5 Places to visit while staying in Austin

aerial view of Capitol building in Austin the Capital of Texas

Part 5 of our top 10 places to visit while relocating with SuiteAmerica – our next pit stop is Texas!

Relocating to Texas? Or do you already live there and are looking for some sites to see? We’ve put together a list of 5 places that are must see attractions for current or future residents of Austin.

20141111-IMG_2517Austin Aquarium
This interactive wonder connects families to the planet with exhibits ranging from the rain forests and deserts to the exotic species of the ocean.

For more information call 512.222.5586 or check out their website at http://www.austinaquarium.com

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centerlady_bird_johnson_aquaduct_original
Explore the wildflowers and native plants of Texas in this beautiful garden setting. Bird watch on wildflower-rimmed trails, see how native plants are used to create sustainable landscapes and explore stunning Central Texas architecture.

For more information call 512.232.0100 or check out their website at http://www.wildflower.org/

5145808544_0f9a7a77b3_bAustin Zoo
Learn about the efforts involved in rescuing, rehabilitating and educating animals in need at this non-profit rescue zoo. See over 350 animals from over 100 different species and discover the conservation efforts to save endangered species.

For more information call 512.288.1490 or check out their website at http://austinzoo.org/

Texas State Capitoltexas-state-capitol-3a
This 1888 State Capitol is listed as a National Historic Landmark for its significant contribution to American History. Discover the extraordinary grandeur and historical significance of the state encapsulated in this building and surrounding grounds.

For more information call 512.305.8400 or check out their website at http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/spb/capitol/texcap.htm

Exterior-BobBullock-TexasStateHistoryMuseumBullock Texas State History Museum
This museum is one place big enough to tell the “Story of Texas”. Explore engaging exhibits, historical artifacts, enjoy programs for the entire family and experience Austin’s premier IMAX theatre.

For more information call 512.936.4632 or check out their website at http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/visit

Do you know of any other places to visit in Austin, Texas that you think should be added to the list? We’d love to hear from you!

Thanksgiving thoughts…



Take time to think of all the things you have to be thankful for.






Uphold your family traditions as you prepare for this day of thanks.






Remember to gather around the TV for the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.






Kick off the day with a friendly game of flag football with your family and friends.






Ensure your turkey is done with an internal temperature of 180 degrees in the thigh.






You know it’s only 29 days until Christmas so relax and enjoy the day.




Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Relocating to Virginia for the Fall and Winter

Leaf Border
So you’ve just landed a new positions in Virginia for the fall and winter. Even if Virginia Beach is turning cold this time of the year, there are still plenty of great adventures waiting to be had. Virginia is full of American history, natural parks and forests, and bustling cities. Find out what to do and where to go in Virginia as you begin a new chapter of your life in the Mother of all States.ClimateExpect moderate to chilly days and colder nights with highs in the mid-40s and lows in the high 20s. Virginia’s weather fluctuates fairly drastically depending on how far south or east you’ll be. The Atlantic Ocean tends to send some cold air through the coastal areas during the fall and winter months. You’ll see a smattering of rainfall and some decent snowfall in the more mountainous regions.
Major CitiesVirginia Beach is the biggest city in the state with its small town charm that attracts millions of tourists every year. In the off-season, you’ll find fewer crowds and a more peaceful atmosphere near the water. Check out Adventure Park, just 3 minutes from the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Hike the trails, zipline from one platform to another, or crawl through the many tunnels and bridges hanging from the trees. It’s one giant outdoor jungle gym.

Richmond is Virginia’s other major stomping ground. You’ll find dozens of historical landmarks such as the American Civil War Museum and a host of shopping centers and hip restaurants. Fill up on local cuisine with everything from sweet smoked BBQ to some seriously fresh seafood.

The great city of Norfolk is another tourist hub, featuring stunning views of the bay and endless activities for people of all ages. The Norfolk Botanical Garden sits right on the water. In the winter months, the city turns the park into a winter wonderland, stringing lights from every branch on every tree.
seasonal eventsFall and winter bears no shortage of local events throughout the state of Virginia. In Richmond, you’ll find 300 Years of Virginia Art and Design at the Virginia Historical Society. In Staunton City, you can blow your own glass pumpkin at the Sunspots Studios. Take a ferry to Chincoteague Island and see the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony by the sea. Thousands gather on the remote beaches to ring in the holiday season.

