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When you live in South Florida like we do, the only way to get out is obviously north
hence our options are kind of limited. A good part of the trip involves a tedious, boring
mostly flat highway, no matter which option you take. I-75 is not the worst, but it goes
along the west coast, so is no good for us this time. State route 27 and US1, are a little
more interesting because they go through cities and small towns but it takes forever. Florida's
Turnpike is a horribly boring drive I refuse to take ever again and to ad insult to injury
they actually even charge you for it. My route of choice north is usually interstate 95,
pretty boring as well but at least it is toll free, and the quickest way.
We finally make it to Daytona Beach at around 9:30pm.
We find a hotel to spend the night, using the Hotels.com iPhone app. It is called La
Playa, and it was pretty cheap, 60 bucks for the night.
Good morning from Daytona Beach, Florida. We wake up at the crack of dawn to this breathtaking
sunrise. Good morning, it is 7:20 in the morning and
we have waken up in this near freezing temperatures to photograph the sunrise. Today we continue
due north on the east coast of the United States. We're going to visit Saint Augustine,
America's oldest city, er, what else? Jacksonville, and eventually we'll arrive at Savannah Georgia.
Meanwhile enjoy the sunrise. Sorry if I seemed a little slow, I was still
half asleep and nearly frozen, but... It is time to say "Good bye" to la playa,
as we continue due north. It wasn't the greatest hotel, but for one night, a comfy bed, and
the beautiful and frigid oceanfront sunrise we just witnessed, it was more than adequate.
We continue driving north here on A1A and our destination, next destination is the Fort
Matanzas. As you can see I've been demoted to copilot, but that's OK, I'm taking a break.
Moving along. The A1A runs almost parallel to the Atlantic
Ocean coast and we are going to be driving on this road for a while. It is a refreshing
break from boring I-95. We pass by Flagler Beach, near Palm Coast. This coastal area
in North East Florida is called the first coast, for two main reasons. It is the first
coast you see as you enter Florida through Jacksonville. More importantly, this was the
first part of Florida colonized by Europeans, namely the Spaniards, as we are about to find
out by visiting Fort Matanzas. Fort Matanzas is a National Monument and the
National Park Service gives us a free ride on a boat to the fort, which guarded the southern
mouth of the Mantanzas River, which accessed Saint Augustine. The fort eventually became
a ruin, as the Spaniards lost Florida. It it was restored in the early 20th century,
one major flaw of the restoration; the watchtower was originally a little narrower and some
other historical discrepancies.
Two of the cannons are actually the original ones from the fort, the rest are just replicas.
When they chose the location of the fort the chose this position because that was the original
entrance to this body of water. Today you can see that nature took care of it. Eventually
that whole area unless the army cores of engineers come over and dredge it out again is going
to completely get covered by sand... Made with coquina which is a stone made of crushed
shells its actually a fortification that used mortar from lime.
Inside we can see how life would have been for the poor Spanish soldiers stationed here.
How they cooked, how they slept... how they prayed.
A ladder gives the only access to the observation deck. Here we can get a commanding view of
the Matanzas inlet. One can only imagine the poor Spanish soldiers
seeing the British ships offshore Our quick excursion to the fort is over, and
I must say kudos to the National Park Service, as this whole experience was informative,
pleasant in spite of the unusually cold weather, and totally free.
There is also a nature trail, but it is not so great, not worth it really .
Time to go but before we do it is time to fulfill a childish whim of mine. I've always
wanted to drive on the sand, on the beach actually, and over here they let you do it,
well also back in Daytona, if you noticed the speed limit signs at sunrise, earlier
today. Here we go.
We drive a few miles north to historic Saint Augustine. Saint Augustine is the oldest continuously
occupied European settlement in the United States, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. However, Juan Ponce De Leon was around here before, in 1513,
and he claimed the region for the Spanish crown. After a short drive we arrive. The
pretty building in the background is the Flagler College. I 500 feet, at the roundabout...
What...
Yeah, the GPS sucks sometimes. At the roundabout...
What!
What's up with Waze, that's it, we're using Google Maps for the rest of the trip. We pass
by the San Marcos Castle, built in 1668, after a British attack, and still stands today as
the nation's oldest fort, now ran by the National Park Service as the Castillo de San Marcos
National Monument. The GPS directs us to the closest parking lot.
