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Re: Next Vacation - Ideas
I gave up searching until I get to a computer
Try using DDF in browser on phone. It's super small, but I like it way better than tapatalk.

March 24, 2017, 01:55:56 PM
Re: 1 day or 2 days in Israel
I don't get it. Why can't you just ask your LOR?
DDF is much more fun than LOR.

March 26, 2017, 08:21:44 PM
Re: Hogwarts hagadah on ddms Someone get rid of this troll.
March 27, 2017, 12:59:28 PM
Re: Venice Master Thread
Have some spg points . but don't know if wortgto use them here or not
The Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli are supposed to be gorgeous. The Westin is very nice as well.

April 28, 2017, 11:53:08 AM
Re: Venice Master Thread
Alas, the property doesn't have points-based availability in June.  Is there a thread on DDF or elsewhere that lists the Venice properties that accept points and that are in a usable proximity to the ghetto (for Shabbos purposes)?
See the wiki.
I realize that it's going to take a bit more effort and careful watching with all the bridges and water but any major reasons not to go to Venice with a 2 year old?
Bring a baby carrier?

April 28, 2017, 04:37:19 PM
Re: Venice Master Thread Potential Shabbos issues at any hotel:
Electronic room door? Put your valuables in the safe, bring tape and tape your key card to the door jamb, leaving it unlocked at all times unless you're in the room, in which case you can lock the chain.
Lobby door? Call hotel and ask if they have a manual door.
Don't want to walk a lot of stairs? Call hotel and ask for room on low floor.
Shabbos candles? Most hotels won't officially allow you to light in your room, either light there and don't tell anyone or ask hotel where you can light (they might allow on front desk or in kitchen) or light at Chabad.

June 19, 2017, 09:47:02 AM
Re: Venice Master Thread
All true and thanks for the awesome advice. But I was hoping for someone to chime in with this specific property. It seems from the Wiki, from people's TR, and from JewishVenice that there are only a handful of "sanctioned" properties people are willing to recommend/try but this place looks great and has very high TripAdvisor ratings/reviews.
Just because DDFers haven't stayed here doesn't mean it's not good for Shabbos. Chabad probably listed a few options, but not every single one. Most DDFers either stay at a points hotel or AirBNB.

June 19, 2017, 10:18:37 AM
Re: Fairmont Nights Master Thread
Any chance I'll be able to find 4 nights from one person (assuming these are even available any more) or would it have to be 2+2?
Very unlikely to find 4 in 1 account.

June 21, 2017, 09:11:11 AM
Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure Just had a chance to read up. Great job so far as usual. The master storyteller is at it again!
July 06, 2017, 08:25:00 PM
Re: Israel & Bali: around the world in 17 days Great new segments! Rosh Hanikra looks really cool - on my list for a future trip. Keep 'em coming!
July 18, 2017, 02:51:01 PM
Re: Israel & Bali: around the world in 17 days I'm glad you had lots to eat at all those breakfasts, because that Friday night dinner sounds pretty unsatisfying. :P ;D
July 21, 2017, 04:02:49 AM
Re: Rome Master Thread
Anyone ever stopped at EUR near the Sheraton in Rome, anything to see ?
My Rav told me to skip the vatican so I need a half day trip to fill up time.
Villa de este.

July 31, 2017, 07:05:01 AM
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
Meat or Dairy?
Meat. Supposed to be RC style.

August 10, 2017, 03:19:39 PM
Re: Switzerland Master Thread Beautiful!
August 30, 2017, 07:47:15 AM
Re: Mazal Tov MoisheBatchy on a Baby Boy! Mazel Tov! I hope you spoil him with lots of candy!
August 31, 2017, 11:55:03 PM
Re: Grand Hawaiian Holiday, by PBaruch (August 2017) Another great report by the Hawaiian Legend!
September 12, 2017, 04:40:11 PM
Re: Iceland Master Thread
Golden Circle
... But not the classic route. Geysir is, well, a geysir. You can see them in other laces and they're not all that exciting. Gullfoss it's hard to get a good view of and is less impressive than Niagara is even other falls in Iceland. Instead, if you can still book a Silfra snorkel trip and then head past the other  activities I mentioned (maybe stop for 5 minutes each as that's all they take) and head to Secret Lagoon, that would be a fun day with unique experiences. If you could somehow pull off seeing Skogafoss (1.5 hours from the lagoon and not in there direction of the airport), you'll see a much more awesome falls than Gulfoss, and get a lot closer too.

September 17, 2017, 07:33:34 AM
Re: Iceland Master Thread
Thanks for the tip @yehudah It saves allot of time to skip Geysir and Gullfoss. (also I don't think its recommended to go scuba diving right before you get on a plane something to do with air/ear pressure)
What I would like to do is 4:30am rent a car and drive to Ţingvellir national park on the way hope to see northern lights. (I know its a small chance but i hope)
Daven shachris vasikin
Go to Keriđ crater
Then Hveragerđi
Reykjavik What to do depends on the time (any ideas?)
Then back KEF
I figured about $200 $100 for the rental $100 for gas ($7 a gallon!!!) If any yeshiva buchor wants to join me for this trip (Wed. Morning Sept27 4:50am-6:15pm) let me know
Any insights on this itinerary would be very helpful Thanks allot
As Something Fishy said, go snorkeling, not scuba diving :). I missed Kerid myself, so I can't comment. Hveragerđi is a free option, but from pics it just looks like a stream. Secret Lagoon was a large hot pool (temp of a hot tub even!) and cost about $20-25. Was a real treat. Don't know what to do in Reyk.

