Strange attractions in Southern California

When people think of Southern California, they often conjure up endless summer, beach bodies, Hollywood, and a never-ending party. Despite its sunny disposition, however, Southern California is home to many strange and odd attractions—it’s like that saying: the brightest photographs have the darkest negatives. Here are a couple unique attractions that veer from the norm.

Haunted So Cal: The Whaley House
haunted_places_whaleywhaley
Compared to most places in the world, Los Angeles and San Diego are relatively young cities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have rich, ghostly histories. The Whaley House, located in Old Town San Diego, is considered one of the “most haunted places on Earth.” Among many of the ghosts that are said to haunt the place, the most notorious is Yankee Jim, who was convicted of grand larceny and hanged in the gallows on the property in 1852. Although the Whaley House may seem like a tourist trap, the colorful tour guides and genuine creepiness of the place make it worthwhile.

Don’t have a cow: Crazee Burger
crazee burgercburg
San Diego has a great variety of craft cuisine and delicious eats,
but Crazee Burger, located in North Park San Diego, is one of the most diverse restaurants in the area. At this establishment, foodies venture out of their comfort zones and try exotic burgers  made from buffalo, ostrich, kangaroo and even alligator. Of course, regular beef patties are also available for the non-adventurists.

Just deserts: Joshua Tree National Forest and the Salton Sea
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For those wanting to escape the crowds and traffic of Southern Californian cities, the deserts to the east offer a wide assortment of strange sights and attractions. Joshua Tree National Park, a popular destination for Los Angelinos, is full of natural landscapes and vegetation that feel straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Farther south, perhaps the strangest attraction is the Salton Sea. After an effort to turn the lake into a beach resort in the 1950s, the water inflow/outflow stagnated, increasing the salinity and diminishing the ability to support life. Now, the beach is covered in fish skeletons; ghost towns and abandoned structures surround the lake. Simultaneously haunting and beautiful, the Salton Sea offers a post-apocalyptic glimpse of the past.

11 Must Try Restaurants in San Francisco

Just like any world-class city, San Francisco offers a compelling range of delicious eateries of all varieties. With amazing food at every turn, you can find the dish of your dreams in some surprising places. San Francisco combines a mix of fresh seafood, homegrown favorites, and ethnic delights. Everyone will find a reason to smile with our list of the best restaurants just south of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Nopa# 11. Nopa (http://www.nopasf.com/)

Backed by local suppliers and the freshest ingredients, Nopa puts a modern twist on some simple favorites. This high-end retreat focuses on wood grilled dishes such as their sizzling flatbreads and smoked burgers. Don’t forget to try their signature cocktails.

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tartine# 10. Tartine Bakery & Café (http://www.tartinebakery.com/­)

Touting some of the best pastries in the city, Tartine is something special. Their fresh baked goods are a local delicacy. You’ll have to get up early and stand in line to taste one of their seasonal tarts or buttermilk scones.

 

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house of prime rib1# 9. House of Prime Rib (http://houseofprimerib.net/)

Considered a local landmark, HoPR reimagines the classic steak house. With a friendly, warm atmosphere and juicy fresh cuts of meat sliced right at the table, this is a dining experience to remember.

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A "Purgatorio" pizza (foreground) - Spicy tomato sauce, 2 eggs, Pecorino Romano and a Marcherita (background) pizza - Tomato, fior di latte mozzarella, basil -  photographed at Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco, Calif. on Sunday, December 28, 2008.# 8. Delfina Restaurant (http://www.delfinasf.com/restaurant/)

Pasta lovers rejoice! Delfina has some of the best Italian dishes in the city including their mouth watering Bellwether Ricotta Cavatelli with marinated cherry tomatoes. You won’t find pasta fresher than this.

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swan oyster# 7. Swan Oyster Depot (http://www.sfswanoysterdepot.com/)

People are willing to wait for the freshest seafood in town. From a huge selection of local oysters to their famous clam chowder, this neighborhood gem has all of your seafood staples covered.

 

para-decorative-elements-dividerfrances# 6. Francis (http://www.frances-sf.com/)

Located in the Castro, Francis serves up some rich locally sourced favorites in a casual setting. Dishes like their Five-Dot Ranch Bavette Steak and their crispy Chickpea Fritters are just some of the reasons to make the trip.

 

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boulevard# 5. Boulevard (http://www.boulevardrestaurant.com/)

A high-end eatery with gorgeous views of the bay, Boulevard creates the ultimate night on the town. You’ll find top-shelf wines and brilliant dishes such as the Maryland Soft Shell Crab with a Crisp Sunflower Jacket.

para-decorative-elements-divideraquerello# 4. Acquerello (http://www.acquerello.com/)

Upscale dining reaches new heights at Acquerello. Guests get to enjoy delicious Italian creations in a soothing, elegant atmosphere. A taste of their tomato gnocchi will have you coming back for more.