Saint Augustine is famous for having the oldest drug store in the US. I often question the
authenticity of these places. Apparently they sold liquor, tobacco, medicine and Indian
remedies. We continue exploring this touristy town.
We are walking along Saint Georges Street, Here in Saint Augustine. This is the main
drag, St. George's street, the tourist trap if you will. Here is supposedly the United
States oldest wooden school, from 1716, although there's an older claim in Staten Island, New
York from 1696, so I have a good conspiracy theory that all this is fake. Who knows. The
Cobblestone streets, the Cuban flag... I was born in Cuba so whenever we see the flag,
we usually take a picture. The beautiful intercostal view is a must do photo opportunity.
Well, we'll visit Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth some other time, because we are kind
of pressed for time now, so we must go on. It's 1pm time to leave
North we go. We decide to take scenic coastal A1A instead of the faster I-95 once again.
We drive for 45 minutes through Ponte Vedra Beach, which is mostly ocean front residential
neighborhoods with multi million dollar homes, and golf courses, very lavish.
We are approaching Jacksonville, Florida's most populous city in the state if you only
count the people living within city limits and not the suburbs. Also quite musical as
popular bands Lynyrd Skynyrd and Limp Bizkit both originated here.They all came from here.
We are now arriving at Jacksonville, and we are super hungry so we are not going to waste
time with any nonsense. We are going straight to this place called Jacksonville Landing.
They are having some kind of Christmas show. So we decided to break one of traveler's rules
and have lunch at the tourist trap, namely at Hooters. Sometimes you need something familiar.
And the show goes on. I would imagine that a place like this would
be more full of people on a Saturday afternoon, but I guess not. Maybe everybody was indoors
due to the chilly weather. The Jacksonville Landing was designed and built by the same
company that built Miami's Bayside and some other similar places... and one can sort of
see the resemblance. Crossing the bridge we visit the Friendship Fountain, on the other
side of the river. The water jets move to the rhythm of the music,
Bellagio style, but in this case a more bouncy music would definitely enhance the effect
I think. City of Jacksonville Saint Johns River Park and Marina.
Well, time to continue, not before driving through the historic Riverside Neighborhood.
One cool thing about this trip going north is the change in vegetation. As you can see
there are no more palm trees. As we continue north the trees will have less, and less leaves.
And after a few miles we are in Georgia! Or should I say Georgia is on our mind?
We are quickly approaching the city of Savannah, Georgia, we're about an hour away. And I-95
seems endless. I have no idea what I;m gonna say. Bye.
We finally arrive at Savannah. We have should I say Waze, the GPS gets a little lost finding
the Hotel, but we do end there eventually. We have gotten a great deal using the Hotel
Tonight app on the iPhone, a must if you are traveling like us with no reservations. We
landed the Hyatt in the historic district.
We have arrived at the Hyatt. It doesn't really get any better than this, it was less than
a hundred bucks, and of course when you get this great deals they nickel and dime you
for everything else, but I believe it was worth it. We have a great view of the river
from our room. Later that night we take a stroll along River
Street, which has a bunch of shops, restaurants and bars. They have a Wet Willie's, which
used to be one of my favorite bars in Miami Beach before it got too popular.
We really want to walk around but were exhausted from the long road trip, so we decide to finish
the night at the Bohemian Hotel next door, which has a roof top night club, Rocks on
the Roof with live music and great ambiance.
From Savannah, Georgia, good morning. We walk around this historic and beautiful
city we see City Hall from Bull Street, which is right next to our hotel, and then enjoy
the beautiful vegetation of Johnson Square. We walk up to Ellis Square and City Market,
which is a touristy pedestrian street with a bunch of Bars and restaurants. At the end
of City Market, across Franklin Square we see the First African Baptist Church, which
claims to be derived from the first black Baptist congregation in North America. The
do have a museum. As you've seen, the historic district is dotted with a grid of all this
charming squares, such as Chippewa Square, where they filmed the movie Forest Gump. The
actual bench in the movie was a fiberglass prop and doesn't really exist. Bummer.
Passing by the First Girl Scouts Headquarters in the United States we arrive at Clary's
for breakfast. We are having breakfast at Clary's, the place
has been here forver. This has been a Savannah hangout place since
1903, and it was made even more famous after it was portrayed in the book Midnight in the
Garden of Good and Evil. By Lafayette Square, as we head back north
on Abercorn street, we see the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, it's congregation
was founded in the late 1700's by French immigrants. A little further down the street we pass by
Colonial Park Cemetery, the oldest one in Savannah. It was established in 1750 and is
a popular destination for Ghost tours. It was vandalized by the federal troops during
the Civil War, but it has been restored ever since.
