles.

Among the 600-plus exhibits, you might meet an Kids iguana or a dinosaur, find out how much you’d weigh on the moon, or climb into a space module. Activity centers focus on fields of interest—natural history (with live animals), light and optics, computers, and the human body—as well as interdisciplinary approaches. The separate-admission theaters are worth planning for, even if you skip the exhibits. Buy all your tickets at once, not only because it’s cheaper but also because shows sometimes sell out. Tickets are for sale in person and, subject to a service charge, over the phone and online (www.tickets.mos.org). The Mugar Omni Theater, which shows IMAX movies on a five-story screen, is an intense experience. The Charles Hayden Planetarium takes you into space with daily star shows as well as shows on special topics that change several times a year. Museum of Science

Science Park, off O’Brien Hwy. on bridge between Boston and Cambridge. & 617/723-2500. www.mos.org. Admission to exhibit halls $13 adults, $11 seniors, $10 children 3–11. Mugar Omni Theater, Hayden Planetarium, or laser shows $8.50 adults, $7.50 seniors, $6.50 children 3–11. Discounted combination tickets available. July 5 to Labor Day Sat–Thurs 9am–7pm, Fri 9am–9pm; day after Labor Day to July 4 Sat–Thurs 9am–5pm, Fri 9am–9pm. T: Green Line to Science Park.

New England Aquarium This entertaining complex is home to more than 7,000 fish and aquatic mammals. You’ll want to spend at least half a day here, and afternoon crowds can make getting around painfully slow. A Boston CityPass allows you to skip the ticket line, which can be uncomfortably long. The worthwhile Simons IMAX Theatre, which has its own hours and admission fees, shows 3-D films that concentrate on the natural world. The focal point of the main building is the four-story, 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank. Other exhibits focus on freshwater and tropical specimens, sea otters, the Aquarium Medical Center, denizens of the Amazon, and the ecology of Boston Harbor. The hands-on Edge of the Sea exhibit contains a tide pool with resident sea stars, sea urchins, and horseshoe crabs. Central Wharf. & 617/973-5200. www.newenglandaquarium.org. Admission $16 adults, $14 seniors, $9 children 3–11. Harbor tours $13 adults, $10 seniors and college students, $9 children 3–18. Free admission for outdoor exhibits, cafe, and gift shop. July to Labor Day Mon–Thurs 9am–6pm, Fri–Sun and holidays 9am–7pm; day after Labor Day to June Mon–Fri 9am–5pm, Sat–Sun and holidays 9am–6pm. Simons IMAX Theatre: & 866/815-4629 or 617/973-5206. Tickets $9 adults, $7 seniors and children 3–11. Daily 10am–9pm. T: Blue Line to Aquarium.

THE FREEDOM TRAIL

A line of red paint or red brick on the sidewalk, the 3-mile Freedom Trail links 16 historic sights. Markers identify the stops, and plaques point the way from one to the next. The trail begins at Boston Common, where the Information Center, 146 Tremont St., distributes pamphlets that describe a self-guided tour. For a preview, visit the Freedom Trail Foundation’s website at www.thefreedomtrail.org. You can also explore the Black Heritage Trail. Stops include stations on the Underground Railroad and homes of famous citizens as well as the African Meeting House, the oldest standing black church in the country. A 2-hour guided tour starts at the visitor center at 46 Joy St. (& 617/742-5415; www.nps.gov/boaf ), daily in summer and by request at other times. As you follow the Freedom Trail, you’ll come to the Boston National Historic Park Visitor Center, 15 State St. (& 617/242-5642; www.nps.gov/bost). From here, rangers lead free tours of the heart of the trail. An audiovisual show

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provides basic information on the stops. The wheelchair-accessible center has restrooms and a bookstore. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm. The hard-core history fiend who peers at every artifact and reads every plaque along the trail will wind up at Bunker Hill some 4 hours later. The family with restless children will appreciate the efficiency of the 90-minute ranger-led tour. The highlights of the trail include Boston Common; the Massachusetts State House (& 617/727-3676); the Old Granary Burying Ground, which contains the graves of Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hanco*ck; the First Public School; the Old South Meeting House (& 617/482-6439), the starting point of the Boston Tea Party; the Boston Massacre Site; the Paul Revere House (& 617/523-2338; www.paulreverehouse.org); Old North Church (& 617/523-6676; www.oldnorth.com), where Revere saw a signal in the steeple and set out on his “midnight ride”; the USS Constitution (& 617/2425670), where active-duty sailors in 1812 dress uniforms give free tours of “Old Ironsides”; and the Bunker Hill Monument (& 617/242-5644), the 221-foot granite obelisk that honors the memory of the men who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. The best-known park in Boston is the Public Garden, bordered by Arlington, Boylston, Charles, and Beacon streets. Something lovely is in bloom at least half of the year. For 5 months, the lagoon is home to the celebrated swan boats (& 617/522-1966; www.swanboats.com). The pedal-powered vessels—the attendants pedal, not the passengers—come out of hibernation on the Saturday before Patriot’s Day (the third Mon of Apr). The 15-minute ride costs $2 for adults, $1.50 for seniors, and $1 for children under 16. ORGANIZED TOURS

From May to October, the nonprofit Boston by Foot, 77 N. Washington St. (& 617/367-2345, or 617/367-3766 for recorded info; www.bostonbyfoot. com), conducts historical and architectural walking tours that focus on neighborhoods or themes. Buy tickets ($9) from the guide; reservations are not required. The 90-minute tours take place rain or shine. The Boston Park Rangers (& 617/635-7383; www.ci.boston.ma.us/parks) offer free guided walking tours. The best-known focus is the Emerald Necklace, a loop of green spaces designed by pioneering landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Call for schedules. The nonprofit Boston History Collaborative (& 617/350-0358; www.bostonhistorycollaborative.org) coordinates several heritage trail tours focusing on maritime history, immigration, literary history, and inventions. The most unusual way to see Boston is with Boston Duck Tours (& 800/ 226-7442 or 617/723-DUCK; www.bostonducktours.com). From April to November, sightseers board a “duck,” a reconditioned World War II amphibious landing craft, on the Boylston Street side of the Prudential Center (the Pru). The 80-minute narrated tour begins with a quick but comprehensive jaunt around the city. Then the duck lumbers down a ramp, splashes into the Charles River, and takes a spin around the basin. Tickets cost $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and students, $13 for children 4 to 12, and 25¢ for children under 4. The sightseeing cruise season runs from April to October, with spring and fall offerings often restricted to weekends. Boston Harbor Cruises, 1 Long Wharf (& 617/227-4321; www.bostonharborcruises.com), is the largest company. Ninety-minute historic sightseeing cruises, which tour the Inner and Outer harbors, depart daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 6 or 7pm (the sunset cruise), with extra excursions at busy times. Tickets are $17 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $12 for children under 12. Tours leave Long Wharf hourly from

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10:30am to 4:30pm, and on the hour from the Navy Yard from 11am to 5pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $8 for children.

EXPLORING CAMBRIDGE Harvard Square is a people-watching paradise of students, instructors, commuters, and sightseers. Restaurants and stores pack the three streets that radiate from the center of the square and the streets that intersect them. Harvard University is the oldest college in the country. Free student-led tours of the main campus leave from the Events & Information Center, in Holyoke Center, 1350 Mass. Ave. (& 617/495-1573), during the school year twice a day Monday through Friday and once on Saturday (except during vacations), and during the summer four times a day Monday through Saturday and twice on Sunday. The Events & Information Center has maps, illustrated booklets, and self-guided walking-tour directions. The Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum (& 617/338-1773; www.bostontea partyship.com) closed after a fire in late 2001 and is currently scheduled to reopen in 2005. Call ahead to see whether the complex has reopened; it makes an entertaining stop on the way to or from the Children’s Museum. The season runs from March to November. The Harvard Museum of Natural History and Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology These museums house the university’s collections of items and artifacts related to the natural world. The Botanical Museum displays the Glass Flowers, 3,000 models of more than 840 plant species devised by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka. Children love the Museum of Comparative Zoology, where dinosaurs share space with preserved and stuffed insects and animals that range in size from butterflies to giraffes. Young visitors enjoy the dollhouselike “Worlds in Miniature” display at the Peabody Museum, which represents people from all over the world in scaled-down homes. The Peabody also boasts the Hall of the North American Indian, where 500 artifacts representing 10 cultures are on display. Museum of Natural History: 26 Oxford St. & 617/495-3045. www.hmnh.harvard.edu. Peabody Museum: 11 Divinity Ave. & 617/496-1027. www.peabody.harvard.edu. Admission to both $7.50 adults, $6.50 seniors and students, $5 children 3–18, free to all Sun until noon year-round and Wed 3–5pm Sept–May. Daily 9am–5pm. T: Red Line to Harvard. Cross Harvard Yard, keeping John Harvard statue on right, and turn right at Science Center; 1st left is Oxford St.

Harvard University Art Museums The Fogg Art Museum, 32 Quincy St., near Broadway, offers a broad range of items—17th-century Dutch and Flemish landscapes, 19th-century British and American paintings and drawings, French paintings and drawings from the 18th century through the Impressionist period, contemporary sculpture, and changing exhibits. The Busch–Reisinger Museum, in Werner Otto Hall (enter through the Fogg), is the only museum in North America devoted to the art of northern and central Europe. The early-20th-century collections include works by Kandinsky and other Bauhaus artists. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 485 Broadway, at Quincy Street, houses the university’s collections of Asian, ancient, and Islamic art. 32 Quincy St. and 485 Broadway. & 617/495-9400. www.artmuseums.harvard.edu. Admission to all 3 museums $6.50 adults, $5 seniors and students, free for children under 18, free to all until noon Sat. Mon–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm. T: Red Line to Harvard. Cross Harvard Yard diagonally from the T station and cross Quincy St.

By the time you visit, this ravishing yellow mansion, a unit of the National Park Service, should have reopened after

Longfellow National Historic Site

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3 years of refurbishment. The books and furniture have remained intact since the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow died in 1882. During the siege of Boston in 1775 and 1776, the house served as the headquarters of Gen. George Washington. On the tour—the only way to see the house—you’ll learn about the history of the building and its famous occupants. 105 Brattle St. & 617/876-4491. www.nps.gov/long. Guided tours $3 adults, free for children under 17. Call ahead to confirm hours and tour times. May–Oct Wed–Sun 10am–4:30pm. Tours 10:30, 11:30am, 1, 2, 3, and 4pm. Closed Nov–Apr. T: Red Line to Harvard, then follow Brattle St. about 7 blocks; house is on the right.

SPECTATOR SPORTS No other experience in sports matches watching the 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park. The Fenway Park ticket office (& 617/267-1700 for tickets, or 617/482-4SOX for touch-tone ticketing; www.redsox.com) is at 4 Yawkey Way, off Brookline Avenue. Tickets go on sale in January. Prices start at $18. Tours (& 617/236-6666) are offered year-round, Monday through Friday at 9am, 11am, noon, and 1pm, plus 2pm when the team is away. There are no tours on holidays or before day games. The cost is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children under 16. Every year on Patriot’s Day (the third Mon in Apr), the Boston Marathon rules the roads from Hopkinton to Copley Square in Boston. For information about qualifying, contact the Boston Athletic Association (& 617/236-1652; www.bostonmarathon.org).

SHOPPING The Back Bay is the area’s premier shopping district. If you’re passionate about art, set aside a couple of hours for a stroll along Newbury Street, a world-famous destination with dozens of galleries, shops, and boutiques. Besides being a prime location for upscale boutiques, it boasts an infinite variety of styles and media in the dozens of art galleries at street level and on the higher floors. (Remember to look up.) Pick up a copy of the free monthly Gallery Guide at businesses along Newbury Street, or check with the Newbury Street League (& 617/267-7961; www.newbury-st.com). Nearby, a weatherproof walkway across Huntington Avenue links upscale Copley Place (& 617/375-4400) and the Shops at Prudential Center (& 800/SHOP-PRU). Downtown, Faneuil Hall Marketplace (& 617/523-1300) is the busiest attraction in Boston not only for its smorgasbord of food outlets, but also for its shops, boutiques, and pushcarts. If the hubbub here is too much for you, stroll over to Charles Street, at the foot of Beacon Hill. A short but commercially dense (and picturesque) street, it’s home to perhaps the best assortment of gift and antiques shops in the city. One of Boston’s oldest shopping areas is Downtown Crossing. Now a traffic-free pedestrian mall along Washington, Winter, and Summer streets near Boston Common, it’s home to two major department stores (Filene’s and Macy’s); tons of smaller clothing, shoe, and music stores; and food and merchandise pushcarts. In Cambridge the bookstores, boutiques, and T-shirt shops of Harvard Square lie about 15 minutes from downtown Boston by subway. You’ll find a mix of national and regional outlets, and more than a few persistent independent retailers. For a less generic experience, walk along Mass. Ave. in either direction to the next T stop. The stroll takes about an hour. Bookworms flock to Cambridge; Harvard Square in particular caters to general and specific audiences. Check out the basem*nt of the Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass. Ave.

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Best Take Me Out to the Ballgame . . . Football and basketball’s TV ratings may be higher, but they’ve never succeeded in wresting baseball’s position as America’s national pastime. Millions worship at the sport’s cathedrals each year hoping to catch a home run or celebrate a win over a hated rival. Here are our picks for the best places to watch the Boys of Summer duke it out: 1. Cubs fans have been crying “maybe next year,” since Wrigley Field opened in 1914, but it’s the champ of baseball stadiums (even if it’s suffering the effects of old age and will be getting some muchneeded repairs in the 2004 off season to avoid condemnation proceedings—we love underdogs!). From its famous Bleacher Bums and numerous day games to its old-fashioned scoreboard and classic seventh-inning stretch rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (which has lost only a little luster since the passing of legendary announcer Harry Carey), Wrigley is the class of the field. While they’re fixing things, they might want to take care of the stadium’s awful bathrooms; we say flush ’em and get new ones. 2. The oldest in the majors—it opened in 1912—Fenway Park in Beantown is loaded with history and atmosphere. It’s a national treasure and we were genuinely torn when we gave it second place behind Wrigley. Sure it’s cramped and the sightlines can get iffy, but it’s still a beauty, the fans are both knowledgeable and nice (provided you aren’t sporting Yankee pinstripes), the handoperated scoreboard is still used, and the seats atop the famous Green Monster are the best in baseball. And the Red Sox’ 2004 World Series victory, ending the team’s infamous 86-year losing streak, made it the home of baseball’s champs at press time. Take that Babe Ruth!

(& 800/542-READ outside 617, or 617/661-1515; www.harvard.com), for great deals on remainders and used books.

WHERE TO STAY Boston has one of the busiest hotel markets in the country, with some of the highest prices. Rates at most downtown hotels are lower on weekends than on weeknights; leisure hotels offer discounts during the week. It’s always a good idea to make a reservation, especially during foliage season and around college graduation time. The Convention & Visitors Bureau Hotel Hot Line (& 800/7776001) can help make reservations even at the busiest times. It’s staffed Monday through Friday until 8pm, Saturday and Sunday until 4pm. Boston Harbor Hotel The Boston Harbor Hotel is one of the finest in town, an excellent choice for both business and leisure travelers. The 16-story brick building is within walking distance of downtown and the waterfront attractions; the Airport Water Shuttle stops behind the hotel. Each guest room is a luxurious combination of bedroom and living room, with mahogany furnishings. Rooms with city views are less expensive than those that face the harbor. The best units are suites with private terraces and dazzling water vistas.

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3. Opened in 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards was the pioneer that inspired the building of many a classic baseball park throughout the country and for that alone it deserves a standing O. Architecturally and comfort-wise this beauty’s arguably tops in the country. And it offers some of the best eats in baseball. Even better (though not for Baltimore), because the Orioles haven’t had much to sing about lately, it’s not that tough to get a very affordable seat to a game. 4. One of the most famous shrines in Sportsdom, Yankee Stadium opened with a bang (okay, a three-run homer) by the Babe in 1923. The House that Ruth Built would earns its place on this list merely due to its history—no other stadium comes close on that score (check out Monument Park inside the stadium if you doubt us). Alas, the aging stadium lacks a lot of creature comforts (and it just doesn’t have that homey Wrigley vibe to combat the shabby feeling), and the neighborhood’s borderline at best (the food could be described that way, too). Fanwise, as long as you root for the home team, you’ll be in excellent company. 5. We argued long and hard over this last choice before finally shafting Pac Bell Park in San Francisco (where the prices are too obscenely capitalistic and cellphones too plentiful) in favor of gorgeous Coors Field in Denver. Why? Because the home run rules in America and the thin air here means lots of tearful pitchers (who says there’s no crying in baseball?), who get hammered in this park like no other. Watching batting practice here is a blast (or 3 or 8). Tack on the friendly crowds and good food and this one’s a winner.

Rowes Wharf (entrance on Atlantic Ave.), Boston, MA 02110. & 800/752-7077 or 617/439-7000. Fax 617/ 330-9450. www.bhh.com. 230 units. $295–$595 double; from $465 suite. Extra person $50. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Weekend packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $22–$34; selfparking $17–$30. T: Red Line to South Station or Blue Line to Aquarium. Pets accepted. Amenities: Restaurant; cafe; bar; indoor lap pool; health club and spa.

The Chandler Inn is a bargain for its location, 2 blocks from the Back Bay. It underwent $1 million in renovations in 2000, and even with the accompanying price hike, the comfortable, unpretentious hotel is a deal. Guest rooms have individual climate control and contemporary-style furniture. Each holds a queen-size or double bed or two twin beds. Bathrooms are tiny, and the one elevator in the eight-story inn can be slow, but the staff is welcoming and helpful. This is a gay-friendly hotel—Fritz, the bar next to the lobby, is a neighborhood hangout—that often books up early.

Chandler Inn Hotel

26 Chandler St. (at Berkeley St.), Boston, MA 02116. & 800/842-3450 or 617/482-3450. Fax 617/542-3428. www.chandlerinn.com. 56 units. Apr–Dec $139–$169 double; Jan–Mar $129–$139 double. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. No parking. T: Orange Line to Back Bay. Pets under 25 lb. accepted with prior approval. Amenities: Lounge.

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In an excellent location overlooking the Boston Value Marathon finish line, the Charlesmark has a boutique feel and great prices. It’s both luxurious and—literally, not figuratively—no frills. The contemporary design evokes a yacht, using custom furnishings to pack plenty of comfort into compact spaces. Rooms have pillow-top mattresses and enough room to hold a comfortable chair. The amenities don’t challenge the perks of the large hotels in this neighborhood, but they’re more than sufficient for most business or leisure travelers—rates include continental breakfast, access to a computer in the lobby, and local phone calls.

Charlesmark Hotel

655 Boylston St. (between Dartmouth and Exeter sts.), Boston, MA 02116. & 617/247-1212. Fax 617/2471224. www.thecharlesmark.com. 33 units, most with shower only. $99–$249 double. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Self-parking $32 in nearby garage. T: Green Line to Copley. Pets accepted with prior approval. In room: Minifridge.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel The “grande dame of Boston” is a true grand hotel, an old-fashioned lodging that recalls the days when an out-of-town trip (by train, of course) was an event, not an ordeal. Built in 1912, the six-story Renaissance Revival building faces Copley Square. Already known for superb service, the Copley Plaza has enjoyed a renaissance since becoming a Fairmont property in 1996. Extensive renovations included restoration of the spacious guest rooms, which contain reproduction Edwardian antiques and offer VCRs. The traditional furnishings reflect the elegance of the opulent public spaces. Rooms that face the lovely square afford better views than those that overlook busy Dartmouth Street. 138 St. James Ave., Boston, MA 02116. & 800/441-1414 or 617/267-5300. Fax 617/247-6681. www. fairmont.com/copleyplaza. 383 units. From $249 double; from $429 suite. Extra person $30. Weekend and other packages available. AE, DC, MC, V. Valet parking $32. T: Green Line to Copley, or Orange Line to Back Bay. Pets up to 20 lb. accepted. Amenities: 2 restaurants; bar; lounge; exercise room.

Many hotels offer exquisite service, a beautiful locaBest tion, elegant guest rooms and public areas, a terrific health club, and wonderful restaurants. But no other hotel in Boston—indeed, in New England—combines every element of a luxury hotel as seamlessly as the Four Seasons. The 16-story brick-and-glass building (the hotel occupies eight floors) blends traditional and contemporary style. The best units overlook the Public Garden; city views from the back of the hotel aren’t as desirable. Children receive bedtime snacks and toys, and can ask at the concierge desk for duck food to take to the Public Garden. Small pets even enjoy a special menu and amenities.

Four Seasons Hotel

200 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116. & 800/332-3442 or 617/338-4400. Fax 617/423-0154. www.four seasons.com. 274 units. $425–$815 double; from $1,600 1-bedroom suite; from $2,200 2-bedroom suite. Weekend packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $36. T: Green Line to Arlington. Pets under 15 lb. accepted. Amenities: Restaurant; lounge; pool; health club and spa.

Harborside Inn The Harborside Inn offers a good combination of location

and (for this neighborhood) value. The renovated 1858 warehouse is near Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the harbor, the Financial District, and the Big Dig. The guest rooms have hardwood floors, Oriental rugs, and Victorian-style furniture. They surround a sky-lit atrium; city-view units are more expensive but can be noisier. Still, they’re preferable to the interior rooms, whose windows open only to the atrium. Units on the top floors have lower ceilings but better views. 185 State St. (between Atlantic Ave. and the Custom House Tower), Boston, MA 02109. & 888/723-7565 or 617/723-7500. Fax 617/670-6015. www.harborsideinnboston.com. 54 units. $120–$210 double; $235–$310

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suite. Extra person $15. Packages and long-term rates available. Rates may be higher during special events. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Off-site parking $20; reservation required. T: Blue Line to Aquarium or Orange Line to State. Amenities: Restaurant.

Smack in the middle of Harvard Square, this sixstory brick hotel is a favorite with visiting parents and budget-conscious business travelers. The unpretentious guest rooms are relatively small but comfortable; some overlook Harvard Square. The front desk handles fax and copy services.

Harvard Square Hotel

110 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138. & 800/458-5886 or 617/864-5200. Fax 617/864-2409. www. doubletree.com. 73 units. $129–$209 double. Extra person $10. Children under 17 stay free in parent’s room. Corporate rates and AAA and AARP discounts available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $25. T: Red Line to Harvard. In room: Fridge.

The MidTown Hotel Kids Even without free parking and an outdoor pool, this centrally located hotel would be a good deal for families and budget-conscious businesspeople. It’s on a busy street within walking distance of Symphony Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts. The well-maintained rooms are large, bright, and attractively outfitted, although bathrooms are on the small side. Some units have connecting doors that allow families to spread out. The best rooms are on the side of the building that faces away from Huntington Avenue. 220 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115. & 800/343-1177 or 617/262-1000. Fax 617/262-8739. www. midtownhotel.com. 159 units. $89–$209 double. Extra person $15. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Packages and AAA, AARP, and government employee discount available, subject to availability. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking (1 car per room). T: Green Line E to Prudential, or Orange Line to Mass. Ave. Amenities: Restaurant; heated pool.

Jurys Boston Hotel In the former Boston Police Headquarters building, the Irish chain caters to both business and leisure travelers. The 1925 limestone-andbrick structure now holds dramatic public areas and plush accommodations. The luxurious guest rooms have nice touches such as a work area with an ergonomic chair, good-size bathrooms, and windows that open but also muffle street noise. Still, light sleepers will want to face away from busy Berkeley Street. Opened in 2004, this is Jurys Doyle’s first U.S. property outside Washington, D.C.; while the brand establishes itself in this market, you might be able to score a deal. 350 Stuart St. (at Berkeley St.), Boston, MA 02116. & 866/JD-HOTELS or 617/266-7200. Fax 617/266-7203. www.jurysdoyle.com. 220 units, some with shower only. $155–$435 double; $275–$575 1-bedroom suite; $475–$775 2-bedroom suite. Extra person $20. Children under 16 stay free in parent’s room. Weekend, family, and other packages from $155 per night. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $32. T: Orange Line to Back Bay or Green Line to Arlington or Copley. Amenities: Restaurant; exercise room.

Sleek and sophisticated, Nine Zero feels almost like a transplant from New York or L.A. The decent-size guest rooms and oversize bathrooms contain opulent appointments, including luxurious linens, down comforters, cordless two-line phones, and extensive business features. The contemporary boutique atmosphere distinguishes the 19-story hotel from the more old-fashioned establishments that dominate this market. This neighborhood is convenient for both business and leisure travelers: It’s within walking distance of most downtown destinations, and 2 blocks from the subway to Cambridge.

Nine Zero

90 Tremont St. (near Bromfield St.), Boston, MA 02108. & 866/NINE-ZERO or 617/772-5800. Fax 617/7725810. www.ninezerohotel.com. 189 units. $289–$500 double; $500–$1,800 suite. Packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $32. T: Red or Green lines to Park St. Pets accepted. Amenities: Restaurant; exercise room.

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The Parker House offers a great combination of nearly 150 years of history and extensive renovations. It has been in continuous operation longer than any other hotel in America, since 1855. Since the Omni chain took over in the late 1990s, the hotel has been upgraded throughout. Guest rooms aren’t huge, but they are thoughtfully laid out and nicely appointed. Business travelers can book a room with an expanded work area, while sightseers can economize by requesting a smaller, less expensive unit.

Omni Parker House

60 School St., Boston, MA 02108. & 800/THE-OMNI or 617/227-8600. Fax 617/742-5729. www.omni hotels.com. 552 units, some with shower only. $119–$179 double; $139–$339 deluxe double; $179–$349 executive double; $189–$389 suite. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Weekend packages and AARP discount available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $27; self-parking $20. T: Green or Blue lines to Government Center, or Red Line to Park St. Pets under 25 lb. accepted ($50). Amenities: Restaurant; exercise room.

Radisson Hotel Boston The chain only recently started expanding in the Northeast and the location isn’t the most attractive, so this hotel can be a pleasant surprise. It’s convenient to both the Back Bay and downtown, and the guest rooms are among the largest in the city, each with a private balcony and sitting area. The well-maintained hotel has become as popular with business travelers as it already was with tour groups and families. The best units are the executivelevel rooms on the top five floors of the 24-story building. The hotel hosts the Stuart Street Playhouse (& 617/426-4499), a small theater that often books one-person shows. 200 Stuart St. (at Charles St. S.), Boston, MA 02116. & 800/333-3333 or 617/482-1800. Fax 617/451-2750. www.radisson.com/bostonma. 356 units, some with shower only. $159–$359 double. Extra person $20; cot $20; cribs free. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Weekend, theater, and other packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $21; self-parking $19. T: Green Line to Boylston, or Orange Line to New England Medical Center. Amenities: Restaurant; indoor pool; exercise room.

WHERE TO DINE Travelers from around the world relish the variety of skillfully prepared seafood available in the Boston area. Lunch is an excellent, economical way to check out a fancy restaurant without breaking the bank. For those who like to dine alfresco, the food court at Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a great place to pick up picnic fare. Aujourd’hui Best CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN On the second floor of the city’s premier luxury hotel, the most beautiful restaurant in town offers incredible service and food to its special-occasion and expense-account clientele, and is coming off a renovation that saw it reopen in June 2004. Yes, the cost is astronomical, but how often is it true that you get what you pay for? Here, it is. The menu encompasses basic hotel dining room offerings and creations that characterize an inventive kitchen, and the wine list is excellent. The dessert menu includes picture-perfect soufflés and homemade sorbets. In the Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St. & 617/351-2071. Reservations recommended (required on holidays). Main courses $21–$30 lunch, $35–$45 dinner; Sun buffet brunch $58 adults, $28 children. (At press time, restaurant had not reopened after renovation. Call to confirm open hours and prices.) AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 6:30–11am, 11:30am–2pm, and 5:30–10pm; Sat 7am–noon and 5:30–10pm; Sun brunch 11:30am–2pm and 6–10pm. T: Green Line to Arlington. Valet parking available.

Billy Tse Restaurant CHINESE/PAN-ASIAN/SUSHI

This casual spot on the edge of the Italian North End serves excellent renditions of the usual Chinese dishes and good fresh seafood. The Thai- and Vietnamese-influenced selections are just as enjoyable.

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240 Commercial St. & 617/227-9990. Reservations recommended for dinner on weekends. Main courses $7–$33 (most items less than $17); lunch specials $6–$8; sushi from $3.75. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11:30am–11:30pm; Fri–Sat 11:30am–midnight; Sun 11:30am–11pm. T: Green or Orange lines to Haymarket, or Blue Line to Aquarium.

Buddha’s Delight VEGETARIAN/VIETNAMESE Fresh and healthful meet

cheap and filling here. The menu lists “chicken,” “pork,” and even “lobster”—in quotes because the chefs substitute fried and barbecued tofu and gluten for meat, poultry, fish, or dairy (some beverages have condensed milk) to create more-thanreasonable facsimiles of traditional dishes. Try spring rolls—fresh (in paper-thin mung-bean wrappers) are better than fried—then “shrimp” or “pork” with rice noodles, or excellent chow fun. 5 Beach St. & 617/451-2395. Main courses $6–$13; lunch specials $6.50. MC, V. Sun–Thurs 11am–9:30pm; Fri–Sat 11am–10:30pm. T: Orange Line to Chinatown.

Café Jaffa MIDDLE EASTERN A narrow brick room with a glass front, Café Jaffa looks more like a snazzy pizza place than the excellent Middle Eastern restaurant it is. Reasonable prices, high quality, and large portions draw hordes of people for traditional dishes such as falafel, baba ghanouj, and hummus, as well as burgers and steak tips. For dessert, try the baklava if it’s fresh. 48 Gloucester St. & 617/536-0230. Main courses $5–$16. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11am–10:30pm; Fri–Sat 11am–11pm; Sun 1–10pm. T: Green lines B, C, or D to Hynes/ICA.

Dalí SPANISH The bar at this festive restaurant fills with people cheerfully waiting an hour or more for a table. The payoff is authentic Spanish food, notably tapas. Entrees include excellent paella, but most people come in a group and explore the three dozen or more tapas offerings. They include delectable garlic potatoes, salmon balls with not-too-salty caper sauce, pork tenderloin with blue goat cheese, and delicious sausages. The staff sometimes seems rushed, but never fails to supply bread for sopping up juices, and sangria for washing it all down. Finish with excellent flan, or try the rich tarta de chocolates. 415 Washington St., Somerville. & 617/661-3254. www.dalirestaurant.com. Reservations not accepted. Tapas $3–$8.50; main courses $17–$24. AE, DC, MC, V. Summer daily 6–11pm; winter daily 5:30–11pm. T: Red Line to Harvard; follow Kirkland St. to intersection of Washington and Beacon sts. (20-min. walk or $5 cab ride).

For huge portions of delicious food, a Kids NEW ENGLAND rowdy atmosphere where CEOs share tables with students, and famously cranky waitresses, Bostonians have flocked to Durgin-Park since 1827. They come for prime rib the size of a hubcap, piles of fried seafood, fish dinners broiled to order, and bounteous portions of roast turkey. Steaks and chops are broiled on an open fire over wood charcoal. Vegetables come a la carte—now is the time to try Boston baked beans. For dessert, the strawberry shortcake is justly celebrated.

Durgin-Park

340 Faneuil Hall Marketplace. & 617/227-2038. www.durgin-park.com. Reservations accepted for parties of 15 or more. Main courses $7–$25; specials $19–$40. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Sat 11:30am–10pm; Sun 11:30am–9pm. T: Green or Blue lines to Government Center, or Orange Line to Haymarket. Validated parking available.

Hamersley’s Bistro ECLECTIC This is the place that put the South End on Boston’s culinary map, a pioneering restaurant that’s both classic and contemporary. One of its many claims to fame is its status as a Julia Child favorite. The seasonal menu offers entrees noted for their emphasis on local ingredients and classic techniques. Cassoulet with pork, duck confit, and garlic sausage is a gorgeously executed combination of flavors and textures. The kitchen also has a way

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with fish—perhaps salmon au poivre with sorrel, leeks, and fingerling potatoes. The wine list is excellent. 553 Tremont St. & 617/423-2700. www.hamersleysbistro.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $24–$39; tasting menu varies. AE, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 6–10pm; Sat 5:30–10pm; Sun 5:30–9:30pm. Closed 1 week in Jan. T: Orange Line to Back Bay. Valet parking available.

The Helmand AFGHAN The Helmand enjoyed a burst of publicity when the manager’s brother took over the provisional government of Afghanistan, and it’s hardly had a slow night since. Unusual cuisine, an elegant setting, and reasonable prices had already made this spot near the CambridgeSide Galleria mall a favorite. Afghan food is vegetarian friendly; many non-veggie dishes use meat as one element rather than the centerpiece. Aushak, pasta pockets filled with leeks or potatoes and topped with split-pea-and-carrot sauce, also comes with meat sauce. For dessert, don’t miss the Afghan version of baklava. 143 First St. & 617/492-4646. Reservations recommended. Main courses $12–$20. AE, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 5–10pm; Fri–Sat 5–11pm. T: Green Line to Lechmere.

La Summa SOUTHERN ITALIAN La Summa maintains a neighborhood atmosphere in the North End. It’s worth seeking out for homemade pasta and desserts; the more elaborate entrees are scrumptious, too. Try any seafood special, lobster ravioli, pappardelle e melanzane (eggplant strips tossed with ethereal fresh pasta), or the house special—veal, chicken, sausage, shrimp, artichokes, pepperoncini, olives, and mushrooms in white-wine sauce. Desserts are terrific. 30 Fleet St. & 617/523-9503. Reservations recommended. Main courses $11–$24. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Sat 4:30–10:30pm; Sun 2–10:30pm. T: Green or Orange lines to Haymarket.

Legal Sea Foods SEAFOOD The food at Legal Sea Foods (“Legal’s,” to Bostonians) isn’t the fanciest, cheapest, or trendiest. It’s the freshest, and management’s commitment to that policy has produced a thriving chain (with several branches scattered throughout the area). The menu includes regular selections plus whatever looked good at the market that morning, prepared in every imaginable way. The clam chowder is famous, the fish chowder lighter but equally good. We suggest the Prudential Center branch because it takes reservations (at lunch only). Equally annoying but traditional is the policy of serving each dish when it’s ready, instead of one table at a time. In the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St. & 617/266-6800. www.legalseafoods.com. Reservations recommended at lunch, not accepted at dinner. Main courses $7–$15 lunch, $14–$35 dinner; lobster priced daily. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11am–10:30pm; Fri–Sat 11am–11:30pm; Sun noon–10pm. T: Green lines B, C, or D to Hynes/ICA or Line E to Prudential.

Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage Value AMERICAN Great burgers and the best onion rings in the world make Bartley’s a perennial favorite with a cross section of Cambridge. The 40-year-old family business is a high-ceilinged, crowded room plastered with signs and posters. There are also some good dishes that don’t involve meat, notably veggie burgers and creamy, garlicky hummus. 1246 Mass. Ave. & 617/354-6559. www.mrbartleys.com. Most items under $9. No credit cards. Mon–Sat 11am–9pm. T: Red Line to Harvard.

Pizzeria Regina PIZZA Regina’s looks like a movie set, but it’s the real thing. Busy waitresses weave through the boisterous dining room, delivering peerless pizza hot from the brick oven. The list of toppings includes nouveau ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, but that’s not authentic. House-made sausage, maybe some pepperoni, and a couple of beers—now, that’s authentic.

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111⁄2 Thacher St. & 617/227-0765. www.pizzeriaregina.com. Reservations not accepted. Pizza $9–$16. No credit cards. Mon–Thurs 11am–11:30pm; Fri–Sat 11am–midnight; Sun noon–11pm. T: Green or Orange lines to Haymarket.

Ye Olde Union Oyster House NEW ENGLAND/SEAFOOD America’s oldest restaurant in continuous service, the Union Oyster House opened in 1826. Its New England fare is popular with tourists on the Freedom Trail as well as savvy locals. They’re not here for anything fancy; try oyster stew or a cold seafood sampler of oysters, clams, and shrimp. Follow with a broiled or grilled dish such as scrod or salmon, or fried seafood. A “shore dinner” (chowder, steamers, lobster, corn, and dessert) is an excellent introduction to local favorites. 41 Union St. (between North and Hanover sts.). & 617/227-2750. www.unionoysterhouse.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $10–$21 lunch, $16–$30 dinner; children’s menu $5–$11. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 11am–9:30pm (lunch until 5pm); Fri–Sat 11am–10pm (lunch until 6pm). Union Bar daily 11am–midnight (lunch until 3pm, late supper until 11pm). T: Green or Orange lines to Haymarket. Validated and valet parking available.

BOSTON & CAMBRIDGE AFTER DARK For up-to-date entertainment listings, consult the “Calendar” section of the Thursday Boston Globe, the “Scene” section of the Friday Boston Herald, or the Sunday arts sections of both papers. Three free publications, available at newspaper boxes around town, publish nightlife listings: the Boston Phoenix, the Stuff@Night (a Phoenix offshoot), and the Improper Bostonian. Gay- and lesbian-specific events and venues list what’s happening in Bay Windows (www.baywindows.com), available at newsstands and at Glad Day Bookstore, 673 Boylston St., Back Bay (& 617/267-3010; T: Copley). Visit a BosTix (& 617/482-2849; www.bostix.org) booth at Faneuil Hall Marketplace (on the south side of Faneuil Hall) or in Copley Square (at the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth sts.). Same-day tickets to musical and theatrical performances are half-price, subject to availability. Credit cards are not accepted, and there are no refunds or exchanges. The booths, which are also Ticketmaster outlets, are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm (half-price tickets go on sale at 11am), Sunday from 11am to 4pm. The Copley Square location is open Monday from 10am to 6pm. THE PERFORMING ARTS The Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s greatest, performs at Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave. (& 617/2661492; www.bso.org; T: Green Line E to Symphony, or Orange Line to Mass. Ave.). The season runs from October to April. From May to July, members of the BSO lighten up. Tables and chairs replace the floor seats at Symphony Hall, and drinks and light refreshments are served. The Boston Pops (same contact info as the BSO) play a range of music from light classical to show tunes to popular music, sometimes with celebrity guest stars. The Boston Ballet’s reputation seems to jump a notch every time someone says, “So it’s not just The Nutcracker.” The country’s fourth-largest dance company performs the holiday staple from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. During the rest of the season (Oct–May), it presents an eclectic mix of classic ballets and contemporary work. Call & 617/695-6955 or check out www.bostonballet.com. Performances are held at the Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St. (T: Green Line to Boylston). The excellent local theater scene boasts the Huntington Theatre Company, which performs at the Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave. (& 617/ 266-0800; www.huntington.org); and the American Repertory Theatre,

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which makes its home at Harvard University’s Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge (& 617/547-8300; www.amrep.org). You’ll find most of the shows headed to or coming from Broadway in the Theater District. The promoter often is Broadway in Boston (& 617/8802400; www.broadwayinboston.com). THE CLUB SCENE The Boston-area club scene changes constantly, and somewhere out there is a good time for everyone. Bars close at 1am, clubs at 2am. The subway shuts down between 12:30 and 1am; Night Owl bus service operates until 2:30am on Friday and Saturday. Be prepared to show ID. For dancing, try Avalon, 15 Lansdowne St. (& 617/262-2424; T: Green lines B, C, or D to Kenmore), a cavernous space divided into several levels. When the stage isn’t in use, DJs spin for the crowd of 20- and 30-somethings. The dress code calls for jackets and shirts with collars, and no jeans or athletic wear. Avalon is open Thursday (international night) through Sunday (gay night). The Roxy, in the Tremont Boston hotel, 279 Tremont St. (& 617/3387699; T: Green Line to Boylston), boasts excellent DJs and live music, a huge dance floor, a stage, and a balcony. Occasional concerts and boxing cards take good advantage of the sightlines. No jeans or athletic shoes. The Roxy is open Thursday through Saturday, plus some Wednesdays and Sundays. FOLK & ECLECTIC Legendary coffeehouse Club Passim at 47 Palmer St., Cambridge (& 617/492-7679; www.clubpassim.org; T: Red Line to Harvard), is where Joan Baez, Suzanne Vega, and Tom Rush started out. There’s live music nightly, and coffee and food (no alcohol is served) until 10pm. Cover is $5 to $25; most shows $12 or less. It’s open nightly. JAZZ & BLUES On summer Fridays the Waterfront Jazz Series (& 617/ 635-3911) brings amateurs and professionals to Christopher Columbus Park, for a refreshing interlude of free music and cool breezes. On summer Thursdays, the Boston Harbor Hotel (& 617/439-7000) stages performances on the “Blues Barge,” in the water behind the hotel. The original House of Blues, 96 Winthrop St., Cambridge (& 617/491-2583, or 617/497-2229 for tickets; www.hob.com; T: Red Line to Harvard), still packs ’em in. It attracts tourists, music buffs, and big names. Its Sunday gospel buffet brunch seatings are at 10am, noon, and 2pm; advance tickets ($26 adults, $13 children) are highly recommended. Cover for the music hall is $6 to $30; no cover for the Friday or Saturday matinee. Wally’s Café, 427 Mass. Ave. (& 617/424-1408; www.wallyscafe.com; T: Orange Line to Mass. Ave.), is a Boston institution. Opened in 1947 in the South End, it draws a diverse crowd—black, white, straight, gay, affluent, indigent—and features nightly live music. ROCK & ALTERNATIVE Big-name acts play the FleetCenter, 150 Causeway St. (& 617/624-1000; www.fleetcenter.com). The Middle East books an impressive variety of progressive and alternative acts upstairs and downstairs every night at 472–480 Mass. Ave., Central Square, Cambridge (& 617/864-EAST; www.mideastclub.com; T: Red Line to Central). Cover is $7 to $15. Other good venues are the Paradise Rock Club near Boston University, which draws enthusiastic crowds for top local and national performers at 967 Comm. Ave. (& 617/562-8800, or 617/423-NEXT for tickets; www.dlclive.com; T: Green Line B to Pleasant St.); and T. T. the Bear’s, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge (& 617/492-0082 or 617/492-BEAR; www.ttthe bears.com; T: Red Line to Central), a no-frills spot with bookings ranging from alternative rock to ska to up-and-coming pop acts.

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BARS & LOUNGES If you want to go “where everybody knows your name,” you have two choices: There’s the Bull & Finch Pub, 84 Beacon St. (& 617/ 227-9605; www.cheersboston.com; T: Green Line to Arlington), the inspiration for the television show Cheers. It looks nothing like the bar on TV. It really is a neighborhood bar with good pub grub, but it’s far better known for attracting legions of out-of-towners. Then there’s Cheers, a bar that replicates the set of the TV show at Faneuil Hall Marketplace (& 617/227-0150; www.cheers boston.com; T: Green or Blue lines to Government Center, or Orange Line to Haymarket). At The Black Rose, 160 State St. (& 617/742-2286; www.irishconnection. com; T: Orange or Blue lines to State), an always jam-packed pub and restaurant, you can sing along with the entertainment. An excellent jukebox, excellent food, and excellent eavesdropping make Casablanca, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge (& 617/876-0999; T: Red Line to Harvard), a legendary Harvard Square watering hole that’s always jammed with students and professors. At Top of the Hub, 800 Boylston St. (& 617/536-1775; T: Green Line E to Prudential), the 52ndstory view of greater Boston from this appealing lounge atop the Prudential Center is lovely at sunset. There’s music and dancing nightly. Dress is casual but neat.

A SIDE TRIP TO CONCORD Concord revels in its legacy as a center of groundbreaking thought and its role in the country’s political and intellectual history. For an excellent overview of town history, start your explorations at the Concord Museum. After just a little time in this lovely town, you may find yourself adopting the local attitude toward two of its most famous residents: Ralph Waldo Emerson, who comes across as a well-respected uncle figure; and Henry David Thoreau, everyone’s favorite eccentric cousin. The first official battle of the Revolutionary War took place at the North Bridge, now part of Minute Man National Historical Park. By the middle of the 19th century, Concord was the center of the Transcendentalist movement. Homes of Emerson, Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott are open to visitors. GETTING THERE From Boston by car (30–40 min.), take Route 2 into Lincoln and stay in the right lane. Where the main road makes a sharp left, go straight onto Cambridge Turnpike, and follow signs to HISTORIC CONCORD. To go directly to Walden Pond, use the left lane, take Route 2/2A another mile or so, and turn left onto Route 126. There’s parking throughout town. The commuter rail (& 800/392-6100 outside Massachusetts, or 617/2223200; www.mbta.com) takes about 45 minutes from North Station in Boston, with a stop in Cambridge. The round-trip fare is $8. VISITOR INFORMATION The chamber of commerce, 155 Everett St. (& 978/369-3120; www.concordmachamber.org), maintains an information booth on Heywood Street, 1 block southeast of Monument Square. It’s open from 9:30am to 4:30pm on weekends in April and daily May through October. Ninety-minute tours are available Friday through Sunday and on Monday holidays. Weekday and group tours are available by appointment. The community (www.concordma.com) and town (www.concordnet.org) websites include visitor information. You can also contact the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau (& 800/443-3332 or 978/459-6150; www.merrimack valley.org).

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WHAT TO SEE & DO Concord Museum Kids This is a great place to start your visit. The History Galleries explore the question “Why Concord?” Artifacts, murals, films, maps, documents, and other presentations illustrate the town’s role as a Native American settlement, Revolutionary War battleground, 19th-century intellectual center, and focal point of the 20th-century historic preservation movement. You’ll also see the contents of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s study and a collection of Henry David Thoreau’s belongings. Pick up a family activity pack as you enter and use the games and reproduction artifacts (including a quill pen and powder horn) to give the kids a hands-on feel for life in the past. Cambridge Tpk. at Lexington Rd. & 978/369-9609 (recorded info) or 978/369-9763. www.concordmuseum. org. Admission $8 adults, $7 seniors and students, $5 children under 16. June–Aug daily 9am–5pm; Apr–May and Sept–Dec Mon–Sat 9am–5pm, Sun noon–5pm; Jan–Mar Mon–Sat 11am–4pm, Sun 1–4pm. Follow Lexington Rd. out of Concord Center and bear right at museum onto Cambridge Tpk.; entrance is on left. Parking allowed on road.

The Old Manse The history of this home touches on the military and the literary, but it’s mostly the story of a family. The Rev. William Emerson built the Old Manse in 1770 and watched the Battle of Concord from his yard. For almost 170 years, the house was home to his descendants and to two famous friends. In 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his bride, Sophia Peabody, moved in and stayed for 3 years. As a wedding present, Henry David Thoreau sowed the vegetable garden for them. This is also where William’s grandson Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the essay “Nature.” Today, you’ll see mementos and memorabilia of the Emerson and Ripley families and of the Hawthornes. 269 Monument St. (at North Bridge). & 978/369-3909. www.thetrustees.org. Guided tour $7.50 adults, $6.50 seniors and students, $5 children 6–12, $22 families. Mid-Apr to Oct Mon–Sat 10am–5pm, Sun and holidays noon–5pm (last tour at 4:30pm). Closed Nov to mid-Apr. From Concord Center, follow Monument St. to North Bridge parking lot (on right); Old Manse is on left.

Little Women (1868), Louisa May Alcott’s most popular Best work, was written and set at Orchard House. Seeing the family home brings the Alcotts to life for legions of visitors. Fans won’t want to miss the tour, illustrated with heirlooms. Check in advance for information on holiday programs and other special events. Louisa’s father, Amos Bronson Alcott, created Orchard House by joining and restoring two homes. The family lived here from 1858 to 1877. Her mother, Abigail May Alcott, frequently assumed the role of breadwinner—Bronson, Louisa wrote in her journal, had “no gift for money making.” Note: Call before visiting; an extensive preservation project is underway.

Orchard House

399 Lexington Rd. & 978/369-4118. www.louisamayalcott.org. Guided tour $8 adults, $7 seniors and students, $5 children 6–17, $20 families. Apr–Oct Mon–Sat 10am–4:30pm, Sun 1–4:30pm; Nov–Mar Mon–Fri 11am–3pm, Sat 10am–4:30pm, Sun 1–4:30pm. Closed Jan 1–15. Follow Lexington Rd. out of Concord Center and bear left at Concord Museum; house is on left. Overflow parking across the street.

Ralph Waldo Emerson House Emerson, also an essayist and poet, lived here from 1835 until his death in 1882. He moved here after marrying his second wife, Lydia Jackson, whom he called “Lydian”; she called him “Mr. Emerson,” as the staff still does. The tour gives a good look at his personal side and at the fashionably ornate interior decoration of the time. You’ll see original furnishings and some of Emerson’s personal effects. 28 Cambridge Tpk. & 978/369-2236. Guided tours $6 adults, $4 seniors and students. Call to arrange group tours (10 people or more). Mid-Apr to Oct Thurs–Sat 10am–4:30pm, Sun 2–4:30pm. Closed Nov to mid-Apr. Follow Cambridge Tpk. out of Concord Center; just before Concord Museum; house is on right.

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Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Follow the signs for AUTHOR’S RIDGE to the graves of some of the town’s literary lights. Emerson’s grave is marked by an uncarved quartz boulder. Thoreau’s grave is nearby; at his funeral in 1862, Emerson concluded his eulogy with these words: “ . . . wherever there is knowledge, wherever there is virtue, wherever there is beauty, he will find a home.” Entrance on Rte. 62 W. & 978/318-3233. www.concordnet.org. Daily 7am–dusk, weather permitting. Call ahead for wheelchair access. No buses allowed.

The Wayside was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s home from 1852 until his death in 1864. The Wayside is part of Minute Man National Historical Park, and the fascinating 45-minute ranger-led tour illuminates the occupants’ lives and the house’s crazy-quilt architecture. The exhibit in the barn (free admission) consists of audio presentations and figures of the authors.

The Wayside

455 Lexington Rd. & 978/369-6975. www.nps.gov/mima/wayside. Guided tour $4 adults, free for children under 17. May–Oct Thurs–Tues 10am–4:30pm. Closed Nov–Apr. Follow Lexington Rd. out of Concord Center past Concord Museum and Orchard House; parking across the street.

M I N U T E M A N N AT I O N A L H I S T O R I C A L PA R K

This 900-acre park preserves the scene of the first Revolutionary War battle, which took place on April 19, 1775. Encouraged by their victory at Lexington, the British continued to Concord in search of stockpiled arms (which the colonists had already moved). Warned of the advance, the Minutemen crossed the North Bridge, evading the “regulars” standing guard, and awaited reinforcements on a hilltop. The British searched nearby homes and burned any guns they found, and the Minutemen, seeing the smoke, mistakenly thought the soldiers were burning the town. The gunfire that ensued, the opening salvo of the Revolution, is remembered as “the shot heard round the world.” The park is open daily year-round. A visit can take as little as half an hour— for a jaunt to the North Bridge—or as long as half a day (or more), if you stop at both visitor centers and participate in a ranger-led program. To reach the bridge from Concord Center, follow Monument Street until you see the parking lot on the right. On one side of the bridge is a plaque commemorating the British soldiers who died in the Revolutionary War. On the other side is Daniel Chester French’s Minute Man statue, engraved with a stanza of the poem Emerson wrote for the dedication ceremony in 1876. You can also start at the North Bridge Visitor Center, 174 Liberty St., off Monument Street (& 978/369-6993; www.nps.gov/mima), which overlooks the Concord River and the bridge. A diorama and video illustrate the Battle of Concord; exhibits include uniforms, weapons, and tools of colonial and British soldiers. Park rangers lead programs and answer questions. The center is open daily from 9am to 5:30pm (until 4pm in winter). At the Lexington end of the park, the Minute Man Visitor Center (& 781/ 862-7753; www.nps.gov/mima), off Route 2A, about a half-mile west of I-95, Exit 30B, is open daily from 9am to 5pm (until 4pm in winter). You’ll see a multimedia program on the Revolution, displays, and a 40-foot mural illustrating the battle. On summer weekends, rangers lead tours—call ahead for times. The Battle Road Trail, a 5.5-mile interpretive path, carries pedestrian, wheelchair, and bicycle traffic. Panels and granite markers display information about the area’s history. Also on the park grounds, on Old Bedford Road, is the Hartwell Tavern. Costumed interpreters demonstrate daily life on a farm and in a tavern in colonial

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days. It’s open from 9:30am to 5pm, daily June through August, and weekends only in April, May, September, and October. Admission is free. W I L D E R N E S S R E T R E AT S

Henry David Thoreau’s first published works can serve as starting points: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849) and Walden (1854). To see the area from water level, rent a canoe at the South Bridge Boathouse, 496 Main St. (& 978/369-9438; www.sbridge.qpg.com), about 2⁄3 mile west of the center of town, and paddle to the North Bridge and back. Rates are about $11 per hour on weekends, less on weekdays. At the Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden St., Route 126 (& 978/ 369-3254; www.state.ma.us/dem/parks/wldn.htm), a pile of stones marks the site of the cabin where Thoreau lived from 1845 to 1847. Today the picturesque reservation is a popular destination for walking, swimming, and fishing. Call for the schedule of interpretive programs. No dogs or bikes are allowed. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a daily parking fee is charged and the lot fills early every day—call before setting out, as the rangers turn away visitors if the park has reached capacity (1,000). To get here from Concord Center, take Walden Street (Rte. 126) south, cross Route 2, and follow signs to the parking lot.

2 Cape Cod Curling some 70 miles into the Atlantic, Cape Cod offers miles of beaches, freshwater ponds, and richly historic New England villages; it’s a popular summer destination, with plenty of activities after the sun goes down as well.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Car From Providence and New York, cross the Cape Cod Canal on the Bourne Bridge; from Boston, cross on the Sagamore Bridge. Head east on Route 6. Exits are marked for all major destinations. Traffic can be a nightmare on peak weekends, so plan accordingly. By Plane The Cape’s major hub is Barnstable Municipal Airport, Hyannis (& 508/775-2020), served by several major carriers and smaller airlines from Boston’s Logan Airport and New York’s LaGuardia and Newark. Provincetown Airport (& 508/487-0241) is served by Cape Air (& 800/352-0714; www.fly capeair.com) from Boston. By Boat Bay State Cruises (& 617/748-1428; www.baystatecruisecompany. com) runs a ferry to Provincetown from Boston, in addition to a daily roundtrip passenger ferry late June through Labor Day and on weekends late May to late September.

HYANNIS Hectic Hyannis has a diverse selection of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. But if you were to confine your visit to this one town, you’d get a warped view of the Cape. Along Routes 132 and 28, you could be visiting Anywhere, USA. It’s a rainy-day destination, or a place to go if you need something from a mall. Don’t even bother trying to track down the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport; it’s effectively screened from view. You’ll see more at the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, 397 Main St. (& 508/790-3077; www.hyannis. com/JFKMuseum.asp), with a multimedia display capturing the Kennedys during their glory days from 1934 to 1963. The death of John F. Kennedy, Jr., in 1999 made visitation soar. A special exhibit of photos of John, Jr., will be on

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display for an indefinite period of time. Admission is $3 adults, free for children under 17. The museum is open April to October Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm, Sunday and holidays 1 to 4pm; last admission is at 3:30pm.

BREWSTER With miles of placid Cape Cod Bay beach and acres of state park, Brewster is an attractive place for families. Brewster’s Main Street houses a bevy of B&Bs, restaurants, and the Cape’s finest antiques shops. Brewster also welcomes tens of thousands of campers and day-trippers headed for Nickerson State Park. VISITOR INFORMATION The Brewster Chamber of Commerce visitor center is behind Brewster Town Hall, 2198 Main St./Rte. 6A (& 508/8963500; www.capecodtravel.com/brewster); contact them in advance to get a free visitor’s guide to the area. Brewster’s eight bay beaches have minimal facilities. When the tide is out, the beach extends as much as 2 miles, leaving behind tidal pools to splash in. On a clear day, you can see the whole curve of the Cape, from Sandwich to Provincetown. Purchase a beach parking sticker ($8 per day, $25 per week) at the visitor center (& 508/896-4511). The Cape Cod Rail Trail intersects with the 8-mile Nickerson State Park trail system at the park entrance, where there’s plenty of free parking; you could follow the Rail Trail back to Dennis (about 12 miles) or toward Wellfleet (13 miles). In season, Idle Times (& 508/255-8281) provides rentals within the park. About a half-mile south of Route 6A, you’ll find Brewster Bicycle Rental, 442 Underpass Rd. (& 508/896-8149); and Brewster Express, which makes sandwiches to go. Just up the hill is Rail Trail Bike & Blade, 302 Underpass Rd. (& 508/896-8200). Both shops offer free parking. Bike rentals range from $12 for 4 hours to $18 for 24 hours. Noted naturalist John Hay helped found the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, 869 Rte. 6A (& 800/479-3867 in eastern Massachusetts, or 508/8963867; www.ccmnh.org), dedicated to preserving Cape Cod’s unique landscape. Children’s exhibits include a “live hive”—like an ant farm, only with busy bees— and marine-room tanks. The bulk of the museum is outdoors. There’s an on-site archaeology lab on Wing Island. Admission is $5 adults, $4.50 seniors, $2 children 5 to 12. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

The mint-green 1866 Victorian known as Captain Freeman Inn, 15 Breakwater Rd., off Route 6A, in the town center (& 800/843-4664 or 508/896-7481; www.captainfreemaninn.com), has a terrific location, right next to the Brewster Store and within walking distance of a pretty bay beach. The Brewster Tea Pot serves lunch and an authentic afternoon tea. The reasonably priced, large historic Old Sea Pines Inn is a great spot for families. The inn’s former days as the Sea Pines School of Charm and Personality for Young Women can still be seen in the handful of rather minuscule boarding-school-scale rooms on the second floor. These bargain rooms share bathrooms and are the only ones in the house without air-conditioning, but at $95 per night in season, who cares! One of the best restaurants on Cape Cod, the Bramble Inn Restaurant, 2019 Main St. (& 508/896-7544), is also one of the most expensive—but worth it. To get the gist of the expression “chow down,” just observe the earlyevening crowd happily doing so at Brewster Inn & Chowder House, 1993 Rte. 6A (& 508/896-7771), a century-old restaurant where the draw is hearty staples at prices geared to ordinary people.

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CHATHAM Chatham (say Chatt-um) is small-town America the way Norman Rockwell imagined it. Roses climb white picket fences in front of Cape cottages within a stone’s throw of the ocean. Visit the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, 533 Main St. (& 800/715-5567 or 508/945-5199; www.chathamcapecod.org); or the Chatham Chamber booth, at the intersection of routes 137 and 28. BEACHES & OUTDOOR PURSUITS

Chatham has an unusual array of beaches, from the peaceful shores of Nantucket Sound to the shifting shoals along the Atlantic. For beach stickers ($8 per day, $35 per week), call the Permit Department, on George Ryder Road in west Chatham (& 508/945-5180). Among the beaches are co*ckle Cove Beach, Ridgevale Beach, and Hardings Beach; lined up along the sound, each at the end of its namesake road south of Route 28, these family-pleasing beaches offer gentle surf and full facilities. Oyster Pond Beach, off Route 28, is only a block from Chatham’s Main Street. This sheltered saltwater pond (with restrooms) swarms with children. North Beach extends all the way south from Orleans. This 5-mile barrier beach is accessible from Chatham only by boat; you can take the Beachcomber (& 508/945-5265), a water taxi, which leaves from the fish pier. The round-trip costs $12 for adults, $8 for children. Though Chatham has no separate recreational paths per se, a demarcated biking/skating lane makes a scenic 8-mile circuit of town, heading south onto “The Neck,” east to the Chatham Light, up Shore Road all the way to north Chatham, and back to the center of town. A brochure prepared by the chamber of commerce (& 800/715-5567 or 508/945-5199) shows the route. Rentals are available at Bikes & Blades, 195 Crowell Rd. (& 508/945-7600). Chatham has five ponds and lakes that permit fishing. For saltwater fishing sans boat, try the fishing bridge on Bridge Street at the south end of Mill Pond. First, get a license at Town Hall, 549 Main St. (& 508/945-5101). If you hear the deep sea calling, sign on with the Booby Hatch (& 508/430-2312) or the Banshee (& 508/945-0403). Shellfishing licenses are available at the Permit Department, on George Ryder Road in west Chatham (& 508/945-5180). Heading southeast from the Hardings Beach parking lot, the 2-mile roundtrip Seaside Trail offers beautiful parallel panoramas of Nantucket Sound and Oyster Pond River. Access to 40-acre Morris Island, southwest of the Chatham Light, is easy: Walk or drive across and start right in on a marked .75-mile trail. The Beachcomber (& 508/945-5265) runs seal-watching cruises out of Stage Harbor. Parking is behind the former Main Street School just on the left before the rotary. The cruises cost $18 for adults, $12 for children 3 to 15. Uninhabited Monomoy Island, 2,750 acres of brush-covered sand favored by some 285 species of migrating birds, is the perfect pit stop along the Atlantic flyway. Harbor and gray seals carpet the coastline from late November to May. Both the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, operated by the Audubon Society (& 508/349-2615), and Brewster’s Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (& 508/896-3867) offer guided trips. Seaworthy vessels, from surfboards to Sunfish, can be rented from Monomoy Sail and Cycle, 275 Rte. 28, north Chatham (& 508/945-0811). Pleasant Bay is the best place to play for those with sufficient experience; if the winds don’t seem to be going your way, try Forest Beach on the south Chatham shore. Kayaks and sailboards rent for $45 per day.

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W H E R E T O S TAY

For those allergic to inns, Chatham has several decent motels. The basic Hawthorne, 196 Shore Rd. (& 508/945-0372; www.thehawthorne.com), is on the water, with views of Chatham Harbor, Pleasant Bay, and the Atlantic. The Seafarer of Chatham, 2079 Rte. 28, about a half-mile east of Route 137 in west Chatham (& 800/786-2772 or 508/432-1739; www.chathamseafarer.com), lacks a pool, but is close to Ridgevale Beach. Set above the beach in Chatham with commanding views, the grand old Chatham Bars Inn, Shore Road (& 800/527-4884 or 508/945-0096; www. chathambarsinn.com), is the premier hotel on Cape Cod. The colonnaded 1914 brick building is surrounded by 26 shingled cottages. Take in the sweeping views on the breezy veranda. Amenities include an outdoor heated pool; putting green; public 9-hole golf course next door; tennis courts; basic fitness room; summer children’s programs; shuffleboard; croquet; volleyball; and a complimentary launch to Nauset Beach. Cottage rooms are cheery with painted furniture and Waverly fabrics. Guests can take meals in The Main Dining Room, the Tavern, or the seasonal Beach House Grill right on the private beach. The Captain’s House Inn, 369–377 Old Harbor Rd. (& 800/315-0728 or 508/945-0127; www.captainshouseinn.com), is an 1839 Greek Revival house, along with a cottage and carriage house, a shining example of 19th-century style. Bedrooms are richly furnished with canopied four-posters, beamed ceilings, and, in some cases, brick hearths and Jacuzzis. Rates include full breakfast and afternoon tea. There are bikes for the guests to use, and each room has a fridge and coffeemaker. The Dolphin of Chatham, 352 Main St. (& 800/688-5900 or 508/9450070; www.dolphininn.com), is made up of an 1805 main building, motel units, and cottages, for a wide range of lodging options. Even on exquisitely groomed Main Street, this property’s colorful gardens stand out. The main inn has seven rooms with romantic touches like beamed ceilings and canopy beds. The inn has a terrific bar, where guests can enjoy light dinner fare from a screened porch. Lighthouse Beach is a stroll away. Rates include continental breakfast. There’s an outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi. Each room has a fridge. WHERE TO DINE

We highly recommend The Main Dining Room at the Chatham Bars Inn (see above for location). This is not delicate food, but it is delicious—and the chowder may be the best on Cape Cod. The Chatham Wayside Inn, 512 Main St. (& 508/945-5550), is a good spot for a reasonably priced meal in town. Specialties include crab cakes, rack of lamb, and pesto cod. For something a little different, try the Portuguese-style chowder, with double-smoked bacon, fresh quahogs, and red bliss potatoes. A major renovation has turned 28 Atlantic, 2173 Rte. 28 at the Wequasett Inn, about 5 miles northwest of Chatham center, on Pleasant Bay (& 508/4303000; www.wequasett.com), into one of the top places to eat on Cape Cod. The elegant, spacious dining room overlooks Pleasant Bay through immense floorto-ceiling glass panels. And the food stands out as superb, from the amuse bouche (a little taste teaser), to the exceptional desserts. Menu items use local provender as much as possible, but there are also delicacies from around the world. C H AT H A M A F T E R D A R K

Chatham’s free band concerts attract crowds in the thousands. This is smalltown America at its most nostalgic, as the band plays old standards that never

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go out of style. Held in Kate Gould Park (off Chatham Bars Ave.) from July to early September, they kick off at 8pm every Friday. A great leveler, the Chatham Squire, 487 Main St. (& 508/945-0942), attracts CEOs, seafarers, and collegians alike. Great pub grub, too! The piano bar Upstairs at Christian’s, 443 Main St. (& 508/945-3362), has the air of a vintage frat house with scuffed leather couches and movie posters. Live music is offered nightly in season and weekends year-round.

PROVINCETOWN You’ve made it all the way to the end of the Cape, to one of the most interesting spots on the eastern seaboard. Charles Hawthorne, the painter who “discovered” this near-derelict fishing town in the late 1890s and introduced it to the Greenwich Village intelligentsia, was besotted by this “jumble of color in the intense sunlight accentuated by the brilliant blue of the harbor.” The whole town, in fact, is dedicated to creative expression, both visual and verbal. That same open-mindedness may account for Provincetown’s ascendancy as a gay and lesbian resort. The street life also includes families, art lovers, and gourmands. In short, Provincetown has something for just about everyone. Contact the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce, 307 Commercial St. (& 508/487-3424; www.ptownchamber.com), or the gay-oriented Provincetown Business Guild, 115 Bradford St. (& 800/637-8696 or 508/487-2313; www.ptown.org). BEACHES & OUTDOOR PURSUITS

BEACHES With nine-tenths of its territory protected by the Cape Cod National Seashore, Provincetown has miles of beaches. The 3-mile bay beach that lines the harbor, though certainly swimmable, is not all that inviting compared to the ocean beaches overseen by the National Seashore. The two official access areas tend to be crowded; however, you can always find a less densely populated stretch if you’re willing to hike down the beach a bit. BICYCLING North of town is one of the more spectacular bike paths in New England, the 7-mile Province Lands Trail, a heady swirl of steep dunes anchored by wind-stunted scrub pines. With its free parking, the Province Lands Visitor Center (& 508/487-1256) is a good place to start. Rentals are offered in season by Nelson’s Bike Shop, 43 Race Point Rd. (& 508/487-8849). In town, rentals are available at Ptown Bikes, 42 Bradford St. (& 508/487-8735); reserve several days in advance. BOATING Flyer’s Boat Rental, 131 Commercial St., in the West End (& 508/ 487-0898), offers all sorts of craft, from kayaks to sailboats; lessons and fishinggear rentals are available. Off the Coast Kayak Company, 3 Freeman St., in the center of town (& 508/487-2692), offers tours and rentals in season. MUSEUMS Anywhere you go in town, the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum on High Pole Hill Road (& 508/487-1310; www.pilgrimmonument.org) looms. Climb the 60 gradual ramps interspersed with 116 steps and you’ll get a gargoyle’s-eye view of the spiraling coast and Boston against a backdrop of New Hampshire’s mountains. Admission is $6 adults, $3 children 4 to 12. It’s closed December to March. The Provincetown Art Association & Museum, 460 Commercial St. (& 508/487-1750; www.paam.org), is an extraordinary cache of 20th-century American art begun by Charles Hawthorne. Founded in 1914, the museum was the site of innumerable “space

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wars,” as classicists and modernists vied for square footage. Suggested donation is $5 adults, $1 seniors and children under 12. TOURS Art’s Dune Tours is at the corner of Commercial and Standish streets (& 800/894-1951 or 508/487-1950; www.artsdunetours.com). In 1946, Art Costa started driving sightseers out to ogle the “dune shacks” where Eugene O’Neill, Jack Kerouac, and Jackson Pollock found their respective muses. The tours typically take 1 to 11⁄2 hours. Tickets are $13 to $16 for adults, $8 to $10 for children 4 to 11. There’s also a sunset clambake dune tour ($40) and Race Point Lighthouse tour ($18). WHALE-WATCHING Stellwagen Bank, 8 miles off Provincetown, is a feeding ground for whales. The Dolphin Fleet at MacMillan Wharf (& 800/8269300 or 508/349-1900) was the first, and by most accounts is still the best, outfitter running whale-watching trips to Stellwagen. Tickets for the 31⁄2-hour trips are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $17 for children 7 to 12. Call to reserve. Closed November through March. W H E R E T O S TAY

The Brass Key Guesthouse, 67 Bradford St. (& 800/842-9858 or 508/4879005; www.brasskey.com), is the fanciest place in town. The innkeepers have thought of everything: down pillows, jetted showers, and iced tea and lemonade delivered poolside. Rooms in the 1828 Federal-style Captain’s House and the Gatehouse are outfitted in a country style, while the Victorian-era building is elegant. Most deluxe rooms have gas fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Rates include continental breakfast and afternoon wine and cheese. There’s a heated outdoor pool, a Jacuzzi, and fridges and safes in the rooms. No children under 18. The Best Western Tides Beachfront, 837 Commercial St. (& 800/528-1234 or 508/487-1045; www.bwprovincetown.com), is set on 6 acres away from Provincetown’s bustle. Every inch of this complex has been groomed to the max. The spotless guest rooms are decorated in a soothing pastel palette. There’s a heated outdoor pool and a coin-op laundry; in each room there’s a fridge and a coffeemaker, as well as a dataport. Rainer and Jurgen run Carpe Diem, 12 Johnson St. (& 800/487-0132 or 508/487-4242; www.carpediemguesthouse.com), a stylish 1884 house on a quiet side street that suits most P-town habitués to a T. Guest rooms are outfitted with antiques, down comforters, and robes. Two deluxe garden suites boast private entrances, Jacuzzis, and fireplaces. The cottage has a two-person Jacuzzi and a wet bar. Breakfasts feature homemade German bread and muffins served at the family-size dining-room table. On clear days, sun worshippers prefer the patio. Rates include continental breakfast. The rooms have dataports. Set back from the street in the quiet West End, Captain Lysander Inn, 96 Commercial St. (& 508/487-2253), an 1840 Greek Revival, is fronted by a flower-lined path leading to a sunny patio. The conservatively furnished rooms are quite nice for the price, and some have partial water views. Tall windows make these rooms feel light and airy. The whole gang can fit in either the apartment or the cottage, both with TV/VCRs and kitchenettes. Continental breakfast is included. There are no phones in the rooms. Look for the house with the bright yellow door in the East End; it’s the very embodiment of Provincetown’s Bohemian mystique: the White Horse Inn, 500 Commercial St. (& 508/487-1790). Frank Schaefer has been tinkering with this late-18th-century house since 1963; a number of his fellow artists helped

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him out in cobbling together the studio apartments out of salvage. Some units have shared bathrooms; there are no televisions or phones in the room, adding to the serenity. WHERE TO DINE

Spiritus, 190 Commercial St. (& 508/487-2808), is an extravagant pizza parlor open until 2am. Peruse the scrumptious meat pies and pastries at the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery, 299 Commercial St. (& 508/487-1803). Both establishments are closed November through March. Martin House, 157 Commercial St. (& 508/487-1327), is easily one of the most charming restaurants on the Cape. The chef favors local delicacies, such as the littlenecks that appear in a kafir-lime-tamarind broth with Asian noodles. Main courses might include grilled rack of pork with mango salsa and cactuspear demi-glace on spicy masa. Bubala’s by the Bay, 183 Commercial St. (& 508/487-0773), promises “serious food at sensible prices.” And that’s what it delivers: from buttermilk waffles to creative focaccia sandwiches to ostrich served with a grilled pepper crust and a caramelized onion and balsamic glaze. The huge patio facing Commercial Street is particularly popular in the morning. Cafe Heaven, 199 Commercial St. (& 508/487-9639), is prized for its leisurely country breakfasts. The dinner choices have expanded to include local seafood, steaks, chops, and poultry; create-your-own pastas; and “heavenly” burgers. The best gourmet takeout shop is Angel Foods, 467 Commercial St., in the East End (& 508/487-6666), which offers Italian specialties and other prepared foods. The rollwiches—pita bread packed with a wide range of fillings—at Box Lunch, 353 Commercial St. (& 508/487-6026), are ideal for a strolling lunch. PROVINCETOWN AFTER DARK

There’s so much going on in season that you might want to simplify your search by calling or stopping by the Provincetown Reservations System office, 293 Commercial St., in the center of town (& 508/487-6400). The hottest club in town is Antro, 258 Commercial St., 2nd floor (& 508/ 487-8800). Perhaps the nation’s premier gay bar, the Atlantic House, 6 Masonic Place, off Commercial Street (& 508/487-3821), is open year-round. The “A-house” welcomes straight folks, except in the leather-oriented Macho Bar upstairs. Come late afternoon; it’s a safe bet that the crowds are at the gay-lesbian tea dance held daily in season from 3:30 to 6:30pm on the pool deck at the Boatslip Beach Club, 161 Commercial St. (& 508/487-1669). The action then shifts to the Pied, 193A Commercial St. (& 508/487-1527; www.thepied.com), for its After Tea T-Dance from 5 to 10pm. The women’s bar Vixen, at the Pilgrim House, 336 Commercial St. (& 508/ 487-6424), occupies the lower floors of a former hotel. On the roster are jazz, blues, and comedy. There are also pool tables.

3 Martha’s Vineyard With 100 square miles, Martha’s Vineyard is New England’s largest island, yet each of its six communities is blessed with endearing small-town charm. Admire the sea captains’ homes in Edgartown. Stroll down Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, then ride the Flying Horses Carousel, said to be the oldest working carousel in the nation. Check out the cheerful “gingerbread” cottages behind Circuit Avenue. Then journey “up-island” to marvel at the red-clay cliffs of

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Aquinnah. Or bike the country roads of West Tisbury and Chilmark. Buy a lobster roll in the fishing village of Menemsha.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Ferry Most visitors take ferries from the mainland to the Vineyard. It’s easy to get a passenger ticket on almost any of the ferries, but space for cars is limited. We advise you to leave your car on the mainland. It’s easy to take the shuttle buses from town to town or bike around. From Falmouth, The Steamship Authority (& 508/477-8600; www.island ferry.com) operates daily year-round, weather permitting. These ferries make the 45-minute trip to Vineyard Haven throughout the year; some boats go to Oak Bluffs from late May to late October. You can park your car in Woods Hole or Falmouth for $10 per day (arrive at least 45 min. ahead of time if you’re leaving your car on the mainland). Free buses run regularly to the ferry terminal. The cost of a round-trip passenger ticket to Martha’s Vineyard is $11 for adults and $5.50 for children 5 to 12. Bringing a bike costs an extra $6 round-trip. You do not need a ferry reservation if you’re traveling without a car. From Falmouth Inner Harbor, you can board the Island Queen (& 508/ 548-4800; www.islandqueen.com) for a 35-minute cruise to Oak Bluffs (passengers only). The Falmouth–Edgartown Ferry Service, 278 Scranton Ave. (& 508/548-9400; www.falmouthferry.com), operates a 1-hour passenger ferry, called the Pied Piper, from Falmouth Inner Harbor to Edgartown. The boat runs from late May to mid-October; reservations are required. From Hyannis, May through October, Hy-Line (& 508/778-2600; www.hy-linecruises.com) operates from the Ocean Street Dock to Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. Check out the new fast ferry from Rhode Island to Oak Bluffs that makes the trip in 90 minutes and avoids Cape Cod traffic jams. Vineyard Fast Ferry Company (& 401/295-4040; www.vineyardfastferry.com) runs this seasonal high-speed catamaran, called Millennium, which leaves from Quonset Point in North Kingston. The round-trip cost is $48 for adults and $36 for children. Another new option for Vineyard vacationers is a high-speed ferry from New Bedford to the island. For schedule and fare details, contact the Steamship Authority (& 508/477-8600 or www.steamshipauthority.com). By Plane You can fly into Martha’s Vineyard Airport (& 508/693-7022; www.mvyairport.com), in West Tisbury, about 5 miles outside Edgartown. Airlines serving the Vineyard include Cape Air/Nantucket Airlines (& 800/ 352-0714 or 508/771-6944) from Boston, Hyannis, and New Bedford; Continental Express/Colgan Air (& 800/525-0280), with seasonal nonstop flights from Newark; and US Airways Express (& 800/428-4322), which has seasonal weekend service from LaGuardia. By Bus Bonanza Bus Lines (& 800/556-3815; www.bonanzabus.com) connects the Woods Hole ferry port with Boston (from South Station), New York City, and Providence, Rhode Island. Fares range from $32 to $50 round-trip, depending on your departure point. GETTING AROUND By Bicycle & Moped The best way to explore the Vineyard is on two wheels. There’s a little of everything for cyclists, from paved paths to hilly country roads. You need a driver’s license to rent a moped. Bike-, scooter-, and moped-rental shops are clustered throughout all three down-island towns. Bike rentals cost about $15 to $30 a day; scooters and mopeds, $30 to $80. In Vineyard Haven, try Strictly Bikes, Union Street

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(& 508/693-0782). In Edgartown, you’ll find Wheel Happy, 204 Upper Main St. and 8 S. Water St. (& 508/627-5928), which rents only bikes. By Shuttle Bus In season, shuttle buses run often enough to make them a practical means of getting around. Connecting Vineyard Haven (across from the ferry terminal), Oak Bluffs (near the Civil War statue in Ocean Park), and Edgartown (Church St., near the Old Whaling Church), the Island Transport (& 508/693-0058) yellow school buses cost about $1.50 to $4, depending on distance. From late June to early September, they run from 6am to midnight every 15 or 30 minutes. In season, the Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority (& 508/627-7448 or 508/627-9663) operates several shuttles (white buses with a purple logo). The Edgartown downtown shuttle and the South Beach buses circle throughout town or out to South Beach every 20 minutes. A one-way trip in town is 50¢; a trip to South Beach (leaving from Edgartown’s Church St. visitor center) is $1.50. By Taxi You’ll find taxis at all ferry terminals and the airport, as well as taxi stands in Oak Bluffs (at the Flying Horses Carousel) and Edgartown (next to the Town Wharf). Most taxi companies operate vans for larger groups and travelers with bikes. Options include Accurate Cab (& 888/557-9798 or 508/627-9798), the only all-night service; and Adam Cab (& 800/281-4462 or 508/693-3332). In summer, rates from town to town are generally flat fees based on distance and the number of passengers. Late-night revelers should keep in mind that rates double from midnight until 7am. Contact the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, Beach Road, in Vineyard Haven (& 508/693-0085; fax 508/693-7589; www.mvy.com). There are also information booths at the ferry terminal in Vineyard Haven, across from the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, and on Church Street in Edgartown. For information on current events, check the newspapers Vineyard Gazette (www.mvgazette.com) and the Martha’s Vineyard Times (www.mvtimes.com).

BEACHES & OUTDOOR PURSUITS Most down-island beaches in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown are open to the public and just a walk or a short bike ride from town. In season, shuttle buses make stops at State Beach, between Oak Buffs and Edgartown. Most of the Vineyard’s magnificent up-island shoreline is privately owned or restricted to residents, and thus off-limits to visitors. Renters in up-island communities can obtain a beach sticker (around $35–$50 for a season sticker) for those private beaches by applying for a lease at the relevant town hall. The party boat Skipper (& 508/693-1238) offers half-day fishing trips out of Oak Bluffs Harbor in season. Deep-sea excursions can be arranged aboard Big Eye Charters (& 508/627-3649) out of Edgartown, or with Summer’s Lease (& 508/693-2880) out of Oak Bluffs. About a fifth of the Vineyard’s landmass has been set aside for conservation, and it’s accessible to bikers and hikers. The West Chop Woods, off Franklin Street in Vineyard Haven, comprise 85 acres with marked trails. Midway between Vineyard Haven and Edgartown, the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary includes a 6-mile network of trails over varying terrain. The 633-acre Long Point Wildlife Refuge, off Waldron’s Bottom Road in West Tisbury (& 508/693-7392 for gatehouse), offers heath and dunes, freshwater ponds, a beach, and interpretive nature walks for children. Some remarkable botanical surprises can be found at the 20-acre Polly Hill Arboretum, 809 State Rd., West Tisbury (& 508/693-9426). Horticulturist

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Polly Hill has developed this property over the past 40 years and allows the public to wander the grounds Thursday through Tuesday from 7am until 7pm. There’s a requested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Wind’s Up, 199 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven (& 508/693-4252), rents canoes, kayaks, and various sailing craft, including windsurfers, and offers instruction on a placid pond. Canoes and kayaks rent for $18 to $20 per hour.

WHERE TO STAY A new Nantucket inn, The Veranda House at 3 Step Lane (& 508/228-0695; www.theverandahouse.com), is a superb renovation of a historic building. The owners have remade this 20-room inn into a stylish version of a classic guesthouse. The inn is located in a quiet neighborhood, a short walk from the center of town. After a fire destroyed the 200-year-old Tisbury Inn in Vineyard Haven in 2001, the fate of the property was uncertain. But the three-story building reopened last year as the Mansion House Inn, 9 Main St., Vineyard Haven (& 800/332-4112 or 508/693-2200; http://mvmansionhouse.com), a luxury 32-room inn that’s a community hub with a restaurant, health club, and shops. Linked by formal gardens, each of the 18th- and 19th-century houses at the Charlotte Inn, 27 S. Summer St., Edgartown (& 508/627-4751), has a distinctive look and feel, though the predominant mode is English country. All but one of the rooms at this Relais & Châteaux property have TVs, but none have phones. Some of the luxurious bathrooms are bigger than those of most standard hotel rooms. The inn’s restaurant, L’étoile, is one of the island’s finest. Rates include continental breakfast; full breakfast is offered for $15 extra. No children under 14. With its graceful wraparound colonnaded front porch, the Jonathan Munroe House, 100 Main St., Edgartown (& 877/468-6763 or 508/627-5536; www. jonathanmunroe.com), stands out from the other inns and captains’ homes on this stretch of upper Main Street. Guest rooms are immaculate, antiques-filled, and dotted with clever details. Many units have fireplaces. At breakfast (included in room rates), don’t miss the homemade waffles and pancakes. No children under 12 are permitted. Do you long to stay at a reasonably priced inn that’s bigger than a B&B but smaller than a Marriott? The Victorian Inn, 24 S. Water St., Edgartown (& 508/ 627-4784; www.thevic.com), is a freshened-up version of those old-style hotels that used to exist in every New England town. With three floors of long, graceful corridors, the Victorian could serve as a stage set for a 1930s romance. Several units have canopy beds and balconies. Rates include full breakfast and afternoon tea. Dogs are welcome. There are no phones in the rooms. The Edgartown Inn, 56 N. Water St. (& 508/627-4794; www.edgartowninn. com), offers perhaps the best value on the island. It’s a lovely 1798 Federal manse. Rooms are no-frills but traditional; some have TVs and harbor views. Modernists may prefer the cathedral-ceilinged quarters in the annex. Service is excellent. The inn does not accept credit cards, and there are no phones in the rooms.

WHERE TO DINE Outside Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, all of Martha’s Vineyard (including Vineyard Haven) is “dry,” so bring your own bottle; some restaurants charge a small fee for uncorking. Alchemy is a spiffy restaurant that’s a little slice of Paris on 71 Main St. (& 508/ 627-9999). There’s also a large selection of co*cktails, liqueurs, and wines. In addition to lunch and dinner, a bar menu is served from 2:30 to 11pm.

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Everything’s appealing at Among the Flowers Cafe on Mayhew Lane (& 508/627-3233) near the dock. The breakfasts are the best around, and the comfort-food dinners are among the most affordable options in this pricey town. At The Newes from America, 23 Kelly St. (& 508/627-4397), a subterranean tavern built in 1742, beers are a specialty: Try a rack of five brews, or let your choice of food—from a wood-smoked oyster “Island Poor Boy” sandwich to a porterhouse steak—dictate your draft. The Black Dog Tavern, at the Beach Street Extension on the harbor (& 508/ 693-9223), is a national icon (with cool T-shirts). Soon after Robert Douglas decided in 1971 that this port could use a good restaurant, vacationers waiting for the ferry began to wander into this saltbox to tide themselves over with a bit of “blackout cake” or peanut-butter pie. The food is still home-cooking good. Come early, when it first opens, and sit on the porch, where the views are perfect.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD AFTER DARK All towns except for Oak Bluffs and Edgartown are dry, and last call at bars and clubs is at midnight. Hit Oak Bluffs for the rowdiest bar scene and best nighttime street life. In Edgartown, you may have to hop around before you find the evening’s most happening spot. Young and loud are the watchwords at The Lampost and the Rare Duck, 111 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs (& 508/696-9352), a pair of clubs in the center of town. The Lampost features live bands and a dance floor; the Rare Duck offers acoustic acts. Entertainment includes such prospects as “’80s night” and “male hot-body contest.” Cover is from $1 to $5.

4 The Berkshires More than hills but less than mountains, the Taconic and Hoosac ranges that define this region at the western end of Massachusetts go by the collective name “The Berkshires.” Mohawks and Mohegans lived and hunted here. Farmers, drawn to fertile flood plains of the Housatonic, were supplanted in the 19th century by manufacturers. Artists and writers came for the mild summers and seclusion offered by these hills and lakes. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edith Wharton were among those who put down temporary roots. By the 1930s, theater, dance, and music performances had established themselves as regular summer fixtures. Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, and the Berkshire and Williamstown Theatre festivals draw tens of thousands of visitors every summer.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE The Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) runs east-west from Boston to the Berkshires, with an exit near Lee and Stockbridge. From New York City, the scenic Taconic State Parkway connects with I-90 not far from Pittsfield. Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.northeast.amtrak.com) operates several trains daily between Boston and Chicago, stopping in Pittsfield each way. VISITOR INFORMATION The Berkshire Visitors Bureau, Berkshire Common (off South St., near the entrance to the Hilton), Pittsfield (& 800/237-5747 or 413/443-9186), can assist with questions and lodging reservations. Also check out www.berkshires.com and www.westernmassvisit.net.

SHEFFIELD Sheffield, known as the “Antiques Capital of the Berkshires,” occupies a flood plain beside the Housatonic River, 11 miles south of Great Barrington. The

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canny, knowledgeable dealers know exactly what they have, so expect high quality and few bargains. There are at least two dozen dealers along this route. Most of them stock the free directory of the Berkshire County Antiques Dealers Association, which lists dealers from Sheffield to Cheshire and across the border in Connecticut and New York. Look, too, for the pamphlet called The Antique Hunter’s Guide to Route 7.

GREAT BARRINGTON Even with a population well under 8,000, this pleasant retail center, 7 miles south of Stockbridge, is the largest town in the southernmost part of the county. Great Barrington has no sights of particular significance, leaving time to browse its many antiques galleries and specialty shops. Convenient as a home base for excursions to such nearby attractions as Monument Mountain, Bash-Bish Falls, Butternut Basin, Tanglewood concerts, and Stockbridge, it has a number of adequate motels north of the center along or near Route 7 that tend to fill up more slowly on weekends than the better-known inns in the area. Note: The local Board of Health has banned smoking in any public space in town. The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce maintains an information booth at 362 Main St. (& 413/528-1510; www.greatbarrington.org), near the town hall. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Head straight for Railroad Street. Start on the corner with Main Street, at T. P. Saddle Blanket & Trading Co. (& 413/528-6500). An unlikely emporium that looks lifted whole from the Rockies, it’s packed with boots, hats, Indian jewelry, blankets, and jars of salsa. Mistral’s, 6 Railroad St. (& 413/528-1618), stocks Gallic tableware, linens, fancy foods, and furniture. Around the corner, The Chef ’s Shop, 290 Main St. (& 413/528-0135), features a bounty of gadgets and cookbooks. At the north end of town, just before Route 7 turns right across a short bridge, Route 41 goes straight, toward the village of Housatonic. In about 4 miles you’ll see a shed that houses the kiln of Great Barrington Pottery (& 413/274-6259). Owner Richard Bennett has been throwing pots according to Japanese techniques for more than 30 years. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

There are several acceptable motels north of town on Route 7, the most desirable being the new Holiday Inn Express, 415 Stockbridge Rd. (& 413/5281810; www.hiexgb.com), which has an indoor pool and whirlpool, and rooms with Jacuzzis and/or fireplaces; rates include breakfast. The chamber of commerce operates a lodging hot line at & 800/269-4825 or 413/528-4006. The Old Inn on the Green & Gedney Farm on Route 57, New Marlborough (& 800/286-3139 or 413/229-3131; www.oldinn.com), comprises several 18thcentury buildings and the 1906 Gedney Manor, with a spa and fitness center now under construction. Among the most desirable units are those in Thayer House, some with fireplaces and all with air-conditioning, and those in the barn, where contemporary furnishings are combined with Oriental rugs. All five intimate dining rooms have fireplaces; reservations are advised. Rates ($185–$365 double) include breakfast, and there is a courtyard pool at Thayer House. A roadside lodging built in the middle of the last century in Federal style, The Windflower Inn, 684 S. Egremont Rd. (& 800/992-1993 or 413/528-2720; www.windflowerinn.com), commands a large plot of land opposite the Egremont Country Club. Six rooms have fireplaces; four have canopy beds. Rates ($100–$200 double) include breakfast and afternoon tea. There’s an outdoor pool.

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The Castle Street Cafe, 10 Castle St. (& 413/528-5244), is a storefront bistro that has ruled the Great Barrington roost for some time now, and has expanded into the next building. While a Francophilic inclination is apparent in the main room, what with duck breast with potato galette and steak au poivre, it isn’t overpowering. An award-winning wine list is another reason to stop in. Main courses cost $18 to $24.