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quince# 3. Quince (http://quincerestaurant.com/index.php/home)

Quince is coming up with some spectacular combinations in the Financial District. Surprising creations such as their Elephant Heart Plum with ginger, absinthe and mint will blow your taste buds away.

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Seared Scallops with Parsnip Puree, Braised Scallions and Black truffles# 2. Gary Danko (http://www.garydanko.com/)

As one of the most respected chefs in the city, Gary Danko has made a name for himself by coming up with savory dishes such as his Coconut Thai Curry with Shrimp and his Lemon Pepper Duck Breast.

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kokkari# 1. Kokkari Estiatorio (http://www.kokkari.com/home/)

Cozy and serene, Kokkari will make you feel right at home. Greek staples such as the Kalamata Pita and their signature Kalamari stuffed with feta, fennel, orange and black olives are something to behold. Get a head start and book your reservation now.

 

Stay Safe When You Relocate

If you’rrelocating-to-albuquerquee relocating to a new city due to a job transfer or short-term assignment, heading to an unfamiliar area can be an exciting adventure, full of new things to discover. However, all cities have safety challenges, no matter how great the location. Here are some hone and travel safety tips that will help you enjoy your new location without worry.

emergency-phone-number-listKeep numbers nearby
Create a list of emergency phone numbers and place in a designated area. Include emergency numbers such as fire, police, poison control, hospital, etc. Also create a list of your work and cell phone numbers. If you have children, designate two other people to contact for help if you cannot be reached.

Know-your-neighborKnow your neighbors
By getting to know your neighbors and becoming familiar with each other’s basic schedules and routines, irregularities become more glaring. Noticing things that are out of place is the most common way for a member of the neighborhood to help local law enforcement stop crimes before anyone gets hurt.

Stoplight_Neoprene_Kids_Backpack-1Prepare the kiddos
Teach children their new address and phone number as quickly as possible.If an emergency should occur, your child should be able to communicate his or her first name, last name, address and phone number. There are many creative ways you can help children learn this information. Check out http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Preschoolers-Their-Address-and-Telephone-Number or http://mom.me/parenting/6220-how-teach-kids-their-address-and-phone-number/
for some suggestions.

map-out-a-planMap it out before heading out
Ensure that you have accurate directions and understand where you’re headed before leaving home. If you’re using a GPS system, enter the information and review it before you step out the door. Writing out directions as a backup is also a good idea. While handheld GPS systems or mapping apps on your phone can really help get you get where you’re going, they can also make you appear distracted or confused about where
you’re going. Walking or driving with certainty and awareness
can keep you from becoming a victim.

public-transitUsing public transportation
Utilizing subways, buses and trains can really help you get around your new city. But there are steps you can take to ensure a safe experience. For example, pick a more populated subway car, not an isolated one. Avoid standing alone when you’re waiting for your train of bus late at night. Don’t take dark shortcuts when walking home from the bus station and keep your keys in-hand for protection.

Keep your items close bygirl-pick-pocket1
Your new city might offer some fantastic opportunities to take in a show, enjoy street festivals, or attend a sports event. Unfortunately, heavily-attended events can also attract pickpockets. To protect your belongings in areas where large crowds gather, stand away from the crowd and keep items in your hands or front pockets. Don’t leave your purse on the back of your chair at a restaurant, or put shopping bags
down on the ground.

emergency-preparation-for-special-needs-kidsBe prepared
If there is an emergency at home, being prepared ahead of time can make a difference. Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, copies of your license or i.d, non-perishable food and water. Store your kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is located. For more information about emergency kits, go to http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

By taking these basic safety steps, you can enjoy your new environment
and explore your city with confidence. It won’t take long for your
new city to feel like home!

5 Tips for a Smooth Job Transition

New Job

Changing locations for your job, or starting a new job in an unknown community, can be a stressful situation. Not only will you be moving to a new neighborhood, but you will also have to adapt to a new work environment, new colleagues, and potentially, a new corporate culture. These tips can help you successfully transition to your new job and workplace.

