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USATourist News Magazine

February 2003

In this issue:

Don't let this winter's unusual snowstorm keep you away from the USA! The average high temperature for Orlando, Florida during February is 72 degrees Fahrenheit --- that's 22 degrees Celsius. And, there is so much going on during February that it's a perfect time to come on across the pond and see us.

Winter sun is still on offer! And, you won't have to break your budget to top off your tan.

Sunsplash Travel rents 3,4 or 5 bed homes from January through March 10th 2003 for only $594 per week. Sunsplash Travel, Inc. specializes in Florida vacations. Their fully furnished (you don't even need to bring towels) homes are within 15 minutes of Walt Disney World. The vacation homes feature private screened pools, fully outfitted kitchens with all modern conveniences, a washer and dryer and are stocked with bath and bed linens, TV, and other home comforts. At their website you can see photos of specific homes and detailed information about each property. To take advantage of the special low price quote "code 102" when you contact Sunsplash Travel, Inc.

Mardi Gras brightens up the winter days

While many folks flock to New Orleans for Mardi Gras travelers seeking a smaller less frantic Mardi Gras experience slip off to Cajun country. To go to Mardi Gras in Lafayette, Louisiana take I-10 134 miles until you reach LA-182, after 2.2 miles you'll reach Lafayette in the heart of Cajun country. Lafayette has a family oriented Mardi Gras celebration but for folks planning a trip to the states during '03 you'll find a lot on offer in this small city throughout the year. You can easily arrange a car rental for the trip or any other drive you want to do within the USA.

Lafayette, Lousianna is the only city in the state other than New Orleans with live Cajun music available seven nights a week. And 2003 is bringing a series of special events to the area. At the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist you can check out an exhibit on the influence of the Catholic Church on the settlement of the Lousianna territoty from now until the end of December '03. From September 30, 2003 until January 4, 2004 their Acadiana Center for the Arts (downtown Lafayette at the corner of Jefferson and Vermilion) will host a 72-piece exhibit of Rodin's work representing the range of his career. The Rodin exhibit will be one of the most comprehensive gatherings of the artist's work ever seen in North America. From December 20 until April 1 of 2004 the University of Louisiana's Art Museum in Lafayette will display a survey exhibition of French art displaying the work of Cézanne, Monet, Matisse, and many more masters. Works for this exhibit are on loan from the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, numerous other museums and many private collections. Call (377) 482-5326 for further information.

Holidays in the USA are big events

And February is fortunate enough to be the home of Valentine's Day. If you are here mid-February you'll notice lots of hotels and restaurants offering special deals and meals --- and if you have a sweet tooth you'll want to check out discount and drug stores on February 15th the day after Valentine's Days for super savings on chocolate and other sweets --- after the holiday all the gorgeously wrapped goodies go on sale.

If you really love chocolate and you are in Pennsylvania or North New Jersey, you simply have to swing by Asher's in Souderton, Pennsylvania. With the fourth generation of family candy makers, Asher's is the oldest family owned candy factory in the USA; they've been providing us with sweetness since 1892. To reach them from Philadelphia take Route 76 West 13 miles to the Plymouth Meeting Exit where you'll pick up I-476 North, follow it through the tollbooth at the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Go ten more miles to the Lansdale Exit, which takes you onto Route 63, and turn right. Then turn right again onto Wambold Road and you'll reach Asher's after a mile, it's on the left.

Monday through Friday they offer free multimedia tours of the candy factory and a chance to visit their old-fashioned candy store. The tours are handicapped accessible. Because they are self-paced they are easy for families with small children to enjoy. Call them toll free in the USA at 1-800-223-4420 for further information.

If your sweetie doesn't have a sweet tooth don't despair

The New York Pass makes a great gift for any traveler trekking to New York City. For only $42 for one day, or $125 for an entire week (other lengths also available) you can ride on all public transport within New York City and you'll receive admission to over forty attractions ranging from museums to a stage door tour of the famous Radio City Music Hall and a water tour of the New York Harbor. But there is much more than that. The pass offers a series of discounts on dining at world famous places like the Hard Rock Café, discounts on theater tickets, and even a savings coupon at Bloomingdale's Department Store. The pass includes free admission to Central Park Zoo. Included in the price is a comprehensive guidebook that will help you plan your itinerary and chose the sights you most want to see. And, at the end of a busy day of sight seeing you can relax on a World Yacht Dining Cruise where your pass will grant you a free bottle of champagne for each adult couple, the perfect Valentine's Day celebration that is equally exquisite any other day of the year.

NASCAR Racing is broadcast in over one hundred countries around the globe!

But, even so you might not know that February is when NASCAR takes over Daytona Beach, Florida. From February 7th until February 18th motor sports fans will take over the town. Hotel rooms will be difficult to get and prices will hit all time highs during the event referred to as Speed Weeks. If you aren't interested in racing don't go to Daytona until the race is over!

Our friends at Sunsplash offer vacation rentals far from the racing crowd. For a budget break consider a stay in Kissimmee, Florida. If you are longing for a serene setting test the waters in Panama City, Florida. In Panama City you will find unspoiled white sand beaches and mild weather. But, if you want to avoid crowds do not visit Panama Beach during March and April. During March and April students on Spring Break take over the area.

So, skip Daytona during February and give Panama Beach a miss during March and April, unless you are interested in the races or Spring Break. During February expect high temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in Panama Beach.

But, if you are going to Daytona for the race and don't have a favorite driver, you might want to hope Rusty Wallace wins --- he's sponsored by the Miller Brewing Company and if his number 2 Miller Dodge takes the checkered flag his sponsors will give every adult fan at the race track a coupon for a free six pack of Miller Beer. They will have people in the stands prepared to give away over 100,000 coupons if Rusty's car is the first one over the start finish line.

One more word about holidays

In the UK, Mother's Day is in March. But in the USA we always celebrate our moms on the second Sunday in May. If you are planning a visit to the USA during May check with hotels and restaurants for special events and deals to make Mom smile.

One extra special deal is offered Keswick Hall at Monticello. They're offering a Bed, Breakfast and a Baby Butler package for parents who can't quite bring themselves to leave Baby at home. The 600-acre Keswick estate offers golf, tennis, and scenic strolls as well as ample sitting rooms for fireside relaxing. Their package for parents includes one night of room accommodations, full breakfast for two, afternoon tea and the expert assistance of the hotel's on-staff baby butler. Butler service involves warming baby bottles, and serving baby food made on site by Executive Chef Bruce McLeod. They supply personalized cribs with blue, pink or yellow linens and a rocking chair is placed in the guest's room. They providing a knapsack or cross country stroller for long walks on the estate. They'll even rock the baby in the morning room, so Mom can have a few moments for her own. The package price starts at $325.00. And, you can make a booking for Keswick Hall through our handy hotel search engine. Even if you aren't traveling with tots in tow it looks like an ideal place for a break with the delights of historic Charlottesville nearby and within easy reach of DC. Just hit the link to the hotel search and then enter Keswick, Virginia and then search for Keswick Hall.

And in the Southeast

From Virginia down expect to see daffodils showing their lovely heads in February letting us know that spring is on the way.

Spring is always an exciting time, with the promise of warmer weather and the beginning of blooms --- and if you are planning a trip and need some advice, I'd love to hear from you at

If you've got some advice to share with other travelers, I'd love to hear that as well. I'd be especially grateful if you'd email me with your favorite free things to see in the states. In this newsletter I mentioned the tour of Asher's Candy factory and I'm going to try to list one thing you can see and do for free every month in 2003 - so, help me out if you know about something fun and free.

Diane Goldberg

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