You’ll love your stay in Virginia regardless of which city you end up in. It’s a warm community that’s full of surprises.

Leaf Border

A touch of Northern California…

Wavy Organ
This unique San Francisco art installation gives visitors a chance to listen to what sounds like an organ playing when waves melodically crash against it. You’re also afforded a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
wavy organ 1organ 3wavy organ 2

Winchester Mystery House
Maze your way through the 160 room mansion in Santa Clara County and marvel at the unique and quirky design and furnishings. Take care not to make a wrong turn and end up in a secret passageway. You might end up as a permanent house guest.
Winchester_Mystery_House_(door_to_nowhere)©David Swann mystery house 3

Continue reading A touch of Northern California…

Halloween Safety Tips

Preparing the family for Halloween


SStay safe and make sure the costume is flame resistant and fits properly.

PPrepare for the night with glow sticks or flashlights so they can be seen.

OOpt out of eating unwrapped candy, since you don’t know what is safe.

ooOnly go trick or treating in groups or with an adult.

KKeep off of yards and stick to sidewalks and driveways for visibility.

YYell if a stranger approaches that you don’t know and wants you to go with them.



ssStrangers can scare your pets, so keep them safely away from the front door.

cCostumes for pets are cute, just make sure they are comfortable and not too binding.

AAvoid giving your pet any type of candy so they can’t get sick.

rrRemember to keep proper identification on your pet in case they get out.

yyYour pumpkin’s candle gives off a great glow; don’t let your pet knock it over and start a fire.

Top 5 Things To Do At Least Once in Washington DC

Yes, there are dozens of world-famous monuments and museums in the DC area; no doubt, many of which will rank high on any traveler’s to-do list. But off the straight and narrow, you’ll find some exciting activities that you won’t want to miss. Check out these top five must-see wonders of DC and make the most out of your time in the nation’s capital.

# 5. Jazz in the Garden – Located in the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden, this community party features weekly performances with some of the hottest local musicians and bands in the DC area. Held every Friday evening, Jazz in the Garden creates a concert experience unlike any other. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the artwork of artists such as Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, and Sol LeWitt. You might reach cultural overload.

jazz in the garden
#4. Rock Creek Park – With over 2,800 acres of serene natural beauty in the heart of the city, Rock Creek Park is a world of its own. You’ll find an endless range of natural sights and sounds including local wildlife, historic landmarks, and environmental wonders. Come for the view and stay for the history. You’re bound to see at least one log cabin.

rock creek
#3. – First Fridays at Dupont Circle Arts – Art lovers rejoice. DC has its own share of notable artists and galleries. With new shows every first Friday of the month, you can walk along Connecticut Ave and rake in art of all varieties. The Cross-Mackenzie Gallery and Hillyer Art Space are just some of the local cultural landmarks that participate. Plus, you can load up on free wine and cheese. Art openings are truly delicious.

#2. Bluejacket – Located on Tingey Street, Bluejacket has quickly and quietly become DC’s premiere local brewery. Serving up delicious apps, seafood and burgers, this resident hotspot is known for crafting awe-inspiring food and drink combinations that do the country’s capital justice. Hang out in their casual barn-style dining room with friends and family and watch the real American masters at work. These beers don’t craft themselves.

#1. National Cherry Blossom Festival – Every year, thousands gather to watch the cherry trees blossom around the Tidal Basin. The dates of the festival can be hard to predict every year, making the moment that much more important to savor. More than just trees, however, the entire city participates in the celebration. Head out to watch the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. DC takes its cherry trees very seriously. It probably has something to do with George Washington.


Relocating to D.C. in the Fall

Relocating to D.C.?  If so, congratulations!

D.C. is one of the most exciting and unique cities in the country. As the center of political power in the U.S., D.C. is filled with important—and well-dressed—people. It’s also home to awe-inspiring historical monuments, fantastic museums, and many distinct neighborhoods to explore.

Thousands of people move to D.C. every month—some permanently, some just for a short period of time—so you’re definitely not alone. And if you are moving in the fall, you’re lucky as his is one of the best seasons in the city.

