Saturday, 28 June 2014


Today we visited Monticello, a house designed and built by Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville, Virginia.

The house has a long walkway from each side which has great views of the surrounding countryside and Blue Ridge mountains.

As with Gunston Hall the kitchens and other working rooms were quite separate from the main part of the house - in this case in a basement accessible from a corridor under the house.

We had a tour of the house but were not allowed to take any photos inside.  We enjoyed exploring the flower beds around the main lawn and the vegetable garden.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Al Fresco Dining

Today was another very warm day and we decided to have our evening meal outside on the decking.  We were illuminated by candles, flares, fairy lights and the occasional firefly - too tiny and nondescript to photograph, as the 'fire' is very transient.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Last day in New York

We started our day with a trip to Macy's - if you have been there you will recognise the vintage wooden escalators which connect all nine floors.

We then embarked on a rather sunny open-top bus tour around Manhattan and hopped off at the Rockefeller Centre for some lunch.  In February there was still a large Christmas tree and a skating rink - now replaced by a rather large flower sculpture and a fountain next to a shaded outdoor eating area.

From the Rockefelller Centre we walked to Grand Central station.

In the Vanderbilt Room, off the main station concourse, was a very unusual exhibition entitled 'Eat the Art'.

These two were sculpting an exceptionally large piece of cheese into a model of a train..

The other exhibits consisted of old still- life paintings which incorporate cheese, recreated as a 'live' exhibit featuring different cheeses.

As we walked around we were given nibbles of cheese - aged Havarti - but it was quite a strange experience!

This evening our train from Penn Station back to Washington was delayed by almost two hours, so it wil be a late night!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sightseeing in New York

Another very full day which started with a water taxi tour..

...and which included a visit to the 9/11 memorial site.

... And ended with a dusk visit to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building..

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Modes of Transport

An early start and a journey by car, bus, metro and train delivered us safely to New York's Penn Station around lunchtime today.  Leaving our luggage at the hotel we set off to explore Times Square and to see what tickets might be available at the discount booth for Broadway shows tonight.

The queue was very long but there was plenty to look at all around.  

Having secured our tickets for Jersey Boys, we did a little gentle shopping at nearby stores ..

(This chap has perhaps just heard about England's World Cup performance).

This evening we decided to take a taxi to the theatre but were soon snarled up in traffic on 8th Avenue.  A rather cheeky 'trike rickshaw' driver suggested to Maggie that we should hop out and travel with him.  We declined..

We arrived at the August Wilson theatre in time for the 7pm performance.  Photography was forbidden during the show but I took this quick snap of the inside of the theatre and set.

It was simple but beautifully lit throughout and very clever.  We thoroughly enjoyed the performance but resisted the urge to sing along - for Emma's sake!

Leaving the theatre and walking towards Times Square after the performance there were many people and no taxis.  When we tried to hail one we were quite surprised when another trike rickshaw came along and asked where we were going - indicating that he could fit three into his vehicle.  Yes but...

We climbed on board, expressing some concern for his muscles, and sped off through Times Square, weaving through the traffic, precariously close to all sorts of vehicles, large and small!

At a red light he hopped off and took our picture!

It was quite an exciting ride and we learned a lot about the quality of the road surfaces (poor) and driving habits of the other road users (also poor)!

We were very soon safely back at the hotel.

Having experienced seven different modes of transport today those that we have yet to try and are available in New York include horse and trap in Central Park; helicopter; boat (we have plans for this); Segway; bike...

Monday, 23 June 2014

Sightseeing in Washington

We had a lovely day of sightseeing in Washington today.

We took the 'Big Bus' tour which showed us not only the main sights of the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon and Pentagon City shopping mall (I had wondered where all the big stores were in Washington!).

It was very sunny today and very hot indeed on the open top bus so we all invested in baseball caps to try to keep cool.  They were pretty cool..

Later in the day it was a little more cloudy..

We passed Union Station and will be back there early tomorrow for our train to New York.

This evening we had dinner in Reston..