Laura Freeman

Laura Freeman

New Yorkers take their subway transit pretty seriously; home to work is complete autopilot. To an outsider, riding the subway can be a really daunting experience, especially during the morning rush hour. We're come up with some tips for riding between the weekday hours of 8-10am.

1. Stay silent

Most people have not had coffee yet and are pretty cranky. The morning commute is the one time when New York is silent, and we like to keep it that way!

2. Always hold on to the pole

Too often, tourists don't hold on and then fall onto a stranger when the train jerks around. If this happens, try not to have your whole group giggle. Just apologize and follow rule #1. (And remember your Purell)

3. Don't stand in the doorw

You will get run over. If you must stand in the doorway, exit the train at the stop and stand to the side of the doors while everyone gets off, then re-enter. 

4. When you exit the train, don't stop in the middle of the platform

Would you stop your car in the middle of the highway? Think of the pedestrain routes as a highway. Stay to the right and keep moving. If you need to stop, walk to an exit or to a wall. 

5. Take off your backpack

Hold your backpack by your side so another person can board. Be wary of your luggage at all times. Most importantly, remember that your bag should never get its own seat!

Monday, 17 February 2014 15:42

5 Surefire Ways to Combat Jetlag

1. Pre-Adjust your schedule to mimic your destination

I took a 9 am flight from Chicago to Shanghai. As rough as it was, I stayed up all night the night. Resist the urge to drink! I boarded the 9am flight, which was 8pm Shanghai time, completely exhausted and was able to sleep a full night. When I woke up, it was morning in Shanghai and I was fully rested. 

2. Eat a clean diet

Drink lots of water and eat lots of fruits and vegetables for natural energy. Avoid salt and be wary of your caffeine intake.

3. Stay busy!

Resist the urge to "lie down for just a few minutes" when you arrive at your hotel room to drop off your bags. Plan a really busy day that is so exciting, you will be too enthralled to be sleepy.

4. Freshen up

As soon as you arrive at a destination (or even on the plane before descending,) brush your teeth, wash your face and change your clothes, especially your underwear! Wipes are great for a mini sponge bath. I always like to put my makeup on, to feel fresh-faced to the world.

5. Melatonin

Many people swear by melatonin to help regulate sleep. Take your first pill at the bedtime of your destination and keep taking them for a few days.

Scenterprise studio

I'm always on the lookout for unique and interesting workshops in NY, so when I stumbled upon Sue Phillips's company Scenterprises.

Sue's has made a name for herself in the perfume world. Sue's background includes Elizabeth Arden, Chloe, Karl Lagerfeld Burgerry, Trish McEvoy, and Lancome Paris. She was also name VP of marketing for Tiffany and launched the Tiffany perfume for their 150th anniversary.

Scenterprises has just found a new home in a quintessential TriBeCa townhouse. I made my way down the stairs and immediately felt like I was transported to the country-house parlor of a dear friend. Over tea and freshly baked cookies, Sue told me about the power and allure of scent, and how to properly wear it. As a teenager, a friend's older sister teaches you the spray and walk technique, which, almost ironically is the absolute worst way to apply scent. Firstly, you're wasting a ton of it by spraying it into the air, Sue explains, but also stepping into it and having the scent fall into your hair is wasteful as the scents of your hair products are stronger. The best practice is to apply to the pulse points- behind the knees, the wrists, in the cleavage and behind the ears. Wear perfume from the bottom up.

We headed over to her table of scents. Sue first has you take her scent evaluation, which asks questions about your lifestyle to determine what types of smells you gravitate to. The smell test begins. Sue has given thousands of presentations to everyone from sports celebrities to Martha Stewart corporate functions and has never had a complaint about allergies. As she handed me dip after dip my senses became overwhelmed with delight. Sue's ingredients are of such quality that I could actually smell wood in "wood".

The scents are designed so they you can choose any three and the still smell lovely, Sue insisted. Doubtful, I was determined to find an inferior combination, yet was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was unable.