@yehuda's idea of going to see Seljalandsfoss is a solid one, I would recommend that. The road out and back is stunningly beautiful. (@yahuda actually recommended Skogafoss, but I believe he meant to say Seljalandsfoss. The former is much further away and not nearly as interesting.)
I actually meant Skogafoss, but I forgot about Seljalandsfoss and I agree it's also a great experience plus closer than Skogafoss - so, good recommendation! I still think Skogafoss was the most powerful falls we saw, but being to walk behind Seljalandsfoss was very cool.

Neither Skogafoss nor Seljalandsfoss are worth a trip out thataway, IMO, but I'd go anyway because of the drive.  Google maps says Skogafoss is just 26 minutes further, and you can see Eyjafjallajokull along the way.  There's a small visitors center on E15.  Just driving along the ring road gives you a feel for Iceland, that I enjoyed very much.  Looming glaciers, meltwater rivers, Icelandic ponies, a sod house or two.  I would definitely do this over Thingvellir, especially if you're not going snorkeling there.

The one thing I regret not doing, is checking out Viking World, or even the national museum (in Reykjavik?).  Iceland=Vikings to me, and most other stuff you can do/see elsewhere.
I kinda agree with this itinerary over the Golden Circle if you won't be doing snorkeling or Secret Lagoon. Drive from KEF straight down the highway along the southern border - nicer drive than the Golden Circle drive. You could even pass by Hveragerđi if you wanted and then see Seljalandsfoss and maybe continue on to Skogafoss then turn back. I didn't plan seeing Eyjafjallajokull properly, unless all it is is looking from the highway, because I didn't see much - just a white capped mountain in the distance. If there is a specific viewing point, I missed it. Passed by the visitor center but heard it wasn't worth visiting on a week-long trip, so I'd say kal v'chomer on a 13 hour stopover. My friends said the viking museum was boring. Iceland=Vikings? Iceland=beautiful sights, not museums... But, I know, to each their own.

September 18, 2017, 10:15:57 AM
Re: Private Island Paradise: Something Fishy's Anniversary Adventure What a trip! Thanks for taking the time. Really enjoyed. You are a master storyteller and photographer.
September 19, 2017, 11:49:26 AM
Re: Maui Master Thread
Any recommendations for snorkeling gear to buy on amazon in advanced of my trip to hawaii?
I liked this, but you just have to be careful when adjusting the clip, as I wasn't and it cracked off.
Note different colors have different prices.

December 08, 2017, 08:09:16 AM
99 cents Philips LED bulbs (60w equivalent) Free shipping on the 20-pack. Tax was $1.55 to NYC.

10-pack costs $5 shipping even if combining in cart with a 20-pack.

December 12, 2017, 12:51:46 PM
Re: Orlando Master Thread
Flying from NYC to orlando for Sunday-thursday in March. Any ideas of where to go from there for a the weekend (thurs-Sun) before we head back to NY? Either a drive or short flight. Ive been to Miami several times. Was wondering what the next best thing would be for a "beach/pool" weekend.
If you don't need a Minyan, there are lots of nice resorts on the Gulf Coast of Florida and several Chabads that will deliver food to those hotels.

December 15, 2017, 08:03:47 AM
Re: Rubashkin freed from prison.
There is no sentence to long for a traitor.
But he's a broooother! How can we not rejoice for a brother?? Well, if his Kippah doesn't match ours, maybe then we don't need to rejoice...  :-\

December 20, 2017, 10:55:57 PM
Re: Rubashkin freed from prison. Ok boys it's time to call it a night. What a day b"h! Topped off with Shaps hitting 1M followers!
December 20, 2017, 11:08:40 PM
Re: Re: Paris Master Thread Nice report! Thanks for taking the time to post it. I agree that Las du Falafel was the best falafel I ever had.
December 23, 2017, 08:41:14 PM
Re: Merry Christmas to all (those celebrating tomorrow!)
It was a very good night indeed!!!
Happy to hear! Don't forget to leave out the milk and cookies.

December 24, 2017, 10:58:27 PM
Re: Newark EWR Airport Parking Master Thread Revere, Nottingham, Exeter, etc. You talked to the wrong person.
December 28, 2017, 03:40:39 PM
Re: "Rare" Award Space Master Thread Please no discussion on this thread. Also, this thread should be renamed to "Post when there's award space on a United flight to Israel."
January 04, 2018, 01:58:48 PM
Re: Request - An accurate forehead thermometer
Nothing is going to be as accurate as the under-tongue.
Isn't rectal the most accurate? Although, at my kid's last appointment, the nurse went forehead, which caught me off guard.

January 08, 2018, 04:29:18 PM
Barreling down Niagara Falls on @Yehuda’s First Trip with a Baby! At 7 weeks old, it was time for us to take our first trip with DD (dear daughter)! We thought it would be easier to do a driving trip than a flying trip (not sure we were right), plus my wife had never been to Niagara, so it was decided. I briefly considered flying to BUF, but between the lack of miles availability and the cost of renting a car/taxiing from BUF to Niagara and back nixed that plan pretty quickly; a road trip it would be! An extended July 4th weekend was a great amount of time to experience Niagara, but between the US holiday weekend and being the 150th Canada Day, it meant we were in for a boatload of traffic.

Day 1 – Friday, 6/30
We left Friday morning, and with a ~6 hour trip ahead of us, I planned stops every 2 hours to break up the trip with DD. What I failed to do was properly lay out the stops with her eating schedule, so we ended up stopping a few more times than expected. But that was okay because traveling long distances on Erev Shabbos is always a good idea, right!? *foreshadow*

2 hours from home we stopped at Krispy Kreme in Scranton. With so many delicious-looking doughnuts, it was hard to choose. I liked how they package them up in the little box and have the touristy hats to put on. After we ate, it was time to feed DD, which worked out well, before getting back on the road.

