My parents and I went on a road trip down the east coast over the summer, stopping in a number of cities and exploring what the different states had to offer. We began in Buffalo, the city in which I’m currently living in and ended in Miami. Originally, I was going to write about it in one post but it was coming out like a novel because I went into too much detail on every city so I decided to split it into two.
What we did
Settled in mainly. We had to run some errands like getting a new phone number and dropping off my things in my apartment which was quite exciting. After I’d signed my lease I looked into reviews and they were so bad, so I was relieved to see that it looked exactly like the pictures and was actually really nice. We also went downtown to explore the city centre and then later by the canal which is really cute to walk around in.
What we ate
Original Buffalo wings at Anchor Bar. The recipe was first invented in the 1960s there which changed the way chicken wings were served as previously they had either been thrown out or used in soup. Mistakenly, I thought that Buffalo wings were basically BBQ (it’s actually hot sauce and butter) so I was surprised when they tasted a bit sour. There were about 5 sauces the wings came in, from mild to super hot. I don’t like spicy food so I got mild but with the others on the side to try and the only one I liked was the BBQ flavoured one. They serve wings with celery sticks (gross) but blue cheese and ranch dip are really good. Since I ate here I’ve tried Buffalo wings in another place to see if it tasted any better and it did, Anchor Bar was just a let down. It’s the original place but not the best.
What we did
A couple days in we crossed the border went to the Falls. We went to the Canadian side because it’s there’s a better view there. They were so beautiful! I was in awe at how nature builds such things. It’s really big so at first you don’t really know where to look but want to soak it all in. You can walk it in about 20 minutes and the final cascade is the biggest and most imposing. There’s a type of fun fair leading up to the falls which is cute and nice to look at because of the lights but I wouldn’t personally spend too much time in there as it’s not necessarily anything special.
What I’d do with more time
Ride the boat that goes into the falls. This was something we were actually intending to do but the lines were too long and we didn’t buy tickets in advance, if the occasion presented itself again I would definitely book ahead of time so as to get the full experience. There’s also illuminations at night several times a month where it’s lit up in different colours so that’s something I’d like to see soon.
We then sped off back across the border and down to DC to meet my aunt who was flying in from Florida. I went to Washington three years ago and remembered it as clean and pretty but the extent of those two things hadn’t really hit me until I went again. This was the one city that I really did not want to leave, all the buildings are so beautifully built and it’s perfect for just walking around. Washington is probably my favourite American city; I thought it would be NYC but the people in DC are nicer and the city is cleaner.
What we did
1. The White House
Obviously, a trip to the capital was not complete without visiting POTUS. The house itself is actually very underwhelming, it’s about five times smaller than it looks in movies. It’s always portrayed as this gigantic mansion but it’s really not that big, though it was definitely really cool to be at the door step of the most powerful government in the world. There were about three separate Trump protests in and around the area which is always fun to see. My favourite was a massive inflatable chicken dressed as Trump, though in the moment I didn’t really realise what it was; I only noticed when I saw it on the news later that night.
2. National Mall & Lincoln Memorial
This is the long stretch of grass with the reflecting pool in the middle, recognisable from many movies. At the very end is the Lincoln Memorial which is absolutely massive, surprisingly so. Standing in front of the mall was really surreal as there was so much to see and also because it’s where important historic events have taken place, like Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream Speech” in 1963 during the Civil Rights Movement.
3. WWII Memorial
It’s in the same area just on the opposite end to the Lincoln Memorial. Honestly, it is the prettiest memorial I’ve ever seen. There’s a huge fountain in the middle and massive columns with the names of all the states and other US territories like Puerto Rico. Usually, I refrain from taking pictures at memorials out of respect but this one felt more like a genuinely beautiful tribute to those who had died rather than a sad landmark. I wanted to stay there longer which is unusual with memorials as normally it evokes feelings of sadness rather than anything else.
4. Washington Monument
Located in the National Mall too. It’s a monument dedicated to George Washington, the first President of the United States. Building began in 1848 but after six years construction was halted for over twenty years due to a lack of funds and the American Civil War. Construction resumed in 1884 and was completed in four years which is why two shades of grey are visible in the building, it’s clear to see where it started and stopped.
What we ate:
There was an actual Nando’s in Washington. Even though it was only about a week into moving abroad and I was definitely not feeling home sick yet, it was still nice to have a taste of home and something familiar whilst being so far away. The menu was almost identical as was the decor, the music and even the staff uniforms. Only thing was that the waitress was a bit confused when I asked for Piri-Piri chips and she offered me mayo. Regardless, can’t go wrong with a cheeky Nando’s.
What I would do with more time:
So much!! DC is full of things to do I don’t know where to start.
- US Capitol – I went 3 years ago but only at night so I’d like to see it by day.
- Library of Congress as it looks like a grand building architecturally both inside and out.
- Watch Congress in action as it tends to open to the public.
- Watch the change of guard at the Arlington National Cemetery.
- National Archives*** This is what I absolutely need to see the most. Here you can see the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as the original Declaration of Independence. SO exciting especially as I’m currently studying US History.
What we did:
World of Coca-Cola which showcases the history of the Coca-Cola Company and is located a few blocks away from where John Pemberton created the original formula. It’s a massive museum with areas dedicated to different aspects like the advertisement campaigns throughout the years, the original dispensers and the effect certain things had on them like the invention of refrigeration. There was a section near the end of all the drink companies that Coca-Cola owns around the world divided by continent and you could try all the drinks. I had about 20 different fizzy drinks in the span of 20 minutes. Needless to say I had more than my daily sugar intake and couldn’t stop giggling hysterically. My favourite drink was one from the Dominican Republic and the worst was an Italian one. I wish I remembered the name but if you ever go and taste the drinks then you will KNOW which one it is. It was so disgusting, it’s what I imagine acid to taste like. My favourite part of the museum was that they have a long and intricate exhibition of the different places that the secret formula has been kept, it’s shaped sort of like a maze, and eventually it leads you to a vault. In this vault is where the formula has been kept for a few years now. If you get too close it starts flashing and there’s a few members of staff always watching. I had to side tackle this old granny inside the vault cos she pushed me to get close to it but aside from that it was a great experience.
What I’d do with more time:
Visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Located opposite the World of Coca-Cola, this museum has been listed as a top attraction in Atlanta, the birth place of Martin Luther King Jr. To my dismay, the day I happened to go it was closed for a one off private event. I was trying to take in the history is most places I went to so to be just outside such a massive hub of civil rights and not be able to go inside was really disappointing.
That marks roughly the half way point in our road trip. Next stop, next week 🙂