I made my choice of three: spice, wood and rose. The combination i would have thought to be too overwhelming, but the rose gave the scent a delicate feeling.

The longer I sat, the more comfortable I felt. The intimate space feels like an escape from the world. Sue is charming and charismatic, but I think my favorite aspect of her personality is her passion. When asked about her favorite perfume, she told me it was like choosing a favorite child.


artichokes-and-highling-image1The second leg on the Great New York Pizza Crawl starts at the High Line. Pack some drinks and snacks and take the L, A, C or E trains to 8th Avenue. Walk all the way to 10th avenue and ascend the stairs to the Highline Park. Enter the park at 14th Street during late afternoon and walk up the highline. The Highline is a park created on the platform of an abandoned railway line that runs from Ganesvoort Street to West 30th Street along 10th Avenue.

The elevated train platforms were built in the early 1930’s as a solution to the plethora of accidents that were occurring on 10th avenue, or “Death Avenue”, between trains and street traffic. The original line ran 13 miles long and relieved 105 intersections from train-induced collisions. The original High Line began at St. Johns Park Terminal (Spring Street) and ended at 34th street. The line ran above warehouses rather than the street to provide easy access for the trains carrying goods to reach the factories; they could run right inside! Unfortunately for the High Line, the growth of the trucking industry lead to the High Line’s demise and in the 1960s, the southern portion of the High Line was taken down. In 1980, the last train ran along the remaining section. The High Line was bought from an outside party with the hopes of preserving the space.

In 2002, the Friends of the High Line received the go-ahead from the city to make the High Line open to the public once again and in April of 2006 construction began. In June of 2009, the first section opened.

The High Line is clean and manicured, yet still has a rustic vibe. Throughout the park, small sections of the railway are artistically preserved and incorporated into the aesthetics.

At 17th street, take the stairs down and head across the street to Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. Artichokes Basille’s first opened on 14th street in 2008 by two cousins.  The cousins, Francis Garcia and Sal Basille, learned everything from working at their family’s Staten Island restaurant as kids. Artichoke’s is a favorite of many celebrities and even received a thumbs up form David Cheng of Momofuku. Artichoke’s is known for their spinach and artichoke pizza, which takes the “dip work” out of dipping bread into spinach and artichoke dip.  Head to the back of the restaurant for slices to go. A slice can easily be shared with a friend- not only are they huge, but they are also rich. You will most definitely feel the expansion of your thighs upon completion. Make sure you take extra napkins! Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of
Artichoke's PizzaArtichoke’s pizza is that somehow the dough manages to get soggy. Artichoke’s pizza is quite unlike other slice. If you’re looking for the traditional New York slice, this definitely isn’t the spot. However, it is not for the pizza lover to miss.

There are plenty of places to take your slice to enjoy on the High Line. Seating options range from benches, to a lush grass field, to stadium seating situated so that you’re watching the street like a movie. There are even proper tables!

Each section of the High Line has a very distinct feel, yet the entire park is very cohesively tied together. In the early 20’s, the terrain becomes more forest-like and you will find yourself surrounded by greens. Sit on one of the benches the jet off the main path and feel like you’re completely secluded.

The path along the late 20’s brings a green covered archway and a feeling of almost going though Wonderland. The greenway opens up in the early 30’s to a more “clean” environment with an impressive curved bench lining the path. The end slightly opens and you can see the construction of the expansion of the park. As you head back, take in the scenery. Gardens line walkway, flowers blooming and the cityscape in the background; notice the holly in the fall, the flowers in the spring. Notice the hidden lights that artfully light up the park as the sun sets. Rest on a chaise near 15th street or enjoy a glass of wine at the James Beard Award winning wine bar Terroir. Sprawl out on the lawn while a street performer recites you your favorite Shakespearian sonnet, or listen to a musician pour a melodious tone through the air. As the day slips into the night, you will remember that the hustle and bustle of New York is right underneath you, a thought that escaped you long ago, and you mentally begin to prepare yourself for re-entry.               