STOCKBRIDGE Stockbridge’s ready accessibility to Boston and New York (about 21⁄2 hr. from each and reachable by rail since the mid–19th c.) transformed the frontier settlement into a Gilded Age summer retreat for the rich. The town has long been popular with artists and writers. Stockbridge lies 7 miles north of Great Barrington and 6 miles south of Lenox. The Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce (& 413/298-5200; www. stockbridgechamber.org) maintains an information booth opposite the row of stores depicted by Rockwell. It’s open May through October. W H AT T O S E E & D O

From June to August, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Main Street (& 413/ 298-5576; www.berkshiretheatre.org), holds its season of classic and new plays, often with marquee names starring or directing. Kevin Kline and Joanne Woodward have been participants. Its venue is a “casino” built in 1887 to plans by architect Stanford White. The striking Norman Rockwell Museum, Route 183 (& 413/298-4100; www.nrm.org), opened in 1993 to house the works of Stockbridge’s favorite son. The illustrator used both his neighbors and the town to tell stories about an America now rapidly fading from memory. Most of Rockwell’s paintings adorned covers of the Saturday Evening Post: warm and often humorous depictions of homecomings, first proms, and visits to the doctor. He addressed serious concerns, too, notably with his poignant portrait of a little African-American girl being escorted by U.S. marshals into a previously segregated school. The lovely 36-acre grounds also contain Rockwell’s last studio (closed Nov–Apr). Admission is $12 adults, $7 students, free for children 18 and under. W H E R E T O S TAY

The Inn at Stockbridge, 30 East St. (& 888/466-7865 or 413/298-3337; www. stockbridgeinn.com), is a 1906 building with a grandly columned porch. It’s set well back from the road on 12 acres. The innkeepers are eager to please, serving full breakfasts by candlelight and afternoon spreads of wine and cheese. Four new bedrooms have fireplaces and whirlpools. There’s an outdoor pool. No children under 12. Doubles run $140 to $320. So well known that it serves as a symbol of the Berkshires, The Red Lion Inn, Main Street (& 413/298-5545; www.redlioninn.com), had its origins as a stagecoach tavern in 1773. The rocking chairs on the porch are the perfect place to while away an hour. Six satellite buildings have been added, all within 3 miles of the inn. Jackets are required for men in the main dining room, but not in the casual Widow Bingham Tavern nor, in good weather, in the courtyard out back. The wine cellar has been recognized with important awards. The Lion’s Den has nightly live entertainment, usually of the folk-rock variety. There’s also an outdoor pool and an exercise room. Rooms cost $140 to $320 double.

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LEE & JACOB’S PILLOW While Stockbridge and Lenox were developing into luxurious recreational centers, Lee was a thriving paper-mill town and thus remained essentially a town of workers and merchants. The town’s contribution to the Berkshire cultural calendar is the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, which first thrived as “Denishawn,” a fabled alliance between founders Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Lee is 5 miles southeast of Lenox. In summer and early fall, the Lee Chamber of Commerce (& 413/243-0852; www.leechamber.org) operates an information center on the town common, Route 20 (& 413/243-4929). The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, George Carter Road, Becket (& 413/ 243-0745; www.jacobspillow.org), began in 1933 when Ted Shawn decided to put on a show in the barn. Jacob’s Pillow is now to dance what Tanglewood is to classical music. The theater has long welcomed troupes of international reputation, including the Mark Morris Dance Group, Twyla Tharp, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The season runs from mid-June to late August, and tickets go on sale April 1. The growing campus includes a store, pub, dining room, tent restaurant, and exhibition space. Picnic lunches can be pre-ordered 24 hours in advance. W H E R E T O S TAY

On the road to Lenox, the Best Western Black Swan, 435 Laurel St./Rte. 20 (& 413/243-2700; www.travelweb.com), has a pool and restaurant; some rooms have fireplaces. Applegate, 279 W. Park St. (& 800/691-9012 or 413/243-4451; www. applegateinn.com), is in a gracious 1920s Georgian colonial manse. The top unit has a canopy bed, Queen Anne reproductions, a steam shower, and a fireplace (with real wood). Two suites have TVs, Jacuzzis, and gas fireplaces. Breakfast is by candlelight, and the innkeepers set out wine and cheese in the afternoon. There’s a heated outdoor pool, a 9-hole golf course across the street, a tennis court, access to a nearby health club, and bikes. No children under 12. Rates run $115 to $295. The Chambéry Inn, 199 Main St. (& 413/243-2221; www.berkshireinns. com), was the Berkshires’ first parochial school (1885), named for the French hometown of the nuns who ran it. The extra-large bedrooms were formerly classrooms. Six of them, with 13-foot ceilings and the original woodwork and blackboards, are equipped with whirlpool tubs and gas fireplaces. Some rooms have TV/VCRs, CD players, and fridges. A breakfast basket is delivered to your door each morning. No children under 18. Rooms cost $99 to $239.

LENOX & TANGLEWOOD Stately homes and fabulous mansions mushroomed in this former agricultural settlement, and Lenox remains a repository of extravagant domestic architecture surpassed only in such resorts as Newport and Palm Beach. And because many of the cottages have been converted into inns and hotels, it is possible to get inside some of these beautiful buildings, if only for a co*cktail or a meal. The reason for so many lodgings in a town with a population of barely 5,000 is Tanglewood, a nearby estate where a series of concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra is held every summer. Lenox lies 7 miles south of Pittsfield. The Lenox Chamber of Commerce (& 413/637-3646; www.lenox.org) provides visitor information and lodging referrals.

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Lenox is filled with music every summer, and the undisputed headliner is the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Concerts are given at Tanglewood estate, beginning in July, ending the weekend before Labor Day. The estate is on West Street (actually in Stockbridge township). From Lenox, take Route 183 11⁄2 miles southwest of town. The program features a menagerie of other performers and musical idioms. These run the gamut from popular artists (like James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt) and jazz musicians (including Dave Brubeck and Wynton Marsalis) to such guest soloists as Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma. The Koussevitzky Music Shed is an open auditorium that seats 5,000, surrounded by a lawn where an audience lounges on folding chairs and blankets. Chamber groups and soloists appear in the smaller Ozawa Hall. Major performances are on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Tentative programs are available after January 1; the schedule is usually locked in by March. Tickets can sell out quickly, so get yours as far in advance as possible. If you decide to go at the last minute, take a blanket or lawn chair and get tickets for lawn seating, which is almost always available. You can also attend open rehearsals during the week, as well as the rehearsal for the Sunday concert on Saturday morning. The estate itself (& 413/637-5165 June–Aug), with over 500 acres of lawns and gardens, was put together starting in 1849 by William Aspinwall Tappan. Admission to the grounds is free when concerts aren’t scheduled. In 1851, a structure on the property called the Little Red Shanty was rented to Nathaniel Hawthorne, who stayed here long enough to write a children’s book, Tanglewood Tales, and meet Herman Melville, who lived in nearby Dalton. The existing Hawthorne Cottage is a replica (and isn’t open to the public). On the grounds is the original Tappan mansion, with fine views. For recorded information, call & 617/266-1492 from September to June 10 (information on Tanglewood concerts is not available until the program is announced in Mar or Apr). Children under 5 are not allowed in the Shed or Ozawa Hall. To order tickets by mail before June, write the Tanglewood Ticket Office at Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Boston, MA 02115. After June 1, write the Tanglewood Ticket Office, 297 West St., Lenox, MA 01240. Tickets can be charged to a credit card through Symphony Charge (& 888/266-1200 outside Boston, or 617/266-1200; www.bso.org). O T H E R AT T R A C T I O N S

The Mount, 2 Plunkett St. (& 413/637-1899; www.edithwharton.org), was the home of Edith Wharton, a member of the upper classes of the Gilded Age who won a Pulitzer for her novel detailing the strata of high society, The Age of Innocence. Wharton had her villa built on this 130-acre property in 1902 and lived here for 10 years. She took an active hand in its creation—one of the few designated National Historic Landmarks designed by a woman. A $15-million restoration campaign is under way, with work so far completed on the terrace and greenhouse and continuing on the interior and gardens. Admission costs $16 adults; free for children under 12. The repertory theater group Shakespeare & Company, 70 Kemble St. (& 413/637-1199; www.shakespeare.org), has long used buildings and amphitheaters on the grounds of the Mount to stage its May-to-October season of plays by the Bard, works by Edith Wharton and George Bernard Shaw, and works by new American playwrights. With the construction of a new Founder’s

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Theatre, the tented Rose Footprint Theatre, an administration building, and planned rehabilitation of other existing buildings on their 63-acre property on Kemble Street, the Company now enjoys its very own campus devoted to the dramatic arts. Walking trails have been developed at the north end of the grounds and a cafe in the theater lobby serves drinks and light fare. Free outdoor performances are staged before evening curtain times. W H E R E T O S TAY

The list of lodgings below is only partial, and most can accommodate only small numbers of guests. The Tanglewood concert season is a powerful draw, so prices are highest in summer as well as during the foliage season. Minimum 2- or 3night stays are usually required during the Tanglewood weeks, foliage season, weekends, and holidays. Reserve well in advance for Tanglewood! Some lodgings are so crabby and rule-ridden, we say good riddance; others are open only 6 or 7 months a year and charge the world for a bed or a meal. In this latter category, one place demands at least a mention: Blantyre, 16 Blantyre Rd. (& 413/637-3556; www.blantyre.com), a Relais & Châteaux property ensconced in a 1902 Tudor-Norman mansion that cossets its guests with a soak in undeniable luxury, both in dining room and bedchamber. Rates are $350 to $450 double, up to $950 for the top suite. It’s open from early May to early November. If all the area’s inns are booked or if you want to be assured the full quota of 21st-century conveniences, routes 7 and 20 north and south of town harbor a number of motels, including the Mayflower Motor Inn (& 413/443-4468), the Susse Chalet (& 413/637-3560), the Lenox Motel (& 413/499-0324), and the Comfort Inn (& 413/443-4714). The Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, 165 Kemble St. (& 800/726-9900 or 413/637-4100; www.canyonranch.com), is a one-of-a-kind spa/resort, with its core the 1897 mansion modeled after Le Petit Trianon at Versailles. Sweat away the pounds in the spa complex, with 40 exercise classes a day, weights, an indoor track, racquetball, squash, and all the equipment you might want. Canoeing and hiking are added possibilities. Guest rooms are in contemporary New England style, with every hotel convenience except minibars. After you’re steamed, exhausted, pummeled, and showered, the real events of each day are mealtimes: “nutritionally balanced gourmet,” naturally. All-inclusive 3- to 7night packages run from $935 to $4,540 double. Harley Procter hitched up with a man called Gamble and made a bundle. In 1912, he built the current home of the Gateways Inn, 51 Walker St., Lenox (& 888/492-9466 or 413/637-2532; www.gatewaysinn.com). The stunning staircase that winds down into the lobby is just the thing for a grand entrance. Eight rooms have working fireplaces. Dining here is one of Lenox’s greater pleasures. The bar features 99 single-malt scotches and 55 grappas. Also, a terrace has been added for after-concert light meals and desserts. Rates run $100 to $295 double. Edith Wharton made the Queen Anne mansion now home to the Gables Inn, 81 Walker St. (& 800/382-9401 or 413/637-3416; www.gableslenox.com), her domicile for 2 years while her house, the Mount, was being built. That may be enough to interest fans of the novelist, but there’s much more to appeal to potential guests, including the canopied four-poster in Edith’s bedroom. Meticulously maintained Victoriana and antiques are found in every corner. Many rooms have fireplaces, and suites have VCRs and fridges. Rates run $90 to $200 double.

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WHERE TO DINE

See also “Where to Stay,” above, as many inns have dining rooms. In particular, Blantyre (& 413/637-3556) is worth a splurge. In high season, Spigalina, 80 Main St. (& 413/637-4455), serves imaginative Mediterranean cooking. Café Lucia, 80 Church St. (& 413/637-2640), is where the post-preppie crowd of regulars and weekend refugees from the city is attired in country-casual cashmere and tweed, a taste no doubt honed at campuses of the Ivy League and Seven Sisters. The waitresses display a professionalism rarely experienced in these hills, bringing satisfying starters—carpaccio, bruschetta, and the like—followed by superior pastas. Dine out on the broad deck in warmer months. The Church Street Café, 65 Church St. (& 413/637-2745), is the most popular place in town, delivering combinations that please the eye and pique the taste buds. Creative appearances on past menus have included seared salmon on a crisp noodle cake and a pizza topped with lobster and mascarpone with white truffle oil. Lunch is a busy time, with crab-cake sandwiches among the favorites. Main courses at both restaurants run about $19 to $30. Dish, 37 Church St. (& 413/637-1800), which opened only in late 2003, is a narrow storefront eatery that was packed from the get-go. Since the decor is negligible and the accommodations cramped, the principal discernible reason for its furious popularity is the food. It comes from the kitchen in stuttering intervals, the uncertainty easily compensated by the startlingly high quality of what the creative chef-owner sends forth. Another reason the locals like it—they don’t need a bank loan to eat here. And, at the time of this review, at least, the weekenders hadn’t discovered it yet. That won’t last. A main course will set you back $16 to $20.

WILLIAMSTOWN This community and its prestigious college were named for Col. Ephraim Williams, killed in 1755 in the French and Indian War. He bequeathed the land for creation of a school and a town. Over the town’s long history, buildings have been erected in several styles of the times. That makes Main Street a virtual museum of institutional architecture, with representatives of the Georgian, Federal, Gothic Revival, Romanesque, and Victorian modes, as well as a few yet to be labeled. A free weekly newspaper, the Advocate (& 413/664-7900), produces useful guides to both the northern and southern Berkshires. For a copy, write to the Advocate, 87 Marshall St., North Adams, MA 01267. An unattended information booth, at North Street (Rte. 7) and Main Street (Rte. 2), has an abundance of pamphlets and brochures free for the taking. W H AT T O S E E & D O

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 225 South St. (& 413/4582303; www.clarkart.edu), is a gem with canvases by Renoir (34 of them), and the Degas sculpture Little Dancer. There are also works by 15th- and 16th-century Dutch portraitists, European genre and landscape painters, and Americans Sargent and Homer, as well as porcelain, silver, and antiques. Adults pay $10 admission (kids enter free) mid-June to October; the museum is free to all on Tuesday and from November to June. It’s open July to August daily 10am to 5pm, closed Monday the rest of the year. The Williams College Museum of Art, 15 Lawrence Hall Dr. (& 413/5972429; www.williams.edu/WCMA), is the second leg of Williamstown’s two prominent art repositories. It exists in large part thanks to the college’s collection

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of almost 400 paintings by the American modernists Maurice and Charles Prendergast. The museum also has works by Gris, Léger, Whistler, Picasso, Warhol, and Hopper. Admission is free. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday (and some Mon holidays) from 10am to 5pm, Sunday from 1 to 5pm.

5 Mystic The spirit and texture of the maritime life and history of New England are captured in many ports along its indented coast, but nowhere more cogently than beside the Mystic River estuary and its harbor. The town is home to one of New England’s most singular attractions, the Mystic Seaport museum village. GETTING THERE By car from New York or Boston, take I-95 to Exit 90 at Mystic. Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL) serves Mystic with three trains daily from New York (trip time: 31⁄4 hr.) and Boston (13⁄4 hr.). VISITOR INFORMATION A visitor center is in Building 1D of the Olde Mistick Village shopping center, at Route 27 and Coogan Boulevard, near I-95 (& 860/536-1641; www.mystic.org).

EXPORING MYSTIC SEAPORT The village of Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Route 27 (& 888/ 9SEAPORT or 860/572-5315; www.mysticseaport.org), encompasses an entire waterfront settlement, more than 60 buildings on and near a 17-acre peninsula. A useful map guide is available at the ticket counter in the visitor center in the building opposite the museum stores (which stay open later than the village most of the year, so make them your last stop). Exit the visitor center and bear right along the path between the Galley Restaurant and the village green. It bends to the left, intersecting with a street of shops, public buildings, and houses. At that corner is an 1870s hardware and dry-goods store. Turning right here, you’ll pass a schoolhouse, a chapel, and an 1830s home. Stop at the children’s museum, which invites youngsters to play games characteristic of the seafaring era. It faces a small square that is the starting point for horse-drawn wagon tours. From here, the bark Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, one of the proudest possessions of the Seaport fleet of over 400 craft, is a few steps away. If you’re a fan of scrimshaw and ship models, continue along the waterfront until you reach the Stillman Building, which contains fascinating exhibits of both. Otherwise, head left toward the lighthouse. Along the way, you’ll encounter a tavern, an 1833 bank, a cooperage, and other shops and services that did business with the whalers and clipper ships that put in at ports such as this. The docents in the village are highly competent at the crafts they demonstrate and always ready to impart information. The fact that they aren’t dressed in period costumes enhances the village’s feeling of authenticity by avoiding the contrived air of many such enterprises. The next vessel is the iron-hulled square-rigger Joseph Conrad, which dates from 1881. Up ahead is a lighthouse, which looks out across the water toward the riverside houses that line the opposite shore. Round the horn, go past the boat sheds, the fishing shacks, and the ketches and sloops moored here in season until you come to the dock for the 1908 SS Sabino. This working ship gives half-hour river rides from mid-May to early October, daily from 11am to 4pm, and 11⁄2-hour evening excursions. A few steps away is the 1921 fishing schooner L. A. Dunton.

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A few steps south is the Henry B. Du Pont Preservation Shipyard, where the boats are painstakingly restored. One recent project was the re-creation of the schooner Amistad, which inspired an exhibit exploring the historical incident. Also on the grounds are the Galley Restaurant, which serves fish and chips, fried clam strips, and lobster rolls; and Sprouter’s Tavern, which offers snacks and sandwiches. When you exit for the day, ask the gatekeeper to validate your ticket so you can come back the next day for free. Across the courtyard with the giant anchor is a building containing several museum stores as well as an art gallery. These superior shops stock books, kitchenware, fresh-baked goods, nautical prints and paintings, and ship models. Admission to the shipyard is $17 adults, $9 for children 6 to 12 (second day included with validation). The ships and exhibits are open from April to October daily from 9am to 5pm, November to March daily from 10am to 4pm; the grounds are open 9am to 5pm. While you’re in town, check out the Mystic Aquarium, 55 Coogan Blvd. at Exit 90 off I-95 (& 860/572-5955; www.mysticaquarium.org). The 15-minute sea lion show here illuminates as it entertains. The adorable sea lions squawk, click, roll up onto the apron of their pool, tail walk, and joyously splash the nearer rows of spectators. And there are a host of other exhibits featuring marine mammals and other creatures of the deep that will occupy at least another hour of your time. A $52-million expansion in 1999 resulted in a 1-acre outdoor habitat called the Alaskan Coast, which contains a pool for resident white beluga whales and harbor seals. The latest addition to the aquarium is the Ray Touch Pool filled with gentle cow nose rays that visitors can pet as they glide by. Also new is the Immersion Institute theater, an interactive experience where visitors learn about the aquatic food chain as they aspire to get to the top of it— as a Great White shark. Admission to the aquarium is $16 adults, $15 seniors, $11 children 3 to 12; the museum is open daily except Christmas and New Year’s.

WHERE TO STAY & DINE Mystic’s most appealing lodging is The Steamboat Inn, 73 Steamboat Wharf (& 860/536-8300; www.steamboatinnmystic.com), a yellow-clapboard structure that has apartment-size downstairs bedrooms, with Jacuzzis and wet bars, while the upstairs units have wood-burning fireplaces. Every room is decorated uniquely and has a fridge; all but one have water views. The inn commissioned the 97-foot yacht, Valiant, that is moored at its dock. The staterooms can be rented when the yacht isn’t chartered. Rates ($140–$300 double) include breakfast. Children over 9 are welcome. There are plenty of adequate area motels. Pick of the litter may be the Best Western Sovereign, north of Exit 90 (& 800/528-1234), with a pool and restaurant. Nearby competitors are the Comfort Inn (& 800/228-5150 or 860/5728531), Days Inn (& 800/325-2525 or 860/572-0574), and Residence Inn (& 800/331-3131 or 860/536-5150). For dining, Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, 117 Pearl St., Noank (& 860/ 536-7719), is a nitty-gritty lobster shack with plenty of picnic tables. The classic shore dinner rules. That means clam chowder, boiled shrimp, mussels, and a lobster, with coleslaw, chips, and drawn butter. Bring your own beer. Similarly, Kitchen Little on Route 27, 1 mile south of I-95 (& 860/5362122), is not much more than a shack by the water, but the menu offers 45 distinct breakfast choices and some of the coast’s tastiest clam and scallop dishes. At lunch, you must have the definitive clear broth clam chowder, maybe the whole belly clam rolls, and absolutely the fried scallop sandwich.

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A Casino in the Woods What has been wrought in the woodlands north of the Mystic coast in the last decade is astonishing. There was little but trees here when the Mashantucket Pequot tribe received clearance to open a gambling casino on their ancestral lands in rural Ledyard. Virtually overnight, the tribal bingo parlor was expanded into a full-fledged casino, and a hotel was built. That was in 1992. Within 3 years, Foxwoods Resort & Casino (& 800/ FOXWOODS; www.foxwoods.com), had become the single most profitable gambling operation in the world, with a reported 40,000 visitors a day. Money cascaded over the Pequot (pronounced Pee-kwat) in a seemingly endless torrent. Expansion was immediate—another hotel, then a third, more casinos, golf courses, and the $139-million Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, devoted to Native American arts and culture. The tribe bought up adjacent lands and at least four nearby inns and hotels, and then opened a shipworks to build high-speed ferries. All that hasn’t sopped up the cascades of money, and the tribe has made major contributions to the Mystic Aquarium and Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. All this prosperity came to a tribe of fewer than 520 acknowledged members, nearly all of them of mixed ethnicity. Residents of surrounding communities were ambivalent, to put the best face on it. When it was learned that one of the tribe’s corporate entities was to be called Two Trees Limited Partnership, a predictable query was, “Is that all you’re going to leave us? Two trees?” But while there is a continuing danger of damage to the fragile character of this authentically picturesque corner of Connecticut, it is also a fact that because of the recent development, thousands of non-Pequots have found employment in their various enterprises. The complex is reached through forested countryside of quiet hamlets that give little hint of the behemoth rising above the trees in Ledyard Township. There are no signs screaming FOXWOODS. Instead, watch

6 Newport Newport occupies the southern tip of Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay, and is connected to the mainland by three bridges and a ferry. Wealthy industrialists, railroad tycoons, coal magnates, financiers, and robber barons were drawn to the area in the 19th century. They bought up property at the ocean’s rim to build what they called summer “cottages”—patterned after European palaces. But despite Newport’s prevailing image as a collection of ornate mansions and regattas, the city is, for the most part, middle class and moderately priced. Scores of inns and B&Bs assure lodging even during festival weeks, at rates and fixtures from budget to luxury level. GETTING THERE From New York City, take I-95 to the third Newport exit, picking up Route 138 east (which joins briefly with Rte. 4) and crossing the Newport toll bridge slightly north of the downtown district. From Boston, take Route 24 through Fall River, picking up Route 114 into town.

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for plaques with the symbols of tree, wolf, and fire above the word RESERVATION. As you enter the property, platoons of attendants point the way to parking and hotels. Ongoing construction surrounds the glassy, turquoise-and-violet towers of the hotels and casino. Though bustling, it doesn’t look like Vegas from the outside—happily, there are no sphinxes, no fake volcanoes, and no neon palm trees. Inside, the glitz gap narrows, but it is still relatively restrained, as such temples to chance go. The gambling rooms have windows, for example, even though the prevailing wisdom among casino designers is that they should not give customers any idea of what time of day or night it is. And no one is allowed to forget that this whole eye-popping affair is owned and operated by Native Americans. Prominently placed around the main buildings are larger-than-life sculptures by artists of Chiricahua and Chippewa descent, depicting Amerindians in a variety of poses and artistic styles. One other Indian-oriented display is The Rainmaker, a glass statue of an archer shooting an arrow into the air. Every hour on the hour, he is the focus of artificial thunder, wind-whipped rain, and lasers pretending to be lightning bolts, the action described in murky prose by a booming voice-of-Manitou narrator. That’s as close as the chest thumping gets to going over the top. The pace of all this is slowing somewhat, at least temporarily. Extravagant proposals for monorails, a Six Flags theme park, and a futuristic train to whisk travelers from Providence’s T. F. Green Airport to the casino have been abandoned or set aside. As well, the Pequots monitor closely the younger Mohegan Sun Resort, barely 6 miles away as the crow flies. Two dozen bus companies provide daily service to Foxwoods from numerous cities in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including Boston, Providence, New York, and Philadelphia, among many other cities. For information on transit from particular destinations, call & 860/ 885-3000.

T. F. Green/Providence Airport (& 401/737-8222; www.pvdairport.com) in Warwick, south of Providence (Exit 13, I-95), handles national flights into the state on several major carriers. A few of the larger Newport hotels provide shuttle service, as does Cozy Cab (& 401/846-2500). VISITOR INFORMATION Contact the Newport Visitor Information Center, 23 America’s Cup Ave. (& 800/976-5122 or 401/845-9123; www.go newport.com), in advance of your trip, or stop by when you get to town. Open daily from 9am to 5pm (except Christmas and New Year’s), it offers brochures, a lodging-availability service, a gift shop, and restrooms. GETTING AROUND Most of Newport’s attractions, except for the mansions, can be reached on foot. If you’d prefer not to hoof it, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, or RIPTA (& 401/781-9400), has a free shuttle bus that follows a roughly circular route through town, making stops at major sights.

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SPECIAL EVENTS Arrive any day in summer and expect to find at least a half-dozen festivals, competitions, or other events; for a comprehensive listing of the city’s best waterfront festivals, check out www.newportfestivals.com. In the off season, there’s the 2-week Christmas in Newport (& 401/849-6454; www.christmasinnewport.org) festival, when candlelight tours of the city’s magnificent homes are offered. In June, there’s Great Chowder Cook-Off (& 401/ 846-1600), where 30 of the country’s best chefs compete. During 2 weeks in July, the Newport Music Festival (& 401/846-1133; www.newportmusic.org) offers classical concerts daily. August brings Ben & Jerry’s Folk Festival (www. newportfolk.com) and the JVC Jazz Festival (& 401/847-3700 for both), both held at Fort Adams State Park and both more than 50 years old.

THE COTTAGES That’s what wealthy summer people called the sumptuous mansions they built in Newport. We suggest you visit only one or two per day: The sheer opulence can soon become numbing. Each residence requires 45 minutes to an hour for its guided tour. If at all possible, go during the week to avoid crowds and traffic. Six of the mansions are maintained by the Preservation Society of Newport County, 424 Bellevue Ave. (& 401/847-1000; www.newportmansions.org), which also operates the 1748 Hunter House, the 1860 Italianate Chepstow villa, the 1883 Isaac Bell House, and the Green Animals Topiary Gardens in Portsmouth. The society sells a combination ticket, good for a year, to five of its properties; the cost is $31 for adults, $10 for children 6 to 17. Individual tickets for the Breakers are $15 for adults, $4 for children, while individual tickets for Kingscote, the Elms, Chateau-sur-mer, Marble House, Hunter House, and Rosecliff are $10 for adults, $4 for children. They can be purchased at any of the properties. Parking is free at all the society properties. Mansions that aren’t operated by the Preservation Society but are open to the public are Belcourt Castle, Beechwood, and Rough Point. The cottages include Kingscote on Bowery Street (west of Bellevue Ave.), built in 1839, considered one of the Newport Cottages because it was acquired in 1864 by the sea merchant William Henry King, who furnished it with porcelains and textiles accumulated in the China trade. Architect Richard Upjohn designed the mansion in the same Gothic Revival style he used for Trinity Church in New York. The firm of McKim, Mead & White was commissioned to design the 1881 dining room, notable for its Tiffany glass panels. Architect Horace Trumbauer is said to have been inspired by the Château d’Asnieres outside Paris, and a first look at the dining room of The Elms, on Bellevue Avenue, buttresses that claim. So, too, do the sunken gardens, laid out and maintained in the formal French manner. Trumbauer completed the cottage in 1901 and filled it with genuine Louis XIV and XV furniture as well as paintings and accessories true to the late 18th century. If you have time to see only one cottage, make it The Breakers on Ochre Point Avenue. Architect Richard Morris Hunt was commissioned to create this replica of a Florentine Renaissance palazzo. The high iron entrance gates alone weigh over 7 tons. The 50×50-foot great hall has 50-foot-high ceilings, forming a giant cube, and is sheathed in marble. Such mind-numbing extravagance shouldn’t really be surprising—Hunt’s patron was Cornelius Vanderbilt II, grandson of railroad tycoon Commodore Vanderbilt. The mansion’s foundation is approximately the size of a football field, and the Breakers took nearly 3 years to build (1892–95). Platoons of artisans were imported from Europe to apply

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ACCOMMODATIONS Castle Hill 19 The Chanler 7 Francis Malbone House 8 Mill Street Inn 5

ATTRACTIONS The Astors’ Beechwood 15 Belcourt Castle 17 The Breakers 13 Chateau-sur-Mer 12 The Elms 11 Hammersmith Farm 20 Hunter House 1 International Tennis Hall of Fame 9 Kingscote 10 Marble House 16 Museum of Newport History 2 Museum of Yachting 21 Newport Art Museum 6 Rosecliff 14 Rough Point 18 Touro Synagogue 4 Trinity Church 3

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gold leaf, carve wood and marble, and provide mural-sized baroque paintings. The furnishings on view are original. From the Breakers, return to Bellevue Avenue and turn left (south); Rosecliff is on the left. Stanford White thought the Grand Trianon of Louis XVI at Versailles a suitable model for this 1902 commission for heiress Tessie Fair Oelrichs. It has the largest ballroom of all the cottages, not to mention a storied heartshaped grand staircase. It was used as a setting for some scenes in the Robert Redford movie of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1974). Mrs. William Backhouse Astor—the Mrs. Astor—was the arbiter of who constituted New York and Newport society. “The 400” list of socially acceptable folk was influenced or perhaps even drawn up by her. Being invited to The Astors’ Beechwood, 580 Bellevue Ave. (& 401/846-3772; www.astors-beechwood. com), was a coveted prize. Rebuilt in 1857 after a fire destroyed the original version, the mansion isn’t as large or impressive as some of its neighbors. But it provides a little theatrical pizzazz with a corps of actors who pretend to be friends, children, and servants of Mrs. Astor. In set pieces, they share details about life in the late Victorian era. Admission is $10 for adults, $8.50 for seniors and children 6 to 12, $30 per family.

OUTDOOR PURSUITS: THE BEACH & BEYOND Fort Adams State Park, Harrison Avenue (& 401/847-2400), is on the thumb of land that partially encloses Newport Harbor. It can be seen from the downtown docks and reached by driving or biking south on Thames Street and west on Wellington Avenue (a section of Ocean Dr., which becomes Harrison Ave.). Boating, ocean swimming, fishing, and sailing are all possible in the park’s 105 acres. The park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Farther along Ocean Drive is Brenton Point State Park, a scenic preserve that borders the Atlantic, with nothing to impede the waves rolling in and collapsing on the rock-strewn beach. Scuba divers are often seen surfacing offshore, anglers enjoy casting from the long breakwater, and on a windy day the sky is dotted with colorful kites. On Ocean Drive, less than 2 miles from the south end of Bellevue Avenue, is Gooseberry Beach, which is privately owned but open to the public. Parking costs $8 Monday through Friday, $12 Saturday and Sunday. Cliff Walk skirts the edge of the southern section of town where most of the cottages were built, and provides better views of many of them than can be seen from the street. Biking is one of the best ways to get around town, especially out to the mansions and along Ocean Drive. Among several rental shops are Firehouse Bicycle, 25 Mill St. (& 401/847-5700); Ten Speed Spokes, 18 Elm St. (& 401/ 847-5609); and Fun Rentals, 1 Commercial Wharf (& 401/846-3474). The last firm also rents mopeds. Adventure Sports Rentals, at the Inn on Long Wharf, 142 Long Wharf (& 401/849-4820), rents not only bikes and mopeds, but also outboard boats, kayaks, and sailboats; parasailing outings can be arranged. ORGANIZED TOURS The Newport Historical Society, 82 Touro St. (& 401/846-0813; www.newporthistorical.com), offers two itineraries. Tours of Historic Hill leave on Thursday and Friday at 10am and tours of the Point on Saturday at 10am; each takes about 11⁄2 hours. Tours of Cliff Walk leave on Saturday at 10am and take about 2 hours. Tickets cost $8 and can be purchased at the society or at the Gateway Visitor Center. Viking Tours, based at the Gateway Visitor

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Center, 23 America’s Cup Ave. (& 401/847-6921), has bus tours of the mansions and harbor cruises on the excursion boat Viking Queen. Bus tours—daily in summer, Saturdays from November to March—are 11⁄2 to 4 hours and cost $20 to $42 for adults, $12 to $19 for children 5 to 11. Boat tours, from late May to early October, are 1 hour and cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for kids. The Spirit of Newport, 2 Bowen’s Wharf (& 401/849-3575), offers 11⁄2-hour cruises of the bay and harbor. The Newport Touring Company, 19 America’s Cup Ave. (& 800/398-7427 or 401/841-8700; www.newportdinnertrain.com), features 90-minute round-trip excursions in vintage railroad trains along the edge of the bay. Fares are $15 for adults; kids 10 and under ride free, but only one per paying adult; additional kids are charged $7.50.

SHOPPING For nautical shopping, try the shops along Lower Thames Street. For example, J. T.’s Ship Chandlery (no. 364) outfits recreational sailors with sea chests, ship lanterns, and foul-weather gear. Aardvark Antiques (no. 475) specializes in salvaged architectural components. Spring Street is noted for its antiques shops and purveyors of crafts, jewelry, and folk art. Antique boat models are displayed along with marine paintings and navigational instruments at North Star Gallery (no. 105). The Drawing Room/The Zsolnay Store (nos. 152–154) stocks estate furnishings and specializes in Hungarian Zsolnay ceramics. Folk art and furniture are the primary goods at Liberty Tree (no. 104).

WHERE TO STAY The Newport Visitor InformationCenter (& 800/976-5122 or 401/ 845-9123; www.gonewport.com) lists vacancies in motels, hotels, and inns. Newport Reservations (& 800/842-0102 or 401/842-0102; www.newport reservations.com) is a free service representing a number of hotels, motels, inns, and B&Bs. Bed & Breakfast Newport, Ltd. (& 800/800-8765 or 401/8465408; www.bbnewport.com) claims to offer 350 choices of accommodations. Many of the better motels are located in Middletown, about 2 miles north of downtown Newport. Possibilities include the Courtyard by Marriott, 9 Commerce Dr. (& 401/849-8000); Newport Ramada Inn, 936 W. Main Rd. (& 401/846-7600); Newport Gateway Hotel, 31 W. Main Rd. (& 401/8472735); and Howard Johnson, 351 W. Main Rd. (& 401/849-2000). Newport itself has a Marriott, 25 America’s Cup Ave. (& 401/849-1000). The innkeepers and hoteliers of Newport keep topping themselves, but it will be a long while before they can best The Chanler, 117 Memorial Blvd. (& 401/847-1300; wwwthechanler.com). A boutique hotel with only 20 units, the main structure dates from 1873. It stands above the northern end of the Cliff Walk, overlooking the surf that rolls through the bay and onto Eaton’s Beach. All rooms are decorated in theme—Mediterranean, Renaissance, Tudor—and have DVD and CD players, gas fireplaces, two TVs (some are plasma), separate sitting areas, and, except for one suite, double Jacuzzis, supplemented by multinozzled shower stalls. Rates run $295 to $1,095 double. At the Francis Malbone House, 392 Thames St. (& 800/846-0392 or 401/ 846-0392; www.malbone.com), several modern rooms were added in a wing attached to the original 1760 colonial house. They are nice, with reproductions of period furniture and CD players. Given a choice, take a room in the old section, where antiques outnumber repros, Oriental rugs adorn buffed wide-board floors, and silks and linens are deployed unsparingly. Rates include breakfast and afternoon tea. No children under 12. Rates range from $99 to $325 double.

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Mill Street Inn, 75 Mill St., 2 blocks east of Thames (& 800/392-1316 or 401/849-9500; www.millstreetinn.com), is a 19th-century sawmill that was scooped out and rebuilt from the walls in. Apart from exposed expanses of brick and an occasional wood beam, all of it is new. An all-suite facility, even the smallest unit has a queen-size bed and a sofa bed. The duplexes have private balconies, but everyone can use the rooftop decks, where breakfast is served on warm days. Rates are $145 to $345 double.

WHERE TO DINE There are far too many restaurants in Newport to give full treatment even to the best among them. Equal in many ways to those recommended below are Canfield House, 5 Memorial Blvd. (& 401/847-0416); Yesterday’s & the Place, 28 Washington Sq. (& 401/847-0116); The Bistro, 41 Bowen’s Wharf (& 401/849-7778); and The West Deck, 1 Waites Wharf (& 401/847-3610). And for pure bargain dining in pricey Newport, the bountiful pastas of Salas, 343 Thames St. (& 401/845-8772), are a perfect choice for hungry families. Winter hours and days of operations vary considerably. Call ahead to avoid disappointment. Asterix, 599 Lower Thames St. (& 401/841-8833), is a cheerful place that offers classic Gallic bistro dishes. Come and discover how delectable a near-perfect roast herbed chicken or sole meunière can be. Sunday dinners are served to live jazz from 7pm. Excellent breads are provided by the chef/owner’s Boulangerie, 382 Spring St. (& 401/846-3377). Still going strong after almost 330 years, the White Horse Tavern, 25 Marlborough St. (& 401/849-3600), makes a credible claim of being the oldest tavern in America. On the ground floor are a bar and two dining rooms. The food is quite good, from the daily lunch specials to the spice-rubbed venison with pears poached with rosemary. About a third of the dishes involve seafood. Prices are significantly lower on the tavern menu available from 5pm Sunday through Thursday. At Scales & Shells, 527 Lower Thames St. (& 401/846-3474), the graceless name reflects the uncompromising character of this clangorous fish house. Diners who insist on a modicum of elegance should head for the upstairs room, called Upscales. Myriad fish and shellfish, listed on the blackboard, are offered in guileless preparations that allow the natural flavors to prevail.

NEWPORT AFTER DARK The most likely places to spend an evening lie along Thames Street. One of the most obvious possibilities, The Red Parrot, 348 Thames St., near Memorial Boulevard (& 401/847-3140), has the look of an Irish saloon and features jazz combos Thursday through Sunday. One Pelham East, at Thames and Pelham streets (& 401/847-9460), has a cafe, a small dance floor, a pool table, and another bar upstairs, with mostly college-age patrons attending to rockers on the stage at front. Free pizza is served some evenings. Park Place Tavern, at Thames and Church streets (& 401/847-1767), makes room for jazz duos Thursday through Sunday. A full schedule of live music is featured at the Newport Blues Café, 286 Thames St., at Green Street (& 401/841-5510), plus a Sunday gospel brunch. With its fireplace, dark wood, and massive steel back door that used to guard the safe of this former bank, the cafe has a lot more class than most of the town’s bars. Meals are available nightly in summer, Thursday through Sunday nights off season.

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7 Providence Providence delights in its new sobriquet, “Renaissance City,” and was beside itself over the several-season run of a recent TV series named for it. No question, this city is moving on up, counter to the trend of so many small and midsize New England cities. Money magazine even declared it the “Best Place to Live in the East.” Revival is in the air and prosperity is returning, evident in the resurgent “downcity” business district. Rivers have been uncovered to form canals and waterside walkways; distressed buildings of the last century have been reclaimed; and continued construction has added a new hotel behind Union Station as well as Providence Place, a monster mall that brings national department stores to town for the first time. GETTING THERE By Air T. F. Green/Providence Airport (& 888/2687222 or 401/737-8222; www.pvdairport.com) in Warwick, south of Providence (Exit 13, I-95), is served by major airlines. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) provides transportation between the airport and the city center. Taxis are also available, costing about $20 for the 20-minute trip. By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) runs several trains daily between Boston and New York, stopping at the attractive new station at 100 Gaspee St., near the State House. By Car I-95, which connects Boston and New York, runs right through the city. From Cape Cod, pick up I-195 West. VISITOR INFORMATION For advance information, contact the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1 W. Exchange St. (& 800/ 233-1636 or 401/274-1636; www.providencecvb.com). In town, consult the new visitor center in the Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin St. (& 800/ 233-1636 or 401/751-1177); or check with the helpful park rangers at the visitor center of the Roger Williams National Park, at the corner of Smith and North Main streets, open daily from 9am to 4:30pm.

EXPLORING PROVIDENCE STROLLING THE HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS

This is a city of manageable size—the population is about 170,000—that can easily occupy 2 or 3 days of a Rhode Island vacation. Two leisurely walks, one short, another longer, pass most of the prominent attractions and offer up a sense of the city’s evolution from a colony of dissidents to a contemporary center of commerce and government. Downtown, chart a route from the 1878 City Hall on Kennedy Plaza along Dorrance Street 1 block to Westminster. Turn left, then right in 1 block, past the Arcade, then left on Weybosset. To extend this into a longer walk, follow Weybosset until it joins Westminster and continue across the Providence River. Turn right on the other side, walking along South Water Street as far as James Street, just before the I-195 overpass. Turn left, cross South Main, and then turn left on Benefit Street. This is the start of the so-called Mile of History. Lined with 18th- and 19th-century houses, it is enhanced by gas streetlamps and sections of brick herringbone sidewalks. Along the way are opportunities to visit, in sequence, the 1786 John Brown House, the First Unitarian Church (1816), the Providence Athenaeum, and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (see below). Boosters are understandably proud of their Waterplace Park & Riverwalk, which encircles a tidal basin and borders the Woonasquatucket River down past

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where it joins the Moshassuck to become the Providence River. It incorporates an amphitheater, boat landings, landscaped walkways, and vaguely Venetian bridges that cross to the East Side. Summer concerts and other events are held here, among them the enormously popular WaterFires (& 401/272-3111), when 97 bonfires are set ablaze in the basin of Waterplace Park and along the river on New Year’s Eve and on more than 20 other dates July through October, their roar accentuated by amplified music. Nearby, in Kennedy Plaza, the new Fleet Skating Center has an ice rink twice the size of the one in New York’s Rockefeller Center, fully utilized almost every winter evening. Skate rentals, lockers, and a snack bar are available. The prestigious Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 224 Benefit St., between Waterman and College streets (& 401/454-6500; www.risd. edu/museum.cfm), is an ingratiating center of fine and decorative arts that ranks near the top of New England’s many fine university museums because of the sheer breadth of its collection. Those holdings include Chinese terra cotta, Greek statuary, French Impressionist paintings, works by masters such as Rodin and Picasso, and a wing containing paintings by American artists such as Gilbert Stuart and John Singer Sargent. The Gorham silver collection alone is nearly worth the admission ($8 adults, $2 children 5–18). Constructed of Georgian marble that blazes in the sun, the Rhode Island State House, 82 Smith St. (& 401/277-2357), dominates the city center. This near-flawless example of neoclassical governmental architecture boasts one of the largest self-supported domes in the world. The gilded figure on top represents “Independent Man,” the state symbol. Inside, a portrait of George Washington by native Rhode Islander Gilbert Stuart is given pride of place. Guided tours are available on weekday mornings by prior appointment only. Situated in a 430-acre park that also contains a museum of natural history and a planetarium, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., at Exit 17 off I-95 (& 401/785-3510; www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org), is divided into three principal habitats: Tropical America, the Farmyard, and the Plains of Africa. A newer exhibit is devoted to Australia, with the zoo’s first saltwater aquarium. A walk-through aviary and underwater viewing areas with polar bears, sea lions, and harbor seals are additional attractions. Admission is $8 adults, $7 kids 3 to 12.

WHERE TO STAY & DINE The clusters of motels around most of the exits from I-95 and I-195 offer decent value. Among these possibilities are the Days Hotel, 220 India St. (& 401/2725577); and the Ramada Inn, 940 Fall River Ave., Seekonk, MA (& 508/3367300). Alternatives are provided by B&B referral agencies such as Bed & Breakfast of Rhode Island (& 800/828-0000 or 401/849-1298). These are rooms in private homes, so sometimes-quirky rules apply. Note: Rates at most area inns and motels go up on alumni and parents’ weekends and during graduation weeks. At the Providence Biltmore, 11 Dorrance St. (& 800/294-7709 or 401/ 421-0700; www.providencebiltmore.com), a grand staircase beneath the stunning Deco bronze ceiling dates the centrally located building to the 1920s, and a plaque in the lobby shows the nearly 7-foot-high water level of the villainous 1938 hurricane. From the lobby, the dramatic glass elevator literally shoots skyward, exiting outdoors to scoot up the side of the building. The entire property has received more than $10 million in renovations over the last 3 years; most guest rooms are large and some of the 20 suites have kitchenettes. Rates run $149 to $239 double.

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Easily the city’s best hotel, the Westin Providence, 1 W. Exchange St. (& 800/ 937-8461 or 401/598-8000; www.westin.com), has a luxurious interior and a central downtown location. Skyways connect the hotel with the new Providence Place mall and the convention center. The architectural grandeur of the lobby rotunda and other public spaces doesn’t seem to dampen the sunny dispositions of the staff. Rooms are equipped with Westin’s signature “Heavenly Bed.” Rooms run $279 to $339 double. Agora, the main dining room, gets excellent reviews from critics. Providence has a sturdy Italian heritage, resulting in a profusion of tomatosauce and pizza joints, especially on Federal Hill, the district west of downtown and I-95. Because they are so obvious, the suggestions below focus on restaurants that break away from the red-gravy imperative. One fruitful strip to explore for lower-cost dining options is that part of Thayer Street that borders the Brown University campus. It counts Thai, TexMex, barbecue, and Indian restaurants among its possibilities. The very steady Cafe Nuovo, 1 Citizens Plaza (access is from the Steeple St. bridge; & 401/421-2525), occupies a spacious room of glass, marble, and burnished wood on the ground floor of a downtown office tower that overlooks the confluence of the Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket rivers. The kitchen here impresses with every course, from dazzling appetizers to stunning pastries. There’s music on weekends and outdoor dining in warm weather. Main courses cost $20 to $32. Mill’s Tavern, 101 N. Main St. (& 401/272-3331), is hip, hot and happening. It’s not all that tavernlike, a spread-out space with a ceiling crossed with dark beams, a black marble-topped bar straight ahead, and a large exhibition kitchen off to the right. The bartenders are a quick-moving, affable lot, and their number includes the guys operating the raw bar. The menu is relatively uncomplicated, much of it utilizing wood grilling. Main courses cost $16 to $34 and reservations are essential; free valet parking is offered. XO Café, 125 N. Main St. (& 401/273-9090), draws a younger, more casual crowd than Mill’s Tavern (above), which keeps the staff moving at a fast eveninglong pace. Behind the copper-topped bar are female mixologists in clothes not meant to conceal their gender, though they serve almost as many meals as drinks. A note at the top of the varied menu insists “Life is short, order dessert first” and some diners happily take the advice (whatever you do, don’t skip dessert). Slaves to tradition can order the “Pre Fixe”—their spelling—which on one occasion listed seared foie gras in brioche with candied shallots and citrushoney glaze. Main courses cost $20 to $29. Providence claims the invention of the diner, starting with a horse-drawn wagon transporting food down Westminster Street in 1872. The tradition is carried forward by the likes of the Seaplane Diner, 307 Allens Ave. (& 401/9419547), a silver-sided classic with tableside jukeboxes; and Richard’s Diner, 377 Richmond St. (& 401/331-8541), so small you can walk across it in six strides.

8 Southern Vermont ARLINGTON & MANCHESTER Southwestern Vermont is the turf of Ethan Allen, Robert Frost, Grandma Moses, and Norman Rockwell. The rolling Green Mountains are rarely out of view from this region. And in midsummer, the lush green hereabouts gives Ireland a good run for its money—verdant hues are found in the forests blanketing the hills, the

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valley meadows, and the mosses along the tumbling streams, making it obvious how these mountains earned their name. These Vermont villages make an ideal destination for romantic getaways, antiquing, and outlet shopping. Arlington has a town center that borders on microscopic; with its auto-body shops and redemption center (remnants of a time when the main highway artery passed through town), it gleams a bit less than its sibling towns to the north. To the north, Manchester and Manchester Center share a town line, but maintain distinct characters. The more southerly Manchester has an old-world elegance with a campuslike town centered around the Equinox Hotel. Just to the north, Manchester Center is a major mercantile center with dozens of national outlets offering discounts on brand-name clothing, accessories, and housewares. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE From I-91 at Brattleboro, take Route 9 west. Arlington, Manchester, and Manchester Center are north of Bennington on Historic Route 7A, which runs parallel to and west of Route 7. Vermont Transit (& 800/4513292 or 802/362-1226) offers bus service to Manchester. VISITOR INFORMATION The Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce, 5046 Main St., Suite 1, Manchester Center (& 802/362-2100; www.manchestervermont.net), maintains an information center. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30am to 5pm. From Memorial Day to October, it’s also open Sunday from 9:30am to 5pm. For information on outdoor recreation, the Green Mountain National Forest maintains a ranger office (& 802/362-2307) in Manchester on routes 11 and 30 east of Route 7. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm. EXPLORING THE AREA

Arlington has long been associated with illustrator Norman Rockwell, who lived here from 1939 to 1953. Its residents were regularly featured in Rockwell covers for the Saturday Evening Post. “Moving to Arlington had given my work a terrific boost. I’d met one or two hundred people I wanted to paint . . . the sincere, honest, homespun types that I love to paint,” Rockwell wrote. Visitors can catch a glimpse of this in the Norman Rockwell Exhibition (& 802/3756423). This small museum features a variety of displays, including many of those famous covers, along with photographs of the original models. Reproductions are available at the gift shop. Admission is $2 for adults, free for children under 12. Manchester has long been one of Vermont’s moneyed resorts, attracting prominent summer residents. This town is worth visiting to wander its quiet streets, bordered by distinguished homes dating from the early Federal period. Be sure to note the sidewalks made of irregular marble slabs. The town is said to have 17 miles of such sidewalks, composed of the castoffs from Vermont’s marble quarries. Hildene, Route 7A (& 802/362-1788; www.hildene.org), was built by Robert Todd Lincoln, the only son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to maturity. Lincoln summered in this 24-room Georgian Revival mansion between 1905 and 1926 and delighted in showing off its features, including a sweeping staircase and a 1908 Aeolian organ with 1,000 pipes. Lincoln had formal gardens designed after the patterns in a stained-glass window and planted on a gentle promontory with outstanding views of the flanking mountains. The home is viewed on group tours that start at the visitor center; allow time following the tour

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to explore the grounds. Admission is $8 adults, $4 children 6 to 14. Tours are given from mid-May to October daily from 9:30am to 4pm; grounds close at 5:30pm. Skiers head to Bromley Mountain Ski Resort in Manchester Center (& 800/ 865-4786 for lodging, or 802/824-5522; www.bromley.com) to learn to ski. Gentle and forgiving, the mountain also features long, looping intermediate runs tremendously popular with families. Stratton (& 800/843-6867 for lodging, or 802/297-2200; www.stratton.com) is another popular resort, where new owners have added $25 million in improvements in recent years, mostly in snowmaking, with coverage now up over 80%. The slopes are especially popular for snowboarding, a sport invented here. Expert skiers should seek out Upper Middlebrook, a fine, twisting run off the summit. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

The Arlington Inn, Route 7A (& 800/443-9442 or 802/375-6532; www. arlingtoninn.com), is an 1848 Greek Revival that would be at home in the Virginia countryside. But it anchors this village well, on a lawn bordered with sturdy maples. Inside, unique wooden ceilings adorn the first-floor rooms and a tavern that borrows its atmosphere from an English hunt club. If you prefer modern comforts, ask for a room in the 1830 parsonage next door, where you’ll find phones and TVs. The quietest units are in the detached carriage house. There’s also a tennis court. Rates ($90–$310 double) include breakfast. If you’re looking for a bit of history with your lodging but are shell-shocked by area rates, consider the Barnstead Inn, Route 30, Manchester Center (& 800/331-1619 or 802/362-1619; www.barnsteadinn.com), a congenial place within walking distance of Manchester. All but two of the guest rooms are in an 1830s barn; many are decorated in a rustic style, some with exposed beams. Expect vinyl bathroom floors, industrial carpeting, and a mix of motel-modern and antique furniture. Among the more desirable units are room B, which is the largest, and the two rooms (nos. 12 and 13) above the office, each with original round beams. Children over 12 are welcome. In the summer, there’s a heated pool. Rates run $90 to $210 double. The oldest part of the Inn at Ormsby Hill, Route 7A near Hildene (& 800/ 670-2841 or 802/362-1163; www.ormsbyhill.com), dates to 1764 (the revolutionary Ethan Allen is rumored to have hidden out here). Today, it’s a harmonious medley of eras and styles, with inspiring views of the Green Mountains. Guests enjoy those views along with gourmet breakfasts in the dining room, which was built by to resemble the interior of a steamship. Among the best units is the Taft Room, with its vaulted wood ceiling. Nine rooms feature two-person Jacuzzis and fireplaces. Children 14 and over are welcome. Rates ($205–$265 double) include breakfast. If you like superbly prepared Continental fare but are put off by the stuffiness of highbrow restaurants, Chantecleer on Route 7A, 31⁄2 miles north of Manchester Center (& 802/362-1616), is the place for you. Rustic elegance is the best description for this century-old dairy barn. Chef Michel Baumann specializes in game and might feature veal with a roasted garlic, sage, and balsamic demi-glace. Especially good is the whole Dover sole, filleted tableside. Main courses cost $26 to $35. The Little Rooster Café, Route 7A South, Manchester Center (& 802/3623496), is the best choice in town for breakfast or lunch. Start the day with flapjacks, a Cajun omelet, or a luscious corned-beef hash. Lunches feature a creative sandwich selection, such as a commendable roast beef with pickled red cabbage

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A Little Mountain Music The Marlboro Music Festival offers classical concerts by accomplished masters as well as talented younger musicians from mid-July to mid-August in Marlboro, in the foothills of southeastern Vermont on Route 9. The retreat was founded in 1951 and has hosted countless musicians, including Pablo Casals, who participated between 1960 and 1973. Concerts are in the 700-seat auditorium at Marlboro College, and advance ticket purchases are recommended. Between September and June, contact the festival’s winter office at Marlboro Music, 135 S. 18th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103 (& 215/569-4690). In summer, write Marlboro Music, Marlboro, VT 05344; or call the box office (& 802/254-2394; www. marlboromusic.org). Marlboro’s about a 4-hour drive from New York City and 21⁄2 hours from Boston.

and a horseradish dill sauce. Menu items run from $4.50 to $6.75 at breakfast to a high of $8.25 at lunch.

THE SOUTHERN GREEN MOUNTAINS The southern Green Mountains are New England writ large. If you’ve developed a notion in your head of what New England looks like, this may be the place you’ve envisioned. This region is known for its pristine, historic villages. Stop for a spell in Brattleboro to stock up on supplies, then head for the southern Green Mountains and continue your explorations on foot or by bike. In winter, you can plumb the snowy hills by cross-country ski or snowshoe. N E W FA N E & T O W N S H E N D

These two villages, about 5 miles apart on Route 30, are the epitome of Vermont. Both are set within the serpentine West River Valley and built around open town greens. Both consist of impressive white-clapboard houses and public buildings that share the grace and scale of the surrounding homes. Both boast striking examples of Early American architecture, notably Greek Revival. For visitors, inactivity is often the activity of choice. Guests find an inn or lodge that suits their temperament, then spend the days strolling, driving the back roads, soaking in a mountain stream, hunting for antiques, or striking off on foot for one of the rounded, wooded peaks that overlook villages and valleys. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Newfane and Townshend are located on Route 30 northwest of Brattleboro. The nearest interstate access is off Exit 3 from I-91. VISITOR INFORMATION There’s no formal information center serving these towns. Brochures are available at the state visitor center (& 802/254-4593; www.travel-vermont.com) on I-91 in Guilford, south of Brattleboro. W H AT T O S E E & D O

Newfane was originally founded on a hill a few miles from the current village in 1774; in 1825, it was moved to its present location on a valley floor. Some of the original buildings were dismantled and rebuilt, but most date from the early to mid–19th century. The National Historic District comprises some 60 buildings around the green and on nearby side streets. You’ll find styles ranging from Federal to Colonial Revival, although Greek Revival appears to carry the day.

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For more information on area buildings, get a copy of the free walking-tour brochure at the Moore Free Library on West Street or at the Historical Society. Newfane’s history is explored at the Historical Society of Windham County, on Route 30 across from the village common, in a 1930s Colonial Revival brick building. There’s an assemblage of local artifacts (dolls, melodeons, rail ephemera), along with changing exhibits. It’s open from late May to mid-October, Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5pm; admission is by donation. More than two dozen antiques shops are on or near Route 30 in the West River Valley. They provide good grazing and are a fine resource for collectors. At any of the shops, look for the brochure Antiquing in the West River Valley. Among the options: the Riverdale Antiques Center (& 802/365-4616), with about 65 dealers selling some furniture but mostly smaller collectibles. On Route 30 between Townshend and Jamaica, you’ll pass the Scott Covered Bridge below the Townshend Dam (closed to car traffic). It dates from 1870 and is an example of a Towne lattice-style bridge, with an added arch. At 166 feet long, it is the longest single-span bridge in the state. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

You can’t help but notice the Four Columns Inn, West Street, Newfane (& 800/ 787-6633 or 802/365-7713; www.fourcolumnsinn.com). It’s the regal whiteclapboard building with four Ionic columns just off the green. Rooms in the Main House and Garden Wing are larger (and more expensive) than those above the restaurant. Four units have been made over as luxury suites. The best choice in the house is room no. 12, with a Jacuzzi, skylight, gas fireplace, and private deck with a view of a small pond. Low beams and white damask tablecloths characterize the inn’s dining room, which features creative New American cooking. Rates include continental breakfast. There’s an outdoor pool and hiking trails. Rates ($115–$340 double) include continental breakfast. The Windham Hill Inn, Windham Hill Road, West Townshend (& 800/9444080 or 802/874-4080; www.windhamhill.com), is about as good as it gets in this region. Situated on 160 acres at the end of a dirt road in a high upland valley, it was built in 1823 as a farmhouse. The guest rooms are appointed in an elegant country style; six have Jacuzzis or soaking tubs, nine have balconies or decks, 13 have gas fireplaces, and all have views. The dining room features creative cooking with a strong emphasis on local ingredients. Rates ($195–$355) include breakfast. There’s a heated pool, tennis court, and 6 miles of cross-country ski trails in winter. Children over 12 are welcome.

WOODSTOCK For more than a century, the resort community of Woodstock has been considered one of New England’s most exquisite villages. The downtown is compact and neat, populated largely by galleries and boutiques. The village green is surrounded by handsome homes, creating what amounts to a comprehensive review of architectural styles of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was first settled in 1765, rose to some prominence as a publishing center in the mid–19th century, and began to attract wealthy families who summered here in the late 19th century. Much of the town is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Rockefeller family has deeded 500 acres surrounding Mount Tom to the National Park Service. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Woodstock is 13 miles west of White River Junction on Route 4 (take Exit 1 off I-89). From the west, Woodstock is 20 miles east of

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Killington on Route 4. Vermont Transit (& 800/451-3292) offers bus service from Boston and Burlington. VISITOR INFORMATION The Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce, 18 Central St. (& 888/496-6378 or 802/457-3555; www.woodstockvt.com), staffs an information booth on the green, open June to October daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm. EXPLORING THE AREA

The heart of the town is the shady, elliptical green. To put local history in perspective, stop by the Woodstock Historical Society, 26 Elm St. (& 802/4571822). Housed in the beautiful 1807 Charles Dana House, it has rooms furnished in Federal, Empire, and Victorian styles. It’s open from late May to October, plus weekends in December. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from noon to 4pm. Admission is $2. The Billings Farm and Museum on Elm Street, about a half-mile north of town on Route 12 (& 802/457-2355; www.billingsfarm.org), was the creation of Frederick Billings, who is credited with completing the Northern Pacific Railroad. The 19th-century dairy farm was once renowned for its scientific breeding of Jersey cows and its fine architecture, especially the gabled 1890 Victorian farmhouse. A tour includes hands-on demonstrations of farm activities, exhibits of farm life, a look at an heirloom kitchen garden, and a visit to active milking barns. Admission is $8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 children 13 to 17, $4.50 children 5 to 12, and $2 children 3 to 4. The Billings Farm and the National Park Service have teamed up to manage the new Marsh–Billings–Rockefeller National Historic Park (& 802/4573368; www.nps.gov/mabi), focusing on the history of conservation. Visitors can tour the elaborate Victorian mansion, walk the carriage roads surrounding Mount Tom, and view one of the oldest professionally managed woodlands in the nation. Admission to the grounds is free; mansion tours cost $6 adults, $3 children 16 and under. Advance reservations are recommended for mansion tours. OUTDOOR PURSUITS

The terrain around Woodstock is ideal for exploring by bike. Few roads don’t lead to great rides; just grab a map and go. Mountain bikes are available for rent ($20 per day) at Woodstock Sports, 30 Central St. (& 802/457-1568). Mount Tom is the prominent hill overlooking Woodstock, and its low summit has great views over the village and to the Green Mountains to the west. You can ascend the mountain right from the village: Start at Faulkner Park. To reach the trail head from the green, cross Middle Covered Bridge and continue straight on Mountain Avenue. The road soon arrives at the park at the base of Mount Tom. The area’s best cross-country skiing is at the Woodstock Ski Touring Center (& 800/448-7900 or 802/457-6674), at the Woodstock Country Club, just south of town on Route 106. The center maintains 36 miles of trails, including 12 miles of trails groomed for skate-skiing. The full-day trail fee is $13 for adults and $8.25 for children under 14. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

Jackson House Inn, 114–3 Senior Lane (& 800/448-1890 or 802/457-2065; www.jacksonhouse.com), was built in 1890 by a lumber baron who hoarded the best wood for himself; the cherry and maple floors are so beautiful you’ll feel guilty for not taking off your shoes. The guest rooms are well appointed with

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antiques, although some of the older rooms are rather small. A well-executed addition (1997) created four suites with fireplaces and Jacuzzis. The inn welcomes guests with complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres and champagne, and a 3-acre backyard with formal English gardens. Rates ($195–$260 double) include breakfast. Children 14 and over are welcome. The Dining Room offers Continental fare in a modern addition to the original inn. Its centerpiece is a 16-foothigh stone fireplace, and it boasts soaring windows with views of the gardens. Men may feel most comfortable in a sports coat, though a jacket is not required. The Shire Motel, 46 Pleasant St. (& 802/457-2211; www.shiremotel.com), is within walking distance of the green and with its colonial decor is better appointed than your average motel. The rooms are bright, with most facing the river that runs behind the property; all have fridges. (The downside: thin sheets and some scuffed walls.) Off a second-floor porch is an outdoor kitchen where you can sit on rockers overlooking the river and enjoy a cup of coffee. The yellow-clapboard house next door has three modern suites, all with gas fireplaces and Jacuzzis. Rates run $98 to $315 double. The Woodstock Inn & Resort, 14 The Green (& 800/448-7900 or 802/ 457-1100; www.woodstockinn.com), is central Vermont’s best full-scale resort. The inn appears to be a venerable and long-established institution at first glance. But it’s not—it wasn’t built until 1969, but adopted a dignified Colonial Revival look well suited for Woodstock. Guest rooms are decorated in either country pine or a Shaker-inspired style. The best units, in a wing built in 1991, feature plush carpeting, fridges, and fireplaces. There are two restaurants; indoor and outdoor pools; a Robert Trent Jones–designed golf course (at the inn-owned Woodstock Country Club); tennis courts; a free shuttle to a fitness center; bike rental; and cross-country ski trails. Rates run $129 to $389 double. On the dining front, The Prince and the Pauper, 24 Elm St. (& 802/4571648; www.princeandpauper.com), takes a bit of sleuthing to find (located down Dana Alley, next to the Woodstock Historical Society’s Dana House), but it’s worth the effort. This is one of Woodstock’s more inviting restaurants, with an intimate but informal setting. Begin with a drink in the taproom (open 1 hr. before the restaurant), then move over to the rustic-but-elegant dining room. The menu changes daily. The fixed-price dinner (appetizer, salad, entree) is $41. The setting of the Simon Pearce Restaurant, the Mill, Quechee (& 802/ 295-1470; www.simonpearce.com), can’t be beat. Housed in a restored 19thcentury woolen mill with wonderful views of a waterfall (spotlighted at night), Simon Pearce is a collage of exposed brick, pine floorboards, and handsome wooden tables and chairs. Meals are served on Simon Pearce pottery and glassware—if you like your place setting, you can buy it afterward at the sprawling retail shop in the mill. The atmosphere is a wonderful concoction of formal and informal, ensuring that everybody feels comfortable whether in white shirt and tie or (neatly laundered) jeans. Main courses cost $22 to $28.

KILLINGTON Killington is not the Vermont pictured on calendars and place mats. But the region around the mountain boasts Vermont’s most active winter scene. Those most content here are skiers, singles in search of mingling, and travelers who want a wide selection of amenities. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Killington Road extends southward from routes 4 and 100 (marked on some maps as Sherburne). It’s about 12 miles east of Rutland

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on Route 4. Many inns offer shuttles to the Rutland airport. Amtrak (& 800/ USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) offers service from New York to Rutland, with connecting shuttles to the mountain and various resorts. The Marble Valley Regional Transit District (& 802/773-3244; www.thebus.com) operates the Skibus, offering inexpensive service between Rutland and Killington. VISITOR INFORMATION The Killington Chamber of Commerce (& 802/773-4181; www.killington-chamber.org) has information on lodging and travel packages, and staffs an information booth on Route 4 at the base of the access road, open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, and weekends from 10am to 2pm. For information on accommodations in the area and travel to Killington, contact the Killington Lodging and Travel Service (& 877/ 4KTIMES). SKIING & MORE

Killington (& 800/621-6867 for lodging, or 802/422-3261; www.killington. com) is New England’s largest ski area, offering greater vertical drop than any other New England mountain. You’ll find the broadest selection of slopes, with trails ranging from long, narrow, old-fashioned runs to killer bumps high on its flanks. Thanks to this diversity, it has long been the destination of choice for serious skiers. That said, it’s also a huge operation run with efficiency and not much of a personal touch. To avoid getting lost, ask about the free tours of the mountain, led by the ski ambassadors based at Snowshed. If you’re looking for the big mountain experience, with lots of evening activities and plenty of challenging terrain, it’s a good choice. Lift-ticket prices vary through the season, but they average around $70 adults, and $50 for kids and seniors. Nearest to the downhill ski area (just east of Killington Rd. on Rte. 100/Rte. 4) is Mountain Meadows Cross Country Ski Resort (& 800/221-0598 or 802/775-7077), with 34 miles of trails groomed for both skating and classic skiing. The trails are largely divided into three pods, with beginner trails closest to the lodge, an intermediate area a bit further along, and an advanced 6-mile loop farthest away. Rentals and lessons are available. A 1-day pass is $18, a half-day pass (after 1pm) $15. The intricate network of trails at the Mountain Top Inn (& 802/483-6089) activity center has a loyal local following. The 66-mile network runs through mixed terrain with pastoral views and is groomed for both traditional and skateskiing. The area is often deep with snow owing to its high ridge-top location in the hills east of Rutland, and snowmaking along key portions of the trail ensure that you won’t have to walk across bare spots during snow droughts. Adults pay $18 for 1-day trail passes, $15 for half-day passes (after 1pm). With more challenging and picturesque terrain, Mountain Top offers the better value of the two options. W H E R E T O S TAY

Skiers headed to Killington for a week or so should consider the condo option. A number of condo developments spill down the hillside and along the low ridges flanking the access road. These vary in elegance, convenience, and size. Highridge features units with saunas and Jacuzzis, along with access to a compact health club. Sunrise Village has a more remote setting, along with a health club and access to the Bear Mountain lifts. The Woods at Killington is farthest from the slopes (free shuttle) but offers access to the finest health club and the best restaurant. Rates fluctuate, depending on time of year, number of guest rooms, and length of stay. But figure on prices ranging from around $100 to $130 and

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up per person per day, including lift tickets. You can line up a vacation—or request more information—by contacting the Killington Lodging and Travel Bureau (& 888/4KTIMES; www.killington.com), which also arranges stays at area inns and motels. The Blueberry Hill Inn, Goshen–Ripton Road, Goshen (& 800/448-0707 or 802/247-6735; www.blueberryhillinn.com), is along a quiet road about 45 minutes northwest of Killington. It’s an extraordinary destination for those inclined toward spending time outdoors. The inn dates to 1813; one graceful addition is the greenhouse walkway, which leads to the cozy guest rooms. Family-style meals are served in a rustic dining room, with a great stone fireplace and homegrown herbs drying from the wooden beams. Rates ($200–$320 double) include breakfast and dinner. There’s lake swimming nearby, a sauna, bike rental, and cross-country ski trails. There are no phones in the rooms. WHERE TO DINE

It’s our impression that every Killington restaurant serves up chicken wings, and plenty of them. If you love wings, especially free wings, you’ll be in heaven. Most restaurants are okay spots to carbo-load for a day on the slopes, and if you’re with a group of friends, you may not mind the middling quality—but for the most part, don’t expect much of a dining adventure. One of the locally favored spots for consistently good, unpretentious fare is Choices Restaurant and Rotisserie, Killington Road at Glazebook Center (& 802/422-40300), located on the access road across from the Outback. Full dinners come complete with salad or soup and bread and will amply restore calories lost on the slopes or the trail. Fresh pastas are a specialty (try the Cajun green-peppercorn fettuccine); other inviting entrees include meats from the rotisserie. The atmosphere is nothing to write home about and the prices are higher than at nearby burger joints, but the high quality of the food and the care in preparation make up for that. Main courses run $13 to $22. Hemingway’s, 4988 Rte. 4, between Route 100 North and Route 100 South (& 802/422-3886; www.hemingwaysrestaurant.com), is an elegant spot—and one that ranks among the best restaurants in New England. Located in the 1860 Asa Briggs House, a former stagecoach stop, Hemingway’s seats guests in three formal areas. The two upstairs rooms are sophisticatedly appointed with damask linen, crystal goblets, and fresh flowers. Diners tend to dress casually but neatly (no shorts or T-shirts). The three- or four-course dinners are offered at a price (fixed-price menu $48–$65; wine-tasting menu $75–$90) that turns out to be rather reasonable given the quality of the kitchen and the unassailable service. The menu changes often to reflect available stock.

9 The White Mountains of New Hampshire The White Mountains are northern New England’s outdoor-recreation capital. This cluster of ancient mountains is a sprawling, rugged playground that attracts kayakers, mountaineers, rock climbers, skiers, mountain bikers, bird-watchers, and especially hikers. The White Mountain National Forest encompasses some 773,000 acres of rocky, forested terrain, more than 100 waterfalls, dozens of remote backcountry lakes, and miles of clear brooks and cascading streams. The center of the White Mountains—in spirit if not in geography—is its highest point: 6,288-foot Mount Washington, an ominous, brooding peak that’s often cloud-capped and mantled with snow both early and late in the season.

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JACKSON & MOUNT WASHINGTON Jackson is a village in a picturesque valley just off Route 16, about 15 minutes north of North Conway. The village center, approached on a single-lane covered bridge, is tiny, but touches of old-world elegance remain—vestiges of a time when Jackson was a favored destination for the East Coast upper middle class. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Jackson is off Route 16 about 11 miles north of North Conway. Look for the covered bridge on the right when heading north. VISITOR INFORMATION The Jackson Chamber of Commerce (& 800/ 866-3334 or 603/383-9356; www.jacksonnh.com) can provide information and make lodging reservations. W H AT T O S E E & D O

Mount Washington, just north of Jackson, is the highest mountain in the Northeast at 6,288 feet. It’s also got some of the worst winter weather in the northeast: It holds the world’s record for the highest surface wind speed ever recorded—231 miles per hour, in 1934. Mount Washington may also be the mountain with the most options for getting to the top. Visitors can ascend by cog railroad, by car, by guide-driven van, or on foot. Despite the raw power of the weather, Mount Washington’s summit is not the best destination for those seeking wilderness wild and untamed. The summit is home to a train platform, a snack bar, a gift shop, a museum, and a handful of outbuildings, some of which house the weather observatory. And there are the crowds, which can be thick on a clear day. Then again, on a clear day the views can’t be beat, with vistas extending into four states and to the Atlantic Ocean. The best place to learn about Mount Washington is rustic Pinkham Notch Visitor Center (& 603/466-2721), operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. At the crest of Route 16 between Jackson and Gorham, Pinkham Notch offers overnight accommodations and meals, maps, and advice from the helpful staff. A number of hiking trails depart from Pinkham Notch. The Mount Washington Auto Road (& 603/466-3988; www.mtwashington.com) opened in 1861 as a carriage road, and has since remained one of the most popular White Mountain attractions. The steep, winding, 8-mile road (with an average grade of 12%) is partially paved and incredibly dramatic. The ascent will test your iron will; the descent will test your car’s brakes. The trip’s not worth doing if the summit is in the clouds. Van tours also ascend throughout the day, allowing you to relax, enjoy the views, and learn about the mountain from informed guides. The Auto Road, which is on Route 16 north of Pinkham Notch, is open from mid-May to late October from 7:30am to 6pm (limited hours early and late in the season). The cost is $18 for car and driver, $7 for each additional adult ($4 for children 5–12). The fee includes audiocassette narration pointing out sights along the way. Management has imposed some curious restrictions on cars; for instance, Acuras and Jaguars with automatic transmissions must show a “1” on the shifter to be allowed on the road; call or check the website for details before heading out. One additional note: The average temperature atop the mountain is 30°F (–1°C). The record low was –43°F (–42°C), and the warmest temperature ever recorded atop the mountain, in August, was 72°F (22°C). Even in summer, visitors should come prepared for blustery, cold conditions.

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The Covered Bridge Motor Lodge, Route 16 (& 800/634-2911 or 602/3839151; www.jacksoncoveredbridge.com), is a pleasant motel on 5 acres between Route 16 and the river next to Jackson’s covered bridge. While pretty basic, the lodge features lovely gardens and other appealing touches that make it a good value. The best rooms have balconies that overlook the river. Ask about the twobedroom apartments with kitchen and fireplace. Rates ($79–$139 double) include continental breakfast. There’s an outdoor pool and a tennis court. The Inn at Thorn Hill, Thorn Hill Road (& 603/383-4242; www.innat thornhill.com), is a great choice for a romantic getaway. Built in 1895, the inn sits outside the village center surrounded by hills. Inside, there’s a Victorian feel and luxuriously appointed guest rooms. A favorite is Catherine’s Suite, with a fireplace and two-person Jacuzzi. The hospitality is warm and top-notch, and the meals are among the best in the valley. The romantic Inn at Thorn Hill Restaurant is a great choice for a memorable meal. The candlelit dining room faces the forested hill behind the inn. Start with a glass of wine (the restaurant has won the Wine Spectator award of excellence), then browse the menu selections, which change weekly but often feature Asian accents. Rooms run $190 to $410 double. Thompson House Eatery, Route 16A, Jackson, near north intersection with Route 16 (& 603/383-9341), a friendly, old-fashioned spot in a 19th-century farmhouse at the edge of Jackson’s golf course, attracts crowds not only for its well-prepared fare but also for its reasonable prices. Dining is indoors and out, offering both lunch and dinner. Main courses cost $8 to $19. For basic family dining, Wilfred’s, 117 Main St. (& 603/466-2380), serves steaks, chops, and a variety of seafood. For healthier fare, try the Loaf Around Bakery, 19 Exchange St. (& 603/466-2706), open for breakfast and lunch (a visit to the antique bathroom is mandatory). Libby’s Bistro, at 115 Main St. (& 603/466-5330), is located in a handsomely renovated bank and serves dinners better than any in North Conway.

CRAWFORD NOTCH Crawford Notch is a wild, rugged mountain valley that angles through the heart of the White Mountains. Route 302 (which is wide and speedy on the lower sections) runs through it, becoming steeper as it approaches the narrow defile of the notch itself. The views up the cliffs from the road can be spectacular on a clear day; on an overcast or drizzly day, the effect is nicely foreboding. The Twin Mountain Chamber of Commerce (& 800/245-8946 or 603/ 846-5520; www.twinmountain.org) offers general information and lodging referrals at its booth near the intersection of routes 302 and 3. W H AT T O S E E & D O

Much of the land flanking Route 302 falls under the jurisdiction of Crawford Notch State Park, established in 1911 to preserve land that elsewhere had been decimated by logging. The headwaters of the Saco River form in the notch, and what’s generally regarded as the first permanent trail up Mount Washington also departs from here. The trail network on both sides of Crawford Notch is extensive; consult the AMC White Mountain Guide or White Mountains Map Book for detailed information. The Mount Washington Cog Railway, Route 302, Bretton Woods (& 800/ 922-8825 or 603/846-5404; www.thecog.com), was a marvel of engineering when it opened in 1869. Part moving museum, part slow-motion roller-coaster ride, the cog railway steams to the summit at about 4 miles per hour. Passengers

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enjoy the expanding view on this 3-hour round-trip. (There are stops to add water to the steam engine, to check the track switches, and to allow other trains to ascend or descend.) There’s also a 20-minute stop at the summit. Be aware that the ride is noisy and sulfurous. Dress warmly and expect to acquire a patina of cinder and soot. The fare costs $49 adults, $35 children 6 to 12. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

The Mount Washington Hotel, Route 302, Bretton Woods (& 800/258-0330 or 603/278-1000; www.mtwashington.com), was built in 1902. In its heyday, it attracted luminaries like Babe Ruth and Thomas Edison. Guest rooms vary in size and decor (not too lavish, though innkeepers are making improvements); many have grand views of the mountains and countryside. A 900-foot veranda makes for relaxing afternoons. Meals are enjoyed in an impressive octagonal dining room. Rates ($115–$455 double) include breakfast and dinner. This remains one of our favorite spots in the mountains, partly for the sheer improbability of it all, and partly for its direct link to a lost era. Located off Route 302 in a wild section of Crawford Notch, Notchland Inn, Route 302, Hart’s Location (& 800/866-6131 or 603/374-6131; www. notchland.com), would fit quite well in a Sir Walter Scott novel. Built of handcut granite in the mid-1800s, Notchland is classy yet informal, perfectly situated for exploring the wilds of the White Mountains. Guest rooms are outfitted with antiques, wood-burning fireplaces, high ceilings, and individual thermostats. All but three rooms have air-conditioning. The inn is also home to affable Bernese mountain dogs and llamas. You may want to add the five-course dinner to your plan ($30 per person). It’s not just good value—the closest restaurant is a long, dark drive away. Rates ($235 double) include breakfast.

FRANCONIA NOTCH Franconia Notch is rugged New Hampshire writ large. Most of the notch is included in a well-managed state park. Those seeking the sublime should plan on a leisurely trip through the notch, allowing enough time to get out of the car and explore forests and craggy peaks. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE I-93 runs through Franconia Notch, gearing down from four lanes to two (where it becomes the Franconia Notch Pkwy.) in the most scenic and sensitive areas of the park. Several roadside turnoffs dot the route. VISITOR INFORMATION Information on the park and surrounding area is available at the Flume Information Center (& 603/745-8391), at Exit 1 off the parkway. It’s open in summer daily from 9am to 4:30pm. North of the notch, head to the Franconia Notch Chamber of Commerce, on Main Street next to the town hall (& 800/237-9007 or 603/823-5661; www.franconianotch.org). It’s open spring through fall (days and hours often vary). E X P L O R I N G F R A N C O N I A N O T C H S TAT E PA R K

Franconia Notch State Park’s 8,000 acres, nestled within the surrounding White Mountain National Forest, hosts an array of scenic attractions easily accessible from I-93 and the Franconia Notch Parkway. For information on any of the following, contact the park offices (& 603/823-8800). The most famous park landmark has long been the Old Man of the Mountains, near Cannon Mountain. From the right spot on the valley floor, this 48foot rock formation bore an uncanny resemblance to the profile of a craggy old man—early settlers said it was Thomas Jefferson. A 2003 storm collapsed the

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famous rock profile. As of press time, there are no plans at present to reconstruct. The Flume is a rugged gorge through which the Flume Brook tumbles. The gorge, a popular attraction in the mid–19th century, is 800 feet long, 90 feet deep, and as narrow as 20 feet at the bottom; visitors explore it on a 2-mile walk through a network of boardwalks and bridges. It’s open May through October; admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 12. Echo Lake is a picturesquely situated recreation area, with a 28-acre lake, a handsome swimming beach, and picnic tables scattered within view of Cannon Mountain on one side and Mount Lafayette on the other. A bike path runs alongside the lake and meanders up and down the notch for a total of 8 miles. Mountain bikes, canoes, and paddleboats can be rented for $10 per hour. Admission to the park is $3 for all visitors over 12. Robert Frost lived in New Hampshire from the time he was 10 until he was 45. This humble farmhouse on Ridge Road (& 603/823-5510) is where Frost lived with his family. Wandering the grounds, it’s not hard to see how his granite-edged poetry evolved at the fringes of the White Mountains. First editions of Frost’s works are on display; a nature trail in the woods nearby is posted with excerpts from his poems. Admission is $3 adults, $1.50 children 6 to 15. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

Sugar Hill Inn, Route 117, Franconia (& 800/548-4748 or 603/823-5621; www.sugarhillinn.com), is a classic inn, with wraparound porch and sweeping mountain panoramas occupying 16 acres on lovely Sugar Hill. This welcoming, comfortable spot is a great base for exploring the western White Mountains. Rooms are graciously appointed in antique country style, some influenced by Shaker sensibility. Most have gas Vermont Castings stoves for heat and atmosphere. The restaurant, one of the area’s best, features upscale regional fare. Rates ($100–$320 double) include breakfast.

10 The Maine Coast Maine’s southern coast runs roughly for 60 miles from the state line at Kittery to Portland, and is the destination of most travelers to the state (including many day-trippers from the Boston area). While it takes some doing to find privacy and remoteness here, you’ll find at least two excellent reasons for a detour: long, sandy beaches, the region’s hallmark; and a sense of history in some of the coastal villages. It’s not hard to find a suitable spot, whether you prefer dunes and the lulling sound of the surf or the carnival-like atmosphere of a festive beach town. Waves can get rough from fall through spring, but during balmy midsummer days, the ocean can be as gentle as a farm pond. One thing you can count on, however: The chilled waters of the Gulf of Maine will be the ones washing up on shore; expect a rather cold shock if you take a dip. These beaches are more suited for early-morning walks than for swimming.

KITTERY & THE YORKS Kittery is the first town you’ll come to if you’re driving to Maine from the south on I-95 or Route 1. Kittery was once famous for its naval yard, but regionally it’s now better known for its dozens of factory outlets. “The Yorks,” to the north, are three towns that share a name but little else. In fact, it’s rare to find three such well-defined and diverse New England archetypes in such a compact area. York Village is redolent with early American history and architecture. York Harbor reached its zenith during America’s Victorian era, when wealthy urbanites built cottages at the ocean’s edge. York Beach has an

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early-20th-century beach-town feel, with loud amusem*nts, taffy shops, and summer homes in crowded enclaves near the beach. The Kittery Information Center (& 207/439-1319) is located at a rest area on I-95. It’s open daily from 8am to 6pm in summer, from 9am to 5:30pm the rest of the year. The York Chamber of Commerce (& 207/363-4422) operates an information center at 571 Rte. 1, near the turnpike. It’s open in summer from 9am to 5pm (until 6pm Fri), limited hours the rest of the year. FUN ON & OFF THE BEACH

Kittery’s consumer mecca is 4 miles south of York on Route 1. Some 120 factory outlets flank the highway, including Calvin Klein, Coach, Crate & Barrel, Le Creuset, DKNY, Polo/Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. In summer, navigating the area can be frustrating. (A free shuttle bus links the outlets and lessens some of the frustration.) The selection of outlets is more diverse than in Freeport an hour north, which is more clothing oriented. But Freeport’s quaint village setting is more appealing. Information on current outlets is available from the Kittery Outlet Association (& 888/548-8379; www. thekitteryoutlets.com). Learn about the area at the Old York Historical Society, 5 Lindsay Rd., York (& 207/363-4974). First settled in 1624, York Village has several early buildings open to the public. A good place to start is Jefferds Tavern, across from the handsome old burying ground. Changing exhibits here document various facets of early life. Next door is the School House, furnished as it might have been in the last century. A 10-minute walk along Lindsay Road will bring you to Hanco*ck Wharf, which is next door to the George Marshall Store. Also nearby is the Elizabeth Perkins House, with its well-preserved Colonial Revival interiors. The one don’t-miss structure is the intriguing Old Gaol, built in 1719 with musty dungeons for criminals. (The jail is the oldest surviving public building in the U.S.) Just down the knoll is the Emerson-Wilcox House, built in the mid-1700s. Added to periodically over the years, it’s a virtual catalog of architectural styles and early decorative arts. Admission to the village costs $7 adults, $3 children 4 to 16. York Beach consists of two beaches—Long Sands Beach and Short Sands Beach—separated by a rocky headland and a small island capped by scenic Nubble Light. Both offer plenty of room when the tide is out. When the tide is in, they’re both cramped. Short Sands fronts the town of York Beach, with its candlepin bowling and video arcades. It’s the better bet for families with kids. Long Sands runs along Route 1A, across from a profusion of motels and convenience stores. Changing rooms, restrooms, and parking (50¢ per hour) are available at both beaches. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

York Beach has a proliferation of motels facing Long Sands Beach. Reserve ahead during prime season. Simple options on or near the beach include the Anchorage Motor Inn (& 207/363-5112); and the Long Beach Motor Inn (& 207/363-5481). Dockside Guest Quarters in York (& 207/363-2868; www.docksidegq.com) was established by David and Harriet Lusty in 1954, and recent additions haven’t changed the maritime flavor of the place. Situated on a 7-acre peninsula, the inn occupies grounds shaded with maples and white pines. Five rooms are in the main house (1885), but most of the accommodations are in small, modern, town house–style cottages. These are bright and airy, and all have private decks that

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overlook the entrance to York Harbor. There’s a seafood restaurant on the premises. There are also rowboats, bike rentals, badminton, and croquet. Rates run $95 to $240. Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, on Chauncey Creek Road between Kittery Point and York off Route 103, Kittery Point (& 207/439-1030), is one of the best lobster pounds in the state, not least because the Spinney family, which has been selling lobsters here since the 1950s, takes such pride in the place. You reach the pound by walking down a wooden ramp to a broad deck on a tidal inlet, where some 42 festively painted picnic tables await. Lobster (served at market price) is the specialty, of course, but steamed mussels (in wine and garlic) and clams are also available. It’s BYOB. Menu items run $1.50 to $13. The Goldenrod Restaurant, Railroad Road and Ocean Avenue, York Beach (& 207/363-2621; www.thegoldenrod.com), has been an institution in York Beach since 1896. Visitors gawk at the ancient machines churning out taffy in volumes. Behind the taffy and fudge operation is the restaurant, short on gourmet fare but long on atmosphere. Diners sit around a stone fireplace or at the antique soda fountain. The meals are basic and filling; expect waffles, griddlecakes, club sandwiches, and deviled egg and bacon sandwiches. Nothing on the menu costs more than $8.

