Tag Archives: travel

Review: The New York Botanical Garden and the Holiday Train Show®

The New York Botanical Garden is an iconic living museum and, since its founding in 1891, has served as an oasis in this busy metropolis.

As a National Historic Landmark, this 250-acre site’s verdant landscape supports over one million living plants in extensive collections. Each year more than one million visitors enjoy the Garden not only for its remarkable diversity of tropical, temperate, and desert flora, but also for programming that ranges from renowned exhibitions in the Haupt Conservatory to festivals on Daffodil Hill.

The Garden is also a major educational institution. More than 300,000 people annually—among them Bronx families, school children, and teachers—learn about plant science, ecology, and healthful eating through NYBG’s hands-on, curriculum-based programming. Nearly 90,000 of those visitors are children from underserved neighboring communities, while more than 3,000 are teachers from New York City’s public school system participating in professional development programs that train them to teach science courses at all grade levels.

NYBG operates one of the world’s largest plant research and conservation programs, with nearly 200 staff members—including 80 Ph.D. scientists—working in the Garden’s state-of-the-art molecular labs as well as in the field, where they lead programs in 49 countries.

The year 2016 marks the 125th Anniversary of the founding of The New York Botanical Garden.

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Review:

After hustling it all over New York during my first week, I decided to have a quiet Sunday and grab the Metro North train from Grand Central station and check out the New York Botanical Garden.  It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday away from a busy city and some relaxed time in nature.

I made a point to inhale the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory which houses tropical and desert plants.  I took my time walking through the space which was humid, damp and laden with a quilt of chirpy plants all dewy in their presentation.  The space is beautifully laid out and perfect for the whole family.  There are quiet nooks for you to sit down and take everything and friendly staff to answer questions.

I sipped my tea as I made my way over to the forest on the property.  This experience proved to be the most therapeutic experience on my trip.  Resembling that of Kew Gardens in England – the sleepy trees, a well maintained path, a rose garden, streams, a bridge and quiet respites made me feel at ease and welcoming of the peaceful quiet.  I took a moment to stand in a pile of fallen Fall leaves and make a memory for when my work week get’s me down.  NYBG is brimming with memory postcards and I was sure to snap them all up like collector cards.

Once I felt the Zen washing over me, I made my way over to the piece de resistance for the holiday season, The New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show®.  It is a beloved New York City tradition and it enters its 25th year with the exhibition’s first roller coaster. The Coney Island Cyclone will join NYBG’s collection of more than 150 replicas of New York buildings that are all made out of plant parts and enlivened by large-scale model trains. The Holiday Train Show opens to the public on Saturday, November 19, 2016 and runs through Monday, January 16, 2017.

In addition to the famous Cyclone, new this year are Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel (complete with LED sign) and the Elephantine Colossus, a gigantic elephant-shaped hotel from the 1890s. The Holiday Train Show already features several Coney Island structures, including the Galveston Flood Building, the Luna Park Arch, the Luna Park Central Tower, and the Luna Park Ticket Booth. All of the collection’s Coney Island models will be displayed in the Reflecting Pool of the Palms of the World Gallery in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. This year the 30-foot-long Brooklyn Bridge will be relocated to the Palms Gallery, completing the Brooklyn scene. The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge will also make its exhibition debut.

In the Holiday Train Show, more than 25 G-scale model trains and trolleys will hum along nearly a half mile of track past re-creations of iconic sites such as the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, The New York Public Library, and Radio City Music Hall. Artistically crafted by Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination, all of the New York landmarks—which include Hudson River Valley houses and other buildings from New York State as well—are made of natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones. American steam engines, streetcars from the late 1800s, and modern freight and passenger trains ride underneath overhead trestles, through tunnels, and across rustic bridges and past waterfalls that cascade into flowing creeks. Thomas the Tank Engine™ and other beloved trains disguised as large colorful insects delight children as they zoom by.

The next time you are in New York – push yourself to get outside of the bubble of the city and take the trip to the Bronx.  The New York Botanical Garden will make everything right in one visit.

http://www.nybg.org/home/

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Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Manhattan View Long Island City

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Did you know that Queens is now the new Brooklyn? Well, whilst I was in New York I wanted to stay outside the city, save some money, be close enough to the subway and still feel safe as a single girl travelling on her own. I stayed for 11 days at the Holiday Inn Manhattan View Long Island City and it was a perfect fit to my needs.