 Graffiti seen from the Highline

Friday, 11 October 2013 00:00

How To: Create a Guide Book for your Guests

I spent my college years living in a 10-bedroom loft in SoHo. Most of my roommates were international and I felt like I was living in the movie l’Auberge Espanol. As you can probably imagine, with 9 roommates, we had a lot of guests. Everyone wants to visit New York and nobody wants to pay the $250/night hotel price tag when they could sleep on a sofa for free. One particular French roommate had a lot of guests and instead of taking the same tour of Times Square, The Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty etc, came up with a ingenious idea of creating his own tour book routed to and from our apartment with directions in French. Of course, this probably isn’t the Miss Manner’s approved way to entertain guests, but this is perfect for friends using your place as a crash pad or for a day you’re not able to show them around. 

You will need: thin biner, binder sheets, folder, 3 hole punch, brochures

If possible, get brochures of top tourist sites and group them together by location. If it is not possible to get brocures, include a print out from the internet about the history of each site (I usually use Wikipedia.)

On a map, staring with your house, give directions to each dedstination to form a loop, ending back at your house.

Show directions on a map and also write them out with the closest subway stop if applicable. Remember to included directions to the subway itself.

Other noteworthy items to include:

- Business hours or the best hour to visit.

- Do any of these destinations give discounts to certain card holders or membership affiliations?

- Options of restaurants close by that you would recommend for lunch- or restaurants to avoid.

- Other points of interest: great shops or photo ops

- Helpful tips about your subway system: which car is closest to the exit for your house? How to buy a metrocard. Are there options for day metrocard passes?

Arrange groupings of destinations in the binder in order of relevance, protecting each sheet with a plastic cover. You would be surprised how easily papers become dog-eared in someone's bag! In the back of the binder, include a folder with maps and other too-large-to-fit-in-a-binder articles.

The first sheet of the binder is the most important! It should include:

-Your name
-Your address (in English)
-Your cell phone and workphone
-Your email

The phrase:

I would like to go to (your address) at (cross street).

Note: if you can also give directions from a main intersection, that would be very helpful!

Once complete, you can rest assured that your guests will behaving the time of their lives and you won't have to go to Times Square. 

Friday, 18 October 2013 00:00

How to: Pack for a Multi-Climate Vacation

Packing tips

Dave and I just embarked on our big Grand Canyon/Las Vegas adventure.  It was a tricky trip to pack for because we will be looking glamorous in Las Vegas and hiking at the Grand Canyon. During October, the weather at the Grand Canyon drops from the mid 60s during the day to the mid 20s at night. I want to look good and still be comfortable.  I have always found it more difficult to pack for shorter trips (4-5 days) than longer 10-day trips.

The items that I am packing could last anywhere between 4-7 days comfortably. Note: we will have our own rental car and will not be camping overnight. You could easily still be very comfortable bringing about half of the below garments.

A few general tips:

   - Color scheme: Keep your color story to 1 or 2 colors, with the rest being black or denim. This will help you to mix outfits more easily. Add the “pop” color to your wardrobe using accessories; they take up much less space in your luggage and can really transform your outfit.

    Packing tips-  Plan your airplane outfit wisely. While you want to be comfortable, it doesn’t mean you should wear sweatpants (I personally don’t think sweatpants should be worn outside the house or the gym.) A pair of well fitting trousers can be just as comfortable. I always try to think: if I got stuck, would I be comfortable leaving the airport?  Am I dressed appropriately for the country that I am visiting?

I have two schools of thought about the best footwear for the plane; the shoes that would take up the most room in your luggage (heels or boots) or the shoes that are easiest to get on and off (security.) If I am flying direct without a short walk on either end, I usually fly in heels (pumps, easy to get off) with a change of slippers for the flight.

$1-  Avoid packing clothes that need to be ironed.