We are back at Bay Street, which runs parallel to River Street, where the Hotel is. There's
a bunch of quirky shops, right behind the riverfront shops.
This is the oldest continuously operating English Freemasons' Lodge in the western hemisphere.
Yeah, amazing the stuff you learn on the internets.
OK, time to leave the comfort of our riverfront room, as we must continue on the road, but
not before seeing a little more of beautiful Savannah.
Grabbing a tip from travel writer Pico Ayer, we turn off the GPS and try to reach our next
destination on pure instinct and sense of orientation. In this case I'm trying to find
Forsyth Park, which is just south of the historic district. And here we are. Lets go around
the park, what the heck. Savannah, by the way, is the historical birthplace
of Georgia. It was settled in 1733. The city maintains its antebellum charm, antebellum
meaning ante: before, bellum, war. Basically it was spared the devastation of the civil
war. The mayor gave Sherman's men run of the city in exchange for leaving it untouched,
pretty much like the French did with Paris during World War II, that's why that cemetery
got all messed up, but everything else was left pretty much intact, so we can see it
today. Smart guy that mayor, not brave but smart. OK enough of that, we pass by Mansion,
which is a very luxurious hotel with a very nice nightclub where I played with my band
a few years back. Well, let's see Forsyth Park. The iconic overhanging
trees, the Forsyth fountain which dates back to 1858. The Spanish moss draped oak trees.
There's a bronze bust of Major General Lafayette McLaws in front of the confederate monument
back there. We walk back to the fountain, which is similar
to those in Place de la Concorde, in Paris. And we make sure we are observing the sidewalk
rules of course... and with that we almost say goodbye to Savannah for now.
Lastly we cruise along historic Jones Street, it's a very picturesque luxurious residential
area. Of course the cobblestones don't help with the camera's stability, but who cares.
We pass by Clary's once again, and the place where I stayed when I came to Savannah with
the band back in 2006 or 2007, it's the blue house.
Time to hit the road as we continue relentlessly on our journey north towards New York City.
The Talmadge Memorial Bridge spans the Savannah River, between the states of Georgia and South
Carolina. We are driving on US 17 towards Charleston
And we are now in the great state of South Carolina.
After a while on US 17 we move over to I-95, in order to save some time.
Our time here in Charleston is very limited, so we're just going to walk along Market Street,
see the waterfront and have a late lunch. The historic downtown, where we are, is located
on a peninsula formed by the Ashley and the Cooper rivers.
The City Market on Market Street dates back to the 1790's. The indoor market begins at
the historic Market Hall, at the corner of Market and Meeting streets and stretches for
four blocks ending at East Bay Street. This is where the also historic Custom House is
located. From the dock we see the Arthur Ravanel Bridge and the Charleston Harbor, and Castle
Pinckney on tiny Shutes' Folly Island. We have a late lunch at this place called Magnolias,
which was recommended by roadfood.com. It is fancy, delicious southern cuisine. But
time flies when your having fun, and in the winter it gets dark way too early. We want
to reach New York by Christmas day so we must say hasta la vista to Charleston and continue
due north. Revisiting this pretty town is a must.
We will spend the night at North Myrtle Beach, but before checking in at our hotel we are
going to cruise along South Ocean Boulevard, the heat of Myrtle Beach At this time of the
year is, not surprisingly, deserted. It is late December, and the temperature is pretty
low. It is very much reminiscent of our own Miami Beach. This is another place we must
revisit, in the summer, when it is at its prime, but this time we're just here to sleep.
We are actually staying at a place a little further north.
So we're staying at the Bay Watch, in North Myrtle Beach. This place is like a ghost town.
Good morning. Today we continue north towards Wilmington,
North Carolina.
"Keep right at the fork" Wilmington's historic downtown sits on the
northern bank of the Cape Fear River. The city is mostly famous for its beaches, the
seafood, and historic plantations. Some antebellum houses and other buildings survived the Civil
War, as the city didn't see much action. The port however was very important to the confederate
side, as supplies from England arrived here.
