A New England Fall Foliage Sukkot

It must be getting boring reading this blog, or at least depressing. Service is getting worse,  everything costs extra and prices have not come down to reflect the economy. The airlines have re-written the law of supply and demand. “Don’t supply anything and charge to the hilt when customers demand what they deserve”. All of a sudden a mumified kosher meal sounds tantalizing when compared to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich packed 7 time zones away.

So, I take my East Coast and New England readers back to another time and another place.

Imagines that it is a crisp October day and you are building a Sukkah with your dad.  Maybe even before pre-fabs became popular so you had some collection of wood, screws, canvas and pipes that no one really remembered how to put up from year to year (or where the brackets were hidden).

Now look up at the trees. They are not the palm trees or citrus trees  outside of your Raanana Sukkah. They are Oaks, Elms and Maples  in every shade of yellow, gold and orange imaginable. Yup, those are  Fall Colors and it turns out that New England Fall Foliage is the best in the world.

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So, pack your bags (maybe even a sukkah) and plan to spend the holiday in NY Foliage. Here are some ideas for day trips from Brooklyn or Brookline.  We guarantee that the experience will be very different from Sukkot in Israel.

  • Catskills Fall Foliage – Ever been up in a vintage 1921 biplane?  Stop off at Rhinebeck and admire the New York State Fall Foliage from 3000 feet, with the wind in your goggles.
  • Heading south to Philadelphia or DC? Stop by and enjoy Fall Foliage PA with the Amish. You might even find a Sukka or at least a harvest festival. Sorry kids, Hersheypark is closed for the season.  Next stop –  Maryland Fall Foliage along the banks of the Potomac.
  • Combine  Massachusetts Fall Foliage with some American history and culture at Lexington,  Concord and Walden Pond.
  • Get up earlier in the morning and head north to Maine and catch one of the Fall Foliage Cruises.
  • Brave the crowds and head north to enjoy the New Hampshire Fall Foliage. The show lasts for most of the fall – leaves too green? Go higher or further north. Too brown? Go south.

And an honorable mention of  places more than 5 hours from New York City – Adirondack Fall Foliage, – great for early in the season – they show has started already;  New Mexico Fall Foliage and Fall Foliage in Colorado – very different from the East – Golden Aspens, towering evergreens and of course, ski season around the corner. And no jokes, please – Pittsburgh Fall Foliage.

And if it starts raining – duck into an enclosed mall.

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SmartPark JFK Parking – Every 7th day free

We decided to give our readers a promo for JFK long term parking. Try it out, post your feedback and tell them we sent you! Here is what SmartPark JFK has to say about JFK parking to the TLV2JFK community:

How smart are you? Pay less for JFK Airport Parking and get more.

June 9, 2009 was the official launch of SmartPark JFK website. The answer to all your airport parking woes.

Easy as 1… 2… 3 to locate at: 123-10 South Conduit Avenue, South Ozone Park, NY 11420, only minutes from JFK Airport. No nonsense, service with a smile to meet all of your 24/7 airport parking needs.

Bringing back the concept of the way it used to be. At our facility you will be received immediately by a member of our highly trained staff on an interpersonal level.  At SmartParkJfk, our priority is for you to be our guest not just another number.

In a rush? No problem. We will expedite all of your forms and paperwork for you and you will be on your way within minutes. A 5-7 minute ride door to terminal. Tired of the old broken down shuttles, no worries, our new, state of the art, plush shuttles and skilled valet drivers will have you riding in style.

As of late, the surrounding parking facilities along with the port authority are raising prices. In this time of economic hardship, we here at SmartParkJfk want to work with you.

We are on a separate road (pun intended) and have lowered our pricing via our “Smart Summer Stimulus Special” from $14.00 per day to a low $12.00 per day, adding only NYC (10.375%) parking tax. Stay with us for 6 days and every 7th day that you leave your vehicle with us, it is a FREE parking day for you.  Go to SmartparkJFK  and make a regular reservation then click here for Special JFK2TLV Coupon for every 7th day free rate.