THE KENNEBUNKS “The Kennebunks” are the villages of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, situated along the shores of small rivers, both claiming a portion of rocky coast. The region was settled in the mid-1600s and flourished after the American Revolution, when ship captains, boat builders, and merchants constructed imposing, solid homes. The Kennebunk–Kennebunkport Chamber of Commerce (& 800/9824421 or 207/967-0857; www.kkcc.maine.org) can answer questions by phone or at its office on Route 9. The Kennebunkport Information Center (& 207/ 967-8600), operated by an association of local businesses, is off Dock Square (next to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Store) and is open daily in summer and fall. A local “trolley” service (& 207/967-3686; www.intowntrolley.com)—actually, it’s a bus with a tour narrator—makes stops in and around Kennebunkport and also serves the beaches. The fare is a steep $9 per adult ($5 for children ages 2–14) per day, but you do get unlimited trips. FUN ON & OFF THE BEACH

Kennebunkport is the summer home of Pres. George Bush the Elder, whose family has summered here for decades. As such, it’s possessed of the tweedy, upper-crust feel that you might expect. The tiny downtown, whose streets were laid out during days of travel by boat and horse, is subject to traffic jams. If the municipal lot off the square is full, head north on North Street to the free longterm lot and catch the trolley back into town. Or go about on foot—it’s a pleasant walk of about 10 to 15 minutes from the satellite lot to Dock Square. Dock Square has an architecturally eclectic wharflike feel to it, with low buildings of mixed vintages and styles, but the flavor is mostly clapboard and shingles. Kennebunkport’s deeper appeal is found in the surrounding blocks, where the side streets are lined with Federal-style homes. For a clear view of the coast, sign up for a 2-hour sail aboard the Schooner Eleanor (at the Arundel Wharf Restaurant, Kennebunkport; & 207/967-8809), a 55-foot gaff-rigged schooner, built in Kennebunkport in 1999 after a classic

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Herreshoff design. If the weather’s willing, you’ll have a perfect view of the Bush compound and Cape Porpoise. Fare is $38 per person. A bit farther afield, in the neighborhood around the Colony Hotel (about 1 mile east of Dock Sq. on Ocean Ave.), is a collection of homes of the uniquely American shingle style. Ocean Drive from Dock Square to Walkers Point and beyond is lined with summer homes overlooking surf and rocky shore. You’ll likely recognize the former president’s home at Walkers Point when you arrive (look for the shingle-style Secret Service booth). There’s nothing to do here but park for a minute, take a picture of the house, then push on. The Seashore Trolley Museum, 95 Log Cabin Rd. (& 207/967-2800; www. trolleymuseum.org), is a local marvel: a scrap yard masquerading as a museum. Founded in 1939 to preserve a disappearing way of life, today it contains one of the largest collections in the world—more than 200 trolleys, including specimens from Glasgow, Moscow, San Francisco, and Rome. (Naturally, there’s a streetcar named “Desire.”) About 40 cars still operate, and admission includes rides on a 2-mile track. Admission is $7.50 adults, $5.75 children 6 to 16. The area around Kennebunkport is home to several of the state’s best beaches. Across the river are Gooch’s Beach and Kennebunk Beach. Goose Rocks Beach is north of Kennebunkport off Route 9 (watch for signs), and is a good destination for those who like their crowds light. Offshore is a narrow barrier reef that has historically attracted flocks of geese. No restrooms are available here. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

Housed in a Federal-style home that peers down a shady lawn toward the river, Captain Lord, Pleasant and Green streets (& 207/967-3141; www.captainlord. com), is one of New England’s most architecturally distinguished inns. Check out the grandfather clocks and Chippendale highboys in the front hall. Guest rooms are furnished with antiques, and all feature gas fireplaces; there’s not a single unappealing room. Among our favorites: Excelsior, a corner unit with a massive fourposter and a two-person Jacuzzi; and Hesper, the best of the lower-priced rooms. Children 12 and over are welcome. Rates ($175–$500 double) include breakfast. One of the few resorts that have preserved intact the classic New England vacation experience, The Colony Hotel, 140 Ocean Ave. (& 800/552-2363 or 207/967-3331; www.thecolonyhotel.com/maine), is a mammoth Georgian Revival (1914) that lords over the ocean and the mouth of the Kennebunk River. All the bright and cheery rooms in the main inn have been renovated, though few have air-conditioning or TV. Rooms in two of the three outbuildings carry over the rustic elegance of the main hotel; the exception is the East House, a 1950s-era building with 20 motel-style rooms. A staff naturalist leads coastal ecology tours on Saturdays in July and August; on Fridays, there’s a lobster buffet dinner. There’s a restaurant, a heated saltwater pool, a putting green, tennis courts, and bike rentals. Rates ($180–$435 double) include breakfast. The Franciscan Guest House, Beach Street (& 207/967-2011), on the grounds of St. Anthony’s Monastery, is a unique budget choice. Rooms are all rather institutional (though they have TVs), but all have private (if small) bathrooms, and guests can stroll the lovely riverside grounds or walk over to Dock Square, about 10 minutes away. Although this is one of the most spartan lodgings we’ve seen, the fact that reservations are often needed a year in advance tells of its popularity. Rates (including a full breakfast) run $65 to $88 double; credit cards are not accepted. Prices for lobster in the rough tend to be a bit more expensive around Kennebunkport than farther up the coast. But if you can’t wait, Nunan’s Lobster

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Best Staying & Dining at the White Barn Part of the exclusive Relais & Châteaux group, Kennebunkport’s White Barn Inn, Beach Avenue (& 207/967-2321; www.whitebarninn.com), pampers its guests like no other in Maine. The atmosphere is distinctly European, with an emphasis on service. The rooms are individually decorated in an upscale country style and offer many unexpected niceties, such as robes and fresh flowers in the rooms. Nearly half the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces, while the suites are truly spectacular; each is themed with a separate color, and most have plasma TVs, whirlpools, or similar perks. Guests can avail themselves of the inn’s free bikes, or take a cruise on its Hinckley charter yacht. You might also lounge around the beautiful outdoor pool. In 2003, the inn acquired a handful of cottages on the Kennebunk River. The wonderful cottages are cozy, are nicely equipped with modern kitchens and bathrooms, and will continue to see future upgrades; an adjacent “friendship cottage” is stocked at all times with snacks, wine, and the like. Rates ($320–$370 double; $500–$725 suite) include continental breakfast and afternoon tea. The restaurant here is just as noteworthy as the accommodations, attracting gourmands from New York and Boston and recently selected as one of America’s top inn restaurants by readers of Travel & Leisure. Housed in a rustic barn with a soaring interior and a collection of country antiques displayed in a hayloft, it’s pricey but worth it. The setting is magical, the service is attentive, and the kitchen rarely produces a flawed dish. You might start with a lobster spring roll, then graduate to roasted pheasant breast with butternut squash. Anticipate a meal to remember. The fixed-price dinner is $85; a tasting menu costs $105 per person.

Hut, on Route 9 north of Kennebunkport at Cape Porpoise (& 207/967-4362), is a good choice. Grissini, 27 Western Ave. (& 207/967-2211; www.restaurantgrissini.com), is a handsome trattoria that offers good value. The mood is elegant but rustic. Italian advertising posters line the walls of the soaring, barnlike space, while the stone fireplace takes the chill off a cool evening. The menu includes a wide range of pastas and pizza, served with considerable flair. Expect an exceedingly pleasant experience. Main courses run $12 to $23.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK It’s not hard to fathom why Acadia is one of the biggest draws in the U.S. national park system. The park, located on Mount Desert Island, offers a rich tapestry of rugged cliffs, restless ocean, and quiet woods. The park’s more recent roots can be traced back to the 1840s, when Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole packed his sketchbooks and easels for a trip to this remote island, then home to a small number of fishermen and boat builders. By the early 1900s, the popularity and growing development of the island began to concern its most ardent supporters. Boston textile heir and conservationist George Dorr and Harvard president Charles Eliot, aided by the largesse

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of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., started acquiring large tracts for the public’s enjoyment. These parcels were donated to the government, and in 1919 the land was designated Lafayette National Park. Renamed Acadia in 1929, the park has grown to encompass nearly half the island. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Acadia National Park is reached from the town of Ellsworth via Route 3. If you’re driving from southern Maine, avoid the coastal congestion along Route 1 by taking the Maine Turnpike to Bangor, picking up I-395 to Route 1A, then continuing south on Route 1A to Ellsworth. It’s the quickest route in summer. Daily flights from Boston to the airport in Trenton, just across the causeway from Mount Desert Island, are offered year-round by US Airways affiliate Colgan Air (& 800/523-3273 or 207/667-7171). In summer, Concord Trailways (& 888/741-8686 or 207/942-8686) offers van service between Bangor (including an airport stop), Ellsworth, and Bar Harbor; reservations are required. GETTING AROUND A wonderful, free shuttle bus service known as the Island Explorer was inaugurated as part of an experiment to reduce the number of cars on island roads. It’s working. The propane-powered buses, equipped with racks for bikes, serve seven routes that cover nearly the entire island and will stop anywhere you request outside the village centers, including trail heads, ferries, villages, and campgrounds. All routes begin or end at the Village Green in Bar Harbor, but you’re encouraged to pick up the bus wherever you’re staying, whether motel or campground, to minimize the number of cars in town. Route 3 goes from Bar Harbor along much of the Park Loop, offering easy access to some of the park’s best hiking trails. The buses operate from late June to mid-October. VISITOR INFORMATION The Thompson Island Information Center, on Route 3 (& 207/288-3411), is maintained by the local chambers of commerce; park personnel are usually on hand to answer inquiries. It’s the best stop for lodging and restaurant information. The center is open from mid-May to mid-October. For more detailed information, continue on Route 3 to the National Park Service’s Hulls Cove Visitor Center, about 71⁄2 miles beyond Thompson Island. This stone-walled center includes displays and a short film. You can request brochures on trails and carriage roads, or purchase guidebooks. The center is open from mid-April to October. Information is also available year-round, by phone or in person, from the park’s headquarters (& 207/288-3338; www.nps. gov/acad), on Route 233 between Bar Harbor and Somesville. ENTRY POINTS & FEES A 1-week park pass, which includes unlimited trips on Park Loop Road, costs $10 per car; no additional charge per passenger. (No daily pass is available.) The main point of entry to Park Loop Road is the visitor center at Hulls Cove. Mount Desert Island consists of an interwoven network of park and town roads, allowing visitors to enter the park at numerous points. A glance at a park map (available free at the visitor center) will make these access points self-evident. The entry fee is collected at a tollbooth on Park Loop Road a half-mile north of Sand Beach. OUTDOOR PURSUITS

CAMPING The national park offers no overnight accommodations other than two campgrounds. Both are extremely popular; in July and August, expect them to fill by early to mid-morning.

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Blackwoods (& 207/288-3274) tends to fill first. It has a better location— bikers and pedestrians are just off the Park Loop Road and the rocky shore via a short trail—and, more important, it’s the only one of the two that accepts reservations (required from mid-May to mid-Sept). Blackwoods is open year-round; late fall through spring, sites are easy to come by. You can reserve up to 5 months in advance by calling & 800/365-2267. (This is a national reservations service whose contract is reviewed from time to time by the Park Service; if the number doesn’t work, call the campground directly to ask for the current toll-free reservation number.) Reservations may also be made online, between 10am and 10pm only, at http://reservations.nps.gov. Fees are $18 per night. First-come, first-served Seawall (& 207/244-3600) is on the quieter western half of the island, near the fishing village of Bass Harbor. This is a good base for road biking, and several short coastal hikes are within easy striking distance. Drive-in RV sites are available, but none have hookups. The campground is open from late May to September. In general, if you get here by 9 or 10am, you’ll have little trouble securing a site, even in midsummer. No showers are on-site, but they’re available nearby. Fees are $20 for a site with vehicle, $14 for walk-ins. Private campgrounds handle the overflow. The region south of Ellsworth has 14 private campgrounds; the Thompson Island Information Center (& 207/ 288-3411) posts up-to-the-minute information on vacancies. CANOEING Mount Desert’s several ponds offer scenic if limited canoeing, and most have public boat access. Canoe rentals are available at the north end of Long Pond (the largest pond on the island at 3 miles long) in Somesville from National Park Canoe Rentals (& 207/244-5854). The cost is $22 for 4 hours. CARRIAGE RIDES Carriage rides are offered by Wildwood Stables (& 207/ 276-3622; www.acadia.net/wildwood), a park concessionaire located a half-mile south of Jordan Pond House. The 1-hour trip departs three times daily and takes in sweeping ocean views; it costs $14 for adults, $7 for children 6 to 12, and $4 for children 2 to 5. Longer tours are available, as is a special carriage designed to accommodate disabled passengers. DRIVING THE PARK LOOP ROAD The 20-mile Park Loop Road is the park’s premier attraction. This remarkable roadway starts near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and follows the high ridges above Bar Harbor before dropping down along the rocky coast. Here, the spires of spruce and fir cap dark granite, and the earthy tones contrast sharply with the frothy white surf and the steely blue sea. After following the picturesque coast and touching on several coves, the road loops back inland along Jordan Pond and Eagle Lake, with a detour to the summit of the island’s highest peak. From about 10am to 4pm in July and August, anticipate large crowds along the Park Loop Road, at least on those days when the sun is shining. Parking lots may fill at some of the more popular destinations, including Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and the Cadillac Mountain summit. Make the best of wet days by donning rain gear and letting the weather work to your advantage. You’ll discover that you have the place to yourself. HIKING Acadia National Park has 120 miles of hiking trails, plus 57 miles of carriage roads suitable for walking. The park is studded with low “mountains” (they’d be called hills elsewhere), and almost all have trails with superb views of the open ocean. Many pathways were crafted by experienced stonemasons and others with high aesthetic intent, and thus the routes aren’t the most direct—but

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they’re often the most scenic, taking advantage of fractures in the rocks, picturesque ledges, and sudden vistas. The Hulls Cove Visitor Center offers a brief chart of area hikes; combined with the park map, this is all you’ll need to explore the well-maintained, wellmarked trails. Among our favorite hikes is the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail, which departs from near the south end of the Tarn, a pond near Sieur de Monts Spring. (Park either at the spring or just off Rte. 3 south at the Tarn.) The Beehive Trail departs from the Park Loop Road just across from Sand Beach. The trail begins with a fairly gentle climb of .25 mile, then turns right and begins a demanding ascent up a series of vertiginous ledges, some of which are linked with iron ladders set in the rock. (The layers of ledges give the hill its beehive look—and its name, of course.) Allow about 11⁄2 hours round-trip. The loop around Jordan Pond is more like a long stroll. Depart from the Jordan Pond House. The east side of the pond features a level trail; the west side is edged by a carriage road. The total loop measures just over 3 miles. At the north end of the pond is a pair of oddly symmetrical mounds called The Bubbles. Detours to atop these peaks add about 20 minutes each to the loop; look for signs for these spur pathways off the Jordan Pond Shore Trail. Finish up your hike with tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House (see “Where to Dine in the Park,” below). On the island’s west side, an ascent and descent of Acadia Mountain takes about 11⁄2 hours, but hikers should allow plenty of time to enjoy the view of Somes Sound and the smaller islands off Mount Desert’s southern shores. MOUNTAIN BIKING The 57 miles of carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., are among the park’s most extraordinary treasures. These were maintained by Rockefeller until his death in 1960, after which they became shaggy and overgrown. A major restoration effort was launched in 1990, and the roads today are superbly restored and maintained. A map of the carriage roads is available free at the visitor centers; more detailed guides may be purchased at area bookshops, but they aren’t necessary. Where the carriage roads cross private land (generally between Seal and Northeast harbors), they are closed to mountain bikes. Mountain bikes are also banned from hiking trails. To get a taste of mountain biking without having to load rented bikes onto your car, ask the clerk at any of the Bar Harbor bike-rental shops about the route to Witch Hole Pond via West Street. The route is very steep (don’t get discouraged!) but relatively traffic-free and relaxing; take your time, and look forward to coasting back into town once you’re done. Mountain bikes may be rented along Cottage Street in Bar Harbor, with rates around $15 to $17 for a day. Ask about closing times, because you may be able to get in a couple extra hours of pedaling with a later-closing shop. SEA KAYAKING Sea kayaking has boomed around Mount Desert Island over the past decade. Experienced kayakers arrive in droves with their own boats. Novices sign up for guided tours, which are offered by several outfitters. A variety of options can be found on the island, ranging from a 21⁄2-hour harbor tour to a 7-hour excursion. Details are available from the following outfitters: Acadia Outfitters, 106 Cottage St. (& 207/288-8118); Coastal Kayaking Tours, 48 Cottage St. (& 800/526-8615 or 207/288-9605); Island Adventure Kayak Tours & Rentals, 137 Cottage St. (& 207/288-3886); and National Park Sea Kayak Tours, 39 Cottage St. (& 800/347-0940 or 207/288-0342). Rates range from approximately $40 to $50 per person for a 2- to 3-hour harbor or sunset tour, up to $75 for a 1-day excursion.

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Sea-kayak rentals and delivery are available from Loon Bay Kayaks, located at Barcadia Campground, at the junction of routes 3 and 102 (& 888/7860676 or 207/288-0099); and from National Park Canoe Rental, 1 West St., Bar Harbor (& 207/288-0007). Solo kayaks rent for $25 to $40 per day. W H E R E T O D I N E I N T H E PA R K

Jordan Pond House, on Park Loop Road near Seal Harbor (& 207/276-3316), is the only full-service restaurant within park boundaries, on a grassy lawn looking northward up Jordan Pond. Afternoon tea with popovers is a hallowed tradition. Ladies who lunch sit next to bikers, and everyone feasts on tasty popovers and strawberry jam served with tea or lemonade. The lobster and crab rolls are abundant and filling; the lobster stew is expensive but good. Dinners include classic resort fare like prime rib and baked scallops. Main courses range from $14 to $20; afternoon tea costs $8.50.

BAR HARBOR W H E R E T O S TAY

After a period of quiet decay, Bar Harbor has been revived and rediscovered by both visitors and entrepreneurs. Its history, distinguished architecture, and beautiful location along Frenchman Bay make it a desirable base for exploring the rest of the island, and it offers the most varied selection of lodging, meals, supplies, and services. Reputable motels in or near town that offer at least some rooms under $100 in peak season include the conveniently located Villager Motel, 207 Main St. (& 207/288-3211), with 63 rooms; the in-town, pet-friendly Rockhurst Motel, 68 Mount Desert St. (& 207/288-3140); and the smoke-free Highbrook Motel, 94 Eden St. (& 800/338-9688 or 207/288-3591). About 4 miles west of Bar Harbor on Route 3 is Hanscom’s Motel and Cottages (& 207/2883744; www.hanscomsmotel.com), an old-fashioned motor court with 12 units (some two-bedroom) that have been well maintained. Its rates range from $88 to $120 in summer, from $68 off season. The Bar Harbor Inn, Newport Drive (& 800/248-3351 or 207/288-3351; www.barharborinn.com), is a handsome combination of inn and motel that has the best location of any lodging in Bar Harbor. The rambling, shingled inn on shady waterfront grounds dates back to the turn of the 20th century, and offers convenience and charm. Guest rooms in the Oceanfront and Main Inn feature sweeping views of the bay, and many have private balconies; the less expensive Newport building lacks views but is comfortable and up-to-date. There’s a formal dining room and outdoor grill, heated outdoor pool, and fitness room. Rates ($75–$355 double) include continental breakfast. The handsome pale-green and maroon Victorian stick-style Primrose Inn, 73 Mt. Desert St. (& 877/846-3424 or 207/288-4031; www.primroseinn.com), was built in 1878. Comfortable and furnished with functional antiques and more modern reproductions, many rooms have a floral theme and thick carpets. It’s not a stuffy place—it has a distinctly informal air that encourages guests to mingle and relax in the common room, equipped with a piano. Two guest rooms feature whirlpools or fireplaces. The suites in the rear are spacious and comfortable, and the efficiencies offer a kitchen (they rent by the week only). Daily rates ($85–$210 double) include breakfast; efficiencies cost $800 to $1,150 per week. WHERE TO DINE

If you want a light bite or breakfast, our local favorite is Cottage Street Bakery and Deli at 59 Cottage St. (& 207/388-1010). Egg dishes, omelets, blueberry

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pancakes, and baked goods are all well done, and there are plenty of coffee drinks; we also like the outdoor patio. The kids’ menu is fun and welcome. Café This Way, 141⁄2 Mount Desert St. (& 207/288-4483), has the feel of a hip coffeehouse; bookshelves line one wall, and there’s a bar tucked into a nook. The breakfasts are excellent and mildly sinful, with offerings such as eggs Benedict with spinach, artichoke, and tomato. The robust coffee requires two creamers to lighten it. Dinners are equally appetizing, with tasty dishes such as filet mignon grilled with fresh basil. Main courses cost $14 to $23. Right across the street from the bay, chef Mark Rampacek operates Bar Harbor’s only vegetarian eatery, Elaine’s Starlight Oasis, 78 West St. (& 207/288-3287; www.starlightoasis.com), bringing high culinary flair and atmosphere to the cause; most dishes here use organic and/or locally grown ingredients, and you might want to dress up a bit if you dine here. The menu changes daily. There’s a full range of coffees and teas, and a full bar. Main courses cost $9 to $17. For more than 2 decades, George’s, 7 Stephens Lane (& 207/288-4505; www. georgesbarharbor.com), has been a Bar Harbor classic, offering fine dining in elegant yet informal surroundings. The original owner (George) sold the place, but the new owners have kept up the traditions, with help from George himself. George’s captures the joyous feel of summer. The service is upbeat, the meals wonderfully prepared. All entrees sell for one price, which includes salad, vegetable, and potato or rice. The house specialty is lamb in its many incarnations. Entrees cost $25; a three-course meal runs $37 to $40.

3 The Mid-Atlantic P

art of the thrill of visiting the Mid-Atlantic states is following in the footsteps of George Washington, John D. Rockefeller, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert E. Lee, and many others who cut wide paths through American history. In New York City, pay your respects to Lady Liberty overlooking the city’s famous harbor or stroll the Brooklyn Bridge, still one of the country’s most famous architectural achievements. Then head off to the Hudson River Valley, the playground of such famous names as Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Roosevelt. In Philadelphia, you can see where the Founding Fathers crafted the U.S. Constitution. In Baltimore, you can dine on Chesapeake Bay crabs near where Francis Scott Key wrote the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In Washington, D.C., you can see the flag that inspired Key to write his famous words at the famous Smithsonian Institution, arguably the greatest museum in the world. Then it’s off to explore such American icons as the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court. Today New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington are part of the great East Coast megalopolis running south from Boston, but you can easily escape to broad bays, wide rivers, rolling piedmont, gentle mountains, and quaint small towns that make this region lovely and charming. Few places are as charming as the Brandywine Valley, loaded with both natural beauty and historic significance. Whether it’s the hubbub of New York City and Washington, D.C., or the quiet charm of Lancaster County and the Adirondacks, the Mid-Atlantic really does have something for everyone.

1 New York City New York City is the nerve center of world finance and trade; the international hub of advertising, publishing, entertainment, and fashion; and the creative core for the arts. Just about every language and any dialect is spoken here, from Mandarin to Brooklynese, and no other dot on the map is quite so ethnically, culturally, socially, and economically diverse. This is a city that is in a constant state of flux, and it is this ebb and flow that keeps New Yorkers from leaving despite the high rents, the noise, the crowds, the cab drivers who don’t know Lincoln Center from the Lower East Side, and the more stark realities of high-securityalert days and living in the shadow of great tragedy. Nowhere else is the challenge so tough, the pace so relentless, the stimuli so ever-changing and insistent—and the payoff so rewarding. It is why the city goes on and the residents proudly persist in living their vibrant lives.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE

BY PLANE Three major airports serve New York City: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK; & 718/244-4444) in Queens, about 15 miles (1 hr.

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109

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driving time) from Midtown Manhattan; LaGuardia Airport (& 718/5333400), also in Queens, about 8 miles (30 min.) from Midtown; and Newark International Airport (& 973/961-6000) in nearby New Jersey, about 16 miles (45 min.) from Midtown. Almost every major domestic carrier serves at least one of the New York–area airports; most serve two or all three. Information about all three airports is available online at www.panynj.gov; click on the “Airports” tab on the left. For complete transportation information for all three airports (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark), call Air-Ride (& 800/247-7433), which offers recorded details on bus and shuttle companies and private car services registered with the New York and New Jersey Port Authority 24 hours a day. Similar information is available at www.panynj.gov/airports; just click on the airport at which you’ll be arriving. Generally, travel time between the airports and Midtown Manhattan by taxi or car is 45 to 60 minutes for JFK, 20 to 35 minutes for LaGuardia, and 35 to 50 minutes for Newark. Always allow extra time, though, especially during rush hour, during peak holiday travel times, and if you’re taking a bus. Gray Line Express Shuttle USA (& 800/451-0455 or 212/315-3006; www. graylinenewyork.com) and SuperShuttle (& 800/BLUE-VAN or 212/2583826; www.supershuttle.com) serve all three airports. One-way fares average $13 to $22 depending on the airport, with discounts available for pre-paid round-trips or large parties. You don’t need to reserve your airport-to-Manhattan ride, though you will need to schedule pick-up to return to the airport. New York Airport Service (& 718/875-8200; www.nyairportservice.com) buses travel from JFK and LaGuardia to the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd St. and Eighth Ave.), Grand Central Terminal (Park Ave. between 41st and 42nd sts.), and to select Midtown hotels between 27th and 59th streets, plus the Jamaica LIRR Station in Queens, where you can pick up a train for Long Island. One-way fare for JFK is $13, round-trip $23; one-way fare for LaGuardia is $10, round-trip $17. Coach USA Newark Airport Express (& 877/863-9275; www.coachusa.com) buses travel from Newark to the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd St. and Eighth Ave.), Grand Central Terminal (Park Ave. between 41st and 42nd sts.), and Penn Station (34th St. and Seventh Ave.). Fares cost $19 round-trip and $12 one-way. Kids under 16 ride free with a paying adult. The shuttle services are our favorite option for getting to and from the airports during peak travel times because the drivers take local streets that end up getting you there faster than a taxi. And taxis from all three airports can be a very expensive proposition (despite flat-rate fares, you can run up a $60 bill when you toss in tolls and tip). BY TRAIN Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) runs frequent service to New York City’s Penn Station, on Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets. If you’re traveling along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor—to or from Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Washington, D.C.—Amtrak may be your best travel bet. The Acela Express trains cut travel time from D.C. down to 21⁄2 hours, and travel time from Boston to a lightning-quick 3 hours. BY BUS Buses arrive at the Port Authority Terminal (& 212/564-8484; www.ny.com/transportation/port_authority.html), on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. The fares up and down the East Coast are usually cheaper than the train fares, and if you get an express bus, they don’t take much longer. Call Greyhound Bus Lines (& 800/229-9424; www.greyhound.com).

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V I S I T O R I N F O R M AT I O N

For information before you leave home, your best source (besides this book, of course) is NYC & Company, the organization that fronts the New York Convention & Visitors Bureau (NYCVB), 810 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019. You can call & 800/NYC-VISIT to order the Official NYC Visitor Kit, which contains the Official NYC Guide detailing hotels, restaurants, theaters, attractions, events, and more; a foldout map; a decent newsletter on the latest goingson in the city; and brochures on attractions and services. It costs $5.95 to receive the packet (payable by credit card) in 7 to 10 days, $9.95 for rush delivery (3–4 business days) to U.S. addresses and international orders. (Note: I have received complaints that packages don’t always strictly adhere to these time frames.) You can also find a wealth of free information on the bureau’s website, www. nycvisit.com. To speak with a travel counselor who can answer specific questions, call & 212/484-1222, which is staffed weekdays from 8:30am to 6pm EST, weekends from 9am to 5pm EST. GETTING AROUND

Do not even think of driving in Manhattan. Traffic is horrendous, and you don’t know the rules of the road or the arcane alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations. If you do arrive in New York City by car, park it in a garage (expect to pay at least $25–$45 per day) and leave it there for the duration of your stay. For the most part, you can get where you’re going in Manhattan pretty quickly and easily using some combination of subways, buses, and cabs; this section will tell you how to do just that. But between traffic gridlock and subway delays, sometimes you just can’t get there from here—unless you walk. During rush hours, you’ll easily beat car traffic on foot. You’ll also just see a whole lot more by walking than you will if you ride beneath the street in the subway or fly by in a cab. So pack your most comfortable shoes and hit the pavement—it’s the best, cheapest, and most appealing way to experience the city. Tip: Never take your walking cues from the locals. Wait for walk signals and always use crosswalks—don’t cross in the middle of the block. Do otherwise and you could quickly end up as a flattened statistic. BY SUBWAY Run by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the muchmaligned subway system is actually the fastest way to travel around New York, especially during rush hours. The subway is quick, inexpensive, relatively safe, and pretty efficient, as well as being a genuine New York experience. The subway runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The rush-hour crushes are roughly from 8 to 9:30am and from 5 to 6:30pm on weekdays; the rest of the time the trains are relatively uncrowded. Less expensive than taxis and more pleasant than subways (they provide a mobile sightseeing window on Manhattan), MTA buses are a good transportation option, especially of you’re going crosstown or a short distance (take the subway for longer trips). Their very big drawback: They can get stuck in traffic, sometimes making it quicker to walk. Paying Your Way Subway and bus fares are $2 (half-price for seniors and those with disabilities), and children under 44 inches tall ride free (up to three per adult). You pay your fare with a MetroCard, a magnetically encoded card that debits the fare when swiped through the turnstile (or the fare box on any city bus). Once you’re in the system, you can transfer freely to any subway line that you

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can reach without exiting your station. MetroCards also allow you free transfers between the bus and subway within a 2-hour period. MetroCards can be purchased from each station’s staffed token booth, where you can only pay with cash; at the ATM-style vending machines now located in just about every subway station in the city, which accept cash, credit cards, and debit cards; from a MetroCard merchant, such as most Rite Aid drugstores or Hudson News at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal; or at the MTA information desk at the Times Square Visitor Center, 1560 Broadway, between 46th and 47th streets. MetroCards come in a few different configurations: Pay-Per-Ride MetroCards can be used for up to four people by swiping up to four times (bring the whole family). You can put any amount from $4 (two rides) to $80 on your card. Every time you put $10 or $20 on your Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard, it’s automatically credited 20%—that’s one free ride for every $10, or five trips. You can refill your card at any time until the expiration date on the card, usually about a year from the date of purchase, at any subway station. Unlimited-Ride MetroCards, which can’t be used for more than one person at a time or more frequently than 18-minute intervals, are available in three values: the daily Fun Pass, which allows you a day’s worth of unlimited subway and bus rides for $7; the 7-Day MetroCard, for $21; and the 30-Day MetroCard, for $70. Seven- and 30-day Unlimited-Ride MetroCards can be purchased at any subway station or from a MetroCard merchant. Fun Passes, however, can only be bought at a MetroCard vending machine; from a MetroCard merchant; or at the MTA information desk at the Times Square Visitor Center. Unlimited-Ride MetroCards go into effect the first time you use them—so if you buy a card on Monday and don’t begin to use it until Wednesday, Wednesday is when the clock starts ticking on your MetroCard. A Fun Pass is good from the first time you use it until 3am the next day, while 7- and 30-day MetroCards run out at midnight on the last day. These MetroCards cannot be refilled; throw them out once they’ve been used up and buy a new one. For any MetroCard questions, call & 800/METROCARD or 212/METROCARD (& 212/638-7622) Monday through Friday between 7am and 11pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Or go online to www.mta.nyc.ny.us/ metrocard, which can give you a full rundown of MetroCard merchants in the tri-state area. BY TAXI If you don’t want to deal with public transportation, then take a taxi. The biggest advantages are, of course, that cabs can be hailed on any street (providing you find an empty one—often simple, yet at other times nearly impossible) and will take you right to your destination. We find they’re best used at night when there’s little traffic to keep them from speeding you to your destination and when the subway may seem a little daunting. Official New York City taxis, licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), are yellow, with the rates printed on the door and a light with a medallion number on the roof. You can hail a taxi on any street. Never accept a ride from any other car except an official city yellow cab (private livery cars are not allowed to pick up fares on the street). The cost is 40¢ for every 1⁄5 mile or 40¢ per 2 minutes in stopped or very slow-moving traffic (or for waiting time). You must pay bridge or tunnel tolls. You’ll also pay a $1 night surcharge after 8pm and before 6am. A 15% to 20% tip is customary. Always make sure the meter is turned on at the start of the ride. You’ll see the red LED readout register the initial $2.50 and start calculating the fare as

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Subway Service Alert On almost every weekend, and throughout the year, changes in normal subway service tend to occur. We strongly recommend you check with the Metropolitan Transit Authority at & 718/330-1234 or www.mta.nyc.ny.us before you plan your travel routes; your hotel concierge or any token booth clerk should also be able to assist you. Riders with disabilities should direct inquiries to & 718/596-8585; hearing-impaired riders can call & 718/596-8273.

you go. We’ve witnessed unscrupulous drivers buzzing unsuspecting visitors around the city with the meter off, and then overcharging them at drop-off time. Be sure to ask for a receipt when you get out of the cab—it’ll come in handy if you need to make a complaint or accidentally leave something behind in the cab. For driver complaints and lost property, call the 24-hour Consumer Hotline at & 212/NYC-TAXI. For further taxi information, point your browser to www.ci.nyc.ny.us/taxi. FA S T FA C T S

Walk-in service for non-emergency illnesses is available from DOCS at New York Healthcare, 55 E. 34th St., between Park and Madison avenues (& 212/ 252-6001; subway: 6 to 33rd St.). Hospitals with emergency rooms include Beth Israel Medical Center, First Avenue and 16th Street (& 212/420-2000; subway: L to First Ave.); New York University Medical Center, 560 First Ave., at 33rd Street (& 212/263-7300; subway: 6 to 33rd St.); and many others. There are several 24-hour pharmacies, including Duane Reade at Broadway and 57th Street (& 212/541-9708; subway: A, B, C, D, 1, or 9 to 59th St./Columbus Circle). Sales tax is 8.625% on meals, most goods, and some services. Hotel tax is 13.25% plus $2 per room per night (including sales tax). Parking garage tax is 18.25%. S P E C I A L E V E N T S & F E S T I VA L S

For a complete New York City events schedule, point your browser to www.nyc visit.com and click on “Calendar of Events.” Here are some favorites: The ultimate purebred pooch fest and one of the oldest events in the nation (129 years and counting), Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place in mid-February inside Madison Square Garden. Some 30,000 dog fanciers from all over the world show up at this “World Series of Dogdom.” More than 150,000 marchers participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17, as Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th streets rings with the sounds of bands and bagpipes. The parade usually starts at 11am, but go extra early if you want a good spot. The U.S. Open Tennis Championships, the final grand slam event on the tennis calendar, are held at the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA National Tennis Center, the largest public tennis center in the world, at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens around Labor Day. The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is Halloween at its most outrageous. It’s on October 31, of course. The New York City Marathon features some 30,000 hopefuls from around the world; more than a million fans will cheer them on as they follow a route that touches on all five New York boroughs and finishes at Central Park.

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that proceeds from Central Park West and 77th Street and down Broadway to Herald Square at 34th Street continues to be a national tradition. The night before, you can usually see the big blow-up on Central Park West at 79th Street. On New Year’s Eve, the biggest party of them all happens in Times Square, where thousands of raucous revelers count down in unison the year’s final seconds until the new lighted ball drops at midnight.

WHAT TO SEE & DO S O M E T O P AT T R A C T I O N S

In addition to the choices below, don’t forget about Central Park, the great green swath that is, just by virtue of its existence, New York City’s greatest marvel. American Folk Art Museum This gorgeous, ultramodern boutique museum has been called by House & Garden no less than the city’s greatest new (opened in 2001) museum, and New York magazine called it “brilliant” and “a tour de force.” The modified open-plan interior features an extraordinary collection of traditional works from the 18th century to the self-taught artists and craftspeople of the present, reflecting the breadth and vitality of the American folk-art tradition. A splendid variety of quilts, in particular, makes the textiles collection the museum’s most popular. 45 W. 53rd St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.). & 212/265-1040. www.folkartmuseum.org. Admission $9 adults, $7 seniors and students, free for children under 12, free to all Fri 6–8pm. Tues–Thurs and Sat–Sun 10:30am–5:30pm; Fri 10:30am–7:30pm. Subway: E or V to Fifth Ave.

This is one of the hottest museum tickets in town, thanks to the $210-million Rose Center for Earth and Space, whose planetarium sphere hosts the Space Show, “Are We Alone?” The diversity of the museum’s holdings is astounding: some 36 million specimens ranging from microscopic organisms to the world’s largest cut gem, the Brazilian Princess Topaz (21,005 carats). Rose Center aside, it would take you all day to see the entire museum, and then you still wouldn’t get to everything. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can see the best of the best on free highlights tours offered daily every hour at 15 minutes after the hour from 10:15am to 3:15pm. If you only see one exhibit, see the dinosaurs, which take up the entire fourth floor. American Museum of Natural History

Money- & Time-Saving Tip CityPass just may be New York’s best sightseeing deal. Pay one price ($45, or $39 for kids 12–17) for admission to six major Big Apple attractions: The American Museum of Natural History (admission only; does not include Space Show); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Empire State Building; the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum; MoMA QNS; and a 2-hour Circle Line harbor cruise. Purchased individually, you’d spend more than twice as much. More important, CityPass is not a coupon book. It contains actual admission tickets, so you can bypass lengthy ticket lines. This can literally save you hours of time, because popular sights such as the Empire State Building often have ticket lines of an hour or more. CityPass is good for 9 days from the first time you use it. It’s sold at all participating attractions and online at www.citypass.net. For more information call CityPass at & 208/787-4300 (CityPass is not sold over the phone).

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Central Park W. (between 77th and 81st sts.). & 212/769-5100 for information, or 212/769-5200 for tickets (tickets can also be ordered online). www.amnh.org. Suggested admission $12 adults, $9 seniors and students, $7 children 2–12. Space Show and museum admission $19 adults, $14 seniors and students, $12 children under 12. Additional charges for IMAX movies and some special exhibitions. Daily 10am–5:45pm; Rose Center open Fri to 8:45pm. Subway: B or C to 81st St.; 1 or 9 to 79th St.

Founded in 1899, the Bronx Kids Zoo is the largest metropolitan animal park in the United States, with more than 4,000 animals living on 265 acres. One of the most impressive exhibits is the Wild Asia Complex, where you’ll find an indoor re-creation of Asian forests, with birds, lizards, gibbons, and leopards; and the Bengali Express Monorail (open May–Oct), which takes you on a narrated ride high above free-roaming Siberian tigers, Asian elephants, Indian rhinoceroses, and other nonnative New Yorkers. The Himalayan Highlands is home to some 17 extremely rare snow leopards, as well as red pandas and white-naped cranes. The Children’s Zoo (open Apr–Oct) allows young humans to learn about their wildlife counterparts.

Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Park

Fordham Rd. and Bronx River Pkwy., the Bronx. & 718/367-1010. www.wcs.org/zoos. Admission $9 adults, $5 seniors and children 2–12; Nov–Mar discounted admission; year-round free Wed. There may be nominal additional charges for some exhibits. Nov–Mar daily 10am–4:30pm (extended hours for Holiday Lights late Nov to early Jan); Apr–Oct Mon–Fri 10am–5pm, Sat–Sun 10am–5:30pm. Subway: 2 to Pelham Pkwy. and then walk west to the Bronxdale entrance.

Brooklyn Bridge Value Its Gothic-inspired stone pylons and intricate steelcable webs have moved poets like Walt Whitman and Hart Crane to sing the praises of this great span, completed in 1883. Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is one of our all-time favorite New York activities, although there’s no doubt that the Lower Manhattan views from the bridge now have a painful resonance as well as a joyous spirit. A wide wood-plank pedestrian walkway is elevated above the traffic, making it a relatively peaceful, and popular, walk. For Manhattan skyline views, take an A or C train to High Street, one stop into Brooklyn. From there, you’ll be on the bridge in no time: Come aboveground, then walk through the little park to Cadman Plaza East and head downslope (left) to the stairwell that will take you up to the footpath. (Following Prospect Place under the bridge, then turning right onto Cadman Plaza E., will also take you directly to the stairwell.) It’s a 20- to 40-minute stroll over the bridge to Manhattan. Subway: A or C to High St.; 4, 5, or 6 to Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall.

Center for Jewish History This 125,000-square-foot complex is the largest repository of Jewish history, art, and literature in the Diaspora. The collection includes 100 million archival documents, 500,000 books, and tens of thousands of objects of art and ephemera, ranging from Thomas Jefferson’s letter denouncing anti-Semitism to memorabilia of famous Jewish athletes. The main gallery space is the Yeshiva Museum, which comprises four galleries, an outdoor sculpture garden, and a children’s workshop; a range of exhibits also showcase various holdings belonging to the other institutions as well. 15 W. 16th St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.). & 212/294-8301. www.cjh.org. Admission to Yeshiva University Museum $6 adults, $4 seniors and students; free admission to all other facilities. Yeshiva University Museum Sun and Tues–Wed 11am–5pm; Thurs 11am–8pm. Reading Room and Genealogy Institute Mon–Thurs 9:30am–4:30pm; Fri by appointment. All other exhibition galleries Mon–Thurs 9am–5pm; Fri 9am–4pm. Subway: L, N, R, 4, 5, or 6 to 14th St./Union Sq.

The Cloisters This remote, lovely spot is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Atop a cliff overlooking the Hudson River, you’ll find a

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12th-century chapter house, parts of five cloisters from medieval monasteries, a Romanesque chapel, and a 12th-century Spanish apse brought intact from Europe. Surrounded by peaceful gardens, this is the one place on the island that can even approximate the kind of solitude suitable to such a collection. Inside you’ll find extraordinary works that include the famed unicorn tapestries, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, ivory, and precious metal work. At the north end of Fort Tryon Park. & 212/923-3700. www.metmuseum.org. Suggested admission (includes same-day entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art) $12 adults, $7 seniors and students, free for children under 12. Nov–Feb Tues–Sun 9:30am–4:45pm; Mar–Oct Tues–Sun 9:30am–5:15pm. Subway: A to 190th St., then a 10-min. walk north along Margaret Corbin Dr., or pick up the M4 bus at the station (1 stop to Cloisters).

Ellis Island Roughly 40% of Americans can trace their heritage back to an ancestor who came through Ellis Island. For the 62 years when it was America’s main entry point for immigrants (1892–1954), Ellis Island processed some 12 million people. The Immigration Museum relates the story of immigration in America by placing the emphasis on personal experience. What might be the most poignant exhibit is Treasures from Home, 1,000 objects and photos donated by descendants of immigrants, including family heirlooms, religious articles, and rare clothing and jewelry. Outside, the American Immigrant Wall of Honor commemorates more than 500,000 immigrants and their families. Touring tips: Ferries run daily to Ellis Island and Liberty Island from Battery Park and Liberty State Park at frequent intervals; see the Statue of Liberty listing (p. 120) for details. In New York Harbor. & 212/363-3200 (general info), or 212/269-5755 (ticket/ferry info). www.nps.gov/elis or www.ellisisland.org. Free admission (ferry ticket charge). Daily 9:30am–5:15pm (last ferry departs around 3:30pm). For subway and ferry details, see the Statue of Liberty listing on p. 120 (ferry trip includes stops at both sites).

It took 60,000 tons of steel, 10 million bricks, 21⁄2 million feet of electrical wire, 120 miles of pipe, and 7 million man-hours to build. On September 11, 2001, it once again regained its status as New York City’s tallest building. And through it all, the Empire State Building has remained one of the city’s favorite landmarks, and its signature high-rise. Completed in 1931, the limestone-and-stainless-steel streamline Deco dazzler climbs 102 stories (1,454 ft.); it harbors the offices of fashion firms and, in its upper reaches, a jumble of broadcast equipment. It glows every night, bathed in colored floodlights to commemorate events of significance—red, white, and blue for Independence Day, and so forth. The familiar silver spire can be seen from all over the city. But the views that keep nearly three million visitors coming every year are the ones from the 86th- and 102nd-floor observatories. The lower one is best; the higher observation deck is glass-enclosed and cramped. Empire State Building

350 Fifth Ave. (at 34th St.). & 212/736-3100. www.esbnyc.com. Observatory admission $10 adults, $9 seniors and children 12–17, $5 children 6–11, free for children under 6. Mon–Fri 10am–midnight; Sat–Sun 9:30am–midnight; tickets sold until 11:25pm. Subway: B, D, F, N, R, V, Q, or W to 34th St.; 6 to 33rd St.

This museum, housed in an 18th-century French-style mansion (1914)—one of the most beautiful remaining on Fifth Avenue—is a living testament to New York’s vanished Gilded Age. Come here to see the classics by some of the world’s most famous painters: Titian, Bellini, Rembrandt, Turner, Vermeer, and El Greco, to name a few. A highlight of the collection is the Fragonard Room, graced with the sensual rococo series The Progress of Love. Included in the price of admission, the audio tour is particularly useful because it allows you to follow your own path rather than a prescribed route.

The Frick Collection

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1 E. 70th St. (at Fifth Ave.). & 212/288-0700. www.frick.org. Admission $12 adults, $8 seniors, $5 students. Children under 10 not admitted; children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Tues and Thurs–Sat 10am–6pm; Fri 10am–9pm; Sun 1–6pm. Closed Wed and all major holidays. Subway: 6 to 68th St./Hunter College.

Grand Central Terminal The 1913 landmark has been reborn as one of the

most magnificent public spaces in the country. Its restoration is an utter triumph, putting the “grand” back into Grand Central. The greatest visual impact comes when you enter the vast main concourse. The high windows once again allow sunlight to penetrate the space, glinting off the half-acre Tennessee marble floor. The masterful sky ceiling, again a brilliant greenish blue, depicts the constellations of the winter sky above New York. They’re lit with 59 stars, surrounded by 24-carat gold and emitting light fed through fiber-optic cables, their intensities roughly replicating the magnitude of the actual stars as seen from Earth. The Municipal Art Society (& 212/935-3960; www.mas.org) offers a free walking tour of Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday at 12:30pm, which meets at the information booth on the Grand Concourse. The Grand Central Partnership (& 212/697-1245) runs its own free tour every Friday at 12:30pm. Call to confirm before either tour. 42nd St. at Park Ave. & 212/340-2210 (events hot line). www.grandcentralterminal.com. Subway: S, 4, 5, 6, or 7 to 42nd St./Grand Central.

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum Kids The aircraft carrier USS Intrepid is a few football fields long, weighs 40,000 tons, holds 40 aircraft, and sometimes doubles as a ballroom for society functions. Now a National Historic Landmark, the exhibit also includes the naval destroyer USS Edson, and the submarine USS Growler, the only intact strategic missile submarine open to the public anywhere in the world, as well as a collection of vintage and modern aircraft, including the A-12 Blackbird, the world’s fastest spy plane, and the newest addition to the museum, a retired British Airways Concorde jet. You can climb inside a replica Revolutionary War submarine, sit in an A-6 Intruder co*ckpit, and follow the progress of America’s astronauts as they work in space. There are even navy flight simulators. The exhibit Remembering 9-11 recalls those lost, both civilians and rescuers. Tip: Dress warmly for a winter visit—it’s almost impossible to heat an aircraft carrier. Pier 86 (W. 46th St. at Twelfth Ave.). & 212/245-0072. www.intrepidmuseum.org. Admission $15 adults, $11 veterans, seniors, and students, $7.50 children 6–11, $2 children 2–5. $5 extra for flight simulator rides. Apr–Sept Mon–Fri 10am–5pm, Sat–Sun 10am–7pm; Oct–Mar Tues–Sun 10am–5pm. Last admission 1 hr. before closing. Subway: A, C, or E to 42nd St./Port Authority. Bus: M42 crosstown.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Best Home of blockbuster after blockbuster exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art attracts some five million people a year, more than any other spot in New York City. This is the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly all the world’s cultures are on display through the ages—from Egyptian mummies to ancient Greek statuary to Islamic carvings to Renaissance paintings to Native American masks to 20th-century decorative arts—and masterpieces are the rule. Unless you plan on spending your entire vacation in the museum, you cannot see the entire collection. Our recommendation is to give it a good day—or better yet, 2 half-days so you don’t burn out. One good way to get an overview is to take advantage of the Museum Highlights Tour, offered every day at various times throughout the day (usually 10:15am–3:15pm). The least overwhelming way to see the Met on your own is to pick up a map at the round desk in the entry hall and choose to concentrate on what you like, whether it’s 17th-century paintings, American furniture, or the

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art of the South Pacific. Don’t forget the marvelous special exhibitions, which can range from Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father and Daughter Painters in Baroque Italy to Earthly Bodies: Irving Penn’s Nudes, 1949–50. Fifth Ave. (at 82nd St.). & 212/535-7710. www.metmuseum.org. Admission (includes same-day entrance to the Cloisters) $12 adults, $7 seniors and students, free for children under 12 when accompanied by an adult. Sun, holiday Mon (Labor Day, Memorial Day, and so forth), and Tues–Thurs 9:30am–5:30pm; Fri–Sat 9:30am–9pm. No strollers allowed Sun (back carriers available at 81st St. entrance coat-check area). Subway: 4, 5, or 6 to 86th St.

Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (better known as MoMa) boasts the world’s greatest collection of painting and sculpture from the late 19th century to the present, including everything from Monet’s Water Lilies to later masterworks by Frida Kahlo, Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others. Top that off with an extensive collection of modern drawings, photography, architectural models and furniture, iconic design objects ranging from tableware to sports cars, and film and video and you have quite a museum. The museum reopened in Manhattan (it had been temporarily relocated to Queens) in November, 2004, after a $650-million renovation that more than doubled the previous exhibit space. The bad news is that the admission charge has gone up to a whopping $20! (This, however, covers all exhibits and galleries.) 11 W. 53rd St. (btwn 5th and 6th aves.). & 212/708-9480. www.moma.org. Admission $12 adults, $8.50 seniors and students, free for children under 16 when accompanied by an adult, pay what you wish Fri 4:30–8:15pm. You can purchase tickets on the website. Sat–Tues and Thurs 10:30am–5:45pm; Fri 10:30am–8:15pm. Subway: E or F to 5th Ave.

Rockefeller Center A streamlined modern masterpiece, Rockefeller Center is one of New York’s central gathering spots for visitors and New Yorkers alike. A prime example of the city’s skyscraper spirit and historic sense of optimism, it was erected mainly in the 1930s, when the city was deep in the Depression as well as its most passionate Art Deco phase. The Rink at Rockefeller Center (& 212/332-7654; www.rockefellercenter.com) is tiny but romantic, especially during the holidays, when the giant Christmas tree’s multicolored lights twinkle from above. NBC television maintains studios throughout the complex, and the 70-minute NBC Studio Tour (& 212/664-3700; www.nbcsuperstore.com) will take you behind the scenes at the Peaco*ck network. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave., at 50th Street (& 212/247-4777; www.radiocity.com), is perhaps the most impressive architectural feat of the complex. Designed by Donald Deskey and opened in 1932, it’s one of the largest indoor theaters, with 6,200 seats. But its true grandeur derives from its magnificent Art Deco appointments. The crowning touch is the stage’s great proscenium arch, which evokes a faraway sun setting on the horizon of the sea. The theater hosts the annual Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes. The 1-hour Stage Door Tour is offered Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Sunday from 11am to 5pm; tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for children under 12. Between 48th and 50th sts. (from Fifth to Sixth aves.). & 212/332-6868. www.rockefellercenter.com. Subway: B, D, F, or V to 47th–50th sts./Rockefeller Center.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum It’s been called a bun, a snail, a concrete tornado, and a giant wedding cake. Whatever description you choose to apply, Frank Lloyd Wright’s only New York building, completed in 1959, is a

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brilliant work of architecture. Inside, a spiraling rotunda circles over a slowly inclined ramp that leads you past changing exhibits. Permanent exhibits of 19thand 20th-century art, including strong holdings of Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, and French Impressionists, occupy a stark annex called the Tower Galleries. 1071 Fifth Ave. (at 89th St.). & 212/423-3500. www.guggenheim.org. Admission $15 adults, $10 seniors and students, free for children under 12, pay what you wish Fri 6–8pm. Sat–Wed 10am–5:45pm; Fri 10am–8pm. Subway: 4, 5, or 6 to 86th St.

Here’s New York’s best freebie—especially if you Value just want to glimpse the Statue of Liberty and not climb her steps. You get an enthralling hour-long excursion (round-trip) into the world’s biggest harbor. The old orange-and-green boats usually have open decks along the sides or at the bow and stern. Grab a seat on the right side of the boat for the best view. On the way out of Manhattan, you’ll pass the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge spanning the distance from Brooklyn to Staten Island in the distance.

Staten Island Ferry

Departs from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal at the southern tip of Manhattan. & 718/815-BOAT. www.ci.nyc. ny.us/html/dot. Free admission ($3 for car transport on select ferries). 24 hr.; every 20–30 min. weekdays, less frequently during off-peak and weekend hours. Subway: N or R to Whitehall St.; 4 or 5 to Bowling Green; 1 or 9 to South Ferry (ride in the 1st 5 cars).

For the millions who first came by ship to America in Kids the last century, Lady Liberty, standing in the Upper Bay, was their first glimpse of America. The statue was designed by sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and unveiled on October 28, 1886. After nearly 100 years of wind, rain, and exposure to the harsh sea air, Lady Liberty received a resoundingly successful $150million face-lift in time for her centennial celebration on July 4, 1986. Touring tips: Ferries leave daily every half-hour to 45 minutes from 9am to about 3:30pm (their clock), with more frequent ferries in the morning and extended hours in summer. Try to go early on a weekday to avoid the crowds that swarm in the afternoon, on weekends, and on holidays. You can buy ferry tickets in advance via www.statueoflibertyferry.com, which will allow you to board the boat without standing in the sometimes-long ticket line; however, there is an additional service charge. After September 11, 2001, access to the base of the statue was prohibited, but in the summer of 2004, access—albeit still somewhat limited (you can’t climb to her crown)—was once again allowed. Now you can explore the Statue of Liberty Museum, peer into the inner structure through a glass ceiling near the base of the statue, and enjoy views from the observation deck atop a 16-story pedestal.

Statue of Liberty

On Liberty Island in New York Harbor. & 212/363-3200 (general info), or 212/269-5755 (ticket/ferry info). www.nps.gov/stli or www.statueoflibertyferry.com. Free admission; ferry ticket to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island $8 adults, $6 seniors, $3 children 3–17. Daily 9am–5pm (last ferry departs around 3:30pm); extended hours in summer. Subway: 4 or 5 to Bowling Green; 1 or 9 to South Ferry (note that 1 and 9 had not resumed service to Lower Manhattan at press time). Walk south through Battery Park to Castle Clinton, the fort housing the ferry ticket booth.

The U.N. headquarters occupies 18 acres of international territory—neither the city nor the United States has jurisdiction here—along the East River from 42nd to 48th streets. The complex along the East River weds the 39-story glass-slab Secretariat with the free-form General Assembly on beautifully landscaped grounds. Guided tours leave every half-hour or so and last 45 minutes to an hour. Your guide will take you to the General Assembly Hall and the Security Council Chamber and introduce the history and activities of the United Nations and its related organizations. Along the tour you’ll see donated

United Nations

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objects and artwork, including charred artifacts that survived the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, stained-glass windows by Chagall, a replica of the first Sputnik, and a colorful mosaic called The Golden Rule, based on a Norman Rockwell drawing, which was a gift from the United States in 1985. At First Ave. and 46th St. & 212/963-8687. www.un.org/tours. Guided tours $11 adults, $8 seniors, $7 high school and college students, $6 children 5–14. Children under 5 not permitted. Daily tours every half-hour 9:30am–4:45pm; closed weekends Jan–Feb; limited schedule may be in effect during the general debate (late Sept to mid-Oct). Subway: S, 4, 5, 6, or 7 to 42nd St./Grand Central.

World Trade Center Site (Ground Zero) The World Trade Center domi-

nated lower Manhattan. About 50,000 people worked in its precincts, and some 70,000 others (tourists and businesspeople) visited each day. The vast complex included two 110-story towers—one of which awarded visitors with breathtaking views from the Top of the World observation deck, more than 1,350 feet in the air. Then the first plane hit the north tower, Tower 1, at 8:45am on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. By 10:30am, it was all gone. A viewing wall on the Church Street side of the now barren site was erected; on that “Wall of Heroes” are the names of those who lost their lives that day along with the history of the site, including photos of the construction of the World Trade Center in the late 1960s and how, after it opened in 1972, it changed the New York skyline and downtown. A walk along the Wall of Heroes remains a painfully moving experience. After much discussion, designer Daniel Libeskind’s Freedom Tower proposal was chosen to be built eventually on the former WTC site. A design for a memorial commemorating the tragic events of 9/11 has also been chosen. But it will be years before either the Tower or the Memorial will be unveiled. Bounded by Church, Barclay, Liberty, and West sts. & 212/484-1222. www.nycvisit.com or www.southst seaport.org for viewing information; www.downtownny.com for Lower Manhattan area information and rebuilding updates. Subway: C or E to World Trade Center; N or R to Cortlandt St.

ORGANIZED SIGHTSEEING TOURS

Double-decker bus tours are one of the best ways to get an overview of Manhattan. Among the operators who offer tours narrated by a guide are Gray Line New York Tours (& 800/669-0051 or 212/445-0848; www.graylinenewyork.com), which has hop-on/hop-off privileges on tours day and night, uptown, downtown, and all around the town for about $35 adults, $20 children 5 to 11. You can see New York Harbor aboard Bateaux New York (& 212/211-3806; www.bateauxnewyork.com). They offer evening dinner cruises complete with live music, departing from Pier 61, Chelsea Piers, West 23rd Street and Twelfth Avenue, with 2-hour lunch cruises $46; 3-hour dinner cruises $88 to $117. The Circle Line (& 212/563-3200; www.circleline42.com, www.ridethe beast.com, and www.seaportmusiccruises.com) circumnavigates the entire 35 miles around Manhattan. The panorama is riveting, and the commentary isn’t bad. The big boats are basic, with lots of deck room. Snacks, soft drinks, coffee, and beer are available onboard. They depart from Pier 83, at West 42nd Street and Twelfth Avenue, and from Pier 16 at South Street Seaport. Sightseeing cruises range from $16 to $25 adults, $17 to $20 seniors, $10 to $13 children 12 and under. WALKING TOURS

The Municipal Art Society (& 212/439-1049 or 212/935-3960; www.mas.org) offers historical and architectural walking tours aimed at individualistic travelers, not the mass market. Highly qualified guides give insights into the significance of

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame The world-famous Yankees play at Yankee Stadium (subway: C, D, or 4 to 161st St./Yankee Stadium). For tickets ($8–$70 in 2004), call Ticketmaster (& 212/307-1212 or 212/307-7171; www.ticketmaster.com) or Yankee Stadium (& 718/293-6000; www.yankees.com). Bleacher seats ($8) are sold only on the day of the game. The Mets play at Shea Stadium in Queens (subway: 7 to Willets Point/Shea Stadium). For tickets (which ran $5–$53 for regular-season games in the 2004 season) and information, call the Mets Ticket Office at & 718/507-TIXX, or visit www.mets.com.

buildings, neighborhoods, and history. Weekday walking tours are $12, weekend tours are $15. Reservations are required on some tours, so call ahead. All tours from Joyce Gold History Tours of New York (& 212/242-5762; www.nyctours.com) are offered by Gold herself, an instructor of Manhattan history at New York University and the New School for Social Research, who has been conducting history walks around New York since 1975. Joyce is full of fascinating stories about the city. Tours are offered on most weekends from March to December and cost $12 per person. TOP SHOPPING STREETS & NEIGHBORHOODS

DOWNTOWN Lower Manhattan continues to shine in the discount department. In spring 2002, the king of discount department stores, Century 21, reopened its doors for the first time since the terrorist attack. In Chinatown, Canal Street and Mott Street, between Pell Street and Chatham Square, boast the most interesting shopping. On The Lower East Side, there’s the Historic Orchard Street Shopping District where prices on leather bags, shoes, luggage, and fabrics on the bolt are still quite good. People love to complain about SoHo—it’s become too trendy, too tony, too Mall of America. But it is still one of the best shopping ’hoods in the city—and few are more fun to browse. It’s the epicenter of cutting-edge fashion and boasts plenty of unique boutiques. Elizabeth Street is the star of the neighborhood known as Nolita. Its boutiques are largely the province of sophisticated shopkeepers specializing in highquality, fashion-forward products and design. The East Village personifies bohemian hip. East 9th Street between Second Avenue and Avenue A has become one of our favorite shopping strips. Up-andcoming designers sell excellent-quality and affordably priced original fashions for women here. If it’s strange, illegal, or funky, it’s probably available on St. Marks Place, which takes over for 8th Street, running east from Third Avenue to Avenue A. Lafayette Street has grown into a full-fledged Antiques Row, especially strong in mid-20th-century furniture. Prices are high, but so is quality. The West Village is great for browsing and gift shopping. Specialty book- and record stores, antiques and crafts shops, and gourmet food markets dominate. MIDTOWN The Chelsea and the Flatiron Districts have superstores and off-pricers filling up the renovated spaces. Herald Square—where 34th Street, Sixth Avenue, and Broadway converge— is dominated by Macy’s, the self-proclaimed world’s biggest department store.

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At Sixth Avenue and 33rd Street is the Manhattan Mall (& 212/465-0500; www.manhattanmallny.com). Times Square and the Theatre District have become increasingly family oriented with a Virgin Megastore; Toys “R” Us has its own Ferris wheel. West 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues is the city’s famous Diamond District. The heart of Manhattan retail is the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Tiffany & Co. has long reigned supreme here, near Niketown and the NBA Store. In addition, a good number of mainstream retailers have flagships along Fifth. Still, you will find a number of big-name, big-ticket designers radiating from the crossroads, including Versace, Chanel, Dior, and Cartier. You’ll also find big-name jewelers along here, as well as chi-chi department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, and Saks Fifth Avenue. UPTOWN Madison Avenue from 57th to 79th streets has usurped Fifth Avenue as the tony shopping street in the city. This strip is home to the most luxurious designer boutiques in the world—particularly in the high 60s—with Barneys New York as the anchor. The Upper West Side’s best shopping street is Columbus Avenue. Small shops catering to the neighborhood’s mix of young hipsters and families line both sides of the pleasant avenue from 66th Street to about 86th Street. You won’t lack for good browsing along here. Boutiques also dot Amsterdam Avenue, but Broadway is most notable for its terrific gourmet edibles at Zabar’s, 2445 Broadway, at 80th Street (& 212/4961234), and Fairway, 2127 Broadway, at 74th Street (& 212/595-1888) markets.

WHERE TO STAY New York hotel rooms give everybody a whole new perspective on “small.” Space is the city’s biggest asset, and getting space costs money. If you’re traveling on a budget, don’t be surprised if your room isn’t much bigger than the bed that’s in it and your cramped bathroom has a sink so small that it looks like it was manufactured for the Keebler elves. Even expensive rooms can be on the small side, or lack closet space, or have smallish bathrooms. We’ve given you a choice of chain hotels and independent properties, traditional and avant-garde, in neighborhoods from fast-paced to quiet (well, for New York). The Algonquin This 1902 hotel is one of the Theater District’s best-known landmarks. Few hotels can match it for history: This is where the New Yorker was born, where Lerner and Loewe wrote My Fair Lady, and—most famously— where some of the biggest names in 1920s literati met to trade boozy quips at the celebrated Algonquin Round Table. The past isn’t just a memory—a 1998 restoration returned this place to its Arts-and-Crafts splendor. The oak-paneled lobby is made for lingering over afternoon tea or an elegant co*cktail. While posher than ever, the small rooms are comfortable but on the cramped side. Extras include stocked candy jars (a nice touch). The bathrooms boast short but deep tubs, terry robes, and an appealing period feel. For the ultimate New York vibe, opt for one of the surprisingly affordable literary-themed suites. 59 W. 44th St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.), New York, NY 10036. & 888/304-2047 or 212/840-6800. Fax 212/944-1419. www.algonquinhotel.com. 174 units. $159–$299 double; from $299 suite. Check website or inquire about discounted rates or special package deals. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $28 across the street. Subway: B, D, F, or V to 42nd St. Amenities: 2 restaurants; exercise room.

Countless movie stars and heads of states have lain their heads on the pillows at this justifiably legendary hotel. With a staff-to-guest ratio of

The Carlyle

New York City: Midtown Accommodations & Dining

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ACCOMMODATIONS The Algonquin 12 The Carlyle 3 Four Seasons Hotel New York 9 Hotel Metro 13 The Kimberly 11 Le Parker Meridien 7 The Lucerne 1 Red Roof Inn 14 Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park 8 Waldorf-Astoria and the Waldorf Towers 10

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about two-to-one, the service is simply the best. The decor is luxurious but not excessive. The magnificent lobby was renovated recently; the marble floors and columns, the original clock, and the Piranesi prints and murals were all restored. Guest rooms range from singles to seven-room suites; all offer VCRs, DVD players, and bathrobes. Some rooms have terraces and dining rooms; a few have kitchens or kitchenettes. All have marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and the amenities you’d expect. 35 E. 76th St. (at Madison Ave.), New York, NY 10021. & 800/227-5737 or 212/744-1600. Fax 212/7174682. www.thecarlyle.com. 180 units. $495–$750 double; from $750 1- or 2-bedroom suite. AE, DC, MC, V. Parking $50. Subway: 6 to 77th St. Pets accepted. Amenities: 3 restaurants; high-tech fitness room; spa. In room: Pantry kitchenette or full kitchen (in some).

This is one of the best hotel deals in Value Manhattan for budget travelers who insist on a private bathroom. Everything is strictly budget, but nice. Beds are comfy, and sheets and towels are of good quality. Rooms are small but make the most of the limited space, and the place is pristine. The two-level minilofts have lots of character, but expect to duck on the second level. Management does a great job of keeping everything fresh. Services are kept at a bare minimum to keep costs down, so you must be a low-maintenance guest to be happy here. Cosmopolitan Hotel–Tribeca

95 W. Broadway (at Chambers St.), New York, NY 10007. & 888/895-9400 or 212/566-1900. Fax 212/5666909. www.cosmohotel.com. 105 units. $119–$149 double. AE, DC, MC, V. Parking $20, 1 block away. Subway: 1, 2, 3, or 9 to Chambers St.

Four Seasons Hotel New York Hollywood meets Manhattan in the grand but frosty lobby of this ultraluxury hotel. Designed by I. M. Pei, the tower of honey-hued limestone rises 52 stories, providing hundreds of rooms with a view. The soundproof guest rooms are among the city’s largest, averaging 600 square feet. Each is furnished in an understated but plush style and has a sitting area, leather chairs, coffered ceilings, and massive windows (50% of which boast Central Park views). The marble bathrooms have soaking tubs, and separate showers with pressure controls. Other special touches include goose-down pillows, Frettemade linens, oversize bath towels, and cushy robes. 57 E. 57th St. (between Park and Madison aves.), New York, NY 10022. & 800/819-5053, 800/487-3769, or 212/758-5700. Fax 212/758-5711. www.fourseasons.com. 368 units. $595–$860 double; from $1,350 suite. Extra person $50. Weekend rates from $435; also check for value-added packages and other deals. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $43. Subway: N, R, 4, 5, or 6 to 60th St. Amenities: Restaurant; 5,000-sq.-ft. spa and fitness center.

Hotel Metro Value Kids The Metro is the best choice in Midtown for those who don’t want to sacrifice either style or comfort for affordability. This Art Deco–style jewel’s large rooms are outfitted with retro furnishings, refrigerators, and marble bathrooms. Only about half the bathrooms have tubs, but the others have shower stalls big enough for two (junior suites have whirlpool tubs). The “family room” is a two-room suite that has a second bedroom in lieu of a sitting area. The comfy library/lounge area off the lobby, where complimentary buffet breakfast is laid out and the coffeepot’s on all day, is a popular hangout. The rooftop terrace boasts a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building. 45 W. 35th St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.), New York, NY 10001. & 800/356-3870 or 212/947-2500. Fax 212/279-1310. www.hotelmetronyc.com. 179 units. $165–$250 double; $175–$300 triple or quad; $175–$350 family room; $210–$400 suite. Extra person $25. 1 child under 14 stays free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. Check with airlines and other package operators for great-value package deals. AE, DC, MC, V. Parking $17 nearby. Subway: B, D, F, V, N, or R to 34th St. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness room. In room: Fridge.

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Surprisingly good rates on suites mean that you could be Value standing on your private balcony overlooking Manhattan for less than you’d think. These are full apartments with dining areas, living rooms, kitchens, marble bathrooms, tons of closet space, and balconies (in all but eight suites). The two-bedroom suites each have two bathrooms. The 21 regular rooms are handsome and comfortable, with bathrooms with deep tubs. Additional amenities include refrigerators and robes. A unique perk is complimentary boarding of a 75-foot yacht for a sunset cruise (weekends May–Oct, always weather-dependent).

The Kimberly

145 E. 50th St. (between Lexington and Third aves.), New York, NY 10022. & 800/683-0400 or 212/7550400. Fax 212/486-6915. www.kimberlyhotel.com or www.srs-worldhotels.com. 186 units. $259–$349 double; $299–$1,000 1-bedroom suite (including specialty suites); $459–$689 2-bedroom suite. Extra person $25. Children 17 and under stay free in parent’s room. Check for deeply discounted off-season and weekend rates (as low as $199 at press time) as well as package deals. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $30. Subway: 6 to 51st St.; E or F to Lexington Ave. Amenities: 2 restaurants; free access to New York Health & Racquet Club. In room: Fridge.

A stay at Le Parker Meridien is a New York experiKids ence in itself. Not many hotels in New York can rival the attributes of this hotel: Its location on 57th Street is practically perfect; the 17,000 square-foot state-ofthe-art fitness center features a basketball and a racquetball court, a spa, and a rooftop pool; a gorgeous, bustling lobby that also serves as a public space; and elevators with televisions that continuously show cartoons and Charlie Chaplin shorts that are a wonder for the kids. The spacious hotel rooms, though a bit on the Ikea side, have a fun feel to them. Rooms have wood platform beds with feather beds; built-ins that include large work desks, stylish Aeron chairs, and 32-inch flatscreen televisions with VCR/CD and DVD players. The slate-andlimestone bathrooms are large, but unfortunately come only with shower.

Le Parker Meridien

118 W. 57th St. (between Sixth and Seventh aves.), New York, NY 10019. & 800/543-4300 or 212/245-5000. Fax 212/307-1776. www.parkermeridien.com. 731 units. $370–$680 double; from $480 suite. Extra person $30. Excellent packages and weekend rates often available (as low as $189 at press time). AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $40. Subway: N, R, B, or Q to 57th St. Pets accepted. Amenities: 2 restaurants; fitness center; spa. In room: A/C, 32-in. TV w/DVD/CD player, fax, dataport, minibar, hair dryer, iron, safe.

This magnificent 1903 landmark building on the Upper West Side (it was once a dormitory) has been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel, and that transformation has been a triumph on many levels. Service here is impeccable, especially for a moderately priced hotel; everything is fresh and immaculate. The rooms are all spacious and comfortable, with attractive bathrooms complete with travertine counters. Some of the rooms have views of the Hudson River. The suites are extra special here and include a kitchenette and a sitting room with a sofa and extra television.

The Lucerne

201 W. 79th St. (at Amsterdam Ave.), New York, NY 10024. & 800/492-8122 or 212/875-1000. Fax 212/ 579-2408. www.newyorkhotel.com. 250 units. $140–$270 double or queen; $160–$290 king or junior suite; $220–$410 1-bedroom suite. Extra person $20. Children under 16 stay free in parent’s room. Continental breakfast additional $5 per person. AAA discounts offered; check website for special Internet deals. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $25 nearby. Subway: 1 or 9 to 79th St. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness center. In room: Kitchenette (in suites only).

Red Roof Inn Value Manhattan’s first, and only, Red Roof Inn offers welcome relief from Midtown’s high-priced hotel scene. The hotel occupies a former office building that was gutted and laid out fresh, allowing for more spacious rooms than you’ll usually find in this price category. The high-ceilinged lobby feels smarter than most in this price range, and elevators are quiet and efficient. What’s more, in-room amenities are better than most competitors’, and furnishings are

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fresh, brand-new, and comfortable. The location—just a stone’s throw from the Empire State Building and Herald Square—is excellent. A complimentary continental breakfast adds to the good value. 6 W. 32nd St. (between Broadway and Fifth Ave.), New York, NY 10001. & 800/567-7720, 800/RED-ROOF, or 212/643-7100. Fax 212/643-7101. www.applecorehotels.com or www.redroof.com. 171 units. $109–$300 double (and as low as $89). Children 13 and under stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $22. Subway: B, D, F, V, N, or R to 34th St. Amenities: Exercise room. In room: Fridge.

This hotel features an enviBest Kids able location overlooking Central Park, impeccable and personable service, and luxury galore—but it still manages to maintain a homey elegance. Rooms are spacious and decorated in traditional, English-countryside style. Suites are larger than most New York City apartments. Rooms facing Central Park come with telescopes, and all have flatscreen TVs with DVD players. The marble bathrooms are also oversize and feature bathrobes and Frederic Fekkai bath amenities. For families who can afford the very steep prices, the hotel is extremely kid-friendly. Children are given in-room cookies and milk. The Switzerlandbased La Prairie Spa offers loads of pampering.

Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

50 Central Park S. (at Sixth Ave.), New York, NY 10019. & 212/308-9100. Fax 212/207-8831. www.ritz carlton.com. 277 units. $650–$975 double; from $1,395 suite. Package and weekend rates available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $50. Subway N, R, B, or Q to 57th St. Pets under 60 lb. warmly welcomed. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness center; La Prairie spa and facial center.

Waldorf=Astoria and the Waldorf Towers If you are looking for the

epitome of old-school elegance, you can’t do better than this Art Deco masterpiece. No two rooms are exactly alike, yet all are airy, with high ceilings, traditional decor, comfortable linens and beds, and spacious marble bathrooms. Renowned for its butler service and respect for privacy, the residential-style Waldorf Towers occupies floors 27 to 42 and has a separate entrance. Many of these gorgeous rooms and suites are outfitted with original art and antiques, plus full dining rooms, kitchens, and maid’s quarters. The Presidential Suite is aptly named, having cosseted many world leaders. 301 Park Ave. (between 49th and 50th sts.), New York, NY 10022. & 800/WALDORF, 800/774-1500, or 212/ 355-3000. Fax 212/872-7272 (Astoria) or 212/872-4799 (Towers). www.waldorfastoria.com or www.waldorftowers.com. 1,245 units (180 in the Towers). Waldorf=Astoria $229–$485 double; from $349 suite. Waldorf Towers $329–$625 double; from $515 suite. Extra person $40. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Corporate, senior, seasonal, and weekend discounts may be available (as low as $189 at press time), as well as attractive package deals. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $45. Subway: 6 to 51st St. Amenities: 3 restaurants; 3,000-sq.-ft. fitness center and excellent spa. In room: Kitchenette or wet bar with fridge (in some).

WHERE TO DINE Reservations (where taken) are always a good idea in New York, and a virtual necessity if your party is bigger than two or you want a special meal at a top restaurant. Do yourself a favor and call ahead as a rule of thumb so you won’t be disappointed. Besides the restaurants listed below, also consider the legendary Central Park restaurant Tavern on the Green, Central Park West and West 67th Street (& 212/ 873-3200). Food takes a back seat to dining in one of the city’s best settings. Views over the park are wonderful; in good weather, try for a seat in the outdoor garden, with its whimsical topiary shrubs and Japanese lanterns. It’s also a great place to visit during the holidays. For non-vegetarians and the non-health-minded, consider the cheapest, yet in some ways, most comforting indulgence: Gray’s Papaya, 2090 Broadway, at

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72nd Street (& 212/799-0243). This 24-hour hot-dog stand is a New York institution. Hot dogs go for 75¢, and the “Recession Special,” two hot dogs and a drink (overly sweetened papaya, piña colada, or orange juice), is a whopping $2.45. For divine baked goods and gourmet sandwiches and salads, also consider Franco-Brussels import Le Pain Quotidien, which has three Upper East Side locations: 833 Lexington Ave., between 63rd and 64th streets (& 212/7555810); 1336 First Ave., between 71st and 72nd streets (& 212/717-4800); and an easy walk from Museum Mile at 1131 Madison Ave., between 84th and 85th streets (& 212/327-4900). Note: After tough new nonsmoking laws were imposed in 2003, you cannot light up in any restaurant anywhere in the city. Alain Ducasse at the Essex House CLASSIC FRENCH Ducasse, Europe’s most famous Michelin three-star chef, has elevated special-occasion dining in New York to a whole new level. The intimate, antiques-filled dining rooms are bold, colorful, and richly formal; unlike so many other “fine” dining establishments, this is a place worth dressing up for. Expect ultra-elegant haute French cuisine with the occasional Mediterranean flair. Each dish on the prix-fixe menus is a symphony of bold flavors, and claims that preparations were uneven early on have disappeared. The wine list is phenomenally expensive but fabulous, and service is smooth and elegant. 158 W. 58th St. (between Sixth and Seventh aves.). & 212/265-7300. www.alain-ducasse.com. Reservations required. Jacket and tie required for men. 3-course lunch $65; 3- to 4-course dinner $165–$185; tasting menus $185–$280. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Tues–Sat 6:30–9pm; Thurs–Fri noon–2pm. Subway: N, R, or W to 57th St.

Aquagrill SEAFOOD This marvelous (and popular) restaurant serves up some of the city’s best fish. The raw bar flies in a phenomenal selection of oysters from around the world. If you like sea urchin, don’t pass on the fresh Maine version if it’s available, served in the shell with citrus soy and shaved scallions. Among the entrees, you can keep it cheap and simple with preparations that let the fish’s own fresh, clean flavors sing. Service is knowledgeable and efficient, the wine list boasts a number of affordable choices, and there’s outdoor seating. 210 Spring St. (at Sixth Ave.). & 212/274-0505. Reservations highly recommended. Main courses $9.50–$24 lunch and brunch, $15–$26 dinner; $17 3-course “Shucker’s Special” at lunch (half-dozen oysters, salad, soup). AE, MC, V. Tues–Thurs noon–3pm and 6–10:45pm; Fri noon–3pm and 6–11:45pm; Sat noon–3:45pm and 6–11:45pm; Sun noon–3:45pm and 6–10:30pm. Subway: C or E to Spring St.

Here’s the best Italian restaurant in the Value NORTHERN ITALIAN city. Tucked behind an inviting butter-yellow facade, the restaurant is warm and intimate, with well-spaced tables and a relaxed air. Chef Mario Batali has reinvented the notion of antipasti with such starters as fresh anchovies beautifully marinated in lobster oil. The chef has no equal when it comes to creative pastas. The secondi menu features such wonders as tender fennel-dusted sweetbreads, and smoky grilled quail in a heavenly fig-and-duck-liver vinaigrette. The sommelier can help you choose from the excellent Italian wine list.

Babbo

110 Waverly Place (just east of Sixth Ave.). & 212/777-0303. www.babbonyc.com. Reservations highly recommended. Pastas $17–$21 (most under $21); meats and fish $23–$29; 7-course tasting menus $59–$65 ($45 supplement for accompanying wines, $90 for reserves). AE, MC, V. Mon–Sat 5:30–11:30pm; Sun 5–11pm. Subway: A, C, E, F, B, or D to 4th St. (use 8th St. exit).

Café Boulud Value FRENCH Here’s a chance to sample the stellar cuisine of Daniel Boulud, New York’s best French chef, at a less than hefty price tag. Four menus are offered, featuring either Boulud’s signature French-country classics; a

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vegetarian menu; seasonal dishes; or a monthly globe-hopping menu highlighting Tuscany, Thailand, or somewhere in between. The experimental nature of the wide-ranging menus makes choosing a thrill, and even the most inventive dishes tend to dazzle the palate. The poached Dover sole with baby leeks and sauce vin blanc is truly memorable. All in all, a first-rate dining experience at more palatable prices than cuisine this memorable usually costs. Don’t be in a rush, though, especially at lunch. 20 E. 76th St. (between Madison and Fifth aves.). & 212/772-2600. www.danielnyc.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $26–$30 lunch, $26–$37 dinner; 2- or 3-course fixed-price lunch $29–$36. Daily 5:45–11pm; Tues–Sat noon–2:30pm (no Sat lunch July–Aug). Subway: 6 to 77th St.

Chanterelle Best CONTEMPORARY FRENCH This West Village spot is our favorite special-occasion restaurant (you don’t dine here on the cheap). The dining room is simple but beautiful, with a pressed-tin ceiling, widely spaced tables, and gorgeous floral displays. Your server will know the handwritten menu in depth and can describe preparations in detail and suggest complementary combinations. The artful cuisine is based on traditional French technique, but Pacific and Pan-European notes sneak into the culinary melodies, and lots of dishes are lighter than you’d expect. The seasonal menu changes every few weeks, but one signature dish appears on almost every menu: a marvelous if expensive grilled seafood sausage. The wine list is superlative, but we wish there were more affordable options. 2 Harrison St. (at Hudson St.). & 212/966-6960. www.chanterellenyc.com. Reservations recommended well in advance. 3-course fixed-price dinner $84; tasting menu $95 ($155 with wines). AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon 5:30–11pm; Tues–Sat noon–2:30pm and 5:30–11pm. Subway: 1 or 9 to Franklin St.

Florent Kids DINER/FRENCH BISTRO In the Meat-Packing District, Florent, the nearly 24-hour French bistro dressed up as a ’50s-style diner, is a perennial hot spot. But it’s after the clubs close that the joint really jumps. Tables are packed, but it’s all part of the festivities. This place has a sense of humor (check out the menu boards above the bar) and a CD catalog full of the latest indie sounds, all adding to the hipster fun. The food’s good, too. There are always faves such as burgers and chili in addition to standards such as moules frites, and comfort foods such as chicken potpie make regular appearances. The fries are light, crispy, and addictive. Tip: A children’s menu makes this the perfect place to bring the kids for lunch or early dinner. 69 Gansevoort St. (2 blocks south of 14th St. and 1 block west of Ninth Ave., between Greenwich and Washington sts.). & 212/989-5779. www.restaurantflorent.com. Reservations recommended for dinner. Main courses $8–$21 (most less than $15); 3-course fixed-price dinner $19 before 7:30pm, $21 7:30pm–midnight. No credit cards. Mon–Wed 9am–5am; Thurs–Sun 24 hr. Subway: A, C, E, or L to 14th St.

Joe’s Shanghai SHANGHAI CHINESE Just off the Bowery, this Chinatown institution serves up authentic cuisine to enthusiastic crowds. The stars of the menu are the signature soup dumplings, steamed pockets filled with hot broth and your choice of pork or crab, accompanied by a side of seasoned soy. Listed as “steamed buns” (item nos. 1 and 2), these culinary marvels never disappoint. The room is set mostly with round tables of 10 or so, and you’ll be asked if you’re willing to share. We encourage you to do so! 9 Pell St. (between Bowery and Mott sts.). & 212/233-8888. Reservations recommended for 10 or more. Main courses $4.25–$17. No credit cards. Daily 11am–11pm. Subway: N, R, Q, W, or 6 to Canal St.; F to Delancey St. Also at 24 W. 56th St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.). & 212/333-3868. Subway: B or Q to 57th St.

On the Lower East Side is the Value JEWISH DELI city’s best deli. All of Katz’s eats are first-rate: matzo ball and chicken noodle

Katz’s Delicatessen

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For the Perfect Pizza Patsy’s Pizzeria, 2287 First Ave., between 117th and 118th streets (& 212/ 534-9783), is our favorite pizzeria in the city, and was also the favorite of Frank Sinatra, who liked it so much he had pies packed and flown out to Las Vegas. The coal oven here has been burning since 1932, and though the neighborhood in East Harlem where it is located has had its ups and downs, the quality of pizza at Patsy’s has never wavered. Try the marinara pizza, a pie with fresh marinara sauce but no cheese that’s so good you won’t miss the mozzarella. Don’t be fooled by imitators using Patsy’s name; this is the original and the best.

soups, potato knishes, cheese blintzes, and the beloved all-beef hot dogs. There’s no faulting the pastrami—piled high on rye—or the dry-cured roast beef, either. All of the well-stuffed sandwiches are cheaper than you’ll find at any other deli in town. What’s more, Katz’s is the only deli cool enough to let you split one without adding a $2 to $3 “sharing” charge. 205 E. Houston St. (at Ludlow St.). & 212/254-2246. Reservations not accepted. Sandwiches $2.15–$10; other main courses $5–$18. AE, MC, V ($20 minimum). Sun–Tues 8am–10pm; Wed–Thurs 8am–11pm; Fri–Sat 8am–3am. Subway: F to Second Ave.

Le Bernardin FRENCH/SEAFOOD You may not find a better seafood restaurant in New York, or maybe even the world. Chef Eric Ripert’s tuna tartare always exhilarates, its Asian seasoning a welcome exotic touch. Among main courses that shine are the steamed striped bass with roasted foie gras; and crusted cod, served on a bed of haricots verts with potatoes and diced tomatoes. The formal service is impeccable, as is the outrageously pricey wine list, and the room is uptown gorgeous, if a little generic. The fixed-price lunch is a bargain, given the master in the kitchen. The desserts—especially the lemon pineapple pound cake—end the meal with a flourish. 155 W. 51st St. (between Sixth and Seventh aves.). & 212/489-1515. www.le-bernardin.com. Reservations required. Jacket required, tie optional. Fixed-price lunch $48; fixed-price dinner $87; tasting menus $100–$135. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri noon–2:30pm; Mon–Thurs 5:30–10:30pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm. Subway: N or R to 49th St.; 1 or 9 to 50th St.

Peter Luger Steakhouse STEAKS If you love steak, then book a table here and hop a cab to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Expect loads of attitude and nothing in the way of decor or atmosphere (beer hall is the theme)—but this century-old institution is porterhouse heaven. The first-rate cuts—the only ones this 114-year-old institution serves—are dry-aged on the premises and come off the grill dripping with fat and butter, crusty on the outside and tender pink within. It’s the best steak in the five boroughs, bar none. Note: Bring wads of cash because this place is expensive, but doesn’t take credit cards. 178 Broadway (at Driggs Ave.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn. & 718/387-7400. www.peterluger.com. Reservations essential; call a month in advance for weekend bookings. Main courses $5–$20 lunch, $20–$32 dinner. No credit cards (Peter Luger accounts only). Mon–Thurs 11:45am–9:45pm; Fri–Sat 11:45am–10:45pm; Sun 12:45–9:45pm. Subway: J, M, or Z to Marcy Ave. (Or take a cab.)

If the mostly Japanese clientele at Value JAPANESE NOODLES this longtime Theater District noodle shop doesn’t convince you of Sapporo’s authenticity, the constant din of satisfied diners slurping at huge bowls of steaming ramen (noodle soup with meat and vegetables) surely will. And though the ramen is Sapporo’s well-deserved specialty, the gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and

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the donburi (pork or chicken over rice with soy-flavored sauce) are also terrific. Best of all, nothing on the menu is over $10, and that’s not easy to accomplish in the oft-overpriced Theater District. 152 W. 49th St. (between Sixth and Seventh aves.). & 212/869-8972. Reservations not accepted. Main courses $6–$9. No credit cards. Mon–Sat 11am–11pm; Sun 11am–10pm. Subway: N or R to 49th St.

NEW YORK CITY AFTER DARK For the latest, most comprehensive nightlife listings, the magazine Time Out New York (www.timeoutny.com) is our favorite weekly source; it comes out every Thursday. The free weekly Village Voice’s (www.villagevoice.com) arts and entertainment coverage is extensive, and just about every live-music venue advertises here. The New York Times (www.nytoday.com) features terrific entertainment coverage, particularly in the two-part Friday “Weekend” section. New York magazine’s www.nymetro.com site is an excellent online source. T H E T H E AT E R S C E N E

We can’t tell you precisely what will be on while you’re in town, so check the publications listed above for specifics. Another good source is the Broadway Line (& 888/BROADWAY or 212/302-4111; www.broadway.org), where you can obtain details and descriptions on current Broadway shows, and choose to be transferred to TeleCharge or Ticketmaster. There’s also NYC/Onstage (& 212/ 768-1818; www.tdf.org), a recorded service providing complete schedules, descriptions, and other details on theater and the performing arts. Ticket prices vary dramatically. Expect to pay for good seats; the high end for any given show is likely to be between $60 and $100. Off-Broadway and OffOff-Broadway shows tend to be cheaper, with tickets often as low as $10 or $15. TICKET-BUYING TIPS Phone ahead or go online for tickets to the most popular shows as far in advance as you can. You need only call such general numbers as TeleCharge (& 212/239-6200; www.telecharge.com) or Ticketmaster (& 212/307-4100; www.ticketmaster.com). Theatre Direct International (TDI) is a ticket broker (minimum service charge of $15) that sells tickets to select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Check to see if they have seats to the shows you’re interested in by calling & 800/ BROADWAY or 212/541-8457; you can also order tickets via their website, www.broadway.com. Three commercial sites—Broadway.com (www.broadway.com), Playbill Online (www.playbill.com or www.playbillclub.com), and TheaterMania (www.theatermania.com)—offer information on Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, with links to the ticket-buying agencies. Each offers an online theater club that’s free to join and can yield substantial savings—as much as 50%—on advance-purchase theater tickets for select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. You should also try the Broadway Ticket Center, run by the League of American Theatres and Producers at the Times Square Visitors Center, 1560 Broadway, between 46th and 47th streets (open Mon–Sat 9am–7pm, Sun 10am–6pm). They often have tickets available for otherwise sold-out shows, both for advance and same-day purchase, and only charge about $5 extra per ticket. Even if saving money isn’t an issue for you, check the boards at the TKTS Booth in Times Square (open 3–8pm for evening performances, 10am–2pm for Wed and Sat matinees, 11am–8pm on Sun for all performances), for same-day discounted tickets. Tickets for the day’s performances are usually offered at halfprice, with a few reduced only 25%, plus a $2.50-per-ticket service charge. Boards outside the ticket windows list available shows. Only cash and traveler’s

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checks are accepted (no credit cards). There’s often a huge line, so show up early for the best availability and be prepared to wait—but frankly, the crowd is all part of the fun. Visit www.tdf.org or call NYC/Onstage at & 212/768-1818 and press “8” for the latest TKTS information. THE PERFORMING ARTS

In addition to the listings below, see what’s happening at Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. (& 212/247-7800; www.carnegiehall.org; subway: N, R, or W to 57th St.); and at the 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., at 92nd Street (& 212/ 415-5500; www.92ndsty.org), which offers many excellent cultural events. LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS New York is the world’s premier performing arts city, and Lincoln Center, at Broadway and 64th Street (& 212/546-2656 or 212/875-5456; www.lincolncenter.org; subway: 1 or 9 to 6th St.), is its premier institution. Resident companies include The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (& 212/875-5788; www.chambermusicsociety.org); The Film Society of Lincoln Center (& 212/875-5600; www.filmlinc.com), which shows films at the Walter Reade Theater; Jazz at Lincoln Center (& 212/258-9800; www.jazz atlincolncenter.org), led by Wynton Marsalis; and Lincoln Center Theater (& 212/362-7600; www.lct.org), with the Vivian Beaumont Theater, a home to Broadway shows and the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, an Off-Broadway house. Other renowned tenants are the Metropolitan Opera (& 212/362-6000; www.metopera.org), New York City Opera (& 212/870-5570; www.nycopera. com), New York City Ballet (& 212/870-5570; www.nycballet.com), New York Philharmonic (& 212/875-5656; www.newyorkphilharmonic.org), and American Ballet Theatre (& 212/581-1212; www.abt.org). Most of the companies’ major seasons run from about September or October to April, May, or June. Tickets for all performances at Avery Fisher and Alice Tully halls can be purchased through CenterCharge (& 212/721-6500) or online at www.lincolncenter.org (click on “Box Office & Schedule” in the upper-right corner). Tickets for all Lincoln Center Theater performances can be purchased thorough TeleCharge (& 212/239-6200; www.telecharge.com). Tickets for New York State Theater productions (New York City Opera and Ballet companies) are available through Ticketmaster (& 212/307-4100; www. ticketmaster.com), while tickets for films showing at the Walter Reade Theater can be bought up to 7 days in advance by calling & 212/496-3809. OTHER CONCERT HALLS & VENUES Modern dance takes center stage at City Center, 131 W. 55th St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues (& 877/ 581-1212 or 212/581-1212; www.citycenter.org.; subway: F, N, Q, R, or W to 57th St.; B, D, or E to Seventh Ave.); and at the Joyce Theater, one of the world’s greatest modern dance institutions, located at 175 Eighth Ave., at 19th Street (& 212/242-0800; www.joyce.org.; subway: C or E to 23rd St.; 1 or 9 to 18th St.). The Apollo Theatre, 253 W. 125th St., between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass boulevards (& 212/531-5300 or 212/531-5301; www.apollo theater.com; subway: 1 or 9 to 125th St.), is internationally renowned for its African-American acts of all musical genres. The Brooklyn Academy of Music presents cutting-edge theater, opera, dance, and music at 30 Lafayette Ave., off Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn (& 718/636-4100; www.bam.org; subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, M, N, Q, R, or W to Pacific St./Atlantic Ave.).