Here is some information to make your transition to D.C. a little smoother.

Fall in D.C.

Fortunately, fall is beautiful in D.C. In early fall, the weather is warm during the day and cools off at night. In October the average high is 69°F and the low is 44°F. In November these temperatures drop about ten degrees.

By late October, the foliage of the city changes colors. The tree-lined streets and parks are gorgeous, and the view of the monuments against the backdrop of vibrant orange and yellow leaves is particularly spectacular.

fall in DC

Cost of Living

Keep in mind that the cost of living in D.C. is quite high. It usually ranks around #6 on the list of most expensive cities to live in, with the cost of living about 40% higher than the national average. This high cost of living is balanced out somewhat by a higher median household income—around $90,000 in 2014—which, in fact, is the highest median household income in the country. D.C. also has a very high average per capita income of $74,733.


Dress Code

Being one of the premier political stages in the world, D.C. is home to a lot of important people doing important things. As such, the dress code may be a bit more professional or formal than you’re used to. This is especially true around the Hill. If you’re unsure of how to dress for an interview or a work-related event, always err on the side of more professional. Some upscale restaurants and bars have dress codes; just be sure to find out what kind of attire is appropriate before you go.



Getting Around

One of the best ways to get around the city is on the Metro. It’s clean and safe, and it’s how many people get to and from work each day. When you’re exiting the Metro, make sure to stand on the right side of the escalator so that people can move past you on the left. Check out the Metro’s website for routes and schedules.

If you plan to have a car in D.C., be aware that traffic can be very heavy and parking can be difficult and parking costs can be high. That said, there are great weekend trips you can take outside the city, including some awesome hiking, and a car makes those much easier.


Road tripping with your pets

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Travelling with your pet can be very stressful for them long before the trip begins. They see the hustle and bustle of packing, the constant flurry of action, and changes to their environment. They have the ability to sense when something in their world is unsettled. Here are a few tips to make their journey to your new destination as easy and safe as possible…

1Make sure your pet is acclimated to traveling in the car before your journey. Take them for a few short trips to let them get the feel for car travel. Often pets only know going to a vet or groomer and associate being in the car with something they might not like.

Try to keep to your pet’s feeding schedule with the same food they are ac2accustomed to eating. It’s important to maintain the same schedule as much as possible to minimize  stress.

Continue reading Road tripping with your pets

The hills are alive in San Francisco…

Golden Gate Park – This park is one of the largest urban parks in the world and is truly a playground for all ages. In addition to the California Academy of Sciences which is home to an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum, you can enjoy the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the Herschell-Spillman Carousel. Throughout the park you’ll discover gardens, playgrounds, lakes, picnic groves, trails and monuments. Plus, there are an array of cultural venues, events and sports activities.

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PIER 39 – Located along the historic San Francisco waterfront known as Fisherman’s Wharf, PIER 39 offers a bounty for your senses. This location affords spectacular views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the impressive city skyline. You’ll marvel at the sea lions that have made the pier their home. Indulge your senses with the famous clam chowder and sourdough bread. From shopping and dining to entertainment and attractions, PIER 39 has it all.


 The Cable Car Museum – The first cable car went into service on Clay Street in 1873. Located in the historic Washington/Mason cable car barn and powerhouse, the museum deck overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables. From downstairs you can view the large sheaves and cable line entering the building under the street. In addition to housing three antique cable cars from the 1870s, one of which is the only surviving car from the first cable car company, on display are historic photographs and the mechanical devices needed to operate the system.


The Presidio – What once a military post for over 200 years is now a natural park site and recreational wonderland replete with historic and architectural riches, amazing vistas, spectacular flora and fauna and a wealth of military accomplishments. The entire Presidio is designated as a National Historic Landmark with 470 of the 870 structures on the former post considered to have historical significance.



San Francisco Zoo & Gardens – Nestled against the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Zoo is home to over 1,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species. In addition, the impressive gardens, abundant with native and foreign plants, are part of the conservation effort in place throughout the zoo. You’ll hear from the keepers and see the passion they have for the animals that will surely leave you with a lasting impression – one of caring, dedication and overall well-being for the animals.