Running late, flight delays, no worries, we have No late fees for arrival within 5 hours of your confrimed scheduled vehicle pickup.

The 5 Hour Grace period

Online Reservation:

If you make a FREE online reservation, please note that the check in time chosen online will almost always differ from your “Actual” check in time. So, your 29 hours starts from the “Actual” check in time at the SmartPark JFK airport parking facility.

Walk-in Reservation:

A walk-in reservation confirmed check-in time starts your 29 hour clock.

We are here for you and with you to make the anticipated, mundane and usually stressful travel experience, stress free.

Do you own a GPS navigation system; even better, your car will drive you right to our door, just look up to see our Signature cartoon smart, Einstein logo.

Our facility offers an all inclusive service from drop off to pick up with your baggage handling to the terminal if you so choose.

Also added for your convenience is our colorful, yet simple, user friendly website with the easy to see “reserve”, it is as easy as click and reserve, done!

Look for the signature cartoon Einstein logo.  Why Einstein logo you may say, Einstein was intelligent and smart and so are you for using SmartParkJfk.

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Enjoy your beach vacation in NY or Israel!

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Europe Family Vacation in 4 Hours

Readers complained that I got political with my gaza post. Sorry, but we did have a war. Back to the spirit of this blog – tips for the frequent flyer to the US.

Looking around for the best airfare to the States often results in a stopover in Europe. If the stopover is more than 5 hours you can “Do Europe” (or at least one city). This is aimed at families – business people should stay in the airport and polish up the PPT and couples might get more out of Paris by spending a whole weekend. Four basic rules:

  • Check bags all the way (and get boarding passes)
  • Take almost no carryons
  • Figure out in advance (down to the level of the train schedule and stops) how you will get in and out of the airport
  • Bring Euros

If you tried this in the past and it didn’t work, try again. Because:

  • Airport Transportation is really good in many European cities (but expensive)
  • Europe is too expensive for a real trip
  • Kids will remember 3 hours in Paris as if they were there for a week
  • Not enough time to buy gifts for everyone – a four hour trip might yield as much as a 4 day trip with shopping
  • Its really not much fun waiting in the airport for 6 hours
  • What used to be considered a primitive American style of “Doing” Europe is now quite cool.

I have tested two of these trips on my own family in the past year. We Did Paris (6 hr) and Rome (3 hr).

We arrived in Paris at midnight and grabbed a rented car (no good late night public transport). Took a nighttime tour of the Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triomphe, The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Sienne. The highlight was Ice Cream at McDonalds on the Champs Elysees. Everything else was closed (saved loads on admission). Back to the airport and after a short nap – ready for the 7am flight.

Rome was public transport. 30 minute train to the city followed by a walk past the Coliseum, Forum, the Synagogue and lots of monuments. Highlight was Ice Cream at the Trevi Fountain. We had planned on hitting a second country in the 4 allotted hours – but there was a train strike which caused us to lose some time – so we cut the Vatican.

Anyone interested in the detailed plans, contact me. Or tell me some of your “4 hour Europe” experiences. And by the way, Google now has walking directions. Here is how one might walk from Rome to Paris.
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Off Topic – Gaza

Our readers are frequent flyers, living in New York and Israel whose daily lives are impacted by terrorism, so I am taking the liberty of addressing the war in Gaza. Just a few non-original thoughts for our readers and friends and enemies or just those confused and troubled:

  1. Given the choice of targeting soldiers or civilians, Hamas chooses the latter. There are large Israel army encampments close to the Gaza border, yet Hamas aims it rockets over the head of the soldiers to bomb the civilian centers much further away.
  2. For months we have been fed stories of lack of food and basic supplies in Gaza. Now we find out they had hundreds of tunnels connected to the outside world. If they could get a Grad though the tunnel, surely they could get some Baby Formula and flour through.
  3. Up until 2005, we kept on hearing about the injustice of Israel using 20% (not sure if that is the correct #) of the land for 0.5% of the population. In the 3 years since we left I do not think Hamas turned that prime real estate into housing for their people. The infrastructure is still there, even though they destroyed many of the hothouses and public buildings that were handed over intact. Not to mention the $200M annual exports Israel managed to extract from the Gaza land.
  4. And finally – the word that keep on popping up is “disproportional“. By its very nature, terrorism requires a disproportional response. Consider the BILLIONS of shoes that have been removed at airport security due to a single attempted terrorist act.

