Author Topic: CGR Trip Reports  (Read 4905 times)

Offline cgr

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CGR Trip Reports
« on: September 10, 2019, 05:31:43 PM »
Hi!
I decided to open a thread and link all my trip reports to it.
The ones that don't have links yet are a work in progress.

The later trip reports will be more detailed, as I'm writing them while travelling or right after. The earlier ones are compilations of my notes and fragmented memories...

[Moderator's Note 12/1/19:: "Quick and dirty" TRs will be posted in this thread, and more detailed trip reports will get their own.]
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 08:38:18 PM by Something Fishy »

Offline cgr

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Virginia (Shenandoah National Park #4)
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2019, 05:50:37 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: I’m trying to visit every National Park in the USA. This was a short trip in October 2018 to see Shenandoah National Park.

Hotel:
•   Radisson Hotel Washington D.C. Rockville- 3/5
  • Not much thought went into this one. We decided to leave Brooklyn an hour after the Zman Motzei Shabbos, drive til the Silver Springs area, get some sleep and food, and visit the park on Sunday.

Food:
•   Goldberg’s NY Bagels- 4/5
  • Delicious bagel shop
•   David Chu’s China Bistro

Activities:
•   Shenandoah National Park- 4/5
  • Entry was free here with our America the Beautiful Park Pass. This trip came on the heels of Acadia National Park, where the fall foliage was breathtaking, so there was somewhat of a letdown, but it was still beautiful. We drove most of Skyline Drive and pulled over at lookouts to admire the view. We also hiked along Rose River Falls for a few hours. The falls were beautiful and serene.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 06:12:39 PM by cgr »

Offline cgr

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Nashville, Tennessee
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2019, 05:55:52 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: This trip in September 2018 was during Chol Hamoed Sukkos. We spent one day in Nashville and one day at Mammoth Cave National Park

Flights:
•   PHL to BNA on American Airlines
  • This was an award ticket. 7.5k Amex MR points transferred to BA.
  • We live in Brooklyn but the only available flights were from PHL, so we rented a car in Brooklyn that we could drop-off at PHL (and thereby fly back to NYC)
•   BNA to LGA on American Airlines
  • This was an award ticket. 7.5k Amex MR points transferred to BA.

Hotel:
•   Hyatt Place Nashville/Brentwood- 3/5

Method of Transport:
•   Car Rental- National

Food:
•   Grins Vegetarian Café- 3/5
•   Aryeh's Kitchen- 4/5
  • Food was absolutely delicious!
•   We schlepped along our tiny pop-up Sukkah (which we used all of one time because of the constant rain). American managed to rip the handle off the carrying case, so I filed a report and got reimbursed for the full value of the sukkah…

Activities:
•   Ryman Auditorium- 3/5
•   Belle Meade Plantation- 3/5
•   Lower Broadway
•   Parthenon- 1/5
  • There’s nothing to see here…
•   Hop on Hop Off- 2/5
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 06:15:09 PM by cgr »

Offline cgr

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Kentucky (Mammoth Cave National Park #2)
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2019, 05:57:07 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: I’m trying to visit every National Park in the USA. This was a short trip in September 2018 to see Mammoth Cave National Park.

Flights and Hotels:
•   We drove from Nashville. See my Nashville, Tennessee trip report.

Method of Transport:
•   Car Rental- National

Hotel:
•   Hyatt Place Bowling Green- 3/5

Food:
•   Brought our own- along with a tiny pop-up Sukkah

Activities:
•   Mammoth Cave National Park- 3/5
  • Entry to the park grounds are free but all the ranger guided tours (which is pretty much the only thing to do here) require reservations and have a fee. We took three tours in total (the most we could fit into one day). The tours range from one to three hours. Some are fascinating, especially where you have to squeeze through formations to get around.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 06:13:51 PM by cgr »

Offline yitzgar

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Re: Virginia (Shenandoah National Park #4)
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2019, 11:34:08 PM »
These are great tr's. Maybe you should make a master thread of all your park visits

Offline grodnoking

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I'm not who you think I am.

Offline cgr

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Côte d'Azur (French Riviera)
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2019, 04:38:07 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: Dan posted cheap flights to Paris in February 2018, so we grabbed some, even though the flights we booked were over 6 months in the future. I believe this is the only time I had flights booked more than a month in advance. We travelled in late August, and spent 4 days in Prague, 2 days in Nice and Monaco, and 4 days in Paris.

Flights:
•   PRG to NCE on CSA
  • This was a paid ticket
•   NCE to CDG on EasyJet
  • This was a paid ticket

Hotel:
•   Le Meridian Nice- 2/5
  • We paid cash for this hotel SPG gave us nothing for our status (Gold through Amex). We had a room with no view. This hotel was a major disappointment.

