Thursday, November 19, 2009

TRAVELREPORT - Halloween in Salem

Deciding to spend Halloween in Salem, MA, was a really good idea.  We decided in early September that since Halloween was on a Saturday this year, we should probably take advantage of it and fly to the Boston area then.  Having experienced the Northeast only in frigid winter months, we were excited to see the gorgeous foliage that the area has to offer.  I can honestly say that visiting this part of the country during autumn is an incredible experience.  I love fall and seeing it in such color just made me miss the 4 season climate even more.  The last few weeks have been really hectic  for us so to experience the quiet of the Boston ‘burbs, the intensity of the hues, the wind rustling the tops of the trees and the storm of leaves falling all around us, was just so intense, and beautiful. 
I think that the above summary is enough on the poetic side and now onto the practical advice.  So on the Halloween in Salem side, keep in mind that it gets pretty crowded.  On Halloween you want to find parking early and just stay.  We wanted to have a more gourmet meal for dinner and did not find a nice enough place in Salem so we went to dine at 9 Elm in Danvers.  Problem was that when we were done with dinner, driving back in traffic, finding parking and then making our way through the crowd to the House of Seven Gables, for two shows just did not work out.  We were late for our first tour/show and only were able to do the second one.  It all worked out well but even with my OCD planning skills, I did not realize how far we would need to walk and the slowness of the crowd.  People party in the streets and in bars, so you can count on street entertainment and fireworks at the end of the night.  For all the events check out Haunted Happenings.
During the day, on Halloween, we checked out Danvers (the actual site of the witch hysteria and for more about this, look here).  We went to the Parris’ home (well ,excavated holes in the ground) and the Rebecca Nurse Homestead.  Both places are worth a visit if you are into history and want a quiet moment.  We also participated in the play, Cry Innocent, which was fun.  I recommend studying up on the trials before going so that when asked to participate as an audience member, you can ask a question which the witty actor who plays a judge cannot easily answer. 
The day after Halloween we ventured down the road of Revolutionary War history (Concord and Lexington).  Again if you are into history, have seen the HBO show John Adams, or just need something to do in the area, check it out.  After that we went to Wellesley College and checked out their beautiful campus.  The afternoon was finished off in South Boston, at CafĂ© Polonia, with a yummy Polish lunch.  Happy travels to New England!
Travelreport brought to you by Nadia. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Free holiday Wifi on many airports this christmas season - courtesy of Google

How nice of Google....I won't use it but if you are traveling and hanging out on the airport a lot this Christmas season - browse the internet for free! :)

Here is the link

More information about the networks, including a full list of participating airports, is available at

US Mint Deal - the party might be over....

Unfortunately it seems the US Mint Deal has, like all good things, come to an end.

The US Mint now seems to call the coin purchases "cash advance" and thus, if you buy coins on credit you will be charged 3% and daily interest starting on the day the purchase posts. There have been mixed reports but if you do a coin purchase, make sure to read the fine print and don't buy them if it says "cash advance" anywhere.

So obviously it's no longer a cost-effective way of fulfilling your minimum purchase requirements.

Not to worry though - there's always a deal out there and we'll make sure we'll let you know when we find one. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Our Chicago trip was successful.  From the direct flight to arrival times being right on, everything worked out quite well.  If you don’t have an hour to sacrifice, and it is not rush hour, take a cab from O’Hare into the city, it is fairly quick and convenient.  On the other hand, taking the L, is also convenient, cheaper than a taxi and more carbon-neutral, but it takes at least an hour to get into the city. The hotel we stayed at, Indigo Chicago, was located in just the right spot to venture out and explore. The hotel was sufficiently comfortable and the staff was really sweet. We attended a friend’s wedding and had a fabulous time.  Despite all the festivities, we did get a chance to explore Chicago on this second visit to the Windy City.  We checked out Lincoln Park (including the theater where John Dillinger got shot) and DePaul University.  We were staying in the Gold Coast area part of the city and were able to just walk to Lincoln Park on a nice, brisk October afternoon.
We spent some time downtown, checking out bridges along the Chicago river and new hip spots to hang out, stay and shop.  Our second day was spent visiting Bucktown and Wicker Park.  Both neighborhoods were great and we loved them.  We had a scrumptious brunch at Hot Chocolate.  Their variety of hot chocolates (which can also be served over ice for summertime visitors) is great and each chocolate is almost a meal in itself.  The architecture, history and shopping in this part of Chicago is exciting and we recommend checking it out. 
Our last afternoon was spent enjoying some lunch at a brasserie back in the Gold Coast area and then a walk to Lake Michigan along Lake Shore Drive.  I was amazed at how beautiful, peaceful and cold the lake was.  This is part of Chicago is truly a gem and if I lived there I think I would be passing the time there quite often.  Even though we experienced a bit of rain, mid-October turned out to be a fantastic time to visit this great city. 
Tripreport brought to you by Nadia.

100000 British Airways Miles for credit card sign-up - DO IT NOW!!!!

This is an incredible opportunity. LINK HERE

Normal credit card sign-up bonuses are around 20000-30000 miles max but British Airways has upped the ante. You will get 50000 miles after first use and another after $2000 spent (remember the US Mint coin option everyone!!) in the first 3 months. That's a total of 100000 miles. I don't think I have to go into how far you can fly with this.

All this for a measly $75 annual fee on this card. The cost-benefit is off the charts on this one.

I highly recommend getting this card. Your miles won't expire until for 36months and even then you can keep them active by using this card.

British airways is part of the ONE alliance so you can use these miles with American Airlines and others if you'd like. Just think - 100000 miles are 4 domestic tickets!!

If your credit score is good you should have no problem getting this card!