Saturday, 17 May 2014

The BIG trip - the plan

So seeing as we are about a month away from our trip, I thought I would share our itinery as we have had requests from family.  So here goes....

These are all the journeys we will be doing.  It is about 2500+ miles in total! and that's just from accommodation to accommodation.  There are hotels and vacation rentals spread out across the trip, 9 different accommodations over 16 nights.  The longest we stay on one place is 3 nights.....

Leg 1- Simpsonville to Norfolk, 431 miles, 6 hours 50 minutes

We initially wanted to head straight to Washington, D.C., but it is just too far.  I decided on Norfolk, as it seemed a good place.  We have a hotel right on the beach, and intend to leave early, so when we finally get there we can check in and chuck the boys straight on to the beach, then into the pool.  We are only staying one night here.  

Leg 2 - Norfolk to Washington, D.C., 188 miles, 3 hours

On our journey to Washington, we are hoping to stop at Norfolk Naval Base and do a bus tour.  This is one of the biggest naval bases on the east coast with a very interesting history (find it here).
Our hotel in Washington is pretty central, with underground parking (at an additional cost of course). We are staying 2 nights, which gives us 1 full day and 1 maybe 2 half days.  We will see how we go! We want to see the monuments, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Air and Space museum.  And of course the White House!

Leg 3 - Washington, D.C. to New York, 231 miles, 4 hours 5 minutes 

We are actually staying in Queens.  We are renting a top floor apartment, for a very reasonable rate.  The hotels were soooooooo expensive, especially in Manhattan.  The area we are staying looks interesting but there is an Indian restaurant within walking distance, and the subway is 15 minutes walk.  We are staying 2 nights again, so the one full day we have we intend to jump on a subway and go in to Manhattan.  The subway will take us to a boat trip in lower Manhatten, plus the World Trade Centre site.  Then up to Central Park, where we want to go to the zoo, then to the Empire State Building and Times Square, then back over the Brooklyn Bridge, change trains at the Barclays Arena (Brooklyn nets basketball team play here) and head back to the apartment absolutely exhausted!

Leg 4 - New York to Douglas, MA, 185 miles, 3 hours 15 minutes

This looks like quite a scenic drive along the coast of the Long Island Sound.  We are staying in a cottage in Douglas for 2 nights.  The cottage has a lake at the back of the garden, supplied by a small spring, and the owner maintains a beach there, so hopefully the boys will enjoy it.  
I initially wanted to stay in Boston, but it was sooooo expensive.  Douglas is about an hour away from Boston, so we will take a day trip.  This is for me really.  I want to do some of the Freedom trail, the USS Constitution boat, and take in the culture (as much as you can in one day!).  It looks like such an amazing old city, depending on our first impressions, we may go back again at some point in the future.

Leg 5 - Douglas to Cortland, NY, 285 miles, 4 hours 40 minutes

This was actually the first thing I booked through Groupon.  2 nights in a resort with day passes to a water park on site.  I have looked at the water park, and it seems good for the boys.  It is in the Finger Lakes area of New York State, so will hopefully be very beautiful.  This is a good stop over point, with hopefully enough for the boys to do.  It is actually a pretty good deal when you throw in the water park tickets (they would be $150 for all of us if we weren't staying at the resort)

Leg 6 - Cortland, NY to Buffallo, NY via Niagra Falls, 187 miles, 3 hours

As we are up there, we may as well do Niagra Falls.  Due to complications with the car insurance, we cannot go into Canada, so will be seeing the falls from the American side.  We plan to do the Maid of the Mist boat trip, and take lots of photos.  Other than that there doesn't seem much to do.  We are staying in Buffalo for one night as it is cheaper.

Leg 7 - Buffalo, NY to Port Clinton, OH, 280 miles, 4 hours 30 minutes

We have booked a ground floor condo in Port Clinton on the shore of Lake Erie for 3 nights  It has a pool, a beach and a playground, and appears to be a walk into town.  From what I have seen, the Great Lakes are quite touristy.  There are a few islands in the lake which we may take a trip to, or there is a big amusement park about 30 minutes drive away. We will probably do a bit of exploring, and a lot of relaxing here

Leg 8 - Port Clinton, OH, to Indianapolis, IN, 256 miles, 4 hours 3 minutes

My boys want to see the race track.  If you know my boys, you will understand this.  We have a hotel booked right in the centre of the city, which is about a 20 minute drive from the track.  We are already booked on to a tour.  The boys are excited about this, as am I.  We will be in Indianapolis for 2 nights, so intend to have a little explore.  I can't imagine it is that different from any other medium size city in America, but we shall see.  We are planning on doing the zoo also, and possibly the children's museum, it gets very good reviews.  I have also just found out that the terra-cotta warriors are on a special exhibit there while we are in town.  Super exciting!!!! From here on in we are heading home....

Leg 9 - Indianapolis, IN, to Knoxville, TN, 340 miles, 5 hours

This is a one night stop to break up the journey.  You can even see Greenville on the map above.  This is a hotel with a cool pool, so hopefully it will be ok.  

So there you have it!  It is a lot to take in, many places will be seen, albeit briefly.  But we are not the kind of people who go and crazily explore one place, we like to just scratch the surface and get a feel for places.  It is going to be hard with the kids, but they are excited about seeing loads of different places, and watching lots of films, so hopefully it will all work out ok.  I have lots of stuff planned in my head to make it go as smoothly as possible....

I am going to try and blog as I go too.....wifi dependent of course! 

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