  1. Create a rapport with new co-workers: invite new colleagues to coffee or lunch offsite, where both you and your new connections will be relaxed. Be friendly and respectful, and allow others to do most of the talking, but be ready and willing to respond and participate in conversation.
  1. Establish expectations with your boss: Build your credibility, and quickly create value for your organization, by defining what a win is in your boss’s eyes. What does she expect you to learn and accomplish? How quickly does she expect to see results? The more clarity you build around these issues, the easier your transition will be.
  1. Show enthusiasm: In all the craziness of this big transition, remember to smile and be positive. While adjustments are never going to be completely seamless and it’s normal to experience some confusion and discouragement. Remember that these feelings will pass and keep a positive outlook, especially around coworkers. Showing enthusiasm for the job and being able to roll with the punches will make a huge difference in how you are perceived.
  1. Be reliable:  It takes weeks/months/years to build trust, but only a few minutes to lose it.  Don’t dig yourself a hole right off the bat. Show up when you say you will, do what you promise, and help others when possible.
  1. Avoid gossip! You’re too new to get involved with who did what at the last holiday party. Your first few months should focus on proving your expertise and establishing yourself as a team player. While it’s important to be congenial and engage in small talk, graciously leave a conversation when the topic starts getting a little too gossipy.

Everyone undergoing a job transition and relocation has an adjustment period to make, and experiences some bumps in the road. Keep in mind that you were hired or were asked to relocate because your skill set will be a huge benefit to the new location. Small things like not knowing where the copier is, or forgetting exactly how to get to your cubicle, are indeed small things that you will overcome in no time!

Do you have temporary housing needs for your transition? Let SuiteAmerica help make your move easy and stress free. SuiteAmerica Temporary Housing Packages include everything you need to get yourself started in your new apartment.

5 Places to Visit While Staying in Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland

If you’re moving to Maryland for an extended stay or short-term assignment, you will find that there’s plenty to keep you occupied during your transition. Here are a few suggestions for places to visit while in Baltimore.

Visit the Baltimore National MuseumBaltimore Inner Harbor:
With a multitude of offerings, the Inner Harbor is “the” place to spend the day or evening. Experience family-friendly museums to exciting nightlife, take a cruise on the Bay, or enjoy a brew at one of the many taverns and pubs located here. For a free guide and more information, go to http://baltimore.org/article/baltimore-inner-harbor.

National Aquarium Baltimore National Aquarium
The animals and sea life at the Aquarium are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Not just for fish, the Aquarium is also home to many “land lubber” species such as the Golden Lion Tamarin and a baby Two-Toed Sloth. Enjoy the 225,000-gallon tank in shark alley, or take a veterinary tour and learn more about how wild animals are cared for. You can even have a sleepover with the Aquarium’s dolphins! Learn more about the Aquarium or check out the webcams at http://www.aqua.org/webcams.

 

Baltimore Museum of ArtBaltimore Museum of Art
Don’t miss viewing over 90,000 works of art, including the largest holding of works by Matisse in the World. The museum features 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art pieces, and offers a variety of rotating exhibitions. Admission to the museum is free of charge, thanks to support from the government and private parties. http://www.artbma.org/.

 

Orchestra

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Home to one of the most recognized orchestras in the World, the Meyerhoff offers its audiences a variety of classical music experiences, as well as family-oriented performances. There are opportunities for young children and students to participate in orchestra and master class workshops, which focus on education and community engagement. Read more about the Hall here: bsomusic.org/.

 

 

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum Geppis Museum in Baltimore, MD
This fun museum presents 250 years of U.S. pop culture artifacts. The museum’s vintage memorabilia includes comics, toys, dolls and games from a wide variety of categories. Revisit your childhood, or take in this unique approach to US history through your children’s eyes. For more information and hours of operation, visit www.geppismuseum.com/.

 

If you’re looking for temporary housing in Baltimore, SuiteAmerica can provide you with a furnished apartment to suit your needs. Visit our Baltimore apartments at www.suiteamerica.com.

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5 Places to Visit While Staying in Portland

Portland, Oregon is known as The City of Roses, due to its climate – marked by both warm, dry summers and wet, cool-to-chilly winter days. If you’re relocating to this environmentally conscious city, you’ll have many opportunities to spend time in the great outdoors, or peruse its many eclectic museums. Portland is also known for its funky, quirky personality. Read on for our 5 favorite places to visit in this colorful city.