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Value Park It! Shakespeare, Music & Other Free Fun As the weather warms, New York culture comes outdoors to play. Shakespeare in the Park, held at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, is by far the city’s most famous alfresco arts event. The schedule consists of one or two summertime productions, usually of the Bard’s plays. Productions often feature big names and range from traditional to avant-garde interpretations. The theater itself, next to Belvedere Castle near 79th Street and West Drive, is a dream—on a beautiful starry night, there’s no better stage in town. Tickets are given out free on a first-come, first-served basis (two per person), at 1pm on the day of the performance at the theater. The Delacorte might have 1,881 seats, but each is a hot commodity, so people generally line up on the baseball field next to the theater about 2 to 3 hours in advance (even earlier if a big box-office name is involved). You can also pick up same-day tickets between 1 and 3pm at the Public Theater, at 425 Lafayette St., where the Shakespeare Festival continues throughout the year. For more information, call the Public Theater at & 212/539-8750 or the Delacorte at & 212/861-7277, or go online at www.publictheater.org. With summer also comes the sound of music to Central Park, where the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera regularly entertain beneath the stars; for the current schedule, call & 212/3603444, 212/875-5709, or 212/362-6000, or visit www.lincolncenter.org. The most active music stage in the park is SummerStage, at Rumsey Playfield, midpark around 72nd Street. The season usually lasts from mid-June to early August. While some big-name shows charge admission, tickets aren’t usually required; donations are warmly accepted, however. For the latest performance info, call the SummerStage hot line at & 212/360-2777 or visit www.summerstage.org. Central Park may be the most happening park in town, but the calendar of free events heats up throughout the city’s parks in summertime. You can find out what’s happening by calling the Parks and Recreation Special Events Hot Line at & 888/NY-PARKS or 212/3603456, or pointing your Web browser to http://nycgovparks.org.

LIVE POPULAR MUSIC

A midsize venue for national acts is The Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St., at the Bowery (& 212/533-2111; www.boweryballroom.com), an atmospheric general admission space that holds about 500. Its slightly bigger brother, Irving Plaza, is another old hall near Union Square at 17 Irving Place (& 212/777-1224; www. irvingplaza.com; subway: L, N, R, 4, 5, or 6 to 14th St.–Union Sq.). B. B. King Blues Club & Grill anchors Times Square’s “new” 42nd Street with pop, funk, and rock names, mainly from the past (& 212/997-4144, or 212/307-7171 for tickets; www.bbkingblues.com; subway: A, C, E, Q, W, 1, 2, 3, 7, or 9 to 42nd St.). The Knitting Factory, at 74 Leonard St., between Broadway and Church Street (& 212/219-3055; www.knittingfactory.com; subway: 1 or 9 to Franklin St.), is the city’s premier avant-garde music venue.

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Folk rock’s legendary Bitter End, 147 Bleecker St., between Thompson and LaGuardia streets (& 212/673-7030; www.bitterend.com), is still going strong. JAZZ & GLOBAL MUSIC Birdland has an excellent sound system and a top-notch talent roster at 315 W. 44th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues (& 212/581-3080; www.birdlandjazz.com; subway: A, C, or E to 42nd St.). Prices are astronomical, but the Blue Note attracts the biggest names in jazz to its intimate setting at 131 W. 3rd St., at Sixth Avenue (& 212/475-8592; www. bluenote.net; subway: A, C, E, F, or V to W. 4th St.). The Lenox Lounge (& 212/427-0253; subway: 2 or 3 to 125th St.) is Harlem’s best jazz club at 288 Malcolm X Blvd. (Lenox Ave.; between 124th and 125th sts.). The diversity of music that can be heard on any given night is staggering. Flamenco, Klezmer, Celtic, Middle-Eastern jazz, Afro-Cuban, and Quebecois are examples of just some of the diverse musical styles you might hear at Satalla, 37 W. 26th St., between Sixth Avenue and Broadway (& 212/576-1155; www.satalla.com; subway: F to 23rd St.). CABARET Cabaret doesn’t get any better than at the Cafe Carlyle, where you’ll find the legendary Bobby Short. It’s at the Carlyle hotel, 781 Madison Ave., at 76th Street (& 212/570-7189; subway: 6 to 77th St.). Closed from July to August. Joe’s Pub is a popular cabaret and supper club at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., between Astor Place and 4th Street (& 212/ 539-8777; www.joespub.com; subway: 6 to Astor Place). COMEDY Carolines on Broadway presents today’s headliners in its Theater District showroom at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th streets (& 212/ 757-4100; www.carolines.com; subway: N or R to 49th St.; 1 or 9 to 50th St.). The Comedy Cellar is the club of choice for stand-up fans in the know at 117 MacDougal St., between Bleecker and West 3rd streets (& 212/254-3480; www. comedycellar.com; subway: A, C, E, F, V, or S to W. 4th St., use 3rd St. exit). B A R S & C O C K TA I L L O U N G E S

In TriBeCa, Bubble Lounge at 228 W. Broadway, between Franklin and White streets (& 212/431-3443; www.bubblelounge), is dedicated to the bubbly with more than 300 champagnes and sparkling wines. No jeans, sneakers, or baseball caps. Chinatown’s Double Happiness at 173 Mott St., between Grand and Broome streets (& 212/941-1282; subway: 6 to Spring St.), is a speakeasy-ish lounge with artistic nods to the neighborhood throughout. Don’t miss the green tea martini. On the Lower East Side, Barramundi, 147 Ludlow St., between Stanton and Rivington streets (& 212/569-6900; subway: F to Second Ave.), is notable for its outdoor garden and friendly staff. In the West Village, Chumley’s (& 212/675-4449) dates back to Prohibition and offers a good selection of on-taps and microbrews at 86 Bedford St., at Barrow Street (subway: 1 or 9 to Christopher St.). Near Gramercy Park, Pete’s Tavern (& 212/473-7676; www.petestavern.com), the oldest continuously operating establishment in the city, opened while Lincoln was still president. There’s Guinness on tap and a terrific happy hour at 129 E. 18th St., at Irving Place (subway: L, N, R, 4, 5, or 6 to 14th St./Union Sq.). Spread/Coal (& 212/683-8888; www.spreadnyc.com) is a sexy lounge/restaurant hybrid at the Marcel Hotel, 323 Third Ave., at 24th Street (subway: 6 to 23rd St.). On the West Side, at the Oak Room at the Algonquin (& 212/840-6800), you can feel the spirit of Dorothy Parker and the legendary Algonquin Round

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Table at 59 W. 44th St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues (subway: B, D, F, or V to 42nd St.). The Russian Vodka Room (& 212/307-5835) is a Theater District find, with more than 50 vodkas plus the RVR’s own miraculous infusions, at 265 W. 52nd St., between Broadway and Eighth Avenue (subway: C, E, 1, or 9 to 50th St.). On the East Side, The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Terminal, 15 Vanderbilt Ave. (& 212/953-0409; subway: S, 4, 5, 6, 7 to 42nd St./Grand Central), is a high-ceilinged room restored to its full Florentine glory, and serves wines and champagnes by the glass, single-malt Scotches, fine stogies, and haute noshies to a well-heeled commuting crowd. There’s a dress code. The Shark Bar, 307 Amsterdam Ave., between 74th and 75th streets (& 212/874-8500; subway: 1, 2, 3, or 9 to 72nd St.), is a popular and classy spot, well known for its soul food and singles’ scene. It’s also a hangout for sports celebs. The All State Café, 250 W. 72nd St., between Broadway and West End Avenue (& 212/874-1883; Subway: 1, 2, 3, or 9 to 72nd St.), is a subterranean pub that’s one of Manhattan’s undiscovered treasures—the quintessential neighborhood “snugger.” On the Upper East Side, Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle hotel, 35 E. 76th St. at Madison Avenue (& 212/744-1600; subway: 6 to 77th St.), is a luxurious spot for co*cktails and the best hotel bar in the city. Elaine’s, at 1703 Second Ave., between 88th and 89th streets (& 212/534-8103; subway: 4, 5, or 6 to 86th St.), is where the glittering literati still come for dinner and book parties. DANCE/NIGHTCLUBS

Baktun, 418 W. 14th St., between Ninth Avenue and Washington Street (& 212/206-1590; www.baktun.com; subway: A, C, E, or L to 14th St.), has been hot, hot, hot since the word go. The music tends toward electronica, with some live acts in the mix. If you’re going to spend 1 night out on the town, go to Nell’s 246 W. 14th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues (& 212/6751567; www.nells.com; subway: A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, or 9 to 14th St.), the self-proclaimed “Classic New York Nightclub” that attracts a grown-up crowd ranging from homeboys to Wall Streeters. Dress nicely—Nell’s deserves respect. Swing is a nightly affair at Swing 46. Music is live nightly except Monday and runs the gamut from big band to boogie-woogie to jump blues. Even first-timers can join in, as free swing lessons are offered Wednesday through Saturday at 9:15pm. No jeans or sneakers. It’s at 349 W. 46th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues (& 212/262-9554; www.swing46.com; subway: C or E to 50th St.). T H E G AY & L E S B I A N S C E N E

To get a thorough, up-to-date take on what’s happening in gay and lesbian nightlife, pick up HX (www.hx.com), New York Blade (www.nyblade.com), Next (www.nextnyc.com), or Gay City News (www.lgny.com). They’re available for free all around town or at The Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center, at 208 W. 13th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues (& 212/620-7310; www.gaycenter.org). These days, many bars, clubs, cabarets, and co*cktail lounges are neither gay nor straight but a bit of both, either catering to a mixed crowd or to varying orientations on different nights of the week. Highlights of the GLBT bar scene include Chelsea’s Barracuda (& 212/6458613; subway: C, E, 1, or 9 to 23rd St.), a trendy, loungey place that’s regularly voted “Best Bar” by the readers of HX. Look for the regular drag shows at 275 W. 22nd St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues. The Stonewall Inn (& 212/ 463-0950; subway: 1 or 9 to Christopher St.) is where it all started. A mixed gay

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and lesbian crowd makes this an easy place to begin. At least pop in to relive a defining moment in queer history at 53 Christopher St., east of Seventh Avenue. In the East Village, The Boiler Room (& 212/254-7536; subway: F to Second Ave.) is everybody’s favorite gay dive. Despite the mixed guy-girl crowd, it’s a serious cruising scene for beautiful boys and a fine hangout for those who’d rather play pool. It’s at 86 E. 4th St., between First and Second avenues.

2 Historic Highlights of the Hudson River Valley Just over 300 miles long, the Hudson River Valley spans eight counties along the east and west banks of the river, from Albany down to Yonkers. The entire valley is a National Heritage Area and one of the most beautiful regions in the eastern United States. The river valley’s extraordinary landscapes gave birth to America’s first art school, the Hudson River School of Painters, and writers such as Edith Wharton and Washington Irving set their stories and novels along the banks of the Hudson. And it was here that America’s most legendary families— among them, the Livingstons, Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, and Rockefellers— shaped the face of American industry and politics, leaving legacies of grand country estates and the towns that grew up around them. When it comes to history, few areas can rival the Hudson.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE Most visitors traveling by air fly into one of the New York City area’s three major airports. For information on those, please see p. 107. Major rental car companies (a car is the best way to tour the region) have representatives at all the major airports. The Lower Hudson Valley begins just north of New York City, on either side of the river; take either I-87 (New York State Thruway) north or the Taconic State Parkway. From Albany south, take I-87 south to 9W or I-90 south to Route 9. Heading either east or west, the most direct route is along I-84. Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) has service to the Hudson Valley from New York City. The commuter Metro-North Railroad (& 800/ 638-7646; www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mnr) travels up and down the Hudson out of Grand Central Station in New York City. The trip hugging the river on the east side is one of the prettier train trips in the U.S. VISITOR INFORMATION General tourist information is available by calling Hudson Valley Tourism, Inc. (& 800/232-4782); visit the organization’s website, www.travelhudsonvalley.org, for links to the very informative sites maintained by each of the eight counties that touch upon the Hudson River Valley. For fall foliage reports, visit www.empire.state.ny.us/tourism/foliage.

FAMOUS HISTORIC ESTATES & SITES The Lower Hudson Valley is lined with grand manor houses, but none compares to Kykuit (pronounced “kye-cut”), in Sleepy Hollow (& 914/631-9491; www. hudsonvalley.org/web/kyku-main.html). John D. Rockefeller built his estate in its present classical Greek-Roman style in 1913. Take the guided tour of the lovely mansion, which is loaded with priceless Chinese ceramics and a fabulous collection of 20th-century modern art, including an outstanding series of tapestries executed by Pablo Picasso. The gardens (which boast a magnificent view of the Hudson) are loaded with works by Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, and Constantin Brancusi. The estate’s coach barn features horse-drawn vehicles and classic automobiles from the family’s collection. Note: Tours to the estate actually leave

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from another spot worth touring—Phillipsburg Manor (& 914/631-3992; www.hudsonvalley.org/web/phil-main.html), which transports visitors to a complicated time in history, when this estate functioned as one of the largest slave plantations in the North. The site still functions as a working farm, with horses and sheep, wool spinning, milling of flour, and harvesting of rye in June and July. It’s a great educational outing for families. Sunnyside, West Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown (& 914/591-8763; www.hudson valley.org/web/sunn-main.html), was the home of Washington Irving, the author who made Sleepy Hollow a household name and introduced the world to Rip van Winkle. Sunnyside, with its mélange of historic and architectural styles, including a Dutch stepped-gable roofline, a Spanish tower, and a master bedroom modeled after a Paris apartment, was Irving’s personal retreat, a place to write and retire. Today the charming pastoral villa, swathed in vines and wisteria and nestled into the grounds along the Hudson, remains as he left it, with his books and writing papers in the study. Further up the Hudson, in the town of Garrison, lies Boscobel Restoration, 1601 Rte. 9D (& 845/265-3638; www.boscobel.org), which features one of the best collections of Federal-period furnishings and decorative arts in the United States. The mansion, built in 1804 by a British Loyalist, is a neoclassical Georgian masterpiece that was rescued from government destruction (it was sold at auction for $35 in the 1950s), and moved piece by piece to its current location. For a truly breathtaking view of the Hudson, head through the lovely rose garden to the front of the mansion, in the direction of the river. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (advance reservations required; www.hvshakespeare. org) is held here in the summer. One sight you’ll see off to the right if you glance down the Hudson from Boscobel is the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Route 218, Highland Falls (& 845/446-4724; www.usma.ed or www.westpointtours.com), the nation’s oldest and foremost military college—which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2002 and is the Hudson Valley’s most popular attraction. The only way to visit is by organized 1- or 2-hour tour on a bus that, among other spots, stops at the famous Cadet Chapel, which possesses stained-glass windows and the largest church organ in the world, with more than 21,000 pipes. The massive campus, with its Gothic Revival buildings perched on the west side above the Hudson River, is undeniably handsome, especially in fall. Tickets for all tours must be purchased at the Visitor’s Center. Heading north into the middle section of the valley, you’ll arrive in Hyde Park, site of several of the region’s best attractions. First up is the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site (& 845/229-7770; www.nps.gov/vama). Frederick Vanderbilt’s lavish 54-room country palace (actually the smallest of the Vanderbilt mansions) in Hyde Park, built in 1898, is a no-holds-barred gem that epitomized the Gilded Age’s nouveau riche. French in every respect, from Louise’s Versailles-like bedroom to the grand dining room and Frederick’s glittering master bedroom, it’s impressively decorated in grand style and should not be missed. Nearby is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum/FDR Home (& 800/FDR-VISIT or 845/229-8114; www.nps.gov/ hofr and www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu). FDR adored the Hudson River Valley and designed his own presidential library, the nation’s first, while still in his second term; he built it next to his lifelong home in Hyde Park It is the only presidential library to have been used by a sitting president. See his cluttered White

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House desk (left as it was the last day of his presidency), and exhibits on the FDR presidency and times. Two wings added in memory of his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, make this the only presidential library to have a section devoted to a first lady. FDR and Eleanor are buried in the rose garden on the grounds. Also in the area is the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (Val-Kill Cottage) & Top Cottage (& 845/229-9115; www.nps.gov/elro), where you can visit the country retreats used by the Roosevelts to get away from it all and to entertain important guests (such as Winston Churchill and the queen of England). Tip: The National Park Service sells a pass to all three Hyde Park sites that offers a good discount off the regular single admission price (and those with valid National Parks passes can enter all three sites for free). The best estate in the Upper Hudson area is the Olana State Historic Site, Route 9G, Hudson (& 518/828-0135; www.olana.org), the unique home of the accomplished Hudson River School painter Frederick Church (1826–1900), who designed both the building and the surrounding landscape. Named for a Persian treasure house, the home reflects Church’s interest in Moorish design and is loaded with the knickknacks, furniture, tapestries, rugs, bronzes, paintings, sculptures, and the other objets d’art collected by Church during his travels. Everything you see looks exactly as it did when Church died in 1900, down to the position of the paintbrushes in his studio. You can see the house only by guided tour; the docents here are especially knowledgeable and entertaining.

WHERE TO STAY & DINE Most of the sites above can be visited as day trips out of New York City, but why not do as New Yorkers do and spend a night or a weekend at one of the region’s many charming and romantic inns? What follows are two great places to stay in the region and one exceptional place to dine; contact Hudson Valley Tourism (see above) for more info on accommodations in the area. Castle on the Hudson, 400 Benedict Ave., Tarrytown (& 914/631-1980; www.castleonthehudson.com), is a Relais & Châteaux property that offers some of the most extravagant accommodations along the Hudson Valley in a grand 45-room castle built in 1910 on a bluff overlooking the river. Even if you’re not staying here, it’s well worth dining at its restaurant for a special four-course prixfixe meal or one of the periodic wine-tasting dinners. In the Middle Hudson region, for unrestrained luxury in a country inn setting, nothing comes close to the Belvedere Mansion, Route 9, Staatsburgh (& 845/889-8000; www.belvederemansion.com). The elegant interiors feature 18th-century antiques, silk fabrics, rich colors, luxurious linens, and marble baths fit for a prince. The seven main-house rooms are the biggest and most expensive; several have fantastic river views and such details as claw-foot tubs and canopied beds. Stick to the main building or the rooms in the new Hunting Lodge (these have fireplaces) for the best experience. The restaurant in the inn offers exquisitely prepared cuisine in a refined setting (try to reserve the private dining nook just up the main staircase for an especially romantic meal— many a proposal’s been made there). If you have a chance, while in Hyde Park, try to have at least one meal at the legendary Culinary Institute of America, 1946 Campus Dr., off Route 9, Hyde Park (& 845/471-6608; www.ciachef.edu). The nation’s foremost culinary arts college has four on-campus restaurants and a bakery cafe that are open to the public (reserve online well in advance!). No matter where you eat, you’re guaranteed to have a meal worth savoring.

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3 Upstate New York Highlights THE ADIRONDACKS The ’dacks (as locals know them) is an area you simply can’t ignore. Its 600 million acres hold some 2,000 peaks, 100 of them taller than 3,000 feet. Nearly half of the park is forest preserve: vast forests of pine, maple, and birch. The park supports 500,000 acres of old-growth forest, 200,000 acres of which have never been logged. And water? You’ll find some 2,500 lakes and ponds, along with more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams. Ralph Waldo Emerson and other thinkers found refuge here in the mid–19th century, forming philosopher’s camps and using the woods for inspiration. And the park formed the exploratory dreams of Theodore Roosevelt, who canoed in the St. Regis Wilderness Canoe Area at the age of 12 and often returned to seek refuge. Make no mistake: Though the peaks of the Adirondacks don’t have the rugged, jagged look of, say, the Rockies, this can be harsh territory. But if you prepare well, it can be some of the most beautiful land to travel in. Well stocked with hotels, restaurants, and campsites, you can get as much or as little civilization as you please. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE The Adirondack region is best appreciated by car. The New York State Thruway, I-87, a toll road from New York City to Albany, becomes the scenic, toll-free Adirondack Northway. It hugs the region’s eastern border, with exits to Lake George (about 4 hr. from the Big Apple), Blue Mountain Lake, Ticonderoga, Lake Placid, and other areas of interest, eventually reaching Canada. The western side of the Adirondacks can be accessed from either I-81 north at Watertown to Route 3 or by following I-90 east through Utica to Routes 8 and 12. Inside the park, a sparse network of roads squeezes between mountain ranges and tunnel into dense forests. Route 73, which begins at Exit 30 of the Northway and ends in Lake Placid, provides a particularly picturesque tour through the High Peaks region. VISITOR INFORMATION The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (& 518/846-8016; www.adirondack.org) has an information center on I-87 southbound between exits 41 and 40 that’s open end of June to Labor Day from 8am to 8pm. For information on Lake George you can also contact Warren County Tourism, 908 Municipal Center, Lake George (& 800/95-VISIT or 518/761-6368; www.visitlakegeorge.com). For info on Lake Placid, contact the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau, Olympic Center, 216 Main St., Lake Placid (& 800/447-5224 or 518/523-2605; www.lakeplacid.com). Other good sources of information are www.adirondacks.com or www.adirondack life.com. EXPLORING THE ADIRONDACKS

As an all-season destination, the Adirondack region has its highlights and its hazards. Icy roads and winter storms can make driving precarious, so call ahead to check road conditions. Visitors planning an outdoor excursion should anticipate unpredictable dips in temperature and unexpected precipitation year-round. For workshops on outdoor skills, like paddling or mountain climbing, contact the Adirondack Mountain Club (& 800/395-8080 or 518/668-4447; www. adk.org). THE OLYMPIC SIGHTS The 1932 Winter Olympics put Lake Placid in the international spotlight; hosting the Games again in 1980 cemented its

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legacy. You can see some of the sites where legends were made, including the “Miracle on Ice” hockey victory of the Americans over the Russians. The Olympic Regional Development Authority (& 518/523-1655; www.orda.org) handles it all. Skip the Olympic Training Center, at 421 Old Military Rd.; there’s not much open to the public. For downhill skiing on Whiteface, see below. You can see all of the following in 1 day. Start off at the Verizon Sports Complex, Route 73 (& 518/523-2811), 20 minutes west of Lake Placid, for cross-country skiing. In the same complex—and definitely something you should not miss—is the bobsled/luge/skeleton track, where you’ll watch athletes bomb down on and in crazy machinery. You can even strap yourself into a bobsled and race down the half-mile track with a guide and brakeman ($40)—you’ll never watch the Olympics the same way. The sleds are on wheels in summer, but they go much faster on the winter ice. Then drive 10 minutes back toward town and you’ll see the towering presence of the ski jump towers at the MacKenzie-Intervale Ski Jumping Complex, Route 73 (& 518/523-2202). December through March and June through October, watch athletes soar off these ramps. Ride the lift alongside it and take the 26-story elevator to the top of the 394-foot tower ($8) to get the skiers’ terrifying perspective. From June to October you can watch them jump, too—into a 750,000-gallon pool at the adjacent Kodak Sports Park. Drive back into town and spend a half-hour in the Winter Olympic Museum (& 518/523-1655) at the Olympic Center; it’s $4 to check out a good history of the Games in Placid and tons of memorabilia. While there, go skating on the rinks where legends such as Sonja Henie and Eric Heiden made history. Whiteface, Route 86, Wilmington (& 518/946-2223; www.whiteface.com), is the east’s only Olympic mountain (elevation 4,400 ft.), and the best skiing in the state. With the greatest vertical drop in the east (3,430 ft.), there’s a variety of terrain that will appeal to all levels. In fact, 35% of the trails are rated for novices. There are 65 trails and 11 lifts in all. A 1-day lift ticket costs $59. TOURING LAKE CHAMPLAIN Lake Champlain doesn’t offer much in the way of hotels or recreation, but it may be too large to ignore. If you want to explore the lake, consider taking a cruise aboard the Spirit of Plattsburgh, 2 Dock St., Plattsburgh (& 518/566-7447; http://soea.com/SOPL_home.html). Choose from scenic and sunset cruises, or meal cruises for lunch, brunch, barbecue, and more; prices vary per cruise. You can also paddle the lake yourself in search of eagles. Rent kayaks (and power boats) from Westport Marina, 20 Washington St., Westport (& 800/626-0342; www.westportmarina.com). The picturesque corridor, between Lake Champlain and the resource-rich High Peaks, is steeped in Native American, French, British, and Revolutionary American history. Scenic Route 22 weaves between villages and hilly farmsteads in these foothills. If you imagine away the necessities of the 21st century, like power lines and telephone poles, the historic town of Essex, on Route 22, is frozen in time. Unspoiled and meticulously preserved, there’s no better example of pre–Civil War architecture—Federal, Greek Revival, Carpenter Gothic, Italianate, and French Second Empire—in New York State. While these buildings are interesting, it’s the integrity of Essex as a whole—the entire village is a historical landmark—that makes it worth a visit. If you arrive between 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, swing by the Essex Community Heritage Organization—located on the second floor

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of the brick Cyrus Stafford House, on the left, in front of the village’s only flashing traffic light (& 518/963-7088; www.essexny.net)—for a free walking-tour brochure. Fort Ticonderoga, Route 74, Ticonderoga (& 518/585-2821; www.fortticonderoga.org), was once a grimy, bloody stage for battle during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Military history buffs will be in heaven at this fort set right on Lake Champlain. Built by the French beginning in 1755, the fort protected this narrow strip of water from its high perch, and since 1909 it’s been open to the public, detailing the military history of the Lake Champlain and Lake George valleys. The collection is anything but dry; on view are nearly 1,000 muskets, bayonets, pistols, and swords from the 18th century, as well as a unique collection of uniforms. Not interested in the military stuff? There are gorgeous gardens for wandering. Allow 2 to 4 hours. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children 7 to 12, free for children under 7. CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS The wilderness in the heart of this region drew the likes of J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and the Vanderbilts, who built elaborate rustic retreats, some accessible only by rail, during the Gilded Age. The Vanderbilts’ estate, Great Camp Sagamore, 4 miles south of Raquette Lake (& 315/354-5311), is open to the public and is a spectacular achievement in rustic craftsmanship. Just about everything there is to learn about the Adirondacks can be absorbed at The Adirondack Museum, Route 30, Blue Mountain Lake, off routes 28 and 30 (& 518/352-7311; www.adirondackmuseum.org). History buffs will eat up the extensive collection that traces the transportation, tourism, and personal past of the region, as well as a rundown of its flora and fauna. A couple odd items— a canoe big enough to camp in, a bark-covered outhouse—will appeal to everyone, and the setting, overlooking the lovely Blue Mountain Lake, is spectacular. Allow 3 hours to see the exhibits and grounds, and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy the view. Admission is $14 adults, $7 children 7 to 17. It’s open from Memorial Day weekend to mid-October. THE SOUTHEASTERN REGION James Fenimore Cooper had Lake George and environs in mind when he penned Last of the Mohicans. This area, once a battle zone, then a busy 18th-century port, and later a getaway for the elite, is now a lively, family-friendly vacation spot in summer and a sleepy, though lovely, destination in winter. There’s historic Fort William Henry, kitschy arcades, minigolf courses, a local rodeo, an amusem*nt park, and accommodations galore. Lake George village hosts a range of events, such as Americade (a huge biker rally), the Adirondack Balloon Festival, and Jazz Fest. For lake excursions, nothing beats Lake George Steamboat Company, Steel Pier, Lake George (& 800/553-BOAT or 518/668-5777; www.lakegeorge steamboat.com). Its small fleet, a trio of handsome boats, includes the MinneHa-Ha, a paddle-wheel cruiser; the Mohican, one of the longest-running excursion vessels in the U.S.; and the Lac du Saint Sacrement. Trips include shoreline excursions, moonlight cruises, fireworks tours, and the popular dinner cruises in the elegant dining room of the Lac du Saint Sacrement, among others. Lake George is also a gorgeous place to paddle, with crystal-clear, spring-fed waters and a wealth of islands and small bays; at 32 miles long, you’d be better off in a sea kayak if you want to do some serious exploring. Get your canoe or kayak from Mountain Man Outdoor Supply Company, Route 28, Inlet (& 315/ 357-6672; www.mountainmanoutdoors.com).

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Lovers of kitschy minigolf shouldn’t miss Around the World Golf, Route 9 (& 518/668-3223), where you can choose to putt around the U.S. (complete with graffiti under the Brooklyn Bridge) or the world (with the Egyptian pyramids and a Japanese garden). Outside Lake George, the Wild West Ranch and Western Town, Bloody Pond Road (& 518/668-2121), offers trail rides, gold panning, and a petting zoo. W H E R E T O S TAY

In addition to the numerous hotels, B&Bs, and motels in the Adirondacks, the Department of Environmental Conservation maintains roughly 40 state campgrounds in the park. For information on sleeping alfresco, call & 518/457-2500 or visit www.dec.state.ny.us. The exclusive Lake Placid Lodge, Whiteface Inn Road (& 877/523-2700 or 518/523-2700; www.lakeplacidlodge.com), is a Relais & Châteaux member set right on Lake Placid, with an upscale rustic look (very Adirondack) and lots of privacy. The lodge brings the outdoors in, with birch branches everywhere from the hallway ceilings to the cozy bar to the funky, woodsy furnishings in the (nonsmoking) guest rooms. In fact, all the furniture, made by local artists, is for sale—if you like your bed (and you will!), you can buy it. Guest rooms and bathrooms are large, luxurious, and comfortable, but the cabins afford the ultimate in privacy—most are set right on the lake’s shore, with stone fireplaces, sitting areas, and picture windows. The service is helpful and friendly, and staffers will bend over backwards to make your stay perfect. Rates run $375 to $450 double. Children under 12 are not permitted. Well-heeled travelers have been drawn to The Sagamore, 110 Sagamore Rd. (& 800/358-3585 or 518/644-9400; www.thesagamore.com), since 1883. Drive onto its personal 72-acre island and up to its Colonial-style main building and you’ll immediately see why: peace, quiet, and luxury. Jutting out into Lake George, this private getaway serves up a wealth of water activities, a great golf course, a full spa, and lakeside lounging. The common-area decor is more formal than comfy; luckily, that stuffiness doesn’t carry over to the helpful staff. The restored mainbuilding rooms—done in flowery patterns and muted tones—have the same formal furniture, but bathrooms give you plenty of room to navigate. Suites, with two full rooms and some with views in two directions, are well worth the extra money. There are several buildings and price options. The contemporary “lodge” rooms are not actually in the lodge, but with balconies and fireplaces, offer the best bang for the buck. An eye-popping, privately owned castle is also for rent. All rooms are nonsmoking. Rates run $169 to $415 double. Far from the madness of Lake Placid and set back in the woods on the shores of Saranac Lake, the Wawbeek, Panther Mountain Road, Route 30, Tupper Lake (& 800/953-2656 or 518/359-2656; www.wawbeek.com), is a dying breed—a homey, secluded, luxurious camp on the water. In its earlier manifestations it was a great camp—Rockefellers and du Ponts stayed here—and it’s easy to see what drew them: walk the 40 acres, the 1,500 feet of shoreline, and the nature trail, and you’ll find your own private slice of the ’dacks. Or just kick back in the gorgeous main lodge and read. The nonsmoking rooms and cottages are spread out and tucked deep in the woods, with several rooms overlooking the mountains. Rooms are generally large (though with smallish bathrooms) and come decked out in Adirondack-style furniture and some of the world’s most comfortable beds. For more privacy, grab one of the log cabins, which boast full kitchens, decks, and views. None of the rooms have phones. Rates run $125 to $440 double and include breakfast (in bed, if you want it).

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Cooperstown: Checking Out Baseball’s Best Moments For aficionados of America’s national pastime, a pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in the charming town of Cooperstown, a 5-hour drive north of New York City, is a must; for everyone else—it’s still worth a trip. Yes, you’ll find plenty of statistics-spouting baseball fanatics walking around the Hall. But this museum isn’t just for passionate lovers of the game or its coveted collectibles. After all, this is America’s pastime, and a walk through the 30,000 exhibits shows just how important this sport has been to America’s past and present. The hall collected its first artifact in 1937, and now you can find baseballs, bats, uniforms, ballpark artifacts, priceless trading cards, and a microcosm of American history. You’ll learn about the Negro Leagues and the integration of baseball, find out the president who established the tradition of throwing out the first pitch on opening day, and, of course, see some of the greatest moments of the greatest players ever. Depending on how big a fan you are, you could spend anywhere from an hour to more than a half-day browsing, learning, and loving the game. For more information on the hall, call & 888/HALL-OF-FAME or 607/ 547-7200, or surf the Internet to www.baseballhalloffame.org. Admission to the hall costs $9.50 adults, $4 for kids ages 7 to 12. Cooperstown is easiest to get to by car. From the New York State Thruway, take Exit 30 at Herkimer and go south on State Highway 28 or State Highway 80—both will take you to Cooperstown. The hall is located at 25 Main St.

The gorgeous 1870 Victorian home of The Lake Champlain Inn, 428 County Rte. 3, Ticonderoga (& 518/547-9942; www.tlcinn.com), has a prime location right on Lake Champlain, and its rooms offer views of the lake, the Adirondacks, and even Vermont’s Green Mountains. You’re also just 2 miles from the northern end of Lake George. The affable owners have maintained much of the original woodwork and red maple floors, along with period antiques, quilts, and big bathrooms. While rooms aren’t the biggest, their views are among the best in Adirondack Park. And they boast nice touches such as wrought-iron beds or claw-foot tubs. There’s also a house with two rooms, called the Schoolhouse (but isn’t); it’s a large, modern, Victorian-style house that’s very contemporary inside and sits on 130 acres. The adjacent state land is perfect for hiking or crosscountry skiing. The entire property is nonsmoking and none of the rooms have phones. Rates include full breakfast and run $85 to $135 double.

CORNING Corning is a charming destination in New York’s southern tier, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes region. Quite literally, it’s the town that Corning built; the company, the original makers of Corningware, Pyrex, and now high-tech materials like fiber optics, has employed as many as half the town’s population. Corning was once known as “crystal city” for its concentration of glassworks and today glass is at the center of the town’s attractions, at the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass.

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ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Easily accessible by car from most points in the northeast, Corning is directly off Route 17/I-86 and a straight shot along Route 414 south of Watkins Glen; from the south, take Route 15. VISITOR INFORMATION The Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau is located at 5 W. Market St., in the Baron Steuben Building, second floor, Corning (& 607/936-6544; www.corningfingerlakes.com). EXPLORING CORNING

The Corning Museum of Glass, I-86, Exit 46 (& 607/937-5371; www.cmog. org), is the premier and most comprehensive collection of historic and art glass in the world. It is quite literally dazzling. On view are 35,000 glass pieces representing 35 centuries of glass craftsmanship, beginning with a piece dating from 1411 B.C. There is also a gallery of glass sculpture and a glass innovation center, with ingeniously designed exhibits that depict the use of glass in technology. The museum is anything but static; it offers hot-glass demonstrations, glass-making workshops, and some of the best shopping to be found, with a sprawling array of shops dealing in glass, crystal, and jewelry. The museum is especially well designed for children, who usually can’t get enough of the interactive science exhibits and opportunities to handle telescopes and peer out a periscope that “sees” from the building’s roof. A walk-in glass workshop allows visitors to make their very own glass souvenirs. The museum is open daily. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 6 to 17, and free for all kids in summer. A $16 combination ticket for adults includes admission to CMoG and the Rockwell Museum (see below). The museum also operates a free shuttle service from the museum to Market Street, downtown. The Rockwell Museum of Western Art, 111 Cedar St. (& 607/937-5386; www.rockwellmuseum.org), which occupies the former City Hall, maintains an excellent collection of both historic and contemporary Western and Native American art. An inviting design of bold colors and gorgeous woods inside the shell of a neo-Romanesque building, the museum features daring juxtapositions that work surprisingly well, including a number of fantastic pieces by Native Americans. A neat idea for children is the color-coded “art backpacks,” which come equipped with games and lesson and drawing books, making the museum an especially interactive place. The museum is open daily. Admission is $6.50 for adults, $4.50 for children ages 6 to 17. Allow an hour or two. W H E R E T O S TAY

The best accommodations in town are at the Hillcrest Manor Bed and Breakfast, 227 Cedar St. (& 607/936-4548; www.corninghillcrestmanor.com), one of the finest B&Bs we’ve seen anywhere. The impressively grand 1890 Greek Revival mansion, with massive pillars, porches, and terraces, sits in a quiet residential neighborhood up the hill from downtown Corning. Rooms are huge and impeccably decorated with great, luxurious taste. The house features stately parlors, an elegant candlelit dining room, and a palatial cedar stairway. Some rooms have fireplaces and immense tubs; all offer excellent value for the money. We could relax here for days. Rates include full breakfast and run $125 to $195 double; credit cards are not accepted. The large and well-run Radisson Hotel Corning, 125 Denison Pkwy. (& 800/ 333-3333 or 607/962-5000; www.radisson.com/corningny), is the only fullservice hotel in downtown Corning, a reason for its popularity with business

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travelers, though with its pool and on-site restaurant, is also a good place for families and other leisure travelers. Rooms are spacious and attractively appointed. Rates run $89 to $130 double.

4 Highlights of the New Jersey Shore: Atlantic City & Cape May ATLANTIC CITY One of America’s oldest seaside resorts, Atlantic City is most famous these days as a weekend gambler’s mecca. It’s the East Coast’s answer to Las Vegas, and home to many of the same names: Caesars, Bally’s, Sands, the Tropicana. Tourists come by the millions (more than 33 million of them, to be exact) to try their luck at the city’s 12 casinos—9 of which line the world’s first oceanfront boardwalk, opened in 1870. The city itself began life in 1854 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004 with a lot of fanfare. Despite its historic pedigree, Atlantic City went to seed in the years following World War II, abandoned in the wake of cheap and easy air travel to Florida and the Caribbean. In the 1970s, in a last-ditch effort to reinvigorate this onceproud Victorian vacation resort, the state of New Jersey instituted casino gambling—and the unconventional urban-renewal plan has been something of a success, though not quite the bonanza that organizers might have hoped for. Still, when you consider that Atlantic City is within easy reach of most of the major Midwest and Mid-Atlantic metropolitan areas, its status as a vacation destination seems assured. The city is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar renewal plan that has already resulted in sparkling new convention and visitor centers, new bus and train terminals, a new outlet mall complex, and a generally more cleaned-up appearance. The opening of the Borgata in the Marina District in 2003 added quite a bit of luster to the city’s revitalization efforts. And improvements are still being made: In 2004, the Tropicana will open up The Quarter, an Old Havana–themed complex consisting of added hotel space, several restaurants and retail venues, and an IMAX theater. Meanwhile, Caesars is busy transforming the old Ocean One shopping pier into a multimillion-dollar retail and entertainment complex called (drum roll, please) The Pier at Caesars. And the Borgata hasn’t even been open a year and it’s already announced a new expansion on the retail and dining front. Most important of all is a change in attitude. Atlantic City clearly has Vegas aspirations in trying to become a playground catering to adults. We couldn’t help but notice all of the signs in the casino hotels politely but firmly telling kids who aren’t guests to get lost (we also couldn’t help but wonder at the irony of that given all of the kid-friendly stuff going on at the Boardwalk just outside the casino hotels’ doorsteps). We doubt the Boardwalk is going to be as successful as Sin City in this regard (and, indeed, we saw plenty of families taking advantage of the beach while we were there), but we must note that we did, in fact, see few kids in the Marina District and the vacationing couples there seemed to be all the happier for it. Still, this isn’t Vegas. First of all, there’s not a lot to do beyond the casino hotels, and though the neighborhood in the immediate vicinity of the Boardwalk is looking better nowadays, we still wouldn’t go walking around that area after dark. If you’re looking for relaxation, and you aren’t a gambling fan or don’t want to catch a show, then Cape May is still a better option: It’s cleaner and quieter, and the beaches are much nicer. Second, while some of the casinos are on

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par with their desert counterparts in sophistication if not in scale (the lone exception being the Borgata, which we can imagine in Vegas if we close our eyes), the Boardwalk still has some growing up to do before it will ever compete with the Vegas Strip. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE By Plane You can fly into Atlantic City International Airport (& 609/645-7895; www.acairport.com), 10 miles from downtown. Atlantic City Airport Taxi (& 877/LOU-TAXI or 609/383-1457; www.actaxi. com) can whisk you to your hotel from the terminal for $25; another good option is Yellow Van (& 800/224-9945). There are also several car-rental agencies with desks at the airport. By Car Atlantic City is on the southern New Jersey shoreline, 60 miles southeast of Philadelphia and 120 miles south of New York City. From Philadelphia, take I-76 to State Road 42, which connects to the Atlantic City Expressway. From Manhattan, take the Lincoln or Holland tunnels or the George Washington Bridge to the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) south; pick up the Garden State Parkway at Perth Amboy and follow it south to Exit 38, which connects to the Atlantic City Expressway. By Bus A car isn’t necessary in Atlantic City, so if you prefer not to drive, bus service is available from Philadelphia and New York (trip time: about 2 hr.) via Greyhound (& 800/229-9424; www.greyhound.com) and NJ Transit (& 973/ 762-5100; www.njtransit.state.nj.us), whose buses arrive at the safe and relatively new bus station adjacent to the Convention Center at Atlantic and Michigan avenues, 2 blocks from the Boardwalk. Academy Bus Lines (& 800/4427272 or 800/992-0451; www.academybus.com) offers direct service from New York’s Port Authority to a number of Boardwalk casinos. Most Atlantic City casinos offer bus packages, which often include such value-added premiums as $20 in coins or free meals, from most major northeast cities—including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh—aboard casino-direct charters. They generally cater to day visitors who want to come in to gamble for 12 hours or so without the expense of a hotel room. Call the casinos directly or check your local paper to learn about current offers (see “The Casinos,” below). By Train NJ Transit’s Atlantic City line (& 800/772-2222 or 215/569-3752; www.njtransit.state.nj.us) offers frequent service from Philadelphia (trip time: 11⁄2 hr.). There’s a free shuttle bus from the station to the casinos. VISITOR INFORMATION Contact the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (& 888/AC-VISIT or 609/449-7130; www.atlanticcitynj.com) and request their free visitor’s guide. Their newly redesigned website is easy to navigate and helpful in planning a trip. The Atlantic City Visitor Welcome Center, right on the Atlantic City Expressway, makes an ideal first stop. You can’t miss this state-of-the-art resource center at the city’s gateway, open from 9am to 5pm daily and from 9am to 8pm summer weekends. Another welcome center is located on the Boardwalk right

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AT L A N T I C O C E A N Ocean One Mall Trump Marina 23 Trump Plaza 10 Trump Taj Mahal 20 OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS Comfort Inn Boardwalk 15 Days Inn on the Boardwalk 5 Holiday Inn Boardwalk 4 Quality Inn Beach Block 17

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next to Boardwalk Hall of Mississippi Avenue. The staff at the centers can give you a good map, brochures, and answers to specific questions. GETTING AROUND If you don’t want to walk from casino to casino along the 1-mile-long stretch of the Boardwalk where most of the action is, you can catch a ride in an old-fashioned rolling chair. These shaded surreys are rolled up and down the length of the Boardwalk by experienced guides, who are out soliciting riders day and night. The fee is based on the distance traveled, but expect a minimum fare of $5 plus tip. You can also travel between the casinos along Pacific Avenue, which runs parallel to the Boardwalk 1 block inland, aboard the Atlantic City Jitney (& 609/ 344-8642; www.jitneys.net), a fleet of minibuses that run 24 hours a day; the fare is $1.50. The baby-blue or green versions run to the Marina section of the city, where the Trump Marina and Harrah’s casinos are located. THE CASINOS

The casino hotels are Atlantic City’s big draw. First on the Boardwalk was Resorts, at Pennsylvania Avenue (& 888/336-6378 or 609/344-6000; www. resortsac.com), which boasts a sharp new look thanks to a stylish $50-million renovation. It’s bright, casual, and colorful, with a beachy vibe and an active showroom with top-flight rock, country, and pop headliners. Next door is The Apprentice’s head honcho Donald Trump’s Trump Taj Mahal, at Virginia Avenue (& 800/825-8888 or 609/449-1000; www.trumptaj.com). Done in a

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loose Arabian Nights theme, the Taj is the most glamorous and attractive of the Boardwalk casinos though the rooms need better upkeep. (Nonsmokers, take note: It has the best ventilation on the Boardwalk, and Atlantic City is a smoker’s haven.) Clustered around the Boardwalk’s midpoint are a number of notable casinos. A massive expansion has put Caesars, at Arkansas Avenue (& 800/443-0104 or 609/348-4411; www.caesars.com), in league with its landmark Vegas counterpart and has some of the best rooms in town (in the Centurion Tower). The casino is appropriately glitzy and the staff is still the best costumed in town. Expect first-class headliners such as David Copperfield. The casino offers excellent packages and special promotions, too. Next door is Bally’s, at Michigan Avenue (& 888/537-0007 or 609/340-2000; www.ballys.com), a fun, festive casino with inviting gaming tables and lots of dollar slots. On the second floor is the Gateway mall, connecting to the Claridge next door, and also to Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino, Atlantic City’s best themed casino. The casino is very well done in a Disneyesque style, with faux red rocks and talking animatronic figures that offer a fun change of pace from the standard glitz (though we have to wonder about its obvious kid-appeal given the casino’s stance on discouraging kids from entering). Nearby at Indiana Avenue is Sands (& 800/AC-SANDS or 609/441-4000; www.acsands.com), best known for its great package rates and state-of-the-art spa. Rooms were remodeled only a couple of years ago and are still in good

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Best A Vegas Resort in Atlantic City Newer doesn’t always mean better, but in the case of Atlantic City, it so definitely does. The $1.1-billion Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa, One Borgata Way (& 866/692-6742; www.theborgata.com), debuted to great acclaim in summer 2003 and is the undisputed champ of the city’s casino hotels. Perhaps the best compliment we can give this superlative property—a joint venture of Boyd Gaming and MGM MIRAGE—is that it’s the absolute first in AC to remind us of a Vegas resort. With an exceptional European-style spa (couples with big bucks should definitely indulge in its ultraromantic couples’ treatment room); a magnificent lobby with Dale Chihuly chandeliers and a lovely “Living Room” seating area for guests to relax in; full-scale fitness center; an indoor pool; classic barbershop; immense casino with reasonable table limits; and multiple retail, entertainment, and dining venues, you won’t want to leave (our major complaint—Atlantic City’s hottest property doesn’t exactly make you want to venture out into the rest of the city). The large rooms ($129–$509 double) are luxurious: Think Egyptian cotton sheets on the comfy beds; plenty of lighting; designer toiletries; fridges; and immense marble bathrooms with lots of counter space, a separately enclosed toilet, and a huge (two-person!) temperature-controlled shower encased entirely in marble. The suites ($209–$620) are even more luxurious. Dining here is the best of the casino hotels as well (so popular are the upscale restaurants that you’ll need to reserve well in advance to get in on the weekends). Here you’ll find not one but two establishments run by famed chef Luke Palladino: Specchio, which features modern Italian cuisine in an upscale dining room loaded with cherrywoods and the chef’s antique mirror collection; and Ombra, a fabulous wine bar (over 14,000 bottles) with a vaulted Italian brick ceiling. Noted Philly legend Susannah Foo runs Suilan, a romantic restaurant featuring Foo’s signature French-Asian cuisine. If beef is more your thing, head to the branch of New York’s famous Old Homestead, where superb steaks are served amidst modern ambience and there’s a superb collection of Scotches. For style-conscious dining, head to MIXX, a trendy restaurant/nightclub where the food is Latin-Asian fusion and the music is hot, hot, hot. At press time, the hotel was looking to add several more casual restaurants to its mix by 2005.

shape. All that glitters isn’t gold at Trump Plaza, at Mississippi Avenue (& 800/ 677-7378 or 609/441-6000; www.trumpplaza.com), but it sure is shiny. Behind the glitz, this is an Everyman’s casino though the hotel needs work. The showroom often showcases big-name stars. Farther down, at the cleanest and quietest end of the Boardwalk, is the Atlantic City Hilton (& 800/257-8677 or 609/347-7111; www.hiltonac.com). The Hilton does what Atlantic City’s other casino hotels don’t dare (lest you leave the casino, of course): It provides full beach services to their guests, including beach chairs, cabanas, kayaks, on-the-sand volleyball, and more. It also features a headliner showroom and some surprisingly comfy rooms. It’s hands-down the

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best choice in town for those who’d like to play at the beach and/or bring the kids, before returning to high-quality rooms. At Farley State Marina, a 10-minute drive from the Boardwalk via Brigantine Boulevard (Rte. 87), are three more casinos. With a Big ’80s teal color scheme and oldies tunes playing over the sound system, Harrah’s (& 800/HARRAHS or 609/441-5000; www.harrahs.com) draws a generally older crowd to its ultrafriendly casino. Trump Marina (& 800/777-8477 or 609/441-2000; www. trumpmarina.com) targets a younger crowd with rock-’n’-roll Muzak and headliners, but it otherwise seems like just another glittery Trump property. The best of the bunch is the brand-new Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa (see “A Vegas Resort in Atlantic City,” above, for the scoop on this exceptional resort). IN THE SHOWROOMS On any given night, Atlantic City’s showrooms are peopled with acts ranging from Chris Rock to Tony Bennett to Aerosmith to Alicia Keys to Fleetwood Mac—and the quality just keeps getting better. Check with the visitor bureau at & 888/AC-VISIT or www.atlanticcitynj.com, or contact the casinos directly for current schedules. You can also find out what’s on and buy tickets through Ticketmaster (& 856/338-9000; www.ticketmaster.com). MORE TO SEE & DO

The city has the usual tourist traps, but there are a number of things worth your time. Steel Pier, across from the Taj at Virginia Avenue (& 866/386-6659 or 609/345-4893; www.steelpier.com), is Atlantic City’s historic amusem*nt pier, with carnival games and rides for the entire family; it’s open daily Memorial Day to Labor Day, weekends only Palm Sunday to Memorial Day and again to October. At Gardner’s Basin, at the top end of New Hampshire Avenue, is the Ocean Life Center (& 609/348-2880; www.oceanlifecenter.com), with eight giant aquariums (including a touch tank), shipwreck artifacts, and more marinethemed fun for the kids. You can’t miss the Absecon Lighthouse, 31 S. Rhode Island Ave. (& 609/449-1360; www.abseconlighthouse.org), which was built in 1857 and is the tallest in New Jersey. On a clear day, it’s worth climbing the 228 steps to the top to get a magnificent view of the Jersey shoreline. Another hardto-miss attraction is in nearby Margate: Lucy the Elephant, 9200 Atlantic Ave. (& 609/823-6473; www.lucytheelephant.org), is a 65-ton building built to look like—yep, you guessed it—an elephant. Built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is one of those curious pieces of Americana that you just don’t see too much of anymore, so go ahead and take the 30minute tour of its interior. The free Atlantic City Historical Museum, New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk (& 609/344-1943; www.acmuseum.net), offers some interesting insights into the city’s history through various exhibits and artifacts (including a larger-than life Mr. Peanut!). Do check out the interesting video that plays continuously in the museum. If shopping is more your thing, you’ll find plenty of tacky souvenir shops on the Boardwalk, and expensive boutiques in many of the casino hotels. Do check out the new Atlantic City Outlets—The Walk, at Michigan and Arctic avenues (& 609/343-0387; www.acoutlets.com), the city’s latest shopping, dining, and entertainment venue. For the city’s famous salt water taffy (discovered here in 1883 after an ocean storm flooded a candy store), head straight to James Salt Water Taffy, 1519 Boardwalk (& 609/344-1519; www.jamescandy.com), which has been in business since 1880; those whose tastes run more to chocolate should make a beeline for Steel’s Fudge, 1633 Boardwalk (& 888/783-3571; www. steelsfudge.com), the oldest continually operated fudge company in the world.

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W H E R E T O S TAY

There’s no useful way to quote exact room rates at Atlantic City’s casino hotels (see “The Casinos,” above). Doubles vary from a low of about $89 to a high of $350, and the hotels stay generally competitive across the board. Rates are usually highest on summer weekends and lowest midweek in winter, but they can go through the roof during certain events—most notably the Miss America Pageant, in the fall—or if there’s a major convention in town. Always ask about packages and special promotions, which may be able to save you big bucks. And, if you plan to visit again, sign up for the casino hotel’s free slot clubs—members often get special rates and packages. If the big hotels are too expensive for you, you have some non-casino options. There are a few good motels right on or just off the Boardwalk—although these well-located options can be subject to similarly dramatic pricing, with rates fluctuating between $59 and $300 depending on the dates and property; again, always ask about packages. Near the very nice Hilton end of the Boardwalk is the Holiday Inn Boardwalk, at Chelsea Avenue (& 800/548-3030 or 609/ 348-2200; www.holiday-inn.com). The Days Inn on the Boardwalk, 1 block over at Morris Avenue (& 800/325-2525 or 609/344-6101; www.atlanticcity daysinn.com), even has rooms with ocean views. Just off the Boardwalk, near the Sands, is the Comfort Inn Boardwalk, 154 S. Kentucky Ave. (& 800/228-5150 or 609/348-4000; www.comfortinn.com), whose well-kept rooms feature Jacuzzi tubs. Or you could choose to stay off the Boardwalk altogether in an area where rates tend to fluctuate less. A block inland at South Carolina and Pacific avenues is the Quality Inn Beach Block (& 800/228-5151 or 609/345-7070; www.quality inn.com), the city’s best chain motel, with nice decor, free parking, a game room, and a martini lounge. WHERE TO DINE

If you’re looking for something more sophisticated than theme restaurants (they are all over the Boardwalk and we can’t say they serve exceptional cuisine), take heart. At chic, Tuscan-inspired, and critically lauded Girasole, in the Ocean Club Condos, 3108 Pacific Ave., at Montpelier Avenue (& 609/345-5554; www.girasoleac.com), the creative kitchen has a welcoming light touch with wood oven–baked pizzas, excellent carpaccios, pastas, and seafood. Similarly moderately priced is the 108-year-old Dock’s Oyster House, 2405 Atlantic Ave., at Georgia Avenue (& 609/345-0092; www.docksoysterhouse.com), a family-run restaurant that’s still highly regarded for the quality of its seafood, wine list, and service. For top-notch Latin and Cuban cuisine in a festive atmosphere, it doesn’t get much better than Babalu Grill, inside The Walk at 2020 Atlantic Ave. (& 609/ 572-9898; www.serioussteaks.com), which Hispanic magazine named one of the top 50 Latin restaurants in the country. For a romantic night out with Atlantic City flavor, head to Lefty’s 1200 Club (& 609/348-5677), an old-style supper club featuring terrific Italian cuisine, seafood, and steaks served by a friendly staff. Housed in a historic 19th-century building, the club sports an elegant Renaissance theme and features live music in the nightclub in back. The casual Tun Tavern Brewing Company, at the corner of Baltic and Michigan avenues (& 609/347-7800; www.tuntavern.com), serves upscale pub grub and first-rate microbrews in a festive, modern setting. For the city’s best Mexican food, head to the appropriately named Mexico, 3810 Ventnor Ave.

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(& 609/344-0366), which features a stellar ceviche, reasonable prices, a colorful dining room, and several Mexican beers on tap. The best casino dining is unquestionably at the new Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa in the Marina District (see “A Vegas Resort in Atlantic City,” above for the lowdown on the hotel’s best restaurants). A few other standouts are also worth mentioning. The Bacchanal, at Caesars (& 609/348-4411), isn’t just a restaurant—it’s a complete theatrical event open Wednesday through Sunday. The multicourse feast is served by Ancient Roman gladiators, and wine goddesses pour without limit. It’s good, kitschy fun, and the gourmet fare is surprisingly well prepared. Capriccio, the Italian jewel at Resorts (& 609/3446000), has received Zagat’s award of excellence for its array of pastas, seafood, and specialties such as osso buco. The dining room is particularly romantic and offers views of the Atlantic. Harrah’s Fantasea Reef Buffet (& 609/441-5000) is the city’s top all-you-can-eat fete, loved by locals and visitors alike for its high quality, good value, and stunning display. The much-lauded Irish Pub & Inn, just off the Boardwalk at 164 St. James Place (& 609/344-9063; www.theirishpub.com), is a true Atlantic City gem. It’s appealingly old-fashioned, with friendly service and hearty, satisfying fare that’s the best cheap eats in town (nothing over $6.95). Rooms above the pub are also a steal at just $50 a night. And no Atlantic City visit is complete without a visit to the famous White House Sub Shop, 2301 Arctic Ave. (& 609/ 345-8599), where you will stand in line (so worth it!) for one of its legendary and immense sandwiches—you will be in good company, as everyone from presidents to celebrities have sought out these yummy creations.

CAPE MAY At the southern tip of the Garden State is the jewel of the Jersey shore: Cape May, a beautifully preserved Victorian beach resort that’s popular with romanceseeking couples drawn by the impeccably restored inns and quaint vibe, and families who like the town’s easygoing nature and fine collection of affordable beachfront motels. Visiting Cape May is like taking a step back in time to the glory days of the Jersey shore, before frenetic amusem*nt piers and summerbreak college crowds overtook the scene. Even at the height of the summer season, the town stays relaxed and friendly; after a lazy day at the beach, most folks’ big activity is to retire to a wide veranda, glass of iced tea in hand, to sit back and watch the world stroll by. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE & GETTING AROUND Cape May, a spit stretching 20 miles offshore between the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, is at the southern tip of New Jersey, about 40 miles south of the Atlantic City Toll Plaza at the end of the Garden State Parkway. NJ Transit buses (& 973/762-5100 or 215/ 569-3752; www.njtransit.state.nj.us) arrive from Philadelphia and Atlantic City year-round, and from New York City in summer. If you’re arriving from points south, you can take the 70-minute Cape May–Lewes Ferry (& 800/64FERRY; www.capemay-lewesferry.com), which carries passengers and vehicles between Lewes, Delaware, and Cape May daily year-round (car fare costs $20–$25 one-way; passengers pay $6–$8). Cape May can become quite traffic-congested and parking is hard to come by, particularly in summer, so most visitors park their cars for the length of their stay and walk or trolley around town. If you’d like to rent a bike or a fourwheeled surrey for two or for the entire family, stop into Shields’ Bike Rentals,

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11 Gurney St., just inland from Beach Drive (& 609/884-1818), or the Village Bicycle Shop, 605 Lafayette St. (& 609/884-8500). You can reserve in advance from Cape Island Bicycles, at Beach and Howard streets (& 609/898-7368; www.capeislandbikerentals.com). Rentals average $13 a day for a single-speed bicycle. VISITOR INFORMATION For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May (& 609/884-5508; www.capemaychamber. com), or the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce (& 609/465-5017; www.capemaycountychamber.com). Information is also available online at www. capemay.com. For events information, your best source is www.capemaymac. org. There’s a staffed information center at the Ocean View Plaza Rest Area, 11⁄2 miles beyond the Garden State Parkway’s Cape May Toll Plaza. The chamber of commerce runs an excellent visitor center a few minutes’ drive south, at Exit 11 (on the right side of the road after the traffic light). SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS Highlights include the Cape May Music Festival, which draws distinguished classical performers from around the globe over 6 weeks in May and June; the Cape May Food & Wine Festival, where open-house food samplings at dozens of participating restaurants consume the better part of a week in late September; hugely popular Victorian Week in mid-October, celebrating the town’s heritage with historic house tours and other nostalgic events; and Christmas in Cape May, a whole host of holiday-themed events (including special candlelight house tours) that start in midNovember. For more information on all of these events, call & 609/884-5404 or head online to www.capemaymac.org. E X P L O R I N G C A P E M AY

One of the best ways to explore Cape May is to take one of the many trolley tours offered by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), Cape May’s premier preservation organization (& 800/275-4278 or 609/884-5404; www.cape maymac.org). You can buy tickets at the booth at the entrance to the Washington Street Mall, at Ocean Street; tours generally run a half-hour to 45 minutes and concentrate on a specific area of town, so you may want to take more than one. They cost $6 for adults; $3 for children 3 to 12. MAC also offers walking tours, train tours, and self-guided audio tours. Cape May’s top attraction is the Emlen Physick Estate, a beautifully restored Victorian house museum. You can see the entire house on the wonderful 45minute living history tour, which can be combined with a trolley tour. Housed in the carriage house on the estate is the Twinings Tearoom, serving lunch and elegant afternoon tea. A tour of the house and afternoon tea costs $20 per person. Call MAC for reservations. The Cape May Carriage Co. (& 609/884-4466l; www.capemaycarriage. com) offers half-hour guided tours ($8 adults; $4 kids 4–11) in old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages that leave from Ocean Street and Washington Mall. At the heart of town is the Washington Street Mall (www.washingtonstreet mall.com), a 3-block-long pedestrian mall lined with clothing and gift boutiques. A block over from the mall is Caroline, 400 Carpenters Lane (& 609/ 884-5055), a first-rate clothing boutique for women. Another top shopping stop is Cheeks, at Ocean Street and Columbia Avenue (& 609/884-8484; www.cheeks capemay.com), for casual wear (easy-care linen, cotton sweaters) and affordable gifts. For a list of local antiques dealers, go online to www.capemay.com, or stop

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by one of the visitor centers listed above and ask for the Antique Shops of Cape May map. No visit to Cape May is complete without a sporting round of minigolf. The best of the local courses is Cape May Miniature Golf, between Jackson and Perry streets (& 609/884-2222). BEACHES & NATURAL ATTRACTIONS The big draws in summer are Cape May’s calm waters and wide, white sandy beaches. The beach is accessible all along Beach Drive, with concessions and public restrooms available midbeach near Convention Hall (at Stockton Place) and at various points along the Promenade. In summer, beach tags are required on all Cape May beaches; virtually all inns and motels will provide beach tags (currently $5 per day, $11 per week) to their guests. Locals usually head to Sunset Beach at Cape May Point (take W. Perry St. to Sunset Blvd.; www.sunsetbeachnj.com), which has a nice swimming cove, easy parking, and a beach grill. It’s worth visiting any time of year to see the Atlantus, 1 of 12 experimental concrete ships built during World War I. Needless to say, this was not a good idea; the curious ship ran aground in 1926, and its remains poke through the waves just offshore. The area’s best beach is 2 miles south of town, at Cape May Point State Park (& 609/884-2159; www.state.nj.us/dep/forestry/parks/capemay.htm), also accessible via Sunset Boulevard (turn left on Lighthouse Ave.). The quiet, noncommercial crescent of white sand has restrooms but no concessions, so pack a picnic. You can climb to the top of Cape May Lighthouse (& 609/884-5404; www.capemaymac.org), the second-tallest operating lighthouse in the United States, for breathtaking coastline views. It’s a grueling 199 steps (about 141⁄2 stories), but exhibits give you an excuse to rest at various points along the way. Admission costs $5 for adults, $1 for children under 12. The park also has 3 miles of hiking trails through wetlands (some wheelchair accessible), which are great for birders. Avid birders will want to visit the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, just before the park turnoff on Sunset Boulevard. This 212-acre refuge is one of the East Coast’s premier birding areas. Call the New Jersey Audubon Society’s Cape May Bird Observatory (& 609/884-2736) for more information. W H E R E T O S TAY

Many of Cape May’s historic homes have been wonderfully restored and converted into B&Bs. Rates tend to fluctuate dramatically, even for different rooms in the same inn, so it’s worth calling around and asking questions. Rates are generally lowest in winter and highest over holiday and summer weekends. Most include both breakfast and afternoon tea. Many establishments require minimum stays in season. The Mainstay Inn, 635 Columbia Ave. (& 609/884-8690; www.mainstay inn.com), housed in an immaculate 1872 Italianate villa, is widely regarded as the town’s finest inn. Rates run from $115 to $325 double. Nonguests can visit the main house by self-guided tour; call for details. The Humphrey Hughes House, 29 Ocean St. (& 609/884-4428; www. humphreyhugheshouse.com), is a grand museum-like home with intricate chestnut detailing, fabulous period antiques, and a somewhat formal air. Doubles run $135 to $295, suites $195 to $350. The Fairthorne, 111 Ocean St. (& 800/438-8742 or 609/884-8791; www. fairthorne.com), is our absolute favorite. This gorgeous Colonial Revival–style

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old sailing captain’s home is impeccable without being too frilly or formal, and hosts Diane and Ed Hutchinson couldn’t be more welcoming. Doubles run $205 to $240; a suite goes for $275. Around the corner is the John F. Craig House, 609 Columbia Ave. (& 877/544-0314 or 609/884-0100; www.johnfcraig.com), a beautifully restored Carpenter Gothic inn with a cozy, homey vibe. (Warning: Some rooms have tiny bathrooms.) Doubles cost $115 to $230. If you like your lodgings to have a little personality but consider B&Bs too personal (or too expensive), consider the small, elegant Virginia Hotel, 25 Jackson St. (& 800/732-4236 or 609/884-5700; www.virginiahotel.com), a full-service hotel since 1879. Rooms sport such luxurious amenities as Bvlgari toiletries, CD players, and bathrobes; doubles run $85 to $425. Or opt for the attractive and well-outfitted 11-room Queen’s Hotel, 601 Columbia Ave. (& 609/884-1613; www.queenshotel.com), whose innkeepers emphasize privacy and keep rates ($75–$225 double) low. Beach Drive is lined with value-priced motels—all with pools—that are ideal for those who prefer to avoid the fussiness of historic properties. Our favorite of a very good bunch is the Sandpiper Beach Inn, 11 Beach Dr. (& 609/8844256; www.capemaysandpiper.com), a lovely gray-and-white clapboard across from an excellent stretch of beach at the quietest end of Beach Drive. The rooms are mostly spacious, like-new suites with nice furnishings and modern kitchenettes. Note that the Sandpiper caters mainly to adults. Rates run $78 to $234 double. Another good choice is La Mer Beachfront Motor Inn, 1317 Beach Dr. (& 609/884-9000; www.lamermotorinn.com), whose new addition features very comfortable rooms ($83–$236) that are big enough for budgetminded families. The rooms in the older building ($58–$195) are cheaper but not nearly as spiffy. One floor is set aside solely for adults—a good choice for couples looking for peace and quiet. WHERE TO DINE

Cape May boasts an excellent, if pricey, collection of restaurants. Very highly regarded is the Water’s Edge, at Beach Drive and Pittsburgh Avenue (& 609/ 884-1717; www.watersedgerestaurant.com), a contemporary dining room with an ever-changing but consistently excellent chops-and-seafood menu and marvelous ocean views. There’s an excellent wine list and a good selection of Scotches as well. If you’re a seafood lover, drop your anchor at the much-acclaimed Axelsson’s Blue Claw Restaurant, 991 Ocean Dr. (& 609/884-5878; www.blueclaw restaurant.com), with its sophisticated decor, nautical-style bar, and ocean views. The restaurant offers some great grilled meat selections, but it’s the fresh seafood (crab cakes, lobster tail, Chilean sea bass) that draws diners. Start your meal off with one of the many martini options and cap it with one of the excellent desserts and specialty coffees. Among Cape May’s finest is the elegant Washington Inn, 801 Washington St., at Jefferson Street (& 609/884-5697; www.washingtoninn.com), whose winning New American cuisine includes such classics as rack of lamb and filet mignon complemented by faultless service and a super-romantic setting. Its 10,000-bottle wine list is the largest in the region. Every Monday at 8pm, the chefs prepare a seven-course tasting menu with five wine pairings for $140 per person. It’s perfect for celebrating a special occasion. Offering similar culinary quality is the Washington’s sister restaurant, the romantic Pelican Club, situated in the penthouse of the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel, 501 Beach Ave. (& 609/ 884-3500; www.pelicanclubcapemay.com). The 360-degree views of the Cape

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May coast are breathtaking, and if the scenery isn’t enough, jazz bands perform on weekends inside the retro-Miami-style dining room. For classics such as clams casino, shrimp co*cktail, and thick-cut steaks, head to the Merion Inn, 106 Decatur St., at Columbia Avenue (& 609/884-8363; www.merioninn.com), somewhat less expensive than the Washington Inn but no less romantic. This dimly lit, old-world restaurant features several theme dining rooms (we like the porch ones best), and also has an excellent mahogany bar with a jazz pianist in summer. For more affordable eats, a distinctive yellow striped awning signals the Mad Batter, 19 Jackson St., just off Carpenters Lane (& 609/884-5970; www.mad batter.com), a comfortable, casual restaurant specializing in made-from-scratch breakfasts (their specialty); fresh, leafy salads at lunch; and unfussy Europeanstyle entrees at dinner (Mediterranean shrimp pasta, for example). Several vegetarian options are always offered, and there’s a sizeable selection of moderately priced wines (several available by the glass). If you want a quick, inexpensive lunch, your best bet is the Depot Market Cafe, 409 Elmira St., next to the Village Bike Shop on Ocean Street (& 609/ 884-8030), an ultracasual sandwich shop with homemade everything and a pleasing alfresco patio. Overlooking the beach action is McGlade’s on the Pier, on the Promenade at Convention Hall (& 609/884-2614), where the stars of the otherwise-average burgers-and-seafood menu are the stellar crab cakes and omelets. Next door is Henry’s on the Beach (& 609/884-8826; www.henrysonthebeach.com), serving up a similar all-day menu in a friendly laid-back atmosphere.

5 Philadelphia It was in Philadelphia that the United States declared its independence on July 4, 1776, and where the Founding Fathers managed the Revolutionary War, wrote the U.S. Constitution, and governed the country until Washington, D.C., was built. Today, the Liberty Bell that proclaimed America’s freedom from Great Britain, Independence Hall in which it all took place, and dozens of other historic treasures are preserved here in the largest colonial district in the country, which also features the glossy new National Constitution Center. But you’ll find a lot more than history in Philadelphia. Its smart Center City core is a stroller’s paradise and a working urban environment, with restored Georgian and Federal structures integrated with sleek shops and chic restaurants along Walnut Street. Broad Street south of City Hall has been reconstituted as a first-class “Avenue of the Arts,” anchored by the Philadelphia Orchestra’s home, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. With two gleaming new sports stadiums in South Philadelphia, this is a city filled with art, music, and sports for every age and taste.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Philadelphia International Airport (& 215/ 937-6800; www.phl.org) is at the southwest corner of the city. For up-to-theminute information on arrival and departure times and gate assignments, call & 800/PHL-GATE. Twelve new gates at Terminal A West facilitate international flights (A14–A26). An impressive shopping area is located between Terminals B and C. You can pick up taxis and shuttles outside each terminal. A taxi from the airport to Center City takes about 20 minutes and costs a flat rate of $20 plus tip.

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Airport limousine and shuttle services are provided by Philadelphia Airport Shuttle (& 215/333-1441); Lady Liberty (& 215/222-8888); or Deluxe Limo (& 215/463-8787). All charge about $10 to get from the airport to Center City, and from $75 to $120 for service to Atlantic City in New Jersey (p. 147). By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) serves Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, about 15 blocks from City Hall. There’s frequent service from New York (trip time: 11⁄2 hr.), Washington (13⁄4–2 hr.), and Boston (51⁄2–7 hr.). SEPTA commuter trains (& 215/580-7800; www.septa.org) connect 30th Street Station and several Center City stations to Trenton, New Jersey; Newark; and Delaware. New Jersey Transit (& 215/569-3752) operates commuter trains from New York and Newark to Trenton, where you can switch across the platform to the Philadelphia-bound SEPTA train. SEPTA also runs a high-speed rail link (R1), offering direct service between the airport and Center City; trains run daily every 30 minutes from 5:09am to 12:09am. Trains follow the loop of a raised pedestrian bridge and stop in front of every airport terminal. Trains to the airport depart from Market East (and a Convention Center connection), Suburban Station at 16th Street, and 30th Street Station. The 30-minute trip costs $5.50 for adults, $1.50 weekdays and 75¢ weekends for children ages 5 to 11, free for children under 5, and $17 for families. By Car Philadelphia is some 300 miles (6 or so hours) from Boston, and 100 miles (2 hr.) from New York City. If you think of Center City as a rectangle, I-95 whizzes by its bottom and right sides; I-276, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, is the top edge; and I-76 splits off and snakes along the Schuylkill River along the left side into town. I-676 traverses Center City under Vine Street, connecting I-76 to adjacent Camden, New Jersey, via the Ben Franklin Bridge ($3 inbound only) over the Delaware. The “Blue Route” of I-476 forms a left edge for the suburbs, about 15 miles west of town, connecting I-276 and I-76 at its northern end with I-95 to the south. VISITOR INFORMATION The Independence Visitor Center, at 6th and Market streets in the heart of historical Philadelphia (& 800/537-7676 or 215/ 965-7676; www.independencevisitorcenter.com), pulls together information on over 500 attractions in the city and region. It also offers publications and wonderful orientation exhibitions, as well as a number of package tours combining special museum exhibitions, concerts, or sporting events with discount hotel prices, free city transit passes, and Amtrak discounts. Many city bus tours, historic trolley rides, and walking tours begin here. The center is open 8:30am to 5pm daily. GETTING AROUND Philadelphia is very pedestrian-friendly, so we advise leaving your car in a garage while you explore. Center City is easily explored on foot or by taxi, and traffic, particularly around City Hall and near Rittenhouse Square, can be very congested. Many hotels offer reduced-rate parking to guests. SEPTA (& 215/580-7800) operates a complicated and extensive network of trolleys, buses, commuter trains, and subways. The fare for any SEPTA bus or subway route is $2 cash or $1.30 by token, plus 60¢ extra for a transfer; exact change or tokens are required. A five-pack of tokens costs $6.50; a 10-pack, $13. A $5.50 DayPass is good for buses, subways, and one ride on the Airport loop; a $19 weekly TransPass is good from Monday to the following Sunday. Two subway lines crisscross the city, intersecting under City Hall. The Broad Street line connects directly to sporting events in the south. The Market– Frankford line stops at seven popular destinations and stretches to the west and

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northeast. In addition, the Subway–Surface line connects City Hall and 30th Street Station, stopping at 19th and 22nd streets along the way. West of the Amtrak station it branches out, moving aboveground to the north and south. The PATCO commuter rail line (& 215/922-4600; www.drpa.org) begins at Walnut and Locust streets around Broad Street, connects with rapid transit at 8th and Market, and crosses the Ben Franklin Bridge to Camden’s Walter Rand Transportation Center for the bargain fare of $1.15, where you can transfer to New Jersey Transit’s Aqualink Shuttle to the Aquarium. The “Main Line” posh suburbs west of the city are served by SEPTA, one of the best commuter rail networks in America. From Suburban Station, at 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, or Reading Terminal, at 12th and Market streets, you can reach the Barnes Foundation art collection in Merion; and colleges in Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore, and Villanova. One-way fares for all destinations are $3 to $5.50; you can buy tickets at station counters or vending machines. Philadelphia has 1,400 licensed cabs; try Olde City Taxi (& 215/338-0838) or Quaker City (& 215/728-8000). Fares are $1.80 for the first 1⁄7 mile and 30¢ for each additional 1⁄7 mile or minute of the motor running. FAST FACTS Call the Philadelphia County Medical Society (& 215/5635343) for a doctor referral, or & 215/925-6050 in a dental emergency. Major hospitals include Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard (& 215/590-1000); University of Pennsylvania Hospital, 3400 Spruce St. (& 215/662-4000); and Thomas Jefferson, 11th and Walnut streets (& 215/955-6000; SEPTA: 11th St.). There are 24-hour pharmacies at the CVS at 1826 Chestnut St., at the corner of 19th Street (& 215/972-0909 or 215/972-1401; SEPTA: 19th St.); and at 10th and Reed streets (& 215/465-2130) in South Philadelphia. Philadelphia is generally safe if you concentrate on major tourist destinations, but stay alert, be aware of your immediate surroundings, and keep a close eye on your possessions. Be especially careful at night and around college campuses in West Philadelphia. There is a 7% sales tax on general sales and restaurant meals, but not on clothing. Liquor, including wine, beer and hard liquor, is taxed at 10%. Lodging charges incur a 14% tax, 6% of which is state occupancy tax, plus 8% city and local surcharges. SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS The Mummer’s Parade (& 215/3363050), held on New Year’s Day, attracts 15,000 spangled strutters marching in feathered outfits while strumming banjos. You can line up on Broad Street—the traditional home of the Mummers—between Oregon Avenue and City Hall to watch the string bands and comics; the Fancy Brigades also perform that day indoors at the Convention Center. The Philadelphia Flower Show is the largest and most prestigious indoor exhibition of its kind. Acres of gardens, including exotic orchid displays and rustic settings, occupy the Convention Center in late February or early March. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 100 N. 20th St. (& 215/988-8800; www. philaflowershow.com), sells tickets in advance. The Book and the Cook Festival (& 215/683-2065), usually the third week in March, combines the love of reading and eating. Eminent food critics, cookbook authors, celebrity chefs, and restaurateurs create and serve special menus at the city’s best restaurants; food samplings and wine- and beer-tastings

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are held all over town. The list of participating restaurants is published in January, and many get booked quickly. In the 10 days before July 4th, the whole town turns out for the Sunoco Welcome America! festival (& 215/636-1666; www.americasbirthday.com) to celebrate America’s birthday. Among the dozens of free events, there are fireworks on the Delaware River or at the Phillies game on the night of the 3rd, and the 4th brings special ceremonies to Independence Square, including a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and fireworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art following an evening parade up the Parkway.

WHAT TO SEE & DO The city’s top attraction is Independence National Historical Park (SEPTA: 5th St.), America’s most historic square mile, centered at Independence Hall on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th streets. The Declaration of Independence was conceived here in 1776, the U.S. Constitution was written here in 1787, and Philadelphia served as the nation’s capital for 10 years during the construction of the new capital in Washington, D.C. The park is composed of 40 buildings on 45 acres of Center City real estate, including original sites such as Independence Hall; reconstructions such as City Tavern and Declaration House; and contemporary structures such as the Liberty Bell Center and the brand-new National Constitution Center, on the north side of the mall. Hours for all buildings are from 9am to 5pm (the Visitor Center opens at 8:30am, the Constitution Center at 9:30am). With security concerns, all visitors must first pass through a screening site on Market Street between 5th and 6th streets before visiting any park attractions. You will need free timed tickets to enter Independence Hall. Make your first stop the new Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market streets (& 800/537-7676 or 215/965-7676), where you can pick up a map of the area; get tickets to tour Independence Hall; and reserve a spot on one of the frequent ranger-led tours of the Second Bank of the United States, Bishop White House, and Todd House ($2). Barnes Foundation The magnificent Barnes Foundation will stun you, if you are one of the lucky few who are able to get inside this quirky art gallery and education facility. In the early 1900s, eccentric millionaire Albert Barnes crammed his French provincial mansion with more than 1,000 masterpieces— 180 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, innumerable Impressionists and post-Impressionists, and a generous sampling of European art from the Italian primitives onward. Local zoning restricts the museum to only 500 visitors per week, so reserve well in advance. There is citywide debate (and a few lawsuits) over whether to relocate Barnes’s collection—against the late millionaire’s own wishes—to a central Philadelphia location, but for now, the gallery resides in this leafy, upscale Main Line neighborhood. 300 N. Latches Lane, Merion Station. & 610/667-0290. www.barnesfoundation.org. Admission $5; audio tour $7. On-site parking $10. Reserve at least 2 months in advance by telephone. July–Aug Wed–Fri 9:30am–5pm; all other months Fri–Sun 9:30am–5pm. SEPTA: R5 (Paoli local train) to Merion; from station, turn right and walk up Merion Rd., turn left onto N. Latches Lane. Bus: 44 to Old Lancaster Rd. and Latches Lane.

Betsy Ross House Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross was a Quaker needlewoman; nobody is sure if she did the original American flag of 13 stars set in a field of 13 stripes, but she was commissioned to sew ships’ flags for the Revolutionary War fleet. Her tiny house takes only a minute or two to walk through; it’s a great

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picture of average colonial life, from the low ceilings to the cellar kitchen and the model working areas for upholstering, making musket balls, and the like. 239 Arch St. & 215/686-1252. Suggested contribution $2 adults, $1 children. Apr–Oct daily 10am–5pm; Nov–Mar closed Mon, except legal holidays. SEPTA: 2nd St. Bus: 5, 17, 33, 48, or PHLASH.

This is the most beautiful colonial building (1727–54) in Value Old City; its spire gleams white and can be seen from anywhere in the neighborhood. The interior spans one large arch, with galleries above the sides as demanded by the Anglican Church. The massive Palladian window behind the altar was the wonder of worshipers and probably the model for the one in Independence Hall. Seating is by pew—Washington’s seat is marked with a plaque—and it’s impossible to ignore the history etched in the church’s stones and memorials.

Christ Church

2nd St. (a half-block north of Market St.). & 215/922-1695. Free admission; donations welcome. Mon–Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm; Sun services at 9 and 11am. Closed Jan–Feb Mon–Tues. SEPTA: 2nd St. Bus: 5, 17, 33, 48, or PHLASH.

The modern Benjamin Franklin Bridge shadows Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited street in the United States. Most of colonial Philadelphia looked like this block does: cobblestone lanes between the major thoroughfares, small two-story homes, and pent eaves over doors and windows—a local trademark. A diverse population made this a miniature melting pot in the 18th and 19th centuries. Number 126, the 1755 Mantua Maker’s House (cape maker), now serves as a museum and is the only house open to the public. There is a gift shop with free brochures and information at no. 124.

Elfreth’s Alley

2nd St., between Arch and Race sts. & 215/574-0560. Street is public; Mantua Maker’s House suggested admission $2 adults, $1 children, $5 families. Tues–Sat 10am–4pm; Sun noon–4pm. SEPTA: 2nd St. Bus: 5, 48, or PHLASH.

Franklin Court Value This imaginative, informative, and downright fun museum was designed under and around the site of Ben Franklin’s home and is run by the National Park Service. The exhibits reflect Franklin’s wide interests as scientist, inventor, statesman, printer, politician, and diplomat. Enter through arched passages from either Market or Chestnut streets; the Market entrance adjoins Franklin’s reconstructed and fully operational post office, where employees still hand-stamp the marks. Chestnut St. (between 3rd and 4th sts.), with another entrance at 316–318 Market St. Free admission, including the post office and postal museum. Daily 9am–5pm. SEPTA: 5th St.

Franklin Institute Science Museum Kids Set in an imposing, pillar-fronted limestone building, this museum explores the influence of science on our lives with an imaginative flair. It’s a great spot for those traveling with kids. The complex actually has four parts: a memorial to Ben Franklin; exhibitions such as a gigantic walk-through heart, ship models, and antique airplanes; a Futures Center with eight permanent interactive exhibits; and an imaginative outdoor science park. Other facilities include a planetarium and an IMAX theater. The text explanations found throughout the museum are witty and disarming. Logan Sq., 20th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. & 215/448-1200. www.fi.edu. Sci-Pass (includes admission and 1 planetarium show) $13 adults, $10 children; Sci-Pass plus 1 IMAX movie $17 adults, $14 children. Daily 9:30am–5pm; Tuttleman IMAX Theater till 9pm Fri and Sat. Bus: 33 or PHLASH.

Independence Seaport Museum This user-friendly maritime museum is the star of the city’s waterfront. It’s beautifully laid out, blending a first-class maritime collection with interactive exhibits for a trip through time that engages

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all ages. The Workshop on the Water lets you watch classes and amateurs undertake traditional wooden boat building and restoration throughout the year. The Historic Ship Zone includes the USS Becuna, a guppy-sized submarine which served in Admiral Halsey’s South Pacific fleet; and the USS Olympia, Admiral Dewey’s flagship in the Spanish-American War. Across the river, the battleship New Jersey has recently berthed by the New Jersey State Aquarium (combination admission tickets covering the Jersey attractions and transportation across the river are available). Plan on spending at least 5 hours if you explore all of the options. Penn’s Landing, at 211 S. Columbus Blvd. & 215/925-5439. Admission $9 adults, $8 seniors, $6 children, free to all Sun 10am–noon. Combined admission to adjacent Historic Ship Zone, the RiverLink Ferry, and the New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden $22 adults, $21 seniors, $16 children 3–11. Daily 10am–5pm except major holidays. SEPTA: 2nd St. Bus: 5,17, 21, 33, 42, 48, or PHLASH.

Liberty Bell Center America’s symbol of independence was commissioned in 1751 and hung in Independence Hall to “proclaim liberty throughout the land” as the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to the country’s citizens (the quote engraved on the bell from the Bible, not the Declaration). It last tolled to celebrate Washington’s birthday in 1846, when it cracked (nobody knows why). Its roomy new home, an interactive pavilion run by the National Park Service, was only 937 feet from its former glass pavilion, but moving the 2,080-pound bell required a team of engineers and a special steel cart. 6th St. (between Market and Chestnut sts.). 9am–5pm. SEPTA: 5th St.

&

800/537-7676. ww.nps.gov. Free admission. Daily

National Constitution Center A sprawling, dramatic, and unexpectedly modern steel-and-glass temple to the U.S. Constitution, the center at first seems rather unapproachable. But a multimedia theatrical show, Freedom Rising, which kicks off each visit, rallies adults and children into the right patriotic mindset for the more than 100 interactive exhibits that line this vast 160,000-square-foot building. Go ahead, take the Presidential Oath of Office, or test out a bench on the Supreme Court (without the Congressional hearings!). Tip: Reserve your tickets by phone or on the website before you visit to avoid long waits in line. 525 Arch St. & 866/917-1787 or 215/409-6600. www.constitutioncenter.org. Admission $6 adults, $5 seniors and children, free for children under 4. Mon–Fri 9:30am–5pm; Sat–Sun 9:30am–6pm.

The third-largest art museum in the country is a resplendent Greco-Roman temple on a hill—approached, of course, by the “Rocky steps,” made famous by the Oscar-winning film. It houses one of the finest decorative arts collections in the country, featuring many American arts and crafts, including Philadelphia-made furniture and silver. Upstairs, spread over dozens of galleries, is a chronological sweep of European art from medieval times through 1900. The 19th- and 20th century galleries highlight Cézanne’s Bathers and Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase—the museum is internationally renowned for its Duchamp collection. There are also many works by Philadelphia’s Thomas Eakins. Philadelphia Museum of Art

26th St. and Ben Franklin Pkwy. & 215/763-8100, or 215/684-7500 for 24-hr. information. www.phila museum.org. Admission $10 adults, $7 students, seniors, and children 13–18, free for children under 13; all ages pay what you wish Sun. Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; Fri 10am–8:45pm. Bus: 7, 32, 38, 43, 48, or PHLASH.

Philadelphia Zoo Kids This 42-acre zoo, opened in 1874, was the nation’s first and remains a leader, with 1,600-plus animals (including rare white lions). Other options include a Carnivore Kingdom (starring a cheetah); a renovated

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Reptile House (king cobra); a restored Primate House (lowland gorillas); a wonderful Birds of Australia open-air exhibit where you can hand-feed lorikeets; and a spectacular children’s exhibit, the Treehouse, which lets kids explore seven larger-than-life animal habitats. 34th St. and Girard Ave. & 215/243-1100. www.phillyzoo.org. Admission Nov–Mar $11 adults and children 2–11; Apr–Oct $16 adults, $13 children 2–11; year-round free for children under 2. Parking $8. Feb–Nov daily 9:30am–5pm; Dec–Jan daily 9:30am–4pm. Bus: 15, 32, 38, or PHLASH.

ORGANIZED TOURS American Trolley Tours (& 215/333-2119) operates double-decker buses decked out like trolleys. Guided tours of historic areas ($15 adults and seniors, $5 kids 12 and under) leave from the Liberty Bell Pavilion at 5th and Market streets and stop at many hotels at 30-minute intervals. From May to October, Centipede Tours, 1315 Walnut St. (& 215/7353123), leads Saturday-evening candlelit strolls of the historic area; costumed guides leave from Welcome Park at Second and Walnut streets at 6:30pm. Tours of Society Hill cost $5 per person. Call for reservations or customized tours. The Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corp. (www.gophila.com) hosts themed neighborhood tours spring through fall, ranging from “Latin Soul, Latin Flavor” to “Voices of Chinatown,” leaving from the Independence Visitors’ Center (& 215/599-2295). Tours cost $30 for adults, $25 for kids 8 to 12 (the organizers do not recommend the 3-hr. tours for kids under 8). To get the feel of Philadelphia as it once was, try a narrated horse-drawn carriage ride. Operated daily by the 76 Carriage Co. (& 215/923-8516), tours begin at 5th and Chestnut streets in front of Independence Hall from 10am to 5pm, with later hours in summer at 2nd and South streets. Reservations are not necessary. There are three tour options: The short tour is 15 to 20 minutes and costs $25, for up to four people; 35 minutes is $35 for four people; and an hour is $75 for four people.

