Sunday, March 25, 2018

5 Places NYC Locals Visit: Part 1

Hang Out in NYC Like a Local 
(Tourist spots we visit but we don't want to admit)


The Unisphere is Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens



1. The Museums: New Yorkers might belong to museums as members or have free or discounted access with a NYC ID. Having a membership allows great flexibility, you don't have to feel rushed to see everything in one visit and you can attend special members only events. Take advantage of musical events, workshops, lectures and other events. It's like having a community center.


The MoMA: Museum of Modern Art

2. The Highline: take an old elevated train track, make use of the spaces underneath with great restaurants, add the Whitney Museum at one end and the number 7 train hub at the other, mix well and you have a nice way to spend an afternoon in most weather.


The elevated High Line, viewed from the street

3. The Parks: Tourists head to Central Park but locals hang out in their neighborhood parks which range from a one block square or triangle to acres and acres. Journey to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx; Cunningham Park, Alley Pond Park, Kissena Park or Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens; Prospect Park or Carnarsie Pier in Brooklyn (along with the entire Coney Island area) and Latourette Park in Staten Island. Golf, swim, bicycle or just sit out under a tree.


Check the websites for festivals in NYC Parks

4. Greenwich Village: Below 14th (East and West), Manhattan does not have the square grid design of streets and avenues. Resembling our European city cousins, streets angle in and out, seemingly follow no set pattern and reveal delightful little nooks and crannies such as church gardens, boutiques, small theaters and sidewalk cafes. 



Father Demo Square, Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue

5. Our Street Fairs: Although the most neutral source of information should be the nyc.org website, on its Citywide Events page, it may not always be up-to-date. Searching NYC street fairs on the internet will yield the websites for the companies that seem to sponsor the generic fairs. But, when the real festivals occur, they draw the locals.



Click the social media icons to share. Spread the word. Happy Travels.

This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).


Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, Tumblr. Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKindmcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images , and Dreamstime

Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Intro to...Traveling to Cuba: Part 2

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Disclaimer:  This article is written as a personal narrative based on personal experiences from the perspective of a US citizen. It is not intended as legal, official or professional information. MC Photo and Travel, dba MC Enterprises does not assume responsibility for any persons using this information as the sole source for planning a trip to Cuba.


Traveling to Cuba by Cruise
This information is intended for readers who are US citizens and is solely based on the author's personal experience


Norwegian Sky, docked in Havana, Cuba

There are 15 municipalities in Havana, Cuba. Cruise ships dock in Old Havana (Havana Vieja). The area is a curiosity because it seems as if it was abandoned and left to decay after the Revolution of 1959. The numerous old cars from that era add to the mystery. Some buildings are being preserved and the area is a World UNESCO Heritage Site. 

1. Currently, based on my research, 3 cruise companies sail to Cuba: Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. They all depart from Miami, Tampa and Port Canaveral. The port for Cuba will be Havana, which docks in Old Havana. 




2. Choose an itinerary that has an overnight in Havana, if your main purpose is to visit Cuba. However, there are sailings that have Havana as a one day stop, just like any other port. Choose this itinerary if this is not your first time to Cuba.




3. 
Travel to Cuba for tourist reasons is not permitted. You must be there for a purpose as per your visa. Call the cruise company directly to confirm about the visa. You must travel under one of the 12 permitted licenses. You will probably have to pay an extra fee. See the links in number 1. 



4.  Technically, you must have an itinerary to visit Cuba, but it can be self-made. Plan to visit places of interest for the entire time you are in port. Of course, cruise excursions make this easy. I booked an evening walking tour through the cruise line. Tours are also for sale as you disembark, after you clear customs and exchange money. But, I planned my own activities and I was engaged the entire time I was off the ship.


Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro

5. Activities that I did to engage in people-to-people activities included a horse-drawn city tour, visiting a cigar shop, speaking with the locals at the flea market, enjoying the Coche Mambi (the 1910 presidential rail car), a gallery and other spots around Old Havana, including the famous Havana Club.


Coche Mambi rail car
6. Running joke: Ernest Hemingway, who did live in Cuba for about 7 years in the 1930's, apparently ate, slept and visited every location in and around the old Havana area. Every tourist attraction has a plaque that proclaims that ol' Ernie was there. 

Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Ernest Hemingway lived for 7 years
Do your research. If you use a travel agent, ask if he or she knows the latest information about visas, some of them do not arrange visas. If you do book through an agent, confirm that you can communicate directly with the cruise line about traveling to Cuba. Buen viaje!

