United States Journals

Coast to Coast by Rail

A December 2003 trip to United States by mcbabe

American Visionary Art Museum Photo, Baltimore, Maryland More Photos
Quote: Practical tips on traveling around America on Amtrak to New York, Washington, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco.

Coast to Coast by Rail

Overview

Quote:
Rolling through the spectacular Rockies, walking through the major cities of America, Christmas in the US . . . an endless list.

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

We relied completely on Amtrak for the long distances (which had its strengths and weaknesses), and our feet or public transport for the rest. Walking, even in the car dominated USA, is still largely the best way to see a place.
San Francisco Inn Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
This was one of the best places we have ever stayed. The service was amazing: the two owners were extremely helpful, with tips and guidebooks to lend. This bed-and-breakfast is in a beautiful Victorian mansion, with the spirit of the Victorian age fully kept up in the gorgeous period decor and furnishings. Our room had a lovely wrought-iron bed and claw-foot tub. A delicious and generous breakfast is included in the price, and is served until a civilised hour, unlike many hotels we have stayed in. They have a lovely garden, with a hot tub you can use 24 hours a day. The area is very interesting, with some great secondhand bookshops, art spaces, and restaurants on hand. It's a big Hispanic area, and on...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 15, 2004

San Francisco Inn
943 South Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, California 94110
(415) 641-0188

The Curtis-a Doubletree Hotel

Hotel | "Executive Tower Hotel, Denver"

Quote:
A really comfortable hotel with very friendly staff. At first sight, a little unassuming, but great value for money. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. It's right in the centre of Denver, a few blocks away from everything.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 15, 2004

The Curtis-a Doubletree Hotel
1405 Curtis Street
Denver, Colorado 80202
(303) 571-0300

American Visionary Art Museum

Attraction | "American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore"

American Visionary Art Museum Photo, Baltimore, Maryland
Quote:
http://www.avam.org/

This is an amazing museum, featuring "outsider art." Truly one of the most outrageous, interesting art museums you will ever visit.

Outsider art is art by those traditionally excluded from society and therefore the "Art World." When we went, there was an exhibit of art by senior citizens, but you will see work by the institutionalised, the old, and the excluded. The museum is full of beautiful, complex canvases that have been worked on for years. It features art of every kind depicting end-of-the-world prophesizing, lonely musings, worlds filled with darkness and with light.

Traditional art galleries look bland and boring after this.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 15, 2004

American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Maryland 21203
(410) 244-1900

AMTRAK practical advice

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
We decided to travel around the US using AMTRAK for a number of reasons: firstly, our terrible driving; secondly, the romantic idea of covering huge swathes of land by train; thirdly, it was a cheap way to see a lot. We thought it would also be totally flexible. To some extent, these ideas were fulfilled. The first thing to note about AMTRAK is that it's a lot cheaper if you're not a US citizen. Then you can take advantage of a single monthly ticket that covers the entire country. This isn't available to US citizens, so I can't say if it works out to be cheap for you if you are American. The second thing is that AMTRAK trains are slow and old. There is a kind of pleasure in this:...Read More
Quote:
The scenery is one of the most attractive parts of this type of travel: you really feel like you are traveling. A sharp contrast to the experience of flying between these places. The most gorgeous scenery we passed through was on the stretch between Denver and San Francisco. There is another aspect to this. No one wants to live next to a railway line. Traveling this way, you get to see some of the worst poverty of the US. This is an education: or it was for a European couple used to experiencing the US through the lens of Hollywood. You get to pass through one-street towns, shacks, unspoilt forest, very much spoilt forest. A different landscape of America. In conclusion, I would very much...Read More

San Francisco

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

SF Street Art Photo, United States, North America
Quote:
San Francisco is one of those cities it's easy to fall in love with. This was not our first visit, so we skipped the typical. I would definitely NOT RECOMMEND anyone go to Fisherman's Wharf without the foreknowledge that it is a terrible tourist trap. We think it's hideous. But it may be for you if you like that kind of thing. Here are some things I DO recommend: Golden Gate Park: In winter, this is a lush, beautiful park. It’s marred slightly by the roads that dissect it. Haight: Yes, it is touristy; no, it's got nothing to do with the Beats or the Hippies anymore, but it's still a fun place. There’s great shopping for punks and lots of very famous very good tattooists. ...Read More

Baltimore

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Baltimore Skyline Photo, United States, North America
Quote:
Baltimore is an unexpectedly pretty city. It has a sweeping harbour, beautiful architecture, and some good things to see. Check out my specific feature on the Visionary Art Museum for more specific information. Poe lived and died here and you can see the old, pretty graveyard where he was buried. This is worth a visit, although the church is modern and sits oddly in the winding old graveyard. You can on occasion go into the crypts, but we weren't able to do this. There is a Poe House, but the walk there is through a terrible neighbourhood. We turned back once we'd seen a drugs bust. We went to a gig here (local band: the Goons), which was a lot of fun. The live music scene h...Read More