SHOPPING The best places to look for high fashion and designer goods are the specialty shops around Liberty Place and Rittenhouse Square. The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St., between 16th and 17th streets (& 215/851-9055), houses more than 60 quality stores and stalls in a handsome, 60-story tower. Luxury lovers should visit the Shops at the Bellevue, at Broad and Walnut streets (& 215/875-8350; www.bellevuephiladelphia.com), which include Tiffany & Co., Polo Ralph Lauren, Nicole Miller, and Williams-Sonoma. The once-funky area on South Street, just south of Society Hill, has turned into big business. Because restaurants and nightlife now line South Street from Front to 8th streets, many of the 180 stores here are open well into the evening and offer goods ranging from the gentrified to the somewhat grotesque. The crowd, naturally, is young, pierced, and loud. Pine Street from 9th to 12th streets is “Antiques Row,” and also has a crop of charming new home stores filled with modern furniture and accessories, while Sansom Street from 7th to 9th streets is “Jeweler’s Row.” Old City, the city’s hippest area, north of Market Street between Front and 8th streets, is an area of former warehouses-turned-art-galleries, with chic loft apartments now occupying most of the old industrial spaces. This is a great area in which to discover an independent record store, sip espresso at a cafe, or browse for glossy Art Deco antiques at Moderne Gallery, 111 N. 3rd St. (& 215/923-8536; www.modernegallery. com). Manayunk (www.manayunk.com), a neighborhood at the northwestern

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corner of the city, is known for contemporary crafts and boutiques such as Smith Bros for jeans and casual clothes. Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch streets (& 215/922-2317), is a 110-year-old landmark with a gastronomic bazaar of restaurants and greengrocers, snack shops, bakeries, butchers, fish markets, and more. You can still see the Amish in the big city on their market days (Wed and Sat), and you can buy sticky buns at Beiler’s Bakery, soft pretzels at Fisher’s, and individual egg custards and chicken potpies at The Dutch Eating Place. Closed Sunday. While touring South Street or South Philadelphia, stop by the Italian Market, centered around 9th Street between Christian and Wharton streets. It feels straight out of another era: gritty, colorful, and redolent of garlic and just-baked bread, with pushcarts and open stalls selling fresh produce, cheese, pasta, and other culinary delights. Pick up a cannoli, a unique Italian pastry filled with sweet vanilla cream, then stroll by the stands selling live chickens, and whitecoated butchers carving filets and T-bones out of massive sides of beef.

WHERE TO STAY Like many other major U.S. cities, Philadelphia is struggling to absorb a boom in hotel rooms—5,200 new hotel beds were added to Center City to host the 2000 Republican National Convention and other large meetings. New construction has slowed, and occupancy rates for Center City’s total of 12,700 rooms fell in 2001 and are still struggling to rebound—which means that competition is leading many hotels to offer weekend packages and discounts; be sure to inquire. State, city, and local surcharges will tack on an additional 14% to your lodging bill. The Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market streets (& 800/537-7676 or 215/965-7676), can help with any questions. For information on B&Bs, try A Bed & Breakfast Connection/Bed & Breakfast of Philadelphia (& 800/ 448-3619 or 610/687-3565; www.bnbphiladelphia.com). Many of the city’s more affordable options are chain hotels, including the Best Western Independence Park Inn, 235 Chestnut St. (& 800/528-1234 or 215/922-4443; www.bestwestern.com); and the Comfort Inn Downtown/ Historic Area, 100 N. Columbus Blvd. (& 800/228-5150 or 215/627-7900; www.comfortinn.com). Hotel options near the airport include the Sheraton Suites at the Philadelphia Airport, 4101 Island Ave. (& 800/325-3535 or 215/365-6600; www. sheraton.com); and the Comfort Inn Airport, 53 Industrial Hwy., Essington (& 800/228-5150 or 610/521-9800; www.comfortinn.com). Embassy Suites Center City Value This 28-story cylinder of marble and glass, designed to house luxury apartments, looks dated, but the all-suite format actually works quite well. Fresh-air fans will enjoy the sliding doors that open onto small balconies with great Parkway views. Dishes and silverware for the suites’ kitchenettes are provided on request. Patience is required—while the rooms are a treat, the elevators and lobby weren’t built to handle hotel-style volume. Weekend packages make this hotel very affordable. 1776 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. (at Logan Sq.), Philadelphia, PA 19103. & 800/362-2779 or 215/561-1776. Fax 215/561-5930. www.embassy-suites.com. 288 units. From $109 suite. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include full breakfast and lobby social hour. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $22. Bus: 33. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness center. In room: Kitchenette.

This refined, luxurious property sets the bar for hotel sophistication in Philadelphia, and it’s perfect for weekday business or romantic

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weekend getaways. The just-refurbished elegant rooms have windows that open, or private verandas boasting marvelous views of Logan Circle’s Swann Fountain or the interior courtyard. Amenities include marble bathrooms with bathrobes and thick towels; hypoallergenic pillows are available, as is in-room exercise equipment. The Fountain, under head chef Martin Hamann, is one of Philadelphia’s best restaurants, with its inventive, French-accented American menu and seamless service—come for the fabulous Sunday brunch. One Logan Sq., Philadelphia, PA 19103. & 800/332-3442 or 215/963-1500. Fax 215/963-9506. www. fourseasons.com. 364 units. From $320 double. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Weekend rates and discount packages available. AE, DC, MC, V. Valet parking $32; self-parking $24. Bus: 33. Pets permitted. Amenities: 2 restaurants; indoor pool; health club; spa.

Omni Hotel at Independence Park This polished hotel has a terrific location in the middle of Independence National Historical Park, and near Old City’s gallery district. All units have been renovated since 2001 and have park views; you can watch horse-drawn carriages clip-clopping by, or walk a half-block to trendy bars and restaurants. The classic lobby features current newspapers, huge vases of flowers, and a pianist or jazz trio nightly. Rooms are cheery, and equipped with opulent marble bathrooms and state-of-the-art conveniences; Get Fit rooms feature treadmills. You can catch an after-dinner flick at the Ritz Five movie theater tucked into the hotel’s back corner. 401 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. & 800/843-6664 or 215/925-0000. Fax 215/931-1263. www. omnihotels.com. 150 units. $169–$209 double; from $600 suite. Children under 10 stay free in parent’s room. Weekend rates available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $28; self-parking $20. SEPTA: 5th St. Amenities: Restaurant; indoor pool; health club; spa.

Penn’s View Hotel Tucked behind the Market Street ramp to I-95 in a renovated 1856 hardware store, this small, pretty hotel offers roomy guest rooms with Chippendale-style furniture and modern amenities. The main concern is traffic noise, but rooms are well insulated; some offer fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs. The hotel was developed by the Sena family, who run La Famiglia—one of the city’s best Italian restaurants (see “Where to Dine,” below)—a couple of blocks away. Off the lobby, Ristorante Panorama is a lovely setting for excellent handmade pastas and Italian-accented fish and meats at moderate prices. A romantic wine bar offers 120 different wines by the glass. Front and Market sts., Philadelphia, PA 19106. & 800/331-7634 or 215/922-7600. Fax 215/922-7642. www. pennsviewhotel.com. 51 units. $120–$250 double. Rates include European continental breakfast. Weekend rates and discount packages available. AE, MC, V. Parking $18 at adjacent lot. SEPTA: 2nd St. Amenities: Restaurant.

Philadelphia Marriott and Philadelphia Downtown Courtyard Marriott The biggest hotel in Pennsylvania, linked by an elevated covered walk-

way to the Reading Terminal Shed of the Convention Center, got even bigger in 1999 when Marriott converted the historic City Hall Annex across 13th Street into a 498-room Courtyard by Marriott, and added an additional 210 oversize rooms in the renovated Headhouse Terminal across the skyway. Setbacks and terraces provide plenty of natural light and views from the rooms on floors 6 to 23, and the courtyard property has sensitively restored bronze and copper details throughout. Although tastefully outfitted and equipped with spacious bathrooms, the rooms are slightly less elegant than those at the top hotels. Service is impeccable, thanks to the well-trained, knowledgeable staff. 1201 Market St. (at 12th St.) and 21 N. Juniper St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. & 800/228-9290 or 215/6252900. Fax 215/625-6000. www.marriott.com/marriott/phldt. Marriott: 1,408 units. From $179 double; $290

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concierge-level rooms. Weekend rates available. Courtyard by Marriott: 498 units. $155–$185 double. Weekend rates available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $30. SEPTA: Direct internal connection to 11th St.–Market E. or 13th St. Amenities: 3 restaurants; pool (1 in each hotel); health club; spa (Marriott only).

Rittenhouse Hotel Best Among Philadelphia’s luxury hotels, the Rittenhouse has the fewest and largest rooms, dramatic views of the flowers and trees in Rittenhouse Square, and a franchise on hosting movie stars: Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, and Denzel Washington have all roosted here while filming in Philly. Built in 1989, it’s a jagged concrete-and-glass high-rise; the lobby is a peaceful oasis, with inlaid marble floors and frosted-glass chandeliers. The guest rooms have bay windows, reinforced walls, and VCRs. And everything you need for a wonderful vacation is on-premises: amenities include Lacroix, a world-class French restaurant (see below); an outpost of the renowned Smith & Wollensky steakhouses; and the luxe Adolf Biecker spa, salon, and gym. 210 W. Rittenhouse Sq., Philadelphia, PA 19103. & 800/635-1042 or 215/546-9000. Fax 215/732-3364. www.rittenhousehotel.com. 98 units. From $230 double. Special rates and packages from $200 including health club, dinners, and other extras usually available. AE, DC, MC, V. Valet parking $24. SEPTA: 19th St. Pets permitted. Amenities: 3 restaurants; indoor pool; health club; spa.

Steps from Rittenhouse Square, a pristine park ringed by million-dollar apartments and mansions, this is the city’s best incarnation of a small, European-style luxury hotel. Set in a mansion (ca. 1911) on a leafy street 1 block from Walnut Street shopping, and 10 minutes’ walk to the Convention Center, the hotel exudes modernized, hauteBritish style, with Frette linens, Berber carpets, and surprisingly large guest rooms and suites with excellent marble bathrooms. Sip wine in the lobby each evening, and enjoy a lavish continental breakfast, but forget about bringing along children under 12 or smoking.

Rittenhouse Square Bed and Breakfast

1715 Rittenhouse Sq., Philadelphia, PA 19103. & 877/791-6500 or 215/546-6500. Fax 215/546-8787. www.rittenhousebb.com. 10 units. $209 double; $259 suite. Rates include complimentary continental breakfast and nightly wine reception. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. SEPTA: 17th St. Children under 12 not permitted. Amenities: Smoking not permitted.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel Philadelphia’s newest luxury hotel is set inside a historic Broad Street bank building (itself designed to resemble the Pantheon in Rome) with a 140-foot-high, white marble lobby and some of the city’s loveliest rooms and suites. Rooms are generously sized and traditionally decorated with exceptional city views and gorgeous marble bathrooms; some overlook City Hall next door. Splurge on one of the “club floors,” and you’ll be treated to champagne, Brie, and a lavish breakfast in a paneled, 30th-floor former boardroom. The spa offers a full complement of treatments, The Grill restaurant features former Striped Bass chef Terence Feury, and the Vault Cigar Bar is a popular spot for after-work drinks and its $15 weekend dessert buffet. 10 Ave. of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA 19102. & 800/241-3333 or 215/523-8000. Fax 215/568-6445. www. ritzcarlton.com. 331 units. Doubles from $279. Weekend packages available. Valet parking $32. Dogs permitted under certain conditions for a $25 surcharge. Amenities: 2 restaurants; health club; spa.

This French-owned hotel is as smart and chic as the European guests who sip martinis in its popular lobby bar. Downstairs, the decor is all marble and tall windows softened by thoughtful details such as exquisite flower arrangements and modern, comfortable velvet sofas. The roomy guest rooms, with huge travertine marble bathrooms, dark wood accents, and Deco-style modern furniture are softened by sleek mirrors and luxe linens. All rooms have Web TV. The Sofitel, an anchor of Sansom Street’s “French district,” is a Manolo

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Blahnik’s throw from shopping along Walnut Street, and restaurants such as Striped Bass, Rouge, and Le Bec Fin. 120 S. 17th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103. & 800/763-4835 or 215/569-8300. www.sofitel.com. 306 units. $269 double; $269 suite. Weekend rates available from $179. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $29. SEPTA: 17th St. Pets up to 25 lb. permitted for $50 surcharge. Amenities: Restaurant; health club.

The Wyndham is popular with business travelers, but rooms were renovated a few years ago so they’d appeal to the leisure crowd as well. Rooms offer full-length mirrors, Aeron ergonomic chairs, and toiletries from the Golden Door spa. The complex’s lobby, lounge, and two restaurants lie under a dramatic 70-foot glass roof. Request a west view above the 19th floor for an unobstructed peek at the Parkway, but be forewarned that the cathedral bells below ring at 7am daily. A fee of $15 gets you all-day access to racquetball, squash, outdoor handball, and tennis.

Wyndham Philadelphia at Franklin Plaza

17th and Race sts., Philadelphia, PA 19103. & 800/882-4200 or 215/448-2000. Fax 215/448-2864. www. wyndham.com. 758 units. From $99 double. Children 18 and under stay free in parent’s room. Excellent weekend rates available. AE, DC, MC, V. Valet parking $24; self-parking $17. SEPTA: Race–Vine. Bus: 33. Pets under 50 lb. permitted for $50 nonrefundable fee. Amenities: 2 restaurants; indoor pool; 2 tennis courts; health club; spa.

WHERE TO DINE In addition to the choices below, you might want to head to South Philly for its numerous southern and central Italian restaurants. Try The Saloon, 750 S. 7th St. (& 215/627-1811), a dignified, Sopranos-worthy place for the best veal chops in town; or the red-sauce-perfumed, fourth-generation Ralph’s, 760 S. 9th St. (& 215/627-6011). Buddakan ASIAN With its high ceilings, mod dining room, giant golden Buddha statue overlooking sleek tables of trendy couples and extended families, Buddakan could coast on its good looks. But its stellar made-for-sharing PanAsian cuisine—“angry lobster,” wok-seared and served with lobster mashed potatoes; and grilled lamb chops with Thai basil pesto, among other dishes— make it more than just a pretty place to dine. And the combination of image and substance explains its continued popularity since its launch 5 years ago. 325 Chestnut St. & 215/574-9440. Reservations recommended. Main courses $16–$28. AE, DC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm; Sun–Thurs 5–11pm; Fri–Sat 5–11pm. SEPTA: 2nd St. or 5th St.

Fork CONTINENTAL

This Old City stylish bistro is set in a historic brick warehouse that’s been renovated into a warm, 68-seat restaurant with tall banquettes, a hip circular bar, open kitchen, and glorious lighting. Most of the ingredients used by the chefs come from organic farms and Amish purveyors; the menu changes daily. The signature dishes here are pan-seared miso-ginger salmon with coconut sushi rice, and a chimichurri-laced hanger steak with matchstick-thin yucca frites. The Sunday brunch is very popular with couples.

306 Market St. & 215/625-9425. www.forkrestaurant.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $14–$26. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11:30am–10:30pm; Fri 11:30am–11:30pm; Sat 5–11:30pm; Sun 11am–4pm and 5–10:30pm. Late bar menu Thurs 10:30pm–midnight, Fri–Sat 11:30pm–1am. SEPTA: 2nd St. or 5th St.

Lacroix FRENCH

When French-born (and critically lauded) chef JeanMarie Lacroix left Philly’s Four Seasons Hotel to open this eponymous restaurant in the Rittenhouse Hotel, the city buzzed—could the revered Lacroix create the same magic in this second-floor dining room overlooking the park? Absolutely. Esquire named it the best new restaurant in the entire country in 2003. The setting is ethereal but unstuffy, with deep emerald-green armchairs

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and lovely limestone accents, and the menu of interchangeable courses (choose from three to five dishes) might feature sautéed Virginia squab on pine leaves with bluefoot-mushroom torte. The $26 prix-fixe business lunch is an exceptional deal. 210 W. Rittenhouse Sq. & 215/790-2533. www.rittenhousehotel.com/lacroix.cfm. Reservations recommended. A la carte from $13; prix fixe $26 lunch, $54–$75 dinner; brunch $46. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm; Sun 11am–2:30pm; daily 5:30–10pm.

La Famiglia ITALIAN

La Famiglia refers to both the proprietors and the clientele of this refined spot. The Neapolitan Sena family aims for elegant dining, service, and presentation. The restaurant seats 60 in a private, warm setting of hand-hammered Venetian chandeliers and majolica tiles. Most of the pasta is homemade; you might try the gnocchi al basilico, which incorporates basil and sweet red-pepper sauce. The award-winning wine cellar here is legendary. For dessert, try a mille foglie, the Italian version of the napoleon, or profiteroles in chocolate sauce. People often stay here well after the closing hour, lingering over sambuca while arias play in the background.

8 S. Front St. & 215/922-2803. www.lafamiglia.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $28–$43. AE, DC, MC, V. Tues–Fri noon–2:30pm; Tues–Thurs 5:30–9:30pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–10pm; Sun 5–9pm. SEPTA: 2nd St.

Le Bec-Fin FRENCH For those who love jewel-box surroundings and lengthy, multicourse meals, Le Bec-Fin is the premiere restaurant in Philadelphia. Ownerchef Georges Perrier hails from Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, and commands the respect of restaurateurs on two continents. In this superbly elegant dining room, you’ll enjoy a leisurely waltz through hors d’oeuvres, a fish course, a main course, a salad, cheese, a dessert, and coffee with petit* fours. The dessert cart, laden with tortes and opera cakes, is exquisite. Also, happily, “Le Bec” now accepts reservations at convenient times for guests, rather than only at 6 and 9pm. The basem*nt Le Bar Lyonnais, with just four tables and bar stools, offers more affordable snacking and champagne toasts. 1523 Walnut St. & 215/567-1000. www.georgesperriergroup.com. Reservations required a week ahead for weeknights, months ahead for Fri–Sat. Fixed-price lunch $45; fixed-price dinner $135. AE, DC, MC, V. Lunch seatings Mon–Fri at 11:30am and 1:30pm; dinner seatings Mon–Thurs between 6–9pm, Fri–Sat between 6–9:30pm. Bar Lyonnais downstairs serves food and drink until midnight, 1am on Sat. SEPTA: Walnut–Locust.

Monk’s BELGIAN

It’s the mussels—generous bowls of dark-shelled little beauties dressed in five sauces, from spicy Thai to classic white wine and garlic— that Monk’s legions of regulars dream about. Or is it the 18 artisan beers on tap, and dozens of interesting European bottled brews, such as fruity Chimays made by Trappist monks? This is a no-nonsense tavern serving excellent hamburgers, fries with bourbon mayonnaise, or hearty salads, for when you crave comfort food in a no-attitude setting. The kitchen is open till 1am.

264 S. 16th St. & 215/545-7005. www.monkscafe.com. No reservations. Main courses $11–$24. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Sat 11:30am–2am; Sun 11am–2am. SEPTA: Locust St.

Salt AMERICAN Sautéed black bass with cauliflower puree this evening, or mackerel with rabbit-escabeche ravioli? This tiny boîte with sleek gray-velvet banquettes and a mod steel-framed fireplace was opened by a former Philadelphia magazine food critic, and has earned raves in Gourmet and Food & Wine. Its menu relies on the freshest ingredients, prepared impeccably, often with a Spanish or French twist. The wine list, recognized as one of the city’s best, is particularly strong in boutique French and Italian labels, and is priced fairly. Wear jeans and Gucci sandals, or a little black dress.

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253 S. 20th St. & 215/545-1990. Reservations recommended. Main courses $19–$29. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–10:30pm; Sun 5–9pm. SEPTA: 20th St.

Striped Bass SEAFOOD The setting of this renowned, seafood restaurant, recently bought by prolific restaurateur Stephen Starr, is a lofty, 100-year-old former brokerage house, transformed into the most glamorous restaurant in Philly. Now under the direction of chef Albert Portale, the kitchen delivers creative preparations of seafood (and some meats and pastas for landlubbers), with an emphasis on fresh herbs and clean flavors: try the wild striped bass ceviche, followed by the roasted Canadian lobster with hon shimeji mushrooms and rhubarb-lemon garlic butter. With its sleek banquettes, dramatic triple-story velvet curtains, and crystal light fixtures, Striped Bass is more modern-cool (and affordable) than Le Bec-Fin, but the experience is no less grand. 1500 Walnut St. & 215/732-4444. www.stripedbassrestaurant.com. Reservations necessary. Main courses $28–$42. AE, DC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 5–10pm; Fri–Sat 5–11pm. SEPTA: Walnut–Locust.

Susanna Foo CHINESE Susanna Foo, winning raves for more than 20 years, is a national treasure for her blend of Asian and Western (especially French) cuisines. Appetizers feature such delicacies as a slightly crispy but not oily curried chicken ravioli with grilled eggplant. Noodle dishes, salads, and main courses similarly combine East and West: savory quail with fresh litchi nuts, smoked duck and endive, and grilled chicken with Thai lemon-grass sauce. Desserts such as the ginger creme with strawberries and the hazelnut meringue are light and delicate. The servers are pros and the presentation is beautiful. In the dim-sum cafe and bar upstairs, diners choose from up to 30 exquisite tidbit platters, including pork-stuffed jalapeños, lamb wontons, and tiny spring rolls. 1512 Walnut St. & 215/545-2666. www.susannafoo.com. Reservations recommended for dinner. Main courses $18–$36; 3-course prix-fixe lunch $25. AE, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm and 5–10pm (Fri until 11pm); Sat 5–11pm; Sun 5–9pm. SEPTA: Walnut–Locust.

PHILADELPHIA AFTER DARK The best sources for what’s going on are the “Weekend” supplement of the Friday Philadelphia Inquirer, and the free City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly (www. phillyweekly.com), which you can find in free boxes on corners throughout Center City. The visitor center is also an excellent information source. For monthly happenings, consult the back section of Philadelphia magazine. If you’re online, www.philly.com gets you to the Inquirer’s listings. Upstages (& 215/569-9700) is the city’s premier box-office service. Purchase by phone or stop by their location at the Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St. (SEPTA: City Hall). Hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and Sunday from noon to 5pm. You can also buy tickets to many local theater events at the Upstages satellite box office at Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey St. (open Mon–Fri 10am–2pm). For everything from theater to pop shows, call Ticketmaster (& 215/336-2000; www. ticketmaster.com). Lights of Liberty, Chestnut and 6th streets (& 215/542-3789; www.lights ofliberty.org; SEPTA: 5th St.), is a surprisingly entertaining, high-tech dramatized American Revolution tour that starts at dusk and winds through Society Hill from April to October. A 3-D sound system accessible through wireless headsets and five-story images projected on a historic building in Independence Park are synchronized with a musical score and the voices of Walter Cronkite and Whoopi Goldberg among others, as you follow the path of the story. Admission is $18 adults, $16 students and seniors, $12 children 12 and under.

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THE PERFORMING ARTS Broad Street south of City Hall has been named “Avenue of the Arts,” because it is home to several theaters and performing arts halls. The Philadelphia Orchestra (www.philorch.org), one of the “Big Five” American orchestras, performs at brand-new Verizon Hall in the glass-enclosed Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets (& 215/893-1999 for tickets, or 215/893-1900; www.kimmelcenter.org; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust). The regular season runs from September to May. In summer, the orchestra moves to the Mann Music Center, in Fairmount Park, near 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue (& 215/878-7707 box office; www.manncenter.org), for 4 weeks of concerts. The Curtis Institute, 1726 Locust St. (& 215/893-5252, or 215/893-5261 for schedule; www.curtis.edu; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust or 15th–16th sts.), a worldfamous conservatory, presents mostly free concerts, operas, and recitals. The Opera Company Of Philadelphia, 510 Walnut St., Suite 1600 (& 215/ 928-2110; www.operaphilly.com), performs at the 1860s Academy of Music. It features internationally renowned opera singers. The nationally renowned Pennsylvania Ballet, 1101 S. Broad St. (& 215/ 551-7014; www.paballet.org), performs at the Academy of Music and Kimmel Center, the Annenberg Center at U. Penn, and the Merriam Theater from September to June. Philadelphia is an attentive theater town. The acclaimed Wilma Theater stages modern plays in a state-of-the-art space at Broad and Spruce streets (& 215/546-7824; www.wilmatheater.org; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust). The popular Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St. (& 215/922-8900; www.arden theatre.org; SEPTA: 2nd St.), presents diverse productions in an intimate setting. Philadelphia Theatre Company, 1714 Delancey Place (& 215/569-9700 for tickets, or 215/985-1400; www.phillytheatreco.com; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust or 15th–16th sts.), combines fine regional talent with Tony Award–winning actors and directors, and often stages contemporary plays that have recently enjoyed a run on Broadway. Founded in 1809, the Walnut Street Theatre, 9th and Walnut streets (& 215/ 574-3550; www.wstonline.org; SEPTA: 8th–Market or 9th–10th sts.), stages large-scale plays and musicals ranging from classics to recent hits. The Prince Music Theater (& 215/567-0670 for tickets, or 215/893-1570; www.prince musictheater.org) presents opera, musical comedy, cabaret, and experimental theater at a dramatically renovated movie palace at 1412 Chestnut St. (SEPTA: City Hall or 15th St.). The 2,000-seat, 1930s-built Merriam Theater (& 215/ 732-5446) hosts major touring Broadway productions. THE CLUB & MUSIC SCENE The best nightlife areas are Old City, for young types in low-rise jeans sipping complicated co*cktails; Walnut Street between 15th and 18th streets and around Rittenhouse Square, for sophisticated bars and lounges; and South Philly, for those craving cheesesteak or pasta. Zanzibar Blue, 200 S. Broad St. (& 215/732-4500; www.zanzibarblue.com; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust), downstairs at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, features good live jazz bands, and singers such as Diane Schuur. Warmdaddy’s, Front and Market streets in the Historic District (& 215/627-2500; www.warmdaddys. com; SEPTA: 2nd St.), another Bynum brothers venture, features authentic live blues from Koko Taylor, Murali Coryell, and the like, accompanied by excellent traditional Southern cuisine. Check out the Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St. (& 215/238-5888; www.thekhyber. com; SEPTA: 2nd St.), a popular spot for jazz, funk, and rock nightly. The

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Khyber serves English ales and Irish stout and has a certain grubby charm—and an $8 cover charge. THE BAR SCENE From happy hour until 2am, a crowd of well-dressed 20and 30-somethings gathers around the bar at Rittenhouse Square’s Twenty Manning, 261 S. 20th St. (& 215/731-0900; www.twentymanning.com), a modern restaurant and lounge with low black leather sofas designed for canoodling. Another popular setting for co*cktails and hors d’oeuvres is the roomy bar at Brasserie Perrier, 1619 Walnut St. (& 215/568-3000; www. georgesperriergroup.com), a contemporary, colorful spot owned by Le Bec-Fin’s Georges Perrier. One eternally cool spot in fickle Old City is the Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar, 138 Market St. (& 215/923-6069; SEPTA: 2nd St.), a vintage diner that was transformed in the mid-1990s into a hip Swingers-style lounge. Latenight action can be found at intimate, trendy 32 Degrees nightclub, 32 S. 2nd St. (& 215/627-3132; www.32lounge.com), and, uptown, at Denim Lounge, 1710 Walnut St. (& 215/735-6700), which resembles Miami’s Delano Hotel with its eclectic, minimalist decor—one area is all-white and lit by candles, another intimate space boasts a massive crystal chandelier. For a proper drink—say, a brandy or an old-fashioned—in a classic Philadelphia setting, take the elevator up to the top of the Park Hyatt (ca. 1906) at the Bellevue’s clubby, paneled Library Lounge, Broad and Walnut streets (& 215/ 893-1776). THE GAY & LESBIAN SCENE To find out what’s happening, check out the Philadelphia Gay News (www.epgn.com), available at Giovanni’s Room, 345 S. 12th St. (& 215/923-2960; www.giovannisroom.com; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust). The gay scene centers on the so-called “Gayborhood,” from 10th through 13th streets between Walnut and Pine. Perennially popular Woody’s, 202 S. 13th St. (& 215/545-1893; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust), has a downstairs bar and upstairs dance floor known for its Sunday evening two-step night. There’s something for everyone at 12th Air Command, 254 S. 12th St. (& 215/545-8088; www.12th air.com; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust): a lounge, a game room, a disco, and a pub menu. Women gather at Sisters, 1320 Chancellor St. (& 215/735-0735; www. sistersnightclub.com; SEPTA: Walnut–Locust), a restaurant/bar/nightclub near City Hall.

6 Side Trips from Philadelphia: The Amish Country, the Brandywine Valley & More THE AMISH COUNTRY Fifty miles west of Philadelphia is a quietly beautiful region of rolling hills, winding creeks, neatly cultivated farms, covered bridges, and towns with picturesque names such as Paradise and Bird-in-Hand. The Amish community, which steadfastly retains a life of agrarian simplicity centered on religious worship and family cohesiveness, numbers 18,000. The preservation of their world evokes feelings of curiosity, nostalgia, amazement, and respect. The area is relatively small, with good roads for motorist and bicyclist alike. The attention to the Amish has spurred lots of interesting facsimiles and even some authentic pathways into Amish life, although you have to sift through them if you want to avoid overt religious messages. Tourism has promoted excellence in quilting, antiques, and farm-based crafts. There are historical sites, pretzel and chocolate factories, covered bridges, and wonderful farmers’ markets, as well as

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modern diversions such as movie theaters, amusem*nt parks, and great outletmall shopping. And, of course, the family-style, all-you-can-eat or gourmet Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants offer unique dining experiences as well as meals. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Lancaster County is 57 miles or a 90-minute drive west of Philadelphia, directly on Route 30. From the Northeast, take I-95 south from New York City onto the New Jersey Turnpike, then take Exit 6 onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), turning south to Lancaster City via exits 266 or 286 (trip time: 21⁄4 hr.). From the south, follow I-83 north for 90 minutes from Baltimore, then head east on Route 30 from York into the county. Amtrak provides frequent service from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to the great old Lancaster station (trip time: 70 min.). VISITOR INFORMATION The Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau, 501 Greenfield Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601 (& 800/PA-DUTCH or 717/299-8901, ext. 2405; www.padutchcountry.com), provides an excellent map and visitors’ guide, along with answers to specific questions and interests. The office itself (off the Rte. 30 Bypass east of Lancaster) offers direct telephone links to many local hotels and an overview slide show. Many towns such as Intercourse, Strasburg, and Lancaster have local information centers. W H AT T O S E E & D O

The suggestive name of Intercourse refers to the intersection of two old roads, the King’s Highway (now Rte. 340 or Old Philadelphia Pike) and Newport Road (now Rte. 772). It’s now the center of Amish life, set in the midst of the wedge of country east of Lancaster; unfortunately, the number of commercial attractions, ranging from schlock to good quality, about equals the places of genuine interest along Route 340. One not-to-miss spot is The People’s Place, 3513 Old Philadelphia Pike (& 800/390-8436 or 717/768-7171), a bookshop and interpretive center with a 30-minute documentary on the Amish as well as an excellent hands-on museum with antique quilts and a bookshop/gallery. Of the commercial developments, try Kitchen Kettle Village (& 800/732-3538 or 717/768-8261), where 32 stores selling crafts from decoys to fudge are grouped around the Burnleys’ 1954 jam and relish kitchen. Ephrata, near Exit 286 off I-76, combines a historic 18th-century Moravian religious site with some pleasant country and the area’s largest farmers’ market and auction center. Ephrata Cloister, 632 W. Main St. (& 717/733-6600), near the junction of routes 272 and 322, was one of America’s earliest communal societies, and is an interesting group of medieval-style structures that includes a museum shop. The main street of Ephrata is pleasant for strolling, including an old rail car where the train line used to run. Doneckers, 318–324 N. State St. (& 717/738-9502; www.doneckers.com), has expanded from a single inn north of town into a hotel, with sophisticated furniture and clothing boutiques, farmers’ market, and gourmet restaurant complex run by a former Le Bec-Fin chef de cuisine (closed Wed and Sun). Four miles north of town is the wonderful Green Dragon Market (& 717/738-1117; www.greendragonmarket. com), open Friday from 9am to 9pm. You’ll see goats and cows changing hands here, and kids are allowed total petting access in the process. Summer brings fresh corn, fruit, and melons, which is one reason why chefs such as Greg Gable of Doneckers shop for produce here. Other charming towns in the region include Lititz, with its pretzel factory and a lovely park adjoining a purely 18th-century main street; Strasburg, with

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All Things Chocolate Hershey (www.hersheypa.com), the adorable village founded by Milton Hershey in 1903 as his candy empire’s company town, literally smells of chocolate. It bills itself as “the sweetest place on earth,” and offers great golf, gardens, rolling farmland, and lots of chocolaterelated fun. Though it’s best to visit here in summer, the town has a huge holiday spirit. Beginning in mid-November, more than one million holiday “Sweet Lights” are draped around town (including on the Kiss-shaped street lanterns); there’s also Santa, reindeer, music shows, and a Teddy Bear Jubilee. The big attraction here is the kid-friendly amusem*nt park, HERSHEYPARK. The 110-acre park sports 10 roller coasters (some of them, such as the Storm Runner, are among the best in the country) and a host of water and kiddie rides. Oh, and lots and lots of chocolate! Live “candy characters” parade around daily, offering kids the chance to get a hug from some real Kisses and Hugs. Also encompassed in the park is the ZOOAMERICA wildlife park featuring more than 200 animals native to North America. Admission is $38 adults, $22 kids 3 to 8. Just outside the theme park is the free Chocolate World visitor center, where you can see how your Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Mr. Goodbars are made (and get a free sample!). Tip: Ignore the 3-D film that costs extra, it’s not worth the price. The town offers several accommodations options, but the best is the national historic landmark Hotel Hershey (& 800/HERSHEY), a Mediterranean-style luxury hotel (ca. 1933) where you’re greeted with kisses. Chocolate Kisses, of course. The hotel’s formal Circular Dining Room is top-notch and the cozy Iberian Lounge offers chocolate martinis. The hotel’s luxurious $7-million Spa at the Hotel Hershey overlooks a formal rose garden (Milton’s wife Catherine loved roses) and incorporates chocolate in its treatments; soak in the Whipped Cocoa Bath or get a Chocolate Bean Polish. Note: Guests staying at a Hershey resort can breakfast with largerthan-life Hershey’s product characters and then get early admittance to some family-friendly rides in the amusem*nt park at Breakfast in the Park. Hershey, off Route 322, is a 2-hour drive from Philly (3 hr. from New York City) via I-76. For more information about the town, the theme park, and dining and accommodations options in Hershey, as well as detailed directions and maps, call & 800/HERSHEY or head online to www.hersheypa.com.

a preserved 9-mile track for iron steam locomotive and assorted rail-related attractions; and Bird-in-Hand, known for its farmers’ market (Fri–Sat yearround, plus Wed and Thurs in summer) and homemade ice cream. For antiquing, the Sunday fairs in Adamstown, 2 miles east of Exit 286 off I-76, bring thousands of vendors to their enormous sites. The largest are Stoudt’s Black Angus Antique Mall (www.stoudtburg.com), with more than 350

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permanent dealers (and a great on-site brewery and restaurant); and Renninger’s Antique and Collectors Market (www.renningers.com), with 370 dealers. Lancaster itself is slightly down at the heels. In town, the one visitor highlight is Central Market, erected in 1889 just off Penn Square but operating since the 1730s as the nation’s oldest farmers’ market, with more than 80 stalls. You can savor regional produce and foods, from sweet bologna and scrapple to egg noodles and shoofly pie (Tues and Fri 6am–4:30pm; Sat 6am–2pm). To the city’s east on Route 30, the outlet centers of Rockvale Square (www.rockvale squareoutlets.com) and Tanger Outlets (www.tangeroutlet.com) offer dozens of top brands. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

You’re more apt to find solid, value-oriented quality than elegance in food and lodging in this family-oriented landscape. The Best Western Eden Resort Inn & Suites, 222 Eden Rd., routes 30 and 272 in Lancaster (& 800/528-1234 or 717/569-6444; www.bestwestern.com), is a cut above, with two pools (one indoor), a tropically landscaped atrium, and kitchenettes in 40 of the 360 rooms (others come with fridges). Doubles run $89 to $159. Country Inn of Lancaster, 2133 Lincoln Hwy. E. (Rte. 30), Lancaster (& 877/393-3413 or 717/ 393-3413; www.countryinnoflancaster.com), is a 125-room hotel that lets you rock away on your back porch overlooking beautiful Amish farmland, with a heated pool, free breakfast, and refrigerators in the deluxe rooms. Doubles run about $125 in season. The Convention & Visitors Bureau (see above) will provide information on dozens of bed-and-breakfasts and a scattering of working farms taking in lodgers. Pennsylvania Dutch meals or smorgasbords include German-style meats and potpies, starchy noodle dishes, boiled vegetables, and sweet desserts. Among the smorgasbords and family-style restaurants open Monday through Saturday, try Miller’s Smorgasbord, Route 30 at Ronks Road, 5 miles east of Lancaster (& 800/669-3568 or 717/687-6621), which has served millions since 1929.

VALLEY FORGE Only 30 minutes from central Philadelphia today, Valley Forge was hours of frozen trails away in the winter of 1777–78. The Revolutionary forces had just lost the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. While the British occupied Philadelphia, Washington’s forces repaired to winter quarters near an iron forge where the Schuylkill met Valley Creek, 18 miles northwest. A sawmill and gristmill were supposed to help provide basic requirements, but the British had destroyed them. Some 12,000 men and boys straggled into the encampment, setting up quarters and lines of defense. Unfortunately, the winter turned bitter, with 6 inches of snow and iced-up rivers. Critical shortages of food and clothing, along with damp shelters, left nearly 4,000 men diseased and unfit for duty. Almost 2,000 perished, and many others deserted. Congress, which had left Philadelphia hurriedly, couldn’t persuade the colonies to give money to alleviate the conditions. Nevertheless, the forces slowly gained strength and confidence, thanks in part to the Prussian army veteran Baron von Steuben, appointed by Washington to retrain the Continental Army under his revised and distinctly American “Manual of Arms.” By springtime the Continentals were an army on which their new allies, the French, could rely. Replicas of their huts, some of the officers’ lodgings, and later memorials dot the park today.

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Admission to the park is free. Start your visit at the National Historical Park Visitors Center, at the junction of Pa. 23 and North Gulph Road (& 610/7831077). A 15-minute film depicting the encampment is shown at the visitor center every half-hour. Also at the visitor center is a museum containing Washington’s tent, an extensive collection of Revolutionary War artifacts, and a bookstore. Highlights in the park include the National Memorial Arch; an 1865 covered bridge; the Isaac Potts House (1770), which Washington commandeered as his headquarters; and the 1993 Monument to Patriots of African Descent. Admission to Washington’s headquarters is $3 for adults, $2 for children from April to November. A 1903 Gothic Washington Memorial Chapel is free, with Sunday carillon recitals in the bell tower at 2pm. A private-public partnership is working on an adjacent and extensive National Center for the American Revolution—don’t look for completion before the mid-2000s, though. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm, later in summer. GETTING THERE From Philadelphia, access is from Exit 24 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76) or the Mall Boulevard exit of the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) to North Gulph Road. Follow the signs.

TWO PREMIER ATTRACTIONS IN THE BRANDYWINE VALLEY The Brandywine Valley, bridging Pennsylvania and Delaware, is beautiful rolling country filled with Americana from colonial days through the Gilded Age. Many of the farms that kept the Revolutionary troops fed have survived to this day. There are 15 covered bridges and 100 antiques stores in Chester County alone, with miles of country roads and horse trails between them. Though the area is filled with things to see and do, two particular attractions stand out. Tip: For more information on the region and its attractions, contact the Brandywine Conference and Visitor’s Bureau (& 610/565-3679; www. brandywinecvb.org) and request its free visitor’s guide; the CVB also offers information on discounted weekend packages, including hotel and attractions tickets. Or try the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau (& 800/ 228-9933 or 610/280-6145; www.brandywinevalley.com) and ask for its official tourist guide. LONGWOOD GARDENS A scion of the wealthy du Pont family (who created the DuPont Engineering Company), Pierre S. du Pont devoted his life to horticulture, and after purchasing a 19th-century arboretum in 1907, du Pont spent more than 45 years creating the country’s ultimate estate garden on a total of 1,050 acres. Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s greatest garden displays, is on Route 1, 30 miles west of Philadelphia and just west of the junction with Pa. 52 (& 610/388-1000; www.longwoodgardens.org). No matter when you come here, you will be sure to find something in bloom in the 40 different gardens on the estate. Upon entering, most people head to the left, toward the Main Fountain Garden, with special fluid fireworks shows on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings from June to September, usually preceded by hour-long garden concerts. (There are some 800 events held here each year, from Christmas shows to gardening demonstrations.) A topiary garden of closely pruned shrubs surrounds a 37-foot sundial. If you prefer your plants indoors, 4 acres of massive bronze-and-glass conservatories are among the finest and largest in the United States. African violets, bonsai trees up to 400 years old, hibiscus, orchids, and tropical plants are among the specialties, but expect anything from Easter lilies to scarlet begonias. In May 2001, a 62-bell

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carillon was installed in the Chimes Tower, and live performances are scheduled in summer. Note: Longwood Gardens is in the midst of extensive renovations and is expanding its exquisite network of greenhouses. Though its magnificent 10,000pipe organ will be out of commission until late 2005, most displays and attractions remain open. Admission is $15 adults, $6 ages 16 to 20, $2 ages 6 to 15, free for children under 6. It’s open April through October daily from 9am to 6pm (conservatories 10am–6pm), until 10:15pm on Fountain Nights; November through March, daily from 9am to 5pm, though special Christmastime displays are open until 9pm. WINTERTHUR Winterthur, a du Pont country estate, provides the setting for America’s best native collection of decorative arts. Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library (& 800/448-3883 or 302/888-4600; www.winterthur. org) is 6 miles northwest of Wilmington, Delaware, on Route 52. Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969), a great-grandson of industrialist E. I. du Pont (who named the estate after the town in Switzerland where his wife was born), was a connoisseur of European antiques, whose attention turned to American pieces in 1923 after realizing that no study had ever explored how the concepts of beauty and taste differed in Europe and America. Henry collected American furniture, followed by native decorative objects, and then the interior woodwork of entire homes built between 1640 and 1840. By the time he was finished, he had to add more than 200 rooms to the family estate in order to display all of his collection; because the museum started out as a private home, the rooms have a unique richness and intimacy. The Main Museum, open for specific guided tours, displays the bulk of the collection and includes complete interiors from every eastern seaboard colony. Special landmarks include the famous Montmorenci Stair Hall, two Shaker Rooms, fine examples of Pennsylvania Dutch decorative arts, and the du Pont dining room. The Campbell Soup Tureen collection, with 125 items currently on display, is housed in the Dorrance Gallery, between the museum and research building. In a new Touch-It Room, children can dress up in colonial costumes and take afternoon tea in the parlor. In spring, the extensive Winterthur Gardens explode into an abundance of cherry and crabapple blossoms, rhododendrons, Virginia bluebells, and azaleas. The lush, carefully planned gardens are well worth viewing any season. Garden tram rides through the grounds are offered when weather permits and are included in the admission fee. There are also two superb gift shops selling a selection of licensed reproductions, gifts, books, jewelry, and plants. The Garden & Galleries Pass ($15 adults, $13 seniors and students, $5 children 2–11), available year-round, includes the Galleries, the Dorrance Gallery, the Touch-It Room, a self-guided garden walk, and the garden tram. We highly recommend opting for the Winterthur Experience ($20 adults, $18 seniors and students, $10 children 2–11), which covers admission for 2 days and adds on one of the museum’s wonderful guided tours, which are highly educational and entertaining. Other tours are available as add-ons for another $5 to $10; see the website for all touring options. Winterthur is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm, closed on major holidays. WHERE TO STAY & DINE Accommodations are few and on the precious side in du Pont country. The Brandywine River Hotel, routes 1 and 100 in Chadds Ford (& 610/388-1200; www.brandywineriverhotel.com), has adapted

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and expanded a historic inn. Doubles cost $129 to $169. The Mendenhall Inn, Hotel and Conference Center on Route 52, Mendenhall (& 610/388-2100; www.meetingroomspa.com), is well located, near all Brandywine and du Pont attractions; some of the buildings date back to the Colonial era. Rates run $119–$219 double, including breakfast. You can dine well at the Chadds Ford Inn, across the intersection (& 610/ 388-7361), with its original Wyeth paintings; or sample the local specialty of white mushrooms on the menu at the Longwood Inn, 815 E. Baltimore Pike (Rte. 1), in Kennett Square (& 610/444-3515).

GETTYSBURG The battle that took place at this small university town (about a 2-hr. drive from Philadelphia) in 1863 was the turning point of the Civil War. Over 3 broiling hot days in July, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s 75,000-man Confederate Army of Northern Virginia clashed thrice with Gen. George Meade’s 83,000-strong Union troops, each time failing to deliver the decisive blow that would convince President Lincoln to end the war. Over the 3 days, more than 51,000 men died and more than 40,000 others were wounded, making this the bloodiest battle in American history. The war didn’t end until 2 years later, but after Gen. George E. Pickett’s ill-fated charge up Cemetery Ridge on July 3, Lee realized he was beaten, and began his retreat south. Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg 4 months after the battle to dedicate the cemetery that held 3,706 casualties, a third of them unknown. “Four score and seven years ago,” Lincoln began his brief address—the most famous speech by any American president. The battle and Lincoln’s address are commemorated at Gettysburg National Military Park Battlefield, the country’s premier battlefield shrine, with a monument to just about every company that served here (more than 1,000 in all) spread out along 40 scenic miles. Start your visit at the visitor center (& 717/ 334-1124; www.nps.gov/gett), where you can sit in on the Electric Map presentation that provides a hokey but informative overview of the 3-day battle. There’s also a highly regarded museum covering the Civil War. Tour guides are available at the center for a fee ($40 for a 2-hr. tour including up to six people), or pick up a copy of the highly recommended Gettysburg Battlefield Tape Tour, available at the gift shop, and do your own tour. Note: A new $95-million visitor center and museum is due to open in 2006 about 3⁄4 miles away on Baltimore Pike. The present center, which sits on the actual battlefield, will be removed. The battle is often reenacted, especially during Gettysburg Civil War Heritage Days, from July 1 to 7. Ken Burns’s superb documentary “The Civil War” also provides a good background to the events at Gettysburg, as does Shelby Foote’s book Stars in Their Courses: The Gettysburg Campaign. Admission to Gettysburg National Military Park is free. The cost of the Electric Map presentation is $3 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, and $2 for ages 6 to 16.The battlefield and visitor center are open daily (hours vary; call before arriving), except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. For information about accommodations, restaurants, shopping, and other local attractions, contact the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, 35 Carlisle St., Gettysburg, PA 17325 (& 717/334-6274; www.gettysburg.com). WHERE TO STAY Gettysburg has two fine chain-hotel options within walking distance of the visitor center. The closest is the 109-room Quality Inn

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(& 800/228-5151 or 717/334-1103; www.gettysburgqualityinn.com), a wellappointed motel next to the visitor center. Rates ($49–$134 double) include continental breakfast. The 102-room Holiday Inn Battlefield, 10800 Vandor Lane (& 717/334-6211), is a 5-minute walk from the visitor center. Rates run $100 to $200 double. Bed-and-breakfast fanciers should try the Brickhouse Inn, 452 Baltimore St. (& 800/864-3464 or 717/338-9337; www.brickhouse inn.com), where rooms run from $95 to $155 double; or the Doubleday Inn, 104 Doubleday Ave. (& 717/334-9119; www.doubledayinn.com), within the military park on Oak Ridge (doubles cost $95–$130). GETTING THERE Gettysburg is about 125 miles west of Philadelphia, 180 miles east of Pittsburgh, and about 36 miles southwest of Harrisburg. Take I-76 (Pennsylvania Tpk.) west from Philadelphia or east from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, then U.S. 15 south to Gettysburg. From Lancaster and Amish Country, take U.S. 30 west about 53 miles to Gettysburg.

7 Pittsburgh & Western Pennsylvania PITTSBURGH If your image of Pittsburgh includes visions of belching steel mills, prepare to be surprised. Yes, industry is very much a part of this city’s history; famous magnates Carnegie, Mellon, and Frick made their millions in steel and railroads here in Pittsburgh. But outside of these industrial barons’ charitable legacies, you’ll see scarcely a reminder of the Steel City’s sooty past. Modern glass office towers, contemporary sculptures, and whooping Steelers fans are ubiquitous, and there’s nary a smokestack in sight. Pittsburgh’s natural beauty is also unmistakable. The city’s hilly landscape is sliced by the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers, visible at every turn. And you’ll have a hard time finding a friendlier city anywhere in the country. ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE By Plane Pittsburgh International Airport (& 412/ 472-3525; www.pitairport.com) is 15 miles west of downtown. US Airways is the dominant carrier, with about 80% of total traffic. The public 28X Airport Flyer bus costs $2.25 to downtown, and a cab ride downtown costs $30. Car rentals are inexpensive in Pittsburgh, and over 1,500 color-coded signs point the way to highways and attractions, making it easy to drive to and around town. The airport is a 20-minute drive (45 min. during rush hour) from downtown. By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL or 412/471-6172; www.amtrak.com) provides daily service from Philadelphia (trip time: 8 hr.), Washington, D.C. (71⁄2 hr.), Cleveland (31⁄2 hr.), and Chicago (11 hr.) to its station at 1100 Liberty Ave. By Car Major routes into the belt roads around Pittsburgh are I-76 from the northwest (Cleveland) and east (Philadelphia), I-70 from the west (Columbus) and southeast (Washington, D.C.), and I-79 from the north (Erie, PA) and south (Charleston, WV). VISITOR INFORMATION The Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau, 425 6th Ave. (& 800/366-0093 or 412/281-7711; www.visitpittsburgh. com), operates several Visitor Information Centers: downtown, Liberty Avenue next to the Gateway Center, Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 3pm; at Station Square inside the Freight House Shops, Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Sunday noon to 5pm; and at the Airport Landside, Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

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GETTING AROUND The Port Authority of Allegheny County (& 412/ 442-2000; www.portauthority.org) operates subways and buses throughout the city as well as the “T” Light Rail. Fares are free within the Golden Triangle downtown; prices vary outside that area, but are generally less than $2. FAST FACTS For medical services, call Allegheny General Hospital near downtown at & 412/359-8066; in the Oakland area the major local hospital is UPMC Presbyterian, 200 Lothrop St. (& 412/647-2345). The 7% city sales tax is not assessed on clothing and groceries; hotel taxes total 14%. W H AT T O S E E & D O

From the Mount Washington Overlook (Grandview Ave.) you can see how Pittsburgh became a crucial junction of transportation and commerce, sitting at the confluence of three major rivers. History aside, the city’s arching bridges, sparkling rivers, and Golden Triangle create a lovely panorama best enjoyed from one of many lookouts, restaurants, and bars atop Mount Washington. Hundred-year-old cable cars ferry passengers up Mount Washington on the Duquesne Incline, 1220 Grandview Ave. (& 412/381-1665); and Monongahela Incline, 5 Grandview Ave. (& 412/442-2000). The one-way fare is $1.75 adults, 85¢ for children. Pittsburgh’s compact and easily walked downtown is called the Golden Triangle, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge flowing west to form the Ohio. Here you’ll find Point State Park (& 412/471-0235), the historic site of Fort Pitt and home to Pittsburgh’s landmark 150-foot fountain. Entrance is free to the park and the adjoining Allegheny Riverfront Park, both popular for a pleasant stroll. Many of Pittsburgh’s cultural institutions bear the names of American industrial barons who amassed their fortunes in Pittsburgh and said thanks with the endowments of concert halls, museums, and libraries. In 1895, Andrew Carnegie endowed the Carnegie Museums (www.carnegiemuseums.org), which today include the city’s finest: Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland (& 412/622-3131; www.cmoa.org), with contemporary exhibitions and Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces; the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland (& 412/622-3131; www. carnegiemnh.org), renowned for its Dinosaur Hall; the Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave., North Shore (& 412/237-3400; www.carnegiescience center.org), where kids experience hands-on science and the interactive SportsWorks next door; and The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., North Shore (& 412/237-8300; www.warhol.org), devoted to the life and work of Pittsburgh’s most fabulous native son. Unassociated with the Carnegie Museums but just as dynamic is the Mattress Factory, 500 Sampsonia Way, North Shore (& 412/231-3169; www.mattress. org), a museum of site-specific artworks by the likes of James Turrell. Among the city’s most unusual sights are the Nationality Rooms in the 42-story Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus (& 412/621-6150; www. pitt.edu/~natrooms). Twenty-four classrooms reflect the customs and architectural styles of Pittsburgh’s diverse immigrant groups. Clayton, the former home of Henry Clay Frick, shares a 6-acre site with the Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds St. (& 412/371-0600; www.frickart.org), which has museums featuring artistic masterpieces and classic cars, as well as a floral conservatory. Many guests round out an afternoon of free chamber music with a formal high tea on the grounds.

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Pittsburghers love their sports, especially the Steelers. Spend an autumn day taking in a football game at Heinz Field, North Shore Drive at Allegheny Avenue (& 412/323-1200; www.steelers.com). PNC Park, 115 Federal St. (& 877/893-2827; www.pirateball.com), home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, sits on the shore of the Allegheny River and offers terrific views of the city skyline as a backdrop to the action on the field. The Pittsburgh Penguins play at Mellon Arena, 66 Mario Lemieux Place (& 800/642-7367; www.pittsburgh penguins.com), right off I-579. The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, 1 Wild Place, at Baker Street (& 800/ 474-4966; www.pittsburghzoo.com), set atop a hill in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood, is known for its large children’s zoo. Other highlights include a walk-through bat flyaway, a rare Komodo dragon, and a well-stocked African Savanna. Another family favorite is Kennywood, 4800 Kennywood Blvd. (& 412/461-0500; www.kennywood.com), a traditional amusem*nt park 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh in West Mifflin. The park features steel and wooden roller coasters, water rides, and dozens of spinning, twirling attractions for all ages. The Strip District, a warehouse district bounded roughly by 16th and 31st streets between Smallman Street and Liberty Avenue, is Pittsburgh’s historic waterfront market. Today the Strip draws locals and visitors to its ethnic grocery stores; fresh produce, meat, and fish markets; bakeries; and specialty foods stores. Here you’ll also find the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, 1212 Smallman St. (& 412/454-6000; www.pghhistory.org), housed in a massive renovated 1898 icehouse. A highlight is the Heinz 57 exhibit, featuring the pickled relishes, ketchup, and mustards made famous by the Pittsburgh-born Heinz family. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

The landmark Omni William Penn, 530 William Penn Place (& 800/8436664 or 421/281-7100), is Pittsburgh’s historic grande dame; most guests at this downtown hotel are drawn to the crystalline lobby and the romantic, luxurious guest rooms. Rates start at $120 double. Another romantic downtown favorite is the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, 107 6th St. (& 866/454-4400 or 412/ 562-1200), a 14-story copper-clad hotel well-known for its 30-foot glass atrium, marble lobby, upscale rooms, and fabulous views. Doubles begin at $139. Business travelers and families frequent the all-suite Ramada Plaza Suites & Conference Center, 1 Bigelow Sq. (& 800/225-5858 or 412/281-5800; www.plaza suites.com), adjacent to Mellon Arena and within blocks of the David Lawrence Convention Center. Doubles begin at $129. The Holiday Inn Select, 100 Lytton Ave. (& 800/864-8287 or 412/682-6200), with doubles starting at $100, offers pleasant affordable accommodations within blocks of Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. For upscale dining within walking distance of the theatre district and Heinz Hall, try Opus, inside the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel at 107 6th St. (& 412/ 992-2005). The warm, intimate restaurant features a menu with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences and a very impressive wine list. On the Strip, Lidia’s, 1400 Smallman St. (& 412/552-0150; www.lidiasitaly.com), serves up homemade pasta and northern Italian specialties created by Lidia Bastianich, hostess of the PBS cooking show, “Lidia’s Italian Table.” For excellent German beer and food, visit Deutschtown’s Penn Brewery, 800 Vinial St. (& 412/237-9402; www.pennbrew.com). The Pastorius family, descendants of the oldest German

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family in America, brew beers that win excellence awards in Germany and serve them alongside bratwurst and sauerbraten in a fun beer-hall atmosphere. Don’t miss Pittsburgh’s culinary gem, Primanti Brothers, a 70-year-old institution famous for putting the fries and coleslaw in their sandwiches along with the chopped meat, cheese, and sliced tomato. (It’s a mess, but delicious.) The restaurant still churns out sandwiches in its original location in the Strip at 46 18th St. (& 412/263-2142; www.primantibrothers.com), but you’ll also find Primanti’s at 10 other locations across town, including PNC Park and Heinz Field. PITTSBURGH AFTER DARK

PERFORMING ARTS Gilded and plush with red velvet, Italian marble, and Viennese crystal chandeliers, Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave. (& 412/392-4900; www.pittsburghsymphony.org), endowed by Henry John Heinz, is the elegantly opulent home of the renowned Pittsburgh Symphony. The nearby Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Ave. (& 412/456-2600), is home to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (& 412/281-0360; www.pbt.org), Pittsburgh Opera (& 412/ 281-0912), and Pittsburgh CLO (& 412/456-6666; www.pittsburghclo.org), which produces a summer season of musicals. Pittsburgh is also home to several theater companies, including PNC Broadway, 719 Liberty Ave. (& 412/4561390; www.pgharts.org); Pittsburgh Public Theatre, 621 Penn Ave. (& 412/ 316-1600; www.ppt.org); and Pittsburgh City Theatre, 1300 Bingham St. (& 412/431-2489; www.citytheatrecompany.org). THE BAR & CLUB SCENE A good place to check out the nightlife is the Strip District, which becomes a club scene at night. A favorite is The World, 1650 Smallman St. (& 412/261-2221), featuring eclectic live music, drinks, and food. Station Square (& 800/859-8959; www.stationsquare.com), across the Smithfield Street Bridge from downtown, is home to several after-hours restaurants and bars with nice city views.

OUTSIDE PITTSBURGH The Laurel Highlands, 60 miles to the southeast, boasts historic sites and a wealth of outdoor activities, all set in some of Pennsylvania’s loveliest countryside. The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau (& 800/333-5661 or 724/238-5661; www. laurelhighlands.org) can provide details about the entire area. Active outdoor enthusiasts generally head to Ohiopyle State Park, just east of Pa. 381 (& 888/727-2757 or 724/329-8591; www.dcnr.state.pa.us), home of the Ohiopyle Falls and over 19,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness bordering the Youghiogheny River gorge. Popular activities include hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and serious white-water rafting down the “Yough” (pronounced “yawk”). Nearby, just off U.S. 40, is the Fort Necessity National Battlefield (& 724/ 329-5512; www.nps.gov/fone), where George Washington had his first major test during the French and Indian War in 1754. The 900-acre site includes a visitor center, the battlefield, the reconstructed Fort Necessity, and the Mount Washington Tavern. For some childish good fun, spend a day at Idlewild Park in Ligonier (& 800/432-9386 or 724/238-3666; www.idlewild.com). Idlewild doesn’t have America’s sleekest, fastest rides; it’s simply a great old amusem*nt park, with a fresh new Soak Zone waterpark and Storybook Forest for younger kids. Little ones will enjoy the park’s Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe, inspired by the late Fred Rogers, who lived close by. Fallingwater, Pa. 381, Mill Run (& 724/329-8501; www.paconserve.org), Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1936 architectural masterpiece, is another prime draw.

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Three cantilevered house levels extend from the side of a hill, allowing the namesake waterfall to run through the building’s exterior and causing the house to appear carved out of the hillside rather than appended to it. When Wright first designed the house for Pittsburgh department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann, most engineers said it wouldn’t stand. They were partly right; after more than 60 years only a major effort to reinforce the building’s foundation and floors with steel girders has prevented Fallingwater from gradually rejoining the river that runs through it. But it remains one of the nation’s most important architectural gems, named by the American Institute of Architects “the most important building of the 20th century.” The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy offers tours of Fallingwater, highlighting the house itself, the furniture Wright designed specifically for it, the teeny-tiny bedrooms he insisted on, and the low ceilings that never bothered the 5-foot 5-inch architect. Tours run every day except Monday and major holidays from mid-March to November, extending into December and the first two weekends in March if weather permits. Advance reservations are strongly recommended. Standard 1-hour tours cost $12 adults, $8 kids 6 to 18 on weekdays, and are $15 and $10 on weekends. Children under 6 are prohibited. A 2-hour in-depth tour, offered only at 8:30am daily except Monday, includes many more interior rooms and extended interpretation. Admission is $40 weekdays, $50 weekends; children under 9 are prohibited. Child-care, children’s tours, and nature tours are also available by reservation. When I. N. Hagan saw Wright’s Fallingwater, he commissioned the famous architect to construct Kentuck Knob (& 724/329-1901; www.kentuckknob. com), a home that’s smaller and less pivotal in architectural history. But true Wright fans will find the half-hour side-trip from Fallingwater worthwhile. Kentuck Knob is on Kentuck Knob Road, just north of Chalk Hill. Guided tours are available March through December daily 9am to 4pm; May through August with extended Saturday hours to 6pm; January through February daily 11am to 3pm, weather permitting. Admission is $12 adults, $10 kids ages 6 to 18 on weekdays, and $15 adults and $12 kids on weekends and holidays for the standard 1-hour tours. In-depth 2-hour tours are given daily at 8:30am and 4:15pm and cost $50. Kentuck Knob recommends guests be age 6 or older. Advance reservations are suggested for all tours, and are mandatory for winter and in-depth tours. WHERE TO STAY Greensburg is your best bet for affordable lodging near Idlewild. Four Points by Sheraton, U.S. 30 East (& 800/909-2918 or 724/ 836-6060; www.greensburgpa4points.com), offers an indoor pool; doubles begin at $85. The closest places to stay near Ohiopyle State Park, Fallingwater, and Kentuck Knob are in the tiny village of Farmington, home to two upscale resorts. The Historic Summit Inn, 101 Skyline Dr. (& 800/433-8594 or 724/438-8594; www.summitinnresort.com), offers doubles beginning at $109. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa, 1001 LaFayette Dr. (& 800/4222736 or 724/329-8555; www.nemacolin.com), has town houses starting at $150 and lodge rooms beginning at $200. Both resorts include restaurants, pools, tennis courts, golf courses, health clubs, and spas. In the slightly larger burg of Uniontown, 10 miles away, the Holiday Inn, 700 W. Main St. (& 800/ 258-7238 or 724/437-2816; www.uniontownpa.holiday-inn.com), has an indoor pool; doubles start at $80. GETTING THERE To get to Idlewild from Pittsburgh, follow U.S. 30 east. To get to Fallingwater, Ohiopyle State Park, Farmington and Chalk Hill, take I-76 east to Exit 91. From there take Pa. 31 east, then Pa. 381 south.

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8 Baltimore A combination of interesting tourist attractions, historical sites, and friendly people in such picturesque old neighborhoods as Fells Point, Mount Vernon, Canton, and Federal Hill makes Baltimore an ever-more-popular tourist destination. “Charm City” has welcomed visitors since 1729. It was founded as a shipping and ship-building town, so manufacturing has always been a big part of this city. General Motors and Bethlehem Steel have been a part of the east Baltimore landscape for decades. Domino Sugar’s sign dominates the Inner Harbor. More recently, Baltimore has welcomed a new wave of service industries and nonprofits. And baseball fans flock to Camden Yards, Baltimore’s beautiful ballpark, which has been instrumental in revitalizing the city’s downtown area. Tourism plays an ever-increasing role in the city’s economy, and a laid-back population welcomes its visitors with a friendly “Hello, hon!” in the unique Bawlamer accent.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Baltimore–Washington International Airport (& 800/I-FLY-BWI or 410/859-7111) is 10 miles south of downtown Baltimore, off I-295 (the Baltimore–Washington Pkwy.). It’s a major domestic and international hub. To drive to downtown Baltimore from the airport, take I-195 west to Route 295 north. SuperShuttle (& 800/258-3826; www.super shuttle.com) operates vans between the airport and all major downtown hotels. Departures are scheduled every 30 minutes between 5:45am and 11:15pm, and the cost is $12 per person one-way or $23 round-trip. The Light Rail also connects the airport with downtown Baltimore and the Amtrak stations at BWI and at Penn Station. By Car I-95 provides the easiest routes to Baltimore from the north and south. Take I-95 south to I-395 (Exit 53), and follow signs to the Inner Harbor. If you’re driving in from the north, you’ll have to pass through the Fort McHenry Tunnel ($1 toll). From the west, take I-70 east to Exit 91, I-695 South (the Baltimore Beltway) heading toward Glen Burnie. Take Exit 11A, I95 to I-395, north to downtown. Once you arrive, you’ll find lots of parking garages, as well as metered onstreet parking throughout the downtown district. Garages charge about $15 a day, or $5 to $8 for special events or evening visits. Parking meters must be fed $1 an hour (in quarters only). By Train Baltimore is a stop on Amtrak’s (& 800/872-7245; www.amtrak. com) Northeast Corridor, between Wilmington, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. Trains arrive at and depart from Pennsylvania Station, 1500 N. Charles St. (north of the Inner Harbor), and BWI Airport Rail station, off Route 170 about 11⁄2 miles from the airport (& 410/672-6169). In addition, the Maryland Area Rail Commuter Service (MARC; & 800/325-RAIL; www.mtamaryland.com) provides rail service on two routes from Washington, D.C., stopping at BWI en route. One ends at Camden Station, closest to the Inner Harbor, and the other ends at Penn Station about 20 blocks north. VISITOR INFORMATION Contact the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association at 100 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21202 (& 877/BALTIMORE; www.Baltimore.org), for maps, brochures, and water taxi schedules. In town, check out the new visitor center located between Harborplace and the

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Maryland Science Center. You can also pick up a copy of the Baltimore Quick Guide, a purse-sized guide to what’s happening in and around the city. GETTING AROUND Because so many of Baltimore’s major attractions are clustered around the Inner Harbor, walking is often the easiest way to get around. Baltimore’s Mass Transit Administration (MTA) operates Light Rail, a 27mile trolley system that travels north-south from the northern suburb of Timonium to Glen Burnie in the south, with a spur to Penn Station. The key stop within the city is Camden Station, next to the Orioles’ ballpark. The Light Rail is the ideal way to get to a game or to travel within the downtown area between Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor to Lexington Market and the area around Mount Vernon Place. Tickets are $1.60 one-way and are dispensed at machines at each stop. Better yet, get a day pass covering all MTA transport for $3.50. Trains run Monday through Friday between 6am and 11pm, Saturday between 7am and 11pm, and Sunday between 11am and 7pm. Baltimore’s MTA also operates Metro, a subway system that connects downtown with the northwest suburbs, and an extensive bus system. The base fare is $1.60, and exact change is necessary, or you can buy a day pass for $3.50. For information and schedules for all MTA services, call & 800/543-9809 or 410/ 539-5000, or visit the MTA website at www.mtamaryland.com. All taxis in the city are metered; two reputable companies are Yellow Checker Cab (& 410/841-5573) and Arrow Cab (& 410/261-0000). A ride on a water taxi is a pleasant way to visit Baltimore’s attractions, or even to go to dinner. Two companies operate water taxi service and both have different stops. But you can use either to get within walking distance of your waterfront destination. Ed Kane’s Water Taxi & Trolley (& 800/658-8947 or 410/ 563-3901) runs a continual service between about a dozen Inner Harbor locations including Harborplace, Fells Point, and Fort McHenry. The main stop at Harborplace is on the corner between the two pavilions. Tell the mate where you want to go; not all taxis stop at every destination. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under for unlimited use of the water taxi and trolley for a full day. The Seaport Taxi (& 410/675-2900) goes to many of the same destinations as Ed Kane’s, and their stops are usually next to each other. Adults can ride all day for $6, and children 10 and under for $3. FAST FACTS City hospitals include Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 N. Wolfe St. (& 410/955-5000); University of Maryland Medical Center, 22 S. Greene St. (& 410/328-8667); and Mercy Medical Center, 301 St. Paul St. (& 410/ 332-9000). There’s a Rite Aid at 17 W. Baltimore St. (& 410/539-0838). Walgreens is at 19 E. Fayette St. (& 410/625-1179). The state sales tax is 5%. The hotel tax is an additional 7.5%. Baltimore has a nagging problem with property and violent crime. More police, along with the Downtown Partnership’s safety guides, are doing a pretty good job of keeping the Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon areas fairly safe. But be alert and use common-sense precautions. SPECIAL EVENTS The biggest and best-known event in Baltimore is the Preakness Celebration (www.preaknesscelebration.com), a weeklong, citywide party leading up to the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of horse-racing’s Triple Crown, held at Pimlico Racecourse in mid-May. Events include a 5K run, a music festival, hot-air balloon races, a golf tournament, and much more. For tickets to the horse race (they go on sale Jan 1—and they go fast), call & 410/ 542-9400 or go on the Internet to www.marylandracing.com.

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WHAT TO SEE & DO The city’s focal point for tourism is the Inner Harbor, home of the Baltimore Convention Center and Festival Hall Exhibit Center, the Harborplace shopping pavilions, the National Aquarium and other museums, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, and the Pier 6 Concert Pavilion. American Visionary Art Museum Look for the “Whirligig,” a 55-foot multicolored, wind-powered sculpture at the front of this curvaceous building housing some of the most interesting art you’re bound to see. Visionary art is made by people who aren’t trained as artists but feel compelled to draw, paint, or create something in an unusual medium. A 10-foot model of the Lusitania made from 193,000 matchsticks dominates a first-floor gallery. All the exhibits are fascinating, but some are disturbing and certainly too strong for children (alerts are posted). Other exhibits are a joy that children would love. AVAM added new exhibit space and a sculpture garden in 2004. 800 Key Hwy. & 410/244-1900. Admission $9 adults, $6 seniors, students, and children. Tues–Sun 10am–6pm. Closed Thanksgiving and Dec 25. Take Light St. south, turn left onto Key Hwy. (at the Maryland Science Center); museum is about 3 blocks on right.

Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum/Baltimore Orioles Museum George

Herman “Babe” Ruth was born in this row house. Two rooms are re-created as they would have looked when the Sultan of Swat was a boy. Other exhibits include a wall enumerating all his home runs, and memorabilia from his Major League career as well as from his days at St. Mary’s Industrial School in southwest Baltimore, where he learned to play the game. The Orioles and gone-but-not-forgotten Colts have their own exhibits here as well, and the museum is opening a new gallery inside Camden Station in May 2005 so they can expand their exhibits on the Orioles. 216 Emory St. & 410/727-1539. Fax 410/727-1652. www.baberuthmuseum.com. Admission $6 adults, $4 seniors, $3 ages 5–16. Apr–Oct daily 10am–5pm (until 7pm on Orioles home game days); Nov–Mar daily 10am–4pm. Closed Jan 1, Thanksgiving, and Dec 25. From Camden Yards, follow the sidewalk baseballs from the Babe Ruth statue at the north end of the warehouse to the house on this tiny street 2 blocks away.

Baltimore Museum of Art The largest museum in Maryland, the BMA

boasts galleries dedicated to modern and contemporary art; European sculpture and painting; American painting and decorative arts; prints and photographs; arts of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania; and a 23⁄4-acre sculpture garden. The BMA is famous for the Matisse collection, housed in the $4-million Cone Wing, which also showcases other Impressionist paintings by Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Renoir. The Jacobs Wing, a collection of 15th- to 19th-century European art beautifully displayed in rich jewel-toned rooms, reopened in 2003 after major renovations. Other highlights include the 35,000-square-foot West Wing for Contemporary Art and a wonderful gallery of miniature rooms. 10 Art Museum Dr. (at N. Charles and 31st sts.). & 410/396-7100. www.artbma.org. Admission $7 adults, $5 seniors and students with ID, free for ages 18 and under, free to all 1st Thurs of the month. Wed–Fri 11am–5pm; Sat–Sun 11am–6pm. Bus: 3 or 11. Take Howard St. north; bear right onto Art Museum Dr., about 3 miles north of the harbor.

The third-oldest zoo in the United States, this beloved Kids attraction is in the midst of modernizing its facilities to the tune of $60 million. Some 2,000 animals live here, including a beloved polar bear, prairie dogs, and tigers. Several exhibits are newly renovated, including the Polar Bear Watch, Chimpanzee Forest, Leopard Lair, and African Watering Hole. The children’s

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zoo is a must-see with its lily pads, tree slide, farm animals, and Maryland wilderness exhibit. Plan to spend a few hours here. Druid Hill Park. & 410/366-LION. www.baltimorezoo.org. Admission $10 adults, $6 seniors and children 2–15. Daily 10am–4pm. Take Exit 7 (Druid Hill Lake Dr.) off I-83 and follow the signs for the zoo.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave Site and Memorial Three modest memorials in this small old graveyard recall the poet who wrote “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven” (the only poem to inspire an NFL team’s name). The main memorial features a bas-relief bust of Poe; a small gravestone adorned with a raven can be found at Poe’s original burial lot; and there’s also a plaque placed by the French, who, thanks to the poet Baudelaire, enjoy some of the best translations of Poe’s works. The poet is remembered on his birthday every January when a mysterious visitor leaves half a bottle of cognac and roses at the grave. On the weekend closest to Poe’s birthday, a party is held in his honor. Westminster Cemetery, southeast corner of Fayette and Greene sts. & 410/706-2072 (answered by a University of Maryland Law School staffer). Daily 8am–dusk. Closed major holidays.

Fort McHenry The flag that flies at Fort McHenry is 30×42 feet, big enough for Francis Scott Key to see by the dawn’s early light and write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The star-shaped fort, now a national park, looks much as it did in 1814, the year of the British attack. Its buildings, repaired in the days following that attack, still stand. Exhibits recall Baltimore under siege during the War of 1812, the fort’s Civil War service, and its use as an army hospital during World War I. Visitors are invited to take part in the daily changing of the flag, so stop by at 9:30am or 4:30pm (7:30pm June–Aug) to join in. A visit takes about 90 minutes. Fort McHenry National Monument, E. Fort Ave. & 410/962-4290. www.nps.gov/fomc. Admission $5, free for children under age 17. Sept–May daily 8am–5pm; June to Labor Day daily 8am–8pm. Free parking. Stop on both water taxi routes.

The collections here represent some part Kids of Maryland’s 350-plus years of history in a sprawling museum that takes up a city block. Francis Scott Key’s manuscript of the “Star-Spangled Banner” is the centerpiece of a brand-new exhibit, “Looking For Liberty,” which includes artifacts that recall Maryland’s past. Another permanent exhibit, “Maryland Through the Artist’s Eye,” features the society’s enormous art collection. You can also find all kinds of stuff here: Cal Ripken’s bat, Baltimore painted furniture, Stieff silver, and mementoes of the duch*ess of Windsor (a local girl). Don’t miss the gift shop. Allow at least a couple of hours to see everything.

Maryland Historical Society

201 W. Monument St. & 410/685-3750. www.mdhs.org. Admission $8 adults, $6 seniors and ages 13–17, $4 ages 3–12. Pass for museum, President St. Station, and Fells Point Maritime Museum $12 adults, $10 students and seniors, $4 ages 3–12. Wed–Sun 10am–5pm. Parking lot on Monument to right of museum. Near Light Rail stop.

This museum’s three floors of exhibits Kids include the popular Outer Space Place, home of the Hubble Space Telescope National Visitor Center. Sometimes the exhibits are too crowded or have limited interest, but the IMAX theater and planetarium are always worth a visit. The IMAX theater presents shows as diverse as Beauty and the Beast and Space Station 3D. IMAX is so popular, extra screenings are available Thursday and Sunday evenings. A new wing opened in May 2004 with DinoQuest, an exhibit devoted to the study of fossils and the lives of dinosaurs. The stars are on display at the David Planetarium or The Crosby Ramsey Memorial Observatory (open Thurs and Sun nights free of charge). Maryland Science Center

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Value Money-Saving Harbor Pass Baltimore’s top tourism spots have teamed up with a Harbor Pass. For $35, adults can visit the National Aquarium, the Science Center, Port Discovery, and the Top of the World Observation Level. The passes are good for 3 consecutive days but only one visit per location. Kids’ passes are $25. The passes are also good for discounts at a few hotels and restaurants, an Orioles game, Ed Kane’s Water Taxi, and other Inner Harbor attractions. Call & 877/BALTIMORE or visit www.Baltimore.org. Passes are also available at the visitor center at the Inner Harbor.

601 Light St. (south side of the Inner Harbor). & 410/685-5225. www.mdsci.org. Admission to regular exhibits $12 adults, $8 children, $11 seniors. Combined with IMAX admission $15 adults, $11 children, $15 seniors. Mon–Fri 10am–5pm; Sat 10am–6pm; Sun noon–5pm, with extended hours in summer. Call ahead, as hours change with some exhibits. Metered on-street parking and paid lots on Light St. and Key Hwy. Water taxi stop.

National Aquarium in Baltimore Visitors can walk into a room surrounded by patrolling sharks, wander among the coral reefs, follow the yearly migration of fish, and visit a rainforest on the roof at one of best aquariums in the country. In addition to the watery denizens, exhibits include a popular puffin display; Maryland: Mountains to the Sea; and an Amazon River Forest filled with plants and animals as well as fish. The sharks are a main attraction, as is a dolphins exhibit/performance. The Marine Mammal Pavilion is where you’ll find the dolphins: three generations from one family. Don’t miss the presentations; reserve a seat when you get your tickets at no additional fee. A new Australian exhibit is under construction and will open in spring 2005. Insider tip: The aquarium draws huge crowds in summer. The best way to beat the crush is to buy timed tickets in advance and/or visit during non-peak times, especially weekday mornings, Friday evenings, or after 3pm. 501 E. Pratt St., on the harbor. & 410/576-3800. www.aqua.org. Admission $18 adults, $13 seniors, $9.50 ages 3–11. July–Aug daily 9am–8pm; Mar–June and Sept–Oct Sat–Thurs 9am–5pm, Fri 9am–8pm; Nov–Feb Sat–Thurs 10am–5pm, Fri 10am–8pm. Hours subject to change. Exhibits are open 2 hr. after last ticket is sold.

You can’t miss the Constellation, docked for years at Kids the Inner Harbor (pre-dating Harborplace). A stunning triple-masted sloop-ofwar originally launched in 1854 (it marked its 150th birthday in Aug 2004), the Constellation is the last Civil War–era vessel afloat. Tour her gun decks, visit the wardrooms, see a cannon demonstration, and learn about the life of a sailor. Demonstrations begin with the raising of the colors at 10:30am and continue on the hour.

USS Constellation

Pier 1, 301 E. Pratt St. & 410/539-1797. www.constellation.org. Admission $6.50 adults, $5 seniors, $3.50 ages 6–14. Admission includes audio tour. May to mid-Oct Sun–Thurs 10am–7pm, Fri–Sat 10am–8pm; midOct to Apr daily 10am–5pm.

Walters Art Museum Value The Walters, with its collections of ancient art, medieval armor, and French 19th-century painting, has always been one of Baltimore’s great attractions. And a renovation completed in 2001 has only made it better. Walk through the galleries of sculpture, paintings, gold jewelry, mummies, and sarcophagi and see the progress of fine art through 50 centuries. The exhibits finish with objects from the Middle Ages in the Knight’s Hall, with tapestries, furnishings, and suits of armor. The Egyptian collection is one of the best

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in the United States. Free admission days make it easier for parents to bring their children to this wonderful place. 600 N. Charles St. & 410/547-9000. www.thewalters.org. Admission $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 students and young adults, free for 17 and under, free to all 1st Thurs each month. Wed–Sun 10am–5pm; 1st Thurs until 8pm; 2nd Fri 5:30–10pm. Closed July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Dec 24–25. Bus: 3, 11, 31, 61, or 64. Light Rail to Centre St. Take Charles St. north to the Washington Monument.

WHERE TO STAY The city caters to business travelers and it can be hard to find a double in Baltimore for under $100 during the week; but that also means that some hotels offer weekend rates and packages that represent savings of 35% to 50% off normal Sunday-through-Thursday tariffs. So don’t be scared off by midweek rates—try to time your visit for a weekend. Note: Every hotel listed in this section is accessible to travelers with disabilities, although specific amenities vary from hotel to hotel. Admiral Fell Inn Updated and expanded over the years, this charming inn sits just a block from the harbor in the heart of Fells Point. It is composed of seven buildings, built between 1790 and 1996 and blending Victorian and Federal-style architecture. The inn features an antiques-filled lobby and library and guest rooms individually decorated with Federal period furnishings (and offering luxe touches such as bottled water and bathrobes). Some have canopy beds and some have Jacuzzis. A more rustic loft room has sloping ceilings that tall guests might not like, but its three dormer windows offer some of the best views in the inn. There’s a complimentary shuttle to downtown. 888 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231. & 866/583-4162 or 410/522-7377. Fax 410/522-0707. www.harbor magic.com. 80 units. $199–$249 double. Rates include European-style breakfast, weekly evening reception, and free weekend activities. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $20. Located across the street from a water taxi stop. Pets welcome.

Celie’s Waterfront Inn This 18th-century town house is one of only a few bed-and-breakfasts in Baltimore and it’s delightful. Each of the rooms has its own charms: Two have a fireplace and whirlpool and harbor views. Two inside rooms are particularly quiet, as they overlook the courtyard filled with flowers in summer. New owners have added two suites (with living and dining rooms and full kitchens), which can accommodate four and six comfortably. Have breakfast in your room, on the deck, or in the garden. Furnishings throughout were chosen with comfort in mind, with big beds, private bathroom with bathrobes, and a homey parlor. Have breakfast in your room, on the deck, or in the garden. 1714 Thames St., Fells Point, Baltimore, MD 21231. & 800/432-0184 or 410/522-2323. Fax 410/522-2324. [emailprotected]. 9 units. $129–$239 double; $299–$349 suite. Rates include hearty continental breakfast. 2- or 3-night minimum may be required on weekends or holidays. AE, DISC, MC, V. On water taxi route. In room: Kitchen (in 2 suites only).

Days Inn Inner Harbor Value If you’re willing to give up proximity to the harbor (by 2 or 3 blocks), you can get a great deal at this modern nine-story hotel. It is located between the arena and convention center, and only 3 blocks from Camden Yards. “Work zone” rooms for business travelers offer large desks, a kitchenette, and plenty of room, but all rooms have the comfort you expect from this chain. Guest rooms offer standard chain-motel furnishings. A fitness center was added in 2003. 100 Hopkins Place (between Lombard and Pratt sts.), Baltimore, MD 21202. & 800/DAYS-INN or 410/5761000. Fax 410/576-9437. www.daysinnerharbor.com. 250 units. $89–$174 double. Children under 17 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $12. Amenities: Restaurant; pool; fitness center. In room: Kitchenette (in some rooms only).

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Harbor Court Hotel The Harbor Court strives for quiet dignity, refinement, and graciousness. It’s a treat to walk in the door, and if you spend the night, prepare to be pampered. Rooms are exquisitely furnished, from suites with handpainted decorations, marble bathrooms, kitchenettes, and canopy beds to large standard rooms outfitted in fine furnishings and CD players. The hotel overlooks the harbor but only a few rooms have a clear harbor view. Dining options include the first-rate Hampton’s (see “Where to Dine,” below). The Explorer’s Lounge features music every night, and is popular with locals as well as hotel guests. 550 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21202. & 800/824-0076 or 410/234-0550. Fax 410/659-5925. www.harbor court.com. 195 units. $275–$305 double; $450–$3,500 suite. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $24; selfparking $19. Amenities: 3 restaurants; indoor pool; fitness center.

Holiday Inn Inner Harbor Value Kids For value and location, it’s hard to beat this old-timer, the first major chain property in Baltimore. Located a block away from Oriole Park and 3 blocks from Harborplace, it has an executive tower with 175 rooms geared to business travelers and has been updated and renovated regularly (there’s now free wi-fi access in the lobby). Guest rooms are decorated in bright colors with traditional furniture including a desk, brass fixtures, and wide windows offering views of the city skyline. 301 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21201. & 800/HOLIDAY or 410/685-3500. Fax 410/727-6169. www. holiday-inn.com/bal-downtown. 375 units. $129–$189 double; $285 suite. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Self-parking $14. Amenities: Restaurant; 50-ft. indoor pool; exercise room.

The eye-catching all-glass Hyatt was the Best Inner Harbor’s first hotel 20 years ago, and it’s still the best. The prime location is just across a skywalk from the Inner Harbor and the convention center, and it’s only a few blocks to the stadiums. Rooms are standard hotel chain, but have breathtaking harbor views and terrific amenities. It’s often busy but not too noisy. Staff here couldn’t be nicer. Kids under 18 stay free here but if your family needs two rooms, the second one’s half-price.

Hyatt Regency Baltimore

300 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21202. & 800/233-1234 or 410/528-1234. Fax 410/685-3362. 486 units. $125–$300 double. Ask for packages and discounts. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $22; self-parking $17. Amenities: Rooftop restaurant; bar; outdoor pool; 2 tennis courts; health club.

Be prepared for something wild when you walk into the lobby of the Pier 5. It’s bright and airy, and it’s fun to settle back into those offbeat sofas. The rooms continue the lobby’s purple, red, and yellow color scheme, though much quieter and more refined. Standard rooms are quite comfortable and have lots of conveniences, including bathrobes and bottled water. Suites are luxurious with one, two, or even three tiny balconies overlooking the water or the National Aquarium next door. Just about every room has a water view. They offer lots of discount packages for both families and couples.

Pier 5 Hotel

711 Eastern Ave. (at the end of Pier 5), Baltimore, MD 21202. & 866/583-4162 or 410/539-2000. Fax 410/ 783-1469. www.harbormagic.com. 65 units. $219–$279 double; $389 suite. Rates include weekly evening reception and free weekend activities. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $25; self-parking $20. Located on a water taxi stop. Pets welcome. Amenities: 3 restaurants. In room: Fridge.

Renaissance Harborplace Hotel The Renaissance is right in the middle of everything. It’s part of The Gallery at Harborplace, five floors of shops and a food court topped by an office tower. Rooms are the biggest in Baltimore with comfortable furniture, bathrobes, and wide windows that really open overlooking the Inner Harbor. Renovated in 2003, the lighter colors make the huge rooms seem

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even more spacious. Its views are good, especially on the upper floors, though the Hyatt’s are better. Special suites connect bedrooms to living room, dining room, and kitchenette. Some even have Murphy beds for extra guests. 202 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202. & 800/HOTELS-1 or 410/547-1200. Fax 410/783-9676. www. renaissancehotels.com. 622 units. $259–$309 double; $500–$5,000 suite. Children under 17 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $25; self-parking $21. Amenities: Restaurant; indoor pool; exercise room with bottled water and fruit.

WHERE TO DINE “Crabtown” has always been known for good seafood, but Baltimore is also home to an increasing variety of ethnic and regional cuisines. There are plenty of good restaurants in Baltimore’s main tourist area, with excellent choices in nearby Little Italy, Fells Point, and Mount Vernon. A note for your wallet: Restaurant prices are creeping up, especially dinner prices, at $25 for an entree—unheard of in recent years—becoming more common. Black Olive GREEK/SEAFOOD This Greek taverna, just beyond the busier streets of Fells Point, is creating its own traffic. The combination of Greek fare and fresh seafood has made this place a standout. Choose whatever the catch of the day is and trust the chef to make it wonderful. The restaurant has four intimate dining rooms, so small that reservations are a must. The service here is also top-notch and relaxed. A fixed-price lunch has been added for $17. 814 S. Bond St. & 410/276-7141. www.theblackolive.com. Reservations required. Main courses $20–$30. AE, MC, V. Daily noon–2:30pm and 5–10pm.

Brass Elephant Value AMERICAN The Brass Elephant prides itself on wellprepared food in an elegant setting for reasonable prices. You can count on rockfish or soft-shell crabs in season, or hearty American dishes such as stuffed pork chops. And all of this comes in one of Baltimore’s most elegant restaurant settings, an 1861 town house with fireplace, chandeliers, and gold-leaf trim. (Summer is a particularly good time to eat here, as they often roll the prices back even further.) 924 N. Charles St. & 410/547-8480. Reservations required. Main courses $15–$24. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 5:30–9:30pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm; Sun 5–9pm. Free valet parking.

With a beautiful setting and Best AMERICAN/SOUTHERN imaginative menu, the Charleston is a top choice for a special night out and has the best food in Baltimore. The menu changes every day, but might include panfried rockfish or bacon-wrapped tenderloin with seasonal vegetables. The cheese course, with about a dozen artisanal cheeses, remains popular. Portions aren’t so big you can’t enjoy one of the great desserts. Charleston also offers an outstanding prix-fixe five-course dinner for $70 to $80 a person (wine is extra). There’s a selection of 500 bottles of wine to choose from.

Charleston

1000 Lancaster St., Harbor East. & 410/332-7373. Fax 410/332-8425. www.charlestonrestaurant.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $26–$34. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm. Free valet parking.

Hampton’s NEW AMERICAN

Overlooking the Inner Harbor and the National Aquarium, this highly touted restaurant is the main dining room of the Harbor Court Hotel and worth a splurge for a special night out or a sumptuous brunch. It’s an all-around fine-dining experience: elegant decor combined with great views, service, and cuisine. Dinner choices include seasonal preparations of lamb, beef, and lobster. The brunch—appetizer, entree, dessert buffet, and flowing champagne—is quite popular, so be sure to make reservations.

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In the Harbor Court Hotel, 550 Light St. & 410/234-0550. Reservations required. Jacket required for men. Main courses $28–$38; brunch $23–$36. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun and Tues–Thurs 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm; brunch Sun 10:30am–2pm. Complimentary valet or self-parking for dinner and brunch guests.