Method of Transport:
•   Walking
•   Uber
•   Public Transit
•   Private Tour

Food:
•   Lechem Chamaym
•   Le dauphin bleu
•   Le Kineret

Activities:
•   Hop on Hop Off Tour Nice- 3/5
•   Cannes- 3/5
  • We took a train (their trains are very easy to navigate) to Cannes. We mostly strolled along the beach and along some popular avenues.
•   Private Tour- 4/5
  • We booked a tour on GetYourGuide for $100/pp. It was a 9-hour tour starting at 2PM, which took us along the coast, through some small towns and villages, and then to Monaco/Monte Carlo. The drive along the coast and these small villages is breathtaking.
  • Parfumerie Fragonard, Eze- part of the package was a tour at this perfume and soap factory. The smells mostly gave me a headache…
  • We headed to Monaco in the late afternoon. You can read my trip report here.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 04:49:27 PM by cgr »

Offline cgr

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Monaco
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2019, 04:39:57 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: Dan posted cheap flights to Paris in February 2018, so we grabbed some, even though the flights we booked were over 6 months in the future. I believe this is the only time I had flights booked more than a month in advance. We travelled in late August, and spent 4 days in Prague, 2 days in Nice and Monaco, and 4 days in Paris.

Method of Transport:
•   This was a short trip from Nice with a private tour (see my French Riviera trip report here)
•   Walking

Activities:
•   The views- 5/5
  • Like the rest of the French Riviera, the views are absolutely breathtaking, but here its coupled with multi-million dollar yachts in the harbor…
•   Prince's Palace of Monaco- 3/5
  • There’s some nice art here, and an audio guide narrated by the prince with some history of the place.
•   The City- 4/5
  • We did a lot of strolling and window gawking. We felt too simple to even consider walking into most of the shops (had a similar feeling in Dubai…)
•   Casino Monte-Carlo- 5/5
  • This was an out of this world experience. Obviously, we were only allowed into the entrance hall, but that was something. We spent a good twenty minutes out front, just examining the cars😊 I’m not an aficionado so I couldn’t even name half of them, was fascinating to me is that 90% of the plates were from the Middle East meaning these people had either flown in their cars on their private jet, or had them shipped over for the evening on their yacht. We caught a glimpse of some Sheikh leaving with his harem.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 04:49:48 PM by cgr »

Offline cgr

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Boston, Massachusetts
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 05:00:59 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: This was a short weekend trip in July 2018.

Hotel:
•   Hilton Boston Back Bay- 4/5
  • Cash Booking
  • This hotel is not very close to Boston Commons, where we wanted to spend our Shabbos downtime,  but it is close to Chabad so that made the decision for us.

Food:
•   We ate Shabbos meals at the wonderful Chabad on Commonwealth Ave- 4/5
•   The Kosher Wok- 3/5

Activities:
•   We purchased a 3-day Boston GoCard
•   Hop on Hop Off- 4/5
  • Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the history of Boston and kept us all entertained.
•   New England Aquarium- 3/5
•   Freedom Trail Walking Tour- 4/5
•   Museum of Science- 3/5
•   Skywalk Observatory 4/5
  • They had an interesting film about immigration to Boston, and how the various neighborhoods developed.
•   MIT Museum- 3/5
  • The museum itself is rather boring. A lot of scrap robots…but there was a little gem at the back of the museum. Tiny little art sculptures that are set up as perpetual machines- words can’t really describe it, but it was fascinating.
•   Boston Commons & Boston Public Gardens - 3/5
  • We walked around here for hours on Shabbos afternoon

Offline cgr

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Washington D.C.
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 05:08:16 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: This was a short 2 day trip over Chol Hamoed Pesach 2018.

Hotel:
•   Washington Marriott Wardman Park
  • This is not very close to downtown, but trains are easy and accessible. We made our plans while driving to DC, so we couldn’t really afford to be picky.

Method of Transport:
•   Subway System
  • While we drove to DC from NY and had our car on hand, it was easier to leave it parked at the hotel all day and use the subway system to get around

Food:
•   Char Bar- 3/5
  • Being that it was Pesach there were limited options available

Activities:
•   We purchased a sightseeing pass, which lowered our costs
•   Capital Tour- 4/5
•   White House- 3/5
•   Washington Monument- 2/5
•   Madame Tussauds- 3/5
•   Smithsonian Air and Space Museum- 4/5
  • We wasted 3 hours standing in line, only to find out that there were 2 lines open, and one of them had less than a 10-minute wait…
•   Hop On Hop Off Bus- 3/5
•   Spy Museum- 2/5
  • This was my second time to the museum, which I also visited on a prior trip. I’m not sure if that’s what did it in, but I found it to be boring and technical. I could barely keep my eyes focused on anything.

Here are some things I visited on a prior trip:
•   Holocaust Museum- 4/5
•   Newseum- 3/5

Offline cgr

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Chicago, Illinois
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 05:10:28 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: This was a short 2 day trip over Chol Hamoed Sukkos 2017.

Flights:
•   JFK to ORD on American Airlines
  • Purchased with 3rd party points program
•   ORD to LGA on American Airlines
  • Purchased with 3rd party points program

Hotel:
•   Holiday Inn Chicago-Mart Plaza River North
  • This was a horrible choice. It was too far from kosher food, so we had to cab it to the Jewish community every morning and evening, wasting valuable time in Chicago traffic.

