Niagara Falls at night with Hannah in the foreground
The colors are from the reflection of the waterfall lights on the snow
047 - USA - New York
03/25/09 - 04/09/09
New York: A city, a mountain house, and a waterfall
New York is one of those truly unique places in the world. The City radiates energy, sometimes good, other times not, that grabs you the moment you step onto that grate-filled sidewalk and get brushed between a high-heeled power suit and an off-duty Pakistani cabbie. Your neck creaks and your eyes absorb the concrete stimulation, while your stomach and $30 drop as you pay for those two martinis at the hidden neighborhood watering hole. It's exhilarating, it's intoxicating, and it's the reason many call New York City the
capital of the world! As if that weren't enough, New York state offers you green rural areas, mountainous villages, an international border with Mounties on the other side, and access to those fun-loving Jersey girls that cross the river every day! Good times, New York!
Upon arriving to the East Side of the country we stopped by Hannah's mom's house in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Terri and her husband Doc own a cozy rural house nestled between some woods and a small fishing creek. Interestingly, Doc's family (last name Smiley) owns an
enormous mountain resort named Mohonk in upstate New York. Since Doc just happened to be going up for business on the day we arrived, we tagged along and got to stay in the swanky resort for free (well not quite free, but Terri and Doc graciously covered our costs!).
If Mohonk Mountain House is impressive for it's size (almost 300 rooms), it's even more impressive at how much attention to detail every guest is given. The ratio of staff to guests is almost 1:1 and every meal is exquisitely served and included in the price of your stay. There's also hiking trails, rock climbing, and even an ice-skating rink we got to try out!
Leaving the Smileys, we headed to Hoboken, New Jersey, and met up with our favorite Greek-American-Jersey girl, Marisa. Hannah stuck around for a full week visiting friends (did you know she went to college in New York?) while I flew back to San Diego for a job interview that fell on my lap at the last minute (I ended up accepting the position!). She even took me to see her old college town in Nyack, New York.
We then headed to Ontario to
see the famous Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. On the way, Hannah requested, 'Do you mind if we stay in a motel tonight?' Up until now, when we didn't have a friend in the area we were visiting, we would sleep in the Suburban at a Walmart parking lot (most of the stores don't mind). It's not about the money, but personally, I thought it'd be cool to say that we traveled all around the States for a full month without staying at a single hotel. Right?!? Well, my friends, the below freezing temperatures coupled with the extended lack of private
relationship time, caused me to cave in! We ended up staying at fantastic little motel in snowy Niagara Falls and even splurged for a themed 'Garden Room' with a full size jacuzzi amidst a faux-rock arrangement (see, I told you it wasn't about the money)!
Finally, we stopped by Chicago, checked out some of the best building architecture I've ever seen, grabbed a deep-dish pizza, and skipped town.
Enough city life, I'm ready for some rednecks, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and 4x4s as we head to the original Hannah Montana's native state of, well... Montana! On the
way, we'll check out the famous dead presidents carved on the side of that one mountain in that one state... what state is Mt. Rushmore in anyways?!?
Next stop, Rapid City, South Dakota!
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