Holiday Inn Manhattan View sets the bar high for Manhattan area hotels. With views of the unmistakable New York City skyline,  the hotel is an exceptional backdrop for both business and pleasure.  This Queens hotel is just minutes from Manhattan, New York City’s legendary landmarks.  Explore the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Broadway, and Madison Square Garden. Holiday Inn Manhattan View is a nearby neighbor to many Fortune 500 companies, offering easy access to Citibank, MetLife, the United Nations, JetBlue, Delta, and Mount Sinai Medical Center.  The hotel is conveniently located within a short drive of all the major New York airports: LaGuardia, JFK and Newark.  I was at the Holiday Inn Manhattan View within 45 minutes of arriving at LaGuardia Airport.

I loved being able to get into the city in ten minutes in the morning.  Even during those long days in the city – I would roll back to the hotel around 11 p.m. and walk the two minutes back to the Holiday Inn Manhattan View.  I never had any issues in regards to safety.  The street was quiet but the hotel is in a sleepy neighbourhood alongside a few other hotels nestled within the same block.

The Holiday Inn Manhattan View offers free high-speed Internet access. Ideal for international travelers and vacationers, this Astoria, Queens hotel is located just one block from the N and Q subway lines and just a few blocks from the E and R subway lines. Start planning today and enjoy the great room rates and deals at Holiday Inn Manhattan View.

I’m never going to hesitate to book another with the Holiday Inn Manhattan View Long Island City the next time I am in New York.  I hope you consider them as well!

https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/long-island-city/lgali/hoteldetail?cm_mmc=YextLocal-_-USA-_-LGALI

Contest: Win 2 New York CityPASS Ticket Booklets from Thirty Four Flavours & CityPASS!

nyI’m off to New York in a few weeks and I can’t wait! It’s been a year and a bit from my last holiday and I’m looking forward to kicking back and enjoying myself.

I’m ready for my trip to New York City with my trusty CityPASS in hand.

Visitors to New York City can find it overwhelming, but not if they have CityPASS – the very best attractions hand-picked and wrapped up in an easy-to-use ticket booklet. Because CityPASS is valid for 9 days starting with the first day of use, there’s no need to feel rushed – save time on your research, see the city that never sleeps at your own pace, and truly enjoy the experience.

Getting a New York CityPASS ticket booklet is simple. No matter how, where or when you buy, you’ll see the same huge savings and get the same price.

Using New York CityPASS is easy. Simply show up at the attractions with your booklets or voucher. The pros at each place will know just what to do.

Once you have your booklets, your party can split up and visit the attractions in any order you wish. And your New York CityPASS booklets are good for nine (9) days starting with the first day of use, so there’s no need to rush through the attractions; you can see them at your own pace. A CityPASS booklet you buy today expires February 28, 2018. A voucher you buy today must be exchanged for a booklet within 6 months of purchase.

The tickets in your booklet are actual admission tickets good for one visit (unless otherwise noted). You’ll want to leave them in place for the pros at the attractions to tear out. If tickets are removed, they’ll be considered invalid. Sorry, but rules are rules.

You’ll love CityPASS. They have hand-picked the top attractions for you, so you don’t need to spend time researching. And with CityPASS, you’ll save up to 40% over regular admission prices.

Because your New York CityPASS booklets are good for nine (9) days, you can visit the attractions at your own pace—see several attractions in one day, or spread them out over your whole trip. You’ll be able to fully experience the attractions and still have plenty of time to explore the city.

What am I checking out with my CityPASS booklet? Voila!

The Empire State Building Experience +Exclusive Feature

American Museum of Natural History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Top of the Rock Observation Deck   or   Guggenheim Museum

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island   or   Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises +Exclusive Feature

9/11 Memorial & Museum   or   Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Thank you to the generous folks at CityPASS who have gifted Thirty Four Flavours with two pairs of CityPASS ticket booklets to New York! Send an email, tweet, or inbox me whilst I am on my adventures in New York and let me know you why you would like a New York CityPASS for your chance to win two New York CityPASS ticket booklets. Contest closes on Monday November 28, 2016.