Columbia River GorgeColumbia River Gorge
Just shy of 300,000 acres, the Columbia River Gorge is a year-round recreational area offering countless outdoor activities. Bring your camera to capture the spectacular geology and numerous tumbling waterfalls. Indoor activities for those “uncooperative” weather days include wine tasting, art galleries an interpretive center, beer sampling, and museums. Visit the Gorge website and view the calendar of events at http://www.crgva.org/

9.InternationalRoseTestGardenInternational Rose Test Garden
Located in Washington Park, the International Rose Test Garden houses over 7,000 rose plants. Serving primarily as a testing ground for new varieties, the roses represent many parts of the world and are tested for color, fragrance, disease resistance and other attributes. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States and exemplifies Portland’s nickname. Open daily, free admission. For hours and specifics, visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm &propertyid=1113&action=viewpark

Hollywood_TheatreHollywood Theatre
The Hollywood Theatre opened its doors on July 17, 1926, as both a theater featuring silent films, and a vaudeville house. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this “Palace of Luxury” maintains the glamour of the 20’s with modern technology. Sip a glass of wine while catching one of the latest movies, or attend a one-day theater workshop. Find out more
at http://hollywoodtheatre.org/.

Alberta Street Neighborhoodalberta street
Vibrant Alberta Street boasts popular restaurants, shops, and galleries. Known for its funky feel, Alberta Street supports local businesses and offers visitors a variety of local offerings and festivals. Read about this unique community: http://albertamainst.org/.

 

puppetPing Pong’s Pint Sized Puppet Museum
Visit the original Howdy Doody in this small but enjoyable museum! Located in the historic Sellwood District, Ping Pong’s is the place to learn all things puppet. Take in a ventriloquist performance, or learn how to build your own puppet. They have a beautiful outdoor seating area for shows and the building is an old railway station. Check it out at www.puppetmuseum.com.

 

Transitioning to a Portland Apartment? SuiteAmerica offers furnished apartments for your relocation.  Get more information on our Portland temporary apartments at www.suiteamerica.com.

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5 UNIQUE Places to Visit in San Francisco

san-francisco

San Francisco has a multitude of well-known attractions. From strolling through Golden Gate Park to cruising across the bay to Alcatraz, you’ll have plenty to do to keep you busy.  However, escaping the crowds and seeing these lesser-known gems can make you feel uniquely connected to this great city. Here are five UNIQUE places to visit in San Francisco:

San Francisco Castro TheaterCastro Theatre
Watch a classic film in this lavish and intimate theatre. Built in 1922, Castro Theatre features a 1400-seat auditorium with walls covered in rare, decorative, wet plaster murals. Art Deco chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the mezzanine and balcony are highlighted with mirrors framed in gold. Rare film posters hang in the lobby. Check out their special events or sing along with the Sound of Music. More information can be found at www.castrotheatre.com

Balmy Alley Murals
If you want to see a lot of public art but don’t have a ton of time, head to the Mission District’s Balmy Alley. Since the 1980s, the alley has been home to a rotating collection of murals, and today it’s the most concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco. Read more about this unique art project, or get tour information here: http://www.balmyalley.com/Welcome.html

Mount Sutro “Forest in the Clouds”
Located in San Francisco’s Forest Knolls area, the 900-foot slopes of Mount Sutro immerse visitors in thousands of eucalyptus trees, some of which reach 200 feet in height. Hiking here is unique from anywhere else in San Francisco. It’s heavily shaded, due to the tall trees. Walk through the misty trails of fresh, wet forest in its self-contained rain. On weekdays, there are usually few people around, so there’s a sense of isolation amid towering misty trees. Detailed information can be found at mntsutro.com

Musée_Mécanique


Musee Mecanique
Accessible by F-Market Street Car, Musee Mecanique consists of one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines. Here you’ll find the world’s only steam-powered motorcycle, antique picture machines, and mechanical fortune-telling figures. Play the coin-operated games, including some that are still only a penny! Free admission. Learn more at http://www.museemecaniquesf.com/visit.php

 

Seward Street Slides
Located in the Castro, Two long, steep concrete slides are the main attraction at this Seward Stree Slidehidden gem. They’re not for tiny tots, nor for the faint of heart! If you decide to slide, please remember that the park closes at sunset. Bring a piece of cardboard and wear sturdy pants!
http://sfrecpark.org/destination/seward-mini-park/

 

 

Relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area? SuiteAmerica offers corporate housing for your transition needs. View Bay Area apartments or request furnished apartment information now!

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Stress Free Holidays During Your Move

10_fabolous_and_inexpensive_last_minute_chirstmas_gift_ideas-620x387The holidays are primarily a time of warmth and comfort, and the feeling of familiarity. Moving can really put a damper on your holiday spirit, but you don’t have to let it. In fact, careful planning can allow for continuation of holiday traditions, even during relocation.

1. If you plan to decorate at your new home- as you pack, make sure holiday decorations will be easy to find. When you arrive in your new home, make putting them up one of your first unpacking tasks to make the rest of the moving process cheerier. Sprucing up your new home with cherished holiday ornaments or décor will make it feel like home in no time.