Toiletries: It is always a good idea to pack yourself a mini first aid kit: bandages, wound cleaner, pain reliever, night pain relieve, cold pills, allergy pills, and stomach pain relief.  As I am familiar with each pill, I put a travel amount in my smallest container.  ALWAYS bring sunscreen! Remember that all liquids need to be together in a plastic bag and no bottles over 3 oz are allowed. Fold up hairbrushes are great for saving space! Bring extra Band-Aids forblisters. Even when I stay at hotels, I like to bring travel shampoo, conditioner and body wash....just in case. 

 Packing TipsShoes: I always find shoes the most difficult item to pack; I want to bring so many! For this trip, I brought sneakers to hike with, 1 pair of comfortable flats to explore museums and walk around the strip, 1 pair of flip flops for the pool and 1 pair of heels for evenings. 

Bags: A backpack for hiking, a medium bag for daytime Vegas exploring and a small bag for evenings.

Eveningwear: Two dresses that are not very thick, fold nicely and don’t require ironing.

Hiking wear: 3 bottoms and 3 tops for 3 days of hiking. To save space, this could easily be scaled down to two outfits. If you are hiking for more than 1 day, bring more than 1 hiking outfit incase of mud, tearing or sweat. Layering is key! Remember to bring short sleeves and long sleeves.

Daywear: Two solid outfits for non-hiking activity.

Non-Vegas eveningwear: When the temperature drops, long pants are a must-have! It is also great to have a long sleeve shirt that is dry and clean. 

Outerwear: At the Grand Canyon, temperatures drop to 28 at night, so a warm coat is key for comfort. I am also bringing a
Packing Tipssweatshirt, cardigan that I can wear with my dresses at over air-conditioned restaurants and a light jacket. The light jacket should be wind resistant. Wear the sweatshirt on the plane; they are ALWAYS too cold! 

Undergarments: I like to over pack underwear and socks.  After a full day of walking around, it is very nice for a fresh change. I brought a swimsuit for Vegas...just in case. 

How to pack a suitcase

Start by packing items that need to lay flat; I started with my dresses and then added my medium and small bags. I kept my backpack for a carry-on. 

Next, bigger items or items that have an unusual shape. Always stuff shoes with items like underpants and socks. This not only preserves space, but also keeps shoes from being crushed. I find it most effective to pack shoes up the sides of the suitcase heel to toe as if they were in a shoebox.  The negative space between the shoes can also be stuffed with socks.

Packing TipsNext, begin rolling your clothes like you would roll a yoga mat. To save even more space, roll thicker clothes like denim next to other thicker rolls and then use thinner rolled clothes in-between as a filler- like you were sealing bricks. All breakable items should go in the middle of your suitcase so the clothes can provide as much cushion as possible.

Lastly, pile on coats or other puffier items that can easily be squished down. Remember to take a plastic bag or two for your dirty clothes and, voila, you are all packed to go!

How to pack your carry-on:

I find it easier to keep all of your liquids in your smaller carryon; I try to avoid opening my suitcase while going through security. Carry your toothbrush and paste handy and a change of underwear. I also like to carry my jewelry in my smaller carryon; after all, there is still a chance you will have to check your luggage once you get on the plane.  

If you are going on a very long flight, particularly a flight with an extreme climate change, I would also recommend keeping a full change of clothes somewhere handy and accessible. Keep all cords together in a plastic bag so they don’t become tangled. Computers and cameras should also go in your personal bag. Other smaller items that I have found useful are; hand sanitizer, tissues, gum, and snack for the ride. I also like to bring a pair of slippers and an eye mask to make the ride more comfortable.

The folder with all of your travel arrangements should be easily accessible in your personal bag. Lastly, remember your travel journal, pen and a good book!  


