6 Hikes to Discover in Southern California

Riddled with canyons, sandy beaches and rocky mountains, Southern California is a hiker’s paradise. Trails forge a path to get up close and personal with that California beauty. Whether you are taking a road trip along the coast or just staying in Los Angeles or San Diego on business, the southern half of the state is crawling with appealing hikes. If you think you’ll be ready to get out and stretch your legs after being in the car for hours on end, check out these six hikes in the area.

 1.      Mount Woodson Trail

 Located in the city of Poway in the San Diego area, Mount Woodson Trail is somewhat off the radar. The 4-mile trail snakes past a lake and up Mount Woodson. However, the main reason many make this hike is for the photo opportunity with its most famous rock, Potato Chip Rock. The massive rock formation looks very much like a potato chip and presents a fun and somewhat frightening photo opportunity if you climb on top of it.

 2.      Kelso Dunes Trail in Mojave National Preserve

Some hikes are the most appealing at sunrise and sunset. Kelso Dunes hike in Mojave National Preserve is one of those trails. The 3-mile round trip hike rewards travelers with views of sand dunes highlighted the rosy color of the sun. The park itself spans 1.6 million acres in between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

 3.      Solstice Canyon Loop

Still within reach of the beach, Solstice Canyon Loop in the Santa Monica Mountains provides a little bit of everything for hikers. You can choose to take the leisurely hike of just a couple miles, or the more challenging 6-mile route. Along the way, hikers will spot a waterfall, a creek and a ruined mansion.

 4.      East Fork Trail

Along the San Gabriel River in Southern California, you can follow the 10-mile East Fork Trail. The trail leads to the famous Bridge to Nowhere, a bridge that literally goes nowhere in a rocky canyon. It was originally built for a failed road project in the 1930s.

 5.      Yucca Point Trail

For a typical Southern California hike, a beach stroll is always a possibility. At Torrey Pines State Park near La Jolla, hikers can traverse the Yucca Point Trail for a coastal hike. The trail is short and easy, perfect for families or new hikers. You can appreciate views of the Pacific Ocean and direct beach access from the trail.

 6.      Sturtevant Falls Trail

 If you are looking for hiking in Los Angeles that isn’t too difficult, Sturtevant Falls Trail provides just that. Located in the San Gabriel Mountains, the trail wanders from Chantry Flats to Sturtevant Falls, a 50-foot waterfall. People have been making this trek outside of Los Angeles since the 1900s.

After hiking around Southern California, you can kick up those tired feet at Extended Stay America Los Angeles. The central location and the luxurious suites provide guests with a fine venue to feel at home and even stay on a while to experience more of the area’s natural beauty. 

September 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

5 Must-See Museums in NYC

In a grand and sprawling city like New York, seeing it all can pose quite the impossible challenge, especially if you don’t have much time. The museum scene is just one fraction of the attractions that can overwhelm visitors due to the quantity, scope and array of venues to explore in town. If you need help paring down your museum stops in New York City, here are the top 5 you don’t want to miss.

 1.      Metropolitan Museum of Art

 The massive Metropolitan Museum of Art is a New York City icon. With one of the largest collections in the world, the colossal museum boasts it all, from 20th century works to ancient Egyptian finds, featuring a burial chamber from ancient Egypt. In addition to sculpture from the Romans and Greeks, you can also expect to find musical instruments and European masterpieces. While there is technically no admission charge, it is recommended that adults donate $25.

 2.      American Museum of Natural History

If you are looking for a museum in New York City that is sure to please the whole family—even Mom and Dad—the American Museum of Natural History fits the bill. Since its foundations in the city in 1869, the museum has grown in popularity to become one of New York’s most visited. The American Museum of Natural History features plenty of dioramas to give insight into environments and ecosystems of the past. Easily the most popular exhibit, the dinosaur area of the museum brings the enormous creatures to life.

 3.      Tenement Museum

Much of the framework of New York City revolves around its immigrant history. To delve a little deeper into that history, New York City offers the Tenement Museum. Only visited by guided tour, the museum has restored the apartments of residents from different time periods. Tours go through a tenement apartment building on 97 Orchard Street, a building constructed in the Lower East Side in 1863. It was once home to around 7,000 working class immigrants. Today you can learn their stories and the history of immigration in New York City on one of the museum’s many tours.

 4.      New York Historical Society Museum and Library

 For a museum visit that is truly unique to New York City, the New York Historical Society Museum and Library provides a fine venue to get to know the city’s colorful history. The museum contains historical artifacts, sculptures and paintings to illustrate the history of New York City. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum is also on site, a venue that brings 350 years of the city’s history alive for the little ones. Admission costs $18 for adults and $6 for children ages 5-13. Those four and under receive free admission.

 5.      Museum of Modern Art

 In terms of New York City museums, the Museum of Modern Art takes the cake. With a collection of around 150,000 pieces, admission grants you the chance to see modern and contemporary art in the form of sculptures, paintings and films. You can expect to see a number of notable works including Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans. Admission costs $25 for adults and is free for children under 16 years of age.

While museum hopping can be enjoyable in New York City, it can also be exhausting. To rest up for the night, Extended Stay America New York City suites provide all of the components for a relaxing time with premium television channels and hot tubs. 

September 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

8 Ways to Relieve Achy Muscles and Joints While on the Road

Road trips can be the perfect way to get to a new destination while seeing a great deal along the way. However, one of the biggest complaints about traveling by car are those aches and pains that creep in after about an hour of being confined in such a small space. In order to soothe tired muscles on road trips, here are eight different ways to alleviate those pains created from sitting in the car for too long.