Good Luck! See you soon!

http://www.citypass.com/

Toronto CityPASS: Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto CityPASS Giveaway!

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I’m well into my Toronto staycation. Today I visited the Royal Ontario Musuem with my trusty Toronto CityPASS and it was indeed quite the adventure!

What did I see?  The Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) exhibition!  It opens at the ROM on November 21 and is on display until March 20, 2016 and it was my first stop!

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) exhibition presented by Quark Expeditions opens on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The exhibition, on tour from the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, showcases the natural world’s most astonishing images from professional and amateur photographers from 96 countries. This year’s show features photographs from three Canadians including the overall winning image from Don Gutoski, of London, Ontario.  Gutoski’s photo, A Tale Of Two Foxes, was taken near Wapusk National Park, near Cape Churchill, Manitoba. Also featured are photographs from Connor Stefanison, the Rising Star Portfolio Winner, and Josiah Launstein, a Finalist, 10 Years and Under. WPY is the most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world and attracts more than 42,000 entries from around the world. The exhibition is now in its 51st year and is making its third appearance at the ROM this year.

Turtle Flight from David Doubilet demonstrating a hawksbill turtle as it swam past the photographer was such a beautiful testament to our earth and how precious it is.  Seeing a wee turtle navigating itself in the ocean’s realm is such a lovely reminder that life goes on even in the deepest of oceans when we are locked in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.  The pause in inhaling this photo was dream like.

Beetle Beauty and the Spiral of Love from Javier Aznar Gonzalez de Rueda captured Jewel weevils getting ‘busy’ in their glowing and iridescent forms.  These beetles looked like they were either dipped in oil or worse something out of an Alien film.  I smirked at the cheekiness behind the photo.

Make sure you check out the Butterfly in Crystal snap from Ugo Mellone.  As winter approaches Toronto – it’s a nice reminder of what is buried unknowingly under our feet as we traipse in and out of the snow for the next few months.

A Whale Of A Mouthful from Michael AW will leave you awestruck.  Think National Geographic in 100D.  It was truly a feat to capture such a vivid and daring photo of a whale amongst a school of fish.  A gobsmacking shot.

Exhibition Details

WPY is on display in Third Floor, Centre Block where photographs are installed with custom light boxes creating a dramatic view of the natural world. The exhibition is both family-friendly and attractive to the expert photographer, with 13 categories ranging from Youth Awards, to design and landscape images, and stunning animal portraits.

New this year is a ROM Photographer of the Year contest, which encourages visitors to submit their best wildlife photos. The winning image, selected by panel of ROM judges, will win an Arctic Expedition for two valued at $24,000 (CDN), generously donated by WPY Presenting Sponsor, Quark Expeditions. Contest entries can be submitted between November 18, 2015 and January 31, 2016, using Twitter and Instagram (entries must include @ROMtoronto and #ROMWPY). Details are available at: www.rom.on.ca/contest.

Add The Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) exhibit to your visit when you use your CityPASS at the ROM for a small additional fee.  It’s well worth it!

Here’s a lil more info about the Toronto CityPASS for your ROM visit the next time you are in Toronto.

Once you have your booklets, your party can split up and visit the attractions in any order you wish.

You’ll get to skip many ticket lines with CityPASS. Look at the tickets in the booklet for entry instructions at each attraction.

There’s no need to rush through the attractions because you have nine days to use your Toronto CityPASS booklet. That’ll give you enough time to fully experience the best attractions while leaving plenty of time for shopping, dining, shows, etc. Explore at your own pace – see several attractions in one day, or spread them out over your whole trip.

Admission for the Toronto CityPASS Includes

1 CN Tower

2 Royal Ontario Museum

3 Casa Loma

4 Toronto Zoo

5 Ontario Science Centre

I am giving away two Toronto CityPASS’ ticket booklets to pass on my Toronto staycation buzz! Thank you CityPASS!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and Toronto CityPASS Giveaway?

Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thirtyfourflavours, Twitter https://twitter.com/34flavours, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email (thirtyfourflavours@gmail.com) telling me which Toronto CityPASS attraction you are interested in visiting. Easy peasy! I will announce the winner on Monday November 30, 2015.  Good luck!

http://www.citypass.com

http://www.rom.on.ca/en#/gallery/recent

Toronto CityPASS Ticket Booklet Giveaway!

