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Off topic: Holiday in the U.S. with children
Thread poster: Mariella Bonelli

Mariella Bonelli  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:56
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Mar 6, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I am planning a holiday in the U.S. and would appreciate any help or suggestion you may give me. Here are some more details:

- We will be a group of four adults and 3 children aged 1 to 4
- We will be travelling in August
- We like sea / lakes, outdoor life (especially for the kids)
- We adore cultural visits, but they will be forcedly limited by the very young travelers
- We won't be able to drive miles and miles (the easily bored young companions won't allow it)
- We are considering renting a house, but where and how?
- We are open to any suggestion, past experience, idea and a bit less open to discouragements

Thank you in advance, grazie mille!


[Edited at 2009-03-07 23:21 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:56
English to German
+ ...
Pacific Northwest - Oregon Mar 6, 2009

Rent one of those little cottages at the beach. Enjoy breathtakingly beautiful Oregon. Take a trip to Northern California. See Crater Lake.

Warning: You will not want to return home.



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M Helena Ayala
United States
Local time: 04:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pacific Northwest - Oregon AND Washington Mar 7, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Rent one of those little cottages at the beach. Enjoy breathtakingly beautiful Oregon. Take a trip to Northern California. See Crater Lake.

Warning: You will not want to return home.



http://www.experiencewa.com/home.aspx



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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:56
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
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Near NYC Mar 7, 2009

There are several popular outdoors-oriented vacation regions within a 3-4 hour drive of NYC that would give you a wide range of possibilities. The Catskills region in New York, and the Poconos region nearby in the state of Pennsylvania are the closest, and then a bit farther is the southern Adirondacks--Saratoga Springs or Lake George, for example. Any of those places would offer outdoor recreation opportunities (mountains, lakes, wildlife). Because they have been popular family tourist destinations for a long time, there are also a lot of family-friendly activities available--like waterparks and small zoos and historical sites and so on .

I think renting a cottage is a great idea. www.vrbo.com is a good place to start to get an idea about rates for different areas and the typical amenities and so on. We've rented vacation cottages twice in the past few years from private owners, and it was great fun for our family and we had no problems.


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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:56
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Pacific Northwest - Oregon AND Washington AND Canada Mar 7, 2009

Maria Ayala Genel wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Rent one of those little cottages at the beach. Enjoy breathtakingly beautiful Oregon. Take a trip to Northern California. See Crater Lake.

Warning: You will not want to return home.



http://www.experiencewa.com/home.aspx



And once you’ve seen Oregon and Washington…

...take a ferry from the mainland to Vancouver Island. Go whale watching. Catch some crabs for dinner. Attend a real powwow. Admire the totem poles. Watch out for bears. Then - Nicole already warned you! - apply for permanent resident status


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:56
English to German
+ ...
After you visited gorgeous Vancouver, BC Mar 7, 2009

and the great people at the Jolly Taxpayer got you really drunk with terrific Canadian Beer:

Return back to Oregon and see the wild horses.

Or stay in Portland, the most European City in the US. French car manufacturers are filming their commercials here.


By this time you should have mailed in your Green Card Application.

[Edited at 2009-03-07 04:05 GMT]


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Kitty Maerz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:56
English to German
+ ...
Southern California Mar 7, 2009

Southern California should offer everything you might wish to see, especially if you split your stay between a metropolitan area (L.A. for example) and the countryside.

Possible things to see and do - LA area:

- Getty Museum (for some culture)
- An amusement park or two. This may not be exactly your kind of thing and the children are a bit small but a day at Disneyland should still be fun for everyone.
- The Long Beach Aquarium
- Santa Monica (with street musicians, fun stores etc.)
- The Beaches
- Griffith Park - almost a wilderness and a good place to go hiking with the whole family

After a week or so in LA (preferably near the beach) you could then spend some more time in the mountains. There is the Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead region (I think about 2 hours from LA) or Mammoth. Mammoth may be a bit further away then you want to drive (a good five hours I would say) but it is truly stunning. I rented a small cabin there a couple of years ago and it was a lot of fun. You can go on a day trip to Yosemite NP, there are loads of beautiful lakes and great hiking.

I really think Southern California would be a great choice for adults as well as for the children.


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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 13:56
Italian to English
+ ...
Lake Tahoe Nevada/California Mar 7, 2009

Certainly the northwest region in general, as most posters have suggested.

In detail, I recommend the Lake Tahoe region, it has many of the features you seek, relatively safe, and you can probably rent a house for a month.

Besides the spectacular lakes, mountains and national parks, there are fun historical places to visit from the gold-rush period (Virginia City), and San Francisco (the 49ers) is only 200 miles away, not to mention the Pacific Ocean (not sea, ocean).


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:56
Member (2008)
Russian to English
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Thousands of places... Mar 7, 2009

We've got a big country! (g)

Maine is gorgeous, including in August when much of the country is very hot. The sea is cold, although you can swim at low tide if there's a long beach to warm up! There are lakes, but probably too cold for swimming (I haven't been to the lake areas). My family has a cottage in the Boothbay Harbor region, but it would not hold a crowd as big as yours (one double bed, three single beds, one cot). Maine is not exactly a cultural center, but there are things to visit with kids, like a maritime museum in Bath.