Packing Tips









Tuesday, 22 October 2013 00:00

A Day Exploring Fall in Massachusetts

While I am a real city girl, I consider the rustic New England farmlands of my native Massachusetts to be one of the most beautiful places, particularly during Fall foliage season. It is must-see every year. Two of my favorite places to experience foliage season are Honey Pot Hill Orhard and Nashoba Valley Winery, located less than an hour from Boston

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See larger map

From Boston, route yourself through the back roads of route 117. The suburbs will thin out and the farmland will start to surround you. Trees with pockets of red, orange and yellow line the horizon. First stop is Honey Pot Hill Orchard.

fall-in-massachusetts-image1.jpgOriginally a dairy farm, Clifford Martin purchased Honeypot Hill Orchard in 1923 and began planting apple, pear and peach trees. Clifford’s Son, Richard, was one of the founders of the pick-your-own concept and pushed Honey Pot Hill Orchard into becoming one of the premier retail pick-your-own operations. The business remained in the family and is now run by Richard’s children.

Try to get a parking spot right at the farm store; here you can purchase bags for picking, 25 varieties of pre-picked apples, baked goods, mouthwatering candy apples, mums, pumpkins, preserves and vegetables. The farm stand even has a viewing room to see how cider is pressed and old farm tools handing from the walls. Right around the corner of the farm store, brave the line for cider donuts. Ask for a hot one with cinnamon and sugar! While I am not a huge donut fan, I can easily throw down several cider donuts.

After you have picked your fair share of apples, try your luck navigating the maze. There are plenty of activities for children as well including a mini hedge maze, a tunnel maze, petting zoo, and hayrides. Honeypot also hosts birthday parties.



Pick your own schedule:

Blueberries: mid/late July- early September 9:30am- 5:30pm

Apple: late August- late October 10am-5pm

The retail store is open mid/late July-Christmas 9am-6p


Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 8.57.28 PMView Larger Map

Next, grab a bite at Nancy’s at the Air Field. Nancy’s is located at the Minute Man Air Field, and if you request a seat by the back windows, you can watch the airplanes fly overhead. Great atmosphere, hospitality, consistently good food.  Owner, Nancy, describes the menu as "autobiographical" and inspired by her own personal travels. Menu items include; sandwiches such as the Lamb burger with Burbere spices and tzatziki; salads like the Commonwealth Salad, mixed greens, herb goat chese on Tuscan bread with chipotle carmelized walnuts & maple balsamic vinaigrette; eggs; pancakes; and homemade baked goods. 


Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8-3

Friday- Saturady: 8-3, 5-9


Nashoba Valley Winery Bolton, MA

Finally, head for a picnic at Nashoba Valley Winery. In 1978, Nashoba Valley Winery, a family-owned orchard and winery, began producing quality wines. Set on a 52-acre hill overlooking the town of Bolton, MA, Nashoba Valley Winery offers a peach and apple orchard, wine tastings, winery tours, an exceptional farmhouse restaurant, gift and wine shop and open field scattered with picnic tables perfect for spending a lovely afternoon. Nashoba Valley is quintessential New England charm, in fact, I consider it is such a perfect place, that I got married there.

  Nashoba Valley Winery, Bolton, MA  Fall Foliage in Massachusetts

The gift shop is filled with great gifts for wine lovers and you can purchase any of the 37 varieties of wine that Nashoba Valley produces. The winery also produces beers and spirits also available for purchase. My favorite wines are the dry blueberry, dry pear and Gewürztraminer.

J's Restaurant Nashoba Valley Winery Bolton, MAJ’s restaurant is always delicious and features an ever-changing seasonal menu with dishes such as the crabcake with pumpkin risoto and micro salad; rabbit ravioli- confit lamb, house-made ricotta, spiced cider broth; and Axis venison ragu with Porcini mushroom risoto and roasted root vegetables. Sunday brunch at J's is also delicious and has no set menu, with dishes just decided upon moments before the buffet begins. The restaurant is very much a quaint old farmhouse, complete with a roaring fire in the dining room.

The restaurant also offers Picnic Lunches to Go with gourmet sandwich options including the prosciutto and peppers with marinated tomatoes, roasted garlic aioli, and banana peppers on French baguette and the oven roasted turkey with cranberry-chive mayonnaise, baby spinach and Smith's gouda on grilled ciabatta. Cheese & charcuterie boxes are also available with adcane notice. Reservations for both the restaurant and Picnic’s to Go need to be done in advance, but don’t fret if you miss out; the wine shop has noshes for purchase as well. 