Tip #1 - Bring Your Most Comfortable Car

If you have more than one vehicle option for your road trip, bring the car you know is the most comfortable. For travelers who are renting a car for their road trip, it’s a good idea to do your research as to which make and model will be the most comfortable for your journey.

Tip #2 - Begin in a Comfortable Position

Road trips can quickly become excruciating for the body when you aren’t comfortable to begin with. You should adjust your seat and the lumbar support to your maximum comfort so that back pain is lessened. It is also a good idea to never sit on anything in your pockets such as a wallet or a phone. Keep a small travel pillow to rest your neck if you plan on dozing.

Tip #3 - Pack Accordingly

Many travelers load up their vehicles with road trip essentials like drinks, music and maps. However, many forget to pack items that will help alleviate road trip aches. Ice packs can help soothe aching muscles and can be stored right next to your refreshments. A yoga mat is also recommended for when you get to your hotel, so you can do some stretches to release some of that tension in your body from sitting so long.

Tip #4 - Dress Accordingly

Sometimes your discomfort on a road trip is not caused by how you are sitting but merely by what you are wearing. Just as you should pack accordingly, you also should dress accordingly for a road trip. Clothing that is too tight and restrictive might be causing some of those aches.

Tip #5 - Practice Sitting Exercises

There are a number of exercises you can do while sitting in your seat. While these moves are often recommended for air travel, they can also work for road trips. For example, an easy exercise you can do while sitting to relieve muscle stress is a simple toe and heel lift.

Tip #6 - Switch Spots

While the kids might grumble about having to move, sometimes road trip aches and pains are largely caused by where you are sitting in the car. Provided moving car seats isn’t a variable, everyone should rotate to different spots periodically so that a single seat doesn’t contort their bodies for too long, which can cause discomfort. Switching seats also allows everyone to get up and move around.

Tip #7 - Make Frequent Stops To Stretch Your Legs

When you are cooped up in a car for a road trip, one of the easiest ways to relieve some of those aches and pains is by merely stopping and getting out to walk around for a few minutes. Rest stops make this possible along most major highways in the U.S. A simple stretch of the legs is also advisable for basic travel health, as it is unhealthy to be sitting for too many consecutive hours without a break.

Tip #8 - Head to the Hotel Pool or Hot Tub

After a long day of driving, you may need to soothe and soak those tired muscles. You can get everything moving properly again by taking a soak in the hotel hot tub or a dip in the pool. Some of the best road trip advice involves booking a hotel that allows you to do just that: relax and let the hot or cool water soothe those aches.

One of the best ways to unwind after sitting in the car all day is by having ample space at your hotel. Luckily for road trippers, Extended Stay America suites come with multiple rooms so you can truly stretch out after long car rides.

 

September 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

5 Must-Try Eateries in Houston

Dining establishments in Houston, Texas, are seemingly as numerous and endless as the state is large. The city boasts around 8,000 restaurants. Cuisines throughout Houston represent not just Texas eats but food from more than 35 countries. Its diverse dining offerings have built up quite the reputation, frequently landing on foodie favorite lists. If you want to go on your own culinary adventure through Houston, there are countless restaurants that you must try. While your stomach probably can’t try all of them in this lifetime, let alone during one visit, there are a few eateries that tend to encapsulate the Houston dining experience. Pack your appetite and feast on these Houston eateries.

Oxheart

Located in a warehouse in north Houston, Oxheart focuses on serving up the best ingredients in the state as creatively as possible. Diners can select from several tasting menus featuring the property’s innovative cuisine. Locals Jeff Hu and Karen Man started this award-winning Houston eatery.

Gatlin’s BBQ

For a taste of true Texas barbecue in Houston, there are a number of tried and tested staples. However, most will tell you to head to Gatlin’s BBQ. Often mentioned on lists as one of the best barbecue joints in the Lone Star State, Gatlin’s is family owned and operated. Its homey atmosphere and special emphasis on smoked meat make this a comfortable and delicious meal destination. It’s also a good place to sample different sides like cole slaw and ranch style beans.

Molina’s Cantina

If you crave Mexican food while in Houston, Molina’s Cantina is an institution worth visiting. Started by Raul Molina in 1941, there are now three locations in Houston. Raul came to Houston in the late 1920s from Mexico and gradually worked his way up from busboy to restaurant owner. Diners will find burritos, tacos and plenty of Tex-Mex tastes on the menu. Molina opened up in town when there were only a handful of Mexican restaurants in the city.

Christie’s Seafood Restaurant

Proudly touted as Houston’s oldest family restaurant, seafood fans need look no further than Christie’s Seafood Restaurant while in Houston. What began as a simple and small food and drink stand in 1917 in Galveston has evolved into a Houston restaurant staple on Westheimer Road. Christie’s is known for its Whole Flounder and French Fried Butterfly Shrimp. You can’t go wrong with ordering up a legendary fresh fish sandwich.

Mai’s Restaurant

While a fair number of restaurants in Houston feature Cajun and seafood staples, Mai’s Restaurant offers up a different spice. The restaurant specializing in Vietnamese cuisine offers all of the staples such as crab bisque and pho. For many diners in town, it is Houston’s version of Vietnamese comfort food. In general, Vietnamese cuisine is one of the city’s most popular ethnic options.

When you need a place to rest up for the night after all of those delicious meals or maybe even just a kitchen to place your leftovers, Extended Stay America has you covered in Houston. Suites come equipped with kitchens. If your dinner in Houston has inspired you, you can whip up your own creations even while on the road.

September 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)