Monday, October 21, 2019

Is it Worth It? The Empire State Building

   The Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the US, is arguably the most iconic skyscraper in the nation. Is a trip to the top of the structure worth the price of admission? Here's some inside information before you visit.

The View of Times Square from The Empire State Building

   The Empire State Building's Observation Deck is on the 86th Floor. Cost to go to the top; $27. The view is spectacular, especially at dusk when the city begins to light up. I thought the price was rather steep, but I figured it was a once in a life time trip to the top. For myself, it was worth it.

   Warning, the Management team who run the Empire State Building do an excellent job of trying to squeeze every last dollar from your wallet. Before you get to the elevator, you will find employees trying to sell you an audio tour, a special map, a photo and a spin in something called the New York City Sky Ride. All this at an additional charge and all this before you get to the first elevator.

   That's right, first Elevator. After waiting in line after line and being solicited by half of Manhattan, you finally take a ride in an elevator that goes to the 80th floor. Then more lines, to take another elevator to the 86th Floor.

After so many lines and two sets of elevators, finally the top

   You will also get an opportunity to take a third elevator to the top of the spire for an additional $17 dollars. This trip to the 102nd floor is not worth the additional cost. The view is basically the same and the viewing area is very small and cramped.

The Spire to the 102nd Floor

The Chrysler Building below a full moon

   More lines when you are ready to come down with an obligatory trail through the gift shop before you leave.  I was amazed at the number of lines you had to wait in to get to the the top, but the view of New York is something you won't forget.
   I would also recommend the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. The view is equally splendid and your vantage point allows you to see all of Central Park. The price is also $27 but the elevator ride up is a unique experience.

Apparently, it's okay to deface other skyscrapers 

Yes, the Empire State Building has a mascot, King Kong

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Leaf Peaping: An Enduring Look at New England in the Fall

  My wife Madelyn and I recently returned from a week in New England, an activity after referred to as Leaf Peeping.   I had been to New England in the fall before but Madelyn had always wanted to see it for herself.
    The goal is to be in there during "peak" colors. That can often be difficult, especially when trying to make plans an traveling a great distance.  We probably missed peak by about a weak. Some parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine were spectacular, other parts of hadn't started to change yet.  Regardless,  the backroads of upper New England and the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire are postcard worthy regardless of the season.

The Colors

    The key to visiting New England in the fall is to hit "Peak," when the leaves are their most vibrant. There are numerous websites to help you plan your trip. 
    Even though we missed peak by about a week, we still saw spectacular colors and discovered a few trips. We discovered that there might be one section of the state where the leaves haven't started to turn, while a few miles away you may experience some spectacular colors.  
   We traveled mainly on Scenic Route 100, sometimes known as Vermont's Main Street.  We took advice from several of our innkeepers to find some of the best side routes. Enjoy some of our finds