About 2 hours later, we arrived at the Corning Glass Museum ($20 admission). It was definitely more interesting than a classic art museum, but we didn't think it was as exciting as others made it out to be. We had been fortunate to see glass blowing in Murano, so the demonstrations here didn’t interest us, despite being a much better production that the 5 minute show we got in Italy. The museum is huge, but we went through it relatively quickly (still spent 2 hours there), including another meal time for DD. Being allowed to bring a stroller in was very helpful.

My sciencey wife loved this section

Up-close this looked like a mess of glass cups, but from afar, the trees came into sight

We were now 2 hours away from Niagara, with no more stops planned, when we hit holiday traffic. Google Maps changed our route (off the DDF-recommended scenic route, although still with nice farm views), but we were now scheduled for a 3 hour drive, which meant we had to pull over to feed DD again. When we finally got to the Rainbow Bridge (I know it's not the recommended bridge to take, but we trusted Gmaps), traffic was absolutely crawling and DD was screaming. As the clock ticked towards Shabbos, I realized we had no shot of getting there with breathing room. 15 more minutes and having only moved 50 feet, and there would be no time for showering. 10 more minutes and just a drop closer meant candle lighting was in danger. We got our first view of the falls from the bridge, but couldn’t appreciate it due to the stress of the clock. As we got to the customs window, I nervously pulled out our driver’s licenses and a copy of DD’s birth certificate. I had been told you need the original birth certificate, but had applied for DD’s passport just days before the trip, not realizing they keep the original birth certificate during the process. Luckily, I had made a copy of it beforehand and was told it would be up to the customs agent to let us through or not. I was ready to beg if there was a problem, but fortunately, he had no issue with it. Unfortunately, there was another problem. “These are your licenses… where are your passports?” OUR PASSPORTS!? I recall for some reason telling myself while packing that you only need a license to cross the border. “Sir, you know you’re going into another country, right? You need a passport to do that…”

I don’t think I need to describe my wife’s face at this time. I apologized profusely to the agent for leaving our passports behind, and thank G-d he let us through. I gunned it out of there for the 10 minute drive to our hotel, the Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview, which is on the Canadian side (not to be confused by the hotel with the same name without the word "Fallsview" which is on the US side) booked for 3K SPG/night for 2 nights. The DDF tip of parking at the casino across the street for cheap didn't work out because we didn't have time to walk from there to the hotel, plus the sign outside didn’t say $5 this time (I think it was $35), as makes sense on a holiday weekend. We pulled up to the hotel with just a precious few of the 18 minutes left, gave the car to valet ($33 a day, gulp!) and ran inside. We checked into our room and were upgraded to a jacuzzi room on a low floor as requested in advance. Being on a low floor meant no view of the falls, but the choice was an easy sacrifice when carrying a stroller, and we would have a nice room view later on in the trip. We had 5 minutes and then ran downstairs to light candles just in time. Not the way you want to start a trip or a Shabbos, but we made it! I didn't take pictures, but here is the room from the hotel's site.

Chabad offers wonderful Shabbos meals for $120 a person in the basement ballroom of this hotel, which is incredibly convenient for a hotel that only costs 3K and is across the street (within a small Eruv) from the Chabad Shul. We sat with random people at our table, and of course it turned out that one guy was our friend’s uncle. There was a generous amount of food and a friendly Chabad Rabbi running the show who made everyone introduce themselves, and surprisingly very few people fought hard enough to abstain from participating. A large Israeli tour group took up 5 tables and kept us entertained (for lack of a better word) with Sefardi Zemiros/t :P during the meal. Thankfully, DD slept in her Doona at dinner.

Day 2 - Shabbos, 7/1

Shacharis across the street was fully packed, even on the women’s side. Throughout Shabbos, the Rabbi gave several pitches about the work he does for the community, and he must really know what he’s doing because people were donating 100 x Chai easily at almost every Aliyah. Lunch was equally as nice as dinner. In the afternoon, while others went for a walk to see the falls, we were confined to the Eruv, so we walked the 5 minute total area of the Eruv a few times and hung out in the relatively small lobby playing games we brought with us until Mincha/Shalosh Seudos/Maariv.

We didn't do much on Motzai Shabbos, although Chabad has incredibly worked out with the hotel to get separate swimming hours for men/women on Motzai Shabbos. The hotel is attached to an arcade and shopping center and has a Starbucks inside that they gave us free drink vouchers for.

Day 3 - Sunday, 7/2
We started the day by going on a walk to try and see the falls. I don’t know where people saw them from on Shabbos, but walking around the plazas nearby led us to views entirely blocked by trees and landscaping. Plus, the closest street we found was still a few stories above the ground level of where the falls are. We actually passed the Falls Incline Railway which gives people a nice view of the falls and takes you down to falls/ground level, but between the long line, planning on getting a nice view later on in the trip and not actually wanting to go all the way down now, we turned back to the hotel.

This is where we learned a mistake re: traveling with a baby. Packing up to switch hotels on just a 4 night trip was rough and ended up killing half the day. While this hotel was really convenient for Shabbos and is right next to the 2 Kosher restaurants that are in the Chabad building, it's further from basically all the activities we wanted to do, so we spent the next two nights in the more "fun" (touristy) area, Clifton Hill. Before leaving this side of town, we got lunch at Top Nosh. The place was very heimish from the slow ordering process, to no one clearing tables, to the long wait for food to the salad being just a dumped out bag of Dole lettuce, but having hot Kosher food in Niagara that actually tasted good was really appreciated. $40 was a bit steep for what we got, but makes sense being far from home.

We stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls (not to be confused with Sheraton at the Falls on the US side - seriously, Sheraton, you gotta fix these names!) for 10K SPG/night for 2 nights. While it should have only been 5 minutes away, with the holiday traffic the drive (and each return trip to the restaurants) took 15-20 minutes.