Obrycki’s SEAFOOD Fells Point, the neighborhood where Baltimore began, is one of the city’s best areas for seafood, and the benchmark of all the eateries here is Obrycki’s. Foodies Craig Claiborne and George Lang rave about this place. The decor is charming, with stained-glass windows and brick archways. But the big attraction is the fresh seafood, especially crabs. There’s crab soup, crab co*cktail, crab balls, crab cakes, crab imperial, and soft-shell crabs. The rest of the menu is just as tempting—shrimp, lobster, scallops, haddock, flounder, and steaks. The service is extremely attentive. 1727 E. Pratt St., Upper Fells Point. & 410/732-6399. Reservations accepted only until 7pm Mon–Fri, 6pm Sat–Sun. Main courses $15–$29; lunch and light fare $6.95–$14. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–10pm; Sat 11:30am–11pm; Sun 11:30am–9:30pm. Closed late Nov to mid-Mar.

Pisces SEAFOOD In a city where lots of restaurants have good views, this one tops them all. Overlooking the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards, and the downtown skyline, this two-tiered rooftop restaurant spreads the city before you. The interior is sleek and modern, the menu small but intriguing. Soups can range from cream of crab to grilled seafood miso, while entrees are mostly seafood in creative sauces and seasonings. Though the dining area is not particularly large, the well-spaced tables offer a pleasantly intimate dining experience. The waitstaff is quite knowledgeable, and service is anything but hurried. There’s live jazz Friday and Saturday night and at Sunday brunch. In the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Light St., 15th floor. & 410/528-1234. Reservations recommended. Main courses $18–$38. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Tues–Sun 4pm–1am; Sun brunch 10am–2:30pm.

Prime Rib STEAK HOUSE In the heart of Mount Vernon, this popular restaurant—a standout for fine beef since 1965—serves the best prime rib around. In fact, it could spoil you for all other steaks. The pork chops are huge and the lobster bisque is rich and creamy. If you want seafood, there are crab cakes and a variety of fish dishes. Tables are squeezed together and intimate conversation is impossible, but people come here for the food, not to talk. 1101 N. Calvert St. (between Biddle and Chase sts.). & 410/539-1804. Reservations recommended. Main courses $17–$39. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 5–11pm; Fri–Sat 5pm–midnight.

Sabatino’s ITALIAN

Sabatino’s still stands out for its exceptional Italian cuisine at reasonable prices. Everyone will tell you to get the house salad with the house dressing—it’s thick and garlicky. Simple pasta dishes come in very large portions. The menu also has some seafood and meat dishes with pasta on the side. Dining rooms fill three floors of this narrow building. It’s worth the wait to be seated upstairs where it’s quieter. This is a particularly good late-night dining spot, a good place to people-watch after the bars have closed.

901 Fawn St. (at the corner of High St.). & 410/727-9414. Fax 410/837-6540. www.sabatinos.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $10–$22; lunch $8–$15. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Daily noon–3am.

Vaccaro’s ITALIAN PASTRIES & DESSERTS To top off a perfect day, stop

at Vaccaro’s, the always-busy restaurant, for Italian desserts, coffee, and cappuccino. In addition to cannoli, rum cake, and tiramisu, it serves huge portions of decadently rich gelato. (Can’t decide on a flavor? Ask the waitress for a sampler and you’ll get three different flavors.) Coffee is a standout here, too, plain or scented with cinnamon or vanilla. They don’t take reservations, but the wait is never too long. There’s also a location at the Light Street Pavilion in Harborplace.

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222 Albemarle St. & 410/685-4905. No reservations. Desserts $2.95–$7.50. AE, MC, V. Mon 7:30am–10pm; Tues–Thurs 7am–11pm; Fri–Sat 7:30am–1am; Sun 7:30am–11pm.

Woman’s Industrial Exchange Restaurant AMERICAN Housed in an 1815 brick building, where you’re greeted by a gracious doorman, this restaurant, along with its craft shop, has been helping women help themselves since post–Civil War days. The waitresses, wearing big white bows around their blue uniforms, serve up delicious breakfasts and lunches. (The restaurant and its waitresses were featured in the movie Sleepless in Seattle.) The menu is simple, with homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, omelets, meat or fish platters, and luscious desserts (charlotte russe is a specialty). The chicken salad is terrific. Afterward, take time to browse in the shop. 333 N. Charles St. & 410/685-4388. Main courses $5.95–$12. MC, V. Mon–Fri 9am–3pm.

BALTIMORE AFTER DARK Baltimore used to be very quiet after dark. Fells Point’s bars always drew a crowd, and the streets were busy when a concert or play was scheduled. Now, however, the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Canton, Fells Point, and Mount Vernon have all developed lives after dark. For major events, check the arts and entertainment sections of the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. The City Paper, a free Baltimore weekly, has very complete listings down to the smallest local bars and clubs. Tickets for most major venues are available at the individual box offices, at Ticketmaster (& 410/481-SEAT; www.ticketmaster.com), or at Baltimore Tickets (& 410/BALT-TIX) at the visitor center at the Inner Harbor. THE PERFORMING ARTS The world-class Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (& 410/783-8000; www.baltimoresymphony.org) performs several concerts a week at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall September through June. Each season brings classical and pops concerts. In the summertime, you’ll find the BSO outside at Oregon Ridge Park, north of the city off I-83. Their Fourth of July concerts are terrific fun. Visiting Broadway shows often play at the Morris A. Mechanic Theater, at Baltimore and Charles streets, a block from the harbor (& 410/625-4230; www. themechanic.org); and there are several local professional theater companies. Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. (& 410/332-0033; www.centerstage.org), Maryland’s state theater, has been presenting new and classic works since 1963. The theater has two spaces, one a traditional proscenium stage and the other offering directors more flexibility in set design and staging. For entertainment by local professional actors at affordable prices, check out these area theaters: The Fells Point Corner Theater, 251 S. Ann St. (& 410/ 276-7837; www.fpct.org), presents eight productions a year. The Vagabond Players, 806 S. Broadway (& 410/563-9135), presents a variety of classics, contemporary comedies, and dramas. The city’s prominent African-American theater company Arena Players, 801 McCulloh St., off Martin Luther King Boulevard (& 410/728-6500), presents contemporary plays and romantic comedies. THE CLUB & MUSIC SCENE National acts come to the Baltimore Arena near the Inner Harbor and to the Pier Six Concert Pavilion at the Inner Harbor. A number of smaller, local clubs welcome smaller touring acts and local performers, from rock to jazz to folk. Music venues include Bertha’s, 734 S. Broadway (& 410/327-5795), a great venue for live jazz and blues every day of the week; the Cat’s Eye Pub, 1730 Thames St. (& 410/276-9866; www.cats eyepub.com), which features nightly live music ranging from traditional Irish

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music to bluegrass, zydeco, and jazz; and The Funk Box, 10 E. Cross St. (& 410/625-2000; www.thefunkbox.com), where blues and rock groups play regularly. Two top dance clubs are Baja Beach Club, 55 Market Place, at East Lombard Street, Inner Harbor (& 410/727-0468), which is popular with locals and draws a crowd of energetic 20-somethings; and The Depot, 1728 N. Charles St. (& 410/528-0174), which draws a mostly young crowd with its house and retro music. THE BAR SCENE Baltimore locals like nothing better than to relax over a cold beer. The best drinking spots include the Baltimore Brewing Company, 104 Albemarle St., between Little Italy and the Inner Harbor (& 410/8375000), a microbrewery that’s part German restaurant, part beer hall; the cigarfriendly Max’s on Broadway, 737 S. Broadway (& 410/675-MAXS), a Baltimore institution known for its tremendous beer selection; and Wharf Rat, 206 W. Pratt St., at Hanover Street across from the convention center (& 410/2448900), a small brewpub with excellent stouts and ales. Sports fans can stroll into any of a dozen bars near Camden Yards for lively game conversation, but try Downtown Sports Exchange (DSX), 200 W. Pratt St. (& 410/659-5844); Pickles Pub, 520 Washington Blvd. (& 410/7521784); or Orioles Bar, in the Sheraton Inner Harbor (& 410/962-8300). THE GAY & LESBIAN SCENE Along with the Baltimore Gay Paper and its website at www.bgp.org, you can find information and listings for events of interest to the LGBT community at the Out in Baltimore website (www.out inbaltimore.com); and from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of Baltimore, 241 W. Chase St. (& 410/837-5445; www.glcc baltimore.org).The gay scene centers around Charles Street in Mount Vernon. The popular disco Hippo, 1 W. Eager St. (& 410/547-0069), is a Baltimore mainstay. Grand Central, 1001 N. Charles St. (& 410/752-7133; www.central stationpub.com), offers jazz, drag, karaoke, and other theme nights. Women gather at the comfy and friendly Coconuts Café, 311 W. Madison St., at Linden Avenue (& 410/383-6064).

9 Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital fully commands center stage. The terrorists who crashed a plane into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, did nothing to diminish Washington’s place in the world—quite the contrary. Their acts served only to rally the city itself, strengthen our federal government, and renew our country’s commitment to democratic ideals, for all the world to see. Although security is tighter and additional safeguards have been put into place, Washington continues to offer its own special brand of excitement. You can still listen to Senate debates and hear the Supreme Court in session. Find inspiration in magnificent monuments to the greatest American presidents, and check out the palatial digs of the current chief executive. Wander the vast museums of the Smithsonian Institution. Learn how the FBI fights crime. In short, you can see firsthand just how the government of the United States works, as well as visit some of the most important museums in the country.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Washington is served by three major airports. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (& 703/417-1806; www.metwashairports.com) is just across the Potomac River in Virginia and a

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15-minute drive from downtown. Approximately 22 major airlines and shuttles serve this airport, which has flights to 67 U.S. cities. Climate-controlled pedestrian bridges connect the terminal directly to a Metro station, whose Blue and Yellow lines stop here. The trip downtown takes about 20 minutes. Washington Dulles International Airport (& 703/572-2700; www.met washairports.com) is also in Virginia, about 45 minutes west of downtown. It’s a big discount airline hub. The Washington Flyer Express Bus runs every 30 minutes between Dulles and the West Falls Church Metro station, where you can board a train for D.C. Buses cost $8 one-way. More convenient is the hourly Metrobus service that runs between Dulles and the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, located near Capitol Hill and within walking distance of the National Mall. The bus departs hourly, daily, costs only $2.50, and takes about 45 to 50 minutes. Baltimore–Washington International (BWI) Airport (& 800/435-9294; www.bwiairport.com) is northeast of the city near Baltimore, about 45 minutes from downtown. One factor especially recommends BWI to travelers: Southwest Airlines, with its bargain fares, commands a major presence here, pulling in nearly half of BWI’s business. Both Amtrak (& 800/872-7245; $13–$36 fare) and Maryland Rural Commuter (MARC; & 800/325-7245; $6 fare) trains link BWI to Washington’s Union Station, about a 30-minute ride. SuperShuttle (& 800/258-3826; www.supershuttle.com) offers shared-ride, door-to-door van service between National, Dulles, and BWI airports and your destination downtown or in the Maryland or Virginia suburbs. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $32, depending on distance. Taxi fares are $8 to $15 from National to downtown, $44-plus from Dulles, and $55 from BWI. By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) serves Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE (& 202/371-9441; www.unionstationdc. com), a turn-of-the-20th-century Beaux Arts masterpiece conveniently located near the Capitol; it now houses shops and restaurants. There’s daily service from New York (trip time: 23⁄4–31⁄2 hr.), Philadelphia (13⁄4–2 hr.), and Chicago (19 hr.). Amtrak also offers daily service from several points in the South, including Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, cities in Florida, and New Orleans. By Car Major highways approach Washington, D.C., from all parts of the country. Specifically, these are I-270, I-95, and I-295 from the north; I-95 and I-395, Route 1, and Route 301 from the south; Route 50/301 and Route 450 from the east; and Route 7, Route 50, I-66, and Route 29/211 from the west. No matter which road you take, there’s a good chance you will have to navigate some portion of the Capital Beltway (I-495 and I-95) to gain entry to D.C. The Beltway girds the city, 66 miles around, with 56 interchanges or exits, and is nearly always congested, but especially during weekday morning and evening rush hours, roughly between 6 to 9:30am and 3 to 7pm. Commuter traffic on the Beltway now rivals that of major L.A. freeways, and drivers can get a little crazy, weaving in and out of traffic. VISITOR INFORMATION Contact the Washington, D.C. Convention and Tourism Corporation (WCTC), 901 7th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001-3719 (& 800/422-8644 or 202/789-7000; www.washington.org), and ask for a free copy of the Washington, D.C. Visitors Guide, which details hotels, restaurants, sights, shops, and more, and is updated twice yearly. Consult the WCTC website for latest information, including upcoming exhibits at the museums and anticipated closings of tourist attractions.

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ACCOMMODATIONS Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown 4 Henley Park 17 Hotel George 22 Hotel Monaco Washington DC 20 The Jefferson, a Loews Hotel 11 Jurys Normandy Inn 2 Lincoln Suites Downtown 9 Morrison-Clark Historic Inn 16 Renaissance Mayflower 10 The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. 5 M Rhode Island Ave. Willard Inter-Continental 14

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DINING Ben's Chili Bowl 15 Bombay Club 13 Café Atlantico 19 Cashion's Eat Place 1 Galileo 8 Georgia Brown'sBRENTWOOD 12 PARK Jaleo 21 Kinkead's 6 Pizzeria Paradiso 3 Gallaudet The Prime Rib 7 University Tosca 18

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The Smithsonian Information Center, in the “Castle,” 1000 Jefferson Dr. SW (& 202/357-2700, or TTY 202/357-1729; www.si.edu), is open every day but Christmas from 9am to 5:30pm. Call for a free copy of the Smithsonian’s “Planning Your Smithsonian Visit,” which is full of valuable tips, or stop at the Castle for a copy. GETTING AROUND If you’re thinking about driving, bear in mind that traffic is thick during the week, parking spaces are sparse, and parking lots will cost you. Street signs and parking information are often confusing and illegible. We can’t recommend using a car within the city. Metrorail is definitely the easiest way to go. By Metro Metrorail’s 86 stations include locations at or near almost every sightseeing attraction and extend to suburban Maryland and northern Virginia. There are five lines in operation—Red, Blue, Orange, Yellow, and Green. When entering a Metro station for the first time, go to the kiosk and ask for a free Metro System Pocket Guide. To enter or exit a Metro station, you need a computerized farecard, available at vending machines near the entrance. Charts posted near the farecard machines explain the fares, which start at $1.20 (though a fare hike was being considered at press time, so that number may have jumped 15¢ by the time you read this). If you plan to take several Metrorail trips during your stay, put more value on the farecard to avoid having to buy a new card each time you ride. Discount passes, called “One-Day Rail passes,” cost $6 per person and allow you unlimited passage for the day, after 9:30am weekdays, and all day on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. They are available for purchase at all Metro stations. Metrorail opens at 5:30am weekdays and 7am Saturday and Sunday, operating until midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 3am Friday and Saturday. Call & 202/637-7000, or visit www.wmata.com for information. By Taxi Taxis are plentiful, and you can hail them right off the street. Fares are based on a zone system rather than meters. The base fare in Zone 1 (extending from the U.S. Capitol through most of downtown) starts at $5.50 (during nonrush hour) for one person, but there’s a $1 charge for each additional passenger, plus surcharges for trips at rush hour ($1), for large pieces of luggage (from 50¢ to $2 per piece, depending on size), and for arranging a pickup by phone ($2). Try Diamond Cab Company (& 202/387-6200) or Yellow Cab (& 202/5441212). FAST FACTS Emergency-room treatment is available at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Ave. NW (& 202/884-5000); and at Georgetown University Medical Center, 3800 Reservoir Rd. NW (& 202/ 784-2000). The CVS drugstore chain has two 24-hour locations—14th Street and Thomas Circle NW, at Vermont Avenue (& 202/628-0720); and Dupont Circle (& 202/785-1466). The sales tax on merchandise in the District is 5.75%, the tax on restaurant meals is 10%, and you pay a 14.5% hotel tax. SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS For more information, go to www. washington.org or call & 202/789-7000. In early April, the 3,700 Japanese cherry trees by the Tidal Basin in Potomac Park burst into spectacular bloom. The Cherry Blossom Festival features a major parade with floats, concerts, celebrity guests, and more. For information, call & 202/547-1500 or go to www.nps.gov/nacc/cherry. The White House Easter Egg Roll takes place on Easter Monday. Entertainment on the White House South Lawn and the Ellipse might include clog

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Openings & Closings in D.C. Much is happening in D.C. in 2005, a lot of it to do with construction and renovation. Throughout 2005, the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Arts and Industries Building remain closed for renovation. Scheduled to re-open in 2005 after thorough remodeling are the FBI Building and the annex of the Phillips Collection. The new Newseum and the Capitol Visitors Center are both scheduled to open in 2006. Check www.washington.org in order to determine the status of any attraction you may wish to visit.

dancers, clowns, puppet and magic shows, military drill teams, an egg-rolling contest, and a hunt for 1,000 or so wooden eggs, many of them signed by celebrities, astronauts, or the president. Call & 202/208-1631 for details. At 11am on Memorial Day, a wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, followed by military band music, a service, and an address by a high-ranking government official; call & 703/695-3175 for details. Activities also take place at the city’s other military memorials. Fourth of July festivities include a massive parade down Constitution Avenue. A morning program in front of the National Archives includes military demonstrations, period music, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. In the evening, the National Symphony Orchestra plays on the west steps of the Capitol. Big-name entertainment precedes the fabulous fireworks display behind the Washington Monument. Consult the Washington Post or call & 202/789-7000 for details. In early December, at the northern end of the Ellipse, the president lights the national Christmas tree to the accompaniment of orchestral and choral music. The lighting inaugurates the 4-week Pageant of Peace, a tremendous holiday celebration with seasonal music, caroling, a nativity scene, 50 state trees, and a burning yule log. Call & 202/208-1631 for details.

WHAT TO SEE & DO Note: Due to the implementation of stricter security procedures around the capital, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sometimes issues color code warnings, which may affect the operation of attractions. Note also that many attractions are closed as a matter of course on federal holidays. If there were only one piece of advice we could give to a visitor, it would be to call ahead to the places you plan to tour each day before you set out. THE TOP SIGHTS Arlington National Cemetery

Since the Civil War, these 612 wooded acres on a ridge overlooking the Potomac River and Washington have been a cherished shrine to members of the U.S. armed forces. Upon arrival, head over to the Visitor Center, where you can view exhibits, pick up a detailed map, use the restrooms (there are no others until you get to Arlington House), and purchase a Tourmobile ticket ($6 per adult, $3 for children 3–11), which allows you to stop at all major sites in the cemetery and then reboard whenever you like. Your first stop should be the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (& 800/222-2294 or 703/533-1155; www.womensmemorial.org), which honors the more than 1.8 million women who have served in the armed forces from the American Revolution to the present. High atop a hill at the center of the cemetery is Arlington House (& 703/235-1530; www.nps.gov/arho), once

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the home of Robert E. Lee, who left here in 1861 to take command of the Confederate army (to spite him, the Union army buried its dead in his front yard). You can tour the house on your own. Below Arlington House is the Gravesite of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is buried next to her first husband, and Robert Kennedy is buried close by. America’s most distinguished honor guard watches over the Tomb of the Unknowns, which contains the unidentified remains of service members from both world wars and the Korean War, and honors all Americans who gave their lives in war. Plan to see the changing of the guard, which takes place every half-hour April to September, every hour on the hour October to March, and every hour at night. Just across the Memorial Bridge from the base of the Lincoln Memorial. & 703/607-8000. www.arlington cemetery.org. Free admission. Apr–Sept daily 8am–7pm; Oct–Mar daily 8am–5pm. Metro: Arlington National Cemetery. If you come by car, parking is $1.25 an hour for the 1st 3 hr., $2 per hour thereafter. The cemetery is also accessible via Tourmobile.

The Capitol The U.S. Congress has met here since 1800. The hub of the building is the Rotunda, under the soaring 180-foot-high Capitol dome. The adjoining National Statuary Hall was originally the House chamber. The Senate used to meet in the Old Supreme Court Chamber, now beautifully restored. You can obtain free tickets to the House and Senate galleries by contacting the office of your senator or representative. (Visitors who are not citizens can obtain a gallery pass by presenting a passport at the Senate or House appointments desk.) Check the weekday “Today in Congress” column in the Washington Post for details on times of the House and Senate sessions and committee hearings. Important note: Since a new underground Capitol Visitor Center (to be completed in 2006) is being constructed directly beneath the plaza where people traditionally line up for tours on the east side of the Capitol, touring procedures have changed. Call ahead (& 202/225-6827) to find out the new procedures and whether any parts of the building will be temporarily closed. At this time, the only way to tour the Capitol Building is in groups of 40. A Capitol Guide Service guide conducts each tour, which is free and lasts about 30 minutes. Organized groups of no more than 40 can arrange tours in advance by contacting their congressional office. If you’re on your own, get to the Capitol by 7:30am, to stand in line for one of the limited timed tickets distributed daily, starting at 9am. At the east end of the Mall, entrance on E. Capitol St. and 1st St. NW. & 202/225-6827. www.aoc.gov, www.house.gov, www.senate.gov. Free admission. Year-round Mon–Sat 9am–4:30pm, with 1st tour starting at 9:30am and last tour starting at 3:30pm. Closed for tours Jan 1, Thanksgiving, and Dec 25. Parking at Union Station or on neighborhood streets. Metro: Union Station or Capitol S.

Corcoran Gallery of Art The first art museum in Washington, the Corcoran occupies a Beaux Arts building just west of the White House. The collection spans American art from 18th-century portraiture to works by 20th-century moderns like Nevelson, Warhol, and Rothko. There’s also an eclectic grouping of works by Dutch and Flemish masters and French Impressionists, plus Delft porcelains and a Louis XVI salon doré transported complete from Paris. Allow an hour for touring the collection. 500 17th St. NW (between E St. and New York Ave.). & 202/639-1700. www.corcoran.org. $6.75 adults, $4.75 seniors, $3 students 13–18, $8 families, free for children under 12, free to all Mon (all day) and Thurs after 5pm. Wed–Mon 10am–5pm (Thurs until 9pm). Free walk-in tours daily (except Tues) at noon, as well as Thurs at 7:30pm and Sat–Sun at 2:30pm. Closed Jan 1 and Dec 25. Metro: Farragut W. or Farragut N.

The FDR Memorial has become the most popular of the presidential memorials since it opened in 1997. Set

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

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amid waterfalls and quiet pools, “outdoor rooms” are devoted to each of Roosevelt’s four terms in office (1933–45). Ten bronze sculptures honor Franklin and wife Eleanor and memorialize the struggles of the Great Depression and America’s rise to world leadership. If you don’t see a posting of tour times, look for a ranger and request a tour; the rangers are happy to oblige. Thirty minutes is sufficient time to allot here. In W. Potomac Park, about midway between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, on the west shore of the Tidal Basin. & 202/426-6841. Free admission. Ranger staff on duty daily 8am–11:45pm. Closed Dec 25. Free parking along W. Basin and Ohio drives. Metro: Smithsonian, with a 30-min. walk; or take the Tourmobile.

The domed interior of this beautiful columned rotunda in the style of the Pantheon in Rome contains a 19-foot bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, who also served as ambassador to France, secretary of state, and vice president—and still found time to pen the Declaration of Independence, create the University of Virginia, and pursue wide-ranging interests, including architecture, astronomy, anthropology, music, and farming. A gift shop, a small museum, and a bookstore are located on the bottom floor of the memorial. Rangers present 20- to 30-minute programs throughout the day as time permits.

Jefferson Memorial

South of the Washington Monument on Ohio Dr. SW (at the south shore of the Tidal Basin). & 202/4266841. Free admission. Daily 8am–11:45pm. Closed Dec 25. Metro: Smithsonian, with a 20- to 30-min. walk; or take the Tourmobile.

Lincoln Memorial This beautiful neoclassical templelike structure, similar in

design to the Parthenon in Greece, is a moving testament to the great Civil War president. Visitors are silently awed in the presence of Daniel Chester French’s 19foot-high seated statue of Lincoln in deep contemplation. Lincoln’s enormously powerful Gettysburg Address is engraved on the interior walls. Especially at night, the view from the steps, across the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument and the Capitol beyond, is one of the city’s most beautiful. An information booth, a small museum, and a bookstore are on the premises. Rangers present 20- to 30-minute programs as time permits throughout the day. Directly west of the Mall in Potomac Park (at 23rd St. NW, between Constitution and Independence aves.). & 202/426-6842. Free admission. Daily 8am–11:45pm. Closed Dec 25. Metro: Foggy Bottom, then a 30min. walk.

National Air & Space Museum Kids A hit with kids of all ages, this museum chronicles the story of man’s mastery of flight, from Kitty Hawk to outer space, including the Wright Brothers’ first plane, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, and the Apollo moon ships. Arrive before 10am to make a rush for the filmticket line—the IMAX films are not to be missed. One highlight is the How Things Fly gallery, which includes wind and smoke tunnels, a boardable Cessna 150 airplane, and dozens of interactive exhibits that demonstrate principles of flight, aerodynamics, and propulsion. You’ll also need tickets to attend a show at the Albert Einstein Planetarium, where projectors display blended space imagery upon a 70-foot diameter dome, making you feel as if you’re traveling in 3-D through the cosmos. Note: In December 2003, the museum opened the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington-Dulles Airport, which displays aviation and space artifacts. You can drive (call & 202/786-2122 for directions, or go to the website), or you can take a shuttle bus from the Air and Space Museum on the Mall ($7 per person). On the south side of the Mall (at 7th and Independence Ave. SW), with entrances on Jefferson Dr. or Independence Ave. & 202/357-2700 (for both locations), or 202/357-1686 for IMAX ticket information.

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www.nasm.si.edu. Free admission. Both locations daily 10am–5:30pm. The mall museum often opens at 9am in summer, but call to confirm. Free 11⁄2-hr. highlight tours daily at 10:15am and 1pm. Closed Dec 25. Metro: L’Enfant Plaza (Smithsonian Museums/Maryland Ave. exit) or Smithsonian. The Udvar-Hazy Center is located at 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly, VA. Parking at the center costs $12.

After a major restoration completed in 2004, visitors can now get a marvelous look at the nation’s three most important documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. Exhibits in the newly renovated public vaults feature interactive technology and displays of documents and artifacts to explain our country’s development in the use of records, from Indian treaties to presidential websites. A theater continually runs dramatic films during the day illustrating the relationship between records and democracy in the lives of real people, and at night serves as a premier documentary film venue for the city. Anyone is welcome to use the National Archives center for genealogical research—this is where Alex Haley began his work on Roots—and it’s all available for the perusal of anyone age 16 or over (call for details). The building itself is an impressive example of the Beaux Arts style, with 72 columns on each of the four facades.

National Archives

700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (between 7th and 9th sts. NW; enter on Pennsylvania Ave.). & 866/272-6272 or 202/501-5000 for general information, or 202/501-5400 for research information. www.nara.gov. Free admission. Daily 10am–7pm. Call for research hours. Closed Dec 25. Metro: Archives–Navy Memorial.

Housing one of the world’s foremost collections of Western painting, sculpture, and graphic arts from the Middle Ages through the 20th century, the National Gallery has a dual personality. You’ll find the masters in the original West Building, a neoclassic marble masterpiece with a domed rotunda. This is your chance to see the works of the old masters, including several renowned Raphaels; about 1,000 paintings are on display at any one time. The ultramodern East Building appropriately houses an important collection of 20th-century art, including masterpieces by Picasso, Miró, Matisse, Pollock, and Rothko. Other exhibitions feature the decorative arts, drawings, and prints. The National Gallery Sculpture Garden, just across from the West Wing, features open lawns, a central pool with a spouting fountain (the pool is converted into an ice rink in winter), and an exquisite, glassed-in pavilion housing a cafe and an impressive sculpture garden. Allow a leisurely 2 hours to see everything here.

National Gallery of Art

Fourth St. and Constitution Ave. NW, on the north side of the Mall (between Third and Seventh sts. NW). & 202/737-4215. www.nga.gov. Free admission. Mon–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun 11am–6pm. Metro: Archives, Judiciary Sq., or Smithsonian.

Dealing with “everyday life Kids in the American past,” the massive contents here run the gamut from George Washington’s Revolutionary War tent to Archie Bunker’s chair. Don’t miss the immense original Star-Spangled Banner that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the U.S. national anthem in 1814—painstaking conservation work was completed on the flag in summer 2004. Other highlights include a display of First Ladies’ gowns, exhibits on African-American migration between 1915 and 1940, a look at the American presidency, and a new exhibit examining major American military events. You could spend days in here, but plan on at least a few hours.

National Museum of American History

On the north side of the Mall (between 12th and 14th sts. NW), with entrances on Constitution Ave. and Madison Dr. & 202/357-2700. www.americanhistory.si.edu. Free admission. Daily 10am–5:30pm. Closed Dec 25. Metro: Smithsonian or Federal Triangle.

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Another hit with kids, this fasKids cinating museum contains more than 120 million artifacts and specimens—it’s the largest museum of its kind in the world. Exhibits include everything from one of the largest African elephants to the infamous Hope Diamond. Before you enter the museum, stop on the Ninth Street side of the building to visit the lovely butterfly garden. Inside, dinosaurs loom large, including a life-size model of the pterosaur, which had a 40-foot wingspan. Don’t miss the Discovery Center, funded by the Discovery Channel, featuring the Johnson IMAX theater with a six-story-high screen for 2-D and 3-D movies. Purchase tickets as early as possible; the box office opens at 9:45am. Ticket prices are $8 for adults; $6.50 for children (2–12) and seniors 55 or older.

National Museum of Natural History

On the north side of the Mall (at 10th St. and Constitution Ave. NW), with entrances on Madison Dr. and Constitution Ave. & 202/357-2700, or 202/633-4629 for information about IMAX films. www.mnh.si.edu. Free admission. Daily 10am–5:30pm. In summer the museum often stays open until 8pm, but call to confirm. Free highlight tours Mon–Thurs 10:30am and 1:30pm, Fri 10:30am. Closed Dec 25. Metro: Smithsonian or Federal Triangle.

This $219-million museum Kids took 5 years to build before finally opening in September 2004. Very much a “living” museum, the museum has performances, events, and exhibits that aim at giving Native peoples the chance to tell their own stories. Exhibits explore Native life and history and specific themes, and showcase works of individual artists. Most importantly, the museum is a giant display case for a collection of precious objects representing 1,000 Native communities. About 8,000 of the collection’s 800,000 pieces, including wood and stone carvings, masks, pottery, feather bonnets, and so on are on display at any given time. The museum uses a timed-pass admission procedure. You should arrive no later than 10am to stand in line to obtain a free pass, which will be printed with the time you will be able to enter the museum. If you want to order one in advance, you can do so from Tickets.com (& 866/4006624; www.tickets.com), for a nominal service fee. National Museum of the American Indian

4th St. and Independence Ave. SW. & 202/633-1000. www.nmai.si.edu. Free admission. Daily 10am–5:30pm. Closed Dec 25. Metro: Federal Center Southwest or L’Enfant Plaza.

Thousands of World War II veterans and their families turned out when this memorial was dedicated on May 29, 2004. The 71⁄2-acre memorial funded mostly by private donations features 56 17-foothigh granite pillars representing each state and territory standing to either side of a central plaza and the Rainbow pool. Likewise, 24 bas-relief panels illustrate seminal scenes from the war years as they relate to the Pacific and Atlantic theaters: Pearl Harbor, Normandy Beach, the Battle of the Bulge, and so on. Beyond the center Rainbow Pool is a wall of 4,000 gold stars, one star for every 100 soldiers who died in World War II. People often leave photos and mementoes everywhere around the memorial, which the National Park Service gathers up daily. From the 17th Street entrance, walk south around the perimeter of the memorial to reach a ranger station, where there are brochures and registry kiosks, the latter for looking up names of veterans. Better information and faster service is available online at www.wwiimemorial.com.

National World War II Memorial

17th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. & 800/639-4WW2 or 202/426-6841. www.wwiimemorial.com. Free admission. Rangers on duty daily 8am–11:45pm, except Dec 25. Metro: Farragut W., Federal Triangle, or Smithsonian.

Phillips Collection In an elegant 1890s Georgian Revival mansion (plus an added wing) is the exquisite collection of Duncan and Marjorie Phillips, avid

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collectors and proselytizers of modernism. The original building was once the Phillipses’ elegant abode, and it still has the warmth of a home. Among the highlights: superb Daumier, Dove, and Bonnard paintings; some splendid small Vuillards; five van Goghs; Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party; seven Cézannes; and six works by Georgia O’Keeffe. It’s a collection no art lover should miss. 1600 21st St. NW (at Q St.). & 202/387-2151. www.phillipscollection.org. Admission Sat–Sun $8 adults, $6 students and seniors, free for children 18 and under; Tues–Fri donations accepted. Special exhibits may require an additional fee. Tues–Sat 10am–5pm (Thurs until 8:30pm), Sun noon–5pm. Free tours Wed and Sat 2pm. Closed Jan 1, July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Dec 25. Metro: Dupont Circle (Q St. exit).

The Supreme Court hears and decides its cases in this stately Corinthian marble temple Monday through Wednesday from 10am to noon and from 1 to 2pm or 3pm, starting the first Monday in October through late April. From mid-May to late June, you can attend brief sessions (about 15 min.) at 10am on Monday, when the justices release orders and opinions. Find out what cases are on the docket by checking the Washington Post’s “Supreme Court Calendar.” Arrive at least an hour early— even earlier for a highly publicized case—to line up for the 150 seats allotted to the general public. If the court is not in session, you can attend a free lecture, given every hour on the half-hour from 9:30am to 3:30pm. After the talk, explore the Great Hall and go down a flight of steps to see the 24-minute film on the workings of the Court. You might also consider contacting your senator or congressperson to arrange for a 40-minute guided tour of the building led by a Supreme Court staff member.

The Supreme Court of the United States

One 1st St. NE (between E. Capitol St. and Maryland Ave. NE). & 202/479-3000. www.supremecourtus.gov. Free admission. Mon–Fri 9am–4:30pm. Closed all federal holidays. Metro: Capitol S. or Union Station.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum This extraordinarily powerful museum (it remains one of the city’s top draws, sometimes hosting up to 10,000 visitors in 1 day) reminds us of what can happen when civilization goes awry. An outer wall is reminiscent of an extermination camp’s exterior brickwork, and towers evoke the guard towers of Auschwitz. A reconstructed Auschwitz barracks, the yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear, instruments of genocide, and a gas-chamber door are among the artifacts on display. As you enter, you’ll be given the identity card of a real person living in Europe in the 1930s; at the end of your visit, you’ll learn that person’s fate. A highlight is a 30-minute film called Testimony, in which Holocaust survivors tell their own stories. Do not bring children under 11 to this museum. Timed tickets are required; reserve them via Tickets.com (& 800/400-9373; www.tickets.com) for a small service fee. You can also get them at the museum box office; get in line around 8am. Note that same-day tickets are limited, and one person may obtain a maximum of four. 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW (formerly 15th St. SW; near Independence Ave., just off the Mall). & 202/ 488-0400. www.ushmm.org. Free admission. Daily 10am–5:30pm (mid-Apr to mid-June Tues and Thurs until 8pm). Closed Yom Kippur and Dec 25. Metro: Smithsonian.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is possibly the most poignant sight in Washington. Even if no one close to you died in Vietnam, it’s wrenching to watch visitors grimly studying the directories at either end of this 492-foot-long, sunken black granite wall inscribed with the names of the nearly 60,000 American men and women who gave their lives, or remain missing, in the longest war in our nation’s history. The names are inscribed in chronological order, documenting an epoch in American history as a series of individual sacrifices from the date of the first casualty in 1959 to the last death

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in 1975. Ask one of the very knowledgeable park rangers milling about if you have any questions. Allow about 20 to 30 minutes here. Just across from the Lincoln Memorial (east of Henry Bacon Dr. between 21st and 22nd sts. NW). & 202/ 426-6841. Free admission. Rangers on duty daily 8am–11:45pm, except Dec 25. Ranger-led programs are given throughout the day. Metro: Foggy Bottom.

The 555-foot stark marble obelisk glowing under floodlights at night is the city’s most visible landmark. You can’t climb or descend the 897 steps, but a large elevator whisks visitors to the top in just 70 seconds. The 360-degree views are spectacular. You can get free same-day tour tickets at 15th Street Northwest between Independence and Constitution avenues (arrive by 7:30 or 8am, especially in peak season). If you want to get them in advance, contact the National Park Reservation Service (& 800/9672283; http://reservations.nps.gov); you’ll pay $1.50 per ticket plus a 50¢ service charge. To make sure that you get tickets for your desired date, reserve these tickets at least 2 weeks in advance. Washington Monument

Directly south of the White House (at 15th St. and Constitution Ave. NW). & 202/426-6841. Free admission. Daily 9am–5pm. Last elevators depart 15 min. before closing (arrive earlier). Closed Dec 25; July 4th open until noon. Metro: Smithsonian, then a 10-min. walk.

The White House is the only private residence of a head of state that has opened its doors to the public for free tours. It was Thomas Jefferson who started this practice, which is stopped only during wartime. After closing due to the war on terrorism in 2002, the White House is once again open for public tours, though not walkup tours (you’ll need to reserve space on a tour—minimum 10 people—at least 4 months in advance). The procedures for reserving a tour are complicated; consult the website or contact your congressperson for details. If you do get a reservation, be sure on the day of your White House tour to call & 202/456-7041 to make sure that the White House is still open that day to the public. The White House is a repository of art and furnishings. Tours of the public areas include the gold-and-white East Room, scene of gala receptions and other dazzling events; the Green Room, used as a sitting room; the Oval Blue Room, where presidents and first ladies officially receive guests; the Red Room, used as a reception room and for afternoon teas; and the State Dining Room, a superb setting for state dinners and luncheons. There are no public restrooms or telephones in the White House, and picture-taking and videotaping are prohibited. Best advice: Leave everything but your wallet back at the hotel. The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (visitor entrance gate at E St. and E. Executive Ave.). & 202/456-7041 or 202/ 208-1631. www.whitehouse.gov. Free admission. Tours for groups of 10 or more, who have arranged the tour through their congressional offices. Metro: McPherson Sq.

AN ORGANIZED TOUR

Tourmobile Sightseeing (& 888/868-7707 or 202/554-5100; www.tourmobile. com) provides open-air sightseeing trams that travel to as many as 24 attractions (the company changes its schedule and number of stops, depending on whether sites are open for public tours), including Arlington National Cemetery. It’s the only narrated sightseeing shuttle tour authorized by the National Park Service. You can get on and off as often as you like throughout the day; buses serve each stop about every 15 to 30 minutes. You pay the driver when you first board the bus (you can also buy a ticket at the booth at the Washington Monument or inside the Arlington National Cemetery Visitor Center, or, for a small surcharge, order your ticket in advance from Ticketmaster at & 800/551-SEAT). The

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charge for its comprehensive American Heritage Tour (up to 24 sites visited, including Arlington Cemetery) is $20 for anyone 12 and older, $10 for children 3 to 11. For Arlington Cemetery only, those 12 and older pay $6, children 3 to 12 pay $3. PA R K S , G A R D E N S & T H E N AT I O N A L Z O O

The United States Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave., at First Street SW, at the east end of the Mall (& 202/225-8333; www.usbg.gov), re-opened in late 2001 after a major, 5-year renovation. The grand conservatory devotes half of its space to exhibits that focus on the importance of plants to people, and half to exhibits that focus on ecology and the evolutionary biology of plants. The new National Garden outside the conservatory includes a First Ladies Water Garden, formal rose garden, and lawn terrace. Admission is free; open daily from 10am to 5pm. West and East Potomac Parks, their 720 riverside acres divided by the Tidal Basin, are most famous for their spring display of cherry blossoms and all the hoopla that goes with it (check out www.nps.gov/nacc/cherry for info on the blossoms). West Potomac Park also encompasses Constitution Gardens; the Vietnam, Korean, Lincoln, Jefferson, and FDR memorials; a small island where ducks live; and the Reflecting Pool. Rock Creek Park (www.nps/gov.rocr), a 1,750-acre valley within the District of Columbia, extends 12 miles from the Potomac River to the Maryland border. It’s one of the biggest and finest city parks in the nation. Adjacent to Rock Creek Park is the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park, with its main entrance in the 3000 block of Connecticut Avenue NW (& 202/673-4800 or 202/673-4717; www.si.edu/natzoo). It’s home to several thousand animals of some 500 species, many of them rare or endangered (including a pair of pandas). The zoo animals live in large, open enclosures—simulations of their natural habitats—along two easy-to-follow numbered paths: Olmsted Walk and the Valley Trail. Free admission; open daily.

SHOPPING HIGHLIGHTS D.C. isn’t a serious shopper’s town, but it does have outstanding museum shops. The National Gallery of Art shop sells printed reproductions, stationery, and jewelry whose designs are based on works in the gallery’s collections. It also has one of the largest selections of books on art history and architecture in the country. The National Museum of American History store has a lot of junky trinkets, as well as an outstanding collection of books and recordings. The largest museum shop is at the National Air and Space Museum (three floors!). The shop at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, 900 Jefferson Dr. SW, on the south side of the Mall, carries a selection of the most popular items from all of the other Smithsonian shops. The city also has many notable outdoor markets. The Georgetown Flea Market, Wisconsin Avenue, between S and T streets NW (& 202/775-FLEA; www. georgetownfleamarket.com), is frequented by all types of Washingtonians looking for a good deal—they often get it—on antiques, painted furniture, vintage clothing, and decorative garden urns. In continuous operation since 1873, Eastern Market, 225 7th St. SE (& 202/544-0083; www.easternmarket.net), a Capitol Hill institution, holds an inside bazaar Tuesday through Sunday, where greengrocers, butchers, bakers, farmers, artists, craftspeople, florists, and other merchants sell their wares. Saturday morning is the best time to go. Check www. freshfarmmarkets.org for locations, dates, and times of farmers’ markets in the city.

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One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Washington area (it attracts more visitors than any other site) is Potomac Mills Mall (& 800/VA-MILLS or 703/643-1770; www.potomacmills.com), a collection of 225-plus outlet and discount stores 25 miles south of Washington on I-95. Call & 703/551-1050 for information about shuttle service from the city.

WHERE TO STAY Washington, D.C., has just about every type of accommodations you can imagine. For ease in booking a reservation, try contacting one of two well-established local reservation services: Capitol Reservations (& 800/847-4832 or 202/4521270; www.hotelsdc.com) or Washington D.C. Accommodations (& 800/ 503-3330 or 202/289-2220; www.dcaccommodations.com). Both services are free. Another free service is Bed & Breakfast Accommodations, Ltd. (& 877/ 893-3233 or 413/582-9888; www.bnbaccom.com), which works with more than 30 homes, inns, guesthouses, and unhosted furnished apartments to find visitors lodging. Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown Value Kids This hotel offers unbelievable value and a convenient location, within walking distance of Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and Dupont Circle. By February 2005, the hotel will have completed a $4.5-million renovation to give the entire property an “urban-modern, but not chi-chi” look. You enter a tropical and glassy eight-story atrium where two waterfalls are constantly running. The accommodations are nicer than your average hotel room; every unit is a two-room suite, with a kitchenette and separate living room. It’s worth requesting one of the eighth- or ninth-floor suites with views as far as Washington National Cathedral. 1250 22nd St. NW (between M and N sts.), Washington, DC 20037. & 800/EMBASSY or 202/857-3388. Fax 202/293-3173. www.embassysuitesdcmetro.com. 318 suites. $149–$309 double. Extra person $25 weekdays. Children 18 and under stay free in parent’s room. Rates include full breakfast and evening reception. Ask for AAA discounts or check the website for best rates. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $20. Metro: Foggy Bottom. Amenities: Restaurant; indoor pool; state-of-the-art fitness center. In room: Kitchenette.

Henley Park This intimate English-style hotel is housed in a converted 1918 Tudor-style apartment house. Luxurious appointments make it a good choice for upscale romantic weekends. The decor is old-fashioned, in rooms full of dark wood Hepplewhite-, Chippendale-, and Queen Anne–style furnishings; an ongoing renovation recently replaced wallpaper, linens, and other items in all the guest rooms. A smashing afternoon tea is served daily from 4 to 6pm, and live jazz plays in the bar Thursday through Saturday evenings. There’s complimentary weekday-morning sedan service to downtown and Capitol Hill. 926 Massachusetts Ave. NW (at 10th St.), Washington, DC 20001. & 800/222-8474 or 202/638-5200. Fax 202/638-6740. www.henleypark.com. 96 units. Weekdays $185–$245 double, from $325 suite; summer and weekends $99–159 double, much lower rates for suites on weekends. Extra person $20. Children under 14 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $22. Metro: Metro Center, Gallery Place, or Mt. Vernon Sq. Amenities: Restaurant; access to fitness room across the street.

Hotel George This capital establishment is one of the hippest in town and caters to celebs. The oversize guest rooms sport a minimalist look, all creamy white and modern. Fluffy vanilla-colored comforters rest on oversize beds; slabs of granite top the desks and bathroom counters; and nature sounds (of the ocean, forest, and wind) emanate from the stereo CD/clock radios. The spacious, mirrored, marble bathrooms offer spa robes; other amenities include cordless phones and umbrellas. Lobbyists are often found wheeling and dealing in the hotel’s French bistro.

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15 E St. NW (at N. Capitol St.), Washington, DC 20001. & 800/576-8331 or 202/347-4200. Fax 202/3474213. www.hotelgeorge.com. 139 units. Weekdays $285–$350 double; weekends from $149 double. Extra person $25. Children under 16 stay free in parent’s room. Ask about seasonal and corporate rates. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $24; may increase in 2005. Metro: Union Station. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness center.

Hotel Monaco Washington DC Best The magnificent Monaco has been winning awards ever since it opened in 2002, and this is where we’d stay if we were visiting D.C. Museum-like in appearance, the hotel occupies a four-story, all marble, mid-19th-century building, half of which was designed by Robert Mills, the architect for the Washington Monument, the other half designed by Thomas Walter, one of the architects for the U.S. Capitol. The spacious guest rooms combine historic and hip. Their vaulted ceilings are high (12–18 ft.) and windows are long; rooms are decorated in eclectic color and furniture schemes and offer Web TV access and bathrobes. Need more? The Hotel Monaco gives you a complimentary goldfish at check-in (if you so request). For tall guests, it offers specially designed “Tall Rooms” with 18-foot-high ceilings, 96-inch-long beds, and raised showerheads. Go to the hotel’s website or call the hotel directly to obtain the lowest available rates. 700 F St. NW (at 7th St.), Washington, DC 20004. & 800/649-1202 or 202/628-7177. Fax 202/628-7277. www.monaco-dc.com. 184 units. Weekdays $239–$349 double, $439–$849 suite; weekends $149–$349 double, $349–$699 suite. Extra person $20. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include complimentary Starbucks coffee in morning and wine receptions in evening. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $27. Metro: Gallery Place. Pets get VIP treatment. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness center.

The Jefferson, a Loews Hotel Opened in 1923 just 4 blocks from the White

House, the intimate Jefferson offers superb service, an acclaimed restaurant, sophisticated but comfortable accommodations, inviting public rooms (should you want to hang out), and proximity to attractions and restaurants (should you not want to hang out). A fine art collection, including original documents signed by Thomas Jefferson, graces the public areas. Guest rooms are decorated with antiques and lovely fabrics, evoking a European feel. In-room amenities include VCRs, CD players, and robes. A marvelous high tea is served in the paneled pub/lounge. A renovation in 2004 restored antiques, added sleeper sofas to all of the suites, and installed wi-fi access in the public areas. 1200 16th St. NW (at M St.), Washington, DC 20036. & 800/235-6397 or 202/347-2200. Fax 202/331-7982. www.loewsjefferson.com. 100 units. Weekdays from $339 double, $439–$1,500 suite; weekends from $199 double, from $299 suite. Extra person $25. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $28. Metro: Farragut N. Pets welcomed and pampered. Amenities: Restaurant; 24-hr. fitness room.

This gracious hotel is a gem—a small gem, but a Value gem nonetheless. Situated in a neighborhood of architecturally impressive embassies, the six-floor hotel has small but pretty guest rooms (all remodeled in 2003), with tapestry-upholstered mahogany and cherry-wood furnishings in 18th-century style, and pretty floral-print bedspreads covering firm beds. The Normandy is an easy walk from both Adams-Morgan and Dupont Circle, where many restaurants and shops await you. Complimentary wine and cheese are served from the antique oak sideboard on Tuesday evenings. In nice weather, you can lounge on the garden patio.

Jurys Normandy Inn

2118 Wyoming Ave. NW (at Connecticut Ave.), Washington, DC 20008. & 800/424-3729 or 202/483-1350. Fax 202/387-8241. www.jurysdoyle.com. 75 units. $89–$185 double. Extra person $10. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include free continental breakfast, coffee and tea in lounge, and afternoon cookies. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $15 plus tax. Metro: Dupont Circle. Amenities: Access to neighboring Courtyard by Marriott Northwest’s pool and exercise room. In room: Fridge.

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Lincoln Suites Downtown Value Kids This is a little hotel with a big heart. It tries hard to do right by its guests and we would say it succeeds. (Check out the website, where the hotel’s can-do personality shines through.) The all-suite, 10-story, nothing-fancy property is in the heart of downtown, just 5 blocks from the White House. Suites are large and comfortable; about 28 offer full kitchens, while the rest have wet bars (minifridge, microwave, and coffeemaker). An ongoing renovation has slowly but surely overhauled the hotel, replacing all the furniture, appliances, carpeting, and wall coverings, so that the overall design is brighter and contemporary. The free breakfast only adds to the hotel’s value. 1823 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. & 800/424-2970 or 202/223-4320. Fax 202/293-4977. www.lincoln hotels.com. 99 units. Weekdays $175–$215 peak, $135–$175 non-peak; year-round weekends $115–$155. Children under 16 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include deluxe continental breakfast and afternoon milk and cookies. Discounts available for long-term stays. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $20 (in adjoining garage). Metro: Farragut N. or Farragut W. Pets under 25 lb. accepted, 2nd floor only, for $15 per day (fee may increase). Amenities: Restaurant; small fitness center. In room: Fridge, microwave.

Morrison–Clark Historic Inn This magnificent property offers the homey

ambience and personable service of an inn, coupled with hotel amenities. The inn, occupying twin 1865 Victorian town houses, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Newly refurbished in 2003, the inn’s high-ceilinged guest rooms are individually decorated and feature original artworks, sumptuous fabrics, luxe amenities, and antique or reproduction 19th-century furnishings. Most popular are the grand Victorian-style rooms, with new chandeliers and bedspreads; four have private porches, while many others have plant-filled balconies. 1015 L St. NW (at 11th St. and Massachusetts Ave. NW), Washington, DC 20001. & 800/332-7898 or 202/ 898-1200. Fax 202/289-8576. www.morrisonclark.com. 54 units. Weekdays $175–$245 double; weekends $99–$159 double. Extra person $20. Children under 16 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $22. Metro: Metro Center or Mt. Vernon Sq. Amenities: Restaurant; tiny fitness center.

Superbly located in the heart of downtown, the Mayflower is a celeb favorite and is steeped in history. When it opened in 1925, it was the site of Calvin Coolidge’s inaugural ball. President-elect FDR and family lived in room nos. 776 and 781 while waiting to move into the White House, and this is where he penned the words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In 2004, the hotel completed a $9-million, top-to-bottom renovation that transformed the guest rooms into individual refuges of pretty elegance. Each room has its own marble foyer, high ceiling, mahogany reproduction furnishings, and Italian marble bathroom with bathrobes. The clubby, mahoganypaneled Town and Country Lounge is always jumping.

Renaissance Mayflower

1127 Connecticut Ave. NW (between L and M sts.), Washington, DC 20036. & 800/468-3571 or 202/3473000. Fax 202/776-9182. www.renaissancehotels.com/WASSH. 657 units. Weekdays $199–$399 double, from $329 suite; weekends $109–$209 double, from $259 suite. No charge for extra person in room. Rates include complimentary coffee service with wakeup call. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $26. Metro: Farragut N. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness center.

The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. This Ritz-Carlton, which opened in

October 2000, surpasses all other Washington hotels in service and amenities. The hotel is built around a multitiered Japanese garden and courtyard with reflecting pools and cascading waterfall. Standard rooms are very large and richly furnished with decorative inlaid wooden furniture and very pretty artwork. The marble bathrooms are immense, with long counter space and a separate bathtub and shower stall. Other nice touches include an umbrella, bathrobes, CD players, and windows that open. Don’t pass up the evening turndown—the maid places a

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warm, freshly baked brownie upon your pillow instead of the usual mint. Guests enjoy free use of the hotel’s fitness center, the two-level, 100,000-square-foot Sports Club/LA, which leaves all other hotel health clubs and spas in the dust. A pianist plays in the Ritz’s bar and lounge every day. 1150 22nd St. NW (at M St.), Washington, DC 20037. & 800/241-3333 or 202/835-0500. Fax 202/8351588. www.ritzcarlton.com. 300 units. $450 double; from $595 suite. No charge for extra person in the room. Ask about discount packages. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $28. Metro: Foggy Bottom or Dupont Circle. Pets accepted (no fee). Amenities: Restaurant; best health club and spa in the city. In room: Fridge.

The classy Willard is a stone’s throw from the White House and the Smithsonian museums, down the block from the National Theater. Rooms in this National Historic Landmark are handsome, if staid, and furnished with Edwardian- and Federal-style reproductions; amenities include bathrobes in the wonderful bathrooms. Those with the best views are the oval suites overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. Stop in at the Round Robin Bar to hear bartender and manager Jim Hewes spin tales about the incredible history of the 1901 Willard and its predecessor, the City Hotel, built on this site in 1815.

Willard Inter-Continental

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (at 14th St.), Washington, DC 20004. & 800/827-1747 or 202/628-9100. Fax 202/637-7326. www.washington.interconti.com. 341 units. Weekdays $480 double; weekends from $209 double; year-round $850–$4,200 suite. Always ask about special promotions and packages, especially for weekend stays. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $25. Metro: Metro Center. Small pets allowed. Amenities: Restaurant; fitness center.

WHERE TO DINE If a restaurant sounds irresistible, call ahead for reservations, especially for Saturday night. A number of restaurants are affiliated with an online reservation service called www.opentable.com, so if you’ve got Internet access, you might reserve your table online. Ben’s Chili Bowl AMERICAN Ben’s is a veritable institution, a mom-andpop place, where everything looks, tastes, and probably even costs the same as when the restaurant opened in 1958. It was only one of four chosen by the 2004 James Beard Foundation Awards as an “America’s Classic.” Formica counters, red bar stools, and a jukebox plays Motown and reggae tunes. Ben’s continues as a gathering place for black Washington (Bill Cosby’s a longtime customer), though everyone’s welcome—even the late-nighters who come streaming out of nearby nightclubs at 2 or 3 in the morning on the weekend. Of course, the chili, cheese fries, and half-smokes are great, but so are breakfast items. 1213 U St. NW. & 202/667-0909. www.benschilibowl.com. Reservations not accepted. Main courses $2.50–$6.50. No credit cards. Mon–Thurs 6am–2am; Fri–Sat 6am–4am; Sun noon–8pm. Metro: U St.– Cardozo.

Bombay Club INDIAN The Bombay Club is a pleasure, sure to please patrons who know their Indian food as well as those who’ve never tried it. Dishes present an easy introduction to Indian food for the uninitiated, and are sensitive to varying tolerances for spiciness. The menu ranges from fiery green-chile chicken (“not for the fainthearted,” the menu warns) to the delicately prepared lobster Malabar, a personal favorite. The waitstaff seems straight out of Jewel in the Crown, attending to your every whim. This is one place where you can linger over a meal as long as you like. 815 Connecticut Ave. NW. & 202/659-3727. www.bombayclubdc.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $7.50–$22; Sun brunch $19. AE, DC, MC, V. Mon–Fri and Sun brunch 11:30am–2:30pm; Mon–Thurs 6–10:30pm; Fri–Sat 6–11pm; Sun 5:30–9pm. Metro: Farragut W.

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Café Atlantico LATIN AMERICAN

This place rocks on weekend nights, a favorite hot spot in Washington’s still-burgeoning downtown. The colorful, three-tiered restaurant throbs with Latin, calypso, and reggae music. If the place is packed, try to snag a seat at the second-level bar, where you can sample a caipirinha, made of limes, sugar, and cachacha (sugar-cane liqueur). Another treat for you is to sit at the bar and watch the waiter make fresh guacamole right before your eyes. As for the main dishes, you can’t get a more elaborate meal for the price. The duck confit and Ecuadorean seared scallops are standouts. Take a gander at the remarkable, award-winning wine list, too—it boasts 110 selections, mostly from South America, with many bottles priced under $30.

405 8th St. NW. & 202/393-0812. www.cafeatlanticodc.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $9–$15 lunch, $18–$24 dinner; pretheater menu $22 (5–6:30pm). Latino dim sum: You can choose a la carte ($2–$9 each) items, or pay $25 for a vegetarian all-you-can-eat meal, or $35 for a deluxe version (Sat 11:30am–2:30pm). AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm; Sat–Sun brunch 11:30am–2pm; Sun–Thurs 5–10pm; Fri–Sat 5–11pm. The bar stays open late on weekends. Metro: Archives–Navy Memorial and Gallery Place/MCI Center.

Cashion’s Eat Place AMERICAN

Owner/chef Ann Cashion continues to rack up culinary awards (in 2004, Cashion was named “Best Chef/MidAtlantic” by the James Beard Foundation) as easily as she pleases her patrons. Her menu features about eight entrees, split between seafood and meat: fritto misto of whole jumbo shrimp and black sea bass, or fried sweetbreads on a bed of sautéed spinach. Save room for chocolate cinnamon mousse or lime tartalette. In warm weather, the glass-fronted Cashion’s opens invitingly to the sidewalk.

1819 Columbia Rd. NW. & 202/797-1819. Reservations recommended. Brunch $8.95–$12; dinner main courses $17–$26. MC, V. Tues 5:30–10pm; Wed–Sat 5:30–11pm; Sun 11:30am–2:30pm and 5:30–10pm.

Galileo ITALIAN Galileo has been hailed as one of the best Italian restaurants in the country. Whether your menu features Neapolitan or Piedmontese dishes, you will have the choice of ordering a la carte, or from three fixed-price menus: $65 for four courses, $75 for five courses, and $85 for six courses. Typical entrees include a risotto with black truffles, whole roasted baby pig stuffed with sausage and porcini mushrooms, and a house-made saffron pasta with ragout of veal. The cellar boasts more than 400 vintages of Italian wine. The atmosphere is relaxed; some diners are dressed in jeans, others in suits. Waiters can be supercilious, though. Galileo also has a terrace for warm-weather dining. Tip: If you can’t afford a dinner here, reserve a seat at the bar for lunch and enjoy something stupendous, say lasagna Bolognese or a bowl of fusilli tossed with asparagus, provolone, and prosciutto, for only $4 to $12. 1110 21st St. NW. & 202/293-7191. www.robertodonna.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $14–$20 lunch, $24–$40 dinner. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm and 5:30–10pm; Sat 5:30–10:30pm; Sun 5:30–10pm. Metro: Foggy Bottom.

Georgia Brown’s SOUTHERN

In Washington restaurants, seldom do you find such a racially diverse crowd—but no one can resist such extraordinary food. Corn bread and biscuits come with a butter that’s been whipped with diced peaches and honey. The menu is heavily Southern, with the emphasis on the Low Country cooking of South Carolina and Savannah: collards, grits, and lots of seafood, especially shrimp dishes. Georgia Brown’s is famous for its Sunday brunch, lively with the sounds of jazz.

950 15th St. NW. & 202/393-4499. www.gbrowns.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $7–$20 lunch, $17–$23 dinner; $27 Sun jazz brunch. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11:30am–10:30pm; Fri 11:30am–11:30pm; Sat 5:30–11:30pm; Sun 10am–2:30pm (brunch) and 5:30–9pm. Metro: McPherson Sq.

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Jaleo SPANISH This restaurant may be credited with initiating the tapas craze in Washington. It gets very crowded in theater season according to the schedule of the Shakespeare Theater next door. Tapas choices include savory warm goat cheese served with toast points, and a delicious mushroom tart served with roasted red-pepper sauce. Paella is among the few heartier entrees listed. The casual-chic interior focuses on a large mural of a flamenco dancer inspired by John Singer Sargent’s painting Jaleo. On Wednesday at 7:45pm and 8:45pm, flamenco dancers perform. 480 7th St. NW (at E St.). & 202/628-7949. www.jaleo.com. Reservations accepted until 6:30pm. Main courses $7.50–$11 lunch; $11–$28 dinner; $3.95–$8 tapas. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Mon 11:30am–10pm; Tues–Thurs 11:30am–11:30pm; Fri–Sat 11:30am–midnight. Metro: Archives or Gallery Place.

Kinkead’s AMERICAN/SEAFOOD

When a restaurant has been as roundly praised as Kinkead’s, it’s hard to live up to the hype—but Kinkead’s is that good. After a brief closure in early 2004 for a remodeling of the dining room and a revamping of the menu, Kinkead’s re-opened with even more pleasing items on the menu. Award-winning chef/owner Bob Kinkead is the star at this 220-seat restaurant, where booths and tables neatly fill the nooks and alcoves of the former town house. It’s one of the best places in town for seafood. The signature dish, pepita-crusted salmon with shrimp, crab, and chiles, provides a nice hot crunch before melting in your mouth. If you’re hungry but not ravenous in the late afternoon, stop in for some delicious light fare: fish and chips, lobster roll, soups, and salads. Beware: If the waiter tries to seat you in the “atrium,” you’ll be stuck at a table mall-side, just outside the doors of the restaurant.

2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. & 202/296-7700. www.kinkead.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $15–$25 lunch, $26–$35 dinner; $6–$23 light fare. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Daily 11:30am–2:30pm; Sun–Thurs 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–10:30pm (light fare served daily 2:30–5:30pm). Metro: Foggy Bottom.

Pizzeria Paradiso ITALIAN This is the best pizza place in the city, no contest.

Master chef Peter Pastan owns this classy, often crowded, 16-table pizzeria. An oakburning oven at one end of the charming room produces exceptionally doughy but light pizza crusts. Pizzas range from the plain Paradiso, which offers chunks of tomatoes covered in melted mozzarella, to the robust Siciliano, a blend of nine ingredients, including eggplant and red onion. Also popular are the panini of homemade focaccia stuffed with marinated roasted lamb and vegetables and other fillings. Note: Pizzeria Paradiso has finally opened another location, at 3282 M St. NW (& 202/337-1245), in Georgetown, right next door to Dean & Deluca. 2029 P St. NW. & 202/223-1245. Reservations not accepted. Pizzas $7.95–$16; sandwiches and salads $3.95–$6.95. DC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11:30am–11pm; Fri–Sat 11:30am–midnight; Sun noon–10pm. Metro: Dupont Circle.

The Prime Rib STEAK/SEAFOOD The Prime Rib has plenty of competition now, but beef lovers still consider this The Place. It’s got a definite men’s club feel about it, with brass-trimmed black walls, leopard-skin carpeting, and comfortable black-leather chairs and banquettes. The meat is from the best grain-fed steers and has been aged for 4 to 5 weeks. Steaks and cuts of roast beef are thick, tender, and juicy. In case you had any doubt, The Prime Rib’s prime rib is the best item on the menu, juicy and thick, top-quality meat. For less carnivorous diners, there are about a dozen seafood entrees, including an excellent crab imperial. We recommend the hot cottage fries. 2020 K St. NW. & 202/466-8811. www.theprimerib.com. Reservations recommended. Jacket and tie required for men. Main courses $11–$26 lunch, $20–$38 dinner. AE, DC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11:30am–3pm and 5–11pm; Fri 11:30am–3pm and 5–11:30pm; Sat 5–11:30pm. Metro: Farragut W.

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Tosca NORTHERN ITALIAN

Washington probably has more Italian restaurants than any other kind of ethnic eatery, but Tosca remains the standout fine ristorante italiano between Capitol Hill and the western edge of downtown. Tosca’s interior design of pale pastels in the thick carpeting and heavy drapes creates a hushed atmosphere, a suitable foil to the rich food. The menu emphasizes the cooking of the Lake Como region of Italy. Tosca has something for everyone, including simply grilled fish accompanied by organic vegetables for the health conscious, tiramisu and citrus cannoli for those with a sweet tooth. The restaurant is always full, but even when there’s a crowd, Tosca doesn’t get too noisy—the restaurant’s designers kept acoustics in mind.

1112 F St. NW. & 202/367-1990. www.toscadc.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $9–$18 lunch, $16–$34 dinner. AE, DC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm; Sun–Thurs 5:30–10:30pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm. Metro: Metro Center.

WASHINGTON AFTER DARK Tip: All of the city’s major theaters are currently expanding. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Shakespeare Theatre, and Arena Stage—all are undergoing changes so extensive that they won’t be complete for years, and in the case of the Kennedy Center, a decade. These theaters do, however, remain open throughout the various phases of construction. To find out who’s playing when you’re in town, check the Friday “Weekend” section of the Washington Post. The City Paper, available free at restaurants, bookstores, and other places around town, is another good source. TICKETplace (& 202/842-5387 for information; www.ticketplace.org), Washington’s discount, day-of-show ticket outlet, has one location: in the Old Post Office Pavilion, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11am to 6pm and Saturday from 10am to 5pm; half-price tickets for Sunday and Monday shows are sold on Saturday. You can buy full-price tickets for most performances in town through Ticketmaster (& 202/432-7328; www.ticketmaster.com), if you’re willing to pay a hefty service charge. Purchase tickets to Washington theatrical, musical, and other events before you leave home by going online or by calling & 800/551-SEAT. Another similar ticket outlet is Tickets.com (& 800/955-5566 or 703/218-6500; www.tickets.com). THE KENNEDY CENTER America’s national performing-arts center, the hub of Washington’s cultural and entertainment scene, is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, at the southern end of New Hampshire Avenue NW and Rock Creek Parkway (& 800/444-1324 or 202/467-4600; www.kennedy-center.org). The center is actually made up of six different theaters: the Opera House, the Concert Hall, the Terrace Theater, the Eisenhower Theater, the Theater Lab, and the American Film Institute (AFI) theater. After a major renovation of the Opera House, the Washington National Opera (www.dc-opera.org), under the direction of Placido Domingo, returned here in 2004. The National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Leonard Slatkin, presents concerts in the Concert Hall from September to June. The Theater Lab continues by day as Washington’s premier stage for children’s theater and by night as a cabaret. You should also know about the Kennedy Center’s very popular free concert series: Known as the “Millennium Stage” (www.kennedy-center.org/ millennium), the series features daily performances by national and local musicians, each evening at 6pm in the center’s Grand Foyer.

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Discounted tickets are usually offered to students, seniors, people with permanent disabilities, enlisted military personnel, and people with fixed low incomes (call & 202/416-8340 for details). THE THEATER SCENE D.C.’s theatrical productions are first-rate and varied. Almost anything on Broadway has been tried out here or will eventually come here. The city also has several nationally acclaimed repertory companies and a fine company specializing in Shakespearean productions. Check the Washington Post or the City Paper for specific listings of what’s going on. Among the best are: Arena Stage (& 202/488-3300; www.arenastage.org), Ford’s Theatre (& 202/347-4833; www.fordstheatre.org), the National Theatre (& 800/4477400 or 202/628-6161; www.nationaltheatre.org), and the Shakespeare Theatre (& 202/547-1122; www.shakespearetheatre.org). THE CLUB & MUSIC SCENE The best nightlife districts are Adams-Morgan; the U Street Corridor, 12th to 15th streets northwest, a still developing district that’s in a somewhat dangerous part of town; the Seventh Street northwest corridor near Chinatown and the MCI Center; and Georgetown. Latin jazz is popular in Washington, and one of the best places to salsa and merengue is Habana Village, 1834 Columbia Rd. NW (& 202/462-6310), a fun three-story nightclub in Adams-Morgan. Another option is Latin Jazz Alley, also in Adams-Morgan at 1721 Columbia Rd. NW, on the second floor of El Migueleno Cafe (& 202/328-6190). Adams-Morgan, in general, is a convenient place to head if you’re in a dancing mood. Stop in at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, 1725 Columbia Rd. NW (& 202/332-2211), for a mix of DJ tunes, hip-hop to R&B; and at Madam’s Organ Restaurant and Bar, 2461 18th St. NW (& 202/667-5370; www. madamsorgan.com), if live jazz, blues, or R&B turns you on. And if you like to mingle with an international crowd, stop by Zanzibar on the Waterfront, 700 Water St. SW (& 202/554-9100; www.zanzibar-otw.com), where you can dine well, dance to live music, lounge, sip and listen, or sip and talk; the club features a different kind of music every night. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, in an alley below M Street (& 202/ 337-4141; www.bluesalley.com), in Georgetown, has been Washington’s top jazz club since 1965. Clubs hosting a combination of big names and up-and-coming bands for live rock include Nation, 1015 Half St. SE, at K Street (& 202/554-1500; www. nationdc.com); Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW, between S and T streets (& 202/ 667-7960; www.blackcatdc.com); and the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, at Vermont Avenue (& 202/393-0930; www.930.com). Many of these clubs have DJs on nights when live acts aren’t playing. THE BAR SCENE Washington has a thriving and varied bar scene. But just when you think you know all the hot spots, a spate of new ones pop up. Travel the triangle formed by the intersections of Connecticut Avenue, 18th Street, and M Street, in Dupont Circle, and you’ll find the latest bunch. The Big Hunt, 1345 Connecticut Ave. NW, between N Street and Dupont Circle (& 202/ 785-2333), is a casual and comfy hangout for the 20- to 30-something crowd, with a kind of Raiders of the Lost Ark jungle theme. If you like beer and you like choices, head for Brickskeller, 1523 22nd St. NW (& 202/293-1885), which has been around for nearly 40 years and offers about 800 beers from all over the world. With 200 televisions tuned to sporting events, The ESPN Zone, 555 12th St. NW (& 202/783-3776; www.espnzone.com), is sure to have the big

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game on. Capitol Hill staffers and their bosses, apparently at ease in dive surroundings, have been coming to the Tune Inn, 331⁄2 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (& 202/543-2725), since 1955. For a sophisticated setting, the clubby, mahogany-paneled Town and Country Lounge, in the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW (& 202/347-3000), is where personable bartender Sambonn Lek mixes drinks, performs magic tricks, and plays matchmaker. Gay nightlife centers around Dupont Circle, with at least 10 gay bars within easy walking distance of one another. Younger men pack J. R.’s Bar and Grill, 1519 17th St. NW (& 202/328-0090).

SIDE TRIPS TO MOUNT VERNON & OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA MOUNT VERNON

Mount Vernon, George Washington’s stunning Southern plantation, dates back to a 1674 land grant given to his great-grandfather. The restoration by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is an unmarred beauty; many of the furnishings are original pieces acquired by Washington, and the rooms have been repainted in the original colors favored by George and Martha. There are a number of family portraits, and the rooms are appointed as if actually in day-to-day use. After leaving the house, you can tour the kitchen, slave quarters, storeroom, smokehouse, overseer’s quarters, coach house, stables, and a 4-acre exhibit area called “George Washington, Pioneer Farmer.” A museum on the property exhibits Washington memorabilia, and details of the restoration are explained in the museum’s annex. Explore the grounds to see the wharf, the slave burial ground, the greenhouse and gardens, and the tomb containing George and Martha Washington’s sarcophagi. There’s no formal tour of the plantation, but attendants stationed throughout the house and grounds provide brief orientations and answer questions. Admission is $11 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 11. The house and grounds are open April to August, daily from 8am to 5pm; March, September, and October, daily from 9am to 5pm; and November to February, daily from 9am to 4pm. For more information, call & 703/780-2000 or go to www.mountvernon.org. GETTING THERE Mount Vernon is 16 miles south of Washington via the George Washington Memorial Parkway (Va. 400). Gray Line Buses (& 800/ 862-1400 or 202/289-1995; www.graylinedc.com) go to Mount Vernon daily (except Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day), leaving from the bus’s terminal at Union Station at 8:30am and returning by 1:30pm. The cost is $30 per adult and $15 per child. You can also get here with the Spirit of Washington Cruises (& 202/554-8000; www.spiritcruises.com). OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA

Founded by a group of Scottish tobacco merchants, the seaport town of Alexandria came into being in 1749. Today, the original 60 acres of lots in the hometown of George Washington and Robert E. Lee are the heart of Old Town, a multimillion-dollar urban-renewal historic district. An abundance of quaint shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants cater to tourists who come in search of a taste of colonial times. Your first stop should be the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association, located at Ramsay House, 221 King St., at Fairfax Street (& 800/388-9119 or 703/838-4200; www.funside.com), open daily from 9am to 5pm (closed Jan 1, Thanksgiving, and Dec 25). Here you can get a free 1-day parking permit and discount attractions passes. Note: Many Alexandria attractions are closed on Monday.

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The top attractions include the Lee-Fendall House Museum, 614 Oronoco St., at Washington Street (& 703/548-1789; www.leefendallhouse.org), a veritable Lee family museum of furniture, heirlooms, and documents. The Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., between Cameron and King streets (& 703/5492997; www.carlylehouse.org), is one of Virginia’s most architecturally impressive 18th-century homes. Christ Church, 118 N. Washington St., at Cameron Street (& 703/549-1450; www.historicchristchurch.org), has been in continuous use since 1773. The Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., between King and Cameron streets on the waterfront (& 703/838-4565), is a block-long, threestory, former torpedo shell–case factory, which now accommodates some 160 professional artists and craftspeople who create and sell their own works on the premises. For a fun time in a pubby setting, head to the Union Street Public House, 121 S. Union St. (& 703/548-1785; www.usphalexandria.com), where you can choose from burgers, poor-boys, oysters, fried calamari, salads, and other simple fare. Or try authentic colonial grub at Gadsby’s Tavern, 138 N. Royal St., at Cameron Street (& 703/548-1288). GETTING THERE Old Town Alexandria is about 8 miles south of Washington. Take the George Washington Memorial Parkway south, which becomes Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria. Washington Street intersects with King Street, Alexandria’s main thoroughfare. The easiest way to make the trip is to take the Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines to the King Street station. From the King Street station, you can catch an eastbound AT2 or AT5 blue-and-gold DASH bus (& 703/370-DASH), marked either “Old Town” or “Braddock Metro,” which will take you up King Street. Ask to be dropped at the corner of Fairfax and King streets. The fare is $1 most of the time, but it’s free on weekends, from Friday evening through Sunday night.

4 The Southeast he six states of the Southeast—Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, TTennessee, and Georgia—encompass a region that is among the most geographically diverse in the country. Topography ranges from the plains of Georgia and the gorgeous beaches of the Outer Banks to the misty peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Bluegrass Country of Kentucky. And the sights, tastes, and touring opportunities in this large region are just as varied. You history buffs can swing by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello on your way to Colonial Williamsburg, or you can head farther south to the famed historic port cities of Savannah and Charleston, or the Civil Rights District in the otherwise very metropolitan Atlanta. Outdoors enthusiasts will find opportunities to indulge in just about every form of recreation. Sports nuts will feel right at home in sports-crazy Atlanta, which hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics, or in horse-crazy Lexington, where the oldest continuous sports event in the country—the Kentucky Derby—still attracts hordes in May. If music moves you, then you owe it to yourself to make a trip out to Tennessee’s Memphis and Nashville, where country music and the blues rule, and The King still reigns supreme. And if your tastes run more in the culinary direction, don’t head home before you’ve had some down-home Carolina barbecue or a slice of Virginia ham (naturally washed down with bourbon, Jack Daniel’s, or a mint julep). You name it, you’ll likely find it; it’s no wonder visitors have been increasingly making their way here over the past few years.

1 Jefferson’s Virginia: Charlottesville & Monticello It was in Charlottesville that Thomas Jefferson built his famous mountaintop home, Monticello; selected the site for and helped plan James Monroe’s Ash Lawn–Highland house near Monticello; designed his “academical village,” the University of Virginia; and died at home. “All my wishes end where I hope my days will end,” he wrote, “at Monticello.” Charlottesville today is a growing cosmopolitan center, attracting an increasing number of rich and famous folks— author John Grisham, for one. But its prime attractions are still Thomas Jefferson and his magnificent creations.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane US Airways, Delta, and United fly commuter planes to Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, 201 Bowen Loop (& 434/ 973-8341; www.gocho.com), north of town off U.S. 29. By Train The Amtrak station is at 810 W. Main St. (& 800/872-7245; www. amtrak.com), about halfway between the town’s commercial district and the University of Virginia. By Car Charlottesville is on I-64 from the east or west and U.S. 29 from the north or south. I-64 connects with I-81 at Staunton and with I-95 at Richmond.

The Southeast Peoria

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70

Cincinnati

Covington 70

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71

Louisville 64

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55

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64

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65

64

44

71

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74

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70

Dayton 75

70

Bloomington

70

Columbus

69

Indianapolis 57

is

Ri

Muncie

Champaign

72

Springfield

Hannibal

65

24

Paducah

75

65 24

Nashville

A RKA N NS SAS AS

TENNESSEE Shiloh Nat’l Military Park

Memphis

Lynchburg

Fayetteville

Graceland

40

40

40 Pigeon Forge Gatlinburg Great Smoky Mountains Cherokee 75 Nat’l Park

Murfreesboro

65

40

55

81

Knoxville

Stones River Nat’l Battlefield

24

Chattanooga

r

Huntsville

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Decatur

75

59

Tupelo

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Oxford

85

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Atlanta Stone Mtn. 20

Birmingham

M IS S IS SIP MIS S IP PI PI

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Macon 85

65 20

Selma

Meridian

Vicksburg Jackson

20

85

Tuscaloosa

55

185

Montgomery

G EORGIA

20

Albany

65

75

Hattiesburg Dothan 55

59

Mobile

L OUIS OUISIANA IA NA Baton Rouge

Biloxi

Pensacola

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220

New Orleans

10

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Panama City

Tallahassee

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Allentown

Altoona

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70

81

79

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Morgantown

68

Harpers Ferry

Winchester 79

Snowshoe Mountain

Annapolis

Washington

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Lexington

77

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Williamsburg

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85

Yorktown

Newport News Norfolk

Virginia Beach

77

Winston-Salem

181

40

Chapel Hill

Kitty Hawk Kill Devil Hills

95

Durham

Nags Head

Raleigh

85

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Asheville

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NORTH CAROLINA Pinehurst

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Beaufort

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Greenville

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Charlotte

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Warm Springs Hot Springs White Sulphur 64 Springs

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Baltimore Harpers Ferry Dover Nat’l Historic Park

Shenandoah Nat’l Park

Charleston

95

195

Camden

Ches

64

81

95

Wilmington

Front Royal

WEST VIRGINIA

Sk A H yli ne V A D ri L L ve E Y

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Philadelphia

M AR A R YL YLAN AN D

70

Athens

Trenton

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76

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Harrisburg

BANKS

Pittsburgh

77

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Lookout

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Augusta

Georgetown

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TH E ST GR RA A N

20

26 95

Charleston Fort Sumter Nat’l Monument Kiawah Island

16

Hilton Head Island

Savannah

A T L A N T I C O C E A N

95

Waycross Okefenokee Swamp

Jacksonville

100 mi

N

10 75

95

100 km

221

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VISITOR INFORMATION For information, contact the Monticello Visitor Center, P.O. Box 178, Charlottesville, VA 22902 (& 877/386-1102 or 434/977-1783; www.SoVeryVirginia.org). The center (generally open 9am–5pm daily; closed major holidays) is on Va. 20 at Exit 121 off I-64. The center sells block tickets to Monticello and other attractions (see “What to See & Do,” below). It also provides maps and literature about local and state attractions, and can make same-day, discounted hotel/motel reservations for you.

WHAT TO SEE & DO The Monticello Visitor Center (see above) sells a Presidents’ Pass, a discount block ticket combining admission to Monticello, Michie Tavern, and Ash Lawn–Highland. It costs $24 for adults, and is not available for children. The three attractions are within 2 miles of each other on the southeastern outskirts of town, near the Monticello Visitor Center. Allow at least a day to see them all. Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece, Monticello (& 434/984-9822 for tickets, or 434/984-9800 daily for recorded information; www.monticello. org), is one of the highlights of any visit to Virginia. Jefferson designed it himself, combining the 16th-century Italian style of Andrea Palladio with features of the Parisian buildings that he knew and admired during his stint as U.S. minister (ambassador) to France. Today the house has been restored as closely as possible to its appearance during Jefferson’s retirement years. He or his family owned nearly all its furniture and other household objects. The garden has been extended to its original 1,000-foot length, and Mulberry Row—where slaves and free artisans lived and labored in light industrial shops such as a joinery, smokehouse-dairy, blacksmith shop-nailery, and carpenter’s shop—has been excavated. Jefferson’s grave is in the family burial ground, which is still in use. After visiting the graveyard, you can take a shuttle bus back to the visitor parking lot or walk through the woods via a delightful path. Admission is $13 adults, $6 children 6 to 11, free for children under 6. You must take a 30-minute guided tour in order to go inside the house. These run March through October daily from 8am to 5pm, and November through February daily from 9am to 4:30pm. Expect long lines on spring and summer weekends and every day during the October “leaf season,” so plan to get here when it opens in the morning. Timed passes are given out when the wait exceeds 30 to 40 minutes (these are given only to people standing in line, not at the ticket booth); you can spend the time exploring the gardens and outbuildings on your own (guided garden tours available Apr–Oct). Ash Lawn–Highland, on C.R. 795, 21⁄2 miles past Monticello on James Monroe Parkway (& 804/293-9539; www.ashlawnhighland.org), was the estate of America’s fifth president, James Monroe. Today Monroe’s 535-acre estate is owned and maintained as a working farm by his alma mater, the College of William and Mary. Livestock, vegetable and herb gardens, and colonial crafts demonstrations recall daily life on the Monroes’ plantation. Horses, sheep, and cattle graze in the fields, while peaco*cks roam the boxwood gardens. Five of the original rooms remain, along with the basem*nt kitchen, the overseer’s cottage, restored slave quarters, and the old smokehouse. On the mandatory 30-minute house tour, you’ll see some of the family’s original furnishings and artifacts and learn a great deal about the fifth president. Admission is $10 adults, $9 seniors, $5 children 6 to 11. The estate is open March through October daily from 9am to 6pm; November through February daily from 10am to 5pm. Many special events take place at Ash Lawn–Highland.

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Another Nearby Presidential Home Twenty-five miles east of Charlottesville is Montpelier, 11407 Constitution Hwy. (Va. 20), Montpelier Station (& 540/672-2728; www. montpelier.org), a 2,700-acre estate facing the Blue Ridge Mountains that was home to President James Madison and his wife, Dolley. They are buried here in the family cemetery. Two structures remain from their time: the main house and the “Ice House Temple” (built over a well and used to store ice). William du Pont, Sr., bought the estate in 1900; he enlarged the mansion and added barns, staff houses, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, a train station, a dairy, and greenhouses, and his wife created a 22-acre formal garden. The National Trust for Historic Preservation acquired the property following her death in 1984, and in 2003 launched a major, 4-year restoration, which will rip away the du Ponts’ additions to the mansion, reducing it from 55 rooms to the 22-room version the Madisons occupied in the 1820s. The house will be open to the public during the project. In fact, you can actually visit seldom-seen rooms on special “Behind the Scenes” guided tours of the construction areas, daily at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. “Insider Briefings,” offered hourly starting at 9:30am, cover an overview of the restoration. Admission is $11 adults, $10 seniors, $6 children ages 6 to 11. Open April through October daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm (last tour at 4pm), November through March daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm (last tour at 3pm). Call ahead for a schedule of special events, such as birthday celebrations for James (Mar 16) and Dolley (May 20). To get there from Charlottesville, take U.S. 29 north to U.S. 33 east at Ruckersville; at Barboursville, turn left onto Va. 20 north.

The outdoor Summer Festival features opera and contemporary music performances; and a major colonial arts festival, Plantation Days, which takes place in July, showcases dozens of 18th-century crafts, historic reenactments, period music performances, and dressage. Unless you’re picnicking at Monticello, plan to have a colonial-style lunch at Michie Tavern ca. 1784, 683 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy. (& 804/977-1234; www.michietavern.com), which was built in 1784 and has been painstakingly reconstructed. Behind the tavern are reproductions of the “dependencies”—log kitchen, dairy, smokehouse, icehouse, root cellar, and “necessary” (note the notso-soft corncobs). The re-created general store houses an excellent crafts shop. Mandatory 30-minute tavern-museum tours depart as needed from April to October (self-guided tours with recorded narratives are available other months). Admission is $8 adults, $7 seniors, $3 children 6 to 11. Meals cost $14 for adults, $7 for children. The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm (last tour 4:20pm). The restaurant serves food daily from 11:30am to 3pm. The University of Virginia (& 804/982-3200), designed by Thomas Jefferson himself, is graced with spacious lawns, serpentine-walled gardens, colonnaded pavilions, and a classical rotunda inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Jefferson was in every sense the university’s father, since he conceived it, wrote

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its charter, raised money for its construction, drew the plans, selected the site, laid the cornerstone in 1817, supervised construction, served as the first rector, selected the faculty, and created the curriculum. His good friends Monroe and Madison sat with him on the first board. The focal point of the university is the Rotunda (at Rugby Rd.), today restored as Jefferson designed it. Some 600 feet of tree-dotted lawn extends from the south portico of the Rotunda to what is now Cabell Hall, designed at the turn of the 20th century by Stanford White. The room Edgar Allan Poe occupied when he was a student here is furnished as it would have been in 1826 and is open to visitors. When school is in session, students lead 45-minute campus tours daily at 10 and 11am and 2, 3, and 4pm, usually from the Rotunda, but call & 434/9823200 to confirm. Self-guided walking tour brochures are available from the university’s Visitor Information Center (& 434/924-7166), which is located not on campus but in the University Police Headquarters, on Ivy Road (U.S. 250 Business) just east of the U.S. 29/U.S. 250 Bypass. The visitor center is open 24 hours a day. Note: The university is closed 3 weeks around Christmas.

WHERE TO STAY & DINE Standing beside a picturesque lake, The Boar’s Head Inn, 200 Ednam Dr. (& 800/476-1988 or 434/296-2181; www.boarsheadinn.com), is a universityowned property that’s one of the best all-around resorts in Virginia. The focal point is a 19th-century gristmill which is loaded with antiques and art, and its plank flooring and huge old ceiling beams give ancient charm to the Old Mill Room, the resort’s signature restaurant offering fine dining accompanied by an excellent selection of Virginia wines. The innlike guest rooms upstairs in the mill are charming and romantic, but if you want more space and a balcony, opt for a unit in one of the other lakeside structures. Guest quarters throughout are furnished with colonial reproductions, and some units have kitchenettes. In addition to the full-service spa and the resort’s own tennis courts, guests can use the adjacent Boar’s Head Sports Club and the university’s Birdwood Golf Course nearby. Rates run $185 to $389 double. Also luxurious (and pricey) but slightly more formal is the 48-room Keswick Hall at Monticello, 701 Country Club Dr., in nearby Keswick (& 800/2745391 or 804/979-3440; www.keswick.com). Many of the 1912 vintage Italianate rooms and suites have fireplaces, claw-foot tubs, and views over a golf course redesigned by Arnold Palmer. Dining here is gourmet all the way, and guests can also enjoy swimming pools, a fitness center, and tennis courts. Rates run $495 to $850 double and include afternoon tea. Not quite as expensive, although still plenty upscale, are the Silver Thatch Inn, 3001 Hollymead Dr., Charlottesville (& 800/261-0720 or 434/978-4686; www.silverthatch.com); and The Inn at Monticello, 1188 Scottsville Rd. (Va. 20), Charlottesville (& 804/979-3593; www.innatmonticello.com). On the affordable end of the scale, one of Charlottesville’s most reliable places is the Hampton Inn & Suites, 900 W. Main St., at 10th Street (& 800/ HAMPTON or 804/923-8600; www.hamptonsuites.com). The commercial strip along U.S. 29 north of the U.S. 250 Bypass has an abundance of chain motels. Guesthouses Reservation Service, Inc., P.O. Box 5737, Charlottesville, VA 22905 (& 434/979-7264; www.va-guesthouses.com), handles bed-and-breakfast accommodations in elegant homes and private cottages. You can write or visit the website for information on the properties, but reservations must be

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made by phone. Credit cards can be used for deposits. The office is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5pm. Charlottesville has more than 200 restaurants—an enormous number for such a small city. For a complete rundown, pick up a copy of Bites, a free restaurant guide at the Monticello Visitor Center. There are also lists and reviews in C-Ville (www.c-ville.com) and The Hook (www.readthehook.com), the two free newspapers found in boxes all over town. Some of the area’s finest dining is at the country inns, such as The Boar’s Head Inn and the Silver Thatch Inn (see above). Another favorite is the C&O Restaurant, 515 E. Water St. (& 804/971-7044), whose excellent menu ranges across the globe—from France to Thailand, from New Mexico to Louisiana. One of Charlottesville’s most popular dining spots is Northern Exposure, 1202 W. Main St., at 12th Street (& 804/977-6002), offering both traditional and inventive Italian-accented cuisine.