And when hearing stories of “innocent” adults being hurt, bear in mind that 440,409 people voted for Hamas in 2006. When you vote for an internationally-recognized terrorist organization (sworn to destroy its neighbor) to run your country (or town or city) expect the worst.
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ElAl Great Fares – $199 RT This Weekend (Jan 16)

I am definitely a fan of the
ElAl Spontani and they have some very good fares to Europe for this weekend. Flights leave Thursday night or Friday morning and return Monday or Tuesday. Great idea for people working with the US. Monday is Martin Luther King Day Day and Tuesday is Inauguration Day, so it is a good time for a long weekend.

$199 destinations include Brussels, Budapest, Rome, Madrid, Prague, and more.

And, unlike most ElAl offers – there does not seem to be a catch. The flights are priced Round Trip, no extra charges and they actually have space available. Only caveat – its pretty cold in Europe these days.

Send me a postcard.

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“3 Day” Hotel Layover in New York

Contributed by one of our readers (like most of our posts):

I fly the redeye Thursday night from SFO. 6 AM in NY. I fly Saturday night to TLV. Order hotel online and you will find out that its a 3 day event:

Day 1 is previous day for early check in
Day 2 is actual day
Day 3 is next day for late checkout

Synopsys/Cadence/Mentor/Intel may not really like seeing a 3 day charge for you to enjoy a fall foliage afternoon in Central Park.

The solution – by a leading Israeli Semiconductor Wiz is simple:

Get to New York at 6am with no reservation (Yekke readers please skip to next post).
Hit the bank of phones at the baggage claim. Thats dozens of hotels begging for your business.
After a few calls you will certainly find one ready to give you early check in and late check out at no extra charge. 3 “days” for the price of one. Most of the hotels are at the airport. Take the shuttle to New York.
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Kids are in School, Airfare is Down – Fly to US for Fall Foliage

After 50+ posts about how to fly to the States and back, focusing on preserving your sanity and getting a good deal, I decided (based on reader demand) to write a blog post on what to do in the States. Today is Labor Day and the fall season officially kicks off, at least in the Northeast, so here are some suggestions for Fall Foliage Trips from now until November.

  • Hudson Valley and Catskills Fall Foliage – Could be as simple as a window seat on the Metro-North Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie or as unique as a vintage 1929 biplane ride in Rhinebeck.
  • Heading from NY to DC? Stop by and enjoy Pennsylvania Fall Foliage near Lancaster, which is part of the colorful Amish country harvest scene. Or along the Potomac for DC and Maryland Fall Foliage.
  • Staying in the City? Visit Central Park for New York City Fall Foliage or combine a visit to relatives in Great Neck with a tour of some of the historic North Shore mansions and Gardens for some Long Island Fall Foliage
  • Visiting the Boston area with not enough time to get to Vermont? Massachusetts Fall Foliage is presented in a historic setting at Concord, MA.
  • And to our friends in Colorado, who won’t even acknowledge that Vermont exists (as far as skiing is concerned, at least) – the Colorado Fall Foliage is different. Vintage Train Rides, 14,000 ft snow covered peaks as backdrop for the Colorado Rockies Fall colors and even some Gold mining ghost towns south into New Mexico.
  • My personal favorite is near Pittsburgh. Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece is at its best when the nearby trees are showing the brilliant colors of Southwest Pennsylvania Fall Foliage. Let me know if anyone actually makes it there.

And good news for frequent flyers with busy schedules – the Fall Foliage season is 2 months long – go up or down in elevation (UP = Adirondack Fall Foliage, DOWN = Maine Coast Fall Foliage) or go North (Vermont Fall Foliage) to South (Virginia Fall Foliage). Just make sure to go.
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