On the way over, we passed by the Skylon Tower, which I planned to skip before the trip because why pay to go up and get a view if you can get a hotel room on a high floor with the same view? At the hotel, we did valet again as it was just easier with the baby. Resort and valet fees were $55 after some of it was comp'd due to the long wait times for our car we had a few times. For cell service, we took the advice of turning our phones to network only which avoided roaming and was supposed to pick up the US signal. It didn’t work at all at the first hotel (but wifi did the job), but at this one and at the different activities we went to, we were able to pick up service. We were very happy with our upgraded room with a view of both the American and Canadian/Horseshoe falls. You’ve been patient enough until now, so you can finally have a picture of the falls.

View from the room, both falls

View from the room, American Falls

View from the room, Candian Falls. Yes, there’s always a huge mist blocking the view

It was after 3PM by the time we headed out for the day – as I said before, switching hotels with the baby really impacted the day. There are activities packages you could buy but before the trip I had seen that none of them offered all the activities we wanted to do and were not good deals once you factor in that you’re also paying for all the activities you aren’t interested in, so we paid for each activity on its own Chabad supposedly offers individual activity deals besides for their J-Pass package, but they were not very organized with this, and I never had a good chance to meet with them to buy tickets. We headed down for the 10 minute walk to the Rainbow Bridge with a plan to walk across to America to Goat Island and Cave of the Winds. Halfway there, I realized I forgot DD’s birth certificate copy, so we returned to the hotel. On round 2, as we approached the exit to leave Canada, we were greeted by signs warning us to bring our passports with us or else be refused entry back in. I totally forgot about this consequence of not having our passports, despite having written in my trip planning notes for this activity – “need passports” >:(. My wife said no way were we taking the chance again, so we returned back to the hotel again, frustrated but determined to make something work today. We’ll just save COTW for next time!

While you can take the WeGo bus system to basically any activity, we decided to drive <10 minutes to the Whirlpool Aero Car ($12). We parked in the free lot, having finally arrived at our first activity of the day after 4PM. The line was about 10 minutes, and we enjoyed the views while riding the 100-year old cable car across the gorge and back with DD in a baby carrier.

The whirlpool below us

Up next, we drove 2 minutes back towards the hotel zone along the Niagara River to the White Water Walk ($10). The lot is across the street infront of some Asian temple-looking building, and you can get a validated ticket to put in your windshield. The line was decent as you have to wait for an elevator down through the cliffside into a tunnel that lets you out really right on the edge of the water. Strolling along the boardwalk watching and listening to the rapids was a great activity to do with a stroller.

Back at the hotel, I dropped off my wife and daughter for bedtime, while I went through traffic to Chabad for Shul. Chabad does not have a lot, but there is street parking with a muni-meter that costs $3 for an hour or two. Afterwards, I picked up food from the fleishig restaurant, Taste, which is literally separated from Top Nosh by a curtain. $40 got us wings, chicken fingers, fries and drinks, which again was slightly on the more expensive side, but understandable. Back at the hotel, we sat by the floor-to-ceiling window with the fireplace turned on enjoying really good food while watching the falls light and fireworks show. Sorry, iPhones don’t do so well at night, through glass and with bright lights outside.

Day 4 - Monday, 7/3
Included in the resort fee is a free photo at the Hershey store down the block, so we headed there in the morning. First, we passed by a Coca Cola store and stopped in.

From there we continued down the block to the Hershey store where we got our picture taken in front of a large Hershey Kiss with a fake Niagara background. The kind of thing I’d never pay for at one of these places, until… later today.

Up next we walked for 5 minutes to Hornblower Cruises ($22), where we encountered extremely long lines. However, there were signs everywhere to buy tickets online from your phone and skip the wait. There were a few people doing this so we joined them and 5 minutes later, had tickets that allowed us to literally skip over an hour’s wait. I don’t understand why everyone wasn’t doing it. There was still a 20 minute or so line but a lot of it was covered from the sun and before we knew it, we were handed our red ponchos and boarding the boat. We brought along the Doona raincover, which kept DD dry, although there is also a closed off area on the lower deck that is protected from the water. The ride is not that long but really shows you the enormity and power of both falls, particularly the Canadian Horseshoe that has such a thick mist rising you can’t see once the boat gets close. We didn’t really get that wet, although we weren’t standing in the biggest splash zone on the boat.

A boat setting off towards the falls

American Falls

Yellow ponchos at Cave of the Winds on the American Side. The small section of falls on the right side is called the Bridal Veil Falls

Approaching the Canadian Falls and their great mist

Having a great time sleeping while up close and personal with the falls

Back on solid ground, we walked over to Clifton Hill, which is a super touristy street full of arcades, haunted houses, mini golf, wax museums, Ripley’s, Guinness and the Sky Wheel. This is a really fun area that I’m sure kids just a bit older than DD would have a blast at. Best part was that they had a Dippin’ Dots! We decided not to do any of the activities mostly due to having a stroller with us, so we just walked around.


We made a quick stop back at the hotel to feed DD and eat something ourselves and then we continued our activity-filled day by driving to the Botanical Gardens (free, $5 parking). The gardens were not the grandest we’ve ever seen, but it was a calm place to stroll around with DD and there were several nice spots for photos. Within the gardens, we went to the Butterfly Conservatory ($12). Pushing the stroller within the enclosure was a little difficult due to the large crowds but it was our first time at one of these butterfly places, and we really enjoyed.


Heading back towards the hotel, we stopped at Bird Kingdom ($15), a combination museum/random artifacts the founder collected and bird sanctuary. Some birds were very playful and followed us around, and some were quite exotic. The highlight was being able to hold parrots, and because we weren’t allowed to take a picture with our phones, we agreed to buy the official picture, going against my policy mentioned earlier. :P I recommend stopping in (you can skip quickly through most of the museum part).