We have breakfast at this place called The Dixie Grill, one of the few places we found
open this early on Christmas Eve. After breakfast we walk towards the river.
There have also these historic tours on horse drawn carriages, which seem to be very informative
but we don't have the time on this particular occasion.
We must content ourselves with a stroll along the riverfront, and the sight of battleship
USS North Carolina moored here, once considered the world's greatest sea weapon, and one of
the most decorated battleships of World War II.
Wilmington was also the filming location of the fictitious town of Capeside, from the
late 90's TV series Dawson's Creek.
This is another place that definitely deserves a less rushed visit. What else is new?
Back to the car! We drive around a little bit on this historic downtown area and then
it is off to our nation's Capital, Washington DC.
We continue driving towards New York. Three hours and over 180 miles after we leave
Wilmington, North Carolina we enter the state of Virginia, and naturally we stop for the
photo op. We are driving almost non-stop all the way
to Washington, DC. And we are about halfway there.
We pass by Richmond, Virginia ... and Fredericksburg.
And no matter where you are, traffic will always slow down by the site of an accident.
The weather deteriorates gradually. When we arrive we would have driven for over 6 hours
along 370 miles nearly non-stop. As night falls, we arrive at our nation's
Capital. Washington, DC. "Continue on I-395 North..."
Our hotel is the Capitol Skyline, very well located. Actually, you can kind of see the
Capitol building from our window. We do a little bit of sightseeing under the
cold rain. The Washington Monument, the Capitol Building.
With this nasty weather I actually give up on the video camera and just take a few pictures.
There's me and my nine-year-old car, which has brought us, safely, all the way here.
This is the Jefferson Memorial with its famous view of the Washington Monument and the White
House. We've had enough of this rain. Let's enjoy
Christmas Eve Dinner at this place in Georgetown called Farmers Fishers Bakers. After a full
day of driving and the horrendous weather we've endured it is a nice break.
In the morning we take the Baltimore-Washington parkway. It is a beautiful drive in the early
morning mist. It is a shame we couldn't see much of DC this time, but don't worry. Eventually
we have to drive back south, so we'll revisit.
We arrive at Baltimore. The M&T Bank Football Stadium... and the Oriole Park.
As we reach the Hilton we turn right onto Camden Street towards the Convention Center.
We drive east on Pratt Street and continue roaming the deserted streets. It is Christmas
morning after all, so I assume everybody is opening presents. Making this trip is present
enough for me. We continue driving along the Inner Harbor,
and venture into Canton Park, but there's really, not a whole lot to see here so we
say: "enough wandering". Let's head east on O'Donnell Street towards I-95 north.
We cross the Susquehanna River, the longest one on the east coast.
And pretty soon we arrive to the state of Delaware, and the city of Wilmington, largest
city in the state. Off to Philly we go and guess what another
state line crossed. Welcome to Pennsylvania. As we get of on 15th street one of the fist
things we see is the City Hall to the left. We continue south on 15th street into the
district of South Philly, the birthplace of the Philly Cheesesteak and not exactly the
most touristy part of the city so we turn back north on 16th. This mural called "Children
of Philadelphia" is one of the many Murals Against Crime. These murals are all around
the city and they have become a symbol of Philadelphia. South Street is the invisible
border between South Philly and Center City. We're just driving around aimlessly. It is
not our intention to see Philadelphia today, everything seems to be closed on Christmas
Day, so we just want to take a quick look around and continue on.
And after a few miles we are in New Jersey. Sorry, no pull out to take a picture.
We have it on good authority that the best place for brunch on Christmas Day is Harold's
New York Deli. Don't let the name deceive you, they are located in Edison, New Jersey,
and they are famous for the gigantic portions. We definitely ordered too much food. A shake,
soup, chilly fries, a meat loaf sandwich, a hotdog. What were we thinking?
We are getting outta here. Start spreading the news. I'm arriving today.
This is it; we are approaching our final destination!
Coming up next, we spend Christmas in New York, and then some more. Meanwhile enjoy
the Lincoln Tunnel as we cross underneath the Hudson River. Send you comments or questions
to my Twitter or my email, or leave a comment in the YouTube video or the blog. Until ned
time, thank you for watching and see you on
the road.
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Road Trip From Miami to New York (Full Video)

6980 Folder Collection
Yu Lin Chen Lucas published on November 28, 2014
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