Entries in ‘New York’ Journal

American Airlines Airplanes Fly California to NY

Friday March 21, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

American Airlines, airbus, airplane

American Airlines A321 Airbus in San Francisco

In 1953 American Airlines was one of the leaders in transcontinental airline service flying from Idlewild, New York to Los Angeles, California. Remember the days when you dressed up to board an airplane and lobster was on the menu in coach? American Airlines airplanes fly California to New York, non-stop, in an attempt to bring back the golden age of flying.

I had a chance to tour American Airlines new Airbus A321 Transcontinental aircraft, currently flying from New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport (formerly Idlewild Airport) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). From lie-flat seats to W-Fi through the airplane, the golden age of flying is returning to California and New York.
 


 

Luxury inflight travel

With the majority of in-flight travelers opting to carry on luggage rather than check baggage, I appreciate American Airlines large overhead luggage bins on the A321 airplane. While the airline will ask passengers to check their surfboard and golf clubs at the oversize luggage counter, the luggage bins on the new Airbus A321 are certainly roomy. As a vertically-challenged passenger (a.k.a. short) I love the added step rail, as well as the grab bars. No more stepping on airline seats to reach the overhead luggage bins.
 

lie-flat seats, "American Airlines"

American Airlines fully lie-flat seats

American Airlines inflight entertainment

Travelers hoping to pass the time while they fly will appreciate the in-flight entertainment system available in each seat; from coach to business and first class. Seats offer individual power ports and USB ports, as well as a cable for streaming video. Kids will like the tv, games, audio and movies available on board the airplane. For the road warriors, American offers Gogo’s upgraded air-to-ground technology (ATG-4) Wi-Fi throughout the airplane.
 

Flying first class

As a freelance writer on a bare bones budget, I don’t have the luxury of flying one particular airline. My airline selection is based strictly on price. Rarely do I fly business or first class. But if I were to fly business or first class, I’d want to travel on American Airlines A321. The lie-flat seats are comfortable and private – first class passengers have an aisle to themselves – a pod of their own, if you will.
 

"Nancy Brown" airplane

Travel writer Nancy D. Brown in front of A321 Airbus engine

Dining first and business class has its own privileges. First class and business class customers traveling on the A321 have the ability to reserve an entree in advance of their flight.
 
“With our dining experience, you can tailor your own meal service,” explains American Airlines flight attendant Jeff Ramsden.
 

Insider Tip

Did you know that American Airlines serves ice cream sundaes to their first class flyers? For the caffeine lovers on board, the A321T has its own cappuccino and espresso machine in first class.
 
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow @AmericanAir on Twitter.

If You Go:

American Airlines

You might also like Learn to fly flight lessons with Let’s Go Flying.

Article, video and photos by airplane geek Nancy D. Brown

14 for 2014 — Ideas for Kid-friendly Trips

Tuesday January 28, 2014 at 8:08 PM | 0 Comments

Kicking it palapa-style at Dreams Nueva Vallarta.

Kicking it palapa-style at Dreams Nueva Vallarta.

Dreams Resort, Puerto Vallarta Mexico

For a great all-inclusive resort vacation, I highly recommend Dreams just north of Puerto Vallarta. We stayed for a week in this lovely paradise with enormous crystal clear pools, beach palapas, entertainment, all manner of activities and fantastic restaurant. To lounge and read with feet in the sand and a drink in a coconut shell while the kids splashed around or painted ceramics was, in a word, dreamy.

http://www.nancydbrown.com/2012/05/19/mexico-resort-vs-real.html

Train Town, Sonoma, California

Did you know that there’s an amusement park for the shorties in Sonoma! And it’s dirt-cheap! This adorable destination is located a mile from Sonoma Plaza. Zip though tunnels and over bridges on the quarter-scale railroad on your way to Lakeview, the miniature town and petting zoo.

There is also a Ferris wheel, scrambler, roller coaster, and carousel to further delight the young’uns.