From there we went to Shul and this time sat down for dinner at Taste.Again, we chose simpler foods like chicken fingers instead of the $70 steak or $40 chicken. We also got our favorite, hot chocolate cake with ice cream, spending $65 in total. Back at the hotel we caught another fireworks show. Really recommend getting a hotel room with a view as the night shows are pleasant to watch before going to bed. I’m not really a food picture guy, but here’s what I got after I realized halfway through the meal I didn’t take any food pics for you guys.

Those fries were really good


Patriotic tonight

Day 5 – Tuesday, July 4th
Today was heading back day on a beautiful Fourth of July.

Getting over the border was quick, and we said our goodbyes to the falls from the Rainbow Bridge and Canada – until next time… when we bring our passports!

Knowing that we had a 6 hour journey ahead of us, I once again planned several stops. And as with last time, the first few stops worked out well with DD’s feeding schedule, but after that, things didn’t go as smoothly. Our first stop was 1.5 hours away at the Strong Museum of Play ($15) in Rochester, although it wasn’t exactly 1.5 hours on the way home as it was not on the most direct route. The place was ginormous. An incredibly well done museum of all the toys and games you can think of. From babies/kids toys to superheroes, video games (free!), arcade games, a room full of pinball machines, board games, antiques and computerized versions of games (like Rush Hour and Connect 4) – it was room after room of just endless games. It’s really a shame that it’s so far from NY because it would be a great full Sunday activity with kids. It was stroller friendly and obviously DD didn’t know what was going on, but we had a really great time.

Funhouse-style room

Play supermarket


Before we knew it, we had spent 2 and half hours here and could have easily spent more, but we were still so far from home. For our next stop, I spent time researching where we could find a nice play to eat lunch by the Finger Lakes. I found that highway 14 runs down along Seneca Lake and 1 hour after leaving the museum (this time definitely in the direction home), we pulled over at a grassy area with benches overlooking the beautiful lake.

It was now 2:30 and we still had 4.5 hours to drive. The last stop I had planned was only 15 minutes from the lake, which meant just a quick car ride now, but… an extremely long stretch afterwards. We arrived at Watkins Glen State Park to hike the waterfall-filled path. The main entrance is under construction, so Google Maps had no idea where to send us, so we got lost for 20 minutes. Finally, we found the parking lot. Entrance is free, but parking costs $8. We strapped DD into the baby carrier and followed the larger than expected crowd (although to be fair it was a holiday) along the path. With 20/20 hindsight, we should have spent 20 minutes checking out the first few falls and then turned back. Those were the most impressive falls on the whole hike which should more accurately be called a step climb (that only went up). Once we realized what was going on, we were too far to return so we trekked on, sweating and exhausted (although, walking through the “canyon” provided shade most of the way). The whole climb took around 1-1.5 hours till we emerged at the other end. I knew that an unofficial shuttle drives back to the parking lot for $5 cash per person, so I brought money with me. By the time the beat up school bus showed up and the driver took care of his business, waited for more passengers and drove 5 mph, we didn’t pull out of the park until 6pm. The park was pretty, but again, I recommend going in just for the first 2-3 falls then turning around (and try to avoid going on a packed holiday). What we should have done was skipped such an active activity like this and just made our last stop back at Krispy Kreme again… mmm…


It was now 6pm and we still had over 4 hours to go with no more stops planned – not that we wanted any, we were ready to go home. But DD was not having it and she screamed and cried on-and-off while we drove. It was not a fun ride to say the least, but we made it home after a long day’s drive. Niagara was a blast, and we had a great time once we settled in learning how to deal with a baby on vacation. To the next trip!

February 08, 2018, 11:44:58 AM
Re: Ask AJ Edelman Anything: DDF Member And Member Of The 2018 Israel Olympic Team! Great job AJ!
February 15, 2018, 08:29:59 PM
Re: Need Help: Booking Delta through KAL for LAX to HNL It doesn't work like that- you need to have saver available on or else KAL can't book it at all, for any price, unfortunately. In general it's a good idea not to transfer points to an airline until you confirm saver space is available with the airline your flying and then checking with the airline you're booking with that they can see the space to book.
February 21, 2018, 07:57:53 AM
Re: Trip planning for second honeymoon
Sun-Thurs trip to Israel? :o

I would only pick 1 city and stay there. I wouldn't even schlep from Venice to Rome and kill half a day. Would either do Paris or Rome for 3 days.

March 09, 2018, 10:55:36 AM
Re: London Master Thread
Do you have to get there early? I've read that the lines can bee long.
I didn't get there early and there's wasn't much of a line to see the jewels. I had bought tickets in advance to the tower.

March 18, 2018, 07:43:34 PM
Re: 2018 Arctic Expedition
The pictures are true to life here.
Wow! I didn't know they could look like that without edits.

April 08, 2018, 01:04:41 AM
Re: Quaker Life Breakfast Cereal Variety Pack,(4 boxes) 52 Ounce $6.01 Vanilla is gross. So it's 3 boxes for $6 then.  :P
April 30, 2018, 01:51:45 PM
Re: Dan in the news:) Will this bring in more traffic than the ElAl glitch?
May 02, 2018, 03:36:01 PM
Re: Niagara Falls Master Thread
im driving in July from New York city to niagra falls (canadian side)..anyone who has done this trip from NYC, care to share somme good stopping points/attractions on the way? i have a 7 and  9 year old
I've listed a bunch of stops at the end of the wiki, and you can read my TR as well.