2 Richmond Now a sprawling metropolitan area flanking the James River in the center of the state, Richmond supplanted the more militarily vulnerable Williamsburg as Virginia’s capital in 1780, and it has been the scene of much of the state’s history ever since. It was here in St. John’s Church that Patrick Henry concluded his address to the second Virginia Convention with the stirring words, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” But Richmond really made its mark on American history during the Civil War. This is where Jefferson Davis presided over the Confederate Congress, and Robert E. Lee accepted command of Virginia’s armed forces.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Richmond International Airport, Airport Drive off I-64, I-295, and Williamsburg Road (U.S. 60; & 804/226-3052; www.flyrichmond.com), known locally as Byrd Field, is about 15 minutes east of downtown. Several domestic carriers service the airport, and the major carrental companies all have desks here. By Train Several daily Amtrak trains pull into the station at 7519 Staples Mill Rd., north of Exit 185 off I-64 (& 800/872-7245; www.amtrak.com). By Car Richmond is at the junction of I-64, traveling east-west, and I-95, traveling north-south. I-295 bypasses the city on its east and north sides. U.S. 60 (east-west) and U.S. 1 and U.S. 301 (north-south) are other major arteries. VISITOR INFORMATION The Richmond Visitors Center, 405 N. 3rd St., at Clay Street, Richmond, VA 23219 (& 800/RICHMOND; www.richmond va.org), provides information and operates a hotel reservation service. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm. In addition, the Richmond International Airport Visitors Center (& 804/236-3260) is open Monday through Friday from 9:30am to 4:30pm. It will make same-day hotel reservations.

EXPLORING RICHMOND Richmond was probably the most important city in the South during the Civil War, and was therefore a prime military target. The key sites are preserved by the Richmond National Battlefield Park (& 804/226-1981; www.nps.gov/rich), whose visitor center is in the Tredegar Iron Works, Tredegar and 5th streets, at the western end of the city’s new Riverfront Canal Walk, a promenade running along the tow path of the old James River and Kanawha Canal. Rangers can give information on and driving directions to the several Civil War battlefields that

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lie on the city’s eastern suburbs. The Museum and White House of the Confederacy, 1201 E. Clay St. (& 804/649-1861; www.moc.org), houses the largest collection of Confederate objects in the country, many of them contributed by veterans and their descendants. But Richmond’s history goes back even further than the Civil War. St. John’s Church, 2401 E. Broad St. (& 804/648-5015; www.historicstjohnschurch. org), dates to 1741 and was the site of the second Virginia Convention in 1775, with Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Richard Henry Lee in attendance. In support of a bill to assemble and train a militia to oppose Great Britain, Patrick Henry stood up and delivered his famous speech: “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Virginia State Capitol, 9th and Grace streets (& 804/698-1619; www.virginia.org), has been in continuous use since 1788. Jefferson modeled it on the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple built in Nîmes during the 1st century A.D. History buffs should also visit the John Marshall House, 818 E. Marshall St., at 9th Street (& 804/648-7998; www.apva.org), the restored home of the first chief justice of the United States. In addition, Richmond is home to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Boulevard and Grove Avenue (& 804/367-0844; www.vmfa.state.va.us), noted for the largest public Fabergé collection outside Russia—more than 300 objets d’art created at the turn of the 20th century for czars Alexander III and Nicholas II. Other highlights include the Goya portrait General Nicholas Guye, a rare lifesize marble statue of Roman emperor Caligula, and Monet’s Iris by the Pond. A great place to take the kids is Paramount’s Kings Dominion (& 804/8765000; www.kingsdominion.com), north of the city in Doswell (take I-95 to Va. 30). This family-oriented theme park, one of the most popular in the east, offers a variety of rides and entertainment, mostly based on themes from Paramount movies and TV shows.

WHERE TO STAY The Richmond Visitors Center (see above) operates a free hotel reservation service. Top hotels in Richmond include the magnificent Jefferson Hotel, Franklin

A Side Trip to Petersburg The nearby town of Petersburg, 23 miles south of Richmond on I-95, offers an excellent excursion for history buffs. Petersburg was the site of the siege that ended in the Civil War’s last great battle, which resulted in Robert E. Lee’s surrender. When you arrive, take Washington Street (Exit 52) west and follow the Petersburg Tour signs to the visitor center at 425 co*ckade Alley (& 800/368-3595 or 804/733-2400; www.petersburg-va.org), where you can get maps and literature, and buy a block ticket to local museums. The center is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Petersburg’s Old Town holds many interesting historic sights and museums, all within a short walk of the visitor center. Ringing the eastern and southern outskirts of town, the impressive 2,600-acre-plus Petersburg National Battlefield (& 804/732-3531; www.nps.gov/pete) preserves the key sites of the protracted siege that ended the war. The battlefield’s visitor center is 21⁄2 miles east of downtown on East Washington Street (Va. 36).

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and Adams streets (& 800/484-8014 or 804/788-8000; www.jefferson-hotel. com), a stunning Beaux Arts sightseeing attraction in its own right (check out the rotunda in the lobby!), which has hosted countless presidents and celebrities over the years. Rates run $265 to $315 double. Other options include the intimate, upscale The Berkeley Hotel, 1200 E. Cary St. (& 888/780-4422 or 804/780-1300; www.berkeleyhotel.com); and the more moderately priced Linden Row Inn, 100 E. Franklin St. (& 800/3487424 or 804/783-7000; www.lindenrowinn.com), which is comprised of a row of seven small, separate 140-year-old Greek Revival town houses and their garden dependencies. Chain motels are scattered throughout the suburbs. The Executive Center area, on West Broad Street (U.S. 33/250) at I-64 (Exit 183), about 5 miles west of downtown, is a campuslike area convenient to the major attractions. The best of its hotels is the redwood-and-brick Sheraton Richmond (& 800/325-3535 or 804/285-1234).

WHERE TO DINE East Cary Street between 12th and 15th streets is Richmond’s premier dining mecca, with a bevy of good-to-excellent restaurants. Consistently popular with young professionals as a watering hole, Siné Irish Pub & Restaurant, 1327 E. Cary St. (& 804/649-7767), is anything but a typical Irish pub, offering a wide selection of seafood, steaks, and chicken in addition to the usual corned beef and cabbage. In warm weather you can dine and drink on the deck out back. In the city’s hip Shockhoe Bottom dining and entertainment area, Havana ’59, 16 N. 17th St. (& 804/649-2822), presents an incongruous Cuban scene across the street from the covered stalls of Richmond’s ancient Farmers’ Market. Up on Church Hill, Millie’s Diner, 2603 E. Main St. (& 804/643-5512), looks like the diner it used to be but now serves as a noisy temple of creative cuisine. For picnic fare, head to Coppola’s Delicatessen, in the Carytown section at 2900 W. Cary St. (& 804/359-NYNY), with its aromatic clutter of cheeses, sausages, olives, pickles, and things marinated.

3 Williamsburg & Colonial Virginia The narrow peninsula between the James and York rivers saw the very beginnings of colonial America and the rebellion that eventually created the United States. Visitors today can get an extensive history lesson in the beautifully restored 18th-century town of Colonial Williamsburg, see the earliest permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, and walk the Yorktown ramparts where Washington decisively defeated Cornwallis, thus turning the colonists’ dream of a new nation into a reality. More than history, however, makes this one of America’s family vacation meccas. There’s also the Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park with entertainment and rides, world-class shopping in the factory outlet stores near Williamsburg, and golf on some of Virginia’s finest courses.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Several domestic carriers serve Newport News/ Williamsburg Airport (& 757/877-0221; www.nnwairport.com), 14 miles east of Williamsburg. More flights (and certainly more jets) arrive at Richmond International Airport (see “Essentials” under “Richmond,” above), about 45 miles west of town via I-64.

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By Train Amtrak trains (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) serve the Transportation Center, 468 N. Boundary St., at Lafayette Street (& 757/2298750), within walking distance of the historic area. By Car I-64 passes Williamsburg on its way between Richmond and Norfolk. For the historic area, take Exit 238 (Va. 143) off I-64 and follow the signs. The Colonial Parkway, one of Virginia’s most scenic routes, connects Williamsburg to Jamestown and Yorktown (it runs through a tunnel under the Historic Area). VISITOR INFORMATION You and a few other million persons who come here every year will begin your visit at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, off the U.S. 60 Bypass, just east of Va. 132 (& 800/HISTORY or 757/2207645; www.colonialwilliamsburg.com). You can’t miss it; bright green signs point the way from all access roads to Williamsburg. This is where you buy your tickets for the dozens of attractions that make up Colonial Williamsburg. It’s open 365 days a year, from 8:30am to 7pm in summer, to 5pm the rest of the year. Parking is free. The best source for general information about the hotels, restaurants, and activities not operated by the foundation is the Williamsburg Area Convention & Visitor Bureau, 421 N. Boundary St., Williamsburg, VA 23187 (& 800/ 368-6511 or 757/253-0192; www.visitwilliamsburg.com). GETTING AROUND Since few cars are allowed into the Historic Area from 8am to 10pm daily, you must park elsewhere. The visitor center has ample parking and operates a shuttle bus to and from the Historic Area. It’s free for holders of tickets to the Historic Area attractions. There’s also a footpath from the visitor center to the Historic Area. The easiest way to get around outside the Historic Area is by public bus service operated by Williamsburg Area Transport (& 757/259-4093; www. williamsburgtransport.com). Buses run Monday through Saturday, about every hour from 6am to 8pm, to 10pm during the summer months. Fare is $1 for adults, 50¢ for seniors, free for children under 6. Exact fare is required. The buses follow U.S. 60 from the Williamsburg Pottery Factory in the west to Busch Gardens Williamsburg in the east, with a detour to the Bypass Road hotels. The land is flat here, so getting around via bicycle is a great idea. Bike and stroller rentals are available from Tazewell Club Fitness Center, at the Williamsburg Lodge (& 757/220-7690). It’s open year-round, daily 9am to 5pm. Bikes start at $8 an hour or $28 a day at both stands, including helmets, baskets, and locks. For a taxi, call Yellow Cab (& 757/722-1111) or Williamsburg Taxi (& 757/566-3009). TICKETS It costs nothing to stroll the streets of the Historic Area, and perhaps debate revolutionary politics with the actors playing Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry. However, you will need a ticket to enter the key buildings and all the museums, see the 35-minute orientation film at the visitor center, use the Historic Area shuttle bus, and take a 30-minute Orientation Walk through the restored village (reservations required). A 1-day General Admission ticket to the museums, Historic Area exhibits, walking tours, and interpretive programs costs $37 for adults, $19 for children 6 to 14. It is good for the day you buy it, regardless of the time you purchased it. You can add a second consecutive day for an additional $3 adults, $1.50 for children. If you are going to be here for 3 days or more, it is worth paying $49 per person (regardless of age) for a Freedom Pass, which is good for 1 year and includes a 50% discount on the nighttime performances.

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Note: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is notorious for frequently changing its system of tickets and passes, so the ticket structure above may be outdated by the time you arrive. Definitely call the visitor center or check the Colonial Williamsburg website for the latest information. Whatever the price structure, passes are available at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center and at a ticket booth at the Merchants Square shops, on Henry Street at Duke of Gloucester Street.

WHAT TO SEE & DO In addition to the sights below, look for the numerous 18th-century crafts demonstrations on view throughout the Historic Area. You can stroll the Historic Area streets anytime, but in general, its attractions are open from April to October daily from 9am to 5pm, to 6pm Memorial Day to Labor Day. Some places are closed on specific days, and hours can vary, so check the Colonial Williamsburg Companion for current information. THE COLONIAL BUILDINGS

Brush-Everard House The Brush-Everard House was occupied without interruption from 1717—when Public Armorer and master gunsmith John Brush built it as a residence-cum-shop—to 1946. Its most distinguished owner was Thomas Everard, clerk of York County from 1745 to 1771 and two-time mayor of Williamsburg. Today the home is restored and furnished to its Everard-era appearance. The smokehouse and kitchen out back are original. Special programs here focus on African-American life in the 18th century. The Capitol Virginia legislators met in the Capitol at the eastern end of Duke of Gloucester Street from 1704 to 1780. The House of Burgesses became a training ground for patriots and future governors such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry. The original Capitol burned down in 1747, was rebuilt in 1753, and succumbed to fire again in 1832. The reconstruction is of the 1704 building, complete with Queen Anne’s coat of arms adorning the tower and the Great Union flag flying overhead. Tours (of about 25 min.) are given throughout the day. The Courthouse An intriguing window on the criminal justice system of colonial life is offered in the courthouse, which dominates Market Square. An original building, the courthouse was the scene of widely varying proceedings, ranging from dramatic criminal trials to the prosaic issuance of licenses. Visitors can participate in the administration of colonial justice at the courthouse by sitting on a jury or acting as a defendant. George Wythe House On the west side of the Palace Green is the elegant restored brick home of George Wythe (pronounced “With”), the first Virginia signer of the Declaration of Independence. On principle, Wythe did not sign the Constitution, however, because it did not contain a bill of rights or antislavery provisions. This house, in which he lived with his second wife, was Washington’s headquarters before the siege of Yorktown and Rochambeau’s after the surrender of Cornwallis. Open-hearth cooking is demonstrated in the outbuilding. Governor’s Palace This building is a meticulous reconstruction of the Georgian mansion that was the residence and official headquarters of royal governors from 1714 until Lord Dunmore fled before dawn in the face of armed resistance in 1775, thus ending British rule in Virginia. The sumptuous surroundings, nobly proportioned halls and rooms, 10 acres of formal gardens and greens, and vast wine cellars all evoke splendor. Tours, given continuously throughout the

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Hitting the Beach A great antidote to an overdose of colonial history is to head over to Virginia Beach, about 60 miles southwest of Williamsburg (take I-64 to I-264 East). Summertime vacationers flock to this resort area to enjoy over 20 miles of unbroken sand and surf, as well as the popular Virginia Marine Science Museum. A great choice for lodging is the Cavalier Hotel, oceanfront at 42nd Street, Virginia Beach (& 888/SINCE-27 or 757/425-8555). All but a few of the major chains are present here too, including Sheraton, Ramada, Comfort Inn, and Holiday Inn (see appendix D for their toll-free numbers).

day, wind up in the gardens, where you can explore at your leisure the elaborate geometric parterres, topiary work, bowling green, pleached allées, and a holly maze patterned after the one at Hampton Court. Plan at least 30 minutes to wander the stunning grounds and to visit the kitchen and stable yards. James Geddy House & Silversmith Shop This two-story L-shaped 1762 home (with attached shops) is an original building. Here visitors can see how a comfortably situated middle-class family lived in the 18th century. Unlike the fancier abodes you’ll visit, the Geddy House has no wallpaper or oil paintings; a mirror and spinet from England, however, indicate relative affluence. At a foundry on the premises, craftsmen cast silver, pewter, bronze, and brass items at a forge. The Magazine & Guardhouse The magazine is a sturdy octagonal brick building constructed in 1715 to house ammunition and arms for the defense of the British colony. It has survived intact to the present day. Today, the building is stocked with 18th-century equipment—British-made flintlock muskets, cannons and cannonballs, barrels of powder, bayonets, and drums, the latter for communication purposes. Peyton Randolph House The Randolphs were one of the most prominent— and wealthy—families in colonial Virginia. This house (actually two connected homes) dates to 1715. Robertson’s Windmill, in back of the house, is a post mill of a type popular in the early 18th century. The Public Gaol Imprisonment was not the usual punishment for crime in colonial times, but people awaiting trial (at the Capitol in Williamsburg) and runaway slaves sometimes spent months in the Public Gaol. Beds were rudimentary piles of straw; leg irons, shackles, and chains were used frequently; and the daily diet consisted of “salt beef damaged, and Indian meal.” This thickwalled red-brick building served as the Williamsburg city jail until 1910. The building today is restored to its 1720s appearance. The Public Hospital Opened in 1773, the “Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds” was America’s first lunatic asylum. On a selfguided tour you’ll see a 1773 cell—with a filthy straw-filled mattress on the floor, ragged blanket, and manacles—as well as rooms from later periods. Raleigh Tavern This most famous of Williamsburg taverns was named for Sir Walter Raleigh. After the Governor’s Palace, it was the social and political hub of the town. Regular clients included George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who met here in 1774 with Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and Francis Lightfoot Lee to plot revolution.

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ATTRACTIONS George Wythe House 3 Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Governor’s Palace 4 Folk Art Museum 10 James Geddy House Bassett Hall 14 & Silversmith Shop 7 Brush-Everard House 5 Magazine & Guardhouse 9 The Capitol 13 Peyton Randolph House 6 Carter's Grove 15 Public Gaol 12 The Courthouse 8 Public Hospital 1 The Craft House 11 Raleigh Tavern 11 De Witt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery 2 Franklin St.

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THE MUSEUMS

Note: Plans were afoot at press time to combine Colonial Williamsburg’s two museums—the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum—into one facility occupied at present by the Wallace museum. They will maintain their separate identities but collectively will be known as The Museums at Colonial Williamsburg. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center This delightful museum contains more than 2,600 folk-art paintings, sculptures, and art objects. The collection includes household ornaments and useful wares, mourning pictures, shop signs, carvings, whittled toys, calligraphic drawings, weavings, quilts, and paintings of scenes from daily life. Bassett Hall Though colonial in origin (built 1753–66), Bassett Hall was the mid-1930s residence of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and it’s been restored and furnished to reflect their era. Much of the furniture is 18th- and 19thcentury American in the Chippendale, Federal, and Empire styles. Hundreds of pieces of ceramic and china are on display, as are collections of 18th- and 19thcentury American and English glass, Canton enamelware, and folk art. Reservations are required; make them at the Special Programs desk at the visitor center. DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Gallery The Public Hospital serves as entrance to this museum housing some 10,000 17th- to 19th-century English and American decorative art objects. In its galleries, you’ll see period furnishings, ceramics, textiles, paintings, prints, silver, pewter, clocks, scientific instruments, mechanical devices, and weapons. Carter’s Grove & the Rockefeller Archeology Museum The magnificent Georgian plantation home at Carter’s Grove has been continuously occupied since 1755 on a site that was settled over 31⁄2 centuries ago. One fascinating site is the reconstruction of the slave quarters. Archaeologists have also discovered on the grounds the “lost” 17th-century village of Wolstenholme Towne, site of a 20,000-acre tract settled in 1619 by 220 colonists who called themselves the Society of Martin’s Hundred. Designed by famed architect Kevin Roche, the Winthrop Rockefeller Archeology Museum, nestled into a hillside southeast of the mansion, identifies and interprets the Martin’s Hundred clues and artifacts. The estate is reached via U.S. 60, about 8 miles east of the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area. Visitors may return to the Historic Area via a stunningly scenic one-way country road dotted with markers indicating old graveyards, Indian encampments, plantation sites, and other points of interest. Both the plantation and museum are open mid-March through the Christmas season, Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 4pm. Allow at least 3 hours here. T H E M E PA R K T H R I L L S

At some point you’ll want to take a break from history, especially if you have kids in tow, and there’s no better place here than Busch Gardens Williamsburg, 1 Busch Gardens Blvd. (& 800/343-9746 or 757/253-3350; www.busch gardens.com), on U.S. 60 about 3 miles east of the Historic Area. Here you can get a peek at European history, albeit fanciful, in authentically detailed 17thcentury hamlets from England, Scotland, France, Germany, and Italy—but little mental effort is required to enjoy all the attractions you’ll find here. Each village here has its own shops, crafts demonstrations, restaurants, rides, shows, and other entertainment. The sights are connected by trains pulled by reproductions of European steam locomotives, so you can easily skip around.

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Admission and hours vary from year to year and season to season, so call ahead, check the website, or pick up a brochure at the visitor centers. Admission is at least $47 adults, $40 children 3 to 6, free for children under 3. Tickets include unlimited rides, shows, and attractions.

SHOPPING Duke of Gloucester Street, in the historic area, is the center for 18th-century wares created by craftspeople plying the trades of American forefathers. You’ll find hand-wrought silver jewelry, hats, hand-woven linens, leather-bound books, gingerbread cakes, and much more. Don’t miss Craft House, also run by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. There are two locations, one in Merchants Square, the other near the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center. Featured at Craft House are exquisite works by master craftspeople and authentic reproductions of colonial furnishings. There are also reproduction wallpapers, china, toys, games, maps, books, prints, and souvenirs aplenty. Shopping in the Historic Area is fun, but the biggest merchandising draws are the outlets along Richmond Road (U.S. 60) between Williamsburg and Lightfoot, an area 5 to 7 miles west of the Historic Area.

WHERE TO STAY IN COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation operates four hotels in all price categories, in the Historic Area. For advance reservations or information on all four hotels, call the Visitor Center reservations service (& 800/HISTORY or 757/ 229-1000; www.colonialwilliamsburg.com). You also can make walk-in reservations at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center. Parking at all four properties is free for guests. One of the nation’s most distinguished hotels, the rambling white-brick Regency-style Williamsburg Inn, at 136 Francis St., has played host to 17 heads of state over its lifetime. All the large accommodations (last renovated in 2001) have marble bathrooms with separate tubs and showers. All are exquisitely furnished with reproductions, books, and photos of famous prior guests. The Regency Dining Room features classic American cuisine (coats and ties required after 6pm) and a view of one of the inn’s three top-flight golf courses. The inn shares the Tazewell Club fitness center and spa with the Williamsburg Lodge, which is across the side street. Rates run $425 to $575 double. Rooms in a modern building called Providence Hall, adjacent to the inn, are furnished in a contemporary blend of 18th-century and Asian style, with balconies or patios. Rates in this building range from $300 to $350. Across the street from the Williamsburg Inn, the foundation’s second-best hotel, the Williamsburg Lodge, South England Street, shares the inn’s sports facilities. The flagstone-floored lobby is indeed lodgelike, with cypress paneling and a large working fireplace. Outside, a covered veranda with rocking chairs overlooks two pools and the inn’s Golden Horseshoe golf course. Accommodations are contemporary but warm and homey, with polished wood floors, and handcrafted furniture inspired by folk art—decoys, samplers, and such. Twelve rooms have working fireplaces. Rooms in the Tazewell Wing have balconies facing landscaped courtyards. Rates run $179 to $235 double. The Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites, 105 Visitors Center Dr., is the foundation’s newest and third-best hotel. A separate building with a peaked roof and skylights holds the lodgelike lobby, where guests are treated to a free

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continental breakfast in a room with a fireplace. All of the moderately spacious rooms have Colonial-style pine furniture and photos of the Historic Area on their walls. The more expensive suites have separate living and sleeping rooms divided by the bathroom and a wet bar, fridge, and microwave oven. There’s plenty to keep kids occupied here, and when you couple that with the pullout sofa beds in the suites, it’s a good choice for families of moderate means. Rates range from $99 to $190 double. Least expensive of the foundation’s hotels, the Governor’s Inn, 506 Henry St. (Va. 132), at Lafayette Street, is a two- and three-story brick motel surrounded by parking lots. Natural wood furniture brightens the standard motel-style rooms, which have been spiffed up recently. There’s a small outdoor pool for cooling off. It’s near the visitor center on the northwest edge of the Historic Area. Some rooms are “pet friendly.” Rates include a free continental breakfast and run $60 to $100 double. Note: The Governor’s Inn is near the Transportation Center, which means that trains come by during the night. The foundation also has 77 rooms in the Historic Area in its Colonial Houses. Tastefully furnished with 18th-century antiques and reproductions, they all are variously equipped with canopied beds, kitchens, living rooms, fireplaces, and/or sizable gardens. Many of these are former laundries, workshops, small homes, and stand-alone kitchens that have been converted into one- and two-bedroom bungalows. Others are rooms in taverns, some of which have as many as 16 units. Some rooms are tiny; tell the reservation clerk precisely what size room and what bed configuration you want. Some units are close to Francis Street, whose traffic noise can easily penetrate the non-insulated walls. Rates run $185 to $525 double. O T H E R A R E A A C C O M M O D AT I O N S

The area has more than 80 hotels and motels, including many chain options. You should be able to find a room on short notice except during the peak holiday periods. The Williamsburg Hotel and Motel Association (& 800/4469244 or 757/220-3330; www.mywilliamsburgvacation.com) operates a very good free reservations service. Its clerks will help you find the best rates. One of the best of the chain entries is the 151-room Courtyard By Marriott, 470 McLaws Circle (& 800/321-2211 or 757/221-0700; www.courtyard.com), which enjoys an attractively landscaped setting of trees and shrubs on the eastern side of town near Busch Gardens. Rates run $99 to $139 double. A familyfriendly choice is the 303-room Radisson Fort Magruder Hotel, 6545 Pocahontas Trail (U.S. 60; & 800/333-3333 or 757/220-2250; www.radisson.com), with a convenient location right between the Historic Area and Busch Gardens. Rates run $89 to $169 double. The Fife & Drum Inn, 441 Prince George St. (& 888/838-1783 or 757/ 345-1776; www.fifeanddruminn.com), is a relaxed and interesting charmer that offers the only privately owned accommodations in the Historic Area. A sky-lit hallway with faux brick floor and clapboard siding leads to the B&B’s seven medium-size rooms and two suites, some of which have dormer windows. Smokers need to look elsewhere. Rates include full breakfast and free parking; they run $145 to $165 double. Nestled in a peaceful setting on beautifully landscaped grounds beside the James River, the luxurious, country-club-like Kingsmill Resort, 1010 Kingsmill Rd. (& 800/832-5665 or 757/253-1703; www.kingsmill.com), is one of Virginia’s most complete resorts, offering three golf courses (the River Course is the highlight), a sports complex with 15 tennis courts, and the Williamsburg area’s

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only full-service spa. Accommodations consist of standard guest rooms, and one-, two-, and three-bedroom individually decorated suites with full kitchens and fireplaces. Kingsmill’s main dining room offers fine cuisine with a terrific view of the James. Guests can take a complimentary shuttle to Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Rates run $139 to $299 double, and $219 to $997 for the suites.

WHERE TO DINE The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation runs four popular reconstructed colonial taverns: Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, on Waller Street; and Josiah Chowning’s Tavern, Kings Arms Tavern, and Shields Tavern, all on Duke of Gloucester Street. All are reconstructed 18th-century ordinaries, or taverns, and aim at authenticity in fare, ambience, and costuming of the staff. Although relatively expensive, dinner at one of the taverns is a necessary ingredient of the Williamsburg experience. Advance reservations for dinner at the taverns are essential during the summer and on spring and fall weekends. Except at Josiah Chowning’s Tavern, which does not accept reservations, you can book tables up to 60 days in advance by dropping by or calling the visitor center (& 800/TAVERNS or 757/229-2141). Lunch reservations are only accepted for major holidays. There are benches throughout the restored area (lots of grass, too) if you feel like a picnic, and if you have a car you can drive to nearby scenic overlooks along Colonial Parkway (the parking areas along the James and York rivers are best, but they don’t have picnic tables or other facilities). The Cheese Shop, 424 Prince George St., in Merchants Square (& 757/220-0298), is a good place to purchase takeout sandwiches and other fixings. Berret’s Restaurant & Tap House Grill, 199 S. Boundary St., at Francis Street (& 757/253-1847; www.berrets.com), is a congenial, casual place, whose dining room’s Canvas sailcloth shades, blue-trimmed china, and marine artifacts make an appropriate backdrop for excellent seafood. The Tap House is the best place in town to slake a thirst after schlepping around the Historic Area all day and also serves light fare. Main courses in the main dining room cost $15 to $25. Executive chef Marcel Desaulniers has brought national recognition to The Trellis, Duke of Gloucester Street between Henry and Boundary streets (& 757/ 229-8610; www.thetrellis.com), whose decor evokes California’s wine country. The menu changes seasonally and combines the best in foods from different regions of the United States. If it’s offered, try the exciting combination of grilled fish, thinly sliced Virginia country ham, pine nuts, and zinfandel-soaked raisins. And don’t skip the sinful Death by Chocolate for dessert. If the weather is fine, you might dine alfresco on the planter-bordered brick terrace. Main courses cost $16 to $30; a complete, fixed-price dinner for $26 is a steal. One of the great places to sample traditional, down-home Virginia cooking, the Old Chickahominy House, 1211 Jamestown Rd., at Va. 199 (& 757/2294689), is a reconstructed 18th-century house with mantels from old Gloucester homes and wainscoting from Carter’s Grove. The entire effect is extremely cozy and charming, from the rocking chairs on the front porch to the blazing fireplaces within. This is the best place in town for hearty Southern plantation food. It’s open only for breakfast and lunch; main courses run $3 to $8.

A SIDE TRIP TO JAMESTOWN The first permanent English settlement in the New World was established miles southwest of Williamsburg. Except for the partial remains of the brick church, little remains of the riverside settlement. But its story is documented here in

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museum exhibits and living-history interpretations. Archaeologists have excavated more than 100 building frames, evidence of manufacturing ventures (pottery, winemaking, brick making, and glass blowing), early wells, and old roads, as well as scores of artifacts of everyday life. Allow a full day for your visit and consider packing a lunch. Other than a cafe at Jamestown Settlement, there are no restaurants, so you may want to take advantage of the picnic areas at the National Park Service site. GETTING THERE The scenic way here from Williamsburg is via the picturesque Colonial Parkway, or you can take Jamestown Road (Va. 31). HISTORIC JAMESTOWNE

Jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA; www.apva.org), Historic Jamestowne (& 757/898-2410 or 757/229-1773; www.nps.gov/colo) is the site of the actual colony. It was an island then; now an isthmus separates it from the mainland. At the Ranger Station entrance gate, you’ll pay $6 for each person over 15 years old; admission is good for 7 days. You can buy a Joint Jamestown–Yorktown Passport for $9 per person over 15, which will admit you for 7 days both here and to the Yorktown National Battlefield (see “A Side Trip to Yorktown,” below). The gate is open daily from 8:30am to 5pm in summer. You can stay on the grounds until dusk. After entering the park, stop first at the reconstructed Glasshouse, where costumed interpreters make glass in the ancient way used by the colonists in 1608 during their first attempt to create an industry (it failed). Then stop in at the visitor center before following the footpaths to the actual site of “James Cittie,” where rubbly brick foundations of 17th-century homes, taverns, shops, and statehouses are enhanced by artists’ renderings, text, and audio stations. A fascinating 5-mile loop drive begins at the visitor center parking lot and winds through 1,500 wilderness acres of woodland and marsh that have been allowed to return to their natural state in order to approximate the landscape as 17thcentury settlers found it. Illustrative markers interpret aspects of daily activities and industries of the colonists—tobacco growing, lumbering, silk and wine production, pottery making, farming, and so on. JAMESTOWN SETTLEMENT

Operated by the state of Virginia, Jamestown Settlement, an indoor/outdoor museum, is open daily from 9am to 5pm (& 888/593-4682 or 757/253-4838; www.historyisfun.org). Admission is $11 adults, $5.25 children 6 to 12, free for children under 6; or you can buy a combination ticket with Yorktown Victory Center (see “A Side Trip to Yorktown,” below) for $16 adults, $7.75 children 6 to 12, free for kids under 6. After purchasing tickets, you can watch a 20-minute film that gives you an introduction to Jamestown. Beyond the theater, three large permanent galleries feature artifacts and dioramas relating to the Jamestown period. Leaving the museum complex, you’ll come directly into the Powhatan Indian Village, representing the culture and technology of a highly organized chiefdom of 32 tribes that inhabited coastal Virginia in the early 17th century. There are several matcovered lodges, or longhouses, which are furnished as dwellings, as well as a garden and a ceremonial dance circle. Historical interpreters tend gardens, tan animal hides, and make bone and stone tools and pottery. Triangular James Fort is a re-creation of the one constructed by the Jamestown colonists on their

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arrival in the spring of 1607. Interpreters are engaged in activities typical of early-17th-century life, such as agriculture, animal care, carpentry, blacksmithing, and meal preparation. A short walk from James Fort are reproductions of the three ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, which transported 104 colonists to Virginia in 1607. Tip: Exhibits here are hands-on and interactive, making them more enjoyable for kids than those at Historic Jamestowne.

A SIDE TRIP TO YORKTOWN Yorktown, the setting for the last major battle of the American Revolution, is about 14 miles northeast of Williamsburg. Today, the battlefield is a national park, and the Commonwealth of Virginia has built an interpretive museum explaining the road to revolution, the war itself, and the building of a new nation afterwards. The old town of Yorktown itself is also worth seeing. For lunch, consider a picnic in a large tree-shaded area at the Victory Center or at a riverside picnic area with tables and grills on Water Street at the foot of Comte de Grasse Street. GETTING THERE From Williamsburg, drive to the eastern end of the Colonial Parkway. From Norfolk, take I-64 west to U.S. 17 north. YO R K T O W N N AT I O N A L B AT T L E F I E L D

The National Park Service Visitor Center (& 757/898-2410 or 757/8983400; www.nps.gov/colo) displays Washington’s actual military headquarters tent, a replica (which you can board and explore) of the quarterdeck of H.M.S. Charon, additional objects recovered from the York River in the excavations, exhibits about Cornwallis’s surrender and the events leading up to it, and dioramas detailing the siege. Upstairs, an “on-the-scene” account of the Battle of Yorktown is given by a 13-year-old soldier in the Revolutionary army, his taped narrative accompanied by a sound-and-light show. National Park Service rangers are on hand to answer questions; they also give free tours of the British inner defense line. The park service visitor center is the starting point for the 7-mile Battlefield route and the 10-mile Encampment route auto tours of the battlefield. You’ll be given a map indicating both routes and detailing major sites. At each stop there are explanatory historical markers (sometimes taped narratives as well), but for the most interesting experience, rent a cassette player and tape at the visitor center. If you can do only one, make it the Battlefield route. The center is open daily from 9am to 5pm, with extended hours from spring to fall. Admission is $5 per person age 17 and older, good for 7 days. Or you can buy a Joint Jamestown–Yorktown Passport for $9 per person age 17 and older, which will admit you for 7 days here and at Jamestown Island. Audiotape tours cost $2. National Park Service passports are accepted. YO R K T O W N V I C T O R Y C E N T R E

Set on 21 acres overlooking part of the battlefield of 1781, the state-owned Yorktown Victory Center (& 888/593-4682 or 757/253-4838; www.history isfun.org) offers an excellent orientation to Yorktown, including a film, a livinghistory program, and museum exhibits. In the outdoor Continental army encampment, costumed interpreters re-create the lives of men and women who took part in the American Revolution. Admission is $8.25 adults, $4 children 6 to 12; combination tickets for this site and Jamestown Settlement are also available (see above). It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm.

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4 The Shenandoah Valley Native Americans called the 200-mile-long valley in northwestern Virginia Shenandoah, meaning “Daughter of the Stars.” Today the Shenandoah National Park offers spectacular landscapes and a plethora of hiking and riding trails, and protects the beauty and peace of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the eastern boundary of the valley. Along the Blue Ridge crest, the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive—one of America’s great scenic drives—runs the full length of the park and connects directly with the Blue Ridge Parkway, which continues south into North Carolina. Pioneers moved west from the Tidewater in the early 1700s to found picturesque small towns on the rolling valley floor, which was later to play a major role in the Civil War.

SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK Running for 105 miles down the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park is a haven for plants and wildlife. Although long and skinny, the park encompasses some 300 square miles of mountains, forests, waterfalls, and rock formations. It has more than 60 mountain peaks higher than 2,000 feet, with Hawksbill and Stony Man exceeding 4,000 feet. From overlooks along the road through the park, called the Skyline Drive, you can see many of the park’s wonders and enjoy panoramic views over the Piedmont to the east and the Shenandoah Valley to the west. The drive gives you access to the park’s visitor facilities and to more than 500 miles of glorious hiking and horse trails, including the Appalachian Trail. Animals such as deer, bear, bobcat, and turkey live here; the park also boasts more than 100 species of trees. ESSENTIALS

ENTRANCES & ORIENTATION The park and its Skyline Drive have four entrances. Northernmost is at Front Royal on U.S. 340 near the junction of I-81 and I-66, about 1 mile south of Front Royal and 90 miles west of Washington, D.C. The two middle entrances are at Thornton Gap, 33 miles south of Front Royal on U.S. 211 between Sperryville and Luray, and at Swift Run Gap, 68 miles south of Front Royal on U.S. 33 between Standardsville and Elkton. The southern gate is at Rockfish Gap, 105 miles south of Front Royal at I-64 and U.S. 250, some 21 miles west of Charlottesville and 18 miles east of Staunton. The Skyline Drive is marked with Mile Posts, starting at zero at the Front Royal entrance and increasing as you go south, with Rockfish Gap on the southern end at Mile 105. VISITOR INFORMATION For free information, call or write Superintendent, Shenandoah National Park, 3655 U.S. Hwy. 211 East, Luray, VA 22835 (& 540/999-3500; www.nps.gov/shen). The headquarters is 4 miles west of Thornton Gap and 5 miles east of Luray on U.S. 211. The Shenandoah National Park Association (& 540/999-3582; www.snpbooks.org) is the best source of maps, guidebooks, and other publications about the park’s cultural and natural history. It has a bookstore at park headquarters, and many of its publications are available at the visitor centers. Aramark Virginia Sky-Line Co., the park’s major concessionaire, maintains an informative website at www.visit shenandoah.com. FEES, REGULATIONS & BACKCOUNTRY PERMITS Entrance permits good for 7 consecutive days are $10 per car, $5 for each pedestrian or bicyclist. A Shenandoah Passport ($20) is good for 1 year, as is the National Park Service’s Golden Eagle Passport ($50). Park entrance is free to holders of Golden Access

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(for U.S. citizens with disabilities) and Golden Age (U.S. citizens 62 or older) passports. The former is free; the latter is available at the entrance gates for $10. Speed limit on the Skyline Drive is 35 mph, although given the number of camper vans and rubberneckers creeping along this two-lane road, you’ll be lucky to go that fast. Plants and animals are protected; all hunting is prohibited. Pets must be kept on leashes at all times and are not allowed on some trails. Wood fires are permitted only in fireplaces in developed areas. The Skyline Drive is a great bike route, but neither bicycles nor motor vehicles of any sort are allowed on the trails. Most of the park is open to backcountry camping. Permits, which are free, are required; get them at the entrance gates, at the visitor centers, or by mail from park headquarters (see “Visitor Information,” above). Campers are required to leave no trace of their presence. No permits are necessary for backcountry hiking, but the same “no-trace” rule applies. VISITOR CENTERS There are two park visitor centers, Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, at Mile 4.6, and Byrd Visitor Center, at Mile 51 in Big Meadows. Both are open daily 8:30am to 5pm mid-April through October (to 6pm July 4th to Labor Day) and on an intermittent schedule through Thanksgiving weekend in late November. Both provide information, maps of nearby hiking trails, interpretive exhibits, films, slide shows, and nature walks. There is a small information center at Loft Mountain (Mile Post 79.5), which is open daily from 9am to 5pm during the summer months. In addition, the privately run Rockfish Gap Information Center, on U.S. 211 outside the park’s southern gate (& 540/949-8203), has a terrific room-size topographical map of the region. SEASONS The park is most popular from mid- to late October, when the fall foliage peaks and weekend traffic on the Skyline Drive can be bumper to bumper. Days also tend to be clearer in fall than in summer, when lingering haze can obscure the views. In spring, the green of leafing trees moves up the ridge at the rate of about 100 feet a day. Wildflowers begin to bloom in April, and by late May the azaleas are brilliant and the dogwood is putting on a show. Nesting birds abound, and the normally modest waterfalls are at their highest during spring, when warm rains melt the highland snows. You’ll find the clearest views across the distant mountains during winter, but many facilities are closed then, and snow and ice can shut down the Skyline Drive. Also, parts of the drive are closed at night during Virginia’s hunting season from mid-November to early January. SEEING THE HIGHLIGHTS

Unless you’re caught in heavy traffic on fall foliage weekends, you can drive the entire length of the Skyline Drive in about 3 hours without stopping. But why rush? Give yourself at least a day for this drive and its 75 designated scenic overlooks. Better yet, get out of your car and take at least a short hike down one of the hollows to a waterfall. If you have only a day, head directly to the Central District between Thornton Gap and Swift Run Gap, the most developed but also most interesting part of the park. It has the highest mountains, the best views, nearly half of the park’s 500 miles of hiking trails, and the park’s only stables and overnight accommodations. Most visitors make Big Meadows or Skyland their base of operations for stays of more than a day, but if you plan to do this, place your lodge reservations early (see “Where to Camp & Stay,” below). Among the more interesting of the 75 designated overlooks along the drive are the Shenandoah Valley Overlook (Mile 2.8), with views west to the Signal

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Knob of Massanutten Mountain across the south fork of the river; Range View Overlook (Mile 17.1; elevation 2,800 ft.), providing fine views of the central section of the park, looking south; Stony Man Overlook (Mile 38.6), offering panoramas of Stony Man Cliffs, the valley, and the Alleghenies; Thoroughfare Mountain Overlook (Mile 40.5; elevation 3,595 ft.), one of the highest, with views from Hogback Mountain south to cone-shaped Robertson Mountain and the rocky face of Old Rag Mountain; Old Rag View Overlook (Mile 46.5), dominated by Old Rag, sitting all by itself in an eastern extremity of the park; Franklin Cliffs Overlook (Mile 49), offering a view of the cliffs and the Shenandoah Valley and Massanutten Mountain beyond; and Big Run Overlook (Mile 81.2), which looks down on rocky peaks and the largest watershed in the park. HIKING

The number-one outdoor activity here is hiking. The park’s 112 hiking trails total more than 500 miles, varying in length from short walks to a 101-mile segment of the Appalachian Trail running the entire length of the park. Access to the trails is marked along the Skyline Drive. There are parking lots at the major trail heads, but they fill quickly on weekends. Free maps of many trails are available at the visitor centers, which also sell topographic maps published by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Conference, as well as a one-sheet map of all of the park’s walks published by Trails Illustrated. See “Visitor Information,” above, for addresses and phone numbers. Try to take at least one of the short hikes on trails at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (Mile 4.6), Byrd Visitor Center/Big Meadows (Mile 51), and Loft Mountain (Mile 79.5). There’s an excellent 1.6-mile hike at Stony Man (Mile 41.7). The following are a few of the more popular trails: Limberlost Accessible Trail At Mile 43 south of Skyland, Limberlost is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. The 1.3-mile loop runs through an old-growth forest of ancient hemlocks. The trail has a 5-foot-wide, hard-packed surface; crosses a 65-foot bridge; and includes a 150-foot boardwalk. White Oak Canyon Beginning at Mile 42.6 just south of Skyland, this steep gorge is the park’s scenic gem. The 7.3-mile trail goes through an area of wild beauty, passing no less than six waterfalls and cascades. The upper reaches to the first falls are relatively easy, but further down the track can be rough and rocky. Total climb is about 2,160 feet, so allow 6 hours. Dark Hollow Falls One of the park’s most popular hikes is the 1.4-mile walk to Dark Hollow Falls, the closest cascade to the Skyline Drive. The trail begins at Mile 50.7 near the Byrd Visitor Center. Allow 11⁄4 hours for the round-trip. Camp Hoover/Mill Prong Starting at the Milam Gap parking area (Mile 52.8), this 4-mile round-trip hike drops down the Mill Prong to the Rapidan River, where Pres. Herbert Hoover, an avid fisherman, had a camp during his administration (sort of the Camp David of his day). The total climb is 850 feet. Allow 4 hours. South River Falls Third-highest in the park, South River Falls drops a total of 83 feet in two stages. From the parking lot at South River Overlook (Mile 62.7), the trail is a moderately easy 2.6 miles round-trip, with a total climb of about 850 feet. Allow 21⁄2 hours. Appalachian Trail Access points to the Appalachian Trail are well marked at overlooks along the Skyline Drive. Along the trail, five backcountry shelters for day use each offer only a table, fireplace, pit toilet, and water. The Potomac

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Appalachian Trail Club (& 703/242-0693; www.patc.net) maintains seven huts and six fully enclosed cabins that can accommodate up to 12 people. Use of the huts is free, but they are intended for long-distance hikers only. Cabins cost $10 to $20 on weekdays, $15 to $40 on weekends, and must be reserved in advance through the park or by contacting PATC Monday through Thursday between 7 and 9pm, Thursday and Friday from noon to 2pm, Eastern time (only during these hours). W H E R E T O C A M P & S TAY

The park has four campgrounds with tent and trailer sites (but no hookups anywhere): Big Meadows (Mile 51.2), Mathews Arm (Mile 22.2), Lewis Mountain (Mile 57.5), and Loft Mountain (Mile 79.5). The latter three are on a first-come, first-served basis at $14 per site per night. They are open from midMay to late October. Big Meadows Lodge and Skyland Lodge (see below) are the only hotels in the park. They are managed by the park concessionaire, Aramark Virginia SkyLine Co. (& 800/999-4714 or 540/743-5108; www.visitshenandoah.com), which also operates food and other services for park visitors. Lodge reservations should be made well in advance—up to a year ahead for the peak fall season. In addition, cottages are available at Lewis Mountain. Big Meadows Lodge Value Accommodations at Big Meadows, built near a grassy meadow where deer like to graze, consist of rooms in the main lodge and in rustic cabins, and multi-unit lodges with suites. Many of them have great views; some have fireplaces and balconies or terraces. You’ll have a private bathroom but no other modern amenities in your room. Big Meadows is a major recreational center; many hiking trails start here, and it’s also the site of the Byrd Visitor Center. The dining room features traditional regional dishes such as fried chicken and mountain trout. Live entertainment keeps the Taproom busy in season. P.O. Box 727, Luray, VA 22835 (on Skyline Dr. at Mile 51.2). & 800/999-4714 or 540/999-2221. Fax 540/9992011. www.visitshenandoah.com. 97 units. $70–$121 main lodge double; $82–$111 motel double; $115–$146 suite double; $78–$90 cabin double. Highest rates charged weekends and Oct. Packages available.AE, DISC, MC, V. Closed Nov to early May. Amenities: Restaurant. In room: No TV, no A/C, no phone.

Naturalist George Freeman Pollock built Skyland in 1894 as a summer retreat atop the highest point on the Skyline Drive. Encompassing 52 forested acres, the resort offers rustic wood-paneled cabins as well as motel-type accommodations with wonderful views (ask for a room with a view), but no major modern amenities. The central building has a lobby with a huge stone fireplace, seating areas, and a TV. Complete breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are offered at reasonable prices. There’s a fully stocked taproom.

Skyland Lodge

P.O. Box 727, Luray, VA 22835 (on Skyline Dr. at Mile 41.8). & 800/999-4714 or 540/999-2211. Fax 540/ 999-2231. www.visitshenandoah.com. 177 units. $82–$123 lodge double; $55–$108 cabin double; $116–$185 suite. Highest rates charged weekends and Oct. Packages available. AE, DISC, MC, V. Closed Nov to early May. Amenities: Restaurant. In room: No TV, no A/C, no phone.

LEXINGTON A lively college atmosphere prevails in Lexington, which consistently ranks as one of America’s best small towns. Fine old homes line tree-shaded streets, among them the house where Stonewall Jackson lived when he taught at Virginia Military Institute. A beautifully restored downtown looks much like it did in the 1800s. Besides VMI, the town is also home to Washington and Lee University, which has one of the oldest and most beautiful campuses in the country.

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ESSENTIALS

GETTING THERE Lexington lies about 60 miles south and west of the southern end of the Skyline Drive. From Washington, D.C., take I-66 west, than I-81 south. From Richmond, take I-64 west. VISITOR INFORMATION The Lexington & Rockbridge Area Visitor Center, 106 E. Washington St., Lexington, VA 24450 (& 877/453-9822 or 540/463-3777; www.lexingtonvirginia.com), is a block east of Main Street. It offers museum-like displays about the town’s history and distributes free walking-tour brochures (you can park in the center’s lot while touring the town). Be sure to see the engrossing slide show on Lexington’s history. It’s open daily from 8:30am to 6pm June through August, from 9am to 5pm the rest of the year. W H AT T O S E E & D O

The Lee Chapel and Museum, near Letcher Avenue on the Washington and Lee University campus (& 540/463-8768; http://leechapel.wlu.edu), is a magnificent Victorian-Gothic chapel of brick and native limestone, built in 1867 at the request of General Lee. Lee’s remains are in a crypt below the chapel. His office was in the lower level of the building, now part of the chapel museum and preserved just as he left it on September 28, 1870. His beloved horse, Traveller, is buried in a plot outside the office. The fine Virginia Military Institute Museum, in the basem*nt of Jackson Memorial Hall, VMI Campus (& 540/464-7232; www.vmi.edu/museum), displays uniforms, weapons, and memorabilia from cadets who attended the college and fought in numerous wars. Of special note is the bullet-pierced raincoat Stonewall Jackson was wearing when accidentally shot by his own men at Chancellorsville, and also, thanks to taxidermy, Jackson’s unflappable war horse, Little Sorrel. Also on the VMI campus is the George C. Marshall Museum and Research Library (& 540/463-7103; www.marshallfoundation.org), with the archives and research library of General of the Army George C. Marshall, a 1901 graduate of VMI who served as army chief of staff during World War II and as secretary of state and secretary of defense under President Truman. He is best remembered for the Marshall Plan, which fostered the economic recovery of Europe after the war. For his role in promoting peace, he became the first career soldier to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In contrast to the many Civil War shrines here, this is an excellent World War II museum. The Stonewall Jackson House, 8 E. Washington St. (between Main and Randolph sts.; & 540/463-2552; www.stonewalljackson.org), is where the legendary Confederate general lived from early 1859 until he answered General Lee’s summons to Richmond in 1861. Appropriate period furnishings duplicate the items on the inventory of Jackson’s estate made shortly after he died near Chancellorsville in 1863. His body was returned to Lexington and buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery on South Main Street. An impressive attraction nearby is the Natural Bridge (& 800/533-1410 or 540/291-2121; www.naturalbridgeva.com), a limestone formation that Thomas Jefferson called “the most sublime of nature’s works . . . so beautiful an arch, so elevated, so light and springing, as it were, up to heaven.” This geological oddity rises 215 feet above Cedar Creek; its span is 90 feet long and spreads at its widest to 150 feet. The Monocan Indian tribes worshiped it as “the bridge of God” (the Monacan Indian Living History Village included in your admission price is definitely worth seeing). Today it is also the bridge of man, as U.S. 11

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passes over it. The Natural Bridge is now a small tourist-industry enclave, with a cavern, department-store-size souvenir shop, restaurant, hotel, campground, wax museum, and zoo. The bridge is 12 miles south of Lexington on U.S. 11 (take Exit 175 off I-81). Admission to the bridge is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 15. Lexington’s charming 19th-century downtown offers many interesting shops, most of them on Main and Washington streets. Artists in Cahoots, in the Alexander-Witherow House, at the corner of Main and Washington (& 540/ 464-1147), features an outstanding selection of arts and crafts. Antiques hunters will find fascinating browsing at the Lexington Antique & Craft Mall (& 540/463-9511), in which 250 dealers occupy 40,000 square feet of space in the Kroger Shopping Center on U.S. 11, about half a mile north of downtown. The Maury River, which runs through Lexington, provides some of Virginia’s best white-water rafting and kayaking, especially through the Goshen Pass, on Va. 39 northwest of town. The visitor center has information about several putin spots, or you can rent equipment or go on expeditions on the Maury and James rivers with James River Basin Canoe Livery (& 540/261-7334; www. canoevirginia.com).

A Side Trip to Warm Springs & Hot Springs A scenic drive 42 miles from Lexington will bring you to the towns of Warm Springs and Hot Springs, famous for their thermal springs. The most famous are the Jefferson Pools (& 540/839-5346), which sit in a grove of trees at the intersection of U.S. 220 and Va. 39. Opened in 1761, they’re still covered by the octagonal white clapboard bathhouses built in the 19th century, so the only luxuries you’ll get are a clean towel and a rudimentary changing room. Use of the pools costs $12 an hour. Reservations aren’t taken; just walk in. The pools are open from June to October, daily from 10am to 7pm. Call for winter hours. In the tiny town of Hot Springs is the acclaimed and pricey Homestead (& 800/838-1766 or 540/839-1776; www.thehomestead.com; $129–$290 double per person, per night), a famous spa and golf resort that has hosted everyone from FDR to John D. Rockefeller. The Homestead’s historic Dining Room is a lush palm court, in which an orchestra performs every evening during six-course dinners. The resort boasts three outstanding golf courses, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa with full health club facilities, 12 tennis courts, hiking trails, horseback and carriage rides, ice-skating on an Olympic-size rink, and much more. Note: Nonguests can pay to use all of the Homestead’s facilities. There are several B&B inns in the area as well as the Roseloe Motel (& 540/839-5373; www.roseloe.netfirms.com; $60–$85 double), an inexpensive, family-run motel on U.S. 220 between Warm Springs and Hot Springs. It’s near the Garth Newel Music Center (& 540/839-5018; www.garthnewel.org), whose summer-long chamber music festival has been drawing critical acclaim since the early 1970s. For more information, contact the Bath County Chamber of Commerce (& 800/628-8092 or 540/839-5409; www.bathcountyva.org), whose visitor center is 2 miles south of Hot Springs on U.S. 220.

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Two linear parks connect to offer hikers and joggers nearly 10 miles of gorgeous trail between Lexington and Buena Vista, a railroad town 7 miles to the southeast. The major link is the Chessie Nature Trail, which follows an old railroad bed along the Maury River between Lexington and Buena Vista. No vehicles (including bicycles) are allowed, but you can cross-country ski the trail during winter. The Chessie trail connects with a walking path in Woods Creek Park, which starts at the Waddell School on Jordan Street and runs down to the banks of the Maury. Both trails are open from dawn to dusk. The visitor center has maps and brochures. There are excellent hiking, mountain-biking, and horseback-riding trails in the George Washington National Forest, which encompasses much of the Blue Ridge Mountains east of Lexington. Small children might not be able to make it, but the rest of the family will enjoy the 3-mile trail up to Crabtree Falls, a series of cascades tumbling 1,200 feet down the mountain (the highest waterfall in Virginia). Crabtree Falls is on Va. 56 east of the Blue Ridge Parkway; from Lexington, go north on I-81 to Steeles Tavern (Exit 205), then east on Va. 56. The National Forest Service has an information office at Natural Bridge (& 540/291-1806), which offers free brochures and sells maps of trails and campgrounds. It’s open from April to mid-November, daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm; the rest of the year, it’s open daily from 8:30am to 4pm. W H E R E T O S TAY & D I N E

In town and just outside are three lovely and historic country inns: AlexanderWitherow House and McCampbell Inn, both at 11 N. Main St.; and the Maple Inn, which lies 7 miles north of town on U.S. 11. Make reservations for all three through Historic Country Inns (& 877/283-9680 or 540/463-2044; www. lexingtonhistoricinns.com). Another good lodging choice is the Hampton Inn Col Alto, 401 E. Nelson St. (& 800/HAMPTON or 540/463-2223; www.hampton-inn.com), situated in an 1827 manor house built on a plantation that was then on the outskirts of town. Lexington has several chain motels, especially at the intersection of U.S. 11 and I-64 (Exit 55), 11⁄2 miles north of downtown. The 100-unit Best Western Inn at Hunt Ridge, 25 Willow Springs Rd./Va. 39 (& 800/464-1501 or 540/ 64-1500; www.dominionlodging.com), is the only full-service hotel among them, offering a restaurant, indoor-outdoor pool, and fine mountain views. Try to get one of its six rooms with balconies. While you’re walking around town, stop in at Lexington’s famous Sweet Things, 106 W. Washington St., between Jefferson Street and Lee Avenue (& 540/463-6055), for a cone or cup of “designer” ice cream or frozen yogurt. For more substantial fare, head to Willson-Walker House Restaurant, 30 N. Main St. (between Washington and Henry sts.; & 540/463-3020), which offers some of the valley’s finest cuisine. At lunch, the $5 chef ’s special includes choice of soup or salad, entree, homemade muffins and rolls, and beverage. Changing seasonally, the dinner menu offers such tempting main courses as potato-crusted North Carolina rainbow trout. The best of Virginia wines are available by the glass or bottle. Main courses run $11 to $20.

5 Atlanta With its international flavor and something-for-everyone reputation, Atlanta continues to redefine the South. It is the city of Martin Luther King, Jr., father of one of the country’s most important social revolutions, and of Ted Turner,

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who brought the world a revolution of another sort. The dramatic downtown skyline, with its gleaming skyscrapers, is testimony to Atlanta’s inability to sit still—even for a minute. Consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the world in which to do business, Atlanta is third in the nation for the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered here—16, including Home Depot, United Parcel Service, and Coca-Cola. The metro area is vast and sprawling. With a population of 4.3 million and counting, the only limit to its growth appears to be interminable traffic congestion. But commerce and development are not the only things that characterize this bustling metropolis. You’ll still hear gentle Southern accents here, though at least half of Atlanta’s citizens were born outside the South, with 1 of every 10 foreignborn. Those transplants, though, find themselves bending to the local customs, saying “please” and “ma’am” and holding doors open for each other.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (www.atlanta-airport.com), 10 miles south of downtown, is the world’s largest and nation’s busiest passenger airport and transfer hub, accommodating 80.2 million passengers a year. Despite its size, Hartsfield is well planned and easy to negotiate. The airport is undergoing a $5.4-billion expansion to relieve congestion, adding a fifth runway, upgrading the international concourse and terminal, and consolidating rental car terminals. Delta, which is based at Hartsfield, is the major carrier, but most other major domestic and several international airlines serve the airport. A taxi from the airport to a downtown hotel costs $25 for one passenger, $26 for two, and $10 each for three or more. The ride should take about half an hour. To midtown hotels, the fare is $28 for one passenger, $30 for two or more. To Buckhead hotels, the fare is $35 for one passenger, $36 for two or more. Warning: Be sure the taxi driver knows how to get to where you want to go before you leave the airport. Several of the larger hotels offer free shuttle buses from the airport. MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; & 404/848-4711; www.itsmarta. com) rapid-rail trains run from a station inside the airport from 5am to 1am, with a one-way fare of $1.75. By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) serves Brookwood Station, 1688 Peachtree Rd., providing daily service from Washington (trip time: 14 hr.), New York (19 hr.), and New Orleans (11 hr.). By Car Major routes into Atlanta are 1-75 from the northwest (Chattanooga) and south (Miami), I-85 from the northeast (Charlotte) and southwest (Montgomery, AL), and I-20 from the east (Columbia, SC) and west (Birmingham, AL). VISITOR INFORMATION Contact the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), 233 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30303 (& 404/ 521-6600; www.atlanta.net), weekdays from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Once in town, you can visit ACVB information centers at the airport; Underground Atlanta, 65 Upper Alabama St.; the Georgia World Congress Center, 285 International Blvd.; and Lenox Square Shopping Center, 3393 Peachtree Rd. GETTING AROUND It’s possible to reach most major Atlanta sites by transit system (MARTA), but despite the growing problem of traffic jams, a car is preferable.

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A Note on Area Codes In metro Atlanta, you must dial the area code (404, 770, or 678) and the seven-digit telephone number, even if you are calling a number within the same area code. It is not, however, necessary to dial “1” before calling a different area code in metro Atlanta.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA; & 404/8484711; www.itsmarta.com) operates subways and buses daily from about 5am to 1am. Regular fare is $1.75. There are token vending machines at all stations, and transfers are free. A convenient feature on MARTA’s website is a list of popular attractions, followed by the rail stations and buses necessary to get to each spot. Go to www.itsmarta.com, click on “Getting There,” then click on “Popular Attractions.” It’s not possible to step outside anywhere and hail a cab. There are, however, always cabs outside the airport, major hotels, Underground Atlanta, and most MARTA stations, except those downtown. Taxis charge a flat rate based on travel between city zones. If you need to call for a taxi, try Yellow Cab (& 404/5210200), Checker Cab (& 404/351-1111), or Buckhead Safety Cab (& 404/ 233-1152). Warning: Many Atlanta taxis are dirty, mechanically suspect, and operated by drivers not familiar with the city. Be sure the fare is settled before setting off. FAST FACTS Major downtown hospitals are Atlanta Medical Center, 303 Parkway Dr. NE (& 404/265-4000; www.atlantamedcenter.com); and Grady Memorial Hospital, 80 Butler St. SE (& 404/616-4307). CVS Pharmacy has two centrally located pharmacies open 24 hours daily, at 1943 Peachtree Rd. (& 404/351-4932; www.cvs.com), across from Piedmont Hospital between downtown and Buckhead; and at 2350 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE (& 404/4867289), near Midtown, Buckhead, and Virginia-Highland. In addition to the 7% city sales tax, there is a 7% hotel and motel tax. SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS The second week of January is King Week, honoring the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., an Atlanta native. The week includes a variety of religious services, concerts, speeches, volunteer opportunities, and a parade. For details, contact the King Center (& 404/526-8900; www.thekingcenter.com). Mid-February brings the Southeastern Flower Show (& 404/888-5638; www.flowershow.org), followed in mid-April by the Atlanta Dogwood Festival (& 404/329-0501; www.dogwood.org). Also beginning in April and running for 7 weekends is the Georgia Renaissance Festival (& 770/964-8575; www. garenfest.com), a re-creation of a 16th-century English country fair with a birdsof-prey show, jousting knights, jugglers, giant stilt-walkers, minstrels, and magicians. Mid-May brings big-name performers to Music Midtown (& 770/ MIDTOWN; www.musicmidtown.com).

WHAT TO SEE & DO Atlanta Botanical Garden This delightful garden, occupying 30 acres in Piedmont Park, includes a tranquil moon-gated Japanese garden, a rose garden, a fern glade, an orchid center, a camellia garden, a new children’s garden featuring a three-story treehouse, gurgling streams, beautiful statuary, and more. The Fuqua Conservatory houses rare and endangered tropical and desert plants—and a fascinating exhibit of carnivorous plants and poisonous dart frogs. Allow 2 to 3 hours.

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1345 Piedmont Ave. NE (in Piedmont Park at Piedmont Ave. and The Prado). & 404/876-5859. www.atlanta botanicalgarden.org. Admission $12 adults, $9 seniors, $7 students, free for children under 3. Tues–Sun 9am–7pm; until 5pm during daylight saving time.

From the prehistory of the area that became Atlanta to the present, it’s all here in vivid display in this vast museum. In addition to traveling exhibits, permanent exhibits focus on the Civil War, folk art, golf legend and Atlanta native Bobby Jones, and the Atlanta Braves baseball team. On the grounds is recently renovated Swan House and Gardens, the finest residential design of architect Philip Trammel Schutze. This classical home—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—was constructed in 1928 by the Edward H. Inman family, heirs to a cotton fortune. Also on the grounds is a “plantation plain” home built around 1840, the Tullie Smith Farm. Here you can see how most Georgia farmers really lived. The grounds include two children’s playhouses and 33 acres of gardens and nature trails. Allow 2 to 3 hours.

Atlanta History Center

130 W. Paces Ferry Rd. (at Slaton Dr.). & 404/814-4000. www.atlhist.org. Admission $12 adults, $10 seniors and students over 12, $7 children 4–12, free for children under 3. Mon–Sat 10am–5:30pm; Sun noon–5:30pm. Ticket sales stop at 4:30pm. MARTA: Lenox; then bus 23 to Peachtree St. and W. Paces Ferry Rd., then a 3-block walk.

This Queen Anne–style house is where King was born on January 15, 1929. He was the eldest son of a Baptist minister and music teacher. The future civil rights leader lived at this modest house until he was 12. It has been restored to its appearance when young Martin lived here. A great deal of King memorabilia is displayed. Note: In summer, tickets to the house often run out because of the crowds. Plan to visit the nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church and Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change while you’re here. For all, allow 2 to 3 hours.

Birth Home of Martin Luther King, Jr.

501 Auburn Ave. & 404/331-6922. www.nps.gov/malu. Free admission (obtain tickets at 449 Auburn Ave.). Daily 10am–5pm (mid-June to mid-Aug until 6pm). Closed major holidays. MARTA: Five Points, then bus 3.

Centennial Olympic Park This is a living monument to the 1996 Olympic Games. A 21-acre swath of green space and bricks, the park was carved out of a blighted downtown area. It’s an oasis of rolling lawns crisscrossed by brick pathways and punctuated by artwork, rock gardens, pools, and fountains, and it often hosts festivals, artists’ markets, concerts, and other performances. The best part of the park is the fountain in the shape of five interlocking Olympic Rings. If you’re here in summer, you and the kids can frolic in the fountain. Allow 1 hour. Andrew Young International Blvd. NW at Techwood Dr. & 404/222-PARK. www.centennialpark.com. Free admission. Daily 7am–11pm. MARTA: Philips Arena/Come/GWCC station, then walk 1 block (past CNN Center).

CNN Center This building anchors the city’s dynamic entertainment, news, sports, and business core and is adjacent to the Georgia Dome and the Georgia World Congress Center and across the street from Centennial Olympic Park. It houses the CNN, Headline News, and CNN International studios and offers guided, 50-minute tours of these facilities daily. Note: Reservations are highly recommended, and must be made at least 1 day in advance. Allow 2 hours. One CNN Center (Marietta St. at Techwood Dr.). & 404/827-2300. www.cnn.com/studiotour. Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors, $7 children 4–12. Note: Children under 4 not permitted. Tours daily every 10 min. 9am–5pm. MARTA: Philips Arena/Dome/GWCC station.

For a panorama of the Battle of Atlanta, go see the world’s largest oil painting, a 42-foot-high, 356-foot-circumference, 1880s painting with a three-dimensional foreground and special lighting, music, and sound effects.

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When you see the monumental work, you’ll know why Union Gen. William Sherman, who burned Atlanta to the ground, said, “War is hell.” One of only three cycloramas in the United States, it’s an artistic and historical treasure that many visitors to Atlanta miss, erroneously thinking it’s “strictly for kids.” Allow 1 hour. 800 Cherokee Ave. in Grant Park. & 404/624-1071 or 404/658-7625. www.webguide.com/cyclorama.html. Admission $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children 6–12, free for children under 6. June 1 to Labor Day daily 8:20am–5:30pm; after Labor Day to May daily 9:20am–4:30pm. Closed major holidays. Shows begin every half-hour, starting at 9:30am. MARTA: Five Points; then bus 31 (Cherokee Ave.). Zoo Atlanta is next door.

From 1960 to 1968, this Gothic Revival–style church, founded in 1886 and completed in 1922, became a center of world attention. Martin Luther King, Jr., served as co-pastor of the church during the civil rights struggle. Martin Luther King, Sr., a civil rights leader before his son, was the pastor. A taped historical message and a 10-minute guided tour are available. Most church services are now conducted in a modern annex across the street. While here, visit the nearby Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the King Birth Home. Allow 2 to 3 hours total.

Ebenezer Baptist Church

407 Auburn Ave. NE. & 404/688-7263. www.nps.gov/malu. Free admission (donations appreciated). Mon–Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm. MARTA: King Memorial Station, then a long, 8-block walk; or Five Points, then bus 3.

This is the largest natural science museum in the Southeast, a $43-million complex featuring “Giants of the Mesozoic,” which includes skeletons of the world’s largest meat- and plant-eating dinosaurs. It was recently gifted with a priceless collection of over one million artifacts that retell the story of human habitation in Georgia as it unfolded on St. Catherine’s Island, the best-understood aboriginal landscape in the American Southeast. In addition to other permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum has an IMAX Theater with a six-story screen. Allow 2 hours.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

767 Clifton Rd. NE (off Ponce de Leon Ave.). & 404/929-6300. www.fernbank.edu. Admission to museum $12 adults, $11 students and seniors, $10 children 3–12, free for under 2. Admission to IMAX Theater $10 adults, $9 students and seniors, $8 children, free for under 2. Combined museum and theater admission $17 adults, $15 seniors and students, $13 children. Mon–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun noon–5pm. IMAX open Fri until 10pm. MARTA: North Ave. station, then bus 2. Ask the driver to drop you at the corner of Clifton Rd. Walk down Clifton; Fernbank Museum is the 1st driveway on the right.

Fox Theatre This Moorish-Egyptian extravaganza began life as a Shriners’ temple. It became a movie theater when movie mogul William Fox threw open its doors to the public. Its exotic lobby was decorated with lush carpeting; in the auditorium itself, a skyscape was transformed to sunrise, sunset, or starry night scenes as the occasion demanded, and a striped Bedouin canopy overhung the balcony. By the 1970s, the Fox was slated for demolition, but Atlantans raised $1.8 million to save their treasured movie palace. Restored to its former glory, it now thrives as a venue for live entertainment. Allow 1 hour. 660 Peachtree St. NE (at Ponce de Leon Ave.). & 404/688-3353. www.foxtheatre.org. Tours $10 adults, $5 students and seniors. The Atlanta Preservation Center conducts walking tours of the Fox Theatre and surrounding area Mon and Wed–Thurs 10am, Sat 10 and 11am. Meet in Fox Theatre arcade for tickets and tour. MARTA: North Ave., then walk 2 blocks east.

High Museum of Art Currently undergoing an impressive $85-million expansion project scheduled for completion in early 2005, this dazzling white porcelain-tiled building has an equally pristine white interior that houses four floors of galleries featuring more than 10,000 pieces. Among them is a significant group of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings that feature work of

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the Hudson River School. There’s also an extensive sub-Saharan African art collection and the Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection of American Decorative Arts, covering changing tastes from 1825 to 1917. Allow 2 hours. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, at 16th St., part of the Woodruff Arts Center. & 404/733-HIGH. www.high.org. Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $6 children 6–17, free for children under 6. Tues–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun noon–5pm. MARTA: Arts Center.

Set on 35 acres of gardens, lakes, and waterfalls 2 miles east of the center of downtown Atlanta, the library-museum is part of the Carter Presidential Center. The library-museum houses Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize as well as millions of documents, photographs, and videotapes from Jimmy Carter’s White House years. You’ll see an exact replica of the Oval Office during Carter’s presidency, enhanced by a recording of Carter speaking about his experiences in that office. Allow 1 to 2 hours.

Jimmy Carter Library and Museum

441 Freedom Pkwy. & 404/865-7100. www.jimmycarterlibrary.org. Admission $7 adults, $5 seniors, military, and students, free for children 16 and under. Mon–Sat 9am–4:45pm; Sun noon–4:45pm. MARTA: Five Points station, then bus 16 Noble.

Margaret Mitchell House and Museum Restoration has saved the Tudor Revival apartment house (the birthplace of Gone With the Wind) where Margaret Mitchell, who called the place “The Dump,” wrote most of her epic novel and lived from 1925 to 1932. Tours, which last about an hour, feature a 17-minute film, a visit to the apartment, and an exhibit that celebrates Mitchell’s life and examines the impact of her book and the subsequent movie. A museum shop offers all things Gone With the Wind. Allow 1 to 2 hours. 999 Peachtree St. (at 10th St.). & 404/249-7012. www.webguide/gwtw.html. Admission $12 adults, $9 seniors and students, $5 children 6–17, free for children under 6. Daily 9:30am–5pm. MARTA: Midtown station.

The Best Nobel Prize winner’s commitment to nonviolent social change lives on at this memorial and educational center. The self-guided tour includes the Freedom Hall complex, and several related sites nearby: Ebenezer Baptist Church, the King Birth Home, and the National Park Service Visitor’s Center. The Freedom Hall portion includes memorabilia of King and the civil rights movement, including his Bible and clerical robe, a hand-written sermon, a photographic essay on his life and work, and, on a grim note, the suit he was wearing when a deranged woman stabbed him in New York City, as well as the key to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was assassinated. In an alcove off the main exhibit area is a video display on King’s life and work. There are other exhibits honoring Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi. Outside in Freedom Plaza, Dr. King’s white marble crypt rests surrounded by a five-tiered reflecting pool. An eternal flame burns in a small circular pavilion directly in front of the crypt. Allow 2 to 3 hours for all.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change

449 Auburn Ave. (between Boulevard and Jackson St.). & 404/524-1956. www.thekingcenter.com. Free admission. Daily 9am–5pm. MARTA: Five Points, then bus 3; or King Memorial, then walk several blocks.

Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University Four human mummies and a wealth of funerary art from ancient Egypt, beautiful objects from the ancient Mediterranean, stunning art from Africa, and pre-Columbian art are among this museum’s rich collections. There are also special shows mounted from the museum’s vast holdings, including exquisite drawings—some from the 1600s. There’s nothing in Georgia to equal this collection. The 1916 Beaux Arts building housing the museum is a National Historic Landmark. Allow 1 to 2 hours.

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571 S. Kilgo St. (near the intersection of Oxford and N. Decatur roads on the main quadrangle of campus). & 404/727-4282. http://carlos.emory.edu. Admission $5. Tues–Wed and Fri–Sat 10am–5pm; Thurs 10am–9pm; Sun noon–5pm. MARTA: Candler Park or Lindbergh station, then bus 6 Emory; or Avondale or Arts Center station, then bus 36 N. Decatur.

Oakland Cemetery Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, is buried here; perhaps she’s swapping stories after dark with the 50,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who share this 88-acre site. The cemetery opened 10 years before the Civil War and has become an outdoor museum of funerary architecture, including classic and Gothic Revival mausoleums. Many other notable Georgians are buried here, including golfing legend Bobby Jones. The cemetery, covered with a canopy of old oaks, is actually a beautiful city park. People often bring picnic lunches and eat ham sandwiches among the dead. Allow 1 to 2 hours. 248 Oakland Ave. SE; main entrance at Oakland Ave. and Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. & 404/688-2107. http://oaklandcemetery.com. Free admission; self-guided tour maps $1. Daily dawn–dusk. Visitor center Mon–Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm. Guided weekend tours Mar–Nov Sat 10am and 2pm, Sun 2pm: $10 adults, $5 children, and $3 seniors. MARTA: King Memorial station.

Stone Mountain Park The world’s largest granite outcropping, carved with a massive monument to the Confederacy, Stone Mountain is the focal point of a recreation area that covers 3,200 acres of lakes and beautiful wooded parkland. Over half a century in the making, Stone Mountain’s neoclassic carving (90 ft. high and 190 ft. wide) depicts Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson galloping on horseback. Although the best view of the mountain is from below, the vistas from the top are spectacular. Visitors who are part mountain goat can take a walking trail up and down its moss-covered slopes, especially lovely in spring when they’re blanketed in wildflowers. From the top, which you can also reach by cable car, you have an incredible view of Atlanta and the Appalachian Mountains. Other major park attractions include Crossroads, a re-creation of an 1870s Southern village plus a 3-D theater; the Great Barn, which offers four stories of children’s activities such as rope nets to climb and the chance to play a character in a computer game; the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad, which chugs around the 5-mile base of Stone Mountain and features a staged train robbery; the Scarlett O’Hara, a paddle-wheel riverboat that cruises the 363-acre Stone Mountain lake; the Antique Car and Treasure Museum; the Antebellum Plantation and Farmyard; a 36-hole golf course; miniature golf; 16 tennis courts built for the 1996 Summer Olympics; and a sandy lakefront beach with water slides, carillon concerts, boating, bicycle rental, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and more. Allow at least 4 hours. 6867 Memorial Dr., Stone Mountain, 16 miles east of downtown on U.S. 78. & 800/317-2006. www. stonemountainpark.com. $19 adults, $16 children 3–11, free for children under 3. Daily parking pass $7. Yearround gates open 6am–midnight. Major attractions fall and winter 10am–5pm; spring and summer 10am–8pm. MARTA: Train to Avondale station, then bus 120 to Stone Mountain.

A three-floor pavilion exhibits memorabilia of what’s been called “the world’s most popular product,” including endorsem*nts by fabled stars of yesterday, ranging from Clark Gable to the Supremes. The pavilion boasts what has to be one of the most innovative outdoor neon signs ever created: an 11-ton extravaganza hanging 18 feet above its entrance. In all, there are more than 1,000 exhibits, including a 1930s soda fountain, complete with a soda jerk. Allow 1 to 2 hours.

The World of Coca-Cola

55 Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. SW (at Central Ave., across from Underground Atlanta). & 770/578-4325, ext. 1465. www.woccatlanta.com. Admission $7 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children 6–11, free for children under 6.

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Mon–Sat 9am–5pm, Sun 11am–5pm; June–Aug Mon–Sat until 6pm. Closed major holidays. MARTA: Five Points station.

SHOPPING The stomping ground of well-to-do Atlanta, Buckhead is the ultimate shopping area, with two major malls and lots of little boutiques, antiques shops, and galleries. Start at the corner of Peachtree and Lenox roads, where two major malls— Phipps Plaza (www.phippsplaza.com) and Lenox Square (www.lenox-square. com)—face off against each other. If you have more time and are interested in art, antiques, or decorative accessories, head straight to Bennett Street (www. buckhead.org/bennettstreet), where you’ll find a healthy concentration of stores in a 2-block strip. There are also many shops in the Buckhead West Village (www.buckhead.org/westvillage), near the intersection of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry roads, but there are many more establishments up and down Peachtree and scattered along smaller side streets. The charming area of Virginia-Highland, centered on North Highland Avenue between University Drive and Ponce de Leon Avenue, boasts antiques shops, junk stores, trendy boutiques, and art galleries. There are three major concentrations: on North Highland just south of University Drive; at the intersection of North Highland and Virginia avenues; and just north of Ponce de Leon around St. Charles Place. From one end to the other, it’s about a mile and a half, but it’s a nice walk and there are cafes where you can stop and take a break. For more info, check out www.virginiahighland.com. An area similar to Virginia-Highland, but a lot funkier and much rougher around the edges, Little Five Points (www.l5p.com) is as much a happening as an offbeat shopping area. There are still authentic hippies here and enough young people with wildly colored hair and pierced body parts to give you a ’60s flashback. Warning: Though the area isn’t especially known for racial tension, some locals have said they’ve noticed an increase in white supremacists in the area. Also in this area, but not nearly as funky, is Underground Atlanta, on Alabama Street between Peachtree Street and Central Avenue (& 404/5232311; www.underground-atlanta.com). This 12-acre mix of shops, nightclubs, and restaurants is not as vibrant as it was a few years ago, but it still can be fun to browse. In addition to shops, there are vendors in Humbug Square selling merchandise off antique pushcarts. Of course, there’s a food court and several good restaurants. Stone Mountain Village (& 770/879-4971; http://stonemountainvillage. com), just outside the West Gate of Stone Mountain Park, bounded by Second and Main streets to the north and south, and by Lucille Street and Memorial Drive to the east and west, is worth a visit. It has been developing since the 1800s, and many of the shops are housed in historic buildings. Merchants keep it to a high standard, and their wares are tasteful and of good quality. Many of the stores specialize in antiques, crafts, and collectibles. It’s great fun to wander about this quaint village, and there’s usually some festive event going on—perhaps an arts-and-crafts fair or live entertainment. During Christmas, the streets are candlelit and the village becomes a magical place populated by St. Nick, elves, carolers, and horse-drawn carriages.

WHERE TO STAY Many of the hotels are quite full during the business week, but they’re usually not sold out on the weekend. Most of the major hotels that cater to business travelers, especially those downtown, offer reduced weekend rates.

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Bed & Breakfast Atlanta, 1001 St. Charles Ave., Atlanta, GA 30306 (& 800/ 967-3224 or 404/875-0525; www.bedandbreakfastatlanta.com), can book you into more than 80 carefully screened homes and inns. Ansley Inn This former stately home in the prestigious Ansley Park neighborhood mimics many of the trappings of an exclusive, small-scale European inn. In 1995, nine rooms were added to the back of the house in distinguished style. Those in the front of the house retain a semi-antique flair. Wine and cheese socials are offered 5 to 7pm daily. Full breakfast is served in a formal dining room. 253 15th St. NE (at Lafayette Dr., between Piedmont Ave. and Peachtree St.), Atlanta, GA 30309. & 800/ 446-5416 or 404/872-9000. Fax 404/892-2318. www.ansleyinn.com. 22 units. $160–$250 double main house; $120–$175 double corporate wing. Extra person $50, although no extra charge for small children in parent’s room. Rates include full Southern breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. MARTA: Arts Center.

Four Seasons Hotel Best Soaring 19 floors above midtown Atlanta, the Four Seasons has the most attentive and sophisticated staff and the most impressive and dramatic lobby of any hotel in Georgia. Accommodations are as plush as you’d expect from this top-notch chain, each with ultracomfortable chaise longues, deep mattresses, and bathrobes. 75 14th St. (between Peachtree and W. Peachtree sts.), Atlanta, GA 30309. & 800/332-3442 or 404/8819898. Fax 404/873-4692. www.fourseasons.com/atlanta. 244 units. $285–$385 double; from $650 suite. Children stay free in parent’s room. Weekend packages and other special offers often available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $26. MARTA: Arts Center. Pets up to 25 lb. accepted at no charge. Amenities: Restaurant; indoor pool; health club.

Gaslight Inn This 1913 Craftsman-style house is one of the most appealing B&Bs in Virginia-Highland and is now even more guest-friendly under its new ownership. The accommodations, especially the suites, are exquisitely decorated; some have four-poster beds, while others have whirlpool baths. Three of the seven units have full kitchens; the remainder have microwaves and refrigerators. The breakfast—recently named one of the best in the Southeast—is served in the formal dining room or outside on the front porch. 1001 St. Charles Ave (between Frederica St. and N. Highland Ave.), Atlanta, GA 30306. & 404/875-1001. Fax 404/876-1001. www.gaslightinn.com. 8 units. $115–$215 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. MARTA: North Ave. station, then bus 2 Ponce to Frederica St. In room: Fridge, microwave.

This is a good choice if you’re lookKids ing for a great Buckhead location at less than the usual Buckhead price. It’s within walking distance of several fine restaurants (Pricci is across the street and the Atlanta Fish Market is a few blocks away), and close to Buckhead nightlife. There’s also good shopping in the area, and a park nearby for the kids. Accommodations include spacious one- or two-bedroom suites with queen-size beds, a separate living room, and a full kitchen. The complimentary full breakfast is served buffet-style in a bright room next to the lobby.

Holiday Inn Express and Suites

505 Pharr Rd. (about a block off Piedmont Rd.), Atlanta, GA 30305. & 800/833-4353 or 404/262-7880. Fax 404/262-3734. www.hiexpress.com. 88 units. $99 1-bedroom suite; $139 2-bedroom suite; $159 trio with 2 bathrooms. Rates include full breakfast. AE, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. MARTA: Bus 5 from Lindbergh Station stops at the corner of Pharr Rd. and Piedmont., about a block away. Amenities: Outdoor pool; small exercise room.

Ritz-Carlton Atlanta Downtown Atlanta’s finest hotel is a bastion of luxury filled with antiques and fine art. The rooms are restful refuges decorated in traditional style, with bay windows, CD players, bathrobes, and fresh flowers.

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Bathrooms are as large and luxurious as you’d expect. And the service is impeccable—you’ll be cosseted as never before. 181 Peachtree St. NE (at Ellis St.), Atlanta, GA 30303. & 800/241-3333 or 404/659-0400. Fax 404/6880400. www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/atlanta_downtown. 444 units. From $389 double; $449 club level; $669 and way up suites. Rates include up to 4 people. Weekend packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $24. MARTA: Peachtree Center. Amenities: Restaurant; health club.

Ritz-Carlton Buckhead A 22-story tower soaring above Buckhead, the elegant Ritz-Carlton has been likened to Claridges in London. Located between Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, it’s a convenient way station for “shop-’til-you-drop” guests, with a lavish afternoon tea to revive your flagging energy. The guest rooms are large, yet manage to feel cozy; amenities include bathrobes, CD players in some rooms, and large bathrooms. 3434 Peachtree Rd. NE (at Lenox Rd.), Atlanta, GA 30326. & 800/241-3333 or 404/237-2700. Fax 404/2335168. www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/atlanta_buckhead. 553 units. From $399 double; $449 club level; $669 and way up suites. Rates include up to 4 people. Weekend packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $25; self-parking $15. MARTA: Buckhead or Lenox stations, then a short walk. Amenities: 2 restaurants; indoor pool; health club.

The Shellmont is a stylish two-story Victorian mansion that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Elaborate restoration has filled it with discreetly concealed modern amenities as well as historically appropriate furnishings. All rooms have leaded-glass or bay windows, VCRs, and bathrobes; the master suite has a full kitchen. Stand in the back garden, where there are verandas and three fishponds, and you’ll swear you’re in a small town in the Georgia countryside.

Shellmont Bed and Breakfast Lodge

821 Piedmont Ave. NE (at 6th St.), Atlanta, GA 30308. & 404/872-9290. Fax 404/872-5379. www.shellmont. com. 5 units. $115–$175 double; $150–$250 suite. Rates include full breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. MARTA: North Ave. or Midtown.

Westin Peachtree Plaza Atlanta’s most famous contemporary hotel is also the tallest, with 73 soaring floors. A bank of 18 elevators will carry you to the roof with its revolving restaurant, a grand spectacle for a special evening on the town. The hotel is in tiptop shape. The elegant guest rooms are comfortably large, with all the expected luxuries, including Westin’s famous Heavenly Bed, bathrobes, and roomy marble bathrooms. Ask for a room on a higher floor for a more panoramic view. 210 Peachtree St. NW (at International Blvd.), Atlanta, GA 30303. & 800/228-3000 or 404/659-1400. Fax 404/589-7591. www.westin.com. 1,116 units. $169–$259 double; from $325 suite. Children 17 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $20; no self-parking. Amenities: 2 restaurants; indoor pool; fitness center.

WHERE TO DINE This place serves up a great mix of Best SEAFOOD whimsy (there’s a three-story copper fish outside the entrance) and really good food. The main dining area has been compared to an old Southern train station; the new Geechee Crab Lounge manages to be both upscale and comfortable. The seared sea scallops, with crab cake ravioli, asparagus, spinach, and more, are highly recommended. The extensive menu changes daily.

Atlanta Fish Market

265 Pharr Rd. (between Peachtree and Piedmont roads). & 404/262-3165. www.buckheadrestaurants.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $11–$26 lunch (served until 3pm), $20–$39 dinner. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 11:30am–11pm; Fri–Sat 11:30am–midnight; Sun 4–10pm. MARTA: Buckhead.

Bacchanalia INTERNATIONAL

Posh and upscale, this establishment combines a stylish and sought-after restaurant with a boutique-style gourmet food

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shop. The setting is in a former 1920s meatpacking plant, on an unlikely looking drab commercial stretch at the edge of midtown. At dinnertime, go for the butter-poached lobster. Unusual fruit-and-cheese pairings are hard to resist. Wines are offered by the half-bottle. 1198 Howell Mill Rd. & 404/365-0410, ext. 22. www.starprovisions.com/bacc. Reservations recommended. Fixed-price dinner $65. AE, DISC, MC, V. Wed–Sat lunch starts at 11:30am; Mon–Sat dinner starts at 6pm. MARTA: 10th St.

Bone’s STEAK/SEAFOOD

In an atmosphere one food critic called “boardroom frat house,” this is just the place to get that juicy rib-eye steak weighing in at 22 ounces. Fresh Maine lobster is flown in daily, and the corn-fed beef is cut into steaks on the premises. Locals favor cheese grits fritters. A cigar humidor can be brought to your table at your request after dinner.

3130 Piedmont Rd. NE (a half-block past Peachtree Rd.). & 404/237-2663. Reservations required. Main courses $12–$38 lunch, $19–$38 dinner; all extras a la carte. AE, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm; Sun–Thurs 5:30–10:30pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm. MARTA: Buckhead.

Buckhead Diner AMERICAN Even though this place sounds like a hash house for truckers, this award-winner is decidedly upscale. A highly theatrical venture, the interior is designed to look like the interior of the famed Orient Express’s rail cars, and it has a gleaming stainless-steel exterior adorned with neon. Inside, the fare is contemporary American: braised lamb shank with yellow tomato baked beans, for example, or Granny Smith apple pie with a pecan crust. Be sure to leave room for the white chocolate banana-cream pie. 3073 Piedmont Rd. (at E. Paces Ferry Rd.). & 404/262-3336. www.buckheadrestaurants.com. Reservations not accepted, but you can call just before you go for “priority seating.” Main courses $8–$18 lunch, $16–$20 dinner. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Sat 11am–midnight; Sun 10am–10pm. MARTA: Buckhead.

City Grill AMERICAN One of Atlanta’s most opulent restaurants, City Grill is a mecca for power-lunchers and couples seeking a special night out. The setting is the 1912 Hurt Building (originally a Federal Reserve Bank), with its rotunda lined in marble with a gold-leaf dome. The frequently changing menu incorporates many Southern standards such as Georgia bobwhite quail, veal meatloaf, or smoked chicken. A South Georgia dairy farm provides the choices for the nighttime cheese plates. The selection of French and California wines is about as good as Atlanta gets. 50 Hurt Plaza (at Edgewood Ave.). & 404/524-2489. www.greathospitalityrestaurants.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $9–$15 lunch, $14–$32 dinner; chef’s tasting menu starts at $45. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm; Mon–Sat 6–10pm. MARTA: Peachtree Center.

The Colonnade SOUTHERN An Atlanta favorite since 1927, this friendly joint offers great value, stiff drinks, and an authentic Southern-style meat-andthree. Inexpensively priced steaks, chops, seafood, and the inevitable Southern fried chicken round out the menu. Don’t miss the yeast rolls. 1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd. NE, between Wellborne Dr. and Manchester St. & 404/874-5642. Reservations not accepted. Main courses $8–$15 lunch, slightly higher at dinner. No credit cards, but out-of-town personal checks accepted. Wed–Sat 11:30am–2:30pm; Wed–Thurs 5–9pm; Fri–Sat 5–10pm; Sun 11:30am–9pm.

Floataway Café COUNTRY FRENCH/ITALIAN

Mediterranean-inspired and innovative, this airy restaurant’s menu features top-quality ingredients. Hand-cut pastas are wonderful; locals also rave about the steak with pommes frites, and a salad of beets and avocados topped with a citrus dressing. You really can’t get here using MARTA; if the cabdriver pulls up to an old warehouse, don’t

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worry—you’re in the right place. Get out and follow the crowd. If the inside is too noisy, move to one of the outdoor tables. 1123 Zonolite Rd. NE (between Briarcliff and Lenox roads, near Emory University). & 404/892-1414. www. starprovisions.com/float. Reservations recommended. Main courses $15–$23. AE, MC, V. Tues–Sat 5–10pm.

