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Trips New York, Washington DC & the Mid-Atlantic (Anglais) Broché – 30 avril 2009
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The authors promise you'll travel "like a local: on the run, riding the subways..." but there are no maps or guidance about where to find subway or bus stops or which routes to choose to reach the suggested destinations (example: "Coney Island. Grab a train to the Brooklyn coast and step off into the fresh sea air." That's it.)
Of course, one of the first things a local does with one of these guides is check her/his own area and see if s/he agrees with the book. I did find that many of the suggestions for the "48 Hours in Manhattan" tour (the only one with which I was already familiar) did, in fact, agree with those I've been given and shown by the locals, even including some of the street vendors.
In the "sleep" suggestions for each trip, information is given for hours, telephone service, family-friendly and pet-friendly lodgings. Initially, this made me think this would be the book to have along if traveling with my dog. However, almost none of the listed hotels/motels have the pet-friendly or family-friendly icons. It would be much more helpful if at least one of each were listed for each trip, or even most of the trips, particularly for pets. At least if you show up with kids at a "non-family-friendly" hotel, they're still going to let Junior in; the same cannot be said for Fido.
This would be a useful guide for someone who already lives in the area, to glean suggestions for trips and activities you may not have tried, or a good companion guide, along with more thorough guides and maps, for a traveler. However, it's really just an idea book, not a stand-alone, turn-by-turn reference for the trips it suggests.
Each of the 50 itineraries include the recommended duration of the trips (number of days), distance to travel, and even the best season to go. There is a brief description of each recommended stop as well as suggested detours if you have a little extra time. Each itinerary also includes a summary of Trip Information in one to two pages which includes where to stay, where to eat, and what to do (all with addresses, phone numbers and websites). There are even several music playlists with recommended radio stations for the various regions.
This is a good starting point if you live in the Mid-Atlantic region and are trying to get ideas for a trip relatively close to home, or if you are interested in visiting the region but aren't sure what you might like to do once you get here.
I highly recommend getting a travel guide on the specific cities you decide to visit (New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, etc.) as it is not possible to go into any great detail in one book that covers so many states (each with so many places to visit and so much to do).
This book touches on those details but it is mainly a book for planning your trip at home around some themes like best Slow food and Sloe Gin in Philly, 48 hours in Manhattan, and deciding where you want to go. Once you're on the actual trip you may want to refer to another guide book for the specifics.
I found this series of books perfect for planning, it makes it easy to understand what might work best for you based on your interests. They lay out the iconic trips you could take through the region and some popular routes. Trips are planned along themes - must-do trips, iconic trips, trips for foodies, trips for national park enthusiasts, trips for the eclectic treasure hunter or offbeat trips, trips for the urbanites, shorter day trips. They also recommend some trips as favorites. Each trip is divided into a section that points out the main points of interest and gives you a short 2-3 page flavor of the trip. Each trip ends with an info sheet that gives you the main details on 1-2 pages - Getting There, Do (what to do), Eat (restaurants, haunts), Sleep (where to stay), Useful websites (to plan the trip)
When you open the book the left side gives you the icons and what they're used for through out the book. The next page gives you a quick map to familiarize yourself with the region. Some pictures follow giving you a taste of what you can expect to see and experience. Next you have the chapters going into each type of trip. For this guide here is the listing, it first gives you the listing by states and then also gives you a listing for the same trips by theme, then again by season, and lastly expert recommended trips:
Trips by region:
Iconic trips through the region example - Ultimate Urban Adventure, East Coast Eats etc.
New York trips
NJ and PA trips
DC, Maryland and Delaware trips
It then lists the same trip by themes:
Trips based on Routes
Outdoor themed trips -e.g. Ithaca is Gorges, Niagara Falls
Food and Drink trips - Sidewalk dininig in NYC, Maryland Crab Quest
History and Culture
Offbeat - By the time we got to Woodstock, Open 24 hours
City based trips
Then come the same trips listed by season, example We The People and Boys of Summer for summer, and some that are great for year round.
Next section is the expert recommended trips, example Slow food and Sloe Gin in Philly etc.
I recommend this guide for planning, it really helps you plan the trip without having to do extensive research upfront.
Here is a sample description of one of the places listed in the book, on page 64:
- "Washington Monument (Baltimore)" (???)
- "Yet more proof that nothing says "Way to go, George" like a big phallic landmark."
(What ?! Who thinks like this? )
And, here are just some of the errors from a quick perusal:
- On page 61, it says that George Washington's Mount Vernon sits "high atop Chesapeake Bay". Well, that's a stretch. It sits above the Potomac River, of course, so I'm not sure what they were getting at.
- On page 155, it says that the Shinnecock Museum is at "Stonybrook College" on Long Island, NY. Well, there is a Stony Brook University (actually, State University of NY at Stony Brook), but that's not very near the Shinnecock Museum, which is actually close to LIU-Southampton College.
- Regarding Niagara Falls, on page 159, the third sentence in the first paragraph makes me wonder if the writer has ever actually been to Niagara Falls.
- I'm pretty sure that you won't feel "salty" breezes at Sodus Point, NY on the shores of the fresh-water Great Lake - Lake Ontario, page 173. ??
- And The Cloisters is in Fort Tryon (not 'Tyron') Park in the Bronx, NY (page 179).
The comments and the choices of places to highlight (alternative-type places, bars, etc. etc.), led me to conclude that this is not a great choice of a book for families for sure, and not really very helpful for any travelers.