USATourist News MagazineMarch 2003
In this issue:
Hello - all of us at USATourist.com hope that you've had a Happy Valentine's Day and that you'll spend part of 2003 with us here in the USA. Our on site newsletter for February 2003 has a listing of all the holidays here in the USA for folks who want to plan travel around festive celebrations --- or be alert to the possibility of bank closings and other holiday related matters.
We've had some unusual winter weather in the eastern portion of the USA this year so I'd like to point out that the total area of the United States is 3,537,441 square miles --- so even though the snow in Boston, Massachusetts is expected to reach a depth of 20 inches down in Daytona and Orlando, Florida highs this week have hovered in the 70s. Down in New Orleans they're enjoying comfortable temperatures in the 60s and 70s. While out in Hawaii Honolulu has highs close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and lows in the high 60s. To help you get a handle on temperatures 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the same as 27 degrees Centigrade.
The warm weather in Hawaii sounds delightful to me so I just checked our USA Tourist.com global discount hotel reservations search engine and found a room in Honolulu that's a three minute walk to the beach for fewer than fifty USDs per night --- I also saw a lot of great offers on luxury resorts and moderate tourist class hotels with beachfront rooms.
Not everyone loves warm weather, after all it's still ski season. Colorado claims some of the best ski resorts in the USA. Getting to the Rocky Mountains is less expensive than you may think. I just checked our airline search engine at USATourist and found several round trip choices from London Gatwick to Denver Colorado in the close to five hundred USDs range, I even found a fare for fewer than five hundred USDs. Colorado is great destination year round combining a sophisticated city with cultural and shopping choices with a glimpse of the Wild West and large landscapes full of unspoiled wilderness.
If you aren't ready to hop a plane and ski this month you might want to consider Colorado for a break a bit further on in the year. Pawnee Wagon Train Vacations start off in Sterling Colorado (or you can arrange pick up from Denver International Airport) for a three-day two-night all-inclusive wagon train ride that takes in steaks, stories of the old west, wildlife, and breathtaking views of wide-open spaces. The wagon trains run from late May through early September and make a great family experience. The experience is suitable for children over six. While the company provides most gear --- you'll see a list of what you need to pack on the registration page this is one adventure that you must bring your camera on --- spectacular sunsets are a given.
Many folks want to work or set up a business in the USA. We get questions about types of US Visas and other business related matters often. So in response to reader concerns we have a brand new section on doing business in the USA.
Sometimes the way we act can be confusing. So, in addition to the business travel, visa, and other information, keep these tips in mind.
Our northern neighbor Canada isn't part of the USA but it's a great place to visit on its own or in combination with us. I don't know about you but after I spend the money on transatlantic travel I want to see and do as many different things as possible. And it's really a great trip when I can take in two different countries. Because of how huge the USA is it isn't that easy for travelers to do that in North America but fortunate folks who head for the northeast can easily split their time between Niagara Falls, Canada and Niagara Falls, New York. Both are favored honeymoon destinations and great for family trips as well.
Niagara Falls first became a fashionable honeymoon destination in the 1800's when Napoleon's brother, Jerome Bonaparte traveled from New Orleans to honeymoon in Niagara Falls. Since then honeymooners from all over the globe have come to the twin cities on either side of the Falls and the twin cities on either side of the Canadian and US borders. Almost every celebrity on the planet has taken a boat trip on the famous Maid of the Mist that runs in the waters by the falls.
On the Canadian side you can contact the Maid of the Mist at Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company, Ltd., 5920 River Road P.O. Box 808, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E6V6 or by calling 905-358-5781. If you want to contact them on the USA side of the border, Maid of the Mist Corporation at 151 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, New York 14303 is their USA address and 716-284-8897. The boats leave every 30 minutes from both the US and Canadian side. From the USA the access point is reached via Niagara Reservation State Park. From the Canadian side you can reach the Maid of the Mist from Queen Victoria Park. Adult fares are either $10 USDs or 13 Canadian dollars. The first day of operation for 2003 will be announced in early April. Many people believe that you have not really been to Niagara Falls without the boat ride.
If you're making a honeymoon visit, you must go to the Canadian side of the falls at:
In addition to honeymooners, the Falls have long attracted risk takers of other sorts. People really have gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel --- the first such daredevil, 63 year old Annie Taylor survived going over the Falls in a barrel on October 24, 1901.
Other attempters have not been as lucky. Several people have died attempting the feat. The most ironic death associated with Niagara Falls is that of Bobby Leach, an Englishman who went over the Falls in a steel barrel during July of 1911. He made it through the stunt alive but had to spend six months in a hospital afterwards. Later, Bobby died in New Zealand when he slipped on an orange peel, broke his leg, and died from complications.
However, most of the 10 million yearly visitors stay out of barrels and have a wonderful (and safe) time.
Art lovers often fantasize about hidden treasures; priceless works secured in private museums and religious houses forbidden to the greedy eyes of the general public.
It is not a myth. It's truth.
Splendid works of art hide in monasteries, convents and private collections. Others, the works of Goya and El Greco are scattered throughout churches and museums.
Just once, and only once, a thousand years of inspired artistry and craftsmanship will be gathered together in a unique exhibit --- "The Heart of Spain" which will display paintings, tapestries, sculpture, and jewelry from a thousand years of Spanish history.
From September to November of 2003 this historic exhibit will be housed in the Alexandria Museum of Art in Alexandria, Louisiana, you can get further information regarding Heart Of Spain on the web.
Alexandria is also home to the River Oaks Square Arts Center, a contemporary visual arts center full of studios that house working artists and crafts people in a structure that is signature central Louisiana --- part of the building is state of the art modern and part of the facility resides in Bolton House a magnificent example of Queen Anne Revival Architecture.
Alexandria has a lot to see and do for folks of all ages, so check back with me over the next few months to hear more about this jewel of a city. But, if you have your heart set on seeing the Heart of Spain exhibit, I encourage you to visit our hotel search engine early as it is likely to gather huge crowds for most of it's sojourn in the south.
Alexandria, Louisiana does have an airport with frequent connections from major USA markets.
Another important thing to keep in mind about Louisiana is that it is the only state in the USA with tax-free shopping for international visitors. Let me explain a bit about sales tax in the USA, each state and some cities levy a tax on all purchases except for Delaware where there's no sales tax.
In Louisiana many stores selling everything from accessories to wine offer a tax rebate for foreign visitors similar to the one the EU offers foreign visitors. To take advantage of the tax refund plan you'll need to take your passport with you when you shop and check to make certain that the merchant is a member of Louisiana Tax Free Shopping. You may see a red, white and blue emblem in the shop window with the words Tax Free in the center. Ask for a tax refund voucher and save it with the receipt for your purchase. You'll be able to redeem the vouchers at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, Lafayette Hibernia National Bank at 213 Vermillion in Lafayette or Shreveport Hibernia National Bank at 333 Travis Street in Shreveport, Louisiana. You can get complete information on tax-free shopping in Louisiana on line.
Every newsletter I'll try to point the way to one free attraction in the USA. This month you've hit the jackpot. If you're planning a trip to Washington, DC you won't break your budget sight seeing. The over fifteen museums that make up the Smithsonian Institute including the National Zoo are all free. They also provide foreign language tours of several facilities but you must book them four weeks in advance of your planned visit.
Looking for a family friendly beach? Want to know the name of a great Cajun restaurant? Need help figuring out US clothing sizes? Or, do you have a super suggestion for a sight that you've seen that you'd like to share with other travelers? Email MsTravel@usatourist.com I love hearing from you.
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