USATourist News MagazineJune 2004
In this issue:
Month after month I tell you that it is a great time to visit the USA. After a while it must sound false, but I keep saying it because I really do think that it’s true. We’re such a large country that the weather is always wonderful, something exciting is always happening, and bargains abound somewhere in the states any time you chose to travel.
June is a great month for visiting the Grand Canyon (more about that later on), California, or Florida. The weather is warm during the day and mild in the evening without the sweltering heat that sometimes spoils travel during August.
Don’t pack sunscreen. Buy it here in the USA. Most toiletries including sunscreen are inexpensive compared to prices in Western Europe and Japan. Check any drug store or discount store for sunscreen, shampoo, soap, and cosmetics.
If you’re tempted by resort wear or a new swimsuit you’ll find a huge selection of shops at almost any seaside destination. But, you really do need to try things on instead of relying solely on our clothing size conversion chart. Use the chart as a guide but keep in mind that in women’s clothing sizes vary a great deal from manufacturer to manufacturer and you really need to try things on because USA sizes are not completely standardized. As a general rule, in more expensive lines of clothing you will find that sizes tend to run a bit large --- a size four in a pricey designer dress may well have the same dimensions as a size six in a less expensive line of clothing. You’ll also encounter odd numbered sizes such as threes, fives, and sevens. Odd numbered sizes are usually cut for younger women and not necessarily slimmer women and tend toward less curvy cuts. They’re called junior sizes. Even numbered sizes are cut for curves. They are called misses sizes.
During 2003 we had some unusual weather. Along the east coast we had much more rain than usual and a very cool spring. In 2004 we are having weather that is warmer. The wet cool spring of 2003 left many gardeners deep in despair while their roses put on a lackluster show and home vegetables just weren’t up to standard. But, this year, ah! Flowers are blooming. Vegetables are growing and it’s a great time to sample a few treats and tastes.
In South Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia and the rest of the southern United States we are all just plain crazy about home grown tomatoes. We even eat tomato sandwiches. Unlike a lot of places you won’t find open air markets in most of the USA but you will find “farmer’s markets” in most of the south where you can purchase locally grown produce ranging from the ever-popular tomato to sweet locally grown melons. You’ll also find folks who set up stands along the road or in parking lots bordering urban intersections selling fruits and vegetables.
Another option for vacation fun involves picking your own fruit from a variety of places all over the USA.
I have received a few reader emails asking for United States tourism offices in Western Europe. Unfortunately the USA’s government does not have official tourism offices outside of the USA. Some of our State Tourist Offices do have representatives outside of the USA and you can find their locations by visiting the state’s web page.
I often get requests for brochures or maps that people would like mailed to them. USATourist.com strives to be the best, most comprehensive, most up-to-date resource for travel in the United States on the Internet. We are constantly adding more information, new destinations, and special offers. But, we are a web only venture and have nothing we can send you via regular post. We’re not a US government tourist agency and unlike some travel web sites we do not represent only one hotel chain or travel service provider. We are a group of happy travelers who know and love the USA. Because we are from many different walks of life, spread across two generations, and familiar with different parts of the USA we bring you a wide range of first hand information.
Another area I get a lot of questions about is taxes. In the USA the sales tax varies from state to state. Delaware has no sales tax making it a popular place for people who want to do serious shopping. Louisiana is the only state that provides a tax-free shopping plan for foreign visitors. If you need information about business taxes look under our section on USA Business Help for an overview of the basics that you’ll need to explore.
And, if you’re traveling around the USA and need information about phone numbers, call 411 for assistance.
Internet cafes never really caught on in the USA the way they have in the rest of the world. If you aren’t traveling with a lap top (most hotels have data ports in the room) you may find it difficult to check your email. Unfortunately many of the Internet cafes in New York City have closed. But I just confirmed that Alt.coffee is still in business, located at 139 Avenue A in New York City. They’re open seven days a week.
If you are looking for information about Chinatown during your visit to New York City you’re in luck. You can pick up a brand new Explore Chinatown brochure with a neighborhood map at NYC’s Official Visitor Information Center, (810 7th Avenue at 53rd Street) or the NYC & Company Visitor Information Kiosks (City Hall Park and 125th Street in Harlem). A Visitor Information Kiosk will be placed in Chinatown soon.
And, in the odd information section, an Associated Press story recently reported that the Le Meridian Hotel in Manhattan has an omelet costing one thousand dollars on the menu, apparently ten ounces of caviar costing sixty-five dollars an once figures into the recipe. No one has ordered this extravagant omelet yet.
Recently I discovered a new way to visit the Grand Canyon. While many tourists take a day trip to the area from Las Vegas the popular adult playground isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And while a trip to the Grand Canyon area alone is certainly a delight, using Sedona, Arizona for a base is one way to make a visit to the natural wonder a memorable trip.
I’d been reluctant to visit Sedona because I had heard traveler’s tales that suggested that it was an overly commercialized place crowded with other tourists and full of tourist traps. Well, I learned that gossip is best ignored; Sedona is delightful and has a lot to offer on its own. Check USATourist.com over the next few weeks for our full Sedona coverage so you’ll learn what to do and see in Red Rocks country. Sedona is touted as the most beautiful place in the USA and having been there I won’t argue with that accolade. Just to whet your appetite I’ll tell you that it has incredible food, a range of hiking trails, and spa services to rival any place on the planet. And international visitors will be well looked after as at least one resort can arrange guide services in the language of your choice.
Picked Washington, DC as the prime place for sightseeing in the USA. If you visit Washington, Potomac Tour Guides International, Inc. can insure you get to the must-see sights easily. They’re experts on Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. They offer guided tours and provide multilingual professional licensed tour guides in all major languages (Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and all Scandinavian languages). They can arrange to meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel. They can arrange for translators. They take care of hotel and restaurant reservations as well as providing a full array of hospitality services and ground transport services for conventions and individuals. Contact their general manager, Blanca L. Cedillos, P.O.Box 6264, Washington, D.C. 20015, Tel.202-244-7105, Fax 202-244-7123, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations, pricing, and to describe your needs.
I love hearing from readers and no question is too big or too little for me. If I don’t know the answer—and often I don’t, I email friends of mine all over the USA to find out what you need to know --- so, when you email me you often get advice from a local even if your dream destination is hundreds of miles from where I am. I’m also making an effort to address questions that keep coming up in this newsletter. And do check by the site this month to see my gorgeous pictures of Sedona.
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