Method of Transport:
•   Uber
  • Another bad choice. Renting a car would have been cheaper.

Food:
•   We were limited to restaurants that had a Sukkah set up
•   Shallots- 4/5
•   Evita’s Steakhouse- 4/5
•   Emma’s Bagel Café- 4/5

Activities:
•   We purchased a sightseeing pass, which lowered our costs
•   SkyDeck Chicago- 3/5
•   Museum of Science and Industry- 4/5
•   Adler Planetarium- 4/5

Offline cgr

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Singapore
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 05:25:28 PM »
I’m not that good at writing, so I’ll keep it to bulleted points with ratings and short notes where applicable.

Background: This trip was based around cheap flights from MLE to DXB to JFK that Dan posted. We travelled in late August 2017, and spent 4 days in Singapore, 5 days in Maldives, and 3 days in UAE.

Flights:
•   JFK to SIN with a 1h50m layover in FRA with Singapore Airlines
  • Award Booking: 92k KrisFlyer Miles +66 SGD per ticket transferred from Chase UR and Amex MR.
  • Class: Business on the A380
  • Originally there was no reward availability, but I was able to book a waitlist ticket on. About two weeks later, when availability had not yet opened up, I called Singapore and asked them if they were able to open up more availability. The answer was no of course, but they promised to have a supervisor look into it. A day later I received an email that availability had opened up. Looks like they are able to release inventory upon request.
  • Flying business was a treat. We originally wanted to go for first, but there was absolutely no availability. I had flown business class with some Far Eastern carriers before, but Singapore takes the cake.
  • Our short stopover allowed us just enough time to get a quick shower at the lounge in FRA, before re-boarding.
•   SIN to MLE non-stop with SilkAir
  • Award Booking: 18.5k KrisFlyer Miles +68 SGD per ticket
  • Same story with award availability as above.

Hotel:
•   Fairmont Singapore- 4/5
  • The main draw to this hotel was the quick 10-minute walk to Chabad. They kept the food we need for the last leg of this trip frozen in the general hotel freezer with no issues.

Method of Transport:
•   Subway System
  • Extremely comfortable, efficient, and on time

Food:
•   Chabad- 3/5
•   Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Orchard Street- 3/5

Activities:
•   We purchased sightseeing pass which saved us some money
•   Orchard Street- 4/5
•   Singapore Flyer- 3/5
•   Hop On Hop Off Bus and Boat- 3/5
•   Garden’s by the Bay- 4/5
  • Absolutely incredible!
•   Little India- 4/5
•   Marina Bay Sands- 3/5
•   Sentosa- 3/5
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 05:46:11 PM by cgr »

Offline Luvisrael

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Re: Chicago, Illinois
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2019, 06:56:36 PM »

Offline Luvisrael

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Re: Boston, Massachusetts
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2019, 07:00:40 PM »

Offline Luvisrael

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Re: Washington D.C.
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 07:01:46 PM »

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Kentucky (Mammoth Cave National Park #2)
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2019, 09:02:58 PM »
Would love to see some photos from your trips.  One of my travel goals is also to see all 61 National Parks (at 30 now).

It's clear you've put a lot of time into writing your TRs, with a consistent formula that's easy to follow, but is it possible to consolidate, perhaps by putting separate locations of a trip as separate posts on a single thread.  I'm sure the admins can help.
AK,AZ,CA,CO,CT,(DE),FL,HI,(IL),ME,MD,(MA),MI,MN,MT,NV,NH,NJ,NY,OR,PA,(RI),TX,UT,VT,VA,WA,WI,WY

Offline cgr

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Re: Kentucky (Mammoth Cave National Park #2)
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2019, 09:15:29 PM »
Would love to see some photos from your trips.  One of my travel goals is also to see all 61 National Parks (at 30 now).

It's clear you've put a lot of time into writing your TRs, with a consistent formula that's easy to follow, but is it possible to consolidate, perhaps by putting separate locations of a trip as separate posts on a single thread.  I'm sure the admins can help.

Thank you.
You mean like this?

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Kentucky (Mammoth Cave National Park #2)
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2019, 09:56:34 PM »
Thank you.
You mean like this?
More like this:
https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=65070.0
where the links in the wiki are to posts within the thread, rather than multiple threads.

@Dan @jj1000 @Something Fishy  may be able to help.
AK,AZ,CA,CO,CT,(DE),FL,HI,(IL),ME,MD,(MA),MI,MN,MT,NV,NH,NJ,NY,OR,PA,(RI),TX,UT,VT,VA,WA,WI,WY

Offline cgr

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Re: CGR Trip Reports
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2019, 02:51:50 PM »
If you're interested in photos of my travels, I've added a link to the wiki above.
Please bear with me as I sort through my photos of the last 7 years.

Offline cgr

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Re: Virginia (Shenandoah National Park #4)
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2019, 10:17:56 AM »
We also hiked along Rose River Falls for a few hours. The falls were beautiful and serene.

Pic here.