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.

sukkahpb

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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Jet Blue Unlimited Flight Promotion

Sorry, readers – this promotion is SOLD OUT.
Lots of buzz in the frequent flyer world about JetBlue’s just announced “All You Can Jet” Promotion. For $599 you get a full month (Sept 8 – Oct 8 ) of travel between 50 US cities and a few Caribbean and Central America destinations. The rules are pretty simple and no ElAl-style tricks:

  • Must buy by Aug 21
  • Must book individual flights 3 days in advance
  • “Last Available Seat” – which means all seats on the plane are available. If there is room – you are on.
  • Taxes apply on flights outside of the 50 States (but they apply even if you pay for a ticket)
  • No mileage bonanza – 35 JetBlue points for the whole thing. This is clearly a disappointment to world-class “mileage runners” but not a big deal for most normal people.
  • Penalty for no shows, cancellation fees apply. They don’t want hogging.
  • First bag free

Convinced – now start planning the trip.  I am assuming that you want to spend as little as possible. Here are some pointers:

  • Take advantage of the Redeye – Long Beach to Boston or JFK
  • Take day trips to the beach – 8am JFK to Fort Lauderdale, back in JFK by 10pm.
  • In general – make one of their hubs a base and day trip from there. Their hubs are LA, NY, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, DC.
  • Stick to destinations with good public transportation to/from the airport – such as Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Boston, DC, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco

Now some itinerary suggestions from TripCart –

Most likely, you are starting in NY. Don’t miss the new fun things to do in Manhattan, like the High Line Park and of course the usual NYC entertainment offerings.  Head to the many places to visit in California via Chicago. Consider taking the Van Gelder Bus Lines to visit friends in Madison or Milwaukee. Then back to the see the places to visit in Chicago, before the winter deep freeze sets in. Once you get to the West Coast, use Long Beach Airport as your hub for travels to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Leave the West Coast with a trip to Austin, take the bus Houston – Austin and enjoy the places to visit in Houston.

If you are interested in the places to visit in Phoenix, be aware that the only flights are from New York, so most of the day will be on the plane. Similar story for Denver, served only from the East Coast. BUT, given the dates, late September is the ideal time to see the peak fall foliage in Colorado. Start off with the shuttle DEN to COS, then it is up Pikes Peak. Finish up your trip with a flight to Burlington for the world-class Vermont fall foliage, which should be at its peak around Oct 8.

And don’t forget to check out shopping malls along the way.

Finally, for the vast majority (possibly all) of my readers that won’t be taking advantage of this, what this may mean, by my survey of some people really in the know:

  • Other airlines might come out with similar promotions.
  • JetBlue might really lower prices on seats still unsold. This is a traditionally weak time for the airlines

And, expect the unexpected. Air Florida sold a similar package a few years back and then promptly folded. But JetBlue seems quite sound. And definitely recommended by staff of TLV2JFK.

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Getting to LGA from Manhattan

I usually stay in Manhattan and getting to Newark or Kennedy is easy (max 30 minutes from Penn Station).

This trip – I had to be in LGA at 7am (for an AirTran flight). Cab would probably be at least $40. Israeli car service $30 + tips and tolls. Public transportation is almost non-existent.

This trip – I used Supershuttle. Call 1-800-BLUE-VAN or http://www.supershuttle.com and they book you a 15 minute slot in a shared van. Time to airport is about 45-60 minutes from Manhattan. Its $18 (including tip) and when you get to the airport your fellow passengers will wish you a good trip. Pass it on.

Price is per person – so if you are not alone – take a cab or Israeli car service.
AND BEWARE – LGA is a really bad airport – lots of delays. Non Existent service in the terminal.

This post is in the category of useful information on the ground. Here is one about buying a mobile phone in the US and this one is how to maximize a new york layover.
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elal airfare increase

Just got an email from ElAl – due to $117 oil, fares go up on average 6.5% on May 1. This reflects the overal trend in the airline industry.

SO, if you have already booked a flight – buy it before May 1.

Of course, check cancellation policy and change fee if that may be a possibility.

And question to our readers – will there be a similar price drop when oil goes down?

See other posts about ElAl prices going up and down – finding hidden bargains on ElAl’s website, the airfare increase due to $147 oil , special business class deals, the increased “price” for EL AL free tickets, some general tips for finding cheap airfare and more. This post even has some hope that the American Airlines and ELAL codeshare willl change pricing.
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Cheap Dollar – Buy in USA

My parents would always return from US with 14 suitcases loaded with clothes, shoes, toys, tuna, plastic bags, etc. The zionist reality did not include purchasing low quality expensive stuff in Israel.

While I like a nice trip to the Galleria as much as the next woman – in the past few years buying in the US lost most of its financial benefit. (Losing 2 suitcases on Delta – never to be found, did not help much) .

Now that the NIS/$ exchange rate is so low – it really pays to buy in the states. Todays case in point – crocs

80 NIS ($22) at Nordstroms vs. 200 NIS at LaMitayel

When a commodity product, like crocs cost 2.5x in Israel – take your business elsewhere and tell them I sent you.
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Kosher restaurant in the south bay area

While personally I keep to Kosher dietary rules, even when travelling abroad, I do not look for Kosher certificates and just try to keep on the ‘safe’ side (eating lots of Salmon, of course). But on my last trip I was challenged with the need to find a Kosher restaurant with a colleague he keeps to a stricter standard. Finding a Kosher restaurant in the south bay area of San Francisco was a challenge though. There are not many of them around. However, he found Izzy’s Brooklyn Cafe on 783, El-Camino Real, Sunnyvale, 408-523-1333. It is located in a strip mall beside the road with ample parking (it is California after all). We had an excellent Moroccan Soup, fish, falafel, and salads. Not quite on the cheap side but still quite reasonable. Shlomi, who attend to us was very nice and polite, originally from Petach Tiqva, now works in two such restaurants in the area. He was eager to please, set down to chat a little, all in a very pleasant way. We returned there for another meal later in the week, and my friend was there again with his father and brother. Lunch for three was $49 including tip, and lunch for two was $37 including tip.

And some posts about – water at the airport, kosher restaurants in LA and a horror story in the air.
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