June 13, 2018, 06:00:51 PM
Re: Oh uh - El Al #LY8 from JFK to Tel Aviv is diverting to Gander  How has a mod not changed the title to "uh oh" yet?
June 17, 2018, 01:16:47 AM
Re: Cancun, Mexico Master Thread
If you had to choose between these 3, which would it be? Looking for overall nicest



JW Marriott based on my limited research

July 05, 2018, 11:57:32 PM
Re: DDMS To-Do List Make 2 Twitters, one for travel/cc posts and one for stam deals. *ducks and runs*
July 06, 2018, 03:06:20 PM
Destinations with Shuls/Chabads near Points Hotels I thought it would be helpful to compile the different destinations that have points hotels within walking distance to Shuls/Chabads. Whether you want Minyan on Shabbos, meals for Shabbos, daily Minyanim, etc. it can be helpful to know which cities have these options that are easily accessible while staying at a points hotel. How often a place has Minyan or is in operation often changes, so I figured it's not worth adding that into the wiki, and instead I suggest that once you find a place to contact the Chabad/community to find out specific info that's relevant at the time of your stay.

Please feel free to edit/fill in what I've started, I just wanted to get the ball rolling. When I have more time later, I'll be happy to add in more that I know of and order it somehow (perhaps separate tables for each continent).

July 09, 2018, 11:12:30 AM
Re: Off Brand Doona for Less? I debated buying a stroller that would only work for ~1 year. Fortunately, someone bought us a City Mini, so we didn't have to buy a separate normal stroller. If you have to pay yourself for 2 strollers, I understand the concern.

However, it's been amazing as someone who lives in NYC (takes up sooo little space in our apt) and travels a lot to in-laws while paying for a seat for the baby. Going from apt to the car - just fold wheels and drop it into the base (yes, @Emkay I think the base is key) is sooo convenient. And travelling to my in laws 5-7 times in the first year (over 10 legs of flights) and just taking the Doona in the car/Uber, pushing through the airport, plopping it on the plane, pushing through the next airport, plopping it into the car ride to their house... I mean just so convenient. Funny, yesterday someone saw us at LGA and said "Don't you love that stroller?? Our son just grew out of it, we're so sad. They should pay us for all the advertising we did for them." lol but seriously, so many people have stopped me to ask about it.

July 09, 2018, 12:05:59 PM
Re: Destinations with Shuls/Chabads near Points Hotels
Arrival+ :D
Paging @benjie1305 and @EJB  ;D ;D

Thanks, adding all this great new info to the wiki. FYI, I have added a bunch more in the last day or two that I found out about.

July 13, 2018, 01:15:10 PM
Re: Panama Master Thread Just collected all the activities listed throughout the thread and added them to the wiki.
July 16, 2018, 10:32:14 PM
Re: Destinations with Shuls/Chabads near Points Hotels
Does Halifax still have a Orthodox shul?
Appears so, Beth Israel, but points hotels seem to be a bit far away.

Prague: Chabad, Altneu shul and more. Meals at Chabad or restaurants. Hotel: InterContinental
Cape Town: Chabad, Morasha, and more (?). Hotel: Protea Sea Point
Thanks! Got these as well as a whole bunch of others in Asia that someone sent me.

July 18, 2018, 10:31:26 AM
Re: Hyatt Awards And Upgrades Master Thread
Still Looking - Willing to pay $250 per Night


Staying from 9/1 - 9/3 at the PH in New York (Currently Available). Please be willing to transfer the nights into my name so i can use my status (easy to do) and I am ready to pay.

Many thanks!
Since when can nights be transferred to another name to use benefits?

July 31, 2018, 05:15:49 PM
Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR Nice TR. Thanks for taking the time. FYI, Starbucks and Haagen Dazs follow the same rules as in USA regarding kosher status. They are in the wiki map too.  Glad you had a good time!
August 05, 2018, 06:58:10 AM
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants Just cleaned up the wiki a bit. Still missing plenty of restaurants, but at least it's a start.
August 06, 2018, 11:25:26 PM
A little R+R in Cancun with @Yehuda Introduction / Trip Planning

As my wife had recently got her first job and was in a 6-month probation period with no vacation, I dreamily flipped the pages of my calendar waiting for February to come and free her schedule. The way things turned out, she had a wedding in California right after President’s Day, so she took off the beginning of the week to attend, and we used the end of the week to go somewhere with our then 9-month old baby. The plan was to meet somewhere between NY and CA, and after some research, we settled on Cancun. Warm weather, beautiful resorts, pools and beaches, plus Kosher food and a Chabad for Shabbos sealed the deal. I booked flights and a hotel fairly easily and then shortly before the trip, my in-laws told us they would be willing to watch our daughter while we went away! I rushed to cancel all the flights and re-booked us to stop in Denver to drop her off – the extra flight time and cost was worth it to have our first few nights alone since she was born and while on vacation, no less! Thanks Bubby and Zaidy!

While there are several locations in the greater Cancun area to choose from, I decided to just stick with the Cancun Hotel Zone and limited our hotel choices to those within walking distance of Chabad – Intercontinental, Aloft and Hyatt Ziva – with Hyatt winning due to pictures, reviews and our ability to secure an awesome suite in advance.

Our final itinerary looked like this: (cost per person)
JFK-DEN Tuesday on DL for me + baby: 11.5k DL + $5.60 + $85 E+ covered by Ritz CC
DEN-CUN Wednesday on SW for me: 11k SW + $33.64 + $15 Early Bird check-in covered by Ritz CC
LAX-CUN Wednesday on DL for my wife: 12k MR
CUN-DEN Sunday on UA for me and my wife: 21k MR (got E+ because no other 2 seats next to each other available)
DEN-LGA Sunday on UA for all of us: 13k MR

4 nights at Hyatt Ziva Cancun – 25k a night plus suite upgrade


On Tuesday night, with my baby in her Doona, I drove to Queens, parked near LGA (since our return flight was to LGA), took an Uber to JFK and caught our flight to DEN. Having a baby with me, we were the first to board the plane. This was my first time not converting it to a car seat before boarding to see how far down the aisle it would fit. The flight attendant gave me a look and tried to stop me, but I reassured her that I would fold it when we got to our row. We made it past business class, but then got stuck at E+.