Horseradish Grill SOUTHERN This restaurant began life as a country store,

then a horse barn, and retains much of that simple style. Eat in the romantic main dining room or on the patio outside. Organic vegetables and wildflowers are grown in a backyard garden, and everything is made from scratch, including the ice cream. The menu is upscale Southern, simply prepared. Start with the corn-bread-crusted Georgia mountain trout or jumbo shrimp and grits, and end with the Kentucky oatmeal spice cake topped with caramel ice cream. 4320 Powers Ferry Rd. (at W. Wieuca Rd.). & 404/255-7277. www.horseradishgrill.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $6–$10 lunch, $15–$27 dinner. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm; Mon–Thurs 5:30–9pm; Fri–Sat 5–11pm; Sun 5–9pm. MARTA: Buckhead.

Sotto Sotto TUSCAN

The best and most appealing restaurant in Inman Park occupies a former row of brick-fronted stores built around 1900. We recommend the excellent wood-roasted whole fish or the seafood risotto. A favorite pasta is tortelli di Michelangelo, stuffed with minced veal, pork, and chicken, served with brown butter and sage sauce. Portions are generous and the service friendly. Chocolate lovers must save room for the chocolate soup. If the wait is too long (and it can be 45 min., even with a reservation), get a Neapolitan pizza at next-door sister restaurant Fritti Fritti. Note: The restaurant’s name may mean “Hush Hush” in Italian, but the noise level here can climb to unbearable levels. If you’re looking for an intimate, romantic meal, head elsewhere.

313 N. Highland Ave. & 404/523-6678. www.sottosottorestaurant.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $31–$50. AE, DC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 5:30–11pm; Fri–Sat 5:30pm–midnight.

The Varsity AMERICAN

Some 16,000 people dine daily at this Atlanta institution, 30,000 if there’s a home football game at nearby Georgia Tech. This is the world’s largest drive-in, opened in 1928. Service is fast both carside and inside, with seats and stand-up eating counters; the food is good and prices are definitely low. Ordering can be an adventure; counter workers greet you with a rapid-fire, “Whaddya have? Whaddya have?” Hot dogs are called “dawgs,” and hamburgers are “steaks.” Tip: If you want a cheeseburger, be sure to ask for pimento cheese. True, it’s a mess, but you’ve never had anything like it. For visitors staying closer to Buckhead or Virginia-Highland, there’s a Varsity Jr. at 185 Lindbergh Dr. (& 404/261-8843).

61 North Ave. (at Spring St.). & 404/881-1706. www.thevarsity.com. Under $5. No credit cards. Sun–Thurs 9am–11:30pm; Fri–Sat 9am–12:30am. MARTA: North Ave.

ATLANTA AFTER DARK The biggest concentration of clubs and bars is in Buckhead (near the intersection of Peachtree and E. Paces Ferry roads); in Virginia-Highland (at the intersection of Virginia and N. Highland aves., on North Highland just north of Ponce de Leon Ave.); in Little Five Points (near the intersection of Moreland and Euclid aves.); and downtown near Peachtree Center. The Buckhead scene, for the most part, is like a huge frat party, especially on weekends. (Warning: Serious crime, including hit-and-run fatalities and high-profile murders, has risen here in recent years as the club scene grows.) Virginia-Highland is full of professional 20- and 30-somethings. Little Five Points is an eclectic mix of

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wildly, weirdly dressed folks and neighborhood regulars. Downtown has a large proportion of out-of-town visitors and convention-goers. To find out what’s going on, consult the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Thursday “Big ‘A’ List” pullout section. Or pick up a free copy of Creative Loafing, available all over town. THE PERFORMING ARTS See “What to See & Do,” earlier in this section, for details on the Fox Theatre, which hosts all kinds of performances. The oldest continuously operating ballet company in the United States, the Atlanta Ballet, performs in the Fox Theatre (& 404/892-3303; www.atlanta ballet.com). The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Woodruff Arts, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, at 15th Street (& 404/733-5000; www.atlantasymphony.org), is complemented by the 200-voice Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, enabling performances of large-scale symphonic/choral works. The season runs from September to May, plus summer concerts in Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Buckhead. The Alliance Theatre Company, Woodruff Arts (& 404/733-5000; www. alliancetheatre.org), is the largest regional theater in the Southeast, but there are many other excellent companies, with performances ranging from experimental to classic. Watch each summer for performances by the Georgia Shakespeare Festival (& 404/264-0020; www.gashakespeare.org). THE CLUB & MUSIC SCENE Atlanta’s club scene is ephemeral; there’s a good chance that the packed venue you visited on your last visit has since closed and reopened as something entirely different. Still, there are a few old reliables. In Buckhead, Johnny’s Hideaway, 3771 Roswell Rd., 2 blocks north of Piedmont Road (& 404/233-8026; www.johnnyshideaway.com), has been one of Atlanta’s top nightspots for more than 2 decades. The music sweeps through the decades, from the big-band era to the ’80s, attracting a crowd of all ages. Original owner Johnny Esposito, who retired for health reasons in 1999 and then un-retired due to boredom, opened a new club in June 2002 near his original. His new one, Johnny’s Side Door, is part of the Landmark Diner, 3652 Roswell Rd., in Buckhead (& 404/844-0408). An elegant co*cktail lounge/dance club, Tongue & Groove, 3055 Peachtree Rd. (& 404/261-2325; www.tongueand grooveonline.com), attracts a chic crowd (there’s a dress code). The DJ spins dance music with a different theme every night. On the east side, closer to Emory, Eddie’s Attic, 515-B N. McDonough St., Decatur (& 404/377-4976; www.eddiesattic.com), is Atlanta’s most popular venue for acoustic singer/songwriters. The Indigo Girls, Billy Pilgrim, and Shawn Mullins started their careers here. In Virginia-Highland, the Dark Horse Tavern, 816 N. Highland Ave. (& 404/873-3607; www.darkhorseatlanta.com), is known as the place for young professionals to meet. Those more interested in local bands than romance can visit 10 High Club in the Dark Horse basem*nt. East Atlanta Village, a newer, rougher version of Little Five Points but farther east at the intersection of Flat Shoals and Glenwood avenues, is home to several clubs featuring independent and underground acts. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. SE (& 404/522-3950; www.badearl.com); Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. SE (& 404/681-3600; http://echostatic.com); and Eastside Lounge, 485 Flat Shoals Ave. (& 404/522-7841), are among the better known. Because so many nightclubs offering varying entertainment formats are grouped conveniently at Underground Atlanta, Kenny’s Alley club-hopping is also popular.

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THE BAR & CAFE SCENE Atlanta’s quintessential sports bar is Jocks & Jills Midtown, 112 Tenth St. NE (& 404/873-5405; www.jocks-frankies.com; MARTA: Midtown), whose more than 70 TVs will ensure you don’t miss a minute of the big game. Mumbo Jumbo, 89 Park Place NE, at Woodruff Park (& 404/523-0330; MARTA: Peachtree Center), is a restaurant/bar that’s the place to see and be seen. Fadó, 3035 Peachtree Rd. NE, at the corner of Buckhead Avenue, just south of East Paces Ferry Road (& 404/841-0066; www.fadoirishpub.com), is divided into five pub areas: a cottage pub with a peat-burning fireplace, a Victorian pub with dark wood and stained glass, and so on. There’s often traditional Irish or Celtic music. It’s a good place to watch televised soccer. Not far from Virginia-Highland and Little Five Points is Manuel’s Tavern, 602 N. Highland Ave. NE, at North Avenue (& 404/525-3447; www.manuels tavern.com), a regular watering hole for journalists, politicos, cops, students, and writers. Jimmy Carter often drops by with the Secret Service when he’s in town. It’s lots of fun to watch a Braves game on TV here. A classic San Francisco–style coffeehouse, the Red Light Café, 553 W. Amsterdam Ave., between Monroe Drive and Piedmont Park (& 404/874-7828; www.redlightcafe.com), is a cybercafe with tables and comfy sofas, offering a mix of art, music, conversation, and beverages.

6 Savannah Savannah’s free spirit and hint of decadence give it more kinship with Key West or New Orleans than with the Bible Belt down-home interior of Georgia. Savannah—pronounce it with a drawl—conjures up all the clichéd images of the deep South: live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, stately antebellum mansions, and mint juleps sipped on the veranda. Old Savannah is beautifully restored and is the largest urban National Historic Landmark District in the country. Forrest Gump first put Savannah on the tourist map, but nothing has changed the face of Savannah more than the 1994 publication of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It long ago disappeared from the bestseller lists but is still going strong in Savannah.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Savannah International Airport (www. savannahairport.com) is about 8 miles west of downtown just off I-16. It’s served by American, Delta, United, and US Airways, and all major car-rental agencies have desks here. Pre-arranged limousine service to downtown locations (& 912/ 659-1719) costs about $25. Taxi fare is about $20 for one person and $10 for each extra passenger. By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) provides service from Charleston (trip time: 13⁄4 hr.), Washington, D.C. (111⁄2 hr.), Jacksonville (21⁄4 hr.), and Miami (12 hr.) to its station at 2611 Seaboard Coastline Dr., some 4 miles southwest of downtown. Cab fare into the city is around $5. By Car Major routes into Savannah are I-95 from the north (Richmond, VA) and south (Jacksonville), and I-16 from the west (Atlanta). VISITOR INFORMATION The Savannah Visitor Center, 301 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Savannah, GA 31401 (& 912/944-0455; www.savannahvisit.com), is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm. It offers organized tours and self-guided walking, driving, or bike tours with excellent maps. (You’ll also find a replica of

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COLONIAL PARK CEMETERY

W. Hull St. Chippewa Square E. Perry

E. Liberty St.

Green-Meldrim House

W. Harris St.

Lincoln St.

Calhoun Square

Habersham St.

W. Gaston St.

Monterrey Square

Abercorn St.

Chatham Square W. Gordon St. 13

Drayton St.

Barnard St.

Jefferson St.

Montgomery St.

.

E. State St. 7 Columbia

To Bonaventure Cemetery Hamilton-Turner House & Ghost House E. Harris St. Pulaski Madison Lafayette Flannery Troup Square Square Square O'Connor Square E. Charlton St. Home Andrew Low House W. Jones St. 12 E. Jones St. 10 11 W. Taylor St. E. Taylor St.

W. Liberty St.

W. Charlton St.

St a lm e S 16

Oglethorpe Square 8

Bull St.

Savannah History Museum Louisville Rd.

Orleans Square W. Perry St.

Whitaker St.

Elbert Civic Square Center

E.

9

W. Oglethorpe Ave.

Visitors Center

Davenport House Museum E. Broughton St.

Owens-Thomas House & Musuem Wright Square W. York St.

5

E. Bryan St. Washington Warren Square Square E. Congress St.

Reynolds

6 Square

W. Broughton St. Telfair Mansion & Art Museum W. State St. President Telfair St. Square W. York St.

EMMET PARK E. Bay St.

Houston St.

Greyhound Station

Johnson Square

100 meters

E. River St.

2 3 ' Walk tors Fac 4

W. Bryan St. Franklin Ellis Square Square 1 W. Congress St.

1/8 mile

Whitfield Square

E. Gordon St.

Mercer House FORSYTH PARK

14 E. Gaston St. 15 16

ACCOMMODATIONS

DINING

The Ballastone Inn 9

Clary’s Café 12

Bed and Breakfast Inn 13

Elizabeth on 37th 16

Courtyard by Marriott 15

45 South at the Pirate's House 5

Fairfield Inn by Marriott 15

Huey’s 2

Eliza Thompson House 11

The Lady & Sons 1

The Gastonian 14

Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room 10

Hampton Inn 4

The Olde Pink House Restaurant 6

The Kehoe House 7 The Presidents’ Quarters 8 River Street Inn 3

Atlanta Savannah GE OR GIA

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Forrest Gump’s bench here; lots of visitors still bring a box of chocolates for this photo op.) Information is also available from the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, 101 E. Bay St., Savannah, GA 31402 (& 877/ SAVANNAH; www.savcvb.com). The website, www.midnightinthegarden.com, will tell you everything you want to know about The Book. GETTING AROUND The grid-shaped Historic District is best seen on foot; the real point of your visit is to take leisurely strolls with frequent stops in the many squares. You can reach many points of interest outside the Historic District by bus, but your own wheels will be much more convenient, and they’re absolutely essential for sightseeing outside the city proper. The base rate for taxis is $1.50, with a $1.50 additional charge for each mile. For 24-hour taxi service, call Adam Cab Co. at & 912/927-7466. FAST FACTS There are 24-hour emergency-room services at Candler General Hospital, 5353 Reynolds St. (& 912/692-6637), and at the Memorial Medical Center, 4700 Waters Ave. (& 912/350-8390). The sales tax rate in Savannah is 6%; hotel taxes add 12% to your bill. Although it’s reasonably safe to explore the Historic and Victorian districts during the day, the situation changes at night. The clubs, bars, and restaurants along the riverfront have very little crime. SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS In mid-September, there’s the Savannah Jazz Festival, featuring national and local jazz and blues legends. Contact Host South at & 912/232-2222 or see www.coastaljazz.com for details. Late October brings the Tom Turpin Ragtime Festival (& 912/233-9989). December is especially festive, with the Festival of Trees at the Marriott Riverfront Hotel; Christmas 1864, a dramatic re-creation of the Civil War evacuation of Fort Jackson; and the Annual Holiday Tour of Homes (& 912/236-8362).

WHAT TO SEE & DO Virtually every tour group in town offers tours of the Midnight sites, many of which are included on their regular agenda. A delightful way to see Savannah is by horse-drawn carriage. An authentic antique carriage carries you over cobblestone streets as the coachman spins a tale of the town’s history. The 1-hour tour ($19 adults, $8 children) covers 15 of the city’s 20 squares. Reservations are required, so contact Carriage Tours of Savannah (& 912/236-6756; www.savannahgeorgia.com/carriagetours). Old Town Trolley Tours (& 912/233-0083; www.oldtowntrolley.com) operates tours of the Historic District, with pickups at most downtown inns and hotels ($20 adults, $10 children 4–12), as well as a 11⁄2-hour Haunted History tour detailing Savannah’s ghostly past (and present). Call to reserve for all tours. Savannah Riverboat Cruises are offered aboard the Savannah River Queen, operated by the River Street Riverboat Co., 9 E. River St. (& 800/786-6404 or 912/232-6404; www.savannah-riverboat.com). The fare for adults is $16, children $9.50. More expensive dinner cruises are available, too. Andrew Low House After her marriage, Juliette Low lived in this 1848 house, and it was here that she founded the Girl Scouts. She died on the premises in 1927. The classic mid-19th-century house facing Lafayette Square is of stucco over brick with elaborate ironwork, shuttered piazzas, carved woodwork, and crystal chandeliers. William Makepeace Thackeray visited here twice, and Robert E. Lee was entertained at a gala reception in the double parlors in 1870. Guided tours are offered every half-hour.

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329 Abercorn St. & 912/233-6854. www.andrewlowhouse.com. Admission $7 adults, $4.50 students, children 6–12, and Girl Scouts, free for children under 6. Mon–Wed and Fri 10am–4pm; Sat–Sun noon–4pm.

This is where seven determined women started the whole Savannah restoration movement in 1954. They raised $22,500 and purchased the house, saving it from demolition. Constructed between 1815 and 1820 by master builder Isaiah Davenport, this is one of the truly great Federalstyle houses in the United States, with delicate ironwork and a handsome elliptical stairway. Give yourself about an hour to explore.

Davenport House Museum

324 E. State St. & 912/236-8097. www.davenportsavga.com. Admission $7 adults, $3.50 children 6–18, free for children under 6. Mon–Sat 10am–4pm; Sun 1–4pm.

Fort Jackson Georgia’s oldest standing fort, with a 9-foot-deep tidal moat around its brick walls, was begun in 1808 and manned during the War of 1812. It was enlarged and strengthened between 1845 and 1860 and saw its greatest use as headquarters for the Confederate river defenses during the Civil War. Its arched rooms, designed to support the weight of heavy cannons mounted above, hold 13 exhibit areas. Allow 1 hour. 1 Fort Jackson Rd. (about 21⁄2 miles east of Savannah via the Islands Expwy.). & 912/232-3945. www.chs georgia.org. Admission $4.50 adults, $3.50 seniors and children 6–18, free for children under 6. Daily 9am–5pm.

Fort McAllister On the banks of the Great Ogeechee River stood this Confederate earthwork fortification. Constructed from 1861 to 1862, it withstood nearly 2 years of bombardment before it finally fell on December 13, 1864, in a bayonet charge that ended General Sherman’s “March to the Sea.” There’s a visitor center with historic exhibits and also walking trails and campsites. A visit takes 45 minutes. Richmond Hill, 10 miles southwest on U.S. 17. & 912/727-2339. Admission $2.50 adults, $1.50 children. Daily 8am–5pm.

Fort Pulaski It cost $1 million and took 25 tons of brick and 18 years of toil

to finish this fortress at the mouth of the Savannah River. Yet this National Monument was captured in just 30 hours by Union forces. Completed in 1847 with walls 71⁄2 feet thick, it was taken by Georgia forces at the beginning of the war. However, on April 11, 1862, defense strategy changed worldwide when Union cannons, firing from more than a mile away on Tybee Island, overcame a masonry fortification. The effectiveness of rifled artillery (firing a bullet-shaped projectile with great accuracy at long range) was clearly demonstrated. The new Union weapon marked the end of the era of masonry fortifications. You can still find shells from 1862 imbedded in the walls. Visits average 45 minutes. 15 miles east of Savannah off U.S. 80 on co*ckspur and McQueen islands. & 912/786-5787. www.nps.gov/ fopu. Admission $3 adults, free for under 16. Daily 9am–5pm.

Green-Meldrim Home This impressive house was built on Madison Square for cotton merchant Charleston Green, but its moment in history came as the Savannah headquarters of Gen. William Tec*mseh Sherman at the end of his 1864 “March to the Sea.” It was from this Gothic-style house that the general sent a telegram to President Lincoln, offering him the city as a Christmas gift. Now the Parish House for St. John’s Episcopal Church, the house is open to the public. A good look takes 30 minutes. 14 W. Macon St. & 912/233-3845. Admission $5 adults, $3 children. Tues and Thurs–Fri 10am–4pm; Sat 10am–1pm.

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Owen-Thomas House & Museum Famed as a place where Lafayette spent the night in 1825, this jewel box of a house evokes the heyday of Savannah’s golden age. It was designed in 1816 by English architect William Jay, who instilled in it the grace of Georgian Bath in England and the splendor of Regency London. You can visit the bedchambers, kitchen, drawing and dining rooms, and garden in about 45 minutes. 124 Abercorn St. & 912/233-9743. Admission $8 adults, $7 seniors, $4 students, $2 children 6–12, free for children under 6. Mon noon–5pm; Tues–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm.

Savannah History Museum Housed in the restored train shed of the old Central Georgia Railway station, this museum is a good introduction to the city. In the theater, The Siege of Savannah is replayed. In addition to theatrics, there’s an exhibition hall displaying memorabilia from every era of Savannah’s history. Allow 1 hour. 303 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd. & 912/238-1779. www.chsgeorgia.org. Admission $4 adults, $3.50 seniors, students, and children 11 and older, $3 children 6–11, free for children under 6. Mon–Fri 8:30am–5pm; Sat–Sun 9am–5pm.

The oldest public art museum in the South, housing both American and European paintings, was designed and built in 1818 by William Jay, a young English architect noted for introducing the Regency style to America. A sculpture gallery and rotunda were added in 1883, and Jefferson Davis attended the formal opening in 1886. William Jay’s period rooms have been restored, and the Octagon Room and Dining Room are particularly outstanding. Visits last 45 minutes.

Telfair Mansion and Art Museum

121 Bernard St. & 912/232-1177. www.telfair.org. Admission $8 adults, $7 seniors, $2 students, $1 children 6–12, free for children under 6. Mon noon–5pm; Tues–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm.

LITERARY LANDMARKS Long before John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, other writers were associated with Savannah. Chief of them was Flannery O’Connor (1924–64), one of the South’s greatest writers. Between October and May, an association dedicated to her offers readings, films, and lectures about her and other Southern writers. You can visit the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home at 207 E. Charlton St. (& 912/233-6014). The house is open Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4pm. Free admission. Conrad Aiken (1889–1973), the American poet, critic, writer, and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also born in Savannah. He lived at 228 and later at 230 E. Oglethorpe Ave. Mercer House, 429 Bull St., used in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is not open to the public. It’s been called “the envy of Savannah,” and thousands of visitors stop by to photograph it. It was here in May 1981 that wealthy antiques dealer Jim Williams fatally shot his lover/assistant, that blond “walking streak of sex,” Danny Hansford, age 21. Mercer House is also where Williams gave his legendary Christmas parties each year. In January 1990, Jim Williams died of a heart attack at 59, in the same room where he’d killed Hansford. (And, no, Johnny Mercer never lived in this house, but it was built by his great-grandfather.) All fans of The Book must pay a visit to Bonaventure Cemetery, filled with obelisks and columns and dense shrubbery and moss-draped trees. Bonaventure is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Take Wheaton Street east from downtown to Bonaventure Road. This cemetery lies on the grounds of what was once a great oak-shaded plantation. It was at the cemetery that John Berendt had martinis in

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silver goblets with Miss Harty, while they sat on the bench-gravestone of Conrad Aiken. Songwriter Johnny Mercer is buried in plot H-48.

SHOPPING River Street is a shopper’s delight, with some 9 blocks (including Riverfront Plaza) of interesting shops, offering everything from crafts to clothing to souvenirs. The City Market, between Ellis and Franklin squares on West St. Julian Street, boasts art galleries, boutiques, and sidewalk cafes along with horse-and-carriage rides. Bookstores, boutiques, and antiques shops are located between Wright Square and Forsyth Park. J. D. Weed & Co., 102 W. Victory Dr. (& 912/234-8540), is one of our favorite antiques dealers. Memory Lane, 220 W. Bay St. (& 912/232-0975), offers more than 8,000 square feet of collectibles. The leading galleries include Gallery 209, 209 E. River St. (& 912/2364583); John Tucker Gallery, 5 W. Charlton St. (& 912/231-8161); Morning Star Gallery, 8 E. Liberty St. (& 912/233-4307); and the Village Craftsmen, 223 W. River St. (& 912/236-7280).

WHERE TO STAY Because many of Savannah’s historic inns are in former converted residences, price ranges can vary greatly. A very expensive hotel might also have some smaller and more moderately priced units—so it pays to ask. The Ballastone Best This glamorous, award-winning B&B is a celeb favorite and occupies a dignified 1838 building separated from the Juliette Gordon Low House by a well-tended formal garden; it’s richly decorated with hardwoods, elaborate draperies, and antiques and is ideal for romantic couples. There’s an elevator, unusual for Savannah B&Bs, but no closets (they were taxed as extra rooms in the old days). All rooms offer bathrobes, deluxe toiletries, and VCRs; some have Jacuzzi tubs. The four suites are in a clapboard town house that’s a 5-minute walk away from the main building and is staffed with its own live-in receptionists. A very good breakfast is served, as are afternoon tea and evening hors d’oeuvres. 14 E. Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah, GA 31401. & 800/822-4553 or 912/236-1484. Fax 912/236-4626. www. ballastone.com. 16 units. $215–$355 double; $395 suite. Rates include full breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening hors d’oeuvres. AE, MC, V. Free parking. Pets accepted for $50 fee (under 25 lb. permitted). No children under the age of 16. Amenities: Free passes to local health club; in-room massage available.

Bed and Breakfast Inn In the oldest part of historic Savannah, this is a dignified stone-fronted town house built in 1853, and is a suitable address for both families and couples. You climb a gracefully curved front stoop to reach the cool high-ceilinged interior, outfitted with a combination of antique and reproduction furniture. Most rooms offer four-poster beds. 117 W. Gordon St. (at Chatham Sq.), Savannah, GA 31401. & 912/238-0518. Fax 912/233-2537. www. savannahbnb.com. 18 units. $89–$169 double. Children up to age 12 stay in parent’s room for $15. Rates include full breakfast and afternoon tea. DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Smoking not permitted.

Eliza Thompson House The rooms of this stately home, attracting families and couples, are equally divided between the original 1847 building and a converted carriage house. Steve and Carol Day have completely redecorated, using original Savannah colors, beautiful antiques, and Oriental carpets. You’ll find comfortable cotton robes, fine linens, and well-kept, elegant bathrooms. The inn is also graced with one of the most beautiful courtyards in the city. Breakfast is a lavish affair, usually served outdoors.

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5 W. Jones St., Savannah, GA 31401. & 800/348-9378 or 912/236-3620. Fax 912/238-1920. www.eliza thompsonhouse.com. 25 units. $169–$249 double. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include full breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Smoking not permitted.

One of the most posh B&Bs in Savannah, this Relais & Châteaux property, catering mainly to adults, incorporates a pair of Italianate Regency buildings constructed in 1868. Today everything is a testimonial to Victorian charm, except for a skillfully crafted serpentine bridge connecting the two buildings and curving above a verdant semitropical garden. Rooms are appropriately plush, comfortable, cozy, and beautifully furnished; some rooms have whirlpool tubs, others have working fireplaces. Afternoon tea is served in a formal drawing room.

The Gastonian

220 E. Gaston St., Savannah, GA 31401. & 800/322-6603 or 912/232-2869. Fax 912/232-0710. www. gastonian.com. 17 units. $215–$345 double; from $395 suite. Discount packages available. Rates include full breakfast and afternoon tea. AE, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. No children under 12.

Hampton Inn Value Kids Opened in 1997, this family favorite rises above busy Bay Street, across from Savannah’s Riverwalk and some of the city’s most hopping nightclubs. Its lobby was designed to mimic an 18th-century Savannah salon, thanks to heart-of-pine flooring and antique Savannah bricks. Rooms are simple and comfortable, with wall-to-wall carpeting and medium-size bathrooms. 201 E. Bay St., Savannah, GA. & 800/576-4945 or 912/231-0440. Fax 912/231-9940. www.hotelsavannah. com. 144 units. Sun–Thurs $155 double; Fri–Sat $179 double. Children 18 and under stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $8. Amenities: Pool; fitness room; smoking not permitted. In room: Fridge (in some), microwave (in some).

This is a spectacularly opulent B&B set in an 1892 mansion, with a museum-quality collection of fabrics and furniture, although it might be too flawless and formal for some tastes. Tom Hanks stayed in room no. 301 during the filming of Forrest Gump. Rooms are spacious, with 12-foot ceilings, and each is tastefully furnished in English period antiques. All units have well-kept bathrooms with plush bathrobes; some offer balconies.

The Kehoe House

123 Habersham St., Savannah, GA 31401. & 800/820-1020 or 912/232-1020. Fax 912/231-0208. www. williamkehoehouse.com. 13 units. $240–$420 double. Children 12 and under stay free in parent’s room. Rates include full breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening hors d’oeuvres. AE, DISC, MC, V. Free parking.

After a $12-million renovation, this landmark antebellum hotel, having closed in the early 1960s, is once again receiving guests. A luxurious decor, great iron verandas, and original features such as claw-foot tubs await guests, who range from business execs to families and couples. All the midsize to spacious bedrooms are modernized but still retain an aura of the 19th century with pinewood floors and rocking chairs resting under ceiling fans. Nice touches include bathrobes, Bath & Bodyworks toiletries, and bottled water.

The Marshall House

123 E. Broughton St., Savannah, GA 31401. & 912/644-7896. Fax 800/589-6304 or 912/234-3334. www. marshallhouse.com. 68 units. $179–$199 double; $209–$239 suite. Children 12 and under stay free in parent’s room. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $10. Amenities: Restaurant; free membership in nearby health club.

This place manages to combine the charm of a B&B with the efficiency of a much larger place, and is ideal for couples or business travelers. There are many appealing aspects, including the rooms—each named for a different American president—and bathrooms that are among the largest and most comfortable in Savannah. Some rooms feature four-poster

The Presidents’ Quarters

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beds; others have full-canopy beds. All rooms offer bathrobes. Continental breakfast and afternoon tea are served each day on the brick patio. 225 E. President St., Savannah, GA 31401. & 888/592-1812 or 912/233-1600. Fax 912/238-0849. www. presidentsquarters.com. 19 units. $137–$185 double; $187–$235 suite. Children under 10 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Restaurant; smoking not permitted. In room: Fridge.

This restored former cotton warehouse now has a dash of colonial pizzazz in its public areas, and the building’s warren of brick-lined storerooms have been converted into some of the most comfortable and well-maintained rooms in town. All rooms offer a view of the Savannah River and bathrobes; some have four-poster beds. You’ll be near tons of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. A wine-and-cheese reception is held in the evening Monday through Saturday.

River Street Inn

115 E. River St., Savannah, GA 31401. & 800/253-4229 or 912/234-6400. Fax 912/234-1478. www.river streetinn.com. 86 units. $159–$229 double; $275 suite. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, MC, V. Parking $6. Amenities: Smoking not permitted. In room: Fridge.

WHERE TO DINE Clary’s Café AMERICAN

Clary’s, serving breakfast and lunch, has been a Savannah tradition since 1903, though the ambience today is decidedly 1950s. The place was famous long before it was featured in Midnight in the Garden. John Berendt is still a frequent patron, as is the fabled drag diva Lady Chablis. Begin your day with the classic Hoppel Poppel (scrambled eggs with chunks of kosher salami, potatoes, onions, and green peppers), or drop in for fresh salads, stir-fries, homemade chicken soup, or flame-broiled burgers.

404 Abercorn St. (at Jones St.). & 912/233-0402. Breakfast $3.95–$8.95; main courses $5.95–$7.95. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 7am–4pm; Fri 7am–5pm; Sat 8am–5pm; Sun 8am–4pm.

This restaurant is the Best MODERN SOUTHERN most glamorous and upscale in town, and is the best choice for a romantic night out. It’s housed in a palatial neoclassical-style 1900 villa ringed with semitropical landscaping and cascades of Spanish moss. Menu items change with the season and manage to retain their gutsy originality despite an elegant presentation. Their signature dish is grouper Celeste (sesame and almond-crusted grouper in a peanut sauce). The desserts are the best in Savannah.

Elizabeth on 37th

105 E. 37th St. & 912/236-5547. www.elizabethon37th.com. Reservations required. Main courses $24–$32. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs and Sun 6–9:30pm; Fri–Sat 6–10:30pm.

45 South at the Pirate’s House INTERNATIONAL/SEAFOOD Recom-

mended by Food & Wine, Southern Living, and even Playboy, this ritzy restaurant has an ever-changing menu that might feature smoked North Carolina trout and other contemporary American food, including some of the best seafood caught off the Carolina coasts. The food has been called “gourmet Southern.” The setting is softly lit with elegantly set tables and a cozy bar; the service is impeccable. 20 E. Broad St. & 912/233-1881. www.thepirateshouse.com. Reservations required. Jacket or tie preferred. Main courses $23–$32. AE, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 6–9pm; Fri–Sat 6–9:30pm.

Huey’s Kids CAJUN/CREOLE This casual place overlooking the Savannah River even manages to please visitors from New Orleans—and that’s saying a lot. It’s usually packed with folks, especially families, enjoying dishes such as an oyster poor-boy, jambalaya with andouille sausage, crayfish étouffée, and crab-andshrimp au gratin. The soups are homemade and the appetizers distinctive. Service is hectic but efficient.

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Under the River Street Inn, 115 E. River St. & 912/234-7385. Reservations not accepted. Main courses $12–$22; sandwiches $6–$10. AE, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Thurs 7am–10pm; Fri 7am–11pm; Sat 8am–11pm; Sun 8am–10pm.

Paula Deen started this place in 1989 Value SOUTHERN with $200; today she runs one of Savannah’s most celebrated restaurants, a temple to greens and grits. The wonderful crab cakes and amazing chicken potpie topped with puff pastry best exhibit her style. The locals love her buffets, which are very Southern—with fried chicken, meatloaf, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese. Lunches are busy with a loyal following; dinners are casual and inventive. Deen has three best-selling cookbooks in print and also hosts a toprated cooking show, Paula’s Home Cooking, on the Food Network.

The Lady & Sons

102 W. Congress St. & 912/233-2600. www.ladyandsons.com. Reservations not accepted. Main courses $18–$24; all-you-can-eat buffet $17; Sun buffet $15. AE, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Sat 11am–3pm; Mon–Thurs 5–9pm; Fri–Sat 5–10pm; Sun 11am–5pm (buffet only).

Remember the days of the Value SOUTHERN boardinghouse, when everybody sat together and belly-busting food was served in big dishes at the center of the table? The late Sema Wilkes launched this former boardinghouse, now a restaurant, in the 1940s, and it’s still going strong. You won’t find a sign, but you probably will find a long line of people patiently waiting for a seat. The cooks believe in freshness, and will fill you and your family with fried or barbecued chicken, red rice and sausage, corn on the cob, squash and yams, corn bread, collard greens, and other down-home favorites.

Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room

107 W. Jones St. (west of Bull St.). & 912/232-5997. www.mrswilkes.com. Reservations not accepted. Lunch $13. No credit cards. Mon–Fri 11am–2pm.

The Olde Pink House Restaurant SEAFOOD/AMERICAN Built in 1771 and painted pink, this house was once headquarters for one of Sherman’s generals. Today its interior is severe and dignified, with stiff-backed chairs, bare wooden floors, and a colonial ambience, ideal for a romantic night on the town. The cuisine is richly steeped in the traditions of the Low Country. The chef ’s signature dish is crispy sautéed flounder in an apricot sauce. You can enjoy your meal in the candlelit dining rooms or in the basem*nt-level piano bar. 23 Abercorn St. & 912/232-4286. Reservations recommended. Main courses $15–$29. AE, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 5:30–10:30pm; Fri 5:30–11pm.

SAVANNAH AFTER DARK To find out what’s what on the Savannah nightlife scene, check www.savannah underground.com on the Internet. River Street, along the Savannah River, is the heart of the action. Many night owls stroll the waterfront until they hear the sound of music they like, and then follow their ears inside. Savannah Civic Center’s Johnny Mercer Theater, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave. (& 800/351-7469 or 912/651-6656), is home to ballet, musicals, and Broadway shows. Check locally to see what’s on. In summer, concerts of jazz, Big Band, and Dixieland music fill downtown Johnson Square with lots of foot-tapping sounds. Some of Savannah’s finest musicians perform regularly. Planters Tavern, in the Olde Pink House Restaurant, 23 Abercorn St. (& 912/ 232-4286), is a beloved local spot, graced with a sprawling and convivial bar, a pair of fireplaces, and a decor of antique bricks and carefully polished hardwoods. You can listen to the melodies emanating from the sadder-but-wiser

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pianist, or perhaps you’ll catch the endearingly elegant Gail Thurmond, one of Savannah’s most legendary songstresses. Most unpretentious is Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub, 117 W. River St. (& 912/ 233-9626; www.kevinbarrys.com), which is the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day. The Rail Pub, 405 W. Congress St. (& 912/238-1311), is sophisticated but low-key. On your nightly pub crawl, check out such local fun spots as: Mercury Lounge, 125 W. Congress St. (& 912/447-6952), with the biggest martinis in Savannah; the “high octane” Monkey Bar, 8 E. Broughton St. (& 912/2320755), with live music nightly, or the bar and grill; and Bernies, 115 E. River St. (& 912/236-1827), lying along the waterfront in a pre–Civil War cotton warehouse, with all the ambience today of an old portside pub. Savannah’s leading gay club is Club One, 1 Jefferson St. (& 912/232-0200), where you can catch a drag show, sometimes starring Lady Chablis.

7 Hilton Head The largest sea island between New Jersey and Florida, Hilton Head offers broad, sandy beaches warmed by the Gulf Stream and fringed with palm trees and rolling dunes. The subtropical climate makes all this beauty the ideal setting for golf and saltwater fishing. Far more sophisticated and upscale than Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, Hilton Head feels like a luxurious planned community.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE It’s easy to fly into Charleston, rent a car, and drive to Hilton Head (about 65 miles away). If you’re driving from other points south or north, just take Exit 8 off I-95 to U.S. 278, which runs over the bridge to the island. It’s 52 miles northeast of Savannah and located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway. VISITOR INFORMATION The Island Visitors Information Center, on 71 Pope Ave. (& 888/271-7666 or 843/341-9184; www.islandvisitorcenter.com), can be found just before you cross over from the mainland. It’s open daily 10am to 7pm. Hilton Head Visitors and Convention Bureau, 1 Chamber Dr. (& 800/ 523-3373 or 843/785-3673; www.hiltonheadisland.org), offers a free vacation guide with golf and tennis tips and planning advice. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm. SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS Springfest, a March festival, features seafood, live music, stage shows, and tennis and golf tournaments. Outstanding PGA golfers descend on the island in mid-April for the MCI Heritage Classic at the Harbour Town Golf Links. To herald fall, the Hilton Head Celebrity Golf Tournament is held on Labor Day weekend at Palmetto Dunes and Sea Pines Plantation.

BEACHES, GOLF & OTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES BEACHES Hilton Head’s beaches possess extremely firm sand, providing a sound surface for biking, hiking, jogging, and beach games. In summer, watch for the endangered loggerhead turtles that lumber ashore at night to bury their eggs. All beaches on Hilton Head are public, but do not necessarily offer easy public access; sometimes land bordering the beaches is private property and you can’t enter the public land unless you’re a private guest. Most beaches are safe, although there’s sometimes an undertow at the northern end of the island. Lifeguards are

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posted only at major beaches, and concessions are available at which to rent beach chairs, umbrellas, and watersports equipment. We recommend four public entrances to Hilton Head’s beaches. Coligny Beach at Coligny Circle and Pope Avenue and South Forest Beach Drive is the island’s busiest strip of sands and our favorite; it offers toilets, sand showers, a playground, and changing rooms. (Note: Locals sometimes call Coligny “North and South Forest Beach.”) Adler Lane, entered along South Forest Beach Road at Alder Lane, offers parking and public toilets, and is less crowded. Off the William Hilton Parkway, Dreissen Beach Park at Bradley Beach Road has toilets, sand showers, and plenty of parking as well as a playground and picnic tables. On Starfish Road, Folly Field Beach has more limited parking but offers toilets and sand showers, and is our favorite of the beaches on the island’s north side. The island also has a number of other less accessible and less desirable beaches. BIKING Hilton Head has 25 miles of bicycle paths. Some beaches are firm enough to support wheels, and every year cyclists seem to delight in dodging the waves or racing the fast-swimming dolphins in the nearby water. Most hotels and resorts rent bikes to guests. If yours doesn’t, try Hilton Head Bicycle Company, off Sea Pines Circle at 112 Arrow Rd. (& 800/995-4319 or 843/686-6888; www.hiltonheadbicycle.com); or South Beach Cycles, at the racquet club, just before South Beach Marina Village, Sea Pines (& 843/6712453). Rates start at around $25 weekly. CRUISES To explore Hilton Head’s waters, contact Adventure Cruises, Inc., Shelter Cove Harbour, Suite G, Harbourside III (& 843/785-4558; www. hiltonheadisland.com/adventure.htm). Outings include a nature cruise to Daufuskie Island, a dolphin watch, and a sunset dinner cruise. A 13⁄4-hour cruise costs $19 adults, $9 kids ages 4 to 14. FISHING No license is needed for saltwater fishing, although freshwater licenses are required for the island’s lakes and ponds. The season for fishing offshore is April to October. Inland fishing is good between September and December. Crabbing is also popular; these crustaceans are easy to catch in low water from docks, from boats, or right off a bank. Off Hilton Head you can go deep-sea fishing for amberjack, barracuda, sharks, and king mackerel. Harbour Town Yacht Basin, Harbour Town Marina (& 843/671-2704; www.harbourtown.com), can set you up with personal service and a small boat. A cheaper way to go—for only $47 per adult, $37 per child—is aboard The Drifter (& 843/363-2900), a party boat that departs from the South Beach Marina Village. GOLF With 22 challenging golf courses on the island, this area is a mecca for golfers. For information on the area’s various courses, consult www.hiltonhead golf.com online. Many of Hilton Head’s championship courses are open to the public, including the George Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort (& 843/785-1130), an 18hole, 6,534-yard, par-70 course, named in the top 50 of Golf Digest’s “75 Best American Resort Courses.” Greens fees are $65 to $105 depending on time of day. Old South Golf Links, 50 Buckingham Plantation Dr., Bluffton (& 800/2578997 or 843/785-5353), is an 18-hole, 6,772-yard, par-72 course, recognized by Golf Digest for its panoramic views and lovely setting. Greens fees are $69 to $92. The course lies on Highway 278, 1 mile before the bridge leading to Hilton Head.

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Hilton Head National, Highway 278 (& 843/842-5900), is a Gary Player Signature Golf Course, an 18-hole, 6,779-yard, par-72 course with gorgeous scenery that evokes Scotland. Greens fees are $55 to $70. Island West Golf Club, Highway 278 (& 843/689-6660), has a backdrop of oaks, elevated tees, and rolling fairways. It’s a challenging but playable 18hole, 6,803-yard, par-72 course. Greens fees are $29 to $49. The Robert Trent Jones Course at the Palmetto Dunes Resort (& 843/7851138) is an 18-hole, 6,710-yard, par-72 course with a winding lagoon system that comes into play on 11 holes. Greens fees are $115. HORSEBACK RIDING Riding through beautiful maritime forests and nature preserves is reason enough to visit Hilton Head. We like Lawton Fields Stables, 190 Greenwood Dr., Sea Pines (& 843/671-2586), offering rides for both adults and kids (kids under 7 ride ponies) through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. The cost is $50 per person for a ride lasting somewhat over an hour. Reservations are necessary. NATURE PRESERVES The Audubon-Newhall Preserve, Palmetto Bay Road (& 843/689-2989), is a 50-acre preserve on the south end of the island. Here you can walk along marked trails to observe wildlife in its native habitat. Guided tours are available when plants are blooming. Open from sunrise to sunset; free admission. Sea Pines Forest Preserve, Sea Pines Plantation (& 843/671-6486), is a 605-acre public wilderness with marked walking trails. Nearly all the birds and animals known to live on Hilton Head can be seen here (yes, there are alligators, but there are also less fearsome creatures, such as egrets, herons, osprey, and white-tailed deer). All trails lead to public picnic areas in the center of the forest. The preserve is open from sunrise to sunset year-round except during the Heritage Golf Classic in early April. Maps and toilets are available. There is a $5per-car fee to enter the plantation. TENNIS Tennis magazine has rated Hilton Head one of its “50 Greatest U.S. Tennis Resorts.” No other domestic destination can boast such a concentration of tennis facilities, with more than 300 courts ideal for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players. The island has 19 tennis clubs, 7 of which are open to the public. A wide variety of tennis clinics and daily lessons is also found here, the academy of famed tennis guru Dennis van der Meer being just one of the instructional centers. The top tennis facility is the Sea Pines Racquet Club, along with the Port Royal Racquet Club, the Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort, and the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center; see “Where to Stay,” below, or ask your hotel to make arrangements.

WHERE TO STAY Villa rentals are available from two secluded enclaves of privately owned condos. The Palmetto Dunes Resort (& 800/845-6130 or 843/785-1161; www. palmettodunesresort.com) has a wide variety of units available for rental and offers golf packages. It’s ideal for families, with kitchens, washer/dryers, and balconies or patios. Facilities include a huge tennis center, five golf courses, 3 miles of beach, 20 restaurants, a 10-mile lagoon ideal for canoeing, and a 200-slip marina. Sea Pines Plantation (& 800/SEA-PINES or 843/785-3333; www.sea pines.com) is a huge development that’s best for overnight stays; it attracts hordes of golfers since it’s the home of the MCI Classic, a major stop on the PGA tour.

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Moderately priced and affordable chain choices include the Holiday Inn Oceanfront, 1 S. Forest Beach Dr. (& 800/HOLIDAY or 843/785-5126); Fairfield Inn by Marriott, 9 Marina Side Dr. (& 800/228-2800 or 843/842-4800); and Hampton Inn, 1 Dillon Rd. (& 800/HAMPTON or 843/681-7900). Crowne Plaza Resort This five-story hotel, set on 800 landscaped acres, gives the Westin (see below) stiff competition, because of the sheer beauty of its landscaping, with a golf course praised by the National Audubon Society for its respect for local wildlife. Bedrooms don’t quite match the style and comfort level of its competitor’s, but they are neatly furnished and sport CD players. The attentive service is just another reason that a stay here is memorable. 130 Shipyard Dr., Shipyard Plantation, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928. & 800/334-1881 or 843/842-2400. Fax 843/785-8463. www.crowneplaza.com. 340 units. $250–$406 double; $399–$615 suite. Children 17 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $10; free self-parking. Amenities: 2 restaurants; 2 pools (1 indoor); fitness center. In room: Fridge ($10 per night).

Disney Hilton Head Island Resort Kids This family-friendly resort is on a 15-acre island that rises above Hilton Head’s widest estuary, Broad Creek. About 20 woodsy-looking buildings are arranged in a compound. Expect lots of pine trees and fallen pine needles, garlands of Spanish moss, and plenty of kids. All accommodations contain minikitchens, simple wooden furniture, and well-kept bathrooms. There are lots of summer camp–style activities (dolphin-watching cruises, eco-tours, canoeing lessons, marshmallow roasts), though the ambience is more low-key than what you’d expect from Disney. 22 Harbourside Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928. & 843/341-4100. Fax 843/341-4130. www.dvcresorts. com. 123 units. $105–$265 studio; $145–$710 larger villas. Resort fee $9 per night. Children 17 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: 2 pools; fitness center; spa. In room: Kitchenette in studios, kitchens in villas.

We like the Hilton because of its hideaway Kids position, tucked at the end of the main road through Palmetto Dunes. Its lowrise design has hallways that open to sea breezes at either end. Rooms are some of the largest on the island, all with ocean views and well-kept bathrooms. All the studio suites have kitchenettes, making this resort a favorite of families, who also like the children’s activities such as a kids’ camp.

Hilton Oceanfront Resort

23 Ocean Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938. & 800/845-8001 or 843/842-8033. Fax 843/341-8033. www. hiltonheadhilton.com. 324 units. $195–$285 double; $399–$499 suite. Children 18 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $6. Amenities: 3 restaurants; 2 pools; fitness center. In room: Kitchenettes.

Don’t expect cozy Americana at this small, luxurious inn for adults—it’s grander and more European than its name would imply. Designed like a small-scale villa that you might find in the south of France, it combines design elements from both New Orleans and Charleston, including cast-iron balustrades and a formal semi-tropical garden where guests are encouraged to indulge in afternoon tea. Inside, you’ll find an artfully clipped topiary, French provincial furnishings, and accommodations that are more luxurious, and more richly appointed (marble bathrooms, bathrobes, the occasional fireplace), than any other hotel in Hilton Head.

Main Street Inn

2200 Main St., Hilton Head Island, SC 29926. & 800/471-3001 or 843/681-3001. Fax 843/681-5541. www. mainstreetinn.com. 33 units. $185–$249 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Pool; spa.

South Beach Marina Inn Value Of the dozens of available accommodations in Sea Pines Plantation, this complex of marina-front buildings is the only place

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offering traditional hotel-style rooms by the night. With lots of charm, it meanders over a labyrinth of catwalks and stairways above a complex of shops and restaurants. The one- and two-bedroom units each have a kitchenette and at least one bathroom, and are cozily outfitted with country-style braided rugs and pine floors. In the Sea Pines Plantation, 232 S. Sea Pines Dr., Hilton Head Island, SC 29938. & 800/367-3909 or 843/ 671-6498. Fax 843/671-7495. www.southbeachvillage.com. 17 units. $65–$153 1-bedroom apt; $187–$210 2-bedroom apt. Children under 18 stay free in parent’s room. AE, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Pool. In room: Kitchenette.

Westin Resort Best Set near the isolated northern end of Hilton Head Island on 24 landscaped acres and renovated in 2003, this opulent European-style hotel is rather formal, although suitable for families. Rooms, most with ocean views, are outfitted in Low Country Plantation style with touches of Asian art. Each room has a private balcony and Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed; refrigerators are available. Suites toss in Jacuzzi tubs and sleeper sofas. 2 Grasslawn Ave., Hilton Head Island, SC 29928. & 800/228-3000 or 843/681-4000. Fax 843/681-1087. www.westin.com. 412 units. $209–$459 double; $450–$1,900 suite. Resort fee $10 per night. Children under 17 stay free in parent’s room; children under 5 eat free. Packages often available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $9.50; free self-parking. Pet fee $100 (under 30 lb. permitted). Amenities: 3 restaurants; 3 pools (2 indoor); 3 golf courses; 16 tennis courts; fitness center; spa. In room: Fridge ($10 per night).

WHERE TO DINE Café Europa CONTINENTAL/SEAFOOD This fine European restaurant is at the base of the Harbour Town Lighthouse, opening onto a panoramic view of Calibogue Sound and Daufuskie Island. In an informal, cheerful atmosphere, you can order poached, grilled, baked, or fried fish. Specialty dishes include a country-style chicken recipe from Charleston, with honey, fresh cream, and pecans. Fourteen omelets are perfectly prepared at breakfast, and the Bloody Mary is the island’s best. Harbour Town, Sea Pines Plantation. & 843/671-3399. Reservations recommended for dinner. Main courses $8–$13 lunch, $18–$28 dinner. AE, MC, V. Daily 9am–2:30pm and 5–10pm.

Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte Best INTERNATIONAL/SEAFOOD Outfitted like a Parisian bistro, our favorite Hilton Head restaurant is also a favorite of Bill Clinton. The atmosphere is unpretentious but elegant, and it bursts with energy in an otherwise sleepy shopping center. Begin with shrimp-stuffed ravioli, and move on to grilled tuna with a jalapeño beurre blanc (white butter) sauce. The wine list is impressive and has won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence 10 years running. 8 New Orleans Rd. & 843/785-9277. www.charliesofhiltonhead.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $23–$30. AE, DISC, MC, V. Tues–Sat 11:30am–2pm; Mon–Sat 6–9pm.

Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks SEAFOOD

Built as a seafoodprocessing factory in 1912, this family-run restaurant still processes fish, clams, and oysters for local distribution—so you know everything is fresh. We recommend the crab cakes, the steamed shrimp, or the especially appealing blackened catch of the day. Before dinner, stroll on the docks past shrimp boats and enjoy the sunset view of the mainland and nearby Parris Island.

1 Hudson Rd. & 843/681-2772. www.hudsonsonthedocks.com. Reservations not accepted. Main courses $13–$20. AE, DC, MC, V. Daily 11am–2:30pm and 5–10pm. Go to Skull Creek just off Squire Pope Rd. (signposted from U.S. 278).

The largest full-service Kids SEAFOOD/AMERICAN outdoor dining area at Hilton Head, this family favorite is known for its fresh

Scott’s Fish Market

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coastal seafood. In addition to fresh fish, a regular American menu of other dishes is also offered. Tables overlook the boats bobbing at anchor along the waterfront. The Hurricane Harry’s Wharf Bar offers live entertainment if you want to make an evening of it. Shelter Cove Harbour. & 843/785-7575. www.hiltonheaddlc.com/scotts.htm. Reservations recommended. Main courses $16–$22; children’s menu $4.95. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Sat 4:30–10pm. Closed Jan.

HILTON HEAD AFTER DARK

Ashley River Memorial ofBridges

Nightlife starts with sunset co*cktails and stays pretty mellow. There are lots options in hotel bars and lounges. The Quarterdeck, Harbour Town, Sea Pines Plantation (& 843/671-2222), is our favorite waterfront lounge, the best place on the island to watch sunsets. There’s dancing every night to beach music and Top-40 hits. Soft guitar music or the strains of Jimmy Buffett records usually set the scene at the Salty Dog Cafe, South Beach Marina Village, Sea Pines Plantation (& 843/671-2233; www.saltydogcafe.com), where you can enjoy your beer outdoors under a sycamore.

8 Charleston If the Old South still lives all through South Carolina’s Low Country, it positively thrives in Charleston. In spite of earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and Yankee bombardments, Charleston remains one of the best-preserved cities in America. It boasts 73 pre-Revolutionary buildings, 136 from the late 18th century, and more than 600 built before the 1840s. With its cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages, Charleston is a place of visual images and sensory pleasures. Tea, jasmine, and wisteria fragrances fill the air; the aroma of she-crab soup (the local favorite) wafts from sidewalk cafes; and antebellum architecture graces the historic cityscape.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE By Plane Charleston International Airport (www. chs-airport.com) is in north Charleston on I-26, about 12 miles west of the city. Taxi fare into the city runs about $21. If you’re driving, follow the airport access road to I-26 into the heart of Charleston. By Train Amtrak (& 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) provides service from Savannah (trip time: 13⁄4 hr.) and Washington, D.C. (9 hr.) to its station at 4565 Gaynor Ave., north Charleston. By Car The main routes into Charleston are I-26 from the northwest (Columbia, SC), and U.S. 17 from the north (Myrtle Beach) and south (Savannah). VISITOR INFORMATION The Charleston Visitor Reception & Transportation Center, 375 Meeting St., Charleston, SC 29402 (& 800/774-0006 or 843/853-8000; www.charlestoncvb.com), provides maps and advice. Numerous tours depart hourly from here. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm. GETTING AROUND The Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH; & 843/7247420) is the quickest way to get around the main downtown area daily. The fare is $1.25, and you’ll need exact change. A pass good for the whole day costs $4 and can be bought on the bus. Leading taxi companies are Yellow Cab (& 843/ 577-6565) and Safety Cab (& 843/722-4066); within the city, fares seldom exceed $4 to $10. You must call for a taxi—there are no pickups on the street. Don’t try to drive around downtown; park your car and save it for day trips to outlying areas.

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Charleston To Fort Sumter DINING Anson 18 A. W. Shucks 12 Charleston Grill 11 Cypress 13 82 Queen 9 Hank's 19 Hominy Grill 1 Hyman’s Seafood Company Restaurant 5 McGrady's 17 Peninsula Grill 8 S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad) 15

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FAST FACTS For a physician referral or 24-hour emergency-room treatment, contact Charleston Memorial Hospital, 326 Calhoun St. (& 843/792-2300). Call Doctor’s Care (& 843/556-5585) for the names of walk-in clinics. Sales tax in Charleston is 6%; the hotel tax is also 6%. SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS Held from late May to early June, the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. (& 843/579-3100; www.spoletousa.org) is the premier cultural event in the South. This famous international festival, the American counterpart to the equally celebrated one in Spoleto, Italy, showcases worldrenowned performers in drama, dance, music, and art in various venues throughout the city. During the mid-January Low-Country Oyster Festival (& 843/577-4030), steamed buckets of oysters greet visitors at Boone Hall Plantation. Enjoy live music, oyster-shucking contests, and children’s events. For nearly 50 years, people have been enjoying some of Charleston’s most prestigious neighborhoods and private gardens in the Festival of Houses and Gardens, from mid-March to mid-April. Contact the Historic Charleston Foundation (& 843/722-3405; www.historiccharleston.org) for details.

WHAT TO SEE & DO We always head for the Battery (officially White Point Gardens) to get into the feel of this city. It’s right on the end of the peninsula, facing the Cooper River and the harbor. There’s a landscaped park, shaded by palmettos and live oaks, with walkways lined with old monuments and other war relics. The view toward the harbor goes out to Fort Sumter. We like to walk along the seawall on East Battery and Murray Boulevard and slowly absorb the Charleston ambience. The Old South Carriage Co., 14 Anson St. (& 843/577-0042; www.old southcarriagetours.com), offers narrated horse-drawn carriage tours through the historic district daily from 9am to 5pm, at $19 for adults, $17 for seniors and military, and $8 for children 6 to 12. Charleston Museum Founded in 1773, this is the first and oldest museum in America. The full-scale replica of the famed Confederate submarine Hunley standing outside the museum is one of the most photographed subjects in the city. The museum has the city’s largest silver collection, plus early crafts, historic relics, costumes and textiles, and hands-on exhibits for children. 360 Meeting St. & 843/722-2996. www.charlestonmuseum.org. Admission $9 adults, $4 children 3–12. Combination ticket to the museum, Joseph Manigault House, and Heyward-Washington House (see below) $18. Mon–Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm.

This 663-acre park is on the site of the city’s first settlement (in 1670). There’s a re-creation of a small village and a full-scale replica of a 17th-century trading ship. There’s no flashy theme-park atmosphere: You’ll walk under huge old oaks, past freshwater lagoons, and through the Animal Forest, seeing what those early settlers saw.

Charles Towne Landing

1500 Old Towne Rd. (S.C. 171, between U.S. 17 and I-126). & 843/852-4200. www.southcarolinaparks.com. Admission $5 adults, $4.25 seniors, $3 children 6–15, free for those with disabilities and children under 6. Daily 8:30am–5pm.

Cypress Gardens Giant cypress trees draped with Spanish moss provide an unforgettable setting as you glide along in a flat-bottomed boat. Footpaths in the garden wind through a profusion of azaleas, camellias, and daffodils. Visitors share the swamp with alligators, woodpeckers, wood ducks, otters, and barred owls. The gardens are worth a visit at any time of year, but they’re at their most

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colorful in March and April. Other features include a butterfly house and a small freshwater aquarium. U.S. 52 (24 miles north of Charleston), Moncks Corner. & 843/553-0515. www.cypressgardens.org. Admission $9 adults, $8 seniors, $3 children 6–12. Daily 9am–5pm.

This house, built in 1825, was one of the earliest constructed in the city in the late Federalist style; it was later modified in Greek Revival style. You can still see the Alston family’s heirloom furnishings, silver, and paintings. At this house, in 1861, General Beauregard joined the Alstons to watch the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Robert E. Lee once found refuge here when his hotel uptown caught on fire.

Edmondston-Alston House

21 E. Battery. & 843/722-7171. www.middletonplace.org. Admission $10 adults, $5 children 7–15, free for children 6 and under. Guided tours Tues–Sat 10am–4:30pm; Sun–Mon 1:30–4:30pm.

Fort Sumter National Monument It was here that the first shot of the Civil War was fired on April 12, 1861, as Confederate forces launched a 34-hour bombardment. Union forces eventually surrendered, and the Rebels’ occupation became a symbol of Southern resistance. This action led to a declaration of war in Washington. Amazingly, Confederate troops held onto Sumter for nearly 4 years, although it was almost continually bombarded. When evacuation finally came, the fort was nothing but a heap of rubble. Park rangers today are on hand to answer your questions, and you can explore gun emplacements and visit a small museum filled with artifacts related to the siege. Expect to spend about 2 hours. Tip: We recommend the tour of the fort and harbor offered by Fort Sumter Tours, 360 Concord St., Suite 201 (& 843/722-1691 or 843/881-7337). Sailing times change every month or so; call ahead. In Charleston Harbor. & 843/883-3123. www.nps.gov/fosu. Free admission to fort; boat trip $12 adults, $6 children 6–11, free for children under 6. Daily 9am–5pm (in winter until 4pm).

Heyward-Washington House In a district called “Cabbage Row,” this 1772 house was built by Daniel Heyward, “the rice king,” and was also home to Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. President George Washington bedded down here in 1791. Many of the fine period pieces in the house are the work of Thomas Elfe, one of America’s most famous cabinetmakers. The restored 18th-century kitchen is the only historic kitchen in the city open to the public. 87 Church St. (between Tradd and Elliott sts.). & 843/722-0354. www.charlestonmuseum.org. Admission $8 adults, $4 children 3–11. Mon–Sat 10am–5pm; Sun 1–5pm. Tours leave every half-hour until 4:30pm. Combination tickets with Charleston Museum available (see above).

Magnolia Plantation Ten generations of the Drayton family have lived here continuously since the 1670s. They haven’t had much luck keeping a roof over their heads: The first mansion burned just after the Revolution and the second was set afire by General Sherman. But you can’t call its replacement “modern.” A simple, pre-Revolutionary house was barged down from Summerville and set on the foundations of its unfortunate predecessors. It’s been furnished with museum-quality Early American furniture. The gardens of camellias and azaleas—among the most beautiful in America—reach their peak bloom in March and April but are colorful year-round. You can tour the house, the gardens, a petting zoo, and a waterfowl refuge, or walk or bike through wildlife trails. The Audubon Swamp Garden, also on the grounds, is an independently operated 60-acre cypress swamp offering a close look at wildlife, such as alligators, otters, turtles, and herons.

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3550 Ashley River Rd. & 800/367-3517 or 843/571-1266. www.magnoliaplantation.com. Admission to garden and grounds $13 adults, $12 seniors, $7 children 6–12. Tour of plantation house additional $7 for ages 6 and up; children under 6 not allowed to tour the house. Admission to Audubon Swamp Garden $5 adults and seniors, $4 children 6–12. Summer daily 8am–5:30pm; winter daily 9am–5pm.

This National Historic Landmark was the home of Henry Middleton, president of the First Continental Congress. Today it includes America’s oldest landscaped gardens, where ornamental lakes, terraces, and plantings of camellias, azaleas, magnolias, and crape myrtle accent the grand design. The Middleton Place House itself was built in 1755, but in 1865 all but the south flank was ransacked and burned by Union troops. It was restored in the 1870s as a family residence and today houses fine silver, furniture, rare first editions, and portraits. In the stable yards, craftspeople demonstrate life on a plantation of yesteryear.

Middleton Place

4300 Ashley River Rd. (14 miles northwest of Charleston). & 843/556-6020. www.middletonplace.org. Admission $20 adults, $15 children 7–15, free for children under 6. Tour of house additional $10. Gardens and stable yards daily 9am–5pm. House Mon 1:30–4:30pm; Tues–Sat 10am–4:30pm.

Nathaniel Russell House One of America’s finest examples of Federal archi-

tecture, this 1808 house was completed by Nathaniel Russell, one of Charleston’s richest merchants. It is celebrated for its “free-flying” staircase, spiraling unsupported for three floors. The interiors are ornate with period furnishings, especially the elegant music room with its golden harp and neoclassical-style sofa. 51 Meeting St. & 843/805-6736. www.historiccharleston.org. Admission $8. Guided tours Mon–Sat 10am–4:30pm; Sun and holidays 2–4:30pm.

South Carolina Aquarium Best Kids Visitors can explore Southern aquatic life in an attraction filled with thousands of enchanting creatures and plants in amazing habitats, from five major regions of the Appalachian Watershed. Jutting out into the Charles Harbor for 2,000 feet, the focal point is a 93,000-squarefoot aquarium featuring a two-story Great Ocean Tank Exhibition. Contained within are some 800 animals, including deadly sharks but also sea turtles and stingrays. Every afternoon at 4pm the aquarium offers a dolphin program, when bottle-nosed dolphins can be viewed from an open-air terrace. A major new exhibit exploring the aquatic life of the Amazon (including some piranha!) opened in 2004. Adjacent to the aquarium is the IMAX Theatre, 360 Concord St. (& 843/ 725-IMAX; www.charlestonimax.com), the only 3-D theater in South Carolina, which blasts you with great scenic images and puts you right into the action. It is open daily from 10am to 10pm. 100 Aquarium Wharf. & 843/720-1990. www.scaquarium.org. Admission $15 adults (12–61), $13 seniors 62 and older, $8 children 3–11, free for children under 2. Aquarium and IMAX combination tickets $21 adults (12–61), $18 seniors 62 and older, $13 children 6–11, $13 children 3–5. Apr 1–Aug 15 Mon–Sat 9am–6pm, Sun noon–6pm; Aug 16–Mar 31 Mon–Sat 9am–5pm, Sun noon–5pm.

BEACHES & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES BEACHES There are some great beaches within a 25-minute drive from Charleston. In the East Cooper area, both the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island offer miles of beaches, mostly bordered by beachfront homes. Windsurfing and jet-skiing are popular here. Kiawah Island has the area’s most pristine beach at the Beachwalker State Park, on the southern end of the island. For more information on the beach scene, head online to www.charlestonlowcountry.com/ Beaches.

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GOLF Charleston is said to be the home of golf in America. Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms (& 843/886-6000), offers two championship golf courses designed by Tom Fazio. The Links is a 6,722-yard, par-72 layout ending with a pair of oceanfront holes once called “the greatest east of Pebble Beach.” The course has been ranked in the top 100 in the world by Golf Magazine. The Harbor Course offers 6,402 yards of Low Country marsh and Intracoastal Waterway views. This par-70 layout challenges players with 2 holes that play from one island to another across Morgan Creek. Greens fees at these courses can range from $60 to $185, depending on the season. Your best deal if you’d like to play at any of the other Charleston-area golf courses is to contact Charleston Golf Inc. (& 800/774-4444; www.charleston golfguide.com). They represent 20 golf courses and offer packages that include greens fees and accommodations (they can also arrange rental cars and airfares).

SHOPPING King Street is lined with many special shops and boutiques. Two of the leading galleries are the Waterfront Gallery, 215 E. Bay St., across from the Custom House (& 843/722-1155); and the Wells Gallery, 103 Broad St. (& 843/853-3233), both specializing in the works of local artists. Charleston Crafts, 87 Hassell St. (& 843/723-2938), offers locally made jewelry, basketry, leather, traditional crafts, and soaps. Clown’s Bazaar, 56 Broad St. (& 843/723-9769), features hand-carvings, silks, and pewter from exotic locales, with proceeds going to benefit developing nations. Also supporting a good cause, Historic Charleston Reproductions, 105 Broad St. (& 843/7238292), aids local restoration projects. Licensed replica products range from furniture to jewelry. The pride of the store is its home furnishings collection, with most in lovely mahogany. It operates shops in several historic houses and runs the Francis Edmunds Center Museum Shop at 108 Meeting St. (& 843/724-8484). A local company, Charleston Gift Company, 2391⁄2 King St. (& 843/577-7774), specializes in all sorts of Charleston “things,” including clothing, specialty gift baskets, handbags, and one-of-a-kind photo albums and frames.

WHERE TO STAY For help with reservations, contact Historic Charleston Bed and Breakfast (& 800/743-3583 or 843/722-6606; www.historiccharlestonbedandbreakfast. com). During the major festivals, owners charge pretty much what the market will bear. Advance reservations are essential at those times. Reliable moderately priced and affordable chain options include the Hampton Inn Historic District, 345 Meeting St. (& 800/HAMPTON or 843/7234000), across from the visitor center; and the Best Western King Charles Inn, 237 Meeting St. (& 800/780-7234 or 843/723-7451). Anchorage Inn Built in the 1840s as a cotton warehouse, this inn, a favorite of couples, boasts the only decorative theme of its type in Charleston: a mockTudor interior with lots of dark paneling; references to Olde England; canopied beds with matching tapestries; leaded casem*nt windows; and, in some places, half-timbering. Modern conveniences include satellite TV and Neutrogena toiletries. Each room’s shape is different from that of its neighbors, and the expensive ones have bona-fide windows overlooking the street outside. 26 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401. & 800/421-2952 or 843/723-8300. Fax 843/723-9543. www. anchoragencharleston.com. 19 units. $109–$239 double; $159–$279 suite. Children up to 12 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast and afternoon tea. AE, MC, V. Parking $10. Amenities: Smoking not permitted.

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Andrew Pinckney Inn This nonsmoking boutique hotel—housed in a converted 18th-century stable—has Old World charm but is completely up to date with modern amenities. Its special feature is a three-story plant-filled atrium, along with a beautiful courtyard, plus a rooftop terrace overlooking the Market District and the French Quarter. The hotel is decorated in an elegant yet casual West Indian style. Its St. Philip’s Suite is one of the best places in Charleston for a romantic getaway. 40 Pinckney St., Charleston, SC 29401. & 800/505-8983 or 843/937-8800. Fax 843/937-8810. www. andrewpinckneyinn.com. 41 units. $109–$239 double; $149–$279 suite. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V. Parking $12. Amenities: Smoking not permitted. In room: Fridge, microwave (in some).

Ansonborough Inn Once past the not-very-promising exterior, most visitors (it’s popular with both couples and families) really like the unusual configuration of the suites here. Set close to the waterfront, this former warehouse has a lobby that features exposed timbers and a soaring atrium filled with plants. All accommodations are suites with ceilings of 14 to 16 feet and, in many cases, sleeping lofts; five have fireplaces. They’re outfitted with copies of 18th-century furniture. There’s a panoramic terrace with a bar on the rooftop. 21 Hassell St., Charleston, SC 29401. & 800/522-2073 or 843/723-1655. Fax 843/577-6888. www. ansonboroughinn.com. 37 units. Mar–Nov $149–$379 double; off season $99–$379 double. Additional person $20 per night. Children under 12 stay free in parent’s room. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DISC, MC, V. Parking $10. Amenities: Smoking not permitted. In room: Kitchenette.

Charleston’s premier hotel is an eight-story landBest mark in the historic district that looks like a postmodern French château. It’s bigtime, glossy, and urban, with prices to match, and can be both a romantic getaway for couples or a good choice for well-heeled families. Rooms are among the most spacious and handsomely furnished in town—stately, modern, and state-of-theart. All units have well-maintained marble bathrooms with upscale amenities. Dine in the highly recommended upscale Charleston Grill (see “Where to Dine,” below), then swim off the calories in the hotel’s heated indoor pool.

Charleston Place Hotel

205 Meeting St., Charleston, SC 29401. & 800/611-5545 or 843/722-4900. Fax 843/722-0728. www. charlestonplacehotel.com. 440 units. $229–$529 double; $579–$1,575 suite. Children under 16 stay free in parent’s room. Seasonal packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $10. Pet fee $75. Amenities: 2 restaurants; indoor pool; rooftop tennis court; fitness center; spa.

1837 Bed & Breakfast Built in 1837 by a cotton planter, this place, which is

best for couples, was restored and decorated by two artists. It’s only a single room wide—which makes for some interesting room arrangements. Our favorite is no. 2 in the Carriage House, which has authentic designs, exposed brick walls, and a beamed ceiling. All the individually furnished rooms have separate entrances and canopied poster “rice beds.” On one of the verandas (the piazza), you can sit under whirling ceiling fans and enjoy your breakfast or afternoon tea. 126 Wentworth St., Charleston, SC 29401. & 877/723-1827 or 843/723-7166. Fax 843/722-7179. www. 1837bb.com. 9 units. $79–$165 double. Rates include full breakfast and afternoon tea. AE, MC, V. Free offstreet parking. No children under age 7. Amenities: Smoking not permitted. In room: Fridge, No phone.

Market Pavilion Hotel In the Market District, this is Charleston’s latest deluxe hotel. Its owners claim, with some degree of accuracy, that they are redefining the art of Southern hospitality. You don’t even have to leave the premises at night, as the Pavilion Bar atop the hotel is a popular nightspot, offering a topiary-framed skyline view. The midsize to spacious bedrooms are beautifully furnished with marble-clad bathrooms (with bathrobes and Hermès toiletries),

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mahogany furniture, and such luxe touches as Frette linens and cashmere blankets on the poster beds—most often occupied by couples seeking a romantic getaway. Some rooms have balconies and/or Jacuzzi tubs. 225 E. Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401. & 877/440-2250 or 843/723-0500. www.marketpavilion.com. 66 units. $209–$239 double; from $450 suite. Rates include continental breakfast. AE, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $15. Amenities: Restaurant; pool. In room: Kitchenette in suite.

Planters Inn For many years this distinguished brick-sided inn (a Relais &

Châteaux member) next to the City Market was left to languish, but renovations have transformed it into a tasteful enclave of colonial charm best suited to couples. The spacious rooms have an award-winning 18th-century decor, and a number of them overlook the hotel’s garden courtyard. Some of the rooms have working fireplaces; others have whirlpool tubs. Afternoon tea is served in the lobby, and there’s a well-recommended restaurant, the Peninsula Grill (see “Where to Dine,” below). 112 N. Market St., Charleston, SC 29401. & 800/845-7082 or 843/722-2345. Fax 843/577-2125. www. plantersinn.com. 62 units. $170–$375 double; $395–$675 suite. Children 15 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Parking $16. Pet fee $75 (under 20 lb.). Amenities: Restaurant.

Set in an enviable position near the Battery, this adult retreat was built in 1892. Its proportions are as lavish and gracious as the Gilded Age could provide. Tiffany stained-glass windows, mementos, and paintings were either part of the original decorations or collected by the present owners, the Spell family. Most rooms contain four-poster beds, ceiling fans, and, in some cases, access to a network of balconies. A couple of rooms contain working fireplaces. There is a phone in the hallway of each floor.

Two Meeting Street Inn

2 Meeting St., Charleston, SC 29401. & 843/723-7322. www.2meetingstreetinn.com. 9 units. $165–$325 double. Rates include continental breakfast and afternoon tea. No credit cards. No children under 12. Amenities: Smoking not permitted. In room: No phone.

WHERE TO DINE Anson LOW COUNTRY/MODERN AMERICAN Anson is a hip, stylish place with a dash of Low Country charm, perfect for a romantic evening. The setting is a century-old brick-sided ice warehouse; the owners have added New Orleans–style iron balconies, Corinthian pilasters, and Victorian rococo. A welltrained staff offers sophisticated interpretations of traditional local dishes, including fried cornmeal oysters with potato cakes; and lobster, corn, and blackbean quesadillas. Our favorite is the crispy flounder. 12 Anson St. & 843/577-0551. www.ansonrestaurant.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $15–$29. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 5–10pm; Fri–Sat 5–11pm.

A. W. Shucks SEAFOOD

This is a hearty oyster bar where thousands of crustaceans have been cracked open over the years. The menu highlights oysters and clams on the half-shell, tasty seafood chowders, deviled crab, shrimp Creole, and a selection of international beers. Nobody cares how you dress—just dig in.

70 State St. & 843/723-1151. www.a-w-shucks.com. Main courses $12–$18. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 11am–10pm; Fri–Sat 11am–11pm.

You’ll be surprised how Best LOW COUNTRY/FRENCH well French and Low Country cuisine are wed at this pocket of posh in the city’s best hotel, a perfect place for a romantic evening. The decor makes no concessions to Southern folksiness, with its marble floors, mahogany seating, and stained glass evoking the Gilded Age. In this Old World atmosphere, you dine on Charleston’s most sophisticated cuisine, touted by everyone from the New

Charleston Grill

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York Times to Wine Spectator. Live jazz and Charleston’s best co*cktails help make this an enduring favorite. In the Charleston Place Hotel, 224 King St. & 843/577-4522. www.charlestongrill.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $22–$36. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 6–10pm; Fri–Sat 6–11pm.

Cypress LOW COUNTRY

Perhaps Charleston’s trendiest dining spot, this place was deservedly hailed by local food critics for raising the bar for other eateries. One of South Carolina’s best new restaurants, it has also won the acclaim of Wine Spectator for its carte. Ideal for a romantic night out, Cypress offers a fresh modern take on classic Low Country cooking. From Carolina waters to its rich farmlands, the chefs pick the best products to turn into their distinctive and marvelous cuisine. A wood-burning grill is a feature in the dining room. What they do here with fresh oysters is reason enough to visit.

167 E. Bay St. & 843/727-0111. www.magnolias-blossom-cypress.com. Reservations required. Main courses $17–$36. AE, MC, V. Sun–Tues 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm.

82 Queen LOW COUNTRY Three 18th- and 19th-century houses are clustered around an ancient magnolia tree, with outdoor tables arranged in its shade. This is classic Charleston dining. Menu items filled with flavor and flair include an award-winning version of she-crab soup laced with sherry; a down-home barbecued shrimp-and-grits; and melt-in-the-mouth crab cakes. As one diner said, “We can’t wait to tell the folks up north.” 82 Queen St. & 843/723-7591. www.82queen.com. Reservations recommended for dinner. Main courses $17–$23. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Daily 11:30am–2:30pm and 5:30–10pm.

If a movie producer were seeking Kids SEAFOOD/LOW COUNTRY a setting for a 1940s Charleston fish house, Hank’s would be at the top of the list. In its old-fashioned saloon-style bar, crowds of locals and visitors mingle happily. Near the City Market, this family favorite occupies a 19th-century warehouse, with pine paneling and leather booths. Sometimes there’s a big line waiting to get in to sample the chef ’s specialties such as Charleston oyster stew, Hank’s crab cakes, or an assortment from the raw bar, the town’s best.

Hank’s

10 Hayne St. & 843/723-3474. http://hanksseafoodrestaurant.com. Reservations recommended. Main courses $20–$22. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 5–10:30pm; Fri–Sat 5–11:30pm.

This family favorite features beautifully Kids LOW COUNTRY prepared dishes, served in a friendly environment inside an 1897 historic building. A devoted local following comes here to feast on barbecued chicken sandwiches; shrimp and grits; and—a brunch favorite—smothered or poached eggs on homemade biscuits with mushroom gravy. The catfish stew with corn bread at lunch is a temptation on a cold and rainy day, and the banana bread is worth writing home about. There’s also outdoor patio seating.

Hominy Grill

207 Rutledge Ave. & 843/937-0930. Main courses $8.50–$19; brunch from $10. AE, MC, V. Mon–Fri 7:30–11am and 11:30am–2:30pm; Mon–Thurs 5:30–9:30pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–10pm; Sun 9am–2:30pm (brunch).

Hyman’s Value Kids SEAFOOD was established a century ago and continues to be one of Charleston’s all-time family favorites. It sprawls over most of a city block in the heart of Charleston’s business district. Inside are at least six dining rooms and a take-away deli loaded with salmon, lox, and smoked herring. One sit-down section is devoted to delistyle sandwiches, chicken soup, and salads; another to a delectably messy choice of fish, shellfish, lobsters, and oysters.

Hyman’s Seafood Company Restaurant

215 Meeting St. & 843/723-6000. www.hymanseafood.com. Reservations not accepted. Main courses $8–$23. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Daily 11am–11pm.

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McCrady’s AMERICAN/FRENCH In the historic district, Charleston’s oldest eating establishment is where George Washington dined back in 1791. It is one of the finest kitchens in the Low Country, and won a much-coveted DiRoNA award for its cuisine in 2004. Entered from a mysterious-looking “Jack the Ripper alley,” the restaurant—housed in the city’s oldest tavern, built in 1778—looks like an elegant wine cellar with rough brick walls, exposed beams, and wide plank floors. Cooking times are unerringly accurate, and a certain charm and fragrance is given to every dish on the seasonally changing menu. 2 Unity Alley. & 843/577-0025. www.mccradysrestaurant.com. Reservations required. Main courses $24–$32. AE, MC, V. Daily 5:30–10pm.

Peninsula Grill LOW COUNTRY/INTERNATIONAL

The Peninsula Grill has caused quite a stir, though it’s quaint and quiet, full of 19th-century charm. The multi-award winner (Food & Wine recently named it 1 of the top 50 hotel restaurants in America) is a good place for a special evening out. The menu changes frequently. Start with the James Island clams with wild mushroom bruschetta, and follow with the duo of Low Country quail and shrimp with crab. Finish up with the exceptional coconut cake. The kitchen does a marvelous job of bringing new cuisine to an old city.

In the Planters Inn, 112 N. Market St. & 843/723-0700. www.peninsulagrill.com. Reservations required. Main courses $20–$34. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Sun–Thurs 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm.

S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad) SOUTHERN There’s an exposed kitchen, a high ceiling crisscrossed with ventilation ducts, and a smattering of wrought iron in this snazzy, rehabbed warehouse. The place was one of the first in town to put a sophisticated modern spin on traditional Southern dishes. Main courses can be ordered in medium and large sizes. Try the grilled barbecue tuna or the maverick grits. For dessert, make it the chocolate pecan torte, the best in town. Wine is available by the glass or bottle. 192 E. Bay St. & 843/723-3424. www.slightlynorthofbroad.net. Reservations recommended. Main courses $14–$27. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon–Fri 11:30am–3pm; Sun–Thurs 5:30–10pm; Fri–Sat 5:30–11pm.

CHARLESTON AFTER DARK THE PERFORMING ARTS Charleston’s major cultural venue is the Dock Street Theater, 135 Church St. (& 843/577-7183; www.charlestonstage.com), a 463-seat theater that hosts various companies throughout the year, especially during the annual Spoleto Festival USA in May and June. The Robert Ivey Ballet, 1910 Savannah Hwy. (& 843/556-1343), offers both classical and contemporary dance as well as children’s ballet programs. The Charleston Ballet Theatre, 477 King St. (& 843/723-7334; www.charlestonballet.com), is one of the South’s best professional ballet companies. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra, 160 E. Bay St. (& 843/723-7528; www.charlestonsymphony.com), performs throughout the state, but its main venues are the Gaillard Auditorium, Sottile Theater, and North Charleston Performing Arts Center. The season runs from September to May. THE CLUB & MUSIC SCENE Henry’s, 54 N. Market St. (& 843/7234363), also presents bands playing a wide range of music from Sunday to Thursday. There also is music upstairs on Friday and Saturday starting at 10pm. In a restored warehouse in the City Market area, Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub, 160 Church St. (& 843/577-3818; www.tommy-condons.com), features live Irish entertainment Wednesday through Sunday evenings. If your musical tastes run from the Delta blues to rock to reggae, head for Cumberland’s, 301 King St.

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(& 843/577-9469; www.cumberlands.net), where people of all ages lift a glass together; music is the common bond. The Music Farm, 32 Ann St. (& 843/ 722-8904; www.musicfarm.com), covers nearly every taste in music from country to rock with a range of live acts. THE BAR SCENE Our favorite watering hole is the elegant and comfortable First Shot Bar, in the Mills House Hotel, 115 Meeting St. (& 843/577-2400); if you get hungry, the kitchen will whip you up some shrimp and grits. The Griffon, 18 Vendue Range (& 843/723-1700), is a popular place to share a pint. Vickery’s Bar & Grill, 15 Beaufain (& 843/577-5300; www.vickerysbar andgrill.com), is one of the most frequented gathering places in Charleston for the younger crowd.

9 Myrtle Beach & the Grand Strand One of the most popular destinations along the East Coast, the Grand Strand area stretches south from the South Carolina state line at Little River to Georgetown. It’s 98 miles north of Charleston, but a world away in ambience. Development, mostly in the form of theme parks, kiddie attractions, minigolf courses, and condos, has proceeded at a runaway pace. The Grand Strand hosts more than twice as many visitors each year as Hawaii, mostly families and young singles from the Carolinas, who come year after year to enjoy the beach-party scene. It’s become a rival to Branson and Nashville, with more than a dozen theaters offering “family-friendly” and country-music variety shows. The bustling resort city of Myrtle Beach is at the center of it all.

ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE The closest airport is Myrtle Beach International Airport (& 843/448-1589). If you’re driving, major routes into Myrtle Beach are U.S. 17 from the north (Wilmington) and south (Charleston), and U.S. 501 from the west (I-95). VISITOR INFORMATION The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is at 1200 N. Oak St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29578 (& 800/356-3016, or 843/626-7444 to order literature only; www.mbchamber.com), open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Ask for their free Stay & Play guide (or order it in advance via the website).

THE BEACHES, THE LINKS & BEYOND Everybody—and we mean that—heads for the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusem*nt Park, Ninth Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard (& 843/448-6456; www.mbpavilion.com), an entertainment complex with carnival rides (including a huge water flume), sidewalk cafes, and video games. An all-day pass costs $24 adults, $15 seniors 55 and up and children ages 3 to 6. You can purchase individual tickets for $1. The park is open from March to October. When you’re ready to hit the beach, the main action is right around the pavilion, at Ocean Boulevard and Ninth Avenue North. For more seclusion, head north of 79th Avenue for several miles. The sands here are mostly hard-packed and the color of brown sugar. The beach has lifeguards and plenty of fast-food joints, but amazingly, no public toilets. However, South Carolina law obligates hotels to allow beach buffs to use their facilities. At the southern tier of the beach, Myrtle Beach State Park (& 843/238-5325; www.southcarolinaparks.com) offers 312 acres of pine woods and a sandy beach.

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Admission to the park is $3 per person. There are toilets, along with pavilions, picnic tables, and a nature center. It’s possible to fish from the pier for $4.50. The park is full of nature trails, and offers 350 campsites that rent quickly at $25 per site, so it’s a good idea to book ahead. Serious golfers will find plenty of places to play; the area has 120 golf courses. Many golf packages are available, including accommodations and greens fees; call Golf Holiday (& 800/845-4653; www.golfholiday.com). Legends, U.S. 501, Myrtle Beach (& 800/552-2660 or 843/236-9318), designed by Pete Dye and Tom Doak, is a 54-hole, par-72 course, charging greens fees of $49 to $120. We also like the following courses: Arcadian Shores, 701 Hilton Rd., Arcadian Shores (& 866/326-5275 or 843/449-5217), an 18-hole, par-72 course created by Rees Jones; Azalea Sands, 2100 U.S. 17, in North Myrtle Beach (& 800/ 253-2312 or 843/272-6191), an 18-hole course with white sand traps and blue lakes; and Beachwood, 1520 U.S. 17, Crescent Section, North Myrtle Beach (& 800/526-4889 or 843/272-6168), which annually hosts the Dupont World Amateur Handicap Championships. Anglers can go out after mackerel, amberjack, barracuda, sea bass, grouper, and red snapper. You’ll get great fishing aboard any boat of Captain Dick’s, Business Highway 17, at Myrtle Beach South Strand and Murrells Inlet (& 866/ 557-3474 or 843/651-3676; www.captdicks.com), which provides half-day party boat outings that cost $40 for adults, $24 for kids. There are also sailings that are strictly for sightseeing, offering stunning views of the Grand Strand. You can spend a day at the Myrtle Waves Water Park, 10th Avenue at U.S. 17N Bypass (& 843/448-1026; www.myrtlewaves.com), enjoying the water slides, wave pool, children’s play pool, video arcade, and tanning deck. Its TurboTwisters is the world’s tallest water ride. Adults pay $24 and children ages 3 to 6 are charged $15. The park is open daily from May to mid-September.

WHERE TO STAY In addition to the listings below, other solid, moderately priced, and affordable choices include the Holiday Inn Oceanfront, 415 S. Ocean Blvd. (& 800/8450313 or 843/448-4481); the Landmark Resort, 1501 S. Ocean Blvd. (& 843/ 448-9441); the Coral Beach Hotel, 1105 S. Ocean Blvd. (& 800/843-2684 or 843/448-8421); and St. John’s Inn, 6803 N. Ocean Blvd. (& 800/8450624 or 843/449-5251). The Breakers Resort Kids This longtime family favorite is better than ever. With one of the best north beachfront locations, it occupies both a multistory complex and a 19-floor North Tower 7 blocks away. The accommodations range from tastefully furnished rooms to efficiencies with kitchenettes, and even oneto three-bedroom suites. Many rooms have balconies and refrigerators; some have microwaves. A rooftop lounge features nightly entertainment. 2006 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC 29578. & 800/952-4507 or 843/626-5000. Fax 843/626-5001. www. breakers.com. 400 units. $39–$159 double; $55–$199 suite. Children 16 and under stay free in parent’s room. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Restaurant; 4 pools (2 indoor); fitness center. In room: Kitchenettes in suites.

Kingston Plantation & The Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation Best Kids This is the top choice along the strip, a 20-story main building

along with two other high-rises opening onto its own 145 acres of oceanfront property. Suites with beach views have living/dining areas, kitchens, balconies, and tasteful furnishings. In addition, the hotel has two 18-story oceanfront

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condos and town-house villas, all with fully equipped kitchens, beautiful bathrooms, living rooms, and balconies or decks; they’re great for families. 9800 Lake Dr., Myrtle Beach, SC 29572. & 800/876-0010 or 843/449-0006. Fax 843/497-1110. www. kingstonplantation.com. 255 suites, 595 condos and villas. $129–$379 suite; $99–$429 condo or villa. Children 12 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: 2 restaurants; 12 pools (4 indoor); 4 tennis courts; fitness center; spa. In room: Kitchen.

Ocean Creek Resort One of the finest resorts along the beach, this first-class choice features studios and condos of varying sizes in half a dozen different complexes spread out on almost 57 acres. Units vary in size and are suitable for families or couples; all contain kitchenettes and well-kept bathrooms with tub/ shower combinations. The Beach Club on the ocean operates in summer. 10600 N. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, SC 29572. & 877/844-3800 or 843/272-7724. Fax 843/272-9627. www.oceancreek.com. 750 units. $51–$330 studio or condo. Resort fee $3 per night. Children 17 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Restaurant; 8 pools (1 indoor); 6 tennis courts; fitness center. In room: Kitchenette.

Ocean Reef Resort Value North of the bustling beach center, this 16-floor oceanfront resort is well maintained and better than most other moderately priced choices. All the rooms and efficiencies are well kept and tropically inspired. Most have two double beds, balconies, and kitchenettes, attracting both the family trade and couples. 7100 N. Ocean Blvd. (at 71st Ave. N.), Myrtle Beach, SC 29577. & 800/542-0048 or 843/449-4441. Fax 843/ 497-3041. www.oceanreefmyrtlebeach.com. 291 units. $128–$157 double; $124–$365 suite. Children 17 and under stay free in parent’s room. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Free parking. Amenities: Restaurant; 9 pools (1 indoor); fitness center. In room: Kitchenette.

WHERE TO DINE Murrells Inlet bills itself “The Seafood Capital of South Carolina.” Just take U.S. 17 (Business) south 11 miles from Myrtle Beach, and prepare to dig in. Our favorite choices for a feast are the Fisherman’s Market (& 843/651-6440) and Drunken Jacks (& 843/651-2044). Both of them are on U.S. 17 (Business), right along the water. NASCAR Café AMERICAN The most intriguing of Myrtle Beach’s many theme restaurants, this one is set within a building that vaguely evokes a temple to some exotic high-tech god, and the dining room is prefaced with one of the most complete collections of NASCAR memorabilia in the world. The heavily American menu is relentlessly geared to the kind of fare you might expect at Indy on a super-heated race day. Your waiter (who will identify him- or herself as a member of your “pit crew”) will bring you heaping portions. 1808 21st Ave. N. & 843/946-7223. www.nascarcafe.com. Reservations not accepted. Sandwiches and platters $8–$18. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Daily 11am–10pm (Fri–Sat until 11pm).

Sea Captain’s House AMERICAN

In a 1930s beachfront home 11⁄2 miles north of the center, this family-run restaurant is loved by loc