Camping in Big Sur, California

I’m not much into camping, but it gets us outdoors, it’s affordable, and kids love it. Fernwood on the Big Sur River offers different levels of lodging —cabins, tent cabins, campground, and a motel. We scored a nice site next on the riverbank to pitch our tent. The kids went tubing, climbed trees and simply explored. Upstairs the hill at the lodge are shops (with lattes in the morning), a restaurant, and a tavern. A nice getaway for nature lovers who also love city amenities.

Legoland, Carlsbad, California

These Danish plastic bricks have taken the world and my son’s bedroom by storm. And Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad, Calif is up there next to Disneyland as the ultimate children’s fantasyland. It’s home to to more than 60 rides, shows and attractions and they debuted their first U.S. hotel there last spring. Continue the fun straight into your hotel room!

A salute from Legoland, Carlsbad, California

A salute from Legoland, Carlsbad, California

http://www.nancydbrown.com/2013/03/06/the-first-u-s-legoland-hotel-debuts-in-april.html

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Acres (71,028 to be precise) of pristine coastline are located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County. The water is best explored with a wetsuit but since kids are generally impervious to cold, why bother? Pack the sand toys and have a castle contest! The hikes range from easy/moderate to difficult and the views are spectacular. Plan ahead and reserve the Windsong Cottage yurt for an unforgettable family getaway.

http://www.nancydbrown.com/2013/12/13/windsong-cottage-yurt-point-reyes-station-california.html

Ocean Beach dunes/Java Beach Café, San Francisco, California

Being a city dweller close to the ocean, taking the kids to the beach is one of my favorite go-to adventures. Our usual routine is grilled cheese and soup at Java Beach Café then watching the sun set on Ocean Beach. There is a treacherous undertow on this beach (with scary riptide warnings), so the kids mostly stick to rolling down and hiding in the massive dunes.

Kids’ Suite at the Hotel Union Square, San Francisco, California

I love this room! If you’re visiting San Francisco with little ones, this is the place to stay. It’s spacious, cheerful l and equipped with all manner of well-curated kids’ toys and books. From baby toys to a Wii, there is ample in-room entertainment. Then, just step out the door into bustling Union Square for great shopping and restaurants.

http://www.nancydbrown.com/2013/04/03/union-square-hotel-kids-suite.html

The kids' suite at the Hotel Union Square in San Francisco.

The kids’ suite at the Hotel Union Square in San Francisco.

New York City

Last summer, I hit the road with the kids for a (very, very hot) summer on the East Coast. My daughter was the right age (eight) for NYC and fell in love with it. My little guy not so much — I ended up leaving him with my mom while Parker and I explored the city on foot, subway, taxi cab, and the Staten Island ferry. We had a blast. There so much to do there with a curious kids — Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, Empire State Building. Even driving through Times Square at night is a thrill.

http://www.nancydbrown.com/2013/09/04/east-coast-summer-new-york-city-provincetown-on-cape-cod-massachusetts.html

Fairyland, Oakland, Califoria

Oakland’s adorable Fairyland is where Walt Disney got his inspiration for Disneyland. It is sweet and kind of run down but in a charming way. It definitely skews toward the really young crowd. Take the train to get the lay of the land then visit one of the shows. There are lots of rides, play areas, and a decent café on the premises. Oh, and good luck getting them out of the giftshop!

Boston, Massachusetts

I come here frequently to visit family and one of our rituals is to take the kids to the Boston Public Gardens to ride the swan boats. After, we go for chowder at Union Oyster House that claims to be the oldest restaurant on the East Coast. It certainly looks like it could be with its low ceilings and narrow passageways. You can gaze out the window and picture Paul Revere riding down the cobblestone streets out front.

 Ice Skating at Embarcadero or Union Square, San Francisco, California

This is a fun way to while away the afternoon during winter break when they kids have been cooped up. The Union Square rink is especially festive during the holidays with the humungous Christmas tree nearby. The Embarcadero is less crowded though, and you are right across for the Ferry Building Marketplace for lunch.