Emuna in her Doona

I was anxious flying solo with a baby and of course she woke up when I had to take her out at security, and of course this was the first flight she wouldn’t sleep in the Doona, but fortunately we had an empty seat in our row and eventually I got her to fall asleep while lying on the seat. We arrived to a fresh coat of Denver snow, got to my family and went to bed.


In the morning, I said my goodbyes, wished my mother in law good luck :P and headed back to the airport just about the same time that my wife was on the way herself to LAX. Cancun here we come!

Everyone seems to have a story in CUN, so let’s get to it. I was set to land about 2 hours before my wife, although in a different terminal. I figured I’d have plenty of time before she arrived. Having T-Mobile in America, I assumed I should have free roaming in Mexico, but when my phone didn’t connect to any service upon landing, I started getting nervous. How was I going to find my wife in a foreign country without phones!?

Shot from the plane upon descent

Fortunately, I had wifi on the plane and was able to get in touch with @Yehoshua before deplaning who helped me change some settings, and I got connected! However, service was terrible in the airport (wasn't much better outside the airport either) and most of all, I still had no idea how my wife would figure those settings out… There was a long line for immigration, but it surprisingly went very quickly – maybe 10 minutes. Baggage claim on the other hand took forever. Bags were coming out so slowly, and after about 30 minutes, mine finally popped out. I saw a mosquito here, but fortunately, it was the only one I saw on the entire trip. I headed towards customs to hit the infamous button for green or red (although I only brought snacks with me), and on the walk, I immediately realized that Cancun is really centrally built around tourism. Signs and kiosks everywhere advertised the many adventure parks and then I entered the Hall of Taxis. While reports indicated that I’d be harassed here, I found that each taxi company had a stand on the side and were not really that pushy if you walked through with confidence – although, yes, they were all dressed very official-looking to make you think you had to use them. I had pre-booked roundtrip car service with Canada Transfers as they had good reviews and were the cheapest at just under $50 for 2 people when you paid in MEX. Once past the taxis, I stopped an airport employee to ask how to get to the other terminals. He opened a stanchion for me and said go through these doors to find the free shuttle. I asked him, “What about customs?”, flashing my papers, to which he simply replied, “Oh, I don’t need those.” ??? So, I just went through the doors and found myself outside the airport. No button for me!

While waiting for the shuttle, a cabbie approached me and said, “Oh the shuttle – that won’t come for another 40 minutes, here I’ll take you for $10.” LOL, I could tell I was going to love this place. A few minutes later, a local joined me in line and said the shuttle never takes more than 15 minutes. Sure enough it showed up a few minutes later. I had to go to the last terminal on the route, so the ride took a while and by the time I got to my wife’s terminal, she was supposed to land in 20 minutes. Security wouldn’t allow me to enter the arrivals section of the terminal ??? and said everyone has to exit this way, so I should just wait there and my wife would come out. Something didn’t seem right as there weren’t any of the pre-paid taxi companies standing here, and I was told that they all hang out together outside the terminal. Finally, an airport employee helped me and got me past security by showing my voucher for Canada Transfers. I walked just a few steps past him and found myself in the obvious exit of the terminal, with maybe 20 car companies waiting to pick up their guests.

Turns out I was waiting in the Friends & Family pickup area and could have just walked around the corner to find the actual exit myself. Sheesh. I found the friendly Canada Transfers greeter and waited for my wife, figuring she’d be at least another 45 minutes based on my experience. However, she just walked right out a few minutes later having blown through immigration, bags and customs. Her phone fortunately picked up cell service on its own after a little while, but I still had to turn on roaming for it to actually work. She wasn’t too happy with this littler surprise, but b”h we found each other and were handed cold towels as we stepped into the shuttle to fend off the insane humidity. Having a 10 seater was probably more than we needed, but it seemed like most taxis here were this large. Off we went for the 30 minute ride to the hotel.

Along the strip, we passed by all the points hotels – Ritz, JW, Westin Lagunamar – and pulled up to the Hyatt Ziva, where the driver gave our name to the guard and from that point on, the staff always referred to us by name.

With a globalist suite upgrade, we secured an upgrade to the Club Oceanfront Corner Suite, which was awesome – huge room with a closed off bedroom, 2 bathrooms and a balcony with a hot tub!

First bathroom

Master bathroom

We had ordered food from Chabad, and it was waiting for us when we arrived. Chabad's meals have to be delivered by about 5:30pm, but the hotel stored it for us and gave us our sealed food when we checked in at about 8pm. The shnitzel sandwich and Cancun burger were great and large enough that we had leftovers to store in the fridge. Because of the humidity, I found the material of the bed linen to be uncomfortable and sticky (even with the AC on), although my wife didn't complain. We turned on the Olympics and watched for a bit before falling asleep.


We woke up early and of course checked in on the baby. :)

Being in the Club Tower, we had our own check-in lounge with breakfast, snacks throughout the day and bar. They had Kosher cereal and milk and some fresh fruit.

Zucaritas every day

During breakfast, it was pouring outside, and the staff didn't ease our concerns when they said it sometimes rains like that all day. Fortunately, it cleared up within an hour, and we were ready for a day in the sun. The lounge leads directly out to the pool and beach. What I didn't realize at first was that this was just one side of the hotel and that the other side had an almost identical pool layout. Everyone is allowed to use either pool, but ours was generally emptier. This side also had a much wider beach with more room to find your own space.

As the Hyatt Ziva is at the top of the hotel strip, you don’t see any hotels to one side of you as you look out to the ocean, giving it a more private feel. They built a rock wall jutting out into the ocean to protect the beach from disappearing and to kill the waves, so swimming was a lot easier than it would have been, although plenty of waves still made it around. The view from our room was so, so gorgeous.