Orchard- seasonally- 7 days- 10-5


Wine and Gift Shop:


Sunday-Thursday 10-5


Friday & Saturday 10-6


J’s Restaurant:

Wednesday – Saturday 
11:30 a.m. – 3:30 pm (last seating at 2pm), 5:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m (last seating at 9pm)

Sunday  10:00 a.m. – 3:30 pm (last seating at 2pm)


Saturday, 26 October 2013 00:00

The Great Halloween Pumpkin Blaze

The Great Jack O'Lantern BlazeHalloween is my favorite holiday and I am obsessed with just about anything pumpkin. So when I heard about an event called The Great Jack o' Lantern Blaze in a little town called Croton-on-the-Hudson by Sleepy Hollow, NY, I HAD to check it out.

In the month of October, the Van Cortland Manor is illuminated with over 10,000 pumpkins, 5,000 of those being hand carved. Tickets go on sale late August and the event sells out every year.

The blaze is set on the grounds of Van Cortland Manor and creates scenes of graveyards, ghosts, witches, crazed jack in the boxes, haunted grandfather clocks, a tunnel of doom, prehistoric creatures and finally a massive Chinese Dragon. There’s truly nothing like it!

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

The haunted house

45503 10100128212134005 366503320 n  The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Graveyards and the ghosts that haunt them


The Great Jack O'lantern Blaze  The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Spiders and spiderwebs

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze  The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Jack in the box and grandfather clock

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze  The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

A tunnel of doom

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze  The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Witches and Elephants

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze  The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze


The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze


A Chinese Dragon

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

A Pumpkin Treehouse

 The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Festive bites

While you're in the Sleepy Hallow region, make sure that you pay a visit to the Sleepy Hallow Cemetary for a guided tour about the Legend of Sleepy Hallow and to see the Headless Horseman.  



For those not of the faint of heart, the Horsemans Hallow at Philipsburg Manor is a frightful haunted maze of creatures from your worst nightmare. 



Sunday, 03 November 2013 00:00

The Great New York Pizza Crawl: Roberta's

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Amist the warehouses and loft apartments of Bushwick, lies the famed pizza place, Roberta's.

Set off a main street, the thick wooden door of Roberta's might easily have been missed if the masses of patrons weren't waiting outside. Despite it's rather large size, Roberta's vibe is cozy and comfortable. A large woodburning oven at the head of the kitchen illuminates the restaurant with a soft orange glow. The front room is full of communal picnic tables light up by nostalgic colored christmas lights. Once you make your way to the maitre'd, expect upwards of an hour wait.

1452069 10100133667007395 1919218531 nThe back of the restaurant has a small bar with minimal seating; you feel constantly in the way standing. Adjacent is another room with a garden. The beer selection is a bit heavy for my tastes, but if you like hoppier lagers and IPA's you will feel right at home.

We ordered the margarita pizza, which many pizza connoisseurs swear to be the best pizza in New York. I had built up Robert's in my head for so long and have to admit that I was a bit disappointed. While all the ingredients were very fresh, the crust was soft and bordering on soggy. The sauce also felt like it was lacking a seasoning or an ingredient to really give it a wow factor. It was good, just not great. 

At $13 for a personal pie, I felt dissatisfied.

I am going to give Roberta's another shot, hoping that I caught an off night. As crazy as New Yorkers are about their pizza, so many of them couldn't have been that off the mark, right?

What are your experiences at Roberta's?

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Wednesday, 08 January 2014 01:48

Vegas for Haters

Golden Nugget Casino Las Vegas

I had been to Las Vegas 4 times and I always hated it. Even being used to New York pricing, I find it Vegas soul-sucking expensive. The Strip is not my scene; I don't like rowdy woo-girls***, obnoxious frat guys, or anyone who can't hold their liquor making a fool of themselves. I see there are good qualities about Vegas, but there are shows and most of the same restaurants in New York. Vegas reminds me of a year-round New York Times Square New Year's Eve- minus the cold. I understand why it's so special for a lot of people. And, unfortunately, it is a great location for trade shows. 