Virginia, where I live, has the beautiful Shenandoah Valley for lakes and mountains, Virginia Beach and the outer banks (Chincoteague, Assateague - beautiful but lots of mosquitos). All will be hot in August. For culture, you pretty much need to be closer to Washington, but that conflicts with your other goals.

I haven't even been to all the other wonderful places the other people described.

Have fun, and enjoy your kids before they grow up and don't want to come with you anymore (my son is 19...).


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:56
English to Dutch
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Been there, done that Mar 7, 2009

Only we had two kids with us, age 1 and 3, and my parents. They were nearly 80 years old then. So we too were restricted by the needs of our company.

We rented a camper/RV/mobile home (whatever you like to call it). We made sure we had a good map and a list of places we wanted to go. Then basically we made our plans one day at a time.
The good thing about travelling this way is that you can basically eat, drink, rest and relax whenever you like to. An RV is self-contained.

You do need to choose a region, though. You can only drive so many miles a day. We visited the South-West and it was wonderful. Grand Canyon, Bryce National Park, San Francisco and lots more.

Make sure to arrange car seats for the kids, whatever your means of travelling is. We took our own with us on the plane and used them for all sorts of things, not just driving.

If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me by e-mail through my profile.

Best regards,
Margreet


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:56
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree with Kathryn Mar 7, 2009

Kathryn Litherland wrote:

There are several popular outdoors-oriented vacation regions within a 3-4 hour drive of NYC that would give you a wide range of possibilities. The Catskills region in New York, and the Poconos region nearby in the state of Pennsylvania are the closest, and then a bit farther is the southern Adirondacks--Saratoga Springs or Lake George, for example. Any of those places would offer outdoor recreation opportunities (mountains, lakes, wildlife). Because they have been popular family tourist destinations for a long time, there are also a lot of family-friendly activities available--like waterparks and small zoos and historical sites and so on .

I think renting a cottage is a great idea. www.vrbo.com is a good place to start to get an idea about rates for different areas and the typical amenities and so on. We've rented vacation cottages twice in the past few years from private owners, and it was great fun for our family and we had no problems.


I was thinking that this is a much shorter trip from Italy, which is extremely important when traveling with small children.


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Kitty Maerz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:56
English to German
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Time change Mar 7, 2009

I have to agree with Amy. While I still think that Southern California would make an awesome destination (and the Pacific Northwest sounds stunning), you may want to consider the time change.

Especially if your trip is less than three weeks, going all the way to the West Coast may be a bit much. I took my three and five year olds to Florida and it took them quite a while to adjust to the time change. Basically, they were up before five a.m. and ready for bed at four p.m. during the first week.

The additional time difference between East and West Coast may be more than you really need. And of course there are many fun and interesting places on the East Coast as well. New England is definitely a great destination. Boston is a beautiful city. You could maybe go whale watching (not sure about the season though). Also, outdoor museums like Sturbridge Village, MA or Mystic, CT would be fun for the entire family.

[Edited at 2009-03-07 15:26 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:56
English to German
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I do agree that travelling the West Coast might be tough on the children Mar 7, 2009

It takes a minimum of 22 hours to get here, including changing planes. I don't recommend non-stop flights - I did this once from Frankfurt to Los Angeles and the flight took almost 12 hours. Nevermore. Being strapped down in a seat for that long must be unbearable for the little guys.

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ElleC  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:56
English to Spanish
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My recommendation. Mar 7, 2009

Susan Welsh wrote:

Virginia, where I live, has the beautiful Shenandoah Valley for lakes and mountains, Virginia Beach and the outer banks (Chincoteague, Assateague - beautiful but lots of mosquitos).


I'm going to piggyback on this, but recommend that you do come to DC since these sites aren't far from the city. There's also Virginia wine country in Middleburg. DC itself has many museums, most of which are free and all of which have programs/exhibits for children. You can also visit the home of George Washington, which is located on a beautiful tract of land on the Potomac, or go a little farther south and visit Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia. Also, there are direct flights from Rome to DC (Dulles), so traveling here should be relatively painless.


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Mariella Bonelli  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:56
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much. Mar 8, 2009

Coming back from a refresher course, I found all these suggestions! Thank you so much. I know that you have a big country, that is why we were getting confused about our destination. We have seen part of it, but there is plenty of things to see and see again everywhere.
I love the idea of the West Coast, it sounds so fascinating, but it is true that the journey would probably be too long for the kids.
And we have taken into consideration the possibility to rent a mobile home. This was actually our first choice, but we were doubtful as it seems a bit difficult to enter towns and parks. I mean, we should organize the trips consequently.
I have another question for you: What about Florida? Is it endurable in August? The first advantage we saw was the fact that it is much easier to reach and then we could maybe find the magic combination sea-nature-hot weather-amusement parks-sightseeing. But nobody suggested it. There must be a solid reason.


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