Lots of beach space

Looking back at the hotel (Club Tower on the right) from the beach

View of the adults-only Turquoise tower next to us with some rooms that open up to a semi-private pool (shared among 4-5 rooms).

Beside from these pool rooms, there are a few other rooms in a quieter area of the grounds that have semi-private pools. We opted to have a suite instead of a pool room after hearing from a friend that they’re small pools where you can’t do much but sit on a chair. Knowing we’d spend most of our time swimming around in the main pools (which were also hotter as they’re more in the sun) and when we saw that these pools were small and shallow, we were happy with our choice.

Other pool rooms

On the other (main) side of the hotel, the pools were actually warmer – almost hot! - although more crowded. There was a swim up bar in one pool, a small kids’ pool area that we didn’t see anyone in the entire time and a portion of the main pool that is somewhat covered for shade. There’s also an adults-only pool and bar on the roof. They really do have so many options for pool lovers.

First view when you enter the hotel

Beach on the other side of the hotel, very narrow, much less space to find chairs and spread out

Back on our side of the hotel, we spent hours swimming and relaxing by the pool (warm!), sitting on the beach and swimming in the ocean. The beach was really empty and while it was still kinda cloudy, the water was beautiful shades of blue, super clear and fortunately not that cold.

The rock wall had a warning sign. Holla if you get it!

For lunch, we had our leftovers from the night before which made our dollar go pretty far. I met some friendly bar tenders and with the help of the CRC Kosher Liquor App, we created custom, Kosher, fresh fruit drinks. They were tasty and refreshing, and we tried different combinations throughout our stay. Was really nice to have drinks at the pool (and, maybe against the rules, in the public jacuzzi - other people were doing it first!). Gotta get something for the all-inclusive value!

The hotel has dolphins on premises. Going into the water with them cost a pretty penny, but it was free to watch.

We spent the rest of the day chilling. There are lots of trips you can do in Cancun (see the Cancun Master Thread wiki) like adventure parks, boat tours or visiting the islands of Isla Mujeres or Cozumel, but we really just wanted this baby-free trip to be relaxing time. For dinner we had another delivery from Chabad for more great food.


After breakfast in the lounge, we spent the morning at the pool/beach. Because it was a sunnier morning, the beach was much more crowded. Not Jersey Shore crowded, but not as empty as the day before. For lunch, we ventured out to Dag Dag for quite the experience. It's about 15 minutes from the hotel, a drop past the Chabad shul. On the way, we looked through the "mall" that Chabad is in (basically just a building full of souvenir shops on the 1st floor, a creepy tours salesman and a second floor that is barren aside from Chabad's room) because Google maps claimed there was a Haagen Dazs in here... there wasn't. At Dag Dag, the door was open, but the store was dark and no one was in there. "Hello?" "Hello?" Out came a frum man, his wife and young local guy. There was no real menu, basically just pizza, nachos and soda. Total was $27 and surprisingly/thankfully, they took credit card. The wife made the food while we sat outside. The owner came out and sat with us ranting about how a new restaurant opened up (presumably Red Heifer, which I think has dairy options during the day) and is stealing all his business. He understandably was very upset, but of course it's inappropriate to vent to your customers about these things, and he just went on and on, while his wife tried getting him to be quiet. He made us very uncomfortable. He went inside when the nachos came out, which were just tortilla chips on a plate covered with melted mozzarella cheese. Worse than I make at home because at least I put some salsa on them too. The pizza came out, and they graciously put black olives on half of it for my wife, leaving half the pie regular for me. The owner came back out and continued rambling while we ate. The pizza was actually pretty good, and the place has the potential to be a cute shop - and of course I'm grateful for a Kosher pizza place in Cancun - but it was very uncomfortable being there.

On the way back from lunch, we passed by a fish spa and decided to go for it, having done it once before in Eilat. At $15 a person, it was way cheaper than at the spa in the Hyatt.

We then stopped in a convenience store and found ice cream bars with an OU, and enjoyed a cool treat on the way back to the hotel. We then got ready for Shabbos, lit tea lights in the bathroom, prepped the door for Shabbos (valuables in safe, tape key card over door jamb, hang do not disturb sign) and headed out for the 10 minute walk to Chabad. As mentioned, Chabad is located on the second floor of the mall. They have a storefront that is half set up with tables for dinner and half a shul. They had a decent Minyan of locals and plenty of tourists. After Davening, we made our way over to the tables, found seats and enjoyed a good meal with a ton of courses. Shabbos meals cost $50 a person for both meals. After dinner, we walked back and called it a night.


We davened again at Chabad and had another large meal for Shabbos lunch. In the afternoon, we read and relaxed on beach chairs. Then we noticed that a wedding was taking place at the gazebo and along with all the other Jews at the hotel, got seats and watched. ;D

Gazebo where wedding took place

Went back to Chabad for Mincha and Marriv, and after Shabbos we went to explore town. We found the actual Haagen Dazs (looked at a few containers that had the normal American hashgachas) and were surprised that it actually had waiter service ???.

It was in another sort of mall, and afterwards, we browsed the shops and picked up a shotglass. Foreign places have the best t-shirts.

The street was full of people, restaurants and bars that were open to the street (don't look in is all I'll say). My wife really wanted to go to Red Heifer (impressively, they were open Motzai Shabbos), but I was the stickler here and because I couldn't get a straight answer on Kashrus, I wouldn't go, so we headed back to the hotel for the night.


We had a 1:30pm flight, which left us plenty of time for one last hurrah at the beautiful pools. We packed up and our Canada Transfers ride was there on time. We flew back United to Denver and were so happy to see our baby waiting for us in the airport. We sure did miss her, although I definitely appreciated the break. We said goodbye to the in-laws and checked in at Southwest for our return home. At the gate, we picked up Coffee Bean and headed off into the Denver sunset.

August 09, 2018, 12:19:16 PM