2. If you plan to decorate at your present location- try using nature in place of your typical decorations. Use a live Christmas tree and decorated it traditionally with popcorn and cranberries strings. Have the kids make paper ornaments for the tree. This will keep them busy while you pack, and the whole tree (ornaments and all!) can be recycled after Christmas. Use leaves, fruit, berries and fresh flowers as a center piece on your table.

3. Buy holiday presents before you leave- and pack them with the rest of your things, or order gifts online to be delivered to your new house. Online entities like amazon.com or toysRus.com frequently offer a gift wrapping option, which will save you a lot of time and hassle during your housing transition.

4. Over the holidays, some local shops and restaurants may close earlier than usual- when you arrive at your new home you won’t have any food in stock and your nearest store may not be open. Scout the area beforehand, or call and get the hours for the closest grocery store, or restaurants. This will save you from eating your holiday meal at the closest fast food outlet.

5. In lieu of the holiday greeting cards- send personalized new address cards to your friends and family members to wish them happy holidays and let them know that you are moving. You can spread holiday cheer and information about your new location simultaneously.

6. Explore your new community- spending the holiday season in a new location can be a great opportunity to learn more about your new home town and to meet people you wouldn’t encounter other times of the year. Most cities host special events, concerts and light displays during the Christmas season that make great family activities. Check your local area for holiday events and holiday happenings

7. Last but not least, remember that the holidays are all about family- moving can be stressful, but relocating as a family can also be a fun new adventure. And if you’re all working to pack, travel and unpack during the holiday season, at least you’ll be spending lots of quality time together.

To help reduce some of the stress of moving during the holidays, consider corporate housing during your transition. Temporary housing allows you more time to explore your new city, while giving you extended time to find a permanent home. Enjoy your holidays without having to worry about unpacking, juggling too many priorities, or trying to keep traditions alive among cardboard boxes. View corporate housing and temporary furnished apartments here.

5 Places to Visit While Staying in Seattle

Visit  Seattle during your short-term stay

Part 3 of our top 5 places to visit while relocating with SuiteAmerica – our next pit stop is Seattle!

If you are planning a trip or relocation to Seattle, you’re probably already aware of its reputation for gloomy weather. Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest in general, has a wetter than average climate. But don’t let the rain clouds keep you from enjoying some of the unique attractions that Seattle has to offer. Add these Seattle favorites to your “to do” list:

Pike’s Place Market
Infamous for its fish-throwing presentations, Pike’s Place Market features more than just flying fins. The Market boasts over 200 unique owner-operated shops and services, including butcher shops, bakeries, produce stands and specialty food stores.  Foodies can choose from over 80 restaurants within the market. Take time to explore the local artisans

and unique crafts in the Main and North Arcade.
http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

Seattle Space NeedleSpace Needle
A trip to Seattle would not be complete without a visit to the iconic Space Needle. From the Needle’s incredible 520 ft. Observation Deck, visitors can view both Mt. Rainier and the Cascades. The Space Needle is open 365 days a year, but you’ll want to purchase your tickets in advance and reserve your launch time!    http://www.spaceneedle.com/home/

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Relocating? How to Avoid Loneliness in a New City

San Francisco Bay

Relocating to a new city can be an exciting experience. With new places to explore and people to meet, a new city can be a unique adventure full of opportunities to learn and grow. However, it’s not uncommon to feel a sense of longing for what was left behind. Here are some tips on how to cope with feeling homesick.

Stay Connected

Set up a routine for talking to friends and family. If your environment allows it, make time for a weekly phone call or Skype dates with loved ones. If time changes make phone calls a challenge, use email, or Facebook or other social media sites to stay in touch. Even a virtual game of Scrabble with a friend can keep you from feeling world’s away.

Make a List/Discover Something New

Before your move, make a list of all of the places you’d like to visit in your new city. Include things like restaurants, museums, parks and walking trails. Research online to find ideas on what your new city has to offer, and add items of interest to your list. Utilize Google Maps to help you locate interesting landmarks. Resolve to visit a new place at least once a week.

Meet New PeopleRelocation Portland Oregon

Continuing with activities that you enjoy will give you the opportunity to meet new people with like interests. If you love to exercise, join a health club or walking group. If you’re crafty, look for knitting groups or scrapbooking clubs in your area. You can also check meetup.com for meetings and get-togethers that focus on a wide variety of interests from book clubs to paddle boarding, and are listed by location.

Continue reading Relocating? How to Avoid Loneliness in a New City