So you must imagine how surprised I was to meet my husband in the pool of Planet Hollywood. We felt an obligation to return to the scene of the crime for our wedding anniversary. On my first two trips to Vegas (the other two were business trips), I made the mistake of not planning anything to do; sitting by the pool got old fast and I could only walk through so many casinos. This trip was also my first time going in a season other than summer, so I knew that sitting by the pool wouldn't really be an option. Let me tell you, I had such a great trip this time around, I even wanted another day.

Rent a car

It's very inexpensive to rent a car at McCarren Airport and hotels all have free parking. I truly think this is the key to my newfound Vegas love. It gave us freedom from The Strip.

Fremont Street Experience Las Vegas

Old Las Vegas

Dave and I ventured to Old Las Vegas and had a blast. Tormented by a reputation for disgusting, drug-addicted prostitutes and rednecks, Old Vegas has made a recent comeback. I think next time we visit, I would love to stay at the Golden Nugget. The Travel Channel boasts that the pool is "One of the Most Extreme Pools in the World." Why? Well, you get to swim through a shark tank! Shark Tank Tours are also available. There is also a two-story infinity pool.

Red Rock Canyon Area Las Vegas, NV

Old Las Vegas is set on Fremont Street, which has become a covered pedestrian street. At night, you MUST check out the Fremont Street Experience, where the street becomes a giant party and all the hotels are lit up.

When I travel, I love seeing really strange things; in Dallas, I made a point of going and getting a drink at the birthplace of the Frozen Margarita (yes, it was amazing.) So imagine how excited I was to hear that I could get my picture taken with $1,000,000. Yes, literally a million dollars. For free at Binon's (they give you a nice 8x10 souvenir photo!)

Red Rock Canyon

Hiking Red Rock Canyon has gotten amazing reviews on Trip Advisor as well as from all of my friends out west. Unfortunately, because of the government shutdown, we weren't able to go. There is a really great state park just down the road. This park has a small lake, which is the clearest, most beautiful lake ever. There are also some interesting trails to walk through. Trails are lined with really interesting plants and vegetation.

Red Rock Canyon Area Las Vegas, NV

The Stratosphere

While in the hot tub at Planet Hollywood, we got into a great conversation with a regular and the lifeguard. Apparently, The Stratosphere is the place to be. The revolving restaurant is pricy, but has great views of Vegas. Don't sit right at the window, but in the row behind. Why? These seats are facing the windows whereas the window seats face your partner. The Stratosphere is also home to an amusement park, bungee jumping and other thrilling adventures.

In-n-Out Burger

I also feel it's important to note that with a vehicle, you have the freedom to go to In-n-Out Burger as many times as your stomach can handle. Any East Coaster can tell you this is half the reason to travel out west.

Neon Museum Las Vegas, NV

The Neon Museum

The Neon Museum had to have been my favorite part about this time around Vegas. This museum is a outside collection of all of the old neon signs of Las Vegas. Did you know that it costs around $150,000 to restore some of these signs, and that the most expensive part to restore is the base? The tour of the museum is an hour long and led by a insanely knowledgeable art historian. The tour is fascinating; the signs really tell the story of Las Vegas and how it came to be. The history of casinos; why so many weddings take place here; the history of the shows, and the mafia involvement. Did you know that The Strip isn't actually in Las Vegas? It's in Paradise, NV. It was moved to be closer to Los Angeles to attract the tourists before the Las Vegas and to avoid taxes. You can also take night tours of the museum. There are a few functioning signs and the rest are up lit.

After enjoying all of this, I am looking forward to returning and discovering more of the off-the-beaten track attractions in Vegas. I think next time a trip to the Mafia Museum is necessary.

** Episode of How I Met Your Mother for the best definition of this


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