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  • lucymcneil1

Amazing America.

Wednesday 20th January 2021 will be remembered as one of the most important days in US history as Joe Biden takes his place in the White House after what can only be described as tumultuous four years of Donald Trump as President. Trump’s mantra was ‘Make America Great Again’ and I’m fairly sure that politically he failed at that but it did get me thinking about all the amazing things are great in America….travel related of course!

I’m a big fan of the US and there’s still lots of it I am yet to explore so I thought I would give you some of my American bucket list destinations…maybe it will feed your desire to explore it too.

Number One on my US bucket list is the Napa Valley and this is mainly because in my head I have a vision of warm balmy Californian sunshine beating down on the gloriously juicy grapes on the beautiful vines…and then there’s me sat on a wooden rocking chair with my one true love overlooking the winelands with a glass of icy cold Sauvignon blanc muttering something about this being the life! Now in reality I’m not sure if this would ever happen but I know for sure that if it did it would be warm and balmy and the wine will be ice cold!! The Napa Valley is the very well know wine region set inland from the Californian coast just North of San Francisco and East of Sacramento. Fly into San Fran and take a car up to Napa where there are hundreds of wineries dotted up and down this prime wine-making area and many you can just pop in and visit and do a little wine tasting of course. Many have accommodation (so I can have my moment) and are family owned so give a very authentic experience, and of course you can really enjoy the wine without the worry of driving.

Number two has to be skiing in Colorado – home to some of the best known ski regions in the world, home to 26 areas and resorts such as the very glamorous, celeb-packed Aspen to the family friendly Breckenridge. Set on the Rocky Mountain range (which actually spans from Eastern Canada down to New Mexico) Colorado has something for every ski and boarders taste. It also has the advantage of having an extended ski season with some resorts such as Arapahoe opening as early as mid-October and with ridable snow through to July. This is due to its base being at 11,000 feet above sea level and some resorts reaching 14,000 feet….now that’s pretty high! It’s become more affordable for Brits too as often prices are very comparable to European ski resorts during peak seasons and with the guarantee of snow and excellent facilities in resort American skiing has become a very real choice for British skiers.

Number three and we move over to the South East Coast and the art deco lined streets of Miami. I have another vision here….and it involves alcohol again so bear with me. I’m sitting drinking a margarita on the palm-tree lined streets of Miami Beach, the sea is lapping the warm sand and the sun is just about setting…are you with me?! Miami is one of the coolest cities in America with a vibrant bar and restaurant scene and it’s become a mecca for the young folk to flock here at any time of the year due to the temperate climate and gorgeous beaches. It’s got a great live music scene too with many big names choosing Miami venues for their fans to congregate. Upcoming acts to perform in Miami are Radiohead, Flo Rida, Bearnaked Ladies and even Andrea Bocelli. The choice of places to get your head down is pretty extensive too with amazing hotels from 5* Fontainebleu where glamour meets modern luxury to the 3* Marseille where you can find affordable luxury just one street from the beach.

Number four is a popular for animal lovers and a must-see for bear hunters (not actual hunters!) – Yosemite National Park. With its nearly 1200 square miles the park is the most amazing place with giant waterfalls, ancient sequoia trees and powerful glaciers. The park is at its busiest in the summer months between April & October and driving through the park can be quite busy. You can stay in various different accommodation from lodges to camping and backpackers hostels too. Reservations are usually required for all types of accommodation so forward planning is key for your trip to Yosemite. If you can get in and avoid the crowds you are sure of seeing one thing…. all-encompassing beauty. The park is home to over 400 species of animal including the famous grizzly bear which is on the endangered species list and 800 miles of trails where you can explore the vegetation zones. All in all it’s well worth a visit and you never know you might get to Yogi too!

Number five and we head down to New Orleans, Louisiana or NOLA as it’s affectionately known by. Set at the mouth of the world-famous Mississippi river the rich history and culture of New Orleans is evident in every corner of the city. After the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 the city has fought hard to get back to any normality but by always having hope and their faith the people of New Orleans have kept strong albeit in diminishing numbers as people settled outside of the city. But this all adds to the amazing history of this fascinating city which is well known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and being the birthplace of jazz music. The French quarter hosts many jazz bars and music venues and the city is the home of the colourful carnival known as Mardi Gras – with NOLA residents planning events and costumes for months ahead. Many people like to see New Orleans either pre or post cruise as the city has a large port where many cruise ships depart from or make calls to. Or why not make it part of a musical multi-centre trip taking in Nashville and Tennessee to the North.

So there’s an insight into my US bucket list and don’t forget if they’re on yours too give me a call and I can help you tick another off the list!

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