As part of my Staycation adventures I thought I would stay close to home and check out Toronto’s tourist attractions to channel my inner wanderlust. What better way to be a tourist in your own city on a budget with a trusty Toronto CityPASS ticket booklet in hand.

Getting a Toronto CityPASS ticket booklet is simple. No matter how, where or when you buy, you’ll see the same huge savings and get the same price.

When you buy online, choose between receiving a voucher that you can print or have the booklets shipped to you. Easy as pie.

Vouchers couldn’t be easier to use – just bring your printed voucher to the first attraction you visit, and they’ll exchange it for your CityPASS ticket booklet. Just note that you may run into a line when exchanging your voucher during peak times. And, it’s always a good idea to bring your ID (attractions may ask for it).

You can also buy once you get to the city. It’s simple – just make the purchase at the first attraction you visit. The team there will know just what to do to get you in as quickly as possible. Piece of cake.

A CityPASS booklet you buy today expires February 28, 2017. A voucher you buy today must be exchanged for a booklet within 6 months of purchase.

I am giving away two Toronto CityPASS’ ticket booklets to pass on my Toronto staycation buzz!  Thank you CityPASS!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and Toronto CityPASS Giveaway?

Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thirtyfourflavours, Twitter https://twitter.com/34flavours, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email (thirtyfourflavours@gmail.com) telling me which Toronto CityPASS attraction you are interested in visiting. Easy peasy! I will announce the winner on Monday November 30, 2015.  Good luck!

Check out my Toronto staycation adventures starting next week!

http://www.citypass.com/

Let’s Duty Free Shop at Toronto Pearson International Airport!

Do you know how you get to Pearson early just so you can speed past security, just so you can sit at your flight’s gate at Pearson International Airport using their free Wi-Fi for hours?  Deep breath.  Well, I have another reason for you for you to get to Pearson early.  Think wicked duty free shopping on the Canadian Dollar!  Yup, there are deals to be had before you even before leave Canadian soil.

To most Canadians, the words “duty-free” and “shopping” have traditionally been associated with common purchases, such as alcohol, chocolates and souvenirs. But did you know that throughout 2014, Toronto Pearson passengers shopped for three Burberry scarves per hour when the Burberry store was open?

With the busy March Break travel period upon us and Toronto Fashion Week just around the corner, Canada’s largest airport, Toronto Pearson, wants you to re-think what you know (or think you know) about duty-free shopping.

A recent survey commissioned by Toronto Pearson found that…

  • Men (51 per cent) are more likely than women (43 per cent) to buy gifts at Duty Free stores.
  • Alcohol is still the most commonly associated product with duty-free shopping (84 per cent of respondents), followed by tobacco (47 per cent) and beauty products (36 per cent).

FUN FACT: In 2014, Toronto Pearson passengers bought approximately 1,000 bottles of ice wine per day!

  • Treat yourself – Nearly 70 per cent of duty free shoppers see it as a great place to purchase a little something special for themselves.

With an expanded retail space and a wide selection of luxury brands, The Duty Free Store by Nuance provides a world-class shopping experience – one that is sure to delight and surprise travellers while they await their flights. Here’s a bit more info about duty-free shopping at Toronto Pearson:

  • Designed to feel like a shopping mall, the new layout features custom designs, creating an inviting atmosphere for shoppers to explore the new stores and restaurants
  • The expansion of Nuance Duty Free marks the completion of Toronto Pearson’s Terminal 1 transformation that began in 2011. The airport now offers 68 restaurants, 84 shops and 36 services

If you have ever Duty Free shopped at overseas airports you have been easily introduced to the best of luxury labels.  In Toronto, we now have the same experience without the currency exchange hit.

Terminal 1 International Duty Free spans over 20,000 square feet and features a wider selection of top fashion and beauty brands, including Bvlgari, Burberry, Coach, Ferragamo, Gucci, Longchamp, Longines, Michael Kors, Montblanc, Omega, Rado, Swarovski, Tissot, Tumi and Victoria’s Secret.

See you there?

Visit Seattle

The previous post was my last Fall Holiday post for Seattle!  I hope you enjoyed reading about my travels until next year.  I’ll keep you posted.

For now check out, http://www.visitseattle.org/Home.aspx for your own Seattle trip planning ideas.

Till next time!