Click the social media icons to share. Spread the word. Happy Travels.

This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).

Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, Tumblr. Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKindmcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images , and Dreamstime. 

Intro to..Traveling to Cuba: Part 1

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).


Disclaimer:  This article is written as a personal narrative based on personal experiences from the perspective of a US citizen. It is not intended as legal, official or professional information. MC Photo and Travel, dba MC Enterprises does not assume responsibility for any persons using this information as the sole source for planning a trip to Cuba.


WHAT TO CONSIDER TO VISIT CUBA
This information is intended for travelers who are US citizens




For the absolute latest information, always visit the US State Department website.

Currently, citizens of the United States are able to travel to Cuba directly from the USA. Most are doing so via airplane or on a cruise. Most citizens who travel by airplane are traveling with organized groups or excursions. If you are a Cuban born USA citizen, you must read the information on the US State Department website before planning a trip to Cuba.

You must travel under one of 12 license categories: see these categories under the Entry Requirements paragraph: https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/traveling-to-cuba/



1. Technically, an American citizen cannot travel to Cuba for vacation purposes. Current policies say that you should have a full itinerary that you can document. However, this itinerary can be created on your own. You do not have to use a professional company, you just have to book experiences that are considered valid and hold onto the proof for a certain amount of years. Certain tour packages are considered illegal, so be aware of purchasing packages from agencies and tour companies.

2. Your credit and debit cards will not work. Bring cash with you. If you travel on a cruise, you will be able to exchange as soon as you disembark, right there in the terminal. Use the same cautions you use in any travel situation: carry only what you need, carry your passport, keep everything on your person and do not allow anyone to carry your bag.



3. Traveling by cruise is one of the easiest ways to see Cuba. You can usually get your visa through the company, there are many excursions to choose from, and, conveniently, you will not have to worry about room and board. Your ship will be your hotel!


4.  The people were awesome and friendly. Of course, tourists spending money are always welcome and of course vendors want your business, but chatting with the locals was once of the best aspects of visiting.



5. Don't take photos of military or police personnel and locations. Period.




6. Beware of travel agents who do not know the most accurate information. This is one trip that you should research about yourself.

Click the social media icons to share. Spread the word. Happy Travels.

Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, Tumblr. Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKindmcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images , and Dreamstime



Make Mine Chocolate: Intro to Hersheypark

TOP REASONS TO VISIT HERSHEYPARK 
(Besides a chance to buy all the candy you want)







1. The one-price admission: ride the rides, get wet, see the zoo, all for one price. And, if you choose not to get wet, come after sunset (or during the off season). The price is cheaper when the water park closes. (But, on those heat wave days that can hit Pennsylvania, you're gonna wanna get wet.)



2. The Boardwalk at Hersheypark: hands down, for the price, the most convenient water park fun ever! Smack dab in the middle of the park, there's no way you're not going to want to go there. If you're not into slides, just stand under the giant bucket and wait for it. The factory whistle blast will alert you to either get out of the way or make haste for a waterfall of instant coolness. Chill at the wave pool or take a slow, lazy ride on the Intercoastal Waterway. The Boardwalk is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.



3. It's a park for roller coaster fans. And, as per its website, you will want to ride the two new water "roller" coasters: Breakers Edge, the first HydroMagnetic Coaster with Flying Saucer turns (Hershey's 14th coaster) and and Whitecap Racer, the longest mat coaster. Take a peek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=qS4aLR0zEu8.




4. Despite the amount of roller coasters, it's a family park. Milton Hershey created its predecessor as leisure park for his employees. This theme is retained in the amount of rides families can do together. Measure the kiddies at the entrance, you'll see which candy they measure up to, amusingly named for Hershey's brand of candies, like Kisses and Jolly Ranchers. Look for these icons throughout the park so that you know who can ride what.

5. ZooAmerica is open year round. Normally included as part of admission to the theme park, you can also pay a reduced price when the theme park is closed for the season, or if you just want to go to the zoo.

6. The off-season fun: Springtime in the Park (weekends in April and May), In the Dark (Halloween fun weekends in October and early November) and Christmas Candyland (weekends in November and all through December). 


Check out all of the information at  http://www.hersheypark.com/

Click the social media icons to share. Spread the word. Happy Travels.

Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, Tumblr. Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKindmcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images , and Dreamstime


Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.