Chinatown, San Francisco, California

This is one for slightly older kids who like to explore on foot. It’s always pretty crowded but there are so many interesting and outrageous sites. A bunch of live frogs in a bucked anyone? A must stop is at the Fortune Cookie factory, a teeny hole-in-the wall on a narrow pedestrian alleyway where you can watch the old ladies make the cookies and taste a sample. Don’t forget to have lunch at one of the many dim sum counters.

Coastal Maine

While I might avoid it in the dead of winter (like right now where it’s 10 degrees), Maine has a beautiful austerity. Summer in charming Oqunquit or Kennebunkport is where it’s at. The kids loved the hot summer weather and enjoyed Portland, a laid back Northern town with gorgeous brick buildings, cool people and great seafood restaurants. Maine in fall is lovely also with a spectrum of colorful leaves on the trees.

Ogunquit Harbor, Maine

Ogunquit Harbor, Maine

San Francisco Insider Tip:

Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, Ca

While it might seem too touristy for us adult folk, kids love Fishermans Wharf. For some tips that we all can enjoy, I suggest a trip to the Musee Mechanique, a collection of 200 antique penny arcade machines. There is also a restored WWII submarine, the Hyde Street Pier with its collection of vintage sea vessels, and the cool Aquarium of the Bay nearby.

Post contributed by Lisa Dion of Friscomama.com

 

 

Botanical gardens and nature inspired trains bring holiday cheer

Thursday December 20, 2012 at 7:07 AM | 3 Comments

"Krohn Conservatory"

Cincinnati’s Krohn Conservatory made from nature

One of my favorite places to go each December is Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati. There, Paul Busse and his crew of creators–that now include his grown son Brian, fashion a train display of wonder each holiday season. Like Santa and his elves who make appearances in several places at the same time, Busse is also responsible for the fanciful holiday garden train displays at New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and the United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C.

A Cincinnati train scene

And, if you happen to be in Columbus, Ohio, pop into Franklin Park Conservatory or the main branch of the public library where you’ll find Busse’s garden trains. Each display is unique to the others. The Huntington Holiday Train at the library loops through a winter scene reminiscent of Bernkastel and Rottenberg, Germany. Complete with a castle, waterfall, and buildings that match these two towns’ landmarks, this display has been part of Columbus’ holiday traditions for more than a decade.

First housed at the Huntington Bank downtown, it’s now at the main library where the display is more accessible to the public.

A Manhattan train scene

As a person who has followed Paul Busse’s work for years, I always anticipate being dazzled. Each display reflects the city where it’s located, thus at Krohn Conservatory, Cincinnati’s beloved buildings are set among twinkling lights, poinsettias and other seasonal blooms.

There’s a replica of Krohn Conservatory, Union Terminal, and the Music Hall, for example, as well as train trestles and bridges that evoke Cincinnati’s cityscape. There’s even an incline. Even though Cincinnati’s incline trolley car no longer exists, Busse keeps its memory alive every December.

The U.S. Capitol

Visitors to New York City Botanical Garden and the United States Botanical Garden can enjoy those cities’ attractions in miniature. Along with discovering which buildings are which, figuring out how each was made is pure pleasure.

For Busse, nature is his palate. Seeds, seed pods, leaves, bark, gourds, moss and nuts are changed into building parts and adornment. In addition to the buildings, Busse designs the trains pathways to ensure visitors are enchanted by the movement of the trains as they wind through each garden.

If you aren’t able to see one of Busse’s displays this season, there’s always next year. Plus, Busse’s garden trains are frequent features at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, the Chicago Botanical Garden and elsewhere.

For more information about Paul Busse and his company Applied Imagination, check out the Applied Imagination website.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Writers Association

Cincinnati pictures, courtesy of Jamie Rhein